From Book 3, "Guild Formation", Chapter 27
Davi was breathing heavily, which would give away his location if he couldn't get a handle on it. He knew that Ganmel had realized his immunity to the dielsis powers by now and would order his men to physically restrain him. While he was confident he could fight and disable several of them, the sheer number he'd seen upon the bridge was frightening and, without his gun, he couldn't possibly hope to remain free. He pulled an incredibly deep breath of air in and held it as long as his body would allow then exhaled it as quietly as he could. He did this multiple times, ignoring how profusely he was sweating, until he felt comfortable to run again.
Rounding the corner he'd stopped at, Ristian was confronted with a long hallway. If the ship was symmetrical then the other end of that corridor would soon be filled with Gaian troops, just like the portion he was in. Scanning the walls quickly, he noticed a vent panel and slid over to it. He pried at the corners with his fingers, cutting himself on the sharp edges, as the sounds of hundreds of footsteps began echoing down the hall. As they drew nearer, he managed to get one corner up and frantically pulled at the cover to free it from its spot on the wall. With a laugh of panicked delight, it came off and he spun around to get his feet inside.
The thunderous footfalls grew cacophonous, signaling that they would round the corner and see him shortly. He had pushed himself into the vent and pulled the cover back on as he heard voices shouting at one another through the hallway.
"He couldn't have gotten far. Group intarga, you will carefully check this hallway to see if he got into any of the vent panels. Group hejarga, you come with me into the sleeping quarters." Davi could not identify the voice but he knew that if the Gaians looked carefully they'd locate his blood on the panel he'd accessed and know to shut it off at the junction he could feel he was coming to. He pushed and slid as quickly as he could down the narrow tunnel, knowing that his freedom depended upon it. As he got to the vent junction, a different voice rang down to him: "This panel has Terran blood on it, sir!"
Alarms began sounding and as Davi crawled randomly into one of the attached vent tunnels, he could hear the junction behind him being closed off. He wasn't able to look back and see it with his own eyes but he knew that he had to get through before the Gaian troops could place themselves at all of the possible exits. He could still hear the troop movement and then the intercom sparked to life.
"Give it up, Ristian," Ganmel crowed. "We'll have you no matter which way you get out of those vents so don't put up a fight."
Davi grumbled to himself about the predicament but kept going, eventually reaching the end of the vent and seeing the corresponding panel. Well, I guess if they're going to get me, then they are going to get me. He slammed the panel cover out and slid out quickly into an eerily empty hallway. It was familiar. The side passage from my first visit. Does it lead to the bridge? If it did, perhaps Ganmel would be alone. He made his way down the hall as hastily as he could while being as quiet as possible.
The hallway ended at a door with no window. He studied the design and compared it to the brief glimpse he'd had of the bridge, but he couldn't recall seeing anything like the one in front of him. Here goes! He cracked the door a bit to see if he could glimpse anything.
On the other side of the door, the light of the bridge was easy for Ristian to identify. He risked opening it a little more to get a better idea which side he was on, comparing his brief image to what he saw. The left side. Ganmel is right there. Indeed, the Gaian leader stood with his hands on a control panel, hunched over a slight bit.
Davi opened the door enough for him to slip through then carefully closed it. Madi Ganmel was at his panel, unaware that the Terran quarry he sought was so near to him. Looking around, the smuggler could see no Gaian troops.
Ganmel pressed a button on the panel and spoke, "We now have all of the panels covered for when you get out, Ristian. We would prefer not to fish your body out but if you choose to stay hidden that's the only possible outcome."
Davi stood up straight and steeled himself as best he could. The Gaian leader shook his head and sighed in frustration. Ristian took him in before making any moves: Ganmel was tall and lithe, wearing something that looked similar to the troop uniforms but unique in many ways. It was red, like their jumpsuits, but it was a robe. The edges were intricately stitched in gold, unlike the jumpsuit counterpart, and it also had a tall collar that rose up behind him. Under the robe, he had the typical black pants with the dark red stripe down the side that was part of the uniform. His boots, though, fit very snugly and were red instead of white.
Here we go, Davi thought to himself.