The masked men ran at Rick and his three companions. None of them were wielding their weapons, there was no need Rick could not fight from underneath the net and neither could the other three.
As the masked men closed in on them the enemy whispered amongst each other. Rick quickly counted them. There was 23 people, they would surely have no chance if they tried to defend themselves. The silence and tension was beginning to become agonising as the masked men fanned out and made a circle around Rick and his men.
"Who are you?" One of Rick's men asked, obviously had enough of the silence. A bolt flashed down from above catapulting straight through the speakers neck.
"No one speaks unless spoken to." Said a man with a spiked mask, seemingly the leader. "Who is your leader?" He questioned, although more of a demand than a question.
There was silence and after about ten seconds the leader spoke once again, "not going to speak eh? Well, we'll just see about that. Trill, do you have the finger breaker with you?"
"I do." Trill answered, producing a threatening looking machine.
"Right then, lift the net off of them, we'll see how long they can last." He turned to Rick and his men, "don't you beaten men even think about escaping. You'll be shot down in about five seconds."
The net was fully lifted from Rick, Bern and Wilkins now. They looked at each other and Wilkins gulped. How did this happen so fast? Rick asked himself.
"Put it on that one first Trill." The leader said while pointing at Wilkins.
"Yes Sergeant," said Trill.
Trill walked over to Wilkins and he looked around looking for a way to escape but then remembered the people in the trees. There was no escape. As Trill put Wilkins first finger in the small contraption he gave in.
"Ok, ok, I'll tell you. It's him! Rick!" Wilkins said frantically, pointing at Rick, not wanting to lose one of his fingers.
"It's always funny when people give in so easily, do it Trill, show him the pain." The Sergeant said.
"No, please, I've told you," said Wilkins.
Trill pulled the trigger and the contraption snapped down. It was little more than a flick on his fingers. You could see the surprise and humiliation on Wilkin's face on how easily he had been fooled. Trill smiled at him and then the enemy soldiers burst into laughter.
"If we wanted to cause you pain, then we would kill you slowly," the Sergeant said, hushing the laughter. "We were told to eliminate you, but luckily for you we've had three deserters. That means that there are three open spaces for experienced soldiers in my force. What do you say?"
"Give us a minute to talk this over." Rick said to the Sergeant.
Rick, Bern and Wilkins huddled together.
"I don't know about this, we will be expected to tell them everything about the Ealdorman and his location." Bern said.
"Of course we will, I like the Ealdorman, and I hate these people, why would we willingly join him?" Wilkins put his opinion him.
"This could work. Assuming we can get word to the Ealdorman then this could most certainly work." Rick said.
"What so that we can tell him we've deserted? Joined the enemy? This is disgraceful. I will not betray the Ealdorman." Wilkins said.
"No, I think he has and idea." Bern said
"Of course I have an idea. Don't all look at once but there is one of our scouts to the left, probably came to find us." Rick said. Wilkins and Bern turned to look at different times and could see someones face poking up every now and then from a boulder. Rick made the signal which meant follow. He thought that the not being seen part was evident. "We are going to agree, send word to the Ealdorman, spy on the Plague Soldiers, and feed them wrong information."
"Well they will be suspicious of us and as soon as they march to the fake Ealdorman's camp and no one's there then they will know we've been lying and kill us." Bern stated.
"If the Ealdorman is clever then he will leave behind signs that say they have been there." Rick replied.
"Right now I'll take anything to save our lives." Wilkins said. He was only 23 years old, and only served the Ealdorman for 2 years whereas everyone else that served with Rick had at least 8 years of experience.
"Sorry to break up your little meeting, but you have ten seconds to tell us your verdict." The Plague Sergeant said.
"The answer is yes, we value our lives more than that of our former comrades." Rick replied.
"Former comrades?" The Sergeant asked.
"Yes, we deserted two days ago because of the Ealdorman's incompetence and cowardice." Rick said to convince that he was in no way wanting to help the Ealdorman.
"Good. My name is Sergeant Gray and we are the elite's," he said waving his hand towards his troops, "You've already met Trill" he looked at Wilkins "he's my second in command. If I'm not around you answer to him. Now while we walk back you can get to know everyone. And if anyone here tells the Captain who these people really are then I assure you my head will not be the only one on the chopping block."
Then the net was rolled up and they headed quickly towards the Captains men.