Thelonius tried to keep his hands steady on his blunderbuss as he stared down the Nazis. Humans, he realized, looked a bit more like chimpanzees than he would have cared to admit, which would make shooting them in cold blood feel too much like murder. He prayed that these primitive savages would have the sense to recognize his superior weapon and back down.
No such luck.
They chattered rapidly at him in their strange, fricative-laden language and then one of them suddenly lunged at Thelonius’s throat with his knife. Now it wasn’t a question of murder, it was a question of self defense, and his finger seemed ready to pull the trigger of its own accord.
With a boom and a cloud of grey smoke, a pattern of tiny black holes opened up across the soldier’s chest and the wall behind him. The other soldier, evidently unaware that Thelonius’s weapon held only one charge, turned and ran down the hall, shouting for his peers.
“You shot a gun inside a zeppelin?” The female hollered at him. “What kind of crazy monkey are you?”
“I am no monkey, madam, I am a chimpanzee,” Thelonius decided to be forgiving because the poor thing was no doubt frightened by the loud bang and flash of his highly advanced weapon. Still, manners must be considered. “A thank-you might be in order, as I just saved you from your enemies. My name is Thelonius, and you, if I may be so bold, are named Celeste?”
The female’s eyes widened in amazement.
“Professor Limefellow informed me of your name,” he explained in hopes that she wouldn’t be too in awe of his more highly evolved mind. Humans, he had observed, were notoriously superstitious creatures and he didn’t want any of them to start worshipping him as some kind of god.
Boot-falls and angry voices echoed down the hallway.
“We gotta scram,” Celeste said as she grabbed his wrist and pulled him into a run. In his opinion, this was a most impertinent and un-ladylike action, but it seemed best to follow her nonetheless.
Their aimless dash took them into the ship’s mess hall, where they took cover behind a row of ovens. Their pursuers sounded like they were everywhere behind them, but Thelonius needed a moment to catch his breath. Celeste seemed none the worse for their short sprint, by which Thelonius surmised that her long human legs were better adapted for running than his. Perhaps human beings were not inferior to chimp-kind in every way.
“What was your plan, monkey man?” Celeste whispered to him.
“Your kind more closely resembles monkeys than mine,” Thelonius bridled. “To answer your question: I gained access to this vessel by climbing the tether. Unless you can climb down a few hundred feet of swaying rope, we will need to find another route.”