I slipped under for only a moment, freed from the need to stand against the raging current I was able to better orient myself, to find a better footing, to better place myself and rise again.
As my head broke the surface I realized that the dark, slimy, viscus waters were perfectly clear below, I had been able to see as clearly as through a rain cleaned sky. I had seen Brown, her head dragged under by one of the creatures, barreling toward me. But I had seen others as well, I had seen other people and other things, swimming, turning, churning seemingly through open space.
I also realized as I hadn't before that the building was full of people. Had only the floorspace been available it would have been standing room only, wall to wall. With the wall and ceiling space used, they had room to dance and gyrate; as well as fight off their attackers.
None of them seemed to be able to fight them off, presumably because they were not focused on that task, abandoned as they were to the rapture. I saw that there were far more creatures than I had ever expected and something that really didn't sink in at that time because of the brevity of my glimpse, but I saw that once a devotee was completely ensnared and wrapped in tentacles, the capturer and the victim began to disappear.
As I regained the surface I was aware that I had planted my feet and stood upright on the wall beside the door by which we had entered, the gravity of Earth no longer with any meaning in that cavernous, gyroscopic well. I was well braced between the jamb and some sort of sconce as I prepared to receive the writing mass of Private Brown and her tormentor.
Her head surfaced and I saw, no I heard her singing, chanting at the top of her lungs, sputtering and spurting water and chords. She was lost to the passion again, oblivous to the tentacle that wrapped itself around her throat and mouth.
I tensed and I launched myself at the pair. Our velocities combined and we struck with tremendous force. I had been braced for it, the creature was not. I still had my Gerber multitool in hand and I drove it into the tentacle around Brown's throat. It withdrew and I struck again, this time against the creature's body. It was massive and thick, but not as strong as I had anticipated. It writhed and fought, but I was able to make blow after blow land and take a physical toll. I twisted and pulled, bit and struck.
Suddenly the combination bore fruit and I had Brown free. The creature realized it a scant moment after I had, but I moved first and decisively. I turned her to get myself between the creature and the Private, nearly throwing her out of the water.
It wasn't until that very moment and action that I realized that I had been fighting subaquisly for several minutes and my air had run out. Sparkly tunnels of darkness began to strangle my vision. I got my feet below me and stood to clear my head into the air.
I found I was standing on or near the ceiling and the atmosphere was not much dryer than the water had been. There was so much humidity and spray in the air that I could barely breathe or see. Brown was mercifully close, nearly floating on her back, and I snatched her up into my arms, ready to fight off another attack, but the creature had gone off to find a more suseptable victim. I saw it moving against the current.
All the creatures, when they moved they moved against the current of the spherical eddy. I made three realizations, that I had no idea how to get down from a ceiling that disobeyed the law of gravity flagrantly; that although we had won a localized victory against one creature, the battle raged on from water to creature to air, at an even more fevered pitch, cressendoing past all reason; and finally, I realized that Doctor Zoe was no longer on my hip.