Curiosity Kills Part 7
Mission: To The Rescue
Banks awoke slowly and glanced around the shuttle. It'd been another mostly quiet night.
In her sleep, Millie groaned. Her forehead was beaded with sweat, and she appeared unsettled in her unconscious state.
Banks removed the strip of cloth, wrung it out, before dipping it in some of the pooled water and replaced it on her head.
The touch on her forehead stirred Millie from sleep. She murmured softly, her eyes slowly fluttering open.
"You can't go, you're not in no shape to do it. I don't know if its a virus or what but we gotta come up with a plan B."
Millie pushed herself up on one elbow. "All the more reason that I need to go, right? We need medical supplies, a tricorder...anything to tell us what we're dealing with." She reached over, putting a hand on Patricia's arm. "And since we don't know what I'm dealing with, I want to go now...before I start feeling any worse."
Banks' expression showed she didn't like that one bit.
Millie sighed, sitting up further. "You know I'm right, Trish."
"At the first sign of real trouble you turn around and get back here."
Millie managed a smile. "On the condition that you stay off your leg and don't push yourself too hard."
"Fine." By her tone, it seemed like she had to grit her teeth to make the pledge.
Despite how she felt, she grinned. "You realize I know you're going to go back on your word as soon as I'm out of sight, right?"
"Just be very careful. If you're not back in 2 days I'm coming to find you."
"Not on that leg, you won't." With a smile, she gave her friend a playful punch on the arm.
It'd only been maybe four hours but if Banks could pace she would have been. There was no way Millie was ready for this kind of mission and God only knew what thoughts the Klingon had put in her head. Banks forced herself up on her good leg and carefully lowered down into the control chair. The guilt over her last interaction with Chance which had been whispering to her for a couple days was now shouting and she knew there was nothing she could do about it and she knew better to think 'maybe when we're home' because this probably was home now.
Banks had been right. She was in no shape to be out and scouting. Millie wiped the bile from her lips. It was the second time she had vomited since leaving the shuttle, and despite there being nothing left in her stomach, it threatened to upheave again. She leaned against the tree as she carved a mark, making sure that she would eventually find her way home.
This was further than she'd been scouting, so hopefully there were more debris scattered through the forest.
Let there be a tricorder...
It'd been a full day. Millie hadn't returned which said she was either okay, she was too stubborn to know she needed to turn back, or she was unable to do so. Banks hobbled to the entrance of the shuttle. 'Here goes noth..." she stopped looking up at the blue skinned animal reaching for fruit high in the nearby tree. "So uh, you're our resident friend, huh?"
The creature lowered and watched her, its trunk slightly swaying.
"Look, I, we appreciate the food but she's not here and I don't know if she's coming back. Why am I even talking to you, you can't speak."
The creature used its trunk to roll a melon towards Banks. She looked down at the fruit then up to the creature. She put her hand on her chest. "Patricia," before putting her hand slowly out to the beast. It's reply was slow and guttural.
"Yea I don't know what that even sounded like so I'm gonna call you...Joe. You kinda look like one."
The creature was watching her intently but then she realized, it wasn't her that it was looking at. And that something was behind her.
Millie leaned against another tree, using the knife to make a mark. She closed her eyes, willing her stomach to stay put. As she listened in the darkness, she heard a soft gurgle--one that wasn't her stomach. She opened her eyes, turning her head to locate the sound. She took a few more steps forward before she spotted it--what appeared to be a natural spring leaking out between two large stones. Water... She stumbled forward on exhausted feet, dropping to her knees at the small rivulet extending out from the rocks. She dipped her hands in, cupping them and drawing the cool water to her lips. She was grateful to be able to wash the taste of bile out of her mouth.
The creature, looking like a cross between a jungle cat with multiple insect-like eyes and razor sharp teeth, had sprung from the brush seconds after Banks had noticed her new friend's intense stare. In her current state she was not exactly agile and barely had time to turn her upper body to the high pitched noises coming from this new predator before it closed in. She could see her reflection in its many eyes.
Millie took several handfuls of water, dumping them over her head. She knew she was burning up and running a high fever. Maybe she could just...lie down for a few minutes. She would need to stop soon, because the sun was---
There...she just barely saw it through the trees atop the steep embankment. But it glimmered. Like metal. She walked through the rivulet, not caring in that moment about her wet shoes. As she approached the embankment, there it was--a large chunk of metal stuck way up in the trees.
Millie looked around. The sun was setting, and it would be dark soon. She knew she wasn't going to make much progress in getting the chunk of metal out of the treetops before dark, and set to finding a safe place to rest. Her eyes caught sight of a cleft in the rock--not big enough to be a cave, but just big enough that she could climb in and be out of sight. She carefully made her way up the embankment, her feet slipping occasionally on the lose stone. She climbed into the cleft, leaning her exhausted body against the rocks. The stone felt like ice against her fevered cheek, and she let her eyes slip shut, quickly succumbing to sleep.
Millie awoke, curled up in the dirt of the alcove floor. She rolled over and retched, her body convulsing with each heave. She attempted to pull herself up, her fingers desperately clawing for any handhold on the stone. Her whole body felt as if it were clammy and on fire at the same time. Slowly, she crawled her way to the edge of the cleft, squinting in the sunlight. How long had she been asleep? She leaned forward, putting her hand out but finding nothing but air beneath it. She felt herself tumble, end over end, down the embankment. Everything went black.
Lieutenant JG Aemilia "Millie" Stepanova
Chief Counselor, USS Mercutio
Chief Intelligence Officer, USS Mercutio