Curiosity Kills Part 10
Mission: To The Rescue
Millie's eyes shot open in the darkness and she gasped. In the dim flicker of the dwindling fire she could see the faint outline of Banks curled up against the side of her pachyderm companion, both fast asleep. She let out a shiver as her sweat-soaked body met the chill of the morning air. Was it even morning? Millie reached over and prodded the fire with a branch, stirring up the coals and gave another shiver.
From the end of the shuttle, Millie hear a soft rustle of branches. She looked up to see Knn hovering in the gap, concern on his brow. He pointed to Millie, scowled, and exaggeratedly closed his eyes. He opened them again, expectantly.
The counselor gave a soft sigh, shaking her head. Not wanting to wake Banks, she quietly stepped into her boots and tiptoed her way out. The moon was still high in the sky, and she had only slept a few hours. As her eyes adjusted to the moonlight, she saw Knn silently watching her. "What?" she asked softly.
Knn pointed back to the shuttle, and once again overexaggerated shutting his eyes. His branches rustled, and he gestured into the shuttle again.
Millie shook her head. "No. I'm awake now." She put her hands beside her cheeks, and pantomimed opening eyes with her fingers.
Knn scowled. He picked up his spear, pointing to the moon above them.
"Yes, I know it's still night." Millie gave a shiver. "But I'm awake." She once again signed the opening eyes.
Knn saw the shiver. He gave a huff of frustration. He tugged on the hem of his cloak, and then made a hand gesture to Millie, as if asking where hers was.
Millie gave a soft chuckle and shook her head. "I don't have a cloak."
Knn rustled his branches indignantly. A disapproving shelter, primitive weapons, little water and food--and now, no warm clothing. He leaned his spear against the side of the shuttle, and started to unclasp his cloak.
Banks awoke and instantly felt the weight of the trunk laying across her. "Hey hey hey, don't get fresh." She moved it off her and looked around not seeing Millie or the talking trees. Did she really just have that thought? When they got out of here she'd have such weird things to tell Chance.
Her mood sombered. If they got out of here. Something that was looking increasingly unlikely and her mind replayed their goodbye, the look on his face. She wiped her eyes quickly, letting out a slow exhale. She had never been what anyone could call religious but she made a silent promise, then she heard the howls.
A thudding steps of fast running feet approached their camp with the gutteral howls of the creatures who had tracked them. Their blood red eyes, accustomed to the dark, saw Millie and Knn and they split, one to each side to flank and one coming straight ahead with a razor sharp knife in its hand.
Knn heard the noise, and his branches rattled a warning. Before Millie could turn, she was thrown face-first into the dirt. A burning pain filled her left shoulder. With the wind knocked out of her, she had no time to cry out. Knn, rushing forward, ripped the creature off her back and flung it off into the forest.
The creature which had flanked to the right leapt onto Knn's back, stabbing down with its knife as the one who had moved to the left entered the shuttle and grabbed Banks by her arm, quickly dragging her out into the cool air.
Banks' mind was reeling as she adjusted to the attack and she launched a left hand at a bad angle, missing her target. The creature jumped atop her biting down into her shoulder. She screamed in pain, trying to fight off the attacker.
"Trish!" Millie's scream exited more as a wheeze. She couldn't get air into her lungs, and her attempt to push herself up failed as her left arm gave way, sending her back into the dirt.
Tsshk dropped from his sleeping spot atop the shuttle, wrenching the creature from Knn's back. Holding it by the leg, Tsshk swung the creature, bashing it once, twice against the side of the shuttle, until it dangled lifeless in his hand.
In the midst of her fighting Banks felt the hilt of a weapon. Pulling it from its sheath she stabbed her attacker deep in its gut. The metal mouthed creature let go of her shoulder and looked up in time to see the giant foot of her new friend swinging forward. One kick from 'hey you' kicked the attackers head clean off its body, which fell onto Banks, twitching as the blood flowed out onto her. Banks shoved the corpse off and to the side, looking up at her..friend. "Thanks." A mix between a low rumble and an snort was her answer. She dropped her head back to the ground as the pain in her shoulder and her leg which she'd forgotten about in her adrenaline came rushing back.
Knn grabbed his spear, placing himself in front of the group. The branches along the crest of his head stood up, rustling in anger and agitation. Tsshk, likewise, was bristled. He gave a soft pat to the younger's shoulder as he turned to survey the group.
Millie gave a gasp of pain as she pushed herself up on one elbow. The hilt of a blade stuck out of the back of her shoulder, and a rivulet of dampness glistened in the moonlight. "Trish.."
"This is the worst vacation I've ever had." As much as she was hurting she started laughing.
Millie managed to get herself into a seated position. She felt nauseous and cold, and leaned wearily against the log she had been sitting on before.
Tsshk gave a signal to the pachyderm to help Banks, and he ran into the shuttle, soon returning with two flaming branches which he set in the small clearing to start a small fire to see by. He knelt by Millie, who seemed to be staring blankly over at the laughing Banks. As he touched the hilt of the blade, the pain seemed to bring Millie back to the present, and she let out a soft whimper.
'Hey you' gently picked Banks up and lumbered her over to the others. When it sat her down she looked over at Millie. In the light of the fire Banks looked like she'd been in a blood bath. "How you feeling?"
Millie looked a little pale. "I think I've felt better. Knife wounds hurt a lot more with the safety settings off..." She reached over and took Banks's hand. "So," she gave a gasp as Tsshk touched the blade again, "how do we get this thing out without killing me?"
"Right now its better to keep it in because its holding back the blood. We probably need to cauterize it when we do pull it out which is gonna hurt like a bitch." Banks looked at her own shoulder, poking it as if testing it out. "I think I'm not doing real good."
Millie gave a weary wave at Tsshk. "Her," she said, pointing at Banks. "Take care of her first."
Banks rolled her head towards Millie. "I'm sorry I put you in this spot." Her words were solemn and firm.
The elder looked between Millie and Banks, a scowl on his face. He stood, pulling several large leaves from the trees above them. He went about digging into his pack, pulling out what appeared to be a water skin. His branchy fingers dug deep into the dirt, piling it into a leaf. He worked water into the dirt until it resembled a thick mud.
Millie's other hand, damp with blood, reached across to pat the hand she was already holding. "My job is to keep you safe, da?"
Tsshk waved Millie off, stepping in close to Banks with a handful of mud. With practiced hands, he packed the wound, stemming the bleeding. He wrapped one of the large leaves around the shoulder and bound it in place with a vine.
The mud felt cold but the pain ebbed away. "Thank you."
Tsshk seemed to give a small smile. He then turned to Millie, obvious concern on his face.
Millie gave a tired sigh. "That bad, hmm?" She complied as Tsshk motioned for her to turn. Blood soaked her torn tank top and ran down her back.
The look that Tsshk gave to Banks was one of deep concern.
"You're gonna be fine, it's just a scratch." Banks drug and scooted herself closer to millie. "Here, lean over on me so Woody can do his stuff."
Tsshk leaned over and handed Millie a stick. She gave a nod, placing it in her teeth and holding tightly to Banks' hand. Knn approached, placing his hands on Millie to hold her still as Tsshk pulled his own knife and held it onto the fire.
As Knn pulled the blade from her back, her body shuddered and she gave a whimper. Then, as the hot blade was pressed into her wound, she let out an unworldly scream--and the forest itself began to tremble. Millie's body went limp as she passed out from the pain.
In tbe distance Millie's scream hit the ears of the remaining attacker as he huddled in the brush. His forked tongue ficked over its metal teeth. The prey was still alive. The hunt continued.
Lieutenant JG Aemilia "Millie" Stepanova
Chief Counselor, USS Mercutio
Chief Intelligence Officer, USS Mercutio