Curiosity Kills Part 11
Mission: To The Rescue
Millie's eyes fluttered open, voices waking her from unconsciousness. "Trish?" she whispered hoarsely.
Banks stood between Millie and some of the females of the village. Her knife which she had brought with her when they finally left the shuttle pointed at the crowd. "What part of stay back am I not being clear on?" She looked down at Millie. "Oh, hi."
Millie's eyes came into focus, and she propped up on an elbow, wincing in pain. "What--what are you doing?"
"As soon as we got here these things tried to strip you."
Millie went to reach out with her other arm, but couldn't move it. She looked down to see that her arm was caked in blood and bound to her body with vines snaking around her torso. Laughing, she let herself drop back onto the bed. "For the love of God, Trish...put the knife down."
Banks looked between her and the beings but slowly lowered it before kneeling next to her. "How do you feel?"
Millie let her eyes sink closed for a moment. "Like you and Edruj both went tag-team on my body."
A rumble from the doorway drew Millie's attention, and an older female pushed her way into the room. She looked at Millie and gave a huff, setting down her large wooden basin with a purposeful thud. Her branches rustled, and the younger females scattered to work, filling the basin with warm water from a pump in the corner, laying out leaves and roots on the table, and starting a fire in the hearth.
Millie put her unbound hand on Banks' arm. "It's okay. I think her name is Taan, if I'm remembering right. The elder that brought us here--that's his mate. She nursed me back to health before."
Taan approached, her arms folded across her chest. As she approached Banks, she stopped, wrinkling her nose in disgust. Her branches rustled, and another elderly female entered the residence.
The elderly female squinted at Banks, her own branches rustling, and she shuffled forward with tiny steps. Back hunched, she leaned over Banks, squinting with a scrutinizing eye. The female's branches gave another rustle, her leaves a deep golden orange. She reached out a hand, her finger-branches gnarled and twisted, and she gestured with her other hand to the basin at the center of the room.
"Either they want us to wash up or they're going to cook us."
"You haven't bathed in two weeks, Trish." Millie gave a soft chuckle. "You're a little ripe."
It was hard to argue that. "Fine, but if they start chopping vegetables I'm out of here."
Millie gave a soft smile. "If they chop vegetables, you will be grateful that we aren't eating snake again."
Taan waved Banks out of the way and off to the bathtub, and she approached Millie, her brow furrowed as she carefully removed the bindings on the wounded shoulder. She looked over her shoulder and gave a soft rumble.
Knn stepped into the room, bearing another basin. With a nod to Taan, the two of them helped Millie up and out of her clothes. Millie gave a soft whimper as they eased her into the second bath basin.
After stripping down Banks was up to her neck in the water and it felt like the best thing in the world. "We have to come up with a plan. When you were exploring did you find anything?"
"Nothing. But I'm not sure I got very far down the debris path. I was almost delerious by nightfall." Millie let out a gasp of pain as Knn pulled the leaf off her wound, taking portions of the charred skin with it. She grasped the basin with her free hand and pressed her eyes shut as a tear streaked down her dirty cheek.
Banks was quiet for a long time. "Do you think we're stuck here?"
Millie didn't answer immediately, but it wasn't clear if she was thinking, or trying to put on a brave face through the obvious pain as her wound was carefully cleaned. "Without an emergency beacon, and unless we could repair the communications system--" Her breath caught as warm water ran over her wound. "Even if we could get either working...who would find us first? Starfleet? Or whatever sent those creatures after us?"
"If I can get the coms working I can send a message through a subspace channel those things can't access."
Millie was quiet once again. She closed her eyes in the silence. As she did so, both Knn and Taan pulled their hands back at the same time, as if Millie's skin had become warm to the touch. Both of their faces seemed to fall, as if Millie's mood was contagious.
"Trish--" she began, softly. "I think we should start to prepare ourselves for the fact that we're probably going to be here for a while."
"I've been preparing for that since we woke up in the crash. I also know whose fault it is."
Millie gave a soft sigh, opening her eyes. "Don't blame yourself, Trish. I'm the one that insisted on landing the shuttle, on getting a close look. You had a hunch, and you were right. And now you have the proof. If I hadn't insisted on landing at the school, we would have been out of harm's way and already home."
Banks looked up at one of the towering hosts who was gesturing her out of the water. She shook her head and it gestured again. She raised one hand out of the water and when the being returned the gesture with a single branch pointed her way she looked at Millie. "How rude."
Millie managed a laugh, though it was tangled in a grimace. "Be careful. This is a first contact situation, remember? Don't go changing the culture too much."
Two of their hosts gently helped Banks from the tub. Out of the water she felt exposed in more ways than one but then she was offered a blanket which was wrapped around her torso and led to a bed. Laying down slowly they began to attend to her shoulder bite and her leg. She winced as they prodded but she could tell it wasn't malicious. After what felt like an eternity she was shown some local garb which wasn't the most fashionable but would serve better than her bloodstained and tattered clothes. "Okay, I'd be lying if I said that wasn't nice."
Millie had also been helped out of the tub, and was dressed in a woven skirt--though her torso was bare. The basins had been moved from the room, and a long table removed from the wall. Carefully, as if unsure whether to touch her, Knn lifted Millie up onto the table. He gestured to her shoulder, handed her a small bowl of liquid. He gestured for her to drink it, then made the same "sleep" sign he'd made at the shuttle when she'd awakened from her nightmare.
Millie sighed. "Trish... can you promise me something?
"To turn them into splinters if they hurt you?"
Her smile was genuine, but laced with pain. "Well, I was going to ask you to refrain from stabbing anyone until I woke up."
Banks gave a mock sigh. "Fine, fine, I'll behave."
Millie downed the drink, and was carefully eased onto the table onto her stomach. As the females began to bustle around the table, Knn gave Millie's head a gentle pat--as one would a small child. He stepped aside, pulling up a stool and setting it near Banks' bed.
Knn gave Banks a look-over. You, he pointed to Banks. Sleep, he motioned his fingers closing his eyes. He tapped his chest, indicating himself, then he motioned from his own eyes to Millie on the table--I will watch her. He took his right fist and tapped it to his own chest, twice.
Banks eased herself down but crossed her arms. "If anything happens to her it'll be your ass, if you have one."
Knn didn't understand the words that came out of the angry creature's mouth, but from the tone of it's voice, he understood the meaning. Something that sounded like a chuckle rumbled through his chest, and a smirk played on his lips. He, likewise, folded his arms, settling into the stool.
Lieutenant JG Aemilia "Millie" Stepanova
Chief Counselor, USS Mercutio
Chief Intelligence Officer, USS Mercutio