Expedition to Sol2487-3 Pt.3
Still shocked from the total annihilation of our ship and half of our crew, whereas another one was grievously wounded and at death’s door, we retreatet into the field again.
That pitchblack winged avatar of doom wasn’t alone anymore. Hordes of them circled in the sky and stalked through the shredded pieces of our ship, scavenging the mortal remains of our crew, of our comrades, of our friends.
And there was nothing we could do about it. Even with full force, our weapons would barely harm even one of those sick bastards, let alone drive the whole flock away. So all we could do was accept, retreat and reconsider our situation - or going nuts, like Üprrkl, a Pjörecian scientist under command of Dr. Proaxl.
“We’re done for! We all gonna die! Abandon all hope, for there is no chance we’re gonna make it! Our ship - gone! Our supplies - gone! Our respiratory systems - at 35%! Our…”
It was my first mate Xato Nexgrra, who attended to him. Calmly he put his weapon away, crawled over to the shivering, babbling formerly rational man. He sat down before him, showed an understanding glimpse. And hit him full throttle with all fifteen of his whip like limbs right in his face.
“SHUT! THE HELL! UP!”
The scientist, completly taken by surprise, obeyed speechless while rubbing his left face knob.
Dr. Proaxl made a harrumphing noise - how exactly, without a throat, has kept me riddling ever since. I apologised to her.
“I’m afraid one of the ship operating squad under my command laid a hand - or fifteen - on one of your squad members. It shall not repeat.”
“Oh, you shouldn’t apologise. I wanted to thank you, Xato Nexgrra, for I would have slapped him myself if I had arms. It’s no help giving in to despair. We have to focus on surviving, and first in securing treatment for Loxxar Kraes. We were able to stop the bleeding for now, but he indeed won’t make it if we can’t prevent an inflammation of the wound and stop his pain. It’s at dangerous levels right now.”
“J-just leave me behind” coughed the wounded soldier, and it seemed to drain all virtue out of him.
“NO WAY!!!” I had to hold back an emotional shivering, for it was not my words alone, but nine out of ten of us said it in chorus, even the lower ranks went all out and ignored military discipline to decline his demand. Alone Üprrkl didn’t say anything and I didn’t care whether it wasn’t his opinion or he just had accepted to shut the hell up.
Loxxar Kraes barked stertorously and closed his eyes, but his mime told me he felt proud and gratefull of his men and the rest of us.
“Allright, we can’t stay here, we have to move to find shelter, maybe supplies or even medicine. The road is out of the question, those flying spawns of hell would tear us apart. That round fluffy thing from before was at least peaceful when we didn’t try to touch it’s food. So through the woods, it is. Praxx, Rae’krotar, you both carry Loxxar Kraes. Dr. Proaxl and her squad around you, and Xato Nexgrra at the back, Lsrl Krck and Koarl cover the sides, I’ll take the lead. I’d say we follow the course of the road, maybe we find the sentinent life form and can request their help. Weapons alltime at the ready! Let’s go!”
Our formation ranged carefully through the terrain. After some distance, Dr Proaxl closed op to me.
“Loxxar Kraes is a fine soldier. Not many could endure this level of pain that long. But we have to hurry.”
I didn’t answer, just grumbled for myself.
The doc’s nebulous body touched my arm and immediately her voice rang inside of my mind: “Do you believe it would be wise to force contact to this world’s inhabitants?”
Under normal circumstances, this violation of my personal space would be considered grievely rude both in military and social ways, and if this would be any other day, Dr. Proaxl would be the last person in the whole universe who would nonchalantly cross that line. But this was not normal, this was not every other day, and we were not a IFPS ship’s crew anymore, we were cast aways, brothers and sisters who shared a gruesome fate.
And I realised immediatly, she only asked me in mind so the others couldn’t hear it and fuel up their doubts and latent despair.
“Have we any other choice?” I thought.
I didn’t get an answer.
Time was against us, in more than one way. We all knew that Üprrkl had hit the nail on the head. And any stand - the IFPS’ standardized unit of time - brought us nearer to the end - of whatever it might be. We swapped our positions, so everyone had once to carry our wounded companion, but it did’t help the fact all of us grew hungry and tired and slowed down.
“Let’s rest. It’s no use if anyone of us broke down. 20 stands to regain some stamina.”
“Wouldn’t it be nice to have something to eat?” asked Koarl.
“I ain’t gonna touch those grains!” yelled Rae’krotar.
We had seen some shadows of what might be those fluffy round beasts or any other lifeform of this planet. But since those shadows didn’t bother to come closer to us, we had no mentionable encounter since the disaster with our ship. And we intended to keep it that way, so we took some detours to avoid getting too near to any scattered grains crossing our path.
It was Üprrkl. Xato Nexgrra’s slapping had shut him up for quite the time, but eventually he started to murmur his “we gonna die, we gonna starve, we gona suffocate” again and no one had the virtue to slap him again - at least hard enough so it would have any effect. So we decided to ignore him.
“Just what the heck is your probl… oh.”
“Seems like we gonna be the food.”
Behind our backs, two glowing yellow eyes glanced through the long shadows of the streaks. As I could recall, they were even bigger than that winged black bastard’s ones, and both of them starred at us simultaniously, frontal. The black pupils were narrow slits, and in the cornea we could see our own reflections.
“Those eyes are aligned to create two overlapping fields of view, capable of exact depth perception. It’s a predator!” proclaimed Üprrkl. What an unnecessary piece of information. As if those fangs and claws wouldn’t be self-explanatory. The body of the creature, probaply even bigger than the black flying monsters, huddled up, not in a defending way, but to prepare for a jumping attack. Even if you could only assume the whole size - most of it was covered by the shadows - one could tell the attack was imminent.
Suddenly, the earth shattered.
“KI…KI…KI..HE…KI…KI…KI…” It was a deafening noise, followed by an earthquake. And another one. And another.
“Those are steps!” screamed Üprrkl. Oh I began to hate his constantly uttering of the obvious.
The monster ceased preparing his attack and looked up to the sky. Up to it’s full size and coming one step into the light, it was so frickin’ huge it could have swallod one of us at whole. But there was something even more frickin’ Xaleates damn huge bursting through the tops of the cultivated grass: A giant! A frickin’ gigantic giant! With a head taller than a mountain and limbs longer than our former ship’s supply tunnels, with five appendices at their ends, forming grotesk claws like parts of construction site vehicles.
“AH…THE…U…R…IT… TI… TO… GO… HO…”
The gigantic limb reached for the “smaller” monster’s neck and pulled it upwards. The “little” monsters hung like a sack, obviously devote to its unavoidable fate.
The giant lifted the monster to its breast and hold it firm, then it threw its glance onto us. Parallel eyes! A predator like nothing comparable in the universe!
“OH… IT… U…! I… SA… UR… SHI… CRA… AN… TRY… TO… HE… U… BUT… U… WE… GO…” growled the giant. We were to frightened to move just a single limb, let allone run away. Only Dr. Proaxl - who hadn’t limbs - could move. And she went straight up to the giant, levitating right to his head.
“No! Doctor!” I screamed, but she ignored me.
The giant stared at her with wide opened eyes, studiing its prey to the fullest.
Dr. Proaxl had now reached its head, passed the enormous jaw with teeth big like daggers, meant to crush anything between it. Then she went straight for a single prominent knob in the middle of the giant’s face - and touched it.
The pupils of the giant widened vastly as Dr. Proaxl entered its mind.
“Oh, what pleasant surprise!” her voice chimed down to us. “It’s this world’s sentinent inhabitant. It’s willing to help us. And it’s a pup.”