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    Cia
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Ancalagon - 20. Chapter 20

Seedrah once again came at a trot, bringing my exosuit. We made our way slowly to the hold, and I tried to memorize the symbols on the walls for the journey. It might not be in aid of escape, but I needed to study these aliens. Their culture was very similar to most bipedal races, their interactions and basic mannerisms mostly within the norms.

They had fairly standard emotions and expressed them in ways I could understand. Their culture was gregarious, and they worked as a community. They clearly showed disfavor toward outsiders—or at least humans and the races we knew, since none of them had told us about Four Arms—but they weren’t xenophobic to the extreme. I wasn’t imprisoned, experimented on, or killed.

Go me.

But they weren’t just going to let me go. I had to hope that there was something I could do that would lead me to an answer that would resolve my precarious situation. If only I could get used to their gravity… the weight of it was exhausting, and just eating a meal and walking to the hold had already exhausted me.

Hopefully my suit would protect my body some. At the hold, I removed my foot coverings and placed the disk with my exosuit against my chest. Depressing the command sequence, it expanded, first wrapping up and around my shoulders and ribs before it began to slide the plated shielding around my exposed limbs.

Garjah didn’t look happy as he let me into the new cage where they’d moved Bouncer. It was bigger, so I could stand in it, which I appreciated for him. They weren’t going to keep him in the tiny one that was barely bigger than his body. Timok stood with a fairly standard injector, which he passed over before Seedrah secured the barred door behind me.

“Press it to the shoulder, close to the cerop’s spine.”

Bouncer’s feet flexed as I crouched next to him.

“Did you see that?” Seedrah asked. “He moved! He shouldn’t be able to do that.”

“I told you,” Timok said. Their voices faded into the background as I focused on Bouncer. His color had faded, and I didn’t like it. I rubbed the pebbled skin of his chest, unable to feel it through my gloves but the rise and fall of his ribs was reassuring.

“You’ll be okay.” I studied the injector, which was really just a tube with a hole on one side with a button, putting it to Bouncer’s shoulder and pressing the button. There was a hiss and soft thud I could feel through my glove. Idiot-proof. Or human-proof. Maybe the same thing to them until I proved otherwise, though Garjah did call me wily. I still felt a strange sense of pride in that.

Almost immediately Bouncer’s breathing increased. I dropped the injector out of the cage, then looked around. No food, no water. Saint’s balls, I was an idiot. They’d had him in stasis, but I knew how voracious he was.

I turned to face the bars. “I need food. A lot of it. Meat, preferably alive if possible. He likes grubs.”

“Cerops will eat anything moving,” Garjah said.

“Would you stop being so biased and get me what I asked for?” I snapped.

Pressure snapped around my foot, and I was pulled backward. I landed with an oomph, then fell onto my belly. I rolled, and Bouncer pounced as he’d done so many times in the short time we’d been together I’d actually lost count.

“Essell!” Garjah bellowed.

“I’m fine.” My voice was breathless, more from the shock than anything else. Bouncer was awake, crouched over me, and nuzzling my belly. I’d postulated it was a move young did to induce milk production in the parent, or a scent-marking on a vulnerable portion of anatomy only a packmate would allow.

The whine of a weapon broke up our reunion. Bouncer’s head came up, and he fixed all his eyes on Garjah, snarling with his sharp teeth on threatening display. “You’re not fine.”

“He wants to hurt you, not me. He doesn’t even have his claws out. Wasn’t that what you were worried about?”

Garjah’s hand didn’t move an inch, and Bouncer wasn’t moving either. I couldn’t get up, just crane my head awkwardly to look sideways out the bars. Thankfully, Seedrah came trotting up with a bin.

“Oh good, food.” Bouncer’s nose twitched, and his gaze moved from Garjah to Seedrah. That, if nothing else, proved how young he was. An adult would not waver from the biggest threat in the space, even if starving. But Bouncer’s stomach ruled him, which made me safe. Ish. Safeish.

I still kept my suit and gloves on, after all. Seedrah slid the container through the bars, and I stretched one arm up and snagged it with my fingertips. As soon as I had food in my hands, Bouncer backed off, yipping. He assumed the position, front legs trembling as he laser focused on the food. He was probably starving after being in stasis for so long.

Sliding the lid off, I smiled at the grubs whose mandibles were gone but they were still alive. Perfect. Picking up one of the ugly purple grubs, I didn’t need to worry about my fingers. I avoided the pink slime from the wounded head, tossing it in the air to Bouncer. He lived up to his name, hopping into the air and catching it neatly.

He crunched down, snapping his jaws shut and chewing rapidly. When he sat again, pink oozed from his lips. He wiggled on his forelegs, glittering eyes focused on me, big ears up, ready for another toss. I didn’t make him wait, sending another juicy bug his way. This time I made him leap to the left. Then the right. He didn’t miss a single bug. The final one I let him take from my hand. He licked his lips, then butted my stomach.

“Yeah, you’re welcome, buddy.”

Copyright © 2020 Cia; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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So glad the Four-Arms’ leaders let Esssell wake up Bouncer and start to show how he’s not what they thought. Our 21-year-old chihuahua died two months ago, and although we’re not ready for a new pet yet, I’ll be looking for a Bouncer when we are. 😉 

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A tweny-one year old chihuahua! That age of a small dog is remarkable, to loose a pet after such a long companionship must be very depressing.
Essell is learning Bouncer's needs and reactions rapidly, tht demonstrates his empathy very well.

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Bouncer is back in his usual, for Bouncer, playful form.  Garjah is still leery of him, but watching Essell and Bouncer play may mitigate his overly protective nature.  It does seem that Garjah is gradually allowing Essell to have the equipment he was using.  

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