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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 - 24. Chapter 24

Bouncer was beside me in an instant, his whole body tense. He whined, sniffing the air. Garjah held my wrist with his upper arm and swept me into his lower pair, once again cradling me in his arms against his hard chest. It was hard, but my exosuit protected me. My helmet jarred against his shoulder as he ran, but I couldn’t look away from the writhing shape in my palm.

Not even when I twisted my head, frantically smacking my helmet until it released, and vomited to one side.

The indominable cerops stayed beside us, refusing to leave me though Garjah ran fast and silent through the sand. I didn’t know Four Arms could move that fast. Or maybe the world was spinning around me and I’d lost it.

Something was crawling under my skin, and the color of my hand was changing from pale to dusky gray.

“Is that normal?” Garjah said, panting as he topped a dune.

“N-no,” I stammered. Try as I might, my hand was no longer my own. Something slid across the pads below my fingers and they jerked in response. “I’m gonna be sick again.”

He tilted me but didn’t stop running as the ship came into sight. He must have somehow sent a signal ahead because Timok and another man waited. I was just glad they didn’t think Bouncer had attacked and weren’t shooting at him.

I tried to give Timok a rundown of what happened, but the Four Arms ignored me as Garjah hustled me through the corridors to his lab. Gajah carefully placed me on the table, fumbling to remove my suit.

“He’s going to need to be put out, completely.”

“What? No! Just take them out!”

“I don’t know if it will work. It didn’t before. You’ll have to leave. Something about your presence keeps him from going into full stasis.” Timok was readying a device I didn’t like the look of.

“Seedrah!” Garjah bellowed. The door slid open to reveal his sweating protégé.

“Stop. Just stop.” No one was listening to me. I tried to sit up and swing my legs over the side of the table.

“Hold him,” Timok ordered. “Garjah, go.”

“No! Don’t leave me here, Garjah, you bastard!” Seedrah grabbed my shoulders, pulling me back down on the bed. Timok avoided my flailing arm and injected me. The lab faded away as Garjah’s form disappeared behind the closing door as he abandoned me.

 

The feeling of my hand clenching into a fist was the first thing I noticed when I woke, along with a burning tingle in the limb. I sighed in relief, staring up at the ceiling of the lab. I was still there. Glancing over, I noticed Timok in a chair. He looked haggard, both sets of his hands clasped together, and he met my gaze soberly.

“Sorry I was panicked when Garjah brought me in earlier. I couldn’t feel my hand or move it, and that freaked me out. Where is Garjah? I need to apologize.”

“Garjah should not have let you touch a plant infested with sindranth.” Timok sighed. “He is very upset.”

“It’s not his fault. How was he supposed to know they’d eat through my suit?”

Timok pursed his lips. “Your suit is inferior. He knew this. Sindranth prefer to live in living tissue but have mouths that can bore through almost anything because sometimes they must use other means in the desert.”

“Accidents happen. I’m okay. You got them out, right? That’s why I can move my hand.”

Timok leaned forward. “Essell, you have not looked at your hand once since you woke.” He shook his head. “I am sorry, but once sindranth invade living tissue, it is impossible to remove them. They shed cells that replicate themselves in ways we have not discovered a way to stop. Each colony continually reproduces until all the living tissue is eaten away inside their home, then they release through holes in the host to be picked up by a new host or blow in their shell form across the sands and rocks until they find something living to latch onto.”

“But—”

“The only thing I could do to save your life was remove your hand,” he said gently.

My breath came short, and the nausea I’d felt returned. “W-what? No!” I shook my head violently, swallowing repeatedly to keep the bile down. “No. You didn’t. I can feel it. It’s there.”

“Essell, look down.”

I closed my eyes. “No,” I said desperately. “This can’t be happening.”

“We will help you, Essell. You will be okay. You were limited with just two hands, but humans seem to manage. We—”

“I cannot do my work with one hand!” This couldn’t be real. The metal of my exosuit was state of the art. It was tested on innumerable planets. I jumped off the table, still refusing to look down. I was only wearing a pair of brief shorts like I’d seen some Four Arms wear, and my feet were bare. The metal was cold, but not as cold as the chill running down my spine.

Barreling out of the lab, I ran with no plan but my feet took me to the one place I had managed to learn how to find.

Bouncer’s cage.

He stood as I came into the hold, whining when I fumbled the latch with my non-dominant hand. I cursed, my vision wavering, until it finally opened. Then I feel to my knees beside him and cried. My shoulders shook, and I hooked my arm around his neck to hold on to him as he pressed his head against my chest. He rumbled a soothing purr and stood with me against the sorrow and shock consuming me.

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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Many species can grow lost appendages. Perhaps Timok can help Essell grow a new hand. Ever really think about those extra arms? Bouncer is still a star.😀

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2 hours ago, Theo Wahls said:

Many species can grow lost appendages. Perhaps Timok can help Essell grow a new hand. Ever really think about those extra arms? Bouncer is still a star.😀

I did think about regeneration. Species tend to develop according to their needs in their environment. What was Timok about to say when Essell rushed out? I know he has something in mind to fix this tragedy. The aliens already view humans as handicapped because they only have two arms.

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As we are still in the dark about these extra-terrestials, they could be clones or at least an intense caste culture or ghola culture. Six legged beings are often caste (ants) or spiders in the octopod form. Adrian Tchaikovsky's Children of Time views intelligence in a alien environment. Clarke's Rama has very intelligent octopods. 

They seem paranoid in their reticence to name themselves or their planet system. Cia keeps the chapters comingvery regular ao time will tell.    

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1 hour ago, Theo Wahls said:

As we are still in the dark about these extra-terrestials, they could be clones or at least an intense caste culture or ghola culture. Six legged beings are often caste (ants) or spiders in the octopod form. Adrian Tchaikovsky's Children of Time views intelligence in a alien environment. Clarke's Rama has very intelligent octopods. 

They seem paranoid in their reticence to name themselves or their planet system. Cia keeps the chapters comingvery regular ao time will tell.    

Well played sir, an interesting set of paradoxes to ponder!!!!

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I've heard Ivermectin works in mysterious ways - on some humans at least....might just be the thing FourArms haven't discovered yet! LoL

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I can understand Garjah's feelings of guilt, although it was an accident.  Essell's panic attack may be for nothing.  After all, he could feel his hand and was not aware any problem with it until Timok informed him it had been amputated.  I do wish he would look at his hand like Timok keep telling him to do.

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