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    Cia
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Ancalagon - 25. Chapter 25

“I’m glad humans are predictable,” Timok said.

“That’s enough.” Garjah crouched beside Bouncer’s exercise cage in the hold, one set of hands flat on the floor, the other on the door. We were hiding in one of the tubes they’d set up. It was dark, and small, and I could hide from reality. Bouncer lay across my legs. “Can I come in, Essell?”

I buried my face against Bouncer’s neck. “I want to stay here.” He was purring against me, nuzzling my cheek.

“You can stay there. I just want to come in.”

“Go away.” They all needed to leave me alone. Bouncer tensed and whined.

“Please let me come in,” Garjah said quietly. “We can help you, Essell. I know you’re upset, and scared, and Timok was not sensitive to your situation. I’m sorry I let you get hurt, but I promise we can make it better.”

“Make it better?” I scrambled onto my knees, crawling awkwardly out of the tunnel with one hand on the floor and my arm braced on Bouncer who stayed at my side. Rage and tears thickened my voice unrecognizably. “How can this ever be better? Can you bring back my hand?”

“No. Nothing can bring it back. I have allowed you to be harmed while under my care, and I cannot begin to make amends for my failure if you stay here. Timok can help you, if you let him.”

My breath shuddered in my chest as I took in one deep breath after another. Finally, I nodded once. “You can come in.” I sat on the edge of the tube. My hands were fists… or my hand was. I suppressed the cry of rage, denial, and pain.

“Why can I feel my hand if it’s not there?”

Garjah slowly undid the gate and entered, but Timok stood beside the empty space.

“Nerves conduct signals to your brain, but your brain doesn’t have the input that your hand is missing. The mind is a powerful tool, one that can do many things—even convince you body parts that are gone are still there. But we can use that,” Timok answered.

“How?” I asked bitterly. The calm science of his reply, just one professional to another, galled me when his simple words should have been a comfort in their logic.

Logic didn’t take away the fear and disgust from the one glance I caught of the empty space where my arm just… ended.

Bending down to my level again, Garjah met my gaze. “Timok can help you regenerate. Then you will have your hand back.”

I shook my head. “Humans don’t regrow limbs. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

“Biomechanics, and a stimulus of your immune system with a special infusion of cells will provide the necessary impetus to regrow your hand. It will take time and it will not be comfortable. It will not be exactly the same, but you can recover from this, Essell.”

“I know I have broken your trust, but I beg that you allow me a chance to gain it back. I will never fail you again.”

The pained earnestness in his voice, in his face as he focused on me, and his words connected through the shock smothering me. “Again? What do you mean?”

He placed a hand on my knee, and Bouncer growled. “Hush, beast.” He quelled Bouncer with a look and firm command, and I was surprised it worked when Bouncer stopped growling. He did lean heavier against me. “The only thing you need to worry about right now is coming back to the lab. Can you do that?”

I tried so hard to think it through, but all I could focus on was having two hands again. I’d be normal again. “Yes.”

“Can you walk?”

Heat suffused my face, and I knew it had turned red with my humiliation. “I don’t know. I don’t remember how I got down here, but I guess I walked. Right now my knees feel like they are noodles.” Not the firm, raw kind either. Nope, they were like overcooked, rubbery, sticks to the plate and doesn’t move an inch no matter what you do hot mess types of noodles.

“I will carry you, if you allow it. I remember, you don’t like it.”

“This time it’s okay.” I hadn’t lost it enough to say he could do it anytime. Garjah had always been solicitous, caring about my wellbeing, but since he’d neared Bouncer’s exercise cage he hadn’t taken his focus from me once; either his gaze or his touch was on me always.

Nothing could stop me from hiding my arm. I didn’t want to see it and I didn’t want anyone else to see it either. The way back to the lab, I hid as a huddled mess in Garjah’s arms. He supported me with the lower set and used the upper to rub my shoulder and the back of my neck. His hands were gentle but worked out the knots set in my everything.

“Set him on the table and I will get started,” Timok said.

“No.” Garjah stood beside the doorway.

Timok stopped abruptly and turned. “No? What do you mean no? You brought him here so I can help him, didn’t you?”

“I brought him here so I could escort you to your lab to grab supplies. You will help him in a more comfortable location since this will take time.”

Timok pursed his thin lips. “Comfortable?”

“And private.”

“So his quarters it is.” Timok started to turn away.

No!” The new command was given fast and furious. I startled and stared up at Garjah’s face. He was scowling. “You are not listening. He will come to my quarters. He will need help. I will help him.”

“Shall I tell Seedrah he’s on duty for the next quarter of rotations?” Timok asked. “That’s how long this will take.”

“Whatever it will take, I will do,” Garjah announced.

Copyright © 2020 Cia; All Rights Reserved.
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Wow, we could see that Garjah was getting attached but the injury has pushed him into overdrive.  He's acting like a mate. 

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Garjah's concern for Essell is beyond comforting. There is a connection between the two developing. There do not seem to be any females on this alien ship. Strange! If they bring forth young are they on the home planet and in a creche? Do they produce broods in axolotl tanks? Is there a queen like ants or bees? Are they in a hive?  So much is not known. But I trust Bouncer's judgement. He is such a good puppy. 

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13 minutes ago, Theo Wahls said:

There do not seem to be any females on this alien ship

It's a good point. Of course, back in the sailing days and even later, naval ships didn't have females either. From their conversations, they know the male/female concept, but it doesn't mean their race follows the same norm. There are creatures like earthworms who are both sexes.

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Well now...this should be interesting to say the least...

I shook my head. “Humans don’t regrow limbs. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

“Biomechanics, and a stimulus of your immune system with a special infusion of cells will provide the necessary impetus to regrow your hand. It will take time and it will not be comfortable. It will not be exactly the same, but you can recover from this, Essell.”

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1 hour ago, drsawzall said:

Well now...this should be interesting to say the least...

I shook my head. “Humans don’t regrow limbs. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

“Biomechanics, and a stimulus of your immune system with a special infusion of cells will provide the necessary impetus to regrow your hand. It will take time and it will not be comfortable. It will not be exactly the same, but you can recover from this, Essell.”

The elaborate process had never been tried on a human, but with the donor cells, the stimuli, and the biomechanic process unleashed, I would soon know whether I would become whole again. Soon I writhed with pain, it felt as if my entire body was ripped and stretched and sown together again, to only have another wave of the same agonizing pain tear at me again.

Garjah was so gracious to be a donor as I believe he felt totally responsible for my unfortunate interaction with the invasive species. His species is compatible with human geno and has excellent regeneration capabilities. As I regained consciousness I wondered why I felt so terribly exhausted and whether I would survive this process. I was lead to believe this would be a slow process and I would be uncomfortable, but not lost from my thoughts.

Timok was approaching my side as Garjah was demanding to know how this had happened, how it could be. Timok appeared excited, as much as the alien had ever expressed joy? Confused by this mix of Garjah’s concern and Timok’s excitement, I tried raising my arm to see the progress but found myself unable. Garjah cautioned me to take it easy as you’ve been unconscious for days as the process had been too painful for a conscious human. He demanded Timok unstrap me.

Once again I tried to raise my arms as I wanted to see the progress and to compare the hands...wait, four of them! Four was my hallucination before rejoining my unconscious dreams again.

Never underestimate what @cia may discover of alien life!

Edited by Philippe
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Boggy Bouncer has Garjah imprinted on Essell! Or connected them some how...all three, sitting in a tree...  😛

Edited by IBEX
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I'm not sure how to make comments on this chapter, because I don't know where it ends.  There is the normal end, but then Philippe seems to add a bit more to the story.  Other than the confusion this is a good chapter.  Glad they can fix George's hand.  (And the added arms don't hurt the story either.  Did the procedure change the anything else, like George's ability to adapt to heavy gravity situations?

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