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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 - 8. Chapter 8

“Bouncy?” I tossed him another tidbit from the bag, flicking it with the fork so he could jump and catch the bite. It’d become a game for him, but I was trying to see how high he could jump. Those powerful hindquarters definitely gave him some spring. “Springy?”

He caught the next bite that I really hadn’t expected him to. “Wonderful!” I praised him, clapping. He skittered back, not liking the sound. “Aww,” I said. “Did I scare you?”

That brought back another memory. I’d had many different staff to take care of me. My parents liked to hire academics too, and once I’d had a Truquell nurse who’d been an Earth history major. She’d read me children’s fiction that featured animals, since I had such a fascination. A baby pig and a bear, best friends? Illogical.

But there was a character… and friendly, striped feline that bounced. A lot. “What was his name?” It’d been a long time ago. I dug around in the bag, scooping up the last of the meaty mush. “Last bite, buddy.” No, that was what the bear called the other one. Little buddy. Or maybe that was the two bears basket story.

“It’ll come to me.” I carefully stowed the food garbage. No sense attracting any other animals. I’d already made the mistake of influencing this one. He could help me learn more about the animals of Ardra, but he’d no longer be typical of his species. Adapting to me would change his behavior.

Well, his physiology would still be reliable data. I took a quick measurement with my pad of the tree I’d used to record his jumps so I could mark the height later. Now it was time to get moving. Chirps followed me as I moved around my makeshift camp.

“Sorry, buddy, but that’s all for now. You’ll have to find something on the go.” Great. Big chest, long legs… bottomless pit.

He might be younger than I’d estimated or just half-starved because he was a poor bug hunter. Maybe his mother had kicked him out early or he’d lost his family. No one to teach him. I couldn’t be a… I kept a wary gaze on him as I clicked my pack into place. “Er…” It definitely had an er. Well, a whatever he was. He’d either leave me and go find some of his own kind in the wild, leave and survive, leave and die, or stick around with me and get domesticated—to a degree.

Wild animals were always a little wild, and I respected that. Especially since he had the claws and teeth to back up his cranky desires. Without my suit, he could’ve taken chunks out of me and decided I’d be just as good as a meal instead of providing it.

 

An hour into our trek, and I’d learned he was definitely a predator. He made less noise than I did, unless he was trying to get my attention. For all his color, he could lose himself in the underbrush and stalk soundlessly.

The first time he popped out and made me shout, I’d startled a whole flock of something that buzzed away to my right just over head high. They were small, furry, with buzzing wings that moved rapidly. The flock moved so tightly packed I couldn’t tell what an individual looked like, and the leap and grab “Jumper?” made lead to a crunch, gulp, and pleased but bloody head wiggle as he looked at me like I could do it again.

But he didn’t respond to the name. I sighed. There was so much to see. Ardra had extreme climates, but I knew there would be less to find in the arid cliffs and sands elsewhere, so I wanted to focus my study here for the most part. Would I be able to study anything with a voracious carnivore on my heels?

“Well, I didn’t even see the blue buzzers until you scared me, so I guess we’re even.” They’d hidden inside some hanging flowers with deep spathes of vivid orange curled into cones that held blue spadix that were very similar in color and shape. “Hmm, camouflage or were they harvesting?” I made sure my pad was recording as I used the camera attached to my helmet to catch my observations.

Anything I’d missed, I could go back and review the footage for. Even better, the camera was top of the line, so it recorded in different wavelengths. The mic I wore also scanned different frequencies. I tried to rely on my senses to guide me, but I didn’t limit myself, not when technology could gift me with so much more information.

Sometimes I could sense the life teeming around me as I walked. I caught glimpses, like the legless slitherer, and my new bouncer, and even a screaming pair of green and brown speckled creature that had an ovoid body with a pointed bottom and three legs coming out of different angles to grip the tree branches with long, jointed toes.

They talked like an old married couple, one bickering until the other screeched above the first, setting that one back off until it was a cycle of annoyance I’d witnessed twice with growing amusement. Or maybe they were old aunties screaming at each other of the antics of some youth.

Antics of youth. That thought sobered me. Sure, I could continue to focus on… “Leaper?” No, not quite right either. I could continue to focus on him, but the truth was everything that had happened since I landed had proved to be more difficult than I expected.

Or I wasn’t as up to the challenge. I thinned my lips, clenching my jaw.

No. I refused to allow that to creep into my thinking. I’d make discoveries. I’d prove myself. I could do this. Stars only new what I’d do with my new friend when I returned to a ship, but I’d think of something.

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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i'm enjoying the story and the descriptions of this world - essell, not so much.

he's unprepared for basic survival - feeding a native his limited food, ugh.

the tech enables getting back to the ship. the planet - or more likely essell himself - are a different discussion. the powered suit may auto return to the ship should the person become unconscious (or even dead). after the rough arrival, should he return to the ship before mummy and daddy send someone for him, space worthiness is a concern.   

cia likely wont allow essell's cavalier approach to this planet kill him, at least in the near future, though i'm looking forward to more close calls

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Darn, Valkyrie beat me to it.  Like Tigger, Chirp will probably save Essell soon.  I do like the light mood of these first few days exploring. Essell seems a bit cavalier in his approach to exploring the planet. I am sure he will need to return to the ship sometime. 

I may have missed something, but a drugged and drunk navigator was the only person to know where he was heading when Essell appropriated the skimmer. Without a navigator, ship's computer and communications, how will he get back.  The Captain and ship are off in another direction. If Essell is to be believed, The Captain may not even make an attempt to locate Essell when he has the chance. Oh well, I guess we're stuck here for a while with Essell.  Might as well get back to the exploration.  At least it is a lot of fun! :gikkle:

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