Kita'thalla Ch. 02byBowoodstock©
Seated at the entrance of the cave he'd found, he gazed up at the sky. He had taken most of his armor off, now only wearing his fatigue pants, insulated undershirt, and combat boots. Nighttime made the battle above even more visible. From here, the raging battle looked almost like a fireworks display. A few very distinctive blue-white flashes had caught his eye. Warp distortions. That meant that either side was receiving reinforcements. The battle for this planetary system was getting a lot larger than he'd thought it would. He turned back to the crackling fire, and the still unconscious alien lying across from him. Once her leg was set, he had managed to get her back to the cave with the assistance of the hover stretcher and the exoskeleton in his armor. He sat back, leaning on his pack where he'd laid it along with the heavier parts of his armor. With her completely unconscious like this, he was better able to appreciate her form.
It really was interesting, the perfect merging of feline and humanoid traits in one body. Her ears, while in the same location they would be on a human, were elongated and pointed back with small tufts of hair at the tips, similar to those on the ears of a lynx. Her face itself was also reminiscent of that of a cat, as her nose was smaller than that of a typical human, and her upper lip, which while not completely split, did have a crease right down the middle. Also, as he'd found out the hard way, instead of nails at the tip of each finger and toe there were retractable claws. He also noticed that based on her foot structure, she probably walked mostly on the balls of her feet. As for her human traits...his eyes were drawn to the chest piece she wore. Only two of those as opposed to the six in earth cats, but where there was a lacking in quantity, there was an abundance of quality. They were just the right size, not so large that they were awkward, but by no means flat-chested either. A perfect handful.
At that point, he mentally slapped himself as he realized what he was doing. Checking out an alien who just hours ago had tried to kill him! What was wrong with him? Granted, on the starships of the Earth fleet there wasn't much room for romantic relationships in the middle of a war, and it had been a while since he'd gotten any action, but to be looking at a hostile alien like that was just stupid, no matter how attractive she might be. He shook his head and looked at the standard issue timepiece on his wrist. It had been several hours, and the sedative was probably going to be wearing off soon. Wary of a repeat performance of earlier, he pulled one of the pistols from the holster that was lying next to his pack and put it within easy reach. While he abhorred taking life, he wasn't too keen on losing his own.
Sure enough, a few minutes later she had started to stir from her forced sleep. He watched the yellow eyes open, unfocused at first as the sedative wore off. She pushed herself into a sitting position with one arm, looking around at the cave in a confused manner. Her expression registered something clicking together in her mind as she noticed her bound leg, and finally turning to see him across the fire, her eyes narrowed as recognition dawned on her. Aside from the obvious hatred, he was unable to read the glare she was giving him. Keeping his expression as blank as he could manage, he reached for the water canteen next to his pack, took a swig, and then after recapping it, slid it across the cave floor to her. Her eyes followed it, and then resumed the glare she'd held before. He shrugged and turned toward the entrance of the cave, looking up at the raging battle. A slight smirk curled at the side of his mouth as he heard her remove the canteen lid before drinking what was left. After a few more moments of silence, she finally spoke.
"Why?" she asked. He turned back to her.
"Why what?" he replied.
"Why did you not shoot. Why are you helping me?"
He thought for a moment, and then pointed to the red cross insignia on his armor lying next to the pack. "This symbol here means that I'm a medic. My job is to preserve life, not take it."
Her eyes narrowed and a slight growl rumbled in her throat. "But I am the enemy! I attacked you, and I would have killed you if not for stupid luck on your side! And you had no problem with shooting me earlier!"
He shrugged. "I treat wounded soldiers, regardless of which flag they fly. You might be my enemy, but you are also my patient now. When we enter medical school, one of the first things we learn is the Hippocratic oath. A summary of it would be 'Do no harm, through action or inaction.' And as I said before, my job is to preserve life. That includes my own. I am permitted to defend myself if I have no choice otherwise."
"And how do you know that I won't just kill you the first chance I get?"
"I don't. But I follow the oath that I have sworn, which means that I may find myself in dangerous situations such as this one. That comes with the job. However, I would make an educated guess that since you're currently not in much condition to survive on your own, you're currently dependent on me for your survival, and that means that for a while, you're going to have a fairly good incentive to keep me alive."
He ducked as the canteen flew over his head with enough force to be dented as it bounced off the cave wall behind him. "There is no way I am dependent on a weakling who is too soft to kill an enemy before him when he has the chance!" she screamed at him. "If you value your life you'd better sleep with one eye open while I'm still alive!" She noticed him turn away from her to his medic kit. "Don't ignore me! If you think..." she trailed off as she saw him turn back holding a syringe filled with something.
He held it up in the air. "You've already experienced this before. You know what it does. In your current condition, I can move a lot faster than you can, and while you might be able to get one shot in at me, this'll be in you before you can do anything more. Now, it's highly recommended to us medics that we don't issue back to back doses of it. It's really intended to be used in emergency battlefield conditions to stabilize a wounded soldier quickly until more adequate care can be given. It's very powerful stuff, and has some side effects that get even worse if used too much. Don't make me use it again. Now, as a medical expert, I'm going to recommend that you get some rest. Stressing yourself out is only going to make your recovery harder."
The look on her face was pure venom as she took in what he was saying. For a moment it looked like she was about to try something. But then she let out a scream of frustration before rolling to face away from him, her tail twitching in agitation. With her turned away like that, he allowed himself a small smile. That had gone better than he'd hoped. Returning the syringe to his medic kit, he finally laid back and stared at the fire until he fell asleep.
She opened her eyes, suddenly very wide awake. Based on the light entering the cave, she guessed it was well past morning. Turning over, she saw the human, still asleep. Now was her chance! The idiot was completely unguarded, and she could be rid of him. She eyed the pistol belt at his waist, but then decided there was too much of a chance that he'd wake up. Besides, it had been too long since she'd tasted the blood of an enemy. She moved into a low crouch, taking a step forward...and then gave a yelp as her bad leg refused to bear the weight, unbalancing her and causing her to fall flat on her face. She scrambled back to her original position, very glad that he hadn't been awake to see that one. What was wrong with her? While she knew she was injured, she shouldn't have completely lost all sense of balance. She then noticed that despite the fact that she had broken the leg only yesterday, she barely felt any pain, and the broken leg wasn't responding as it should. Actually, as a whole she felt uncoordinated, like something was messing with her sense of balance and muscle control. Wait, what was that he had said last night...side effects? She cursed. Not only was she halfway crippled, she could barely move without keeling over.
She glared over at him. She still couldn't believe the events of yesterday. At first, being the only survivor of the crashed transport had seemed like the greatest thing ever to happen. Serves them all right, she thought. And then she ran into him. Originally she had thought he was a soldier, but after seeing the way he ran, she had quickly ruled that out. Still, he was the enemy, and for all she knew there were others that he might warn. And being captured by humans was the last thing she wanted to happen. She stopped mid-thought, and then realized that was exactly what had happened. She growled to herself. Not only had she gone and crippled herself, but she had been captured by a human too cowardly to fight and too spineless to finish her off. Insult to injury in the most literal way possible. If only he had had the guts to pull the trigger back there...she stopped.
If he had...the thought was saddening. After going through everything back on Ketra, finally getting accepted into the military, and then being the only survivor of a crash, it would have all meant absolutely nothing. At first it seemed that death would have been better than capture, but now...she realized she was grateful to be alive. Grateful to a human. Glad that he hadn't pulled the trigger. She recalled that moment when she was looking down the wrong end of the pistol, and realized even then a part of her didn't want to go just yet. Also...for a captured prisoner, she was being treated very well. Even after everything, when she'd tried to kill him twice, he still insisted on helping her. For all that she had done to him, he was treating her just like any other patient. In fact...
She nearly jumped out of her skin at the voice. She turned and saw him with an amused smirk on his face. She glared at him, annoyed that she'd let him startle her. "You finally decided to wake up.".
He shrugged and said in an amused tone "Well, do recall, you had a lot more sleep yesterday than I did."
She gritted her teeth, resisting the urge to lose her temper. "Don't remind me. So, how long are you planning on keeping me here? I'm sure your sarge or whatever you call them is wondering why you're out playing doctor with enemy soldiers.
He shrugged again while setting up another fire on the embers of the one from the previous night. "Oh, he probably isn't wondering anything right now. He's dead."
She blinked. "What?"
He turned from his work. "What, I never mentioned it? The transport that landed me on this planet is currently in about the same condition as the one you came down in. And I," he pointed to himself. "am the only one left who has a pulse."
She stared at him blankly for a moment. "So...that means..."
"We are currently the only sentient life on this planet," He said with a slight hint of chagrin. "unless there's some hidden ancient civilization that we don't know about. Yeah, that just about sums it up." He leaned back from the small fire which was now flickering into life, reaching for more kindling wood and adding it to the growing flame. Satisfied that it wasn't going to go out on him, he then turned back to his medical kit, rummaging around for something. She felt her stomach drop as he pulled out a very familiar looking syringe along with a few other medical supplies. He turned to her, holding up the syringe. "I need to examine your leg. Do I have to use this? Or are you going to cooperate?"
She looked at the syringe and then rolled her eyes in exasperation. "As if I have a choice" she said, lying back on the cave floor. "Just get it over with."
Out of the corner of her eye, she watched as he donned the gloves from his armor along with the headset, and allowed herself a small smirk. Without the rest of his armor on, the somewhat bulky headset and gloves looked ridiculous. He reached out with both hands and set them on her injured leg. Behind the eyepieces of his helmet, she could see his eyes alternately looking at the display and glancing down at her leg. After a few more moments she grew a little impatient. What was taking him so long?
"Are you nearly done?" she asked.
"Almost" he said. "It's healing very well actually. You'd almost be able to walk on it in a week or two, although that'd be with assistance." He looked at her. "Do all of your kind have such a fast healing rate?"
She sighed. "You could say that." So her splicing had finally kicked in, she thought. That meant that she'd be up and about soon enough...but there was a cost.
"Alright, I'm done" he said, removing the headpiece. "Not much else that can be done except for some pain killers if it starts bothering you."
She looked at him sharply. "Don't even think about coming near me with one of those needles. I'd rather deal with the pain."
He shook his head. "It wouldn't be one of those injections. Just pills. Anyways, as I told you before, I'd prefer not to give back to back doses of the knockout needle."
She glared at him. "I'll pass."
He shrugged. "Suit yourself." After putting away his supplies, he searched around the cave floor until he found the water canteen that had been thrown at him the previous night. While dented, it was still watertight. He stood up and looked at her. "I'll be right back. I found a small river last night that seems to be running clean. No need for us to die dehydration." Standing up, he took a moment to adjust the holster belt with his pistols around his waist before leaving the cave, leaving her alone.
She laid there for a moment, contemplating what he'd said earlier. So they were the only ones left. And figuring what he'd said, even with her splicing she'd be out of comission for a few days. As much as she hated to admit it, he had a point. In her current state, she had almost no hope of surviving on her own. He was her only means of getting food or water, and she had no idea what kind of hostile life might be on this planet. And there was also her leg. While she figgured her own body was going to be able to repair itself well enough, injuries like this had a way of going from bad to worse if something unexpected happened.. Well...it could be worse. At first she'd feared he might be part of an armed group who would capture her. This seemed less likely now, so that wasn't a worry for the time being. All she had to do was put up with him until she could survive on her own, and then find a way of getting rid of him. In a straight up fight, she'd kill him in seconds once she'd recovered, but if he managed to pull a gun on her or one of those blasted needles, she'd be in trouble.
She worked to prop herself up into a sitting position against the cave wall, grimacing as sore spots became evident on her back. She realized that as she was lying down for so long, parts of her damaged armor had been digging into her back. Looking down at where he'd cut her body sleeve away to bind her leg, and then seeing where armor plates were missing in other places, she rolled her eyes. To hell with it. She began to remove the sections of armor she wore, undoing the clips and straps that held it in place. Not like it was doing her much good now. And in all honesty, the body glove was starting to feel a little uncomfortable as well. It had been what, almost 2 days since she'd put it on? She shuddered. And it had been even longer since she'd last had a chance to bathe. Well, better to air things out now rather than let them get worse, she decided, reaching for the seam at her waist.
As he filled the canteen, Eric ran his thumb over the indent on the side of the canteen. It was a good thing he'd ducked last night, or the dent might have been in his skull rather than the canteen. While he had the advantage in the state she currently was, he decided he'd still try not to get her angry. There would be no telling what she'd do if she lost her temper and somehow gained the upper hand. He took a momment to clean off his face, and caught a glimpse of his reflection in the water. Grey eyes stared back at him. His regulation short brown hair hadn't started to get out of hand yet, though he had a feeling that wasn't going to last long. He also saw new stubble, the beginnings of a new beard. He'd probably look like a wild man by the time anyone picked him up. He grinned at that thought as he stood and headed back. A wild man with a wild beast as his patient. His patient would take quite a bit of explaining to his superiors. He actually wasn't even sure what would happen, or if that day would come. For now, the best course of action was to deal with it day by day, and keep his guard up. If he was lucky, he might be able to find a way where he and the alien wouldn't wind up killing each other.
He turned into the cave and was about to say something to her, when he noticed something that made him almost drop the canteen. She was wearing considerably less than when he'd left. The remains of her armor lay in a pile next to where she was sitting by the cave wall, alongside the discarded jumpsuit. Aside from the foot wraps, she was only wearing something which approximated a black sports bra and very tight shorts. He dimly registered the fact that the short downy fur covering her body was a slightly lighter shade of brown on her stomach than on the rest of her body as he stared at the curves of her muscled hips and the swell of her chest. He finally managed to bring his eyes up to her face, seeing a strange look on her face.
"What?" she asked. "Is there a problem?"
"Uh, no..." he said. "No, nothing is wrong, I'm back with the water, that is, I have the um, water that I went out to get with I uh..."
In all honesty, she was doing everything she could to stop herself from bursting out laughing. Her sensitive hearing picked up the sudden change in his rate of breathing, and her acute sense of smell caught a scent which, although alien to her, was unmistakably familiar. Even without the assistance of those, she had seen when his eyes had lingered on her rear end, and the way he had lowered the canteen to shield the region right below his belt from her view. She had turned him on! At first she had been disgusted, but when she thought about it...it was funny beyond reason.
While she knew that she was at the peak of physical fitness, and took very good care of herself, it was absurd that someone could be thinking thoughts of that nature about someone who not only was a different species, but had also tried to kill them several times. Humans are so easy to toy around with, she thought. She realized that she was actually enjoying this. Teasing him with something he'd never have. What was that she'd heard in her intelligence briefings about earth culture... something about human males having a fascination with the mammary glands of females. She lifted her arms up and arched her back, stretching out her tense shoulder muscles. Out of the corner of her eye she saw him turn slightly red and gulp as the motion caused her assets to thrust forward. Ah hah. For once intelligence was right about something. She logged that one away in the back of her head. The thought of seducing a human was distasteful, but any weapon she had to get him to drop his guard would be useful when she was finally able to fight back.
"Umm..." he finally managed to stutter, His gaze now intently focused on some random spot on the cave floor off to the side. "Are you, um, hungry?" Every now and then his eyes would flick back towards her as his will to look away faltered.
She suddenly became aware of the empty pit in her stomach. She leaned back against the cave wall, trying to look indifferent. "I suppose I could use something," She said. Mentally she perked up. He had food supplies with him! That solved the one problem. Now she only had to wait till she was well enough to get water by herself.