tagSci-Fi & FantasyUpon a Savage Shore Ch. 02

Upon a Savage Shore Ch. 02


Author's Note: This will probably be a novella length story. The sex is included as part of the overall story, not as its focus. If you're looking for a quick fix, I suggest looking elsewhere. If you like plot and character development with sex scenes as a bonus, this story might be to your liking.

Additionally, you could categorize this as a furry story, though I did not think of it that way when I started writing it. This is humans and aliens getting it on, not humans and animals.

Hope you enjoy the tale.

As it turned out, the pod dropped heavily into the dense forest canopy, cracking its alloy hull into tree branches which rained down to the forest floor. It came to rest in the crook of a massive tree, wedging itself tightly against the trunk. Fortunately for Carter, the hatch faced outward.

"Shit," Liam breathed as he opened his eyes, the stress of the descent draining away with the realization he was still alive and in one piece.

Liam opened the restraints of his acceleration couch and eased into a sitting position. First things first. He made sure the beacon was operating and entered his personal data transmitter code. If he were forced to completely abandon the pod any CP rescue vessel would now be able to locate him within a meter of his actual position, provided he remained on the near side of the horizon. Even if he crossed that line a rescue vessel would be able to upload his code and launch probes to locate him. In the end, as long as the pod had power to run the beacon, a rescue ship would be able to find him.

The pod was canted to one side, but with his boot clamps Liam was able to negotiate the inclined deck of the little craft easily enough. He checked his suit's readouts and was more than relieved to see that the planet's atmosphere was breathable. It had slightly more helium and nitrogen in it than Earth's, but nothing that would cause Liam discomfort or affect his lifespan.

Liam wasn't wearing the battle armor he would normally have donned when venturing forth on an unexplored planet. He had been assisting with damage control aboard ship at the time of the battle and such heavy armor would have been impractical. His shipboard armor was tough enough to prevent most projectile and energy weapons from killing him, but it lacked the performance enhancing gear of the heavier armor. Nevertheless, Liam did not remove it.

He opened the pod's hatch and took a tentative look out at the forest. It was like something out of an old Earth Robin Hood movie. Large trees towered into the air with layers and layers of canopy above and thick, shade-loving foliage below. He calculated the distance from his pod to the ground was about twenty meters. He couldn't jump it, but he didn't need to. The pod was equipped with lifelines and slings. Liam would need only collect the survival gear and lower it to the ground, then follow it down. That could wait, though. His first order of business was to scout the area around the pod to be sure there were no hostiles or dangerous life forms.

The scouting mission took nearly two hours, with Liam carefully marching away from the base of the tree in a widening spiral pattern. He moved very quietly for a man in armor, his senses keen for anything alive or threatening. At the outer edge of what Liam considered a safe perimeter he came upon a large, slow moving creature with multiple eyes and a heavy, fur-covered hide. It was grazing among shrubs, obviously a plant eater. He skirted around it only to discover half a dozen man-sized animals edging towards the large beast. These creatures were wicked looking, with grey-green fur, long blade-like forelimbs and sleek bodies. Their jaws were equipped with several rows of teeth that looked as though they could cut through plate steel. Narrow, glassy eyes set in triple ranks upon their brows. These things were not creatures to be taken lightly.

Liam drew his pistol, keeping the motion slow and as quiet as possible. It was not an ideal weapon for this sort of thing, but it certainly was better than nothing. Shooting four millimeter slugs at twice the speed of sound out of a poly alloy, magnetically charged barrel, the EP 12 packed one hell of a punch at close range. The rounds fed into the barrel off a spool of wire which an internal mechanism cut to length before the mag-drive sent the slug down range. If fired at three meters the EP 12 could penetrate shoulder pauldrons and leg armor with ease. The predators crouching and slowly moving through the brush would have no chance against the weapon individually. Unfortunately, they were moving in a pack and Liam really did not want to tangle with them.

Suddenly the lead creature sniffed the air and all of them stopped in their tracks. Their body postures changed from cautious hunters to animals on their guard. The last in the pack turned quietly to face the rear, questing out with its nose. Hunters to either side of the pack also sniffed the air, scanning the undergrowth intently.

Liam didn't know if it was his scent they'd picked up or something more dangerous than the creatures themselves. He activated his suit's sensor array and examined the area with his HUD. Heat signatures bloomed all around him. Literally hundreds of creatures were within fifty meters of him and there were strong indications of more beyond that. Only the hunters and the large plant eater were big enough to worry him, though.

The leader of the pack shifted position, eyes narrowing in Liam's direction. It sniffed again. The animal's posture changed to one of uncertainty. It appeared more tentative than it had been a moment before. It clacked its jaws together several times, an action mimicked by the others in the pack. Suddenly they were all backing away from Liam's position, disappearing into the forest's shadows. He tracked their movement, increasing the gain on his sensors as they slipped further and further away.

"That was a close one," he sighed, holstering his pistol. Carefully Liam made his way back to the giant tree and his life pod. The tree itself would serve him as home for the time being. In the next few days he would locate a better place to make camp, somewhere to the east in the hills that he had observed during the pod's descent. For now, he would inventory the pod's contents and shut down any unnecessary systems in order to conserve power. The longer the beacon could remain active, the greater Liam's chance of rescue. Power drain wasn't something he was really worried about. The pod's core was likely to last for a decade, but there was no point in having equipment running if there was no need for it.

With the inventory complete and after a quick meal of navy rations, Liam felt he should not put off inspecting the downed ship any longer. He strapped on a second EP 12, checked to be sure he still had his combat knife and returned to the forest floor. A brief scan with his suit's sensors showed him there were no large animals nearby and he moved off through the dense wood quietly.

The crashed ship was several kilometers from his pod. It would take him hours to reach it and it would take hours to return to his pod. He needed to get the job done before nightfall, whenever that was. His suite was equipped with a number of sensors that would enable him to operate in pitch darkness almost as well as he could in full daylight, but when surveying a potentially hostile craft it was best to have every advantage available.

Hours later, tired and sweating in his armor, Liam found the path of destruction wrought by the ship. There was some smoke still drifting from places where fire had blackened the foliage, but no fire remained. He chose to skirt the edge of the path, following its course for more than a kilometer. Whatever the ship was, he realized it was not a fighter. There was simply too much damage and the path was far too wide.

That realization gave him pause. A jZav'Etch fighter would be crewed by a pilot and weapons operator. Odds were one or both would have been killed in the crash. Even if both survived, he felt fairly sure he could take them out before they could overmatch him. They'd be as lightly armed as he was and would have no armor.

With a larger ship there was no telling how many jZav'Etch were aboard. He knew of bombers in the enemy's inventory that carried a dozen crew to man the weapons controls and maintain the engines. And there was always the chance the ship was something he had never heard of. With even greater caution Liam moved forward. He had to know what he was up against.

The first piece of wreckage he found looked like an antenna, ten meters long and as thick as his leg. After that he began spotting bits of hull plating mixed in with the crushed trees. A weapon's breach stuck up like a blackened tooth. A sensor dome, battered and cracked, reminded him of some massive egg about to hatch. And finally he found the ship itself. Buried under fallen trunks, covered in drooping vines and wilting foliage the ship looked like nothing he had been briefed on. jZav'Etch make for certain, but other than that, he had no idea what it was. Perhaps it was a new class? Or could it be one the jZav'Etch had succeed in keeping secret? Only one way he might find out.

He moved closer, his sensors at full gain and maximum refinement. He was going to burn through his suit's reserve energy much quicker this way, but energy would do him no good if he were dead. Besides, he had the ability to recharge the capacitor simply by moving around. The kinetic energy he put out was translated through the joints of the suit to a collector and sent to the capacitor. He could also recharge the suit with a solar cell, though that would take a very long time to top it off. On his screen a large blip appeared to his right about thirty meters away. It was slightly smaller than he was, but that meant nothing. The jZav'Etch were a culture composed of diverse ethnic groups. Some were larger than humans by quite a bit while others were considerably smaller. All of them were potentially dangerous. Liam drew his pistol.

He listened intently, wishing he had taken the time to remove the collar and outer shell that sealed his helmet to his armor before setting out. He had kept it on in case a jZav'Etch sniper was lurking about. Now, though, the extra protection was hampering his ability to determine if there were more threats. He examined his HUD and found two more large blips, both bigger than the first. He chanced an active sweep and found yet another hanging back closer to the crashed ship.

The small blip was moving to his right, parallel to the path of destruction. The larger blips were coming straight at him more slowly. They were about ten meters apart and moving in concert.

"Clever," Liam breathed. "Think you'll pin me with the larger two and then the small one jumps me from behind."

Liam had to assume the jZav'Etch had technology equal to his own. So far the war had proven that there were many similarities between the enemy and the CP. Minor differences in philosophy created minor difference in technology. But the basics were shared.

Liam moved to his left, stopping a few meters from the edge of the destroyed trees. He noted that the smaller blip was still moving along the same course. The two larger ones, though, had stopped and drawn closer together. They were now about three meters apart. A flashing light on his HUD warned him an active sensor was sweeping his way. Liam, hoping to remain undetected, crashed his system. All his suit's sensors went down at once. He was left with Mark One eyeballs and Mark One ears. Now he really wished he had removed the collar.

There were three enemy soldiers hemming Liam in. He was not in a good defensive position and soon his route of escape would be cut off. He had three choices. The first was to attack. He would charge the two large jZav'Etch in front of him and hope to kill them before the small one joined the fight. If he could remove their numeric advantage he was sure he would have better than even odds of escaping with his life. The second option was to wait and hope to take them out as they closed. That would be a very risky gambit. He didn't know if they had grenades and he had no idea what other weapons they might be carrying, but surely they would have three guns to his two. And they had three shooters to his one. Staying put was a really bad idea. The last option was quickly waning. If he retreated, he needed to do it right the hell now. It was a risk to run away from them, but it was probably the best he could hope for.

Careful to keep his head down and move silently, Liam back tracked his own trail. Without sensors he couldn't know where the small jZav'Etch was. He couldn't know where the larger two were either, but he was certain they were still nearer their downed ship than he was. Liam paused frequently to listen, hampered by the collar and helmet seal. As he moved he tried to think if there was a place nearby he might be able to defend. He had noted several spots along his trail leading to the crash site that would serve well enough in a pinch, but they were all deeper into the forest. The area near the path of destruction was choked with debris and would be more than difficult to move through. He doubted he could make an effective stand there.

A snapping branch alerted him to movement from his left just in time for Liam to start to turn. He was bowled over an instant later by a hissing ball of feline rage. Claws raked at his throat only to be defeated by the armored collar he had cursed a minute before. Liam rolled with the impact, throwing an elbow into the creature. The jZav'Etch yowled as it flew into a stand of brush that resembled bamboo. Liam came up on one knee aiming his EP 12. Before he could squeeze off a shot the small jZav'Etch soldier darted aside, bounced off a tree and sprang at his face. Fast and agile as the enemy was in the air it was subject to the same physics as a similarly sized sack of potatoes. Liam grinned savagely as he threw a hard punch right in the little cat's face. The jZav'Etch dropped to the forest mold unconscious. Liam was about to put a round through its head when he heard the two larger ones storming through the brush. They were only about twenty meters away and there was no time to hang around.

Through the undergrowth Liam charged. He smashed aside small plants and leapt dead logs. He was an experienced soldier with hundreds of hours in combat. More than that, he was fresh from rest aboard the transport. He could push his limbs to obey his will for hours if need be. His armor was light and he had not encumbered himself with supplies. Long strides and his natural agility took him well into the forest and away from the hunting jZav'Etch before he finally began to slow.

With his pistol at the ready, Liam paused. He listened, turning his whole body back and forth. Back along the track from which he had just come came a noise. It was not loud but he heard it. The jZav'Etch were tracking him. He decided to chance using his sensors and powered them on. Instantly his field of vision was overlaid with the HUD. Two figures stalked through the underbrush and shadow. They moved with purpose. He knew roughly where they were in relation to his position and if he'd had artillery support he could have called down a bolt from on high to eliminate the threat, but he was alone.

Liam calmed himself, easing his heart rate down until his hands were steady. He raised his pistol and fired off four rounds in a narrow fan. The four millimeter slugs tore through leaves and twigs and in his HUD he saw one figure drop while the other dove aside. He didn't wait to find out if he'd killed either of them. Liam turned and walked quietly away, trying to orient himself on the life pod. He was sure the jZav'Etch would be more careful tracking him now. His HUD told him they were both holding still where they'd taken cover.

"Probably trying to figure out if I'm waiting for them to pop up again," he murmured to himself, and then cursed as bolts from a jZav'Etch fero-plas rifle tore through the foliage around him. It was a weapon heavy enough to tear through certain parts of his armor, even at long range. Liam increased his pace, no longer worried about how much noise he made.

More enemy rounds smashed through the brush, shattering small trees and igniting patches of foliage. Liam lengthened his strides, zigzagging desperately to throw off the shooter's aim. He dove for cover behind the massive roots of a forest giant and looked up to see something he had been hoping to find. It was a fallen tree at least as large as the one he had taken cover behind. It looked as if it had been there for years. It was overgrown with vines, various plants and young trees had actually begun to sprout from its dead wood.

Liam altered his course so that he would pass by the tree about fifty meters down slope of it. He didn't want the jZav'Etch to know where he was going to be hiding until they were well in range of his weapons. By passing the tree by he was laying his scent and a clearly broken trail for them to follow. If he were successful the enemy wouldn't know he'd ambushed them until it was all over.

Reaching the tree he briefly surveyed it. He discovered the main trunk, some ten meters in diameter, was hollowed out in such a way as to resemble a cave or rough tunnel. At the root end there was a large opening and looking up the inclined trunk he could see daylight coming through a smaller one. Liam switched on his torch and panned it around. Rotted wood and old dead vines seemed to be the only features of note. The trunk smelled richly of decay and earth, but there was no strong scent of animals. He entered and quickly climbed to the upper opening. It came out in what had been a heavy branch that had formed V with the large branch still attached to the old ruin of the trunk. The loss of the one and the weight of the other had combined to topple the tree over.

Liam edged out of the entrance, staying low behind cover. From there he commanded a view of the path he had broken in the foliage below. The height of the fallen trunk also provided him a good view of the surrounding forest floor, so even if the jZav'Etch simply paralleled his course Liam could still make their approach hell. His only serious problem was that his EP 12s had very limited effective range. He settled in and waited.

Time passed and it seemed as though the cats had not pursued him as closely as he'd feared. He debated pressing on towards the pod. He had no intention of going into it if the jZav'Etch were still following him, though. He knew from battles on other worlds that the cats could smell him and they certainly would track him. If he returned to the pod before killing the soldiers he would just be inviting trouble.

Something else was bothering Liam, though. It was the small jZav'Etch. There had been something strange about it and as he lay there, in his mind he went back over what he had seen. The uniform the creature had worn was standard issue for enemy flight crew, but it had been stripped to the waist. The jZav'Etch soldiers he'd encountered before had short, straight fur like that of a panther or maybe a house cat. The small one's fur was... fluffy? That wasn't quite right. It looked more like a winter coat than what he'd seen before. There was something else odd about that soldier, though, and that specifically was what bothered him.

"Tits?" he whispered, screwing up his mouth in a puzzled grimace. "A female?"

It seemed the correct answer, but it posed other questions. Female jZav'Etch were not entirely unknown in combat. Several had been taken prisoner by units Liam had served with, but he had never seen one that looked like the jZav'Etch that had attacked him today. They had uniformly been large jZav'Etch not much different from their male counterparts. In fact, Liam had never seen a jZav'Etch with that kind of fur.

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byRipperFish© 17 comments/ 87713 views/ 112 favorites

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