What Does Honor Really Mean 7
"Do not even think of trying to harm her, Kelar! Take just one more step towards her, and I will kill you as a bad blood. I have been recording all of this, and not even the council of Arbitrators will be able to argue with my reason." Takaa growled.
"Stand down Kelar. If Takaa does not kill you, I will! You began this by insulting her first! She has only returned the same level of respect that you have given to her. She was not even speaking to you, but was asking me a question! If you do not stand down immediately, I will kill you anyway. She is obviously still a pup, she has no training, and she certainly does not have any weapons hidden on her body. Any of those reasons are enough to justify your immediate execution!" Kaldera snarled as she faced the irate Arbitrator that she'd turned and aimed at in a single swift move.
"It seems that your attitude has finally gotten the better of you, Kelar. You would do well to heed their warnings, and be glad that they have seen fit to give you one. I too would have stopped you from causing harm to the female. Only a bad blood would dare to provoke a pup in order to have an excuse for the killing. The only reason you are still breathing is because you do happen to be the most skilled healer aboard the ship, and the pup appears to need those skills, otherwise, I would not even have allowed you to live long enough to hear their warnings." Setg'in announced from a short distance behind Kelar.
"If you refer to her as a 'thing, animal, or creature' again, I will not hesitate to kill you, Kelar. She has had no choice or say in what she is, and after that recording, her fate will be left to the councils to decide. If you attempt to provoke her in any way, I will assume that you intend to use an insult as an excuse to kill her, and I will end your existence! As of this moment, this female is under my care, and if she is harmed for any reason, I can promise that who ever is responsible, will scream for a very long time before they finally die! Have I made myself perfectly understood?" Kaldera snarled in a hiss of rage.
"Yes…! I… not… want… you… hurt… I…!" Dtou-di'nde said in a desperate and struggling voice as she began stepping back from Kaldera.
A thick and sickeningly sweet, but strong and pungent odor assailed Kaldera's senses as she snapped her gaze over to the female nearby. The first thing she noticed was the expression of fear on that small face. What surprised her though, was the strong similarity between the scents of a Yautja's fear, an ooman's fear, and that of this female. The strength of that scent grew almost exponentially when she snapped her right hand out and caught the smaller female's wrist.
"Relax Little One; I am not going to hurt you…" Kaldera began soothingly.
"You… tell… you… kill…"
"I said that you will remain with me, and that I would kill anyone that tries to hurt you! I did not say that I would kill or even hurt you, because I will not. Now, I think Takaa was right, and that you should get some water before we leave here." Kaldera explained softly.
"That… pup… understood you!" Kelar ground out after correcting what he'd been about to say.
"Yes, she did. She explained to me, that she can understand much more than she's able to say, and if you still doubt her intelligence, then why don't you try learning a strange language by merely observing it being used. I think she has done remarkably well to have learned as much as she has." Takaa replied as he watched the small female move hesitantly towards the stream.
She did what the other named Kaldera had told her, and went towards the stream to get some water. She squatted down next to the waters edge, and filled the cup, before downing the water quickly. She was hungry, and since she couldn't have any food, she could at least have a lot of water. She was gulping down a third cup when the wind shifted and she smelled something familiar. It wasn't a scent from the rooms of the hated ones, but it was still a scent that she knew. She stood up sniffing the air heavily. She had never tracked anything down by its smell before, but that didn't stop her instincts from allowing her to follow that smell to its source.
She stepped into the stream while continuing to sniff the air like a male scenting a ready female. Then she approached the cliff on the other side of the stream, she was standing almost against the cliff, as her sniffing got stronger and faster. Suddenly she saw it, right as the creature lunged for her face with mouth open, deadly fangs bared and aimed straight at her. Her right hand flashed up and caught the creature right behind the head, just as she had done the night before. She was actually happy as she pulled the rest of the snake out of the crevice in the cliff. Once she had the snake securely in her hands, she turned to face the other who had taken her away from the hated ones.
"Snake… not… ruined… Clean… snake… Make… snake… meat…?" She asked the other hopefully.
"Pauk! That was fast! I didn't even see her hand move!" Kelar exclaimed in surprise.
Takaa began clicking in laughter. "Yes, she is fast! Faster than anyone I've ever seen, and that was how she was able to kill the face huggers."
"Is she asking what I think she is asking?" Kaldera asked Takaa slightly confused.
"She is asking if we can eat that snake since the last one she caught was ruined by sitting out all night. She wanted to finish eating that snake when we woke up, but I didn't let her. It didn't smell as if it was spoiled, but then that is the most dangerous time to eat raw meat." Takaa explained easily.
Kaldera nodded her head before turning her attention to the hybrid, who was coming back across the stream with snake in hand. "We do not have time to stay here while we eat, but I can clamp the snake's mouth, so you can clean it when we get to the ship."
"Snake… not… ruin…?" She asked in a hopeful tone.
"No. The snake will not ruin as long as it is alive. Once we get to the ship you can eat it and make a pair of trophies from the skull and skin." Kaldera said with a pleased set to her mandibles. "Now, bring the snake to me, and I will carry it in my bag for you."
The rattlesnake was buzzing angrily as the hybrid brought it over to her, and she quickly fastened a clamp around its mouth to keep it from biting. Kaldera estimated that it was about four and a half nok in length, which made it a fairly respectable catch. Placing it in her trophy sack, she replaced her battle mask and looked at the small female. "Are you ready to leave now?"
When the small hybrid nodded her head, she reached down and lifted the female in her arms. The female immediately folded her hands and laid them in her lap over the loincloth while resting her head against Kaldera's left bicep. As soon as she saw that the female was in a comfortable position in her arms, Kaldera began leaping from one small ledge to the next as she made her way up the face of the small cliff. Then, once her feet were on the somewhat level surface of the desert floor, she cloaked and took off at a run while carrying the female. She couldn't hear the other Yautja around her even though she knew they were there. Their skills in stealth and silence made sure that they would not be detected by any sound that could be heard. A fair distance off to her right, she could see Arbitrator Takaa running towards the ship as well. Although he wasn't cloaked, he was still moving fast enough that he would make for an extremely difficult target for anyone who tried to attack him.
Running through the desert hadn't been any type of problem. Although Takaa had been certain that they would have run into at least some of the oomans, but they hadn't. It was an anomalous incongruity that had the Arbitrator on edge. He knew that these particular oomans had been willing to sacrifice many of their own kind to the face huggers in order to lay a trap that would enable them to retain their possession of the female. With that in mind, he knew they wouldn't her let this go easily.
They had landed the ship among the remains of what had once been a huge plateau, but was now a series of massive rock formations and boulders in piles that were several stories high. The interior of the vessel had been built using the same folded space technology that was used in both the construction of the extendable wrist blades, and the ship's interstellar drive. If it were uncloaked, the outside of the vessel would not appear much bigger than some ooman sailboats. It was only one of the many things that made the Yautja so difficult to capture. As they approached the spot where the cloaked vessel was sitting, the cloaking field dropped for a brief moment to allow the Arbitrators to enter. As soon as they had, the cloak was restored, and the vessel was once more undetectable to the native oomans.
Upon entering the ship, Kaldera took the small female in her arms straight to the medical bay, so that she could be examined and treated. She placed the female down on the first examination table, to wait until the two healers arrived.
"I… clean… snake… now…?" She asked looking up at the other who was standing to her left.
"Not yet. First, we will see to the wound in your chest, and make sure that you have no other injuries. Then you may clean the snake. Why are you in such a hurry? The snake will still be waiting for you." Kaldera replied plainly.
"I… hungry… I… want… eat… snake…"
"That would be a good reason to be eager for the task." Kaldera replied with a small huff of amusement. "But do not worry, I will see to it that you are fed soon, and I will make sure that you get plenty to eat. Then you can clean the snake."
The female nodded her head and then looked over at the door to the medical room a second or two before it opened and several others began to file in. Setg'in was the first to enter, but he was immediately followed by Kelar, and Takaa. Almost on the heels of the first three Yautja was another Arbitrator that Kaldera knew as Rafik who was also fairly skilled as a healer, but not nearly as much so as Kelar.
Kelar almost seemed to ignore the hybrid female as he went straight to the equipment and went about the task of preparing a scanner for examination along with a large injection of healing serum. He set the scanner in place, and picked up the injector that he'd finished filling and turned to the small female who was watching him. Without a single word or any other kind of warning, the healer jabbed the injector into the female's thigh and had the entire amount inserted into the female's leg in an instant.
She would have hissed in pain when the other stuck that sharp thing in her leg, but the other had done it quickly, and then removed it. Looking down at her leg, she saw the large bulge of what had been put in it. Then she heard a strange noise and looked up to see the other who had done that falling to the floor after getting hit by Kaldera. Then, a small noise did escape her throat as her thigh began hurting from the sudden expansion of the skin and compression of the muscles caused by the injected gel. Not wanting this other to hurt her anymore, she started to move away from it.
As soon as the small hybrid began to move, Kaldera placed a hand on her shoulder. "Remain still Little One. He will not do such a thing again." She said reassuringly.
Her words had no effect as the female continued to move, and suddenly, she had her hands full while she tried to keep the female on the examination table. "You need to stay on the table Little One." She said firmly as she tried to hold the hybrid in place.
No sooner was that said then the female shook her head and struggled even harder to leave. Then Kaldera had her hands full with a small female that was apparently much stronger than she appeared. "Help me hold her!"
Suddenly, four Yautja had their hands full as each one tried to hold onto a struggling limb. It wasn't nearly as easy as they had thought it would be, and each of them was thoroughly surprised by the amount of strength possessed by the small hybrid.
She felt the hands of these others holding her on the table, and she didn't want to stay there and be hurt anymore. The incredible pain in her leg had now spread throughout her entire body, and never had she hurt like this before. The pain was coming from every part of her, both inside and out. These others had put her so that she was lying on her back, and they were still holding her. There was nothing she could do to get away from them, even though she tried as hard as she could. Always before, when the hated ones had done something to hurt her, she had been unable to move, or even ask them to stop. In desperation, she now tried to do just that.
Holding the female wasn't easy because she was struggling with every last bit of strength that could possibly be contained in such a small body. Then, the female opened her mouth and a second set of jaws that were all too familiar to the Yautja emerged. The sound that came out of that mouth though, was something that they hadn't heard. It wasn't just a sound of agony. It was a screeching, soul-rending cry of gut wrenching agony that contained every bit of pain that the female had to be feeling at that moment, but more, it was also a sound that conveyed a feeling of complete betrayal, desperation, and terror.
Even as she opened her mouth to try to ask them to stop, she felt something move in her throat. Never before had she been able to make any kind of sound while being hurt, so for the first time in her memory, she screamed in pain. She didn't know why this was happening, but then she had never known the reason for being hurt by the hated ones either. What she did know was that the other called Kaldera had told her that this would not happen. But it was happening, and the other called Kaldera was holding her so that she couldn't get away from what was making her hurt. Suddenly, the pain flared even worse and she heard the same sound that the hated ones had caused that last time. She tried to scream again, but all she could manage was a soft whimpering whine of complete agony.
The little hybrid was definitely strong. Of that there could be no doubt, but after only what seemed to be a few short moments, the female's strength began to fade, and Takaa was glad that she had such little endurance. Then, he heard it. A sound that he'd heard only once before, and he instantly cycled the visual mode of his mask to see that the female had fought so hard that she'd ruptured her ribcage again.
"Let her go before she kills herself! She's broken her ribcage back open!" Takaa yelled as he let go of the arm he'd been restraining.
Takaa saw the other Arbitrators react immediately, and as soon as they had let go, the female was rolling over to attempt an escape. No sooner was her back to him then he quickly reached around and pulled her to his chest. He had seen just how fast she could move, and he knew that she was much, much faster than he was, but he also knew that if he didn't act now, that the healing serum would fuse her ribs in a damaged position. Snatching her back up against his chest, he quickly began forcing her ribs back into place. It was an act that took perhaps half of an ooman second, but it was long enough for her to give a soft cry of protest, pain, and frustration. Then he used his right hand to lower her quickly to the floor.
She didn't know how it had happened, but suddenly, somehow, she was loose! She was free of the others who had caused her to hurt. She didn't stop to wonder how or even think about this. Instead, she bolted forward to the only place she could see that would get her as far from these others as possible.
Kaldera watched in silent anger as the small hybrid leapt up to grab the covering of the ventilation shaft on the ceiling. The female huddled tightly against it while eyeing both her and her fellow Arbitrators with more distrust than she had ever seen on any one face. Enraged by what had just happened, she turned to Kelar who was climbing angrily to his feet.
"You dare to strike me when I am doing what was required? I will kill you for that!" Kelar blurted.
"You were told what would happen if you harmed the female and you deliberately made sure to inject her with enough serum to treat five full grown Yautja! You knew that it would cause intense pain, but you didn't even bother to warn her that it would hurt!" Takaa exclaimed as he shoved his extended wrist blades against the healer's neck.
"Dtou-di'nde, listen to me. I need you to come back over here, and we will give you something to make to pain stop." Takaa said calmly as he glanced over at the hybrid who was now clinging to the vent grill on the rear ceiling.
Kaldera stepped towards the hybrid to see her shake her head in violent denial.
"Other… Kelar hurt… I… I… not… want… hurt…!"
The softly whimpered words were distorted by the intense pain that Kaldera knew the female was in. She knew that the healing formula was painful. Because of the way it worked, it could not be otherwise. Forcing the cells of any living body to grow, divide, and multiply at a rate that was sped up by a factor of hundreds, and even thousands was inherently excruciating, and when she considered that the female had also broken her ribs loose again, that only added to the pain. For someone as young as this hybrid, a pain blocking serum should have been administered first. Looking closer, she saw that the limbs of the female were beginning to tremble as if under strain. Suddenly, the hybrid lost her hold and fell.
Kaldera instantly surged forward and caught the small female as gently as she could. The hybrid landed in her arms with a soft cry of dismay, and Kaldera quickly spoke to try to reassure the female.
"Easy Little One. A fall like that will only cause more pain and make you hurt longer." She said softly as she noticed Rafik now by her side with an injector of pain blocking gel in hand.
"This is Rafik; he is going to give you an injection that will make you stop hurting. I want you to let him do it, understand?" She asked in a soft trill just before she began to purr in an effort to calm the small hybrid.
The female nodded her head, but Kaldera could see that the answer was made with a very strong reluctance. She then noticed the incredibly strong scent of fear emanating from the female. It was so intense that even though filtered to a high extent by her mask, it was still overpowering enough to cause some amount of anger in her. She did her best to ignore that anger, because with the amount of serum in the female's body causing her pain, this female had reason to be afraid.
She nodded once to signal the healer to begin the injection, and she was pleased to note that Rafik performed the task slowly enough that nothing occurred to increase either the fear, or the pain that the little female was experiencing. Within mere moments, the female began to breathe easier, and the muscles her body became less tense as the pain decreased rapidly.
She heard the words from the other called Kaldera, but she didn't know how this other could make the hurting stop. She had known for a long time that she would keep hurting for a very long time after the hated ones did something to her. Now the other called Kelar had done something to make her hurt far more than the hated ones had ever done, and she didn't know how the hurting could stop.
She watched closely as the one Kaldera called Rafik did the same thing that the other Kelar had done, except this time, it didn't hurt when the other started putting the stuff in her leg. Then, slowly at first, the hurting began to stop. When it did, she looked at her leg, and then her chest in disbelief. She could see where the hated ones had hurt her, but it wasn't hurting anymore. Her innate curiosity was aroused and she tentatively poked at her chest with one of her claws. She felt the pressure, and the touch, but she didn't feel the hurt even when her claw punctured the skin of her chest.
"Stop that! You cannot feel any pain right now, but you can still be injured!" Kaldera snapped quickly as she looked down at the female in her arms, before she froze at the expression of complete confusion on the face of the female.
She looked at her chest, and her thigh, before she looked at what the hated ones had done a few sleeps before she had first seen the other Takaa. She didn't understand how this had happened. First, the other Kelar had stuck her leg and made her hurt like she never had before, but then the other Kaldera had told her to let the other Rafik stick her other leg the same way, but now she didn't hurt anywhere. For as long as she could remember, she had always felt hurt from what the hated ones had done to her, but now the hurt was gone.
"Kaldera I… not… hurt…?"
"No, Little One, I will not hurt you, nor will I allow others to hurt you. And we will not allow you to be in pain for no reason." Kaldera answered firmly as she turned with the female still in her arms, only to be confronted by the sight of Takaa still holding his wrist blades against Kelar's throat.
Kaldera said nothing as she placed the female back down on the med table. She calmly checked to ensure that the female would be comfortable for a moment before she turned to face the healer.
"There will be no more warnings Kelar. If you do anything, and I do mean anything else that causes this pup to experience any more pain, then you will die! Is that understood? There will be no more explanations or warnings. That female has suffered enough at the hands of those pauk-de oomans! She will not be subjected to the same treatment from us!" Takaa snarled before retracting his wrist blades and turning away.
"You will examine her now, and I warn you. I will be watching, closely!" Kaldera growled softly at the healer as she rubbed the female's back in a soothing manner.