Shadow and Ghost
Chapter 3: To Keep Alive
Set’rath gently laid Bhu’ja down next to the dead berserker as he confiscated the deceased’s med-kit. Using his claws to rip through her pant leg to expose the claw wounds, her pale green blood flowed freely to the ground. She is a hybrid…Cetanu please let this med-kit work on her. Set’rath surprised himself praying to the Black Warrior on her behalf, but what else could he do, she was dying and if the medical supplies in the med-kit did not work, they would kill her. So, she’ll be dead anyway if you don’t try. He scolded himself.
Putting his personal turmoil aside, he opened the med-kit. The Berserker had a strange set up and some of the supplies Set’rath did not recognize. Clicking though his visor settings, he analyzed the chemical makeup of the supplies. Pulling out a thin tube of a blue gel, the chemical compound looked like the cauterizing gel already made that he carried in his kit. Pulling the top of the tube off, well here goes nothing. Set’rath thought as he quickly smeared it into Bhu’ja’s wounds.
The deep lacerations on her thigh had him concerned but as he pressed the gel into the wounds, it began to sizzle and slow the bleeding. Satisfied with the job the blue gel was doing, he continued to cover the shallow lacerations over her cheek. He then placed the tube aside and pulled a sewing needle he knew would be too big for her thinner skin, but grabbing the small spool of skin wire, threaded it anyways. Set’rath set to the task of stitching her thigh back together as quickly as he could without tearing the traumatized flesh further.
He then pulled the bio-mask off the Berserker’s body and after quickly rinsing it in the river, used it to bring back some river water. Tearing a piece of cloth from Bhu’ja’s destroyed pant leg, Set’rath washed her thigh and noticed the same making he had seen on her neck. Not tattoos…Markings! Shaking his thoughts back to her wounds, he pulled a jar out of the med-kit and unscrewed the lid. Scanning the chemical makeup, he sighed in relief, wound sealant. Dipping his fingers into the clear salve like substance, he smeared her thigh wound with it then carefully applied a thin layer to her cheek. Washing his fingers off with the water from the mask, he watched as the wound sealant hardened over the lacerations. He then grabbed two syringes from the med-kit. Now I will find out if I am your savior…or your killer.
Lifting her shirt to expose her stomach he figured now or never and stabbed the large antibiotic syringe needle into her soft flesh. He then pulled another syringe out and hesitated a moment before pulling at the neck of her jacket to expose the top of her left breast. Positioning the needle over her heart, he scanned her vitals and with her failing life signs confirming he had no choice, he took a deep breath, and stabbed her heart depressing the syringe, pumping the organ full of adrenaline.
Bhu’ja sat up in a rushed intake of breath. “Oh Fucking Hell!” The pain rushed in on her. Her scream echoed in Set’rath’s ears as he kneeled next to her, stunned and watching as she groaned and curled in on herself. He waited for the pain to overwhelm her to sleep. Once unconsciousness took hold, he turned his attention to the dead Berserker. Raiding the body for anything useful and grabbing what he could use, a hand held plasma cannon, a noose, and a net launcher. After securing his new weapons, he folded up the med-kit and secured that as well. Set’rath was about to pick Bhu’ja up, then had an idea and headed back to the body. He pulled the knife from the skull and secured it to his leg. He would give it to Bhu’ja when she awoke. She had earned the skull, but without a cleaning kit, it would drip blood and leave an easy to follow trail.
Cradling Bhu’ja in his arms Set’rath headed down the riverbed away from the body and dead hounds. The further he away he headed, the faster the river grew, a waterfall could be heard off in the distance. Cutting inland away from the falls, he picked up his pace to an easy ground-covering jog. He had seen evidence of other prey and did not want another altercation this night while Bhu’ja was so week. Set’rath rushed towards the hillside and after following a few switchbacks, he turned towards the crashed ship. Carefully adjusting Bhu’ja so he could hold her with one arm, he climbed the wall up to the tail and to safety for the night; he found himself purring as she unconsciously wrapped her arms around his neck.
Entering the ship Set’rath scanned the corridors and when his scans showed no evidence of a threat, he walked deep into the belly of the craft passing the hall he knew the room she used was located. He wanted to be deeper and harder to get too. Finding the trophy vault, he forced the door open and went inside placing Bhu’ja gently on the floor. Forcing the door closed he sat in front of it, between her and anything on the other side.
While she slept, he took the opportunity to take a closer look at her. Adjusting his visor back to its normal sight setting, he ran his eyes over her as she slept. Her wounded and naked leg held his attention now that she wasn’t bleeding to death. The markings he thought where tattoos ran a jagged striped pattern down the outside of her leg, suggesting they may frame her body judging by those visible on her neck.
Shifting his sight to look at her skeleton, he had taken a look briefly to check for broken bones when he was doctoring her but now while she slept he took a moment to indulge his curiosity. Bhu’ja looked human but as he examined her internal structure Set’rath knew without a doubt she was also part Yautja. Her bones were denser with a few structural oddities that differed from a normal human skeleton.
Letting his eyes roam to her skull, oddly he found her facial structure endearing and as he scanned over her high cheekbones. He was surprised to see that though she looked human, her skull was partially Yautja. Those high cheekbones of hers were small withdrawn mandible shaped bones connecting to two sharp canines in her mouth. That explains why her accent is easy to understand when she speaks Yautja. Set’rath thought as he moved a strand of hair away from her eyes and wondered how such a delicate creature had become hardened enough to gain the attention of the Berserkers hunting on this planet.
Set’rath gently traced one of those high cheekbones and when she flinched, he growled low under his breath as he looked at the wounds marring her face. He had wanted to kill the bastard but as he stared at the business end of a plasma canon he had also seen the recognizable blood lust for revenge in Bhu’ja’s eyes as she walked up to the Hound Keeper while he laughed. It was then Set’rath had known the Bad Blood was hers to kill.
Her words to the Berserker echoed through his head. ‘Remember my name, Cetanu’nan-de and Cetanu is calling for you.’Could she be touched by Cetanu? Hybrids where rare but not unheard of among his tribe, but those individuals directly touched by Cetanu where even rarer and a hybrid touched by Cetanu was unheard of. Eyeing Bhu’ja curiously, he wondered what her story was. He had met a few Yautja’s who had taken a Human mate and chose afterwards to not participate in annual breedings, instead they took to the stars as hunting companions only coming back to their home world for special occasions.
Set’rath stilled, his finger paused on her bruised lip. Bhu’ja stared directly at him through the dark. Pulling his hand away, he waited for her to speak, to ask who he was or where they were, but she just stared at him.
“Well Deadly Shadow, it would appear you can save lives as well.” Bhu’ja’s voice was heavily laden with pain, but as she sat up Set’rath could see she internalized it and only showed what she could not hide fast enough. Looking down at her thigh, she traced the stitches, then spoke again. “Thank you.” She then looked back at him. “Why?” Set’rath figured she would ask that and the truth was he had no answer yet. When he did not answer, she asked another question. “Am I to understand then you know what I am?”
He nodded, then paused. “You can see me.” He realized, as she was watched his every movement, Interesting.
She nodded and leaned her back against the wall looking up at the trophies mounted, waving her hand at the impressive display of skulls once the representation of an unknown hunter’s honor. “So what would I be worthy to hang next to?”
Set’rath tilted his head confused, and then broke into a clicking rumble of laughter. “Not trophy. Strong warrior, worthy. I keep you alive.”
“That’s comforting,” Bhu’ja looked at him sideways. “I think.”
He pulled the dagger from his belt and handed it towards her. “Your trophy. No time for skull.”
Seeing the knife balanced in his palm, she reached for it letting her fingers linger when they touched Set’rath’s skin. “When can we kill his brothers?”
“Soon.” His excited anticipation evident in his rapid clicks.
“Well we will need a plan of attack. The remaining two will team up to try to get the drop on us. Once they find…” She trailed off a moment and spun the knife around her hand testing the balance. “This knife’s former owner, they will be out for revenge.”
“Perhaps we can use that to our advantage.” Set’rath rumbled.
Bhu’ja eyed him and had the distinct feeling she knew what he had in mind. “I’m not going to like this am I?”