The artificial lighting of the classroom illuminated the carcas flayed across the table in a comfortingly sterile light. Second Sister Proxima Alpha Reached her hand gingerly into the stomach cavity and felt around for the sensor that the scans had insisted were inside the unfortunate herbivore. When Fifth Biologist had come in shouting about having solved the mystery of the disappearing sensors she had not known what to expect, but it was not a befuddled and belligerent sextoped with a rope around it’s neck and internal fluids frothing out of its mouth and nostrils. First Ranger had come in and his face had instantly flushed with that odd, dead grief that most humans reacted to terminally injured animals with. He had quietly left to fetch his projectile weapon and had returned to “put the animal down” as the humans called it. Now Second sister Proxima Alpha was attempting to fell a sensor with paper fine filaments through the protective layer of the biological contamination gloves.
“Will Fifth Biologist return soon to aid us?” Second Sister Proxima Beta asked from the other side of the massive beast where she was retrieving another sensor from another stomach cavity, apparently the local fauna dealt with the high content of indigestible fibers in the local flora population by hosting colonies of bacteria in multiple stomachs, a survival strategy Second Sister Proxima Alpha would have been far more interested in if she wasn’t swathed in a biological contamination suit.
“He plans to return as soon as he finishes the parasite decontamination process,” Second Sister Proxima Alpha replied. “He was fairly splattered with the hemorrhagic fluids that this creature had spread in it’s struggle. I believe that the animal even managed to deliver a rather sever blow directly to Fifth Biologist’s face and smear the fluids over all of his primary sensory input points.”
Second Sister Proxima Beta gave a rasp of polite horror which morphed into a click of satisfaction, followed immediately by a wet squelch and the muffled ting of a sensor fin striking a sample tray.
“How did this beast find a way to ingest this many of the sensors?” Second Sister Proxmia Beta wondered aloud. “Most of them should have been above the reach of its neck.”
“The bugger stomped down the sensory tree, that’s how,” came the distorted voice of Fifth Biologist as the doors opened to admit him.
“This creature does not appear to have the mass necessary to disrupt the anchoring applied to the sensory trees,” Second Sister Proxima Alpha observed.
“You’d think” the human agreed.
She heard the human shuffle around near the caudal end of the animal and heard the bone saw begin to hum as the cold lasers powered up. She also heard another horrified rasp from Second Sister Proxmia Beta. Second Sister Proxmia Alpha carefully arranged her neck frill so her smug satisfaction wouldn’t be too obvious when she stood up and looked at Fifth Biologist. For all that they ranked the same this other Second Sister was more than a bit presumptuous. It would be nice to put her in her place when it came to dealing with minor human injuries. The relative inexperience of the other meant that she often over reacted to minor skin injuries. Second Sister Proxmia Alpha wondered idly if it was the bruising from the blow or irritation from the sterilization process that was horrifying the other Second Sister. She came around the carcass and froze. She felt a surge of guilt for having judged the other Second Sister so quickly even as her own antenna curled in horror.
“Don’t attempt verbal communication,” she quickly warned the other Second Sister. “It will be quite the waste.”
“What?” Fifth Biologist asked as Second Sister Proxima Alpha strode towards the nearest counter and picked up a tray with a particularly reflective surface.
She turned and held it up for the human so that he could see his face in the reflection. She was quietly relieved when the human recoiled in fear and disgust.
“Blood-” he gasped out.
“Blood,” Second Sister Proxima Alpha confirmed. “Quite the quantity of it in fact.”
“That six-legged snoot-cow must have whacked my nose harder than I thought when I roped it,” Fifth Ranger said with a laugh. “Then the sterilization chamber must have dried out my own snoot. Dang,” the human glared ruefully at the blood running down his lips and chin and at the drying brown smears spread over the top half of his face, “that looks bad doesn’t it?”
Second Sister Proxima Alpha didn’t reply as she was busily typing away on her datapad. The human noted this even as he picked up a sanitizing wipe to aid in staunching the dribble of active blood flow.
“You’re not snitching are you?” the human demanded as he began to edge towards the door. “I’m going, I’m going!”
“Then, no matter if I am snitching on you you will be in the medical ward long before security gets here,” Second Sister Proxima Alpha said, flaring her frill as sternly as she could under her protective coveralls.
“I’m getting,” the human muttered one more time as he took his blood-smeared face out of the dissection lab.
Second Sister Proxima Beta was frozen in shock as she watched the human leave and Second Sister Proxima Alpha felt her antenna droops in frustration, from the way that the other Second Sister’s frill was rapidly growing pale under her protective coveralls they were not going to get any more productive work done today.
“Come Second Sister Proxima Beta,” she finally said. “Let us clean up and find some nectar pods.”
The other took the suggestion gratefully and they stepped gingerly around the bright red drops that had splattered across the floor.
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Hey! The books are moving well on Amazon and now have 56 reviews and ratings! If you bought the book and enjoyed it, it would really help me out if you leave a quick star rating on Amazon. A review would be great but just stars would be a huge boost *****!
QUICK NOTE: RE: everyone who asked. The book is avaliable in Amazon regions US-UK-DE-FR-ES-IT-NL-JP-BR-CA-MX-AU-IN. HOWEVER The above link only takes you to the US Amazon site. The one indicated by the .com ending. If it says "not avaliable in your country" that just means that you need to click over to your Amazon region.
Of course if you want a signed first edition you can email me at the email on my website and I can ship you a signed Author copy of the first edition for the same price as the crowdfunding campaign $35 domestic and $50 overseas. I'll do that until I run out of extra books.