Tirahd8 was badly injured, left for dead in battle, a battle fought overhead in the skies above this tiny world by its own species in contest with the elfin inhabitants of this one. Its own people had badly underestimated the resolve and mettle of these puny beings, who had led them into a clever trap and shown themselves to be canny warriors worthy of respect. For the first time in its memory, the Broogh were being beaten back with tactical prowess the equal of their own and superior numbers, however unsubtle and crude the weaponry used.
The humans, they called themselves, used primitive thermonuclear devices, not gravity-bombs, to attack the Broogh expeditionary force, and successfully repelled it from the system. Tirahd8 could not move, not without losing more of its vital fluids than it already had, and had just enough life to call a soldier’s prayer litany to the Swarm fleet’s God-Thegn. Or so it thought.
It closed its eyes, and awaited the inevitable end as pain began to fade and its life ebbed. Wait. What was that sound?
Anjali Mehra had seen the alien warrior fall from the sky from several kilometers away, her landcrawler “borrowed” from her parents’ farm before orbital bombardment by the aliens destroyed both her home and several tens of hectares of land in her absence. She had just returned from town on errands and heard the sound of impact, thinking it maybe a crashed human-built craft with possible survivors. Part of her errand run was picking up medical supplies. It was clear they would be of no use to her parents as she
saw the crater left by the orbital strike.
She got a better look at the visitor as her ‘crawler approached, and a sort of semidetached anger arose as she saw the dinosaurine giant. The thought of revenge occurred, and subsided as she got closer, cautious to avoid the tail and six massive legs. It had broken one of its arms, and the other was leaking . . . blood of a sort? A massive cannon-like weapon, probably wielded by the arms, was some distance away, and so damaged as to be useless.
And then, a thought occurred to her as she assessed her situation. She was standing close to it, close enough to be swatted like a mosquito, and yet the warrior was doing her no harm. It just looked at her, seemingly helpless, barely able to move. She cursed herself for her madness. Her father would have been furious, and the other humans on her world would punish her for aiding an enemy. She decided to save its life rather than let it die. She had no family anymore, and it had been left for dead by its own species, so why not?
Anjali was only fifteen years of age, but had grown quite independent for her youth, and was well-trained in treating injured soldiers — of her species. But the supplies she picked up ought to do good here, too. She pulled out a limpet-like storage canister of medical femto-drones, subatomic robots that could heal tissue and restore function in all but the badly decomposed or totally destroyed. This canister was still at factory settings. It would need to calibrate itself to the patient. Tirahd8 gave out a low groan as she placed the canister’s adhesive undersurface to its form, clicked a release button, then stepped back. It first hoped the human was simply attaching an explosive, intending to put it out of its misery, just before the femto-drones began buzzing about it, their work generating bursts of Cerenkov radiation as they swarmed around it and
began reconfiguring atomic nuclei.
“Try not to move.” She told it.“I know you can understand me. Your armor’s translator is undamaged, and keyed to my world’s primary language. I know how your species works in combat engagements. The femto-drones are figuring out your biology before they fix you up. Then we can get us both to a safe place away from this. We’re now alone among our own, you and I. I can’t just let you die here. My parents are dead, damn you, but here we are.” In seconds, the femto-tech machines had set themselves, and began tissue regeneration, restoration of blood, and bone-setting in the giant. In
minutes, the broogh was fully restored to health, and stood to its full height of five stories while Anjali waited and the femto-drones began their suicide programming, breaking down into stable isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen.
Anjali stood there, looking up at Tirahd8 as it pondered what to do with her. Why? Why did she place herself in obvious danger like this? At first the warrior could not understand why something it could crush in a single step would spare its life. At first, it made no sense. Anjali stood back, waiting.
She remained still, watching the broogh towering over her, expecting a massive hoofed foot to end her existence then and there. And then she did the unthinkable. She moved closer to Tirahd8 instead of trying to run for her life.
She placed her tiny hand on one of the massive hooves as Tirahd8 kneeled and
lowered one of its arms to her, allowing her to step onto its outstretched palm as it raised her closer to chest-level. Every combat instinct told it to squash her. But Broogh honor due a brave warrior told it otherwise. Even the mighty Broogh knew of mercy, which normally amounted to killing a foe quickly and without pain, but this was a rare occasion. This human had shown it mercy by saving its life at risk to her own. Anjali pointed to a distance from their location, easily visible from this height. There were vehicles approaching. More landcrawlers, with humans in them, who would not be so merciful. Her gesture was a warning.
Tirahd8 saw a canyon some distance away, a place for the two to hide, and the broogh ran toward it in thunderous strides of massive, trunk-like legs, galloping as fast as this planet’s gravity and its own mass would allow it, human girl sitting atop its left shoulder as it easily outran the ‘crawlers. It knew it could not return to its fellows, as it was officially dead to them. The girl would be tried and punished by her fellows, and it owed her a debt of gratitude. Tirahd8 would protect the human until such time as both
It was the two of them against the universe, broogh and human together, linked in a cross-species bond of obligation, and the uncaring heavens above help anyone who stood in their way.
Troy David Loy ©2017
Troy David Loy is an eternal student, a writer, and blogger owned by two cats, Ricky and Eccles. He is co-author with Miss Sharmishtha Basu of two published books, and solo author of three books on Amazon for Kindle, with a fourth book on the way.
He lives with his family and values his friends, family, and the flourishing and the well-being of his species in dangerous times.
He seeks one overarching goal: to help make the world a better place in his own tiny, drop-in the- ocean way, one piece of fractal artwork, essay, or story at a time. He battles the Forces of Darkness™ from his secret volcano lair in Virginia as Troythulu while his eldritch tentacled servitors from beyond time and space keep the lab in good condition.
He may be found online at:
on Tumblr at https://troythulu.tumblr.com
and on Twitter, @Troythulu
His Amazon author page is at: https://www.amazon.com/author/troyloy