III

The officer followed the growing cries of trapped Tayans. Squeezing through the pipes, she sucked in her rather large body as much as she could and breathed out a heavy breath once she made it to the other side. She was built like a block, so snaking around the fallen pipes was difficult. Before finding the princess, her small team of four was left to scour the debris for more survivors. If she knew the destruction would be this bad, she would have kept around more of the smaller rebels to help with the recovery.


Closing her eyes, Roskavna focused on the Tayan’s voices. Her altered ear focused on the sounds that were the loudest. We will save you, she thought, feeling the yēoñogou squirm in her hand.  The staff once about the length of half her forearm had activated with her thoughts and lengthened to stand just past her mid-section. The four orbs rotated about the center, and the yēoñogou hummed.


“Final stage, activate,” she commanded, planting the staff into the ground. She recalled seeing this type of yēoño among her weapon collections. Luckily Paeosfu found a yēoñogou that had been modified. It no longer served its original purpose, yet she imagined it would come in handy if they were to face Imperial forces again. The yēoñogou unfurled for the last time to lengthen to her height.


“Final stage, activated,” the staff projected into her head. Twisting a couple of the orbs sent out a large, holographic blue trapezoid that she could adjust at will. Roskavna tightened the range before sending several pipes into the air and shifting those just out of the perimeter.


Three rebels who agreed to stay behind to help Roskavna recover the living and the deceased’s cores moved in to catch the falling rebels.

Wide-eyed, surprised, and grateful she wasn't the sole survivor of the fiasco, Paeosfu flinched and looked behind her.


"Ayvne jumpy," Timoti crooned. "Transform your legs for me. Let me look at you."


Princess Paeosfu cooperated and yelped softly as he propped her legs up. Timoti Charleton was like her—an outsider who needed to convince everybody he was on their side. His case was a bit harder being an alien and all. The recent invaders were believed to be responsible for the whole mess initially. Every Tayan grew up learning that. At least she was born here. He's the only one with a kill switch embedded on the back of his neck in case anyone suspected he'd find a new ally among the invaders. If Paeosfu lived in the royal court as anyone but the high rulers or the princess, she was sure they would have equipped one to her too.


"Thanks," she uttered softly.


"You're welcome," he answered as the pipes collapsed on each with a thud. Roskavna moved to another set of pipes, activated the device, and sent in more rebels to recover the fallen.


"I thought the Milky Moon left me as the sole survivor," she said emptily.


"Wouldn't that be lonely?" Timoti responded. Trained as a medic, Timoti learned the biology and anatomy of the Tayan people to better serve them. Justifiably, not many allowed him to treat them. Those willing to be taken under his care received no hostility or any worse treatment compared to a Tayan doctor. Unfortunately, that was not shared among the allies.


"And problematic," the princess finished with clenched teeth as Timoti proceeded to wrap her legs after he had cleaned the wounds. She lay there for a moment before carefully pushing herself up with grunts and silent curses. Paeosfu examined her bandaged legs. By the time they reached headquarters, she should be healed. Who else had to walk around with bandages and hope that viaete didn’t push out of semi-sealed wounds?


"How many are there?" she asked quietly.


"Fourteen before we found you and you found that device. Only five of us—me, Roskavna, Ahglen, Ahblen, and Hi—had gone to look for more survivors. Roskavna sent the rest back to headquarters," Timoti responded, packing up his medical supplies in the Cube. He saw the sadness and disappointment dragging down her features and darkening her usual bubbling aura. "Thanks to you, we may be able to break twenty." He turned and pointed toward Ahblen who hauled the Brick on his back. "We're placing the rest in there. I told him we’d be lucky if we can fit all the cores we found in the Brick.” Timoti stood once he was all packed. “Anyway, once we recover as many Tayans as we can, we return to headquarters and deposit these cores with the others in the Incubator.


“I’m to help the others and treat any Tayans who need a quick patch up. You should stay here to keep the pressure off your legs.” He smiled weakly and ruffled her hair. “Cheer up Princess. No one could have predicted this.”

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© 2017: Operation: UGAWTS || Princess Paeosfu: Journeys of the Abstract Princess || The Survivors

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