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

Princess Paeosfu cooperated and yelped softly as her legs managed to look and feel worse than before.

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 in the back of his neck. Supposedly it was 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.

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, the allies did not always reciprocate his kindness.

"Thanks," she uttered softly.

"You're welcome," he answered as the pipes collapsed on each other 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 once the cries settled down. She stared up at the Milky Moon and only saw the holographic medical screens from the corner of her eyes.

"Wouldn't that be lonely?" Timoti responded. His robot slinked into view to assist in temporarily realigning her legs.

"And problematic," the princess finished with clenched teeth as Timoti proceeded to wrap her legs. She lay there for a moment before carefully pushing herself up with grunts and silent curses. Paeosfu examined her bandaged legs.

Kept together with plugs, gauze, and probably some clasps to bind her bones together. 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 Hie—had gone to look for more survivors. Roskavna sent the rest back to headquarters," Timoti responded, packing up his medical supplies in the Cube. His robot retreated into his bag.

Paeosfu tried to smile, but the mask failed her. She knew she radiated sadness and disappointment. She didn’t have the energy to, as he once said, ‘bubble over with positive energy.’

"Princess, thanks to you, we may be able to break twenty. Look." He pointed toward a shaggy-haired Tayan inspecting flattened, yellow-orange ovals. Ahblen deposited them into a pale purple vessel that whirred open whenever a core was nearby. It carried multiple cores and kept them at an ideal temperature so that new Tayans may be born later. Hopefully.

"We're placing what cores we find in there. I told him we’d be lucky if we can fit them all in the guntavía.” 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. I’ll help you to the carrier. You should keep the pressure off your legs.” He smiled weakly and ruffled her hair. “Cheer up Princess. No one could have predicted this.”



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

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