Deathwalker 8.0

            The awkward silence lasted longer this time, and there was no question in my mind as to why. Or who would have to break it. Still facing the now blank wall, I glanced cautiously to my left. All the captain’s teeth were bared and grinding together so hard I imagined I could see them sharpening each other. Suddenly, she snapped them apart with such abrupt violence that I flinched.
            “Metss.” She bit off the word sharply. That was it. And as soon as she spat it out, she turned on her heel and left. The others parted for her wordlessly, and the silence returned.
            I stared after her, a bit nonplussed, and filed the word away to look up later. New curse words were always handy, but I liked to know the meaning behind them before I used them.
            “It is left arm.”
            What? The Teg had made the statement in that overly helpful tone people used when they pointed out the obvious. Only nothing was obvious in this case – the grammar was too bad.
            Turning back, I was about to ask what on ancient Earth he meant when I noticed that both he and Gri were looking down at my left side. At the same instant, I felt a presence next to me. And a tug at my sleeve. Shit! I spun away, simultaneously taking a step back. And stopped, staring.
            It was the crew member I hadn’t been able to see before. It had to be. Bald head, big dark eyes – eyes that stared up at me from about the height of my elbow. The facial features were fairly humanoid, and I would’ve guessed female (If I had to guess, which I was going to do my best to avoid). Despite the neutral expression, I knew from the stir behind me that I was making a bad impression again.
            Smiling apologetically, I repeated the sign of greeting I’d made originally. Wincing a little as it pulled the slice on my arm.
            “Sorry. I didn’t realize someone was next to me.” It sounded weak to me, but it earned me a slight smile. I think it was a smile.
            “My apologies for startling you.” It was said extremely politely in a voice that was high but sweetly resonant. Almost choral. I found myself wishing she(?) would speak again.
            “This is Metz,” the Teg asserted, alighting on a chair back next to us. “She is ship doctor.” The ship doctor. I was afraid of that. And I really wanted the tell the Teg that articles were important.
            “It’s nice to meet you,” I said, instead, smiling while I frantically tried to think of some way to get out of being treated. She nodded politely, and her serious expression warned me that my task wasn’t going to be easy.
            “The captain asked me to look at your arm.” A part of my brain noticed absently that unlike the Teg, her grammar was perfect. The rest of my brain screamed to stop paying attention to useless stuff and find a solution to the problem.
            “Oh, that’s very nice of you,” I hedged, turning to face her fully (and put my arm out of her reach). As I did, my hand brushed my travel kit again. That was it! “But that won’t be necessary!”
            My smile beamed as I lifted the kit, dug through, and hastily removed the MiniDoc. In one smooth motion I slid it up my sleeve and over the damaged area.
            “MiniDoc on.” I commanded casually. A low buzz and a dim glow of white through the fabric of my shirt confirmed the machine’s activation. “Scan and restore.” As the little machine took on a high whine, I noticed the doctor’s eyebrows raised slightly. My own furrowed. Something about her eyebrows seemed off.
            “Puncture wound, semi-clotted with moderate bruising. Low levels of foreign contaminant,” A metallic, emotionless voice stated, only slightly muffled by my sleeve. “Cleaning and sealing.” There was a low hum, and the pain in my arm intensified for an instant then died off into numbness. “Operation complete.” And with one more buzz, the glow under my sleeve faded.


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