Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Day Eight

"You are in excellent condition, all things considered, Mistress."

Trill relaxed after hearing Toob's diagnosis. She'd been getting short of breath and slight pains in her limbs for the last few days. On an alien world, illness was a chief concern even for someone struggling to find enough food to eat or shelter. It didn't do any good to be warm and fed if a bizarre virus ravaged your body while you were comfortable.

"So there's nothing wrong?"

The droid shook its chrome head slightly and raised a hypodermic attachment. "Negative, Mistress. You have borderline malnutrition, your blood work shows multiple deficiencies, and your pregnancy is putting your immune system under serious stress. You are in excellent shape considering your circumstances, but you are far from being in optimal health."

As Toob spoke, he injected Trill with something orange. She looked down at the syringe, could not immediately identify the substance, and tapped him on the thick plate over his forehead.

"What was that little cocktail?"

"Not an incorrect analogy. It is indeed a mixture of different components, including a vitamin and mineral supplement, a broad spectrum antibiotic, a pair of high-scale antivirals, and a..."

Trill chuckled and tapped him again. "It's all right, Toob. I don't need an ingredients list. As long as they'll help, you can do whatever you need." The droid nodded and walked back to the supply cabinet to replenish his chemical stocks. Trillinae watched him for a moment, a sudden concern creeping in. "Hey, Toob?"

"Yes, Mistress?"

She glanced at the meager-looking pantry. "How are we doing on medical supplies?"

Toob sounded almost apologetic as he replied, "Not very well, I am afraid. I can maintain your health barring injury until after delivery with what I have, but these materials will not allow me to properly care for you and an infant for very long. I estimate less than a year of useful supplies remain, and that is with me fabricating what I can from the local flora."

She sighed; it was better than she'd feared but still dire. If they didn't gain either escape from this world or some mobility around it soon, there's be nothing for them here once the baby came. She could hunt now, but for how much longer? Who was going to defend them when she was unable to fend for herself?

"We have to get to a more defensible position." All her training with Darrus hadn't gone to waste. While he was studying tactical readouts and learning soldiering from his troopers, she'd been listening closely. She might not have been some great General, but she knew a bad location when she saw one. Right now, she could see one all around her. "If we stay here, the babe and I won't last very long."

"I regretfully concur."

"Don't worry, Toob. You're a great help. You've got nothing to be sorry for." She stood up and headed back over to the tool storage. She'd cannibalized some of them for the makeshift blaster rifle over her shoulder, but there was still a lot left. "Toob, you have any mechanical training?"

"Negative, Mistress. I mentioned before that my specialty is human and near-human physiology. I am not a repair droid, unless bandaging a wound could be considered an organic repair."

She chuckled again. "I suppose it can, Toob, but you're right. That doesn't help much." Picking up a spanner she'd already learned could fit the retaining bolts on the outside of the pod. "Think you could act as an extra set of hands, though?"

"I will gladly assist in any operation you wish to perform, even if the subject is not one I would normally consider a patient."

She smiled and handed him the spanner, hefting the rest of the tool caddy. "Good! Because we need this pod up and functional again." They headed outside, going down the ramp and around to the landing thrusters.

"If you will pardon the question, Mistress; why do you wish to repair the pod? It is not likely we will ever need to escape from another vessel with it."

That caught Trill off-guard, though after a moment she understood why Toob couldn't imagine what she was trying to do here. Droids, for all their heuristic processing power, still had trouble with nonlinear thought. To the medical bot, an escape pod was just an escape pod. It had one purpose and since its job was done, the pod held no meaning to Toob any longer.

To Trill, this hunk of metal was a lot more than just the way she survived crashing here. With a little work and a lot of luck, it could be something much greater than an escape pod. "I don't just want to repair this thing, Toob. I want to fly it out of here. A pod has engines, maneuvering jets, and directional fins. I think we can turn it into a shuttle of sorts."

That thought obviously took a while for Toob to process. As he stood there, lights blinking, she used him to hold an access panel open. The wiring inside was scrambled, but she was pretty sure it could be fixed.

"Mistress? The pod's integrity is jeopardized. We cannot take it into space and even if we could, it has nothing approaching sub-light speed."

Trill grinned. The droid might be a medical genius, but it wasn't much of a creative thinker.
"Silly, I don't want to take it out of the atmosphere. I'm going to slave its landing jets into a lower-burn, high thrust engine. It's got plenty of power; I think we can use it to fly around on this rock ball."

Now Toob looked to be getting her plan. "I see. If we can travel from place to place without being on foot, we can avoid many hazards and possibly locate better resources?"

She beamed. "Exactly! We can also find a safe place to hole up when it's time to deliver. That way, we can be safe and I don't offer some big lizard dinner and an appetizer."

"A macabre piece of humor, Mistress, but not wholly inaccurate."

"Glad you approve. Now hand me the torque adjuster."

Toob walked over to the tool kit, reached in, and sifted through the various pieces of metal and electronics inside. After a few minutes, he turned his impassive blue-light eyes to Trill and asked, "Pardon the question, but what is a torque adjuster?"

She thumped her head against the side of the pod and sighed again.

"This is going to take a while..."

1 comment:

Erisraven said...

Hey, at least he's willing to help... and he's someone to talk to. That's a big step up in the sanity department for Tril.