Dancing with Egopods

The next episode for Jamison’s Battlefields. Here are the previous episodes in order. Zilkas Asteroid Belt, Jamison’s Rescue,  Dinner with an Alien, Dibolocos Attack, Departure Orders, Homecoming, Into the Darkness, The Family BusinessJewel’s Place, ShanghaiedFirst MarkThe Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash Down, and The Lake House. Like any story you will get the most out of it by reading it in order.

Jamison froze for a minute, not sure what he could do. The egopod looked like a bear, but not furry, instead it was hard skinned. It was too close, and getting closer fast. He slipped around behind the tree he had been leaning on. The big critter tried to reach him around the left and he dodged to the right. As soon as he did this the critter tried to reach him around the right so he dodged back left. While this short dance was taking place he had reached into his holster for his weapon. He wasn’t sure what strength it was set on, and suddenly he wasn’t even sure the batteries were still fresh enough to work. But he wasn’t going to take his eyes off the egopod long enough to find out.

Instead he waited for the egopod to cut back left, and this time he didn’t dodge away. The shot hit the creature in the middle of the chest. A portion of the energy from the shot penetrated the hide, but about half of the energy bounced off, its path bounced backward, striking the tree just above Jamison. The animal stepped back roaring louder than he thought any animal could.

He glanced down at the settings of the gun, it was set to kill. Only two settings above that, small explosion and large explosion. Both took a lot of energy. Jamison bumped the gun all the way up and hoped the batteries would hold out a little while longer. He dropped back behind the next tree, a thicker one, and waited for the moment the egopod would come fully into view.  He again aimed for the middle of the chest.

This time an even smaller burst of energy came out of the gun. Again half the energy bounced off the skin and traveled over Jamison’s head into the trees. The problem was not just the egopods skin, but the batteries were also too old to power the gun. Jamison turned to run. He knew the egopod could keep up, but if he found a tree he could get into quickly then he might be able to climb out of reach.

Like a bear the egopod had longer legs on back than on front, this made them clumsy and somewhat slower running downhill. Gravity worked against them, but gravity worked on Jamison’s side. He was quickly going full speed and although he could hear the egopod chasing, it didn’t seem to be catching up.

He saw a spot where the hill dropped sharply down for about ten feet coming up.  Just beyond it was a tree that looked strong enough to hold him. He launched himself off the rock face and into the tree grabbing on with all his might and turning his head to see what would happen to the egopod.

The big animal was trying to stop because of the drop off. It failed and tumbled over the edge head first.  Landing on the ground it roared again, and Jamison took that as his signal to climb higher. The animal was about eight feet tall on its hind legs, so he was probably not out of reach yet.

As he climbed up what seemed to be a safe height he looked back to check the distance between him and the egopod.  His heart sank when he saw it climbing in after him.  It was very slow, but it was progressing.

The next few minutes was an awkward ballet where Jamison moved as high as he dared and then beyond in order to avoid the egopod. The egopod sounded angrier and angrier as it climbed to try and reach Jamison. Eventually it was obvious Jamison could go no higher. The egopod was still making steady progress behind him. It reached for his foot and he kicked it away, but this stale mate would be short lived.

Jamison was looking helplessly down at the enraged animal, when he saw a blueish cloud form beside it. A Kilkian materialized floating in the air right there beside the tree. The egopod noticed the Kilkian and swiped at with a massive arm, and razor claws. Apparently it didn’t know physical damage couldn’t hurt Kilkians, so when its blow passed harmlessly through instead of impacting flesh and bone, it through the animal off balance.

It landed on its head for a second time. And just like the first time it roared and started climbing back up the tree. The Kilkian floated down beside the animal and drew out its sword. Jamison twisted around to get a better view and saw Chambers running towards them with her weapon drawn. It was likely she did not have a view of the Kilkian yet behind the tree. As she approached the Kilkian drew its sword right down through the middle of the egopod. For Chambers this looked a little bit like the animal fell in half, but as she got closer she could see the cause.

Since the crisis was now over she attempted to slow her run down the slope, but gravity had her in its grasp. She was backpedaling for all her might in the loose detritus. Not being able to stop she mimicked the fall over the rock face the egopod had taken earlier. Jamison watching this and instinctively reaching out to help. This caused him to fall from the tree.

The Kilkian reached a hand out towards Chambers and then seeing Jamison falling reached his other hand toward him. Suddenly Chambers felt gravity loose its grip on him and instead of crashing through the branches and down against the hard rocky ground he was moved outside of the branches and set gently down on the ground. Chamber’s had the same experience being set down beside him.

The two of them looked at each other, hugged each other and then turned to the Kilkian.  Jamison spoke, “Welcome, and thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” The answer came into his head and he glanced at Chambers wanting to be sure she also heard him. The look on her face was perplexed, and Jamison guessed this meant she had heard it but was not accustomed to it. This was her first time meeting a Kilkian face to face and he remembered well how disorienting that could be.

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