Prisoner of War

“Don’t move.”

Jaime knelt before the Islander, reaching up to check for signs of damage around the wound. Around them the last echoes of the battle were dying out, the alien sounds of the jungle returning. Perspiration dripped inside Jaime’s mask, the atmo scrubbers working hard to keep up with his breathing. The Islander was lying supine, half supported by the bowl of a large tree. The blue skin had been daubed with war paint which played havoc for the optical sensors on the human forces weapons, trying to get a lock through the foliage.

The Islander hissed through a haze of pain as Jaime worked his fingers into the bullet wound, fishing out the platinum round from some poor sods mac gun. The creature was watching him work. It had tried to resist, at first. Approaching with sidearm and outstretched hand, Jaime had felt certain the creature was playing possum, waiting for him to get close enough to reach out and disembowel in one swipe.

The battle hadn’t gone well. The Islanders knew the terrain, knew the best tactics. Most of the marines were taken out when their VTOL crafts started sucking up pikes and plunging through the jungle canopy. Jaime was a combat medic, he’d served on every battlefield on Earth, but never anything like this. The briefings had hammered home that if the enemy didn’t kill them, the environment would.

“Ooman, ka’pa nex.”

“Yeah, same to you buddy,” Jaime said, finally extricating the metal round from the chest wound.

The Islander roared, sending whatever classed as avian wildlife in the immediate area scattering to the wind. Jaime held two fingers against the wound until he could apply a dressing, using up two glu-gauze patches to cover the hole. This was stupid, he knew it was, kept on cursing himself for it, but knew he was dead either way. This way he might last a little bit longer.

“I would give you some morphine, but for all I know that’ll kill you so you gotta tough it out.”

“Ka’pa nex!”

“Heard you the first time.”

Islanders. The name didn’t even make sense anymore Jaime muttered to himself, packing away his supplies. His own ankle was sprained and already swelling, a combination of falling ten metres from a flaming Hornet and tumbling down a scree wall avoiding an arrow longer than his arm.

By the time he registered the sound of broken vegetation the ornate bone knife was against his throat, ready to be drawn across his skin. Jaime could feel the huge form of a great Islander behind him, it’s hulkish frame dwarfing that of his own or even those around it.

“Nex!” the injured Islander called to its companion. “Sasa tsabeyu Ooman. Ka’pa nex.”

The knife withdrew, the hulking great Islander stepping into view. Jaime remained motionless, only the mechanical click of his respirator breaking the silence. More of the aliens began to appear, stepping from the foliage like spectres. He was surrounded, and probably had been for quite a while Jaime thought in despair.

“Sasa?” A smaller Islander knelt beside their fallen comrade, clawing at the white bandages. “Ooman sasa?”

“Hey, don’t pick at that,” Jaime said, instantly regretting his outburst. A huge foot pushed him face first into the ground, talons digging into his back preventing him from rising and seeing his attacker.

Jaime’s original charge made a bone-chillingly terrifying hiss and for a moment Jaime thought that was it, his time was up. But the weight of the foot lifted and the attacker stepped off. Only after old faithful made a rising motion with an outstretched claw did Jaime dare to get up off of the jungle floor.

“Ooman. Puw quang du mona.”

“Look, I already said, I don’t speak Islander.”

“He say, you are of blood.”

The speaker was the smaller Islander, inspecting the wounds and Jaime’s bandaging of them. It turn to face him, cocking its head to the side like an inquisitive puppy.

“I don’t know what that means.”

“Come,” it motioned.

Jaime shuffled closer, eyes darting around the assembled audience, until he was close enough to reach out to both injured alien and his carer.

“Puw quang, ka’pa nex du xilura.”

The carer nodded slowly, turning to Jaime and taking his time to translate carefully.

“Leader say, you show fear, but brave also.”

“Okay.”

“Oyo im krakon. Pu’na quang du mona.” -”You save his spirit. For that you are of blood.”

The leader raised a clawed finger, his helper providing support. The tip looked sharp enough to cut steel. At least it’ll be quick Jaime thought to himself; before they drain me of blood.

“Come. Closer.”

“Look, really, I’m glad we can all be friends, but I need to…”

The leader hissed again, and Jaime saw even the carer avert his gaze. This was not a beast used to being disobeyed. He leant in closer, fighting against every bodily urge to seal his eyes shut.

“Our kind, take no prisoners, only take spirit.” Oh shit. “But leader claims you as blood. Your spirit not be taken by any.”

The hulk clamped a great fist around Jaime’s head, holding it firmly in place. The Leader inched closer, digging his nail into the flesh of Jaime’s forehead above the respirator. It felt like he was writing War & Peace, but took only moments before he was released.

“Your spirit is of Leader’s now. You will come, but not taken.”


Prompt originally posted by suqmadiq2knight on reddit and received 1 upvotes.

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