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Author Topic: non-preg story. Precurser to a life.  (Read 1317 times)

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non-preg story. Precurser to a life.
« on: September 25, 2017, 01:10:40 pm »

Precurser to a life.

The trip was going to be a routine one.  A quick flight to sector 5148 to pick up the full crew and take on cargo destined for deep station 17.  The Torpor had been flying well with its modern AI controlling the ship and systems.  Even with a normal crew of 6, the efficiency with which the AI maintained the ship meant Bailen, a male humanoid grey wolf, alone on the ship, had little to do but catch up on some reading.

He was half way into the 4 week flight and the lack of excitement and company was starting to get to him.  The AI, though modern, was completely lacking in personality due to the limitations of the ships on board redundant computers.  "At least the AI could make a decent cup of coffee."; thought Bailen as he was preparing to turn in at the end of his cycle.

"Don't wait up for me Torpor."; Bailen said to the AI before stepping into one of 6 sleep chambers, which double as life pods in case of an emergency.  "Turning off the AI would be detrimental to ship systems.  It is not advised to turn off the AI without a full crew on..."; the AI responded in a flat advisory tone before Bailey cut its comments off.  "That was a figure of speech..."; Bailey mumbled under his breath, once again wishing the AI at least had some personality.  The AI had no response to his mumbling.

Bailey had been going through the same routine for the entire trip so far.  Getting up at Orion Standard Time of 6:00.  Having a breakfast of synthetic eggs with a powdery meat of unknown type.  Standard space rations at their finest...  Running a system check then going back to reading his quickly shrinking collection of digital books.

Since time has little relevance in space, day/night has been simulated using the Orion Standard Time model of 30 hours, with 20 hour "days" and 10 hour "nights".  It would be around 14:00 that he would have his main meal.  This usually consisted of some random selection from the limited variety of rations available for main meals, sometimes mixed up with another breakfast meal.  After which he'd spend the next 3-4 hours exercising to maintain his fitness before doing another system check and returning to his reading for lack of anything else to do.  And by 26:00, Bailen would be in his sleep chamber resting for the night.

This night though, things were a little different.  The Torpor was going to be passing by an "Edin System" on it's way to sector 5148.  This system had a habitable planet that had a thick atmosphere and a diversity of life surpassing old earths.  It was labeled an Edin System to mark it as off limits for development due to a rising sapient species dwelling on the planet.  And as Bailen slept for the night, the Torpor entered the system for a course correction inside the gravity well, where the effects of the systems star would actually assist in the change of direction.

It was still early when the noise of the alert started to drag Bailen out of his sleep.  "Error!  Evacuate!  Error!  Evacuate!"  This continued for a while as the fogginess of his mind slowly lifted.  The sound of the alert was muffled due to being only broadcast outside of the sleep chambers.  It wasn't until the message; "Minimum safe distance achieved." was broadcast inside his chamber and the feeling of the retro thrusters firing caused him to knock his head on the back of the chamber, that he became fully awake.

Sitting bolt upright, he smacks his head on the canopy of the sleep chamber.  Fumbling for the release, he finds it but stops immediately when he realizes that he's looking into the darkness of space, not the inside of the ship.  Hitting the mic instead, Bailen shouts; "Ship status!"  After a moment, the AI starts to spout off a long list of failing systems, errors, and damage reports that quickly overwhelmed bailen.

As the list of errors is being spouted out of the speakers, Bailen lifts his head up to the canopy again and looks for the Torpor.  What he sees causes his heart to sink and a sense of dread to rise in him.  There she was, the Torpor was lit up by an internal glow of orange while the maneuver thrusters were firing rapidly, trying to stabilize the ship.  There were bluish colored streaks shooting past the ship and streaks of blue as far into the distance as he could see.  Some of these streaks were impacting into the Torpor causing the ship to turn and rock, with pieces of the ship flying off with each impact.

The AI of the torpor ended its damage report with; "Unknown event present in the sysssssstem.  Ship  deg..eg...eg. rrrrredation surpassing repairrrrrrr....  systems ability to to to maintaaaaaaain....".  the AI was starting to break up as the ship continued to be pounded.  "Commmm... puter ssss...yyyyy...stummmms faaaailll... in...".  The rest of the message was lost as a blinding white flash marked the end of the Torpor.  It's reactor being breached and going critical.

The bright flash blinded Bailen causing him to recoil back onto the bed.  The Torpor was gone, and he was floating in space with an unknown event placing him at great risk.  He had little time to think about his though.  With the Torpor gone, there is nothing left to shield the sleep chamber from the objects streaking past.  Bailen is slammed against the side of the sleep chamber as something impacts it.  Every alarm inside the chamber starts going off and he can faintly hear the sound of the canopy cracking, and the faint hiss of escaping atmosphere over the alarms.  It is only a matter of moments before the drop in pressure knocks him out cold.

Bailen has a few brief moments of awareness...  He's feeling gravity again and it feels like he's spinning.  It's getting very hot.  A sudden feeling of intense pain beings him back for a moment, then darkness again.  He's on his back, but the surface under him feels odd and is poking him in several spots.  His body is in intense pain and he doesn't remember why.  It is uncomfortably hot, but a soft object above him seems to be cooling him off. 

Bailen awakes somewhat, he's lying down on a hard surface that is not the sleep chamber.  Did he fall asleep somewhere on the ship?  No, this surface is too warm to be the ship.  There is also something on top of him.  He suddenly snaps back to reality.  The Torpor is gone!  Where is he?  He was in space yet, inside a sleep chamber, how did he get out?  He tries to move, but intense pain shoots through his body causing his to groan in pain.  The object that was on top of him shifts and lifts off of him.  As it does, a wave of heat washes over him.

He tries to fight the pain and open his eyes, but his vision is blurry.  He can make out little more then shapes.  To his side something moves.  It's about the same size as him but is oddly shaped.  It makes a couple odd churring chirp sounds and moves a bit closer.  Bailen feels something softly nudge the side of his head and he tries brush it away, but trying to move his arm causes more intense pain, blurring his vision even more, so he closes his eyes.  The object that was nudging him stops doing so and a soft, worried sounding set of clicks and hums is heard.  He hears something move away from him and it becomes quiet except for the sound of trickling water a ways off to his right.

After a bit, he hears something moving closer to him again and suddenly a trickle of water starts falling onto the side of his mouth.  He instinctively moves his head away, but the trickle of water moves as well.  The intense heat in the area, combined with him not having any liquids for a while prompts him to finally accept the water.  So he opens his mouth to let it flow in, but the first taste is vile.  The water is quite warm and is full of a sooty substance that tastes like charcoal.  Bailen quickly spits out what is in his mouth in disgust.  Whatever is next to him makes a disgusted/annoyed sound in its throat and he suddenly feels what could only be a beak push against the side of his mouth and force some water into his mouth again.  He tried to resist, but the beak was persistent, and his thirst was getting to be to much, so he was forced to drink the vile tasting water.  At least his thirst was relieved for now.

When the creature feels he's had enough, it stops trying to force him to drink and walks away again.  In the distance, Bailen hears the sound of wings unfurl and begin flapping as the creature leaves the area. 

Bailen is left to think about what is going on.  He's not inside a ship, it's far too hot, and the ground feels more like stone and sticks.  There's no equipment nearby, he can't hear any of the familiar buzzing and whirring of them.  The creature seems to be the only other thing nearby.  Is he on a planet, or is this some kind of farming ship?  It's odd that no one else is nearby.

Between the intense heat, the pain of his apparent injuries, and the general weakness he feels, Bailen slips back into the emptiness of sleep.  When he awakens again, there once again is something on top of him.  It's far less hot thanks to whatever it is, and there is a bit more humidity which helps him feel a bit more comfortable.  He opens his eyes and finds that his vision isn't as blurry, he can see details again, but the colors seem to be missing.  The object that is covering him seems to be made out of a mesh of feathers.  Odd that it seems to be cooling him off though.

Bailen tries to move again, but the attempt causes a flood of pain to wash over his body.  It's not as unbearable as before so he could probably move if he needed to.  But this careful movement showed him that he had some pretty serious injuries.  His movement also alerted someone else because the object covering him started to move.  As it lifted off him, the intense heat of the area returned, seeming even hotter then before.  There seemed to be a lot more light as well, though it was a sickly orange in color.

This is when Bailen suddenly realized what the object that was covering him and the creature were.  They were in fact, the same thing, a giant hawk.  This bird was huge by many standards.  It stood nearly as tall at the back as his mid section.  Its head would be at the same height as his own.  It stood on strong legs with 4 toes that each ended in large hooked claws nearly half as long as his hand and as thick as two fingers.  It was covered in rough looking grayish black feathers with much softer lighter colored feathers on it's belly.  And it sported a large powerful looking beak.

This hawk could easily tear him apart if it chose to.  But for some reason, the hawk just stood there with a worried look in its eyes.  It was also making a soft cooing noise as it stood there.  Not knowing what to expect, Baily started to slide away, but the pain told him he would not be able to get far.  So he studied the hawk, preparing to try and defend himself.

Now that he was looking closer, this hawk was not in good shape either.  It's feathers were covered in soot, hiding whatever color they might have been under it's grayness.  Its wings drooped down from each side of it's body, and it stood on legs that were shaking slightly, as though exhaustion would soon overtake it.  Those powerful looking claws were pitted and dull and one of them was broken off about half way.  This bird was suffering, just like he was.

Bailen had no idea why this bird had been covering him with it's body.  But the thought of how much cooler it was when the hawk was covering him gave him a clue.  Maybe the hawk was trying to help him.  It's not entirely unheard of, but he'd still have to be careful in case this was not fully the truth.

He finally became aware of his surroundings, now that the worry about this poor hawk was lessened.  They were inside a cave, the rocks around him were covered in the same persistence soot as the hawk.  Far to his right was a trickle of water, little more then a few drops flowing into a tiny puddle.  On his left, he could see a few soot covered leaves with some burnt looking fruit and few small pieces of meat?  Maybe?  In front of him, was the entrance to the cave, with the sickly orange light coming through, and the hawk right next to it. 

With no idea what to do next, Bailen starts checking his own injuries while keeping an eye on the hawk.  His left leg was clearly broken, the open wound had been mostly cleaned by something.  His hip was badly bruised and his right leg was numb so he couldn't tell how bad that was.  His left arm must have some torn muscles or even broken bones because of how much it hurt to try moving it.  But at least his right arm was only bruised.  His chest was quite painful and breathing hurt as well so he tested a few spots with his right hand.  The pain was intense, he must have at least 2... no make that 3 broken ribs.

The entire time he was checking for injuries, the hawk just stood there, cooing.  It's voice got a bit louder each time Bailen tested for injuries and it shuttered with each gasp Bailen made, as he checked his ribs.  The hawk obviously was fighting some instinct to go to him, but stayed where it was instead, trying to comfort him from there.

Having discovered the extent of his injuries, Bailen was worried he'd not survive long enough to be rescued.  Surely the Torpor got off a distress call, but being 2 weeks from any port was a long way from rescue.  And the injuries he had would make survival, even for a few days, difficult at best.  "Well hawk, it seems we're stuck with each other for now."; Bailen said to the hawk, not really sure why though.

When he spoke, the hawk cocked it's head to the side, and it's eyes seemed to brighten a little.  "Squak?"; the hawk responded.  It coughed a bit then made a few more noises; "Skree... Squak.  Wargle Scree...  Chirp."  The hawk bobbed it's head up and down and took a step towards Bailen, looking less worried.  Bailen in turn slid away from the hawk a bit and raised his right hand.  "Hold up there hawk.  Stay there for now."; he said, getting a bit more worried about the hawk.  "Squak?"; responded the hawk, cocking it's head to the other side before lowering its head into a bowed position.

The hawk took another step closer, and started cooing again.  It brought its feathers in closer, making it's self look smaller and less dangerous.  Then took another step closer.  Bailen tried to slide away from the hawk, but couldn't move much, the soot made the floor too slippery.  And the hawk took a step closer, still cooing.  In turn Bailen flinched and turned his head away, raising his hand higher to shield himself.  And the hawk took a step closer.

Bailen knew this was it.  The hawk was going to finish him off, knowing he couldn't really defend himself.  So he submitted to fate and lowered his hand to let the hawk finish the job.  But his hand came into contact with something first.  The cooing and slightly vibrating head of the hawk.  He could feel the feathers of the hawk puff up under his hand as the hawk raised its head a bit and his hand as well.  Bailey waited for the end, and waited, and waited...  The hawk just stood there cooing, and holding his hand up with the top of it's head.

After quite a bit of time passed, and the end had not come, Bailen opened his eyes and looked at the hawk again.  "Uh, hello."; he said timidly, starting to scratch the top of the hawks head.  The hawk in turn leaned into the scratches and the cooing gets louder. "Wargle... ha...lo"; the hawk said after a bit of scratching.  A bit surprised, bailen stops scratching the hawks head.  The hawk in turn nudges at his hand, wanting more attention and tilts it's head so it can look at him.  Its eyes are wet looking as it gives him the classic puppy dog eyes.  "Ha lo"; the hawk repeats back to Bailen again.

Bailen can't help but start scratching its head again and watches as the hawks eyes slowly close.  The two of them remain like this for some time before Bailens hunger interrupts them when his stomach starts to rumble.  The hawk opens its eyes again and lowers it's head down before backing away.  "Sorry, I'm a bit hungry."; Bailen says sheepishly to the hawk.  He's just glad to have someone to talk to again.

The hawk tilts it's head to the side and responds with; "Chirp wargle chirp chirp squak." The hawk turns and starts walking around Bailen, moving towards the small amount of food on the leaves.  It looks back at Bailen and gives off a chirp before looking back down at the food and picks up a piece of fruit with it's beak and walks back over to bailens side.  Bailen, lifts his hand up to scratch the hawks head again, but the hawk ducks to the side and all but shoves the fruit into Bailens mouth, cooing.

"meruffle..."; is all Bailen can get out before the hawk releases the piece of fruit and takes a step back.  In tern, he picks up the fruit with his hand and looks at it.  The fruit looks like a cross between a peach and a cocanut, with a thick looking furry skin and a seemingly hard surface.  It is partly burnt by something and isn't all that fresh, but he is hungry enough to not care too much, so he takes a small bite.  The fruit is softer then it looks.  Is sweet, but not overly so and has an odd nutty taste, but also has something else entirely unique.  If not for the incessant soot on everything, it would probably be a truly decadent fruit.

Before eating any more of the fruit, though he wants nothing more then to scarf it down, he waits to see if he reacts badly to it.  Some time passes and nothing bad happens, other then his hunger getting worse from that little tidbit.  So Bailen finishes eating the fruit, leaving only the peach like core.  He's about to toss the core aside, but the hawk intercepts it and uses it's strong beak to crack open the core, allowing it to eat the softer center.  The hawk's body spasms a bit, trying to reject it, but the hawk keeps it down, obviously too hungry to let anything go to waste.

"You look just as hungry as me, huh."; Bailen says to the hawk.  The hawk makes a slightly choked hiccup sound and walks back over to the remaining food.  This time selecting a piece of meat.  When it brings it back over to Bailen, this time it shoves it into his hand instead of into his mouth.  The meat is raw and starting to spoil, not an ideal thing to eat, but needs must.  He's only able to eat about half of the piece before his stomach tries to reject it.  The meat was not well suited for his stomach.  So he turns to the hawk and says; "Here, you eat the rest."  He holds the meat to the hawk in his open hand.
Lost my brain.  If found, contact animal control.


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Re: non-preg story. Precurser to a life.
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2017, 01:10:51 pm »

The hawk even so gently lifts the meat from Bailens hand, and in a second, the meat is gone, eaten by the hawk.  This continues a few more time with the hawk selecting a piece of food from the pile and first offering it to Bailen, then finishing off what he doesn't eat.  All to quickly the last piece of food is offered.  The last piece of meat.  Bailen has to decline knowing his stomach will not hold the meat, and knowing he can't afford to have an upset stomach from the little bit of food there was.  The hawk offers it to him one last time before finally, and slowly this time, finishes it its self.

They both look back at the leaves with no food left on it and sigh.  Bailens stomach gives another rumble since what little there was was not enough to sate him.  The hawk gives off a sad little sound before turning back to him with a chirp.  It positions it's self so that it is sitting down next to him and pushes its head under its hand, wanting to be scratched again.  Bailen feels he should, especially since the hawk shared its last stock of food for him.  They both sat there comforting each other until Bailen fell asleep again from the heat, pain, and this time, the comfort of the hawk at his side.

When he awoke, the hawk was not there.  The cave was empty except for the pile of leaves and the sticks on the ground.  The heat was still oppressive but not as bad as it was earlier.  The trickle of water was even smaller then he remembered, which made him a bit more worried.  But at least, if he could only slide a bit further, he might be able to reach the little puddle and get a few drinks of it to cool off.

It took him a while to drag himself the short distance to the puddle.  Once he got there, the water would at least slack his growing thirst.  But the water was hot...  Nearly to hot to drink.  Having to take small drinks and blow outward to prevent his throat from burning meant it took a while to get enough.  As he was doing so, the hawk returned.  It was carrying a single piece of dried up looking fruit, seeming all it could find.  The hawk was looking sad and even more tired.  Its feathers were singed around the edges now and several were missing, showing how hard it had been searching.

The hawk walked over to him and offered him the fruit.  Bailen could hear its stomach grumbling from hunger and could see how the hunger was sapping its strength.  Knowing the hawk was in worse shape then he was, he refused the fruit.  It took several tries to get it to accept this and finally eat the fruit.  Doing so finally stopped the rumbling of its stomach, but did nothing to lessen the fatigue the hawk was showing.

Bailen and the hawk just sat together for what had to be hours, just keeping each other company until the hawk finally decided to move.  The hawk, using what strength it could muster, tried to help move Bailen towards the entrance of the cave, giving him encouraging squawks.  But no matter how hard it tried, Bailens injuries made moving nearly impossible.  The hawk finally had to accept that his injuries where too much.

Bailen tried to talk the hawk into leaving, and to keep going until it could find food.  But the hawk refused.  "You need to go.  If you stay here, we both will die.  You can at least save yourself.";  Bailen said to the hawk.  "Chirp wargle scree..."; the hawk protested refusing to budge from his side.  The argument started to get heated as both were to stubborn to accept the others decision until the hawk accidentally hits Bailens injured ribs.  The sudden pain silenced both their arguing as the hawk nuzzled its head against his cheek cooing in apology.

Before Bailen knew what was going on, the hawk suddenly stepped away from him and its whole body began to shake.  It squatted down and laid a single egg that was far to small for the hawks size.  Laying the egg took a lot out of the hawk and also showed that the hawk was in fact, a she.  It stood there weakly, panting air that was uncomfortably warm.  Bailen wasn't sure what to do now.  How should he help this poor hawk.  How was it's child going to survive since they were sure not to...

This is when the hawk did something odd.  She picked up the egg with one of her claws and hopped over to Bailen.  Shen then dropped the egg into his lap and stepped back.  Bailen was confused what to do.  This small egg was important, but the hawk gave it to him?  Was he to hatch it and care for it?  Was it a peace offering?  Confused, he turns to the hawk and asks; "What do you want me to do with this egg?"  The hawk responds; "Aegg." and starts making eating motions. 

Bailen is even more confused.  Does she want food in return?  Does she want me to keep it?  or eat it???  "I don't understand..." he says to the hawk.  She just makes more eating gestures at Bailen.  He is still confused and not sure what to do with it so the hawk walks over and takes the egg in it's claw again.  And to his surprise, she uses her beak to break open the top of the egg before handing it back.  "Eegg." she says again, and makes eating gestures towards Bailen.

Completely surprised by the gesture, Bailen does as she is gesturing for him to do, and takes a single taste of the egg.  The contents of the egg are like tar, thick, dark, and about as bad tasting.  He nearly throws up from the taste of it in his mouth.  But with his empty stomach, it comes out as nothing but dry heaves.  He nearly spills the content of the egg in his reaction.  But the hawk is insistent.  She even moves closer and helps him steady the egg.  She nearly pours the egg down his throat the next time he tries to taste it.  The flavor is so bad he doubles over, trying not to throw up again.

Once he regains control something feels odd in his stomach.  It is like a fire is starting in his belly.  A fire that burns cold.  It feels odd, then kind of cooling and good.  But as it spreads throughout his body it turns to pain.  Intense pain!  Mind numbing and thought ending pain!  What has she done?

Bailen finally starts to wake up again.  The pain was so intense he was completely lost to it.  The pain had become his night and day, his every breath, the beat of his heart,  the only thing he knew in this world.  It kept him there, to feel it all...  But now it was subsiding.  The pain was becoming bearable again, then less then before.  His pain was going away, but not entirely.  His muscles ached, his bones ached, his very soul seemed to ache, but with less pain then before.  And that comfortable coolness from the hawk covering him with her wings was back.

The hawk had stayed by his side throughout the pain, had covered him with her wings to help him cool down.  Now she was so weak, she could barely move.  He had to gently lift her off his body to sit up.  Sit up...  He was finally able to sit properly!  His hip wasn't in as much pain!  His left leg no longer hurt that bad to move, and his right leg, he could feel it again!  In fact, he had lifted the hawk with both arms without thinking.  His arm was much better.  Amazing!  What did she do to him?  How did she do it? 

Bailen looked over to the hawk, elated by his mostly healed body, only to see her in the state she was in.  Her breathing was weak, she could barely lift her head, and she kept pointing out the cave entrance.  "Go... look..."; she said to him in her hawk voice, and he somehow understood.  "How?  How did you do this?"; he asked the hawk as he reached over to gently lift her head and hold it in his hands.  "Look... now.  Explain... later." she said to him.  Her voice getting weaker.

So he did as she wanted and stood up for the first time in...  He had no idea how much time had passed.  His legs were shaky and unsteady from lack of use, but he walked through the entrance until he could see outside.  Once he could see, his jaw dropped.  The scene outside was that of a nightmare.  The ground around the cave, and all the way to the horizon was filled with endless craters.  Nothing remained.  The larger craters had lava pooled in their bottoms, like lakes of fire.  There were only a handful of trees left, as far to the horizon as he could see, but they were burnt and barren.  No wonder she could only find that one piece of fruit.  This world had been destroyed. 

On the horizon he could see streaks of blue in the otherwise brown orange sky.  These streaks were the same as the ones he'd seen when the Torpor had been destroyed.  Following these streaks, were flashes of orange on the horizon, showing the impact of whatever those objects were.  Was this the Edin World he was supposed to be going past?  Was this hawk all that remains of life on this world?  How cruel it must have been to survive and be the only survivor.  No one left of your kind to be seen...

Unable to look any longer, he turns around and goes back into the cave, missing the descent of another object, much closer to the cave.  A metallic object much bigger then the sleep chamber he'd descended in.  An object homing in on the faint signal the transponder in the chamber was still giving off.

The poor hawk was taking ragged breaths now, its energy nearly spent.  Bailen walks over to her and picks her up into his lap, giving her a hug.  "I understand now.  I know what you must have gone through.  I know how it hurts to be alone.";  Bailen says to the hawk, somehow using both common and the hawks own language.  He could tell that things were not right with him, he was somehow different then he used to be.  But right now he did not care.  "Just stay with me, for just a while longer."; he begged the hawk.  "We don't have to be alone any more."

She was so weak...  Barely moving, barely breathing, but somehow content.  His company was all she wanted.  His company would see her to the other side.  She could see them now.  The lost souls of her people.  They were entering the cave to take her home.  This ground walking friend would be free now.  Free to return to the stars he had come from.  For she had made him whole again.  He would take with him a part of her people so they would never be forgotten.  It was time, and she was so tired...

Bailen was so engrossed with comforting this poor hawk that he was taken by surprise when someone placed a gloved hand on his shoulder.  "We need to leave, now!  There is no time to gather anything, the stellar fall is nearing this place and we have to be gone before it gets here!"; a large feline in a full atmospheric isolation suit says to him with the authority of an admiral.

So cought off guard he couldn't respond for a moment.  All he could do is squak, which sounded odd out of his wolven mouth.  Catching himself he spouts off; "Not without her!  She saved my life, now I shall save hers!"  The admiral states; "Interstellar code prohibits the removal of any creature from an Edin class..."  "Screw Interstellar Code!";  Bailen shouts.  "She saved my life!  Her people were all killed!  And this is by no means an Edin Class world any longer!"; the ground begins to rumble in response as a quake begins to tear open the back of the cave.

"I can not allow that!  I am restricted by the code and can not break them!"; The admiral shouts in return.  "Then I refuse to leave!  You will have to leave me to my death if she has to stay behind!  My death will be on your hands in this!"; Bailen retorts.  The ground shakes in increasing magnitude as the planets crust starts to break apart.  "Fine!  But you both have to stay in quarantine!  Just get to the shuttle!"; The admiral finally relents.

The ship that had come to rescue them was none other then the battleship Trinity.  This massive ship could shrug off the incoming debris with no damage, so was safe enough in orbit.  The shuttle on the other hand, was as frail as paper in comparison.  The ascent was performed at emergency thrust, causing everyone on board to suffer from the gravity load.  Especially the poor hawk.  She was barely alive when they reached the Trinity and had stopped breather moments later.  Only the quick action of one of the medical crew had saved her from certain death.  An action that meant they would remain in quarantine as well.

Once her condition was stabilized, both her, and Bailen, finally got to clean off soot and dirt of the world they had left.  As the sonic shower freed layers of soot, and all the loose and broken ends of the feathers, Bailen was finally able to see how beautiful this hawk truly was.  Unlike what he was expecting, he was surprised to see that most of her feathers were all soft shades of blue, green, red, and orange.  Her underside feathers were light shades of brown turning to a cream on her belly.  She was quite striking.  The removal of the grime also showed all the cuts, bruises, and open wounds covering her body.  Showing just how much she had been suffering.

Once he was sure she was cleaned off and resting, he was finally able to let himself rest.  It wasn't until now that he saw the changes to himself, and the reason for the quarantine.  His body was no longer just wolf.  He had feathers sprouting out between some of his fur.  They were of similar colors to hers.  But unlike her lighter soft colored feathers, his were dark and bold.  They stood out in sharp contrast against his grey fur.  He had an interesting pattern of color now, ringing parts of his body, and adding brightness to his arms and legs.  If anything, he looked quite stylish with his new look.

But, no matter the changes, no matter what was lost or gained.  Bailen was not going to leave this hawk, she was never going to be along again.  Now if only he could learn her name...
Lost my brain.  If found, contact animal control.
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