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Posted on Wed Dec 16th, 2015 @ 7:07am by Civilian Haqtaj Matlh

Mission: Trouble on the frontier

Pevensen steadied himself at the bottom of the rope. He knew the sun had started to drop from its zenith but the atmosphere was no less oppressive for that. He used the torch to get his bearings then set out for the child.

The light from the torch was feeble but it was enough to see that the child was a boy and that he could clear the rubble pinning him.

He moved as quickly as he dared, pulling and pushing blocks of concrete to the side. Once he slipped and the edge of a block caught the boy’s dog. It gave a piercing yelp then whimpered. Pevensen did his best to soothe the dog but to no avail; it continued to whimper. He went back to work.

“Can you move?” he asked when the last bit of concrete had been removed.

The boy nodded.

“Good, then we need to get your dog. What’s his name?”

The boy looked at Pevensen but did not reply. Pevensen shrugged. There would be time enough for questions later.

He pulled concrete off the dog. It struggled to get free which made Pevensen’s task harder but he finally got it out.

With the torch in his left hand and the dog under that arm and with the boy under his right arm, he worked his way back to the rope. It was hard going in the narrow passageway. He had to crawl in places and, in others, push the boy through first then follow himself.

“Three to come up,” he called. He tied the rope under the boy’s arms then gave it a tug.

Marek Pulled at the line which came up quickly, he steadied himself and worked at a constant rate to avoid any snags on the trip. After a few moment's the BOy's face came to the edge of the hole.

"Keren!" he bellowed, unable let go of the rope and grab the boy.

Keren had just barely returned, having rolled up what little she found in a torn cloth - and heard her name being called. Automatically she threw herself forward onto the edge of the hole, grabbed for the boy, "I've got him." Almost, he almost slipped but she grabbed harder, probably would leave bruises but right now was not a time to be gentle.

With the boy safely up he did the same for the dog. Not knowing what was happening to it, it struggled against these new confines. After a few vain efforts to escape, exhaustion set it and it gave up. Once again, Pevensen tugged on the rope.

Marek felt the tug but when he pulled there was almost no weight. His stomach dropped.

Please let it not be another infant his mind screamed desperately. When the brown heap crested the edge he almost cried out in despair. It wasn't moving.

Keren took the pile of brown...fur...was it? And stared at Marek, as she rolled the small animal onto the ground, "A dog?"

Marek let out a shuddering breath, "What does that idiot think he's playing at? We don't have enough food and medicine for people, let alone animals."

He quickly unslung the rope and threw the end back down the hole while the boy scooped up the dog.

"May be he was planning on eating it," he muttered to Keren. "I've heard Humans do that."

Now it was Pevensen’s turn. He gave one last look round with the torch in case he had missed anything but he knew he had not. Then he set to climbing out of the hole. Later, he could not remember that climb. It seemed to take forever. More than once, tiredness threatened to overwhelm him and send him plunging back into the depths but he persevered.

Eventually, he made it out.

Marek gripped him by the shoulders and hauled him out of the hole. He began to wind the rope up then handed it to Pevensen. "You take the boy and the mutt back to the triage. Keren and I will keep searching this pile. We still have maybe five hours of daylight left. After that, there isn't much point."

"If we had scanners or tricorders...anything." Keren shook her head, no point wishing for what they didn't have, "Very well, may as well wish for a bowl of zabu stew. So where do you want to dig?"


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