Trust Me, I’m NOT A Doctor
“How’s she looking doc?” Sib asked a duplicate version of himself that was dressed in a baggy doctor’s coat.
“She’s dead, killed by a big boom to the head. The least protected part.”
“Dang, it!” A 3rd Sib shouted while slamming his fist down the operating table. He was dressed in a baggy dress suit, slacked tie while trapped between his grinding teeth was a black smoking pipe. “Not the least protected part! I failed as a father.”
“Yes, yes you did,” Doctor Sib said. “But we can rebuild her, good as new, however… there’s just one problem.”
“What is it doc?! Tell me, is it money? I’ll give you all the money I have.” He said, holding up two nickles in his right palm.
“No, the problem is… I can’t fix her brain. She’ll be as dumb as she was before she died.”
“Nooooo! Does this mean I can keep my nickels?”
Zaras’s ears rang as her skin felt as if something was crawling around underneath. The nanites wasted no time cracking and snapping back into place. Rapidly recovering from the damage that could’ve been worse if not for Una. Such an unusual act, sacrificing yourself for the life of another, is an act only justified to the Captain. As she gazed over Una’s smoking corpse on top of her, she couldn’t help but feel a mix of emotions.
“Get off me!” Kaida grunted from underneath her sisters.
“Una’s dead,” Zaras huffed, trying to muster the strength to get up.
“Congra…tulations, you should kill yourself too. Now get the fuck off me!” Kaida demanded, bashing her fist into Zaras and even striking Una’s charred corpse a few times.
Zaras’s body strained, still not done healing but managed to roll over. Kaida on the other hand was ready to go, as she sprang to her feet, whipping her sidearm free. She fired off a few rounds only to be followed by a forest-shaking boom. Climbing to her feet Zaras blinked away the daze as her gaze began to register what she was seeing. A bone-chilling sight as infected Chaton, her own kind, could be seen peeking from behind trees, some stepping out and waddling in their direction. Their heads were bloated like balloons, with eyes either missing or hanging out of sockets. Either way, the pressure in their heads is being held in by the fungi growing out of every hole. She watched as one of them exploded with enough force to tear out a massive chunk from an old tree.
“Stop shooting! There’re too many,” Zaras said while draping Una over her back.
“No shit! Just a little target practice is all!”
The tree that likely sat unbothered for generations finally began to topple over. Letting out an ear-piercing crackle and snap that joined the orchestra of gunfire and explosions that threatened other nearby trees. Zaras was rewarded with an adrenaline boost that didn’t do much for her defiant, still-healing body. She pulled free her katana, only to hear her demonic sister say, “Are you fucken serious?” before letting out a roar of rage. Yanking a black cylinder from her belt, Kaida tackled Zaras from behind while producing a cloud of smoke. The three of them went flying into a bush right as the massive tree crashed into the ground, missing the three by a few heart-stopping inches. Kaida did her best to steady her breathing, her right hand cupping her beastly sister’s mouth to keep her from speaking. Though she was loud at times, Kaida, like many of her kind, specialized in concealment. So she allowed her training to take over to both control her breathing and remain motionless. She even had her sidearm pressed to the left side of Kaida’s neck just in case the hand over her mouth or the cold glare didn’t give her the hint to shut the fuck up and stay still. Silence crept over the forest, with the last remaining hiss coming from her smoke grenade. When the smoke finally cleared, Kaida glanced to the right to see an infected Chaton simply standing there. No doubt more standing in her blind spots. Kaida’s training involved countless hours of stealth so hiding wasn’t the problem. The problem was she was unsure how Zaras was going to act. She deeply considered putting a hole in her head and using the two bodies as shields from the explosion. After about five painfully long minutes of staying motionless, the infected Chaton began to move. Her heart skipped a beat as she for a moment thought her passion was blown perhaps due to Una’s dead stink or Zaras moving when she wasn’t paying attention. Looking on her other side. She noticed something stepping from her blind spot, noticing her twisted infected sisters leaving the area.
“Ugh,” Sib finally began. “This is why these Zombies suck. Sure, the explosive Zombies are cool but none of them make a sound. They just waddle around.” Sib went on and on about different types, while referencing a few old movies none of them had access to thanks to their Queen’s laws and regulations on the ship. After thirty minutes of listening to him speak, he said, “Oh, also since you’re not interrupting me, I managed to figure out they weren’t really exploding. They’re so packed full of nanites that they’re acting as targets… for ah… I don’t know, artillery maybe? I don’t even know how they’d be able to use it with a corrupted NDA. Also, you don’t have to hide anymore. I manipulated their nanites and made them waddle away.”
“Sib, you annoying little shit.” Kaida snapped as she stood up from the bush. “You could’ve controlled them this whole time?!”
“Hey, I just figured it out. First I asked myself, I said, self, how in the heck did Una get burn damage and so few broken bones from an explosion? Well, that’s because it was mostly an electrical explosion. If it was a regular explosion Zaras would’ve been dead even with Una trying to protect the both of you from the blast.”
“What?” Kaida asked as her anger turned into confusion.
“I knew it,” Zaras said, standing from the bush. “At the last minute, Una shielded me.”
“So, who cares?” Kaida asked while stepping free of the bush. “The good news is, with her gone, the Orc Queen has no standing army and will be removed from her rank. Sure someone else will take her spot but that’s just fine.”
“If we even get to see the day,” Zaras said while aiming her blade at Una’s neck. “I’m not carrying her body but I will take her head. Something to remember her by.”
“Don’t take her head, take her clothes, somehow Sib is embedded there,” Kaida said.
“Is that right? Zaras mused as her lips twisted up, brandishing a devious grin. “I guess this counts as my first time undressing a boy, even if he is an AI,” Zaras reached down and tried to pull off Una’s gloves.
“Stop, you big dummy, I’m reviving her! If you wanna help, just give me two shots of APS.”
“Whatever,” Zaras said, a tad disappointed. She pulled out two APS cylinders and stuck them into Una’s lifeless corpse.
“Necromancy,” Kaida whispered as she pulled out her black bible and eagerly began flipping through the pages.
“Are you fucken serious?” Zaras asked,
“Upon Lucy’s hour of necessity, one is chosen to rise from the grave and be filled with the reaper’s desire,” Kaida sang out the demonic gospel before snapping her gaze at Una’s chard corpse in the bush. “But… an Orc would never receive Lucy’s divine attention,” she said with uncertainty in her voice.
“Devine my ass,” Zaras said, while her gaze scanned the area.
“I wonder if her selfless act has something to do with this? I saved a stupid Chaton from trying to cut a massive tree in half with a sword. So should I not be considered for Lucy’s grace?” Kaida whined.
“All you did was get in my way! Hiding in a bush like a bitch,” Zaras spat.
“I should’ve just let you get crushed!”
“I would’ve been fine. Next time you can shit in a bush by yourself.”
“Alright fine, do it right now. Cut this tree in half you piece of shit, heathen.”
“You can suck my left ovary if you think I’m doing what you tell me,” Zaras said while moving Una’s body from the bush to the grass. Una interrupted the back and forth with a coughing fit.
Both sisters said disappointedly.
“Una, isn’t your soul tired? Why don’t you just die?” Kaida asked. “It’d make things so much easier.”
“I second that. While I’m grateful you saved me, with a damaged body like that, you’d be a burden,” She aimed her blade at Una’s neck. “Say the word and I’ll make it painless.”
“Fuck… you,” She said through a dry whisper, wheezing out each breath.
“… That was two words,” Zaras said.
“Just leave her and cut Sib free,” Kaida said.
Zaras stared down at the barely alive Orc for a bit longer before finally reaching back to her backpack. She pulled free a canteen and popped the cap.
“Sib, is there a river nearby?” She asked while squatting down and pouring the warm water past her chapped lips.
“How the heck should I know that?! You got a nose, so use it!”
“All I can smell is ass and burning shit. I can’t smell anything if I’m carrying her.”
“What?!” Kaida blurted. “You’re not really thinking about carrying this dead weight.” Kaida whipped out her 9mm pistol while pulling the trigger in one smooth motion. Nothing more than a click could be heard as Zaras’s blade smacked down in front of her gun’s hammer. “She has one foot in the grave, Zaras! She should be lucky I don’t turn her into rations.”
Zaras squatted there staring down at Una barely breathing.
“… Sib, how long until Una’s back on her feet?” Zaras asked.
“That depends!” Sib chimed with joy. “Do you mean feet as in standing, or feat as in achievements? Because one of those two doesn’t make any sense, while the other is unknown!”
“Right…” She glanced at Kaida and said, “We’ll let him do his work. If we need to, we’ll through her body at the enemy.”
Kaida sucked her front teeth in annoyance before replacing her sidearm as she said;
“Fine, but you’re carrying all that shit by yourself,” Kaida said.
“You should spend less time working out and less time hiding like a bitch,” Zaras said.
With a small grunt, she lifted her chard sister and her backpack onto her own back. Zaras grimaced, not because of the weight but because her sensitive nose was being flooded with Una’s burning odor.
“Sib, which way were we going?” Kaida asked.
“Beep boop, I’m… not… a… g… p… s… boop beep. Uuuuum… straight aaaand… a little to the left, I think. But move slowly, it’s not easy to make the Chaton zombies get out of the way.”
Kaida took a deep breath and began walking ahead.
“If you had an ass, I’d kick it,” Kaida said.
They started their march back through the forest, Zaras slipping once or twice on the slopped ground. After a few minutes of walking, infected Chaton had come into view and moved out of the way to Sib’s command. At some point, the density of infected Chaton became thicker and they were moving slower to the point they wouldn’t. Taking a knee behind a tree, Kaida whispered;
“What?” He whispered back.
“What the hell are you doing? Make them move.”
“I’m trying. They’ve been getting harder and harder to move for the past forty minutes.”
“Stop playing games and make it happen, Sib,” Zaras said from the other side of the tree.
“Hay?! I’m not playing, this is harder than it looks. It’s like trying to use a computer with a really REALLY long stick!”
“Fuckin useless,” Kaida spat. “Throw Una at one of them and we’ll make a run for it.”
“Wait…” Una whispered, sounding a bit better than she did a little while ago. Still, she had a dry hiss to her voice and as far as Zaras was concerned, Una still smelled horrible. “Can you… kill them… from the inside, without… setting them off?”
“Mmm… no… uuuhhh I don’t know. I believe the reason they’re walking slowly is thanks to how sensitive the nanites are.”
“And trying on one further away could set off a chain reaction… How about… turning them off?”
“Uuuuhhh one sec… done, wait, what? They just turned back on. Every time I turn them off, they come back on!”
“… Can you,” She coughed. “Can you make them sweat or piss out the nanites?”
“Sure, if you wanna be here a long time. There isn’t a direct line from the bloodstream to the bladder dummy. Maybe if you had a big needle you could extract them.”
Una pushed her head up from Zaras’s shoulder, her tired gaze trying to get a better look at the area to the right, only to be blocked by her sister’s blade handle, sticking out from the side of her backpack. That’s when an idea came to mind.
“How about a scalpel? Gather the nanites into one area of the body and Zaras can cut them out.”
“Good idea,” Zaras said as she eagerly flung Una off her back. Dropping her to the forest floor with a painful thump. Zaras’s joints cracked and popped as she loosened herself up before drawing her blade. “I’ve been itching to scratch something all day. Tell me when you’re ready, my artificially annoying little brother.”
“You got it, Dummy! Make sure to only cut off the index on the right hand. Just keep in mind I don’t know for sure if that’ll work.” Sib said.
“Yeah, yeah, just hurry up. And if it’s gonna take this long, you might as well mark all the ones in front.”
“Fine, they’re fifty-seven targets in your path. Five seconds and you can go. I hope you get blown up,” Sib said.
“I hope I get blown too.”
“That’s not what I said!”
The infected Chaton in front began giving off a small red glow on their fingers, stopping just above the first knuckle. Zaras pulled herself closer to the ground, holding her blade in her dominant right hand. Taking a deep breath, she flinched and stopped at the last second.
“Quick question, if the Chaton Queen was about to do this, what would be her time?”
“Wha, what?!” Sib asked.
“How quickly could my mother do this?”
“Unknown, you big Dummy! Executive Officer Kimi’s capabilities are only known by the other XO’s and the Captain and even then what she CAN do may be only known to her if she doesn’t manage to surpass her own limits.”
“Just give me something to work with.”
“Umm… the fastest speed XO, Kimi had been clocked at was during her mandatory Officer studies. She… ran from the class after supposedly umm… smelling that the Captain had… taken off… his underwear.”
“Fuckin disgusting,” Kaida whispered, giving her sister a sidelong, judgmental stare.
“Using that data,” Sib went on. “She would be able to take out the fifty-seven targets in fifty,”
Zaras sprang from her position behind the tree. Her standard-issued Chaton combat boots, ripped into the soil as she darted past her infected sisters. She felt no sympathy for any of them. In fact, she was kind of happy to get the chance to cut down her own kind. Hopefully taking out as many of the high-ranking Chaton while she was at it. Though as she thought about her own experience being infected, it felt depressing not being able to remember her father’s face. When how deformed these Chaton were, she wondered if they even remembered much of anything. Slicing off the last finger, she went to slice off another only to realize there weren’t anymore. Finally reaching a part of the forest that didn’t have any densely packed infected Chaton. Turning back to look at the distance, she panted as she popped the question. “How fast was that, Sib?”
“Forty-eight seconds!” He sang.
Zaras was dumbfounded,
“Wait, really? I’m faster than, Kimi?”
“Congratulations,” Kaida began speaking over coms. “Your Queen is more pathetic than you.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment.”
Una grunted, forcing and demanding her body to move. Even with Sib amplifying her every movement, it did nothing to stop the pain.
“Sib,” Una began. “Fifty what?”
“Milliseconds! XO Kimi would be able to take out the fifty-seven targets in fifty milliseconds, give or take.”
“Why didn’t you say that?” Zaras sighed.
“Because you interrupted me!” He laughed.
“Bullshit,” Zaras grumbled while putting away her blade and patting the rifle that hung across her chest. “Let’s get going, this area is clear. We must be getting close.”
Kaida went to pull out her sidearm planning on finishing off each of the defused Chaton but Una’s raspy voice caused her to hesitate.
“If we’re close to whoever caused this then…”
“… Right,” She said calmly, replacing her sidearm with her curved hand scythe, and took off running. Nowhere near the same speeds as Zaras as she popped one after another. Una’s attempt at keeping up caused her to immediately be reminded of her disposition as if someone had snapped every bone in her body. She fell face-first into the forest floor. The last thing she heard before blacking out was her sisters snorting in amusement.