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   Chapter 23 No.23

LARC Transmissions - An Anki Legacies Science Fantasy Anthology for Young Adults By S Shane Thomas Characters: 5513

Updated: 2018-01-25 12:02

Jillian intended to holster her sidearm and help Dr. Morin with the thorny leafy snake he struggled to remove. Instead, her knees buckled and she fell in a heap on the wet spongy ground.

Jillian's outside world fell away, and within her mind she felt a strange new presence. A foreign presence in her mind grasped her tightly, holding her prisoner, motionless in her own skin. Jillian relived her fondest memories from childhood, her darkest fears, and obscure moments in class rooms and training centers for colonial security force.

She felt as if she had aged a year or more in that instant, as if all the recollections had taken the same amount of time they had when first she lived them.

Leroy closed the distance between the doctor and himself in two dozen strides. He heard Dr. Keller behind him and yelled at her to board the shuttle. The branch thrashed and dug into Dr. Morin's forearm. He screamed and batted at the assailing limb.

Leroy shielded his face and stomped on the branch at its midpoint, pinning it down. He quickly placed his left boot inches from Morin's bleeding hand. He tore off his coat and twisted it into a rope. Leroy wedged the coat between Morin's hand and the vine, prying the thorns out.

Dr. Morin pulled his injured limb close to his chest and backed away toward Jillian.

With Morin clear, Leroy hopped back with both feet, hunching down to protect his face. He hurled the vine with a circular sweep of both arms, releasing the coat with one hand and sending the branch sailing through the air into the brush.

Dr. Morin approached Jillian slowly as she lay motionless on the damp moss covered groun

to Jillian's mind."

"What is your name?" asked Jillian.

"We have never needed to identify ourselves individually. Location distinguishes our individuals. However you may refer to us collectively as Venatorrhodon, after the flora from your home and our manner of consumption."

"I must have a closer look, " said Marcel. "My grandmother kept beautiful rhododendrons in her yard."

"I have been sharing our encounter with the remainder of my kind. They are also eager to encounter your people."

"Rhodo-- May I call you Rhodo?" asked Dr. Morin.

"I am fond of that name, " it replied.

"Are there other carnivorous plant species or animals we should be cautious around?"

"Doctor, there are many dangers for your kind. However, the Venatorrhodon can serve as guides. It would be an honor to help you navigate part of our home." Rhodo said.

Dr. Morin and Dr. Keller asked Leroy to accompany them to explore the area and instructed Jillian to remain with Marcel to secure the shuttle. The trio gathered gear and instruments, and disappeared into the foliage under Rhodo's direction.

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