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   Chapter 27 No.27

LARC Transmissions - An Anki Legacies Science Fantasy Anthology for Young Adults By S Shane Thomas Characters: 5890

Updated: 2018-01-25 12:02

Dr. Morin uttered a cry of surprise when Rhodo landed from a leap within inches of him.

The surprise of seeing the Rhodo's form caused Leroy to released his grip on the branch that threatened to pull him apart.

A wet gasp broke the silence. Leroy slumped to the ground as the branches attacking the man relaxed their hold. The Venatorrhodon in the hollow had ignored Rhodo's inexplicable approach, focusing on capturing their prey to the exclusion of all other stimuli. His sudden appearance defied the fellow Venatorrhodon's expectations.

"Have you eaten a human to gain mobility?" The branches that ripped at Leroy uncoiled and brushed against Rhodo's potted root mass.

"I would never."

"How have you become like them?"

"I took a necessary risk. Humans are self-aware, the very trait we value that holds us apart from the flora and fauna we live among and consume. Your attacks against them are comparable to eating one of our own."

"This human has killed one of us, " A branch dripped red blood and pointed toward Leroy in accusation.

"More proof of their sentience, " Rhodo said in retort. "He destroyed a threat to his comrade's life."

The branches withdrew and silence fell over the group. Dr. Keller tended to Leroy, wrapping his jacket into a cord to staunch cuts around his neck, chest, and underarm. Rhodo scooped Leroy into its arms and motioned for the doctors to follow as it led them back through the entrance of the hollow. The viney branches of its brothers retracted from their path allowing their safe passage.

Leroy recovered in the shuttle while Dr. Keller dressed his wounds. The doctor applied an epidermal adhesive in six places to prevent further bleeding and allow his flesh to begin healing. Despite his fatigue

. Motion in general was new, but to travel away from a world was incredible. The shuttle began its journey to rendezvous with the LARC5 colony which remained on course toward their original destination.

"We could live here with the Venatorrhodon now that they won't try to eat us, " Jillian said to Doctors Keller and Morin.

"The colony would crush through the ancient root network and sink into the submerged ocean, " Dr. Morin said.

"We have also influenced the Venatorrhodon population enough by simply encouraging them to uproot, " said Dr. Keller. "Their society is better off developing independently."

"Besides, there are uncounted worlds that could support life on the way to LARC5's new home, " Marcel stated from the control console of the shuttle.

Bloom reached out with her perception into the vastness of space. Now that the planet was gone from awareness, sensations of what lie out there blinked and shimmered into awareness. The seeds that had been grown on Bloom's branches would be the first generation to escape the fate their kind had always known. Every one of them had a good chance of thriving, of a life exploring the countless worlds.

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