Mustered Out on Mertactor

293-1107

Dog Day Afternoon

As the best swimmers, Jie and Taeva volunteered to swim across the small lake. The water was warmish and smelled faintly of sulphur-there were absolutely no signs of anything living within it. Stripping down the two plunged into the water, and swam their way across.

The inside of the crater was made up of three concentric zones. The outer, or lip, zone was characterised by steep slopes, tumbled rocks and a general lack of life. The inner zone extended from the outer zone edge to the shores of the lake, and was an average of 6-800m wide. It had soil of a rather thin sort, covered in scrubby grass and in places a forest of waist-high bushes. It was here that the party had made camp.

The lake itself lay more or less at the center of the crater and was about 500m in diameter, being roughly circular. There was an island about 100m in diameter in the center of the lake, with vegetation of the same sort as around the lake. The water was warmish and drinkable though it had an odd mineral taste as might be expected.

Emerging from the water, Jie and Taeva could see that the Scout’s hatches were all closed but just about everything inside it had been dumped outside in a huge mess made worse by some kind of animal raking through it looking for food. The crew had seemingly attempted a repair then stripped everything of value that they could carry from the ship, dumped the rest and took off in the ship’ air/raft.

“These boys were real slobs” said Taeva shaking her head, and then turned as a flicker of movement hit the corner of her eye.

Drawing her knife and spinning round she was just in time to see a large dog like animal careering into her- she managed to stab once at the thing before its weight knocked her over, and she held her forearm up in an attempt to hold its jaws away from her throat. Fortunately for her, Jie was nearby, and picking up a piece of discarded metal she knocked the beast off her with a stunning blow to the head. The creature growled and whined, and then retreated snarling.

Looking down Jie saw that Taeva was badly hurt. She quickly saw to her wounds, and then secured the line they had brought across with them, which had been secured on a small makeshift raft. Rooting among the discarded supplies she also found a discarded inflatable raft, which made their task that much easier.

The rest of the morning was spent transferring their camp across the lake and examining the ship. WIll made Taeva comfortable and sedated her while she healed.

Among the wreckage was a forlorn metal food bowl licked clean long ago. The name ‘Kimbley’ had been hand-stamped into the metal of the bowl.

“Someone used to care for that hound” said Grim, “Poor Doggy. I wonder if I can make friends with it.”

“I think it’s a Tensher’s Wolf” said Will. "Not native to the Spinward Marches but often used as a guard animal. .

“I guess it was the ship’s dog- it is probably guarding its territory. It was probably domesticated.”

“And those bastards just dumped it huh?” said Grim. “Poor Boy.”

“Poor boy indeed” commented Will. “You know Taeva. She’ll probably poison it or shoot it to death when she regains consciousness.”

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