Forne realizes that the Haul in the capsule is not so dead as it seemed. Being the quick thinker he is, he immediately starts wondering how he can use this to as his advantage.




Enemy Mine

Forne quickly turned on his back, both hearts racing, the pistol appearing in his paw as if it had a life of its own. It pointed inside while he tried to get a grip on his shock. Despite his fears, the Haul hadn't moved but its eyes were open, watching Forne. «Not so dead after all, huh?» He rose. Yellow eyes in a grim face followed his movements. If they recognized the weapon in Forne's paw, they ignored it.

«Help me.» The muzzle didn't move but the words came strong and clear.

«What, you want me to skin the rest of you as well?» Forne snarled angrily. The idea to pay back some of the atrocities the Haul had committed against his own race was tempting. 'Don't be stupid. The pain must already drive it insane!'

«Why?» he called. «Why do you do this? Is the universe too small for you?»

There was no reply. Forne hadn't really expected one. He climbed back into the capsule, weapon ready. He glanced to the side, remembering the position of the camping gear so he could reach out without taking his eyes off the beast. Rumor had it that even half-dead Haul could rip Rabit to shreds. Forne didn't plan to meet that fate. He slowly reached down, grabbed some rope.

* * *

General Rowarl had trouble to stay awake as the Rabit came back. He wondered if he should repeat his request a third time. The pilot was saying something but his ears, reduced to mere craters on his head, couldn't understand the words because the Rabit neither opened his helmet nor activated the speakers of his suit. The Haul's confusion deepened as the Rabit grabbed some rope and started to tie his limbs to solid grab handles.

'Makes no sense ... unless ...' There had been this suspicion which had brought him here in the first place. He had been told months ago that the Rabit had asked to match the skills of their pilots against the best Haul. The Haul, always eager to accept a challenge, had agreed happily. During the first challenge, a lot of Rabit had died in their simply designed fighters due to debris or sudden explosions of their ships' systems. The Haul had been worried but John Dexter of the Rabit embassy on Haul Prime had told them under the paw that these losses were expected and actually a boon to the pilots who really longed to die.

Rowarl had never believed that. To him, the events told a different story but he had no proof. So he had made his plans and finally came here, to oversee a challenge from a close distance. Just as he was about to put an end to this foolishness, the explosion had happened. Now, he was down here, with enough proof he needed to know that something was wrong but he feared that wasn't enough for his son to pursue the issue any further. To them, this might look like a series of unfortunate but unrelated incidents. 'I need someone more determined.'

The return of the Rabit ripped him out of his thoughts. He held a package with medicine in front of his snout. Rowarl had problems to focus on the text. «No,» he managed to say. 'I'm dying,' Rowarl realized. If he didn't make his move now, all might be lost.

So he started to put more instructions into the permanent memory of his implant. He encoded them in such a way that it would take three senior memory of his house to open them, to make sure that they couldn't get lost, even if someone had been able to infiltrate the senior management. When the Rabit came back with the right spray for his wounds, he said: «Yes.» His eyes went up to the face of the stranger. He tried to take in as many details as possible and saved the image along with the instructions.

* * *

The medkit was easy enough to find. Forne browsed through the packages but he couldn't figure out which one to apply to the wound to keep his prisoner alive. 'I might be the first Rabit ever to bring a prisoner home!' He couldn't stop himself from daydreaming. 'I'll be a hero!' He looked at the unknown symbols. 'If I can figure out what this stuff does, how to get this thing to fly or be picked up and then get it on a Rabit ship without being shot down. Ha! Easy.' He finally reduced the possibilities to several cans since he figured that pills probably wouldn't cut the deal. Wondering if he should just try all of them, he had the idea to present the texts to his prisoner.

'Luck again,' he thought when the beast dutifully identified the right one. He sprayed the stuff on the wound generously. The creature didn't stir, didn't even wrestle with the bonds. 'It's in bad shape. I'm running out of time.'

«How do I start the engines of this thing?» he asked.

There was no reply, only the eyes seemed to follow him everywhere. Forne felt a strong urge to slap the brutal face of the beast. Only the fact that it was so close to death that such a blow might have killed it held him back.

«Is there a radio? Radio? Do you understand? Radio? Talk? Talk home?»

«I do not understand,» the beast growled.

At first, Forne couldn't decide if his prisoner was just pulling his ears when he noticed that the speakers of his suit weren't active. «Shit!» Forne felt stupid for not considering that the Haul might simply not be able to hear him talk inside the suit. 'I've been on my legs too long. Must be careful before I start making deadly mistakes.' He activated the speakers, not daring to open his helmet because of the stench, bacteria or whatever else might be dangerous in here. «Do you understand?»


«Great. How do I get this thing off the ground? Fly? Do you understand fly?»

«Yes. I tried. Rescue capsule will not fly. There is something wrong with communications as well.»

Forne didn't remember seeing any damage while circling the capsule. Since the prisoner was secured, he still gave it a chance and checked again. The hull was smooth everywhere, no sign of any damage. «I can't find anything,» he snapped. «It looks good.»

«Yes. Looks good. There is something else wrong. I tried several times.»

«OK ... radio? Do you understand? Talk?»

«Yes. Help is on its way.»

That made sense but didn't sound good. Help probably meant more Haul and Forne was in no condition to fight them. He thought frantically but saw no way to change this. 'Torture probably means little for someone without a back ... Okay, get a grip. I just have to hide when they come ... then I sneak on their ship, maybe cling to the hull and push off after leaving the atmosphere. I've still several hours of air left and in space, my suit's radio should be strong enough to call my friends.'

So his options didn't look too bad but there was something else he needed to know. «Why are you doing this?» he hissed. «Isn't space big enough for you murderers? Why can't you simply leave us alone! We never did anything to you! But you ... you ...»

«I do not understand,» the voice said. It sounded pretty natural. Forne wondered where the Haul might have got it but didn't dare to open his helmet to listen more intensely.

«Oh, you don't understand?» the Rabit snarled, his emotions raging through his tired mind. «You're just lucky that you're already wounded like that or I'd beat some understanding into your stupid skull! Do you have ...»

Small yellow eyes slowly closed forever.


The title of this scene is from the movie "Enemy Mine" (1985). I really liked that movie but that's not the only reason why I used the title. In due time, the deeper meaning should become clear.


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