Due to his deadly injuries, General Rowarl can only wait for being rescued. When someone finally arrives, it's not the rescue team but a Rabit. And his behavior is extremely odd.




Waiting to Die

General Rowarl didn't feel any pain anymore. Currently, his greatest worry was why he couldn't get a connection to the rest of the Haul network even though his implant was connected to the capsule's systems. He had run the self check of the capsule a dozen times and according to the log, every system was in perfect condition. If he had been able to move, he could have checked the systems and maybe repaired them, but his injuries were too serious. More and more often, he lost consciousness and stayed unconscious longer.

At first, he had found the failure of the capsule just odd but then, he had started to worry. Too many things had happened today which he couldn't explain. The vehemence of the Rabit pilots taking part in this challenge. It was as if they were deliberately trying to kill the Haul pilots. The sudden explosion close to his transporter. The series of explosions inside of the ship, which simply shouldn't have happened. Haul ship system's were carefully designed not to blow into the face of their operators. Excess energy was being taken care of by lightning rod systems, rerouting the danger to buffers or, failing that, outside of the ship. Still, something had blown up even right under his own chair, burning the flesh on his back down the bone in an instant.

Without the help of the crew, he wouldn't have made it to the rescue capsule. Why the capsule had landed on the surface of the planet instead of staying in orbit, where it could have been picked up much more quickly, was beyond him. He had tried to stop it, the capsule had acknowledged the order and then simply ignored it. At first, he had assumed that it had been damaged in the explosions but the self tests showed no sign of that.

Something was wrong, he knew it with every hair that was left in his burned fur. The capsule had spent a lot of its energy taking him down to the planet but there was plenty left. According to the logs, the emergency beacon was active and transmitting his position and state. Still, after several hours, no pickup crew had arrived. Rowarl was used to think the impossible. No other Haul would have considered sabotage but today, too many things that couldn't have failed had. Someone was pulling strings behind the scenes. Someone who could walk in and out of a Haul ship unnoticed, plant explosives, tamper with rescue systems. Which meant it couldn't be a Rabit.

All his thoughts and conclusions were safely stored in the permanent memory of his implant in case he didn't live long enough until the rescue team arrived. A copy was stored in the capsules memory, even though he didn't trust it anymore. He was about to go through his mental notes once more to see if he had missed anything when the airlock of the capsule opened and a Rabit came in.

'Finally,' the general thought. He knew little about the alien Rabit language but he was sure, together, they would quickly find a way to repair the damage, despite the language barrier. From the design of the space suit, he concluded that this must be a male, something that was oddly important to this race.

Only the Rabit stopped when he noticed that the capsule was occupied. Instead of leaping to the side of the injured, the pilot stood there with something in his paws that looked more like a weapon than a medical device. 'Odd,' Rowarl thought and added a comment to his notes. Slowly, he came closer and touched the General gently with the device. If it had any effect, then Rowarl didn't notice.

After a moment, the Rabit put the device away and started to rummage through the capsule. At first, the general thought his guest was searching for medicine to treat his wounds but he quickly realized that the Rabit was ripping open any compartment he could find.

'He must believe I'm dead,' Rowarl realized. As any Haul that had contact with Rabit, he had stored a few sentences for emergencies in his implant. He used it to put his voice in the internal speaker system since he was too weak to talk. «Help me.»

The reaction was again surprising: The Rabit tried to jump through the capsule's hull, his long legs got caught in the rim of the airlock and he fell outside, vanishing from view, hitting the ground with a thud. The general sighed and waited for the visitor to come back so they could start with the work.


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