(This story so far resides here: ofourmaker.com/2023/10/17/adolphus-search-and-rescue )
They were solemn faces gathered at an empty table, a few days later. Under the table, hidden from all but Gibbsen, Raleigh’s heavily damaged leg was tended by masses of long, stringy air-fish. Moses was not trying to sit upright. Number One clung to his arm. The raging shrieks could be heard at intervals again, this time sung by the female gluckast they had captured: Moses’ mate.
Raleigh and another (named Elroy) had gone in a chopper, with Moses to guide them. They had returned shell-shocked by how near they had come to disaster. It had been a wonder that they achieved their goal with only an injury, great as the injury was.
“I dislike,” Raleigh was saying, “to kill gluckasts now, knowing they could be changed. It feels like murder.”
“It is not,” Moses said. “Uklag, I would kill her. Number One is my sister.”
“Moses is my brother,” Number One added.
Mundbern said, “To forbear to create human life is no more murder than it is murder to forbear to marry and have children. Meanwhile, if the gluckasts pose a threat to human life, it would be more akin to murder to allow them to live.”
“Would it not be best,” Raleigh said, “to release the contagion somehow, infecting the gluckasts en masse?”
Elroy said, “We still do not know how likely they are to survive the transition without care. And the gluckasts would kill the infected as soon as they began to smell like food. The banshee cried for a reason when Uklag turned to Number One.”
A particularly bestial yell from Moses’ mate drifted to their ears. Raleigh winced as if it had been loud.
“Why does Dr. Kilver not anaesthetise his projects?” It may have been a technically sympathetic statement, but Gibbsen was sure it would not be perceived as such by humans. And it was indeed strange that the doctor did not anaesthetise, or else that it was ineffective.
“I am sorry,” Moses said. Raleigh looked up, distracted from the pain in his leg for the first time perhaps.
“This isn’t your fault, Moses. Experiments go wrong, discoveries have a cost. As it is, I’m sure this will be well worth the trouble in the end.”
Raleigh’s sentence was punctuated by a brutal yammering from the captive gluckast.
A defective air-fish had come loose from Raleigh’s leg, and drifted near Gibbsen, who ate it. It was not crunchy, but at least it had only a little smoky taste.
To be continued.
#DailyCreatedOOM #WrittenOOM #AdolphusSearchAndRescue 2023/11/07