...continuing the story
The monkey attack was startling but the impressive roar of the creatures' fighting snapped me back to reality.
I immediately turned tail and ran for my life. I am not proud of myself.
After a fifteen minute sprint I was exhausted and dropped to my knees at the edge of a deep ravine. I had no idea how long or far I had ran. I was lost.
Large jungle-like vegetation lined the lip of each side of the ravine. I glanced in both directions for any sign of danger but saw nothing to give me the impression either direction should be avoided. My head turned skyward, to where I knew The Gargantua was up there somewhere. I wondered how long it would before I could expect a rescue attempt. Dammit, I uttered lowly, why did I not read SFM 101.17?
I assumed it could be days before any sort of rescue attempt might be made. Knowing United Planetary Federation marines they might just auto-pilot recall the scout ship back into orbit after their calls go unanswered. I assumed there was some sort of protocol for this kind of situation but I was never an ardent reader or follower of regulations. Thus my current rank of private. My sergeant, the one who said we should have stayed on the scout, called me Stain. This was short for Shit Stain, which he said was what my mamma left behind when ya popped outta her (he had a strange accent).
I pulled out the NavCom and turned it on. After a few moments of calculation the display reported the scout ship was three miles away, it then plotted a crazy course back to the ship. I knew this course would take me directly back to into the path of the flesh-lasso-skull-beast. I told it to find another path.
Twenty minutes later I was skirting the edge of a large crater when my radio sparked to life, a scratchy and broken voice calling out over the waves. I immediately recognized, and regretted, the voice “Stain! Where the fuck did you run to?”
I stopped and looked at my desperate situation, wondering if I kept quiet, could I survive here alone? Just ignore him and eek out a living on this forsaken jungle rock. I knew the answer and switched on my comms.
“Yes, Sarge,” I meekly spoke into the comm in my helmet.
“Speak up Stain, I canna barely hear yer ass!” There was a grunt and a deep breath. “Where you at?”
“Three miles northeast of the scout.”
“Fucking-A! See Private? I told you all that physical training would come in handy,” I could hear the excitement and pride in his voice. “Three miles in fifteen or so minutes? Fuck private! That gives me a hard on!”
“Roger Sarge,” memories flashed through my head of the old bald sergeant making me do push-ups in the rain, slogging through miles of mud with a forty pound ruck on my back, climbing over obstacle courses.
“Now, get that young ass over here, I want to get off this rock,” I heard some beeps and squawks in the background. He must be back at the ship. “Just you and I left, get back here asap.”
“Just us? That...thing...got everyone else?” I swallowed hard, fighting back a choke in my throat. I did not know them all well but they were my battle buddies. That means something.
“You cryin?” His harsh voice came back. “Fuck private! Get yer pussy ass back here, I saved the dumbass lieutenant too. So you can make up when you get back to the ship. He’s hurt, never win another beauty contest, but he will live to see another birthday." He chuckled on the other end of the comms. "You can kiss and make up when you get here.”
“Roger, Sarge,” I started to fight my way through the thick foliage using the NavCom.
It was just three miles back to the ship but I was adding another mile to the west, hoping to avoid that creature. And dreading a return to the Sarge.