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Planet Mudball - Predator fanfiction Chap 3


PLANET MUDBALL

 

Disclaimer: If I were Queen of the Galaxy, I would own everything. But, I’m not and I don’t. I don’t own Predators or Care Bears or any planets named Mudball. Geraldine and Keyla are the products of my own twisted imagination.

 

Rating: PG

 

A/N: This story was originally posted on fanfiction.net. See if you recognize lines from the song Manic Monday, references to The A-Team, Star Trek, Ace Ventura, Transformers, Star Wars and Saturday Night Live.

In chapter 4, ADL’s are ‘activities of daily living’.

I will post pics of the map Dodge drew in chapter 4 and what I envision Killer’s mask looks like as soon as I figure out how to do so. I have a hard time understanding LJ’s FAQ’s.   

 

 

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Chapter 3

 

I left Killer at the makeshift camp with a clear conscience. I think we shall all get along just fine, as long as he continues to follow my instructions. We’ll see how long that lasts. If his psyche is anything like a typical human male, it won’t be for long.

 

I don’t have much time before dark to get the Care Bear cut up. I usually like to let fresh game hang a few days to age, but it’s impossible in this weather. Besides, I just don’t have time. 

 

Keyla strode beside me as I entered the woods, but left to explore the area once I got close to the beast. Waving some bugs away, I take a look at the carcass to decide on a game plan. Unfortunately, my shot pulverized the whole head. Bummer, no teeth for my up-and-coming trophy collection. But, the talons are in good shape. At least I have the teeth from my first kill. Too bad Care Bears don’t have fur; I would have loved a maroon coat.   

 

The limbs are getting stiff, so I have to work fast. I hate the fact that this is a rush job, it’s such a waste of food. But, with night closing in, I don’t want to be out of the secure area when the scavengers finally show up. They’re small, but if they come in numbers I think they can really do a job on you. I certainly don’t want to find out.  

 

I attach a rope to one of the front legs, drawing it around a nearby tree to get some leverage to flip the Care Bear. It’s not too hard to get him over, as it mostly just rolls off the log onto its back.  

 

I’m a deer hunter from way back, and I’ve minimized my butchering tools to just a few basics – a few sharp knives, a wet stone to keep them sharp and a stringsaw. I’d prefer a hacksaw, but I couldn’t find any on the ship, so I had to improvise. Oh, yeah, and rubber gloves, because I am a wussie. Actually, I prefer to use gloves because I don’t want any germs getting in any cuts on my hands. Just what I don’t need right now, some alien flu bugs knocking me out for weeks. 

 

First, I saw off the ends of the paws and toss them onto the tarp. I can pull the claws out later. I grab my rubber bungies and attach one loop to the stumps of the paws on one side, and the other loop to a nearby tree. This’ll keep the legs out of the way while I’m working.

 

It’s been a while since I’ve done my own butchering, but all animals are basically the same and you don’t forget something like this. Like riding your first bike, doing your first solo audit, or flying your first ship. It’s one of those milestones of life, I think.

 

Starting under the neck, I carefully insert my smaller knife just under the skin, and slowly cut down the chest, over the belly and close to the tail. I am extra careful to avoid perforating the bowel, which is what I did last time. That was a nasty piece of business. I thought Earth animals stunk. Phewie, deer had nothing on Care Bears! Live and learn.

At least I know where the innards are now. Remember, breathe through the mouth.

 

When you gut an animal, there is a certain smell that seems to be universal. It’s not really revolting, unless you puncture the actual guts like an amateur. (I mentally slap myself on the head.)  

 

It brings to mind dank, moldy cellars that smell of decaying papers. Moist, heavy air in a steam room that hasn’t been cleaned in months.   The smell of blood, a tangy, metallic aftertaste at the back of your throat when you do take a proper breath. 

 

I go over the cut again, just a little deeper, to get through the abdominal muscle and open up the stomach cavity. A puff of fetid, moist air that is like the escaping of the soul. And, basically, isn’t this what all of us are reduced to? A jumble of putrid guts and decaying matter? Just the color is different. In a black and white world, cut us open and we all look basically the same. How depressing. 

 

I really want the tenderloins, otherwise I wouldn’t even bother to dump the guts. I had a friend that swore fresh liver was food of the gods. I don’t think so. No way was I ever going to eat an organ that filtered waste from the blood. Eww, eww, eww. I don’t think I’ll ever be that hungry.   

 

I quickly pull the guts out, pointedly ignoring the liver, musing on my old pal, wondering where he was now. 

 

Keyla saunters up behind me unseen, and when I’m off balance, she nudges my butt and I fall elbow deep into the gut pile.  

 

“AAAHH! Primus fraggit you stupid cat!” I know she did that on purpose.   I just don’t get cat humor. Now I’ve got orange blood on the front of my formerly clean shirt. “Look what you’ve made me do! This shirt is supposed to last ‘til tomorrow! Get out, I’m busy. Get out, get out! You’ll eat later, like the rest of us.” Good thing I didn’t land on my face, I’d have puked for sure. Bad enough I have to change into my last clean shirt once I get back to camp. Sometimes she really frags me off. 

 

Keyla took offense at my yelling at her and gave me the cat cold shoulder, turned her back and stalked off back towards camp. Good riddance to bad rubbish. All I saw was cat butt and I yelled, “Don’t bother Killer. And remember the force field’s on!” Serve her right if she got zapped. Well, not really, but she did fritz me off. I’m trying to work here. 

 

The loins are deep in the cavity, right against either side of the spinal cord. Slowly and carefully, I made use of my smaller knife, using the bone as a guide. It’s really more a matter of scraping the meat off the bone. There, I’ve got a nice set of twelve-inch tenderloins, yum, yum. They’re the best fresh off the beast, as they say. I’m going to cook them up for supper. I guess I can sacrifice and share with Killer, if he wants some. Maybe he’s a vegetarian, and then I won’t have to share at all! That would be great!

 

I prepare to attack the hindquarters, where I can get the most meat for the least amount of effort. Since there’s no hair to worry about, I’m just going to cut the whole rump off. I can chop it up once I’m back in camp. Generally, I would take the skin off before cutting the meat, otherwise you get hair mixed in. There’s nothing worse than hair in your food. Well, cold feet are pretty nasty…and chapped lips…and overcooked meat…and rude people…and war…and…and lots of other things I can’t think of right now. Enough Dodge, pay attention, I don’t need to cut myself here.

 

Moving the leg a bit to see where the joint connects, I take my larger knife and slice deep into the meat near the hip joint all the way to the bone, then cut through above the knee. Then I thread my stringsaw between the cut and saw through the bone. Repeat above the knee. Pretty mindless work. I wonder what Killer is up to. 

 

What am I going to do with him? How long does a broken leg take to heal anyway? I’m guessing at least a few months. Once more I regret not listening to my parental unit and taking up medicine as a career. But, noooo…, I wanted the fame and glory of big corporate audits. 

 

One hind done, I repeat the process on the other leg, trying to keep from sweating all over the meat. I’ll add salt later when it’s cooked, thank you very much.  

 

I wonder if he ate anything that I left. Don’t know what I’m gonna feed him if he eats something really weird, like, like…liver! Maybe I should get some of those organs, just in case. No, I just can’t bring myself to do that. He should have some of his own food around, in his ship maybe. Where the pit is his ship anyway? You’d think I’d have heard it coming in if he got here after I crashed. Oh, maybe he was here before me…and he’s awaiting a rescue too. Well, that would just be the cat’s meow. He’s probably thinking I’m going to help him, slag it. I can barely take care of myself. How am I going to take care of him? 

 

Well, the rump’s done, the last pieces of meat I want are the back-straps, sometimes called chops or loins. They run down both sides of the outer spine. To me, the second choicest cut on an animal. Which means I have to flip the beast over.   It’s getting harder to see under the trees. Hurry, hurry, I still have to cart this stuff back to camp and get some wood for a fire before full dark.            

 

I loosen all the bungies, grab one of the ropes, and basically reverse my earlier work when I first moved the Care Bear onto its back. Whoo, this thing is really heavy. Wish Killer wasn’t out of commission, I can really use a strong back to help flip this thing over. Plus, it’s easier to butcher when it’s hanging up. I just don’t have the brute strength to hang it, so I’ve gotta use brain power. Basically I pull one rope, clamp it, switch to another rope, clamp, and repeat until the CB is on its belly. 

 

Inserting my larger knife into the beasts’ back near the rump, right next to the spinal ridge, I run the blade along the spine, from back to front. I reinsert the blade to deepen the cut, and slowly work around the outside spine to the top of the ribs. This loosens the chops, and I cut both ends and bring it out in one long piece. Yum. I put them on the side with the other pile of meat. Done. Okay, lets wrap this up, get back to camp, bring in some wood and eat. I’m starving.

 

Lurching out of the woods, I drag my tarp full of meat behind, not really paying attention to anything but putting one foot in front of the other. I’m beat. And I still have to bring in wood for a fire. Halfway between the woods and the security perimeter, I almost walk right over Keyla. She’s sitting like a statue of Bast, facing the camp. Just looking. I glance up to see what she’s focused on and…there’s no Killer! 

 

What the…! He’s gone! I drop the load and sprint closer, stopping just short of the zapper. I can see the remote on the ground with all the supplies that I left, but, Killer is gone. 

 

I turn around in a circle, hoping to see some evidence of him crawling away or something. How can he move in the state he’s in? Did something breach the electronic security, or did he turn them off? Why the slag would he do that? Stupid, stupid alien. No, the remote’s still inside, what the pit is going on here? Maybe he’ll hear me if I yell, “Hellooo, Killer! Hey, where are you?” 

 

Keyla bumps me, and draws my attention back to the camp. Wait, what’s that shimmer, there under the tarp. It looks like heat waves on asphalt. The shine flickers a few times, and resolves into a figure – Killer sitting calm as can be, head tilted, staring at me like I was a strange bug on a pin. I’ve seen Keyla look at me the same condescending way. 

 

Primus on a pogo stick! He was invisible – wasn’t he? I close my gaping mouth, making unintelligible sounds. How did he do that? Maybe I’m just really tired and hallucinating. Killer reaches for the remote, hits the button and the security field fades.  

 

“Awesome! Slag it, Killer, how’d you disappear like that?” I rush over to him. Why am I so relieved he’s still here? But, slaggers, his toys…awesome doesn’t cover it. How can technology do stuff like that? 

 

But, I sober quickly. That’s pretty high-tech stuff for a guy who’s got skulls hanging on his chest. What kind of a culture does he belong to, anyway? Maybe I should be a little more afraid of him. Bad enough he’s got those blades, what other fancy weapons does he have, and will he use them on me? Get a hold of yourself, maybe he can smell fear like dogs can. But, I’m not really afraid, just cautious.     

 

Keyla strolls over, winds herself around my legs, then heads over towards Killer. “Umm, Keyla, maybe you better not bother….”

 

Too late, Killer watches her approach, and she goes behind him and strokes her body along his back, once twice, and then climbs onto his lap, purring loudly. Killer purrs right back, and he lifts his hand, pats her on the head, then gently pushes her off. Well, that’s kind of reassuring, he didn’t fling her across the camp. Keyla settled down on the ground next to him, and stared at me. In fact, they both stared at me. 

 

“What? Well… yeah, I’ve got stuff to do, both of you behave yourself.”

 

Leaving the meat where it dropped, I got another tarp out of the duffle. I still have to get some wood before it gets so dark that I can’t see. It’s easy enough, there’s quite a bit of windfall all over, and I don’t even have to cut anything. I worked quickly, pondering the contradiction posed by Killer’s appearance versus his tools. Primitive visage versus high technology. Maybe he’s in costume. Yeah, that’s it. He’s on vacation, getting away from all the hustle and bustle of his boring desk job, and part of the vacation package includes a native costume so you can really see how the other side lives. He left the wife and kids at home to experience ‘the primitive life’. Sounds good to me. What other explanation could there be? No way can he be just as he appears. There’s gotta be more to it.   

 

I can’t wait to see his ship. That’ll tell me a lot. If he’s got one…how else did he get here? Which brings back to mind the question if he will help me get off this mudball. Actually, it would be fantastic if I could see his home planet. What are the chances of that? Probably the same as me being crowned “Queen of the Galaxy.” Zip-ola to none. 

 

And with that last, disheartening thought, I am back at camp. Dump the wood, change into my last clean shirt, and let’s get supper started. 

 

I scrape out a shallow fire pit about five feet away from Killer and Keyla, and pile some rocks around the edge. Under the peanut gallery’s watchful eyes, I use my handy dandy, magnesium fire-starting tool. This has got to be one of the best survival tools ever made. Scrape a small pile of magnesium shavings from the block, flip the block over to the sparking edge, and scrape with a knife to generate sparks, which cause the magnesium to ignite. Voila! Fire. Yes, I am superior to all beasts, I am woman, hear me roar. 

 

I look over at the food samples I had left for Killer earlier to assess what, if anything, is gone. Hmm, all the eggs and the Care Bear jerky. Guess there goes my hope of him being a vegan. And, surprisingly, the chocolate is gone. I guess Killer understands the healing power of chocolate. I’m sure he’ll be walking again in days. Haha. I wish.

 

I work on cutting the tenderloin into manageable pieces, trying to ignore Keyla’s insistent head nudging my arm. I’ve already got a small pile of raw meat on a plastic cover, and I start to put chunks on small sticks so they can cook over the fire.   I attempt to make polite, before dinner conversation with my silent companions while I work, and I place some meat on the side for Keyla. 

 

“Keyla, here ya go, fresh Care Bear, yum, yum. Get ‘em while they’re dripping!”

 

I pause in my cutting and look up at Killer, gesturing in his direction with my hand full of raw meat, still yapping. 

 

“Well, Killer, how do you like your steak, well done, medium, or rare? Since cat’s got your tongue tonight, get it, cat, Keyla…never mind, just trying to make a joke. Sorry, I left the wine at the ship. But, there’s plenty of water. I see you enjoyed some of the appetizers I left. Wait ‘til you have some of this loin, it’ll melt in your mouth.”

 

Killer looks right at me and tilts his head to the right, and makes that clicking, growl sound, as if asking me, “What the pit are you babbling about?”   He reaches up to the left side of the mask, and disconnects one of the cables. Air hisses out. What is he doing? He grabs two more air lines on the other side. He’s taking the mask off – I’m finally going to see what he looks like! 

 

I watch, almost hypnotized, as his clawed hands reach up, fingers spread to cover the whole front of the mask. His thumbs hook to the edge, and with a whooshing sound, the mask pulls free. He lowers it to chest level, shakes his head so his hair rattles, and startles me with a roar. I jump in my seat, dropping the meat in my hand on the ground, eyes practically falling out of my head.

 

“Sweet Primus’ hamsters! You’re one, ugly, moth….” Oops, I slap my bloody hand over my big mouth (yuck) and cut that thought right off. Remember, you don’t know if he understands English. No wonder he keeps the mask on!

 

I don’t know what, exactly, I expect to see, but it’s not this! The first thought that pops into my head is ‘crab.’ Wonder if he tastes like one? Where in the pit did that come from? I am so twisted. 

 

I imagined the mask might have been covering a horrible deformity, thanks to my overactive imagination. But, he isn’t deformed, just hideous. I think the word I really want is grotesque. Well, to my human aesthetics anyway. I’m sure to his own species he’s a handsome hunk ‘o whatever he is. If “he” actually is a “he”…. 

 

Dominating his face are four mandibles, tipped with good-sized tusks, about three inches long. They’re got symbols and cursive script carved on them, and they move independently from one another. The top tusks rapidly strike against the bottom pair, which makes that clicking sound, and he growls at me. Sharp, pointy teeth and two sizable canines frame his round, maw of a mouth. Oh, yeah. He’s a carnivore for sure.     

 

He haughtily stares at me with deep-set, yellow eyes, animal-like, but glinting with intelligence. As if a crocodile had the capacity for rational thought.    Daring me to run away screaming. 

 

His skin is wrinkled and scarred, and I see no obvious nose. There is an old and prominent scar, smack-dab in the center of his creamy yellow forehead - that same backwards K symbol he’s got on his mask. 

 

His forehead looks almost like a shell, reinforcing the crab aspect, and slopes upward to the back of his head, ending in upraised, black spikes about an inch long, where the ropey, hair-like dreads start. 

 

If I had to guess, I would say this guy is old. Old and the stuff of nightmares. 

 

“Um, pleased to meetcha.” I smile, not showing any teeth. I’ve read that showing teeth can be interpreted as aggression. I wonder, what was he indicating to me when he roared with wide-open mouth and spread mandibles? Sure buddy, you ‘da boss, you’ll get no argument from me. As long as he wasn’t thinking about Dodge as the other white meat. 

 

He growls in return, gives a short bark, and waves his hand in a gimme gesture. He wants the meat pile. I get up off my seat and hand him a pan.

 

I stare at him out of the corner of my eye as he picks up chunks of raw steak, shreds them, and deposits them into his lipless mouth. Miss Manners needs to teach him some table manners.

 

As he eats, I pick up the dropped bits, tossing them to Keyla, and grab a couple of my shish kabobs sticks from the fire, babbling pathetically to cover my nervousness.

 

“So, what do you do for a living? We have a bet in the secretary’s pool that you’re an account executive at an advertising agency. And what’s with the mask, anyway?   Is it an accessory? Or does it serve some purpose other than hiding your…face.”

 

Killer just clicks at me, as he consumes a good two pounds of raw meat. I lapse into silence and pick at my share, cooked nicely medium rare.   Half an hour drags by, feeling like two hours in a dental chair.

 

It is full dark now, and we can hear the music of the smaller scavengers fighting over the Care Bear scraps in the distance. Keyla is already snoring softly on the corner of my blanket. That’s why I always carry two; she’s such a glitching blanket hog. 

 

I watch Killer as he put the mask back on, and fiddles with his miracle med kit. I am exhausted, and can’t stay awake any longer. 

 

Rolling myself up into my second silver blanket, I grind my butt into the ground to make a nice little hollow. If I concentrate, I can hear a low hum from the security fence. I glance over at Killer on the other side of the fire pit. The firelight reflects blood-red flames over the reflecting surface of his mask. He’s still as a statue, staring into the night, thinking alien thoughts. It’s an eerie sight, and if I wasn’t so tired, I might think it was an omen of sorts. 

 

“G’night Killer. Please don’t kill me while I’m asleep, okay? I’ll see you in the morning.”

 

 

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