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Lachlan couldn’t see Jen from where he was lying, but the panic in Sam’s voice was enough to make him worry. He took a deep breath and tried to force himself to stay relaxed. Well, as relaxed as he could be under the circumstances.

He’d heard that if there was no hope of medical treatment, the best hope of surviving venom in your system was to stay calm and lie as still as possible for as long as possible to keep it from circulating. The worst thing you could do about a venomous scratch was panic.

It was hard not to panic, though. He was lost in an alien jungle full of hostile wildlife, he had some unknown venom coursing through his veins dangerously close to his heart, and now Sam was crying out Jen’s name in a way that suggested something was very wrong.

“Jen? Jen?! Jen, wake up! Jen?!”

Slowly and carefully, Lachlan turned his head to the side. The small movement sent a wave of vertigo through his body. If he hadn’t already been lying down, he suspected he might have fallen over. That couldn’t be good. He closed his eyes took another deep breath.

Don’t panic. Don’t panic. Don’t panic.

When he opened his eyes, what he saw did nothing to ease his nerves.

Jen was sitting on her knees, curled up with her head touching the ground. Most of her skin was covered by her clothes and hair, or tucked under her body, but a little triangle of bare skin was visible on the back of her neck, between the top of her shirt and the part of her hair. A weak little beam of distant sunlight had fought its way down through the dense foliage, landing on that tiny patch of skin and reflecting back into his eyes. The reflected light–glossy with a faint shimmer–reminded him of looking out a bus window at sunset, when the sun was low enough in the sky to hit every window and car and bombard him with beads of white gold light, leaving him with spots dancing in his vision; it prompted him to wonder if he’d ever ride a bus again.

Human skin shouldn’t have reflected light like that.

“Well,” he said. “That’s new.”

His head was starting to throb. He hoped it was from the sudden assault of light and not from the venom.

“That’s new?” said Sam. “She’s–she’s shiny! She’s all shiny! And all you can say is ‘that’s new’?”

“What do you want me to say, Samurai? I’m a bit too busy trying not to die to be careful with my words.”

Sam buried his head in his hands.

“I just–I don’t know what to do. You’re… you’re envenomated, and now she’s–” he gestured at Jen.

“Hey. It’ll be alright.” Lachlan wasn’t sure whether he was reassuring Sam or himself. “It’ll be alright. We’ll think of something. Let’s start the steps of problem-solving over again. I’d say this qualifies as a new problem, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah. Yeah, it does.”

“Alright. Step one. Step one is–“

“Definition of the problem.”

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One thought on “11.3

  1. Didn’t Jen have a warning about that? I guess she’s probably too busy turning into an armadillo…or something. Well, this is not looking good for the crew.


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