Daniel turned to see the creature scrabbling to the top of one of the tallest stacks about 100 yards behind him.
With its one red eye, it watched him run. Green fluid still dripped from its lower tentacles.
The creature leaped down from its perch, out of view, and Daniel heard it shriek in the distance.
“I hate that sound!” Daniel said.
“It makes worse when it eats,” she said sadly.
A glance at her face told Daniel that Jeska's wounds were not only physical.
“I’m so sorry,” he said. “I tried to get here as soon as could.”
“I know,” she said. “Keep going.”
She peered at her leg and rubbed the spot where the gash used to be. The muscle underneath was still tender.
“Medicloud's almost at full power,” she said. “You won’t have to carry me much longer.”
Daniel nodded, and kept running toward the lift, through the puddles of blood and green ooze that marked the site where Daniel had charged the creature.
“We’re getting close,” he said. “I think.”
The lift was difficult to see. It lay in the shadow a repellor, one of bluish halfglobes that jutted down from the bottom of the four corners of the Afterthought.
Daniel wished he had seen the lift earlier.
There was a crash. Jeska looked over Daniel’s shoulder and gasped.
Daniel didn’t have time to look. He felt something pliable and muscular wrapped around his waist.
As the tentacle lifted him into the air, he managed to lower Jeska gently to the ground.
The creature had him.
“Get to the lift!” Daniel said. “There are pistols just past the airlock entrance!”
She nodded and disappeared around a nearby stack.