Jeska ran to Daniel, took his hand, and they headed for the lift.
Still in pain, the creature staggered after them, slowly gaining speed.
Daniel and Jeska sprinted, their mediclouds converting the chemical byproducts of exercise back into fuel that their bodies could use.
They made it to the lift in seconds, and could hear the creature getting closer.
“Start it up,” she said.
“Already on it,” he said, sending a quick link-mail -- one of the few non-augmem apps still available to him -- to the ship’s default system.
Scanning user biosignature, read the message on Daniel’s eyescreen. Please wait.
“Why isn’t opening?” she said, listening for the creature.
“It takes a while.”
“Tell it to hurry,” she said, the fear evident in her voice.
“Can’t go any faster.”
“Any star bus could do this in seconds.”
“Like I said, the ship's old," he said.
They could hear the click of the creature's claws on the floor as it circled them in the darkness.
“Why doesn’t it just finish us off?” he whispered.
“It toys with its prey,” she said.
“It didn't toy with me when that Aye practically dropped me on top of it,” he said, feeling the scratches on the back of his robe.
“But were you hurt?” Jeska asked.
“No …” he said slowly.
And, now that Daniel thought about it, the creature could have easily slit his throat neck or torn off one his arms.
It’s been toying with us? Daniel thought.
“I've been attacked many times. But it let me live,” Jeska said. "Because I'm the only one here."
“Then what does it eat?” Daniel asked.
“I used to have ... crewmates,” Rachel-7 said.