Chapter 8

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Three days of constant complaining.

That's all Shane and Deon did. If they weren't complaining about the quality of the dehydrated food she found tucked neatly in one of the storage compartments they were complaining about everything else under the sun. The first night they had tried sleeping inside the pod on the floor--that didn't last long. They cursed, whined, and grumbled until finally they went outside and made a makeshift camp on the beach using the handheld pyro torch she had found in another compartment along with an optical matter recognition scanner.

Izara wasn't even given the chance to enjoy the primitive fire. Back on the base, all sources of extreme heat were usually from the lab's surgical tools. Actual fire was unheard of in space. Dirty and noisier than she expected, the pitiful bonfire crackled and danced over the small collection of dead limbs the guys scrounged up. Despite wanting to stare at it more, Izara had left the awkward tension surrounding the guys and went back to the pod more than a little relieved to find the yautja sitting cross-legged on the floor.

Of course, the yautja never said a word. Each morning Izara took her cue from the hunter and made sure to wake when she heard the pod's door activate. By the time she used one of the teeth-cleaning capsules and rubbed the sleep from her eyes, the yautja was nowhere to be found. Izara suspected the big silent creature was enjoying the tropical enviroment and had no desire to hang around a bunch of noisy humans. But it didn't make seeing him leave each morning any less disappointing.

While he did whatever, she was the one stuck with babysitting the pod all day. Between checking on Kang's condition in the medpod, Izara spent most of her time at the terminal checking and rechecking for signs of a reply to their distress signal. It wasn't until night did the yautja return and sat meditatively against the far wall of the pod. In silence they both watched as the guys came in to snatch a few rations packs before angrily stomping outside.

She had spent most of the morning and all afternoon scaling the rounded exterior of the pod doing her best to reach the branches of nearby trees and break them. When she had first started, she was surprised to see Deon looking up at her curiously from below.

"What are you doing?"

Wiping the sweat off her forehead with the back of her hand, she didn't look at him as she jumped and grabbed another large palm frond. "I'm trying to get more sun to the pod's solar grid," she huffed, yanking the branch off the tree. "We're not getting enough in all these trees and Kang's medpod uses a lot of power."

"Oh," Deon said slowly as he looked at all the trees surrounding the pod.

Izara could see the moment his eyes lit up with the want to help, but the sound of the pod door opening and Shane's voice interrupted that good intention.

"Come on," Shane ordered Deon, not even bothering to look up to see her. "Let's go check out the west side of the island."

Like a good little lackey, Deon nodded and fell instep with his friend, walking off towards the beach.

"What a pair of losers," Izara mumbled to herself.

By the time she had gotten done, it was evening and she could hear the two men down by their campsite at the beach talking loudly.

Tired and sweaty she made her way down to the camp under the gray sky that was slowly being overtaken by tendrils of night. It went without saying that she wouldn't necessarily be welcomed at the little gathering, especially by Shane. If it was just Deon she would be willing to bet the big meathead would be fine with hanging out with her. He seemed like the type who just needed a person to follow.

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