“Stand here, by me,” Vas ordered, and was gratified although not too surprised to see that his team obeyed him. In a crisis, he was still the leader. This, he reckoned, definitely counted as a crisis.
The tentacled tree-like-thing was holding his senior xenobiologist Suki about six feet off the ground, not moving her anymore but restraining her. Other branches were stretching towards their group, while Malia and Paz waved their axes threateningly. They were surrounded on three sides by the wriggling trees, while the fourth side was bordered by a long, clearly-sentient made wall. At least one of the sentient species here, Paz’s wounded leg could attest, used ranged weapons. Somebody built walls. And the trees seemed aware of the threat of the axe.
“They look like snakes,” Malia muttered. “Some sort of boa or anaconda…”
“Fiddleheads,” Andon countered. “See the feelers inside? I wonder if they’re edible…”
“Last time I checked,” Vas interrupted, before Andon could get too distracted with xeno-cusine, “we didn’t eat sentient species.”
It was the wrong thing to say, which he realized the moment the words were out of his mouth. Malia had a pet peeve about…
“That’s not what you said about the Anjou tigers,” she complained, right on cue.
…the tiger-like ruminant creatures from Anjou Three, whose sentience was not up for debate by anyone other than a few rabid cat-lovers, and Malia.
Vas was saved from yet another discussion on comparative intelligence and the ethics of eating cows with stripes by Suki’s worried scream. Ah, yes. They still had to get her down. He didn’t want to lose yet another team member, even an obnoxious one.
“Guys…” Suki choked out. Apparently the tree-like tentacle creatures were, indeed, also constrictors. “Guys,” she tried again, coughing. And pointing behind them. “The grass…”
“I can hear the grass,” Paz muttered nervously. “It’s growing.”
Prompts included: Stand By Me, I can hear the grass grow, and anaconda
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