Author: K. A. Williams
It was hunting season on Kreegat. Beasts were imported from neighboring planets to designated areas on this small world. My section now had a furry, yellow hindosen.
The animal had been released hours ago, but the shuttle was late. The rain plummeted down as the two guests disembarked. My partner, Rocdon, and I quickly introduced ourselves as we stowed their gear in our hovercraft.
“You were supposed to be here this morning. I’ll have different guests in two days. Make your choice – sit before a fire tonight, or go hunting in the rain. Which is it going to be?”
Kolash and Synka decided to hunt in the rain.
When we reached the forest, we left the hovercraft and split up. Rocdon took Synka off to the left, Kolash and I continued forward.
My weatherproof gear was above standard issue, but I still hated supervising a hunt in this weather. On the plus side though, as we slipped and slid through the forest, nothing could hear us over the rain.
“Did you see that?” Kolash asked.
The underbrush was moving, it could just be the wind. He pulled something from his jacket pocket, and I only had time to see that it was a projectile weapon before he fired into the bush.
I heard a howl of pain and then silence.
“You idiot! Put that away! These animals are expensive. Didn’t you read the rules of the hunt? Non lethal weapons are to be used.”
“What rules? It’s a hunt. I even had the shuttle pilot go back because I’d forgotten to bring this gun.”
“That’s why you were late?!”
I called Rocdon on my communicator. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Kolash shot the beast with a projectile weapon.”
“Is it dead?”
“I don’t know yet, I’m checking. Take Synka back to the hovercraft and wait for me.”
“Stay here,” I told Kolash, and parted the bushes. The animal wasn’t there. It had forced itself onward.
“Have you found it?”
“Shut up. Just stay there and wait. And don’t speak to me again. It’s wounded and our voices might frighten it.”
When I found the hindosen, it lay still. I moved closer, my headlamp shining on the bloody wound. The first aid kit in my backpack came with everything I needed. I used the electronic scalpel to remove the metal object and heal the wound. Then I injected the beast with a mixture of antibiotics and vitamins. I’d done all I could. I covered its body with my jacket, and went back to Kolash.
The atmosphere in the lodge was gloomy, like the weather. We had changed clothes and were sitting in chairs before a roaring fire, waiting for supper.
I pulled out my communication device, and looked up the contract agreement. Just what I thought. I called the shuttle pilot, with everyone listening to the conversation on speaker.
“Kolash shot the hindosen with an illegal weapon. According to our contract, I have the right to cancel their trip. Come back in the morning, and pick them up,” I said.
“Hey, you can’t do that,” Kolash argued.
“Read this.” I showed him a copy of the contract they had both signed and pointed to the prohibited weapon’s clause. “And if the beast dies, you’ll reimburse our company for it.”