By Carol Sandford


Chapter 19


"Oh, my God. I don't know if I can stomach much more of this. This poor creature is pregnant and it's breaking my heart knowing that I can't save them both. When's it all going to end, professor?"

The aged professor rested a weary hand upon Beverly's shoulder as they both studied the dying alien lying on the cot, her swollen tummy evident beneath the tatty sheet that a nurse had covered her with to give her a little more privacy. The poison was already well into her system; her wounds festering and weeping as she fitfully slept, her already pale skin now holding the all too familiar pallor of waiting death.

"The baby isn't even old enough to rescue, I'm afraid. It really does seem like the end of the Lanaarians really is at hand. Come on, help me move her to the next tent. Her bed is sorely needed."

The next tent. The death tent, now so over-crowded that another was being hastily erected to accommodate the ever growing afflicted.

But at least the fighting had ceased, for now. The capture of the general seemed to have called a halt to the battle, for a reason that they had yet to fathom. But at least it gave the medical crews a chance to attend their wounded and plough on with what seemed now to be a completely futile attempt at finding a cure to save the last few remaining Lanaarians.

Beverly helped settle the pregnant Lanaarian into her make-shift cot and as the other assistants moved away, Beverly sank to her knees, wearied by grief and fatigue. The woman's hand limply searched for a hand to hold and Beverly wrapped her own fingers around the chilled ones. The woman's breaths rasped within her throat making her chest rise and fall with the effort that it was taking just to breathe.

Beverly's gaze watched the erratic rise and fall with despair, her mind closing to the plight before her. But even so, she couldn't stop thinking about the unborn baby within the dying body. It had been the first one that Beverly had come across herself. There had been many others passing through the tent flaps, but this was the first that Beverly had to tend to herself and it upset her greatly.

She reasoned that it was because of her own close friends pregnancy that it was upsetting her more than deemed reasonable, under the circumstances. Every baby had a right to live. Every baby needed a chance to be someone, important or not, and the cruel aliens that were forcibly taking away their only chance sickened her.

Lost in her quiet thoughts, it was many moments before Beverly realised that the hand that she held had stilled. One look at the Lanaarian's face soon told her that she was gone. Again Beverly's eyes filled with hopeless tears as she silently mourned the loss of yet another life.

She felt a light pat to her shoulder and looked into the kindly eyes of the orderly that were forever hovering, awaiting to remove the latest casualty. Beverly pushed herself to her feet, fatigue, misery and a distinct air of hopelessness came with her.

"Thanks, Jim, she's ready to go." Beverly made to walk away but then a thought transcended inside her mind. It had built as she'd sat there regarding the now still mound beneath the soiled sheet that lay over the dead Lanaarian. "Jim, scrap that. I'd like to examine the foetus. Can you bring her to the lab tent, please?"

"Sure thing, doc."

With renewed vigour in her step, Beverly made her way to the lab tent, her mind a whirl of questions. So many, 'what if's...?' raced through her that by the time she had reached the tent, she was impatient for the body and paced at its entrance, waiting for its arrival.

Beverly suddenly felt guilty at referring to the Lanaarian now as an 'it', but with what she was about to do to her, she had to switch off her humanity switch. There was an answer to find; a desperate search for a cure to end this annihilation and Beverly had just realised that she may have found the answer. Unfortunately, it lay within the Lanaarians belly and she was just about to do the most hated thing that anyone could do.

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