Chapter 16 Sickness
It was fully dark. Dustin's neck was killing him, and Olivia had slowed down drastically. He was wondering if he should stop so she could rest. Now that he was thinking about it, maybe he shouldn't overwhelm her?
They stepped out into a small clearing.
"Olivia, let's stop here. You're tired, and my neck could use a rest from this boy."
"I'm not tired," she grumbled, but stopped.
Laying the boy down gently, Dustin saw how nasty the wound looked in the moonlight. It had swollen even worse. It's a wonder it never bled. He briefly wondered if he needed to be more worried about him. Perhaps he could make a PED by reprogramming the construction bots to use all of the extra nanobots.
Olivia sat by the fire, her head hanging low, as he tinkered with his PED. Suddenly, there was a snap in the dark. Closing his PED, he turned to see what it was.
A dark shape could barely be seen, moving through the shadows around them. It had a long tail and four arms that dragged its upper body about. As he watched, it stuck its heart-shaped head out of the dark, into the moonlight, and two long slits opened up on either side of its eye-less head.
Before Dustin could do anything, four more popped up around them. They were surrounded.
He sent out the nanobots, thinking they could handle a few of them, while he dealt with the others, but Olivia gave out a growl. Turning to look at her, she screamed at them, and he jumped back as she charged.
The first one jerked back in surprise, as her claws slashed it across the face, opening its soft skin to the bone. Jumping towards the second one, she kicked it hard against a tree, then swung around as the third jumped at her, grabbing it by one of its arms and flinging it into a tree, where it became impaled on a branch.
The other two rushed at her, and she slashed and kicked at them, until there was nothing left. Dustin looked around the clearing, at the blood splattered trees and scattered body parts, astonished.
Panting hard, she returned to the fire, sat down, then promptly turned around and threw up.
"Are you okay?" asked Dustin reaching out for her, then stopping as she raised one of her blood splattered hands, the claws glistening in the firelight.
"I'm FINE," she growled, then threw up again. "We need to move the camp. I can't stand the smell of the blood."
Dustin wisely said nothing as he picked Jake up again, and snuffed the fire with his foot. They moved upwind until she couldn't smell it anymore, then stopped to make camp again. If this was how she was when pregnant, he hated to see her in mom-mode. She was scary!
Getting a second fire going, he frowned. It had started drizzling. Moving about the camp, he gathered branches to make a shelter with. By the time he finished, the drizzle had increased to a steady shower. Jake and Olivia were safely in the shelter by the fire, already asleep as he finished the last of it.
Dustin stood there, water dripping from his hair, and watched them sleep. He wasn't alone anymore. He had a family, and it would grow. Anyone who tried to take this away from him had better be ready, because he would end them.
Settling down just under the edge of the shelter, he started messing with his PED again. He was relatively certain he could get the nanobots to build a PED by using the extra nanobots from the last couple of robots. There was plenty of material there, it was just a matter of programming it.
Lightening lit up the sky, and he saw a large cat in front of him, preparing to pounce. Jumping to his feet, he threw out a screen of nanobots as it jumped. Colliding with it, they rolled away from the shelter. Dustin had the nanobots burrowing into the cat as he pulled away from its fetid breath and razor-sharp teeth. The three claws on each foot, dug into his shoulders, tearing the skin and revealing his scales to the rain.
It went to scream, but because of the nanobots, the cry came out gargled. Dustin rolled away from it, and watched from a distance as it spasmed in the mud, knocking into the bushes and against trees as the nanobots burrowed deeper and deeper.
Catching his breath, he stood and looked around carefully. There were more of the half snake, four armed creatures, but they kept a distance. It seemed this thing hunted them, from the way they reacted at its smell.
Grabbing it by the scruff of the neck, he dragged it closer to the fire, and after the nanobots skinned it, he cut a chunk of meat to cook. Everyone would be waking soon, and he wanted to have a warm meal for them when they woke.
Olivia did not appreciate this, as she woke groggy and angry.
"I'm over here trying to sleep and you're doing what?"
"Cooking you breakfast?" he said, confused.
With a gagging noise, she rushed out of the shelter, past the fire with the cooking meat, and into the storm, splashing blood drenched mud as she fell to her knees in the bushes, throwing up again.
Dustin watched in concern. How could she throw up? She hadn't eaten anything since the last time she threw up. Forming a cup with the nanobots, he collected some of the rainwater, and took it over to her. Picking out a bug that had fallen into the water, he offered her the cup.
Shaking her head, she turned her face away from it. "I can't," she muttered, then started dry heaving.
"Have your PED do something," he said, squatting next to her and wondering if he should rub her back. Isn't that what he was supposed to do when someone was getting sick?
"It is. Apparently, my hormones are fluctuating too much for it to keep up with."
Sitting back on his heels, he sighed. If she was already this sick after only a few days, this pregnancy was going to be long and hard. What in the hell was he supposed to do? The PED was supposed to fix these problems!
Jake moaned in his sleep, and Dustin rubbed his tired face. Pulling up the map of the surrounding area on his PED, that he had saved from the computers in the first military base, he saw that they still had quite a way to go to get to the next base.
"Should we keep moving, or do you want me to try and make a more permanent shelter here and go hunting?"
"I don't think I could sleep anymore, and the thought of food makes me want to puke more, let's just keep moving."
He fetched Jake, and they continued on for most of the day. The rain finally petered out after noon, leaving them walking through the dripping forest in silence. As long as they kept moving, Olivia was able to keep from throwing up, but every time they stopped, she started feeling queasy. By the second day, when Jake hadn't awoken for more than five minutes, Dustin knew he had to get serious about the PED for him, or the kid was going to die.
Olivia was starting to feel incredibly weak and tired, but she didn't want to stop, because she was tired of dry heaving. He had managed to get her to sip some water, in the attempt to keep her from getting even more dehydrated, and they found that if she took it in tiny amounts, while they were walking, she could manage it just barely.
"The PED says that the hormone fluctuations should cease in another couple of days and then it can minimize the morning sickness," Olivia said softly, when they stopped on the third day. Dustin could not keep moving anymore. Jake needed serious attention and he needed some rest.
Pausing next to a river, to contemplate their next move, five robots appeared ahead of them, and all he could do was sigh.