Alternate Scene from

 

Time of the Hawk

 

 

 

Part 4

 

Hawk awoke to bright light, loud, garish sounds and the presence of many humans.  He also found his wrists and ankles confined by some kind of enhanced restraint.  Sonic restraints.   Unable to figure a way to escape from the devices, he chose to carefully survey his surroundings.  A way of escape would present itself a bit later.  Several paces to the side of his bed, a large human with a laser pistol at his side stood guard.  The man regarded him carefully, his arms crossed over his chest.  Hawk next wondered how he had come to be in this place, which he assumed was the ship that Captain Rogers had come from.   That someone had sneaked up on him was apparent.  Somehow Hawk had expected to hear a ship similar to the one that Rogers had been flying and having signaled the rescuers, would then have time to time to get away.  They were devious, these humans. 

He was in some kind of medical facility.  There were many humans working around another bed halfway across the room that he determined contained the human.  An older man, one who seemed almost too old to be doing such work, was in charge.  It was then that Hawk noticed that his knee no longer hurt.  They must have done something to him while he was still unconscious.   Because of the restraints, he was unable to test his theory.  

He watched the humans across the room. One human, a woman who had been watching from the side of the room, noticed that he was awake and came over to him.  Hawk watched her, but made no attempt to speak to her.  He would speak to no one on this ship; he would only try to escape. 

She motioned the guard away.  The man complied but still stood just inside the doorway.   “I am Colonel Wilma Deering,” she said to Hawk. “I am assuming you are Hawk?”

Hawk studied the woman, noting that even among bird people she might be considered beautiful, but he did not answer her question.  

“Buck wasn’t able to say much, but he did say that you tried to help him with his injuries,” she said. “I want to thank you for that.”

Still Hawk said nothing. 

“He also mentioned that all of your people had been killed by humans,” she added, her voice holding a note of sadness.  “I am sorry to hear that.”

It could be a trick, Hawk thought.  He continued his silence. 

“You made quite an impression on him.  He begged me to let you stay behind when the med shuttle showed up,” she continued.  

That startled him and Hawk gazed at the injured human before looking back up at Deering. 

“You know, the judiciary would be very inclined in your favor if you told them what happened to your people,” she suggested. 

“I will not talk to human courts,” Hawk said tersely, breaking his silence to make this one point very clear.  

She gazed at him for a few more minutes and then nodded. 

“How is he?” he asked.

“Buck?”  When he nodded, she continued, “He is undergoing treatment with an orthopedic mender.  But because part of his injuries also damaged tissue, it will be a bit longer.  And they have to be careful, because some of his injuries involved the brain.”  The woman took a long look at Rogers before turning back. “But he is expected to fully recover. Again, I thank you for your care of him.  And I am sorry for your loss.”

Hawk said nothing. 

“Soon you will be escorted to a room where you will be held under arrest,” she informed him. “Your injury has been tended to, and the doctor will give you instructions on how to keep from reinjuring it.” She smiled and then turned away, clearly worried about Rogers. 

Hawk continued to watch quietly, ignoring the guard.  He scrutinized the room, the people working in the room and the doorways in and out. Occasionally, he surreptitiously studied his guard, trying to find a weakness, but so far could find none. Finally, the old human came over to see him. 

“Ah, finally have a moment to talk to you, my friend,” he said. “I am Dr. Goodfellow.”

Hawk remembered Rogers mentioning that name. He remembered it in conjunction with the history of his people and wondered what this doddering old man knew about his people. 

“And you are Hawk.” The old man smiled congenially. “Does your knee hurt?” he asked. 

Hawk shook his head slightly. 

“Good, very good.  I hoped that there would be nothing that would require surgery.  I was able to calibrate the machine to your physiology to correct the problem in your knee.  Of course it didn’t heal it completely, just knit the torn ligaments a bit faster than it would happen if left to heal naturally.  If you follow my directions, you won’t have any more problems with it.”

Hawk said nothing; only wondering what machine had been used on him.  One like that being used on Rogers?  Regardless, their healing of his injury would only make his escape that much easier.  His dark eyes continued to study the old man. 

“I am told that you had a very good reason to hate humans,” the doctor continued almost without taking a breath. “I am so sorry for your loss.”

Again, Hawk remained silent. He was tired of these patronizing humans and only wanted to be left alone.  

“But after you have rested, you must tell me about your peoples’ history,” the old man rambled on. “It’s so fascinating.”

Hawk was glad for the captain’s sake that there were other medical personnel working on his injuries.  If it had been up to this old doctor, Rogers would be dead now, Hawk thought wryly. “I knew my theories were right when I saw those glyphs in your caves,” the old man continued.  “They are just like those I have seen on Earth, the Easter Islands.”

Hawk remained stoic, although under different circumstances he might have been intensely interested. 

The old man reached out and touched his arm lightly.  Hawk controlled himself and did not flinch.  “I have to see to Captain Rogers’ care.  You will be escorted to your quarters and I hope I can talk to you tomorrow.” The old man nodded to the guard, who told Hawk to follow him.

“The restraints,” Hawk said simply, pointing with his bound hands to his ankles. 

“Of course, of course,” the old doctor said. “And rest that knee for a couple of days.”

“Don’t try to escape or hurt anyone,” the guard ordered. 

Hawk just sat with quiet dignity as the ankle restraints were nullified, then he followed the guard out the door where two other humans met them.  Soon he was sitting in a smallish cabin. 

And there he continued to sit for most of the next week. Food was brought to him three times a day, but he barely ate half of it.  Koori had not prepared it. Humans came to see him, the old doctor most often, but also humans who claimed to be his ‘legal counsel.’ To the latter, he gave only scant courtesy, mainly to reiterate what he had told everyone from Rogers on down—that he refused to talk to, or in any way deal with human courts. To the doctor, he was polite. The old man told him his theories about Hawk’s people, some of which seemed somewhat absurd, but other observations seemed right on target. At times Hawk found himself engaging the old man in conversation, but would catch himself and stop answering questions. 

At no time during that week did he find opportunity to escape. But he knew it was only a matter of time.  For the most part he acted compliant.  They would finally get complacent, these humans. They liked to think they were so superior to everyone else that they would believe that he had given up. 

Finally, after almost a week, the woman, Colonel Deering came to see him. 

“Hawk, I’m sorry that I haven’t been by to see you earlier,” she said.

Hawk wasn’t going to talk to her, but her first statement surprised him. And he felt lonely. “Sorry?  Why should you feel sorry?” he asked. “What am I to you that you would be sorry for not coming to see me?”

“You helped Buck and that means a great deal to me,” she replied meaningfully. 

Hawk saw that there was a relationship between this woman and Rogers more than that of just shipmates. He nodded. “I have been wondering about the captain’s recovery.” And to his surprise, he found that his statement was true. As much as he would like to believe that he cared nothing for these humans, he did care what happened to Rogers. 

“Would you like to see him?”

“He is well enough?”

“Yes, he has been fairly lucid for the past day,” Deering told him. “Dr. Goodfellow has declared him fit enough to have visitors.” She paused. “And he has been asking for you . . . even before his treatment was finished and he was fully conscious.”

“Asking for me?” Hawk repeated.

“Yes, Hawk,” she said with a slight smile.  “You made quite an impression on him.”

“Yes, I think I would like to see Captain Rogers,” Hawk finally said.  He would like to see the human if for no other reason than to see how this ship was laid out. While he had made the trip once before, another such trip would give him more details; things that he had missed the first time.  

“Good, I will not make you wear the sonic restraints,” she said, then seeing a light of interest in his eyes, Wilma added, “There will be a guard.”

“I understand,” Hawk said simply. He followed the woman down a corridor, a guard about five paces behind him. After several more corridors and a turbo lift, then another corridor, they arrived at the medical facility. He walked in to the facility and immediately saw Rogers in a bed. 

“Hawk!” the human cried out, sounding genuinely happy to see him. 

Hawk said nothing, but walked closer to the bed, whereon the human lay.  “I see you are better.”

“Yeah, modern science is amazing these days,” Buck said.  He had noticed that Hawk had walked in without a limp, so they had worked on him, too.  “They treating you well?”

“Well for a prisoner,” Hawk responded, not wishing to prolong any conversation. He was grateful that the human was healing well, but that was the extent of his feelings for this, or any other human. The old doctor walked in from another room and greeted him as well.   Hawk only nodded to him. There was something endearing about this old man, but he had already become slightly attached to one human, he didn’t want to become drawn to any others. 

“I am hoping that you will change your mind and tell me more about your people, Hawk,” Goodfellow said.  “There is so much to learn and you are the only one that has this information now.”

“Yes,” Hawk murmured, feeling a stab of pain at the doctor’s words. 

“Oh, dear, I am sorry, dear fellow.  I didn’t mean to open any wounds, Hawk,” the doctor said. “Whenever you are comfortable talking.  I don’t want to force you to do anything.”

“Force me?” Hawk asked. The sadness was replaced by the beginnings of anger. “I am forced on this ship. I am forced to be a prisoner. I am forced away from my home. I was forced to live alone. And you say you don’t want to force me to do anything?”

“Hawk,” Buck said softly.  

Hawk looked at the human responsible for his capture. Regardless of whether Rogers beat him or not, the human had still effectively captured him. 

“Dr. Goodfellow didn’t mean it that way,” Buck said, wishing he knew what would break through the barrier of distrust.   

Suddenly, Hawk felt the cold despair that had periodically gripped him since Koori’s death and he took a deep breath. “I know. But I am a prisoner nonetheless.”

“You can change that, Hawk,” Buck said, almost pleading. “Just give a statement telling what happened to your people.”

Hard, steel determination took over from the despair. “Never. I will not beg from human courts, I will not recognize human judiciary.”

Buck sighed. He had been told that the trial was in two weeks. That was scant time to change the feelings and beliefs and prejudices of a lifetime. It certainly wasn’t time to change the raw emotions evoked by the horrendous events of the past month. “Hawk, please consider it.  You’re a courageous man….”

“I am not a man!”

“Uh, sorry, Hawk, what I am saying is that it would be a damned shame if you let yourself be judged and executed when it could be prevented by only telling the truth of what happened,” Buck replied. 

“I appreciate your sentiments, Rogers, but I will not reconsider,” Hawk said vehemently.  “I would like to go back to my cell now.”

Buck sighed and watched as the proud birdman was escorted out of the medical facility. 

“What a shame, what a terrible shame,” Dr. Goodfellow said sadly. 

Buck couldn’t help but agree and he determined that in the next two weeks he would do whatever he could to change Hawk’s mind. Never before in his short tenure in this century had anything seemed quite so important to him….

 

 

 

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