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  • He must have looked a bit like a berserker with his sword in front of him and blood smeared in his face as they advanced slowly toward the entrance to the cave. “Wait” he heard Angels voice in his head. “I am getting images from the inner cave. Not words, but images of two wounded and an infant they are protecting. I am opening negotiations with them.” As she quieted he saw the images she was seeing and then the images she was transmitting. He could tell his warriors were picking up the same signals.

    It was strange to be communicating with the dragons without the use of language. When he thought about it, the pictures on the walls of caves were some of the earliest forms of communication back on Earth. It only made sense that this would be the form easiest to learn when dealing with other species. He also remembered the earliest probes launched had a picture of Man etched on them, along with other scientific coded messages.

    They were following the conversation in images and holstered their weapons before stepping into the cave. They moved slowly and open handedly forward until they were less than a foot away from the first wounded dragon. He showed his left arm with a scar that had been stitched while projecting the thought of sewing up the open wound. The dragon lay back far enough for him to see the oozing opening. He looked at one of the warriors and she was already opening her first aid kit and getting the needle ready.

    He looked the dragon in the eye as he put his hand on the edges of the wound. He felt Angel’s warming confidence filling them all. The first stitch was the hardest because the beast shifted as the needle went in. But once he got the hang of it, and the dragon relaxed a little, the wound was quickly closed. He dusted it with some antibiotic talc from the warrior’s kit and moved to the second dragon.

    As he did, the first dragon shifted to watch his movements. When he saw the second dragon he understood why. This was a female and she was suckling a baby at her breast. He felt the warriors move up to her as Angel assessed her condition from afar. Angel issued instructions to them and they prepared to finish the delivery. He saw the images that she projected to the female dragon and the returning ones were dire. He felt the male dragon stir and placed his hand on his snout for comfort. She was dying and knew it. There was nothing to be done but to ease her pain.

    Two of the soldiers returned with a section of the camouflage netting and cut it into bandage size lengths. While the warriors were attending to his mate, he wrapped the males wound and secured it tight. The dragon could move a little, but he definitely was too weak to fly. With the rest of the netting, they gently wrapped the infant as they removed her from her mother’s breast. His warriors kept a steady stream of warm loving images in the baby’s head. He still had his hand on the male’s nose when he let out a mournful cry. The male had perceived it before anyone else as his mate died. The only good thing about the moment was the baby was fast asleep.

    Once again Angel came to the rescue as she began sending images to the dragon. It kind of reminded him of the early days of cartoon making where the images were stiff and moved jumpingly, but it was a very effective way to communicate. She started out with the basic question to the dragon. Did he want to come with us? After all, we would be wrong to assume so without his permission. She showed several different scenarios to him and he agreed it was for the best that he and the baby accept. Without help the baby would soon die.

    They made room for him to weakly exit the cave and the dragon led them to the narrow exit to his canyon. By the time they got there it was almost daylight and the shuttle that Angel sent was waiting for them. It took a while for them to get the dragon into the hastily modified shuttle. The top had been cut away to allow for easy access. The baby was being cradled in the arms of two of his warriors. Bringing up the rear were the other two warriors who had stayed behind to “harvest” the remaining milk from the dead mother’s breasts. He shuddered to think about it, but it was necessary for the life of the infant. He looked at his warriors with new respect and sent them warm thoughts of thanks. They merely nodded and moved to join the others with the baby. It was the same everywhere. Women of all species would gather around a baby, any baby.

    He found a seat near the dragons head and they sat looking at each other as they started the trip back to their own canyon. He saw a few of the images he was projecting and when he finally put them together realized the dragon was calling him friend. He did his best to return the gesture and rested his hand on the dragon’s scaly shoulder.

    He felt Angel in his head as she comforted both of them “My love, you are as different to all of us as this dragon is. No one else could make friends so quickly with an enemy. And I sense your abilities to send and receive thoughts have grown considerably as you communicate with your new friend. We are making a nursery ready for the infant and have a larger cave for your friend that is attached to it. When I saw the blood on your face through the eyes of my warriors, I almost fainted. Hurry back with no more conflicts. I love you” and only the warm feeling remained.

    He heard the infant cry before the warriors were able to bottle feed her. The loud sucking noises were oddly comforting. He turned back to his friend and they stared at each other companionably. They seemed content to bask in the warm glow of Angel’s left over thoughts. He felt oddly happy and realized it was because he actually had a friend. It had been a long time since he had one. No matter that it was of a different species. Many men back on Earth had dogs for best friends. Sitting there in the early daylight, before the rising of the second sun, he wondered if St. George felt remorse after slaying his dragon…
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