Buried beneath an unknown quantity of the White Death, McCoy laid there for a moment to get his bearings before he began fighting his way upward and cursing under his breath.
“Not only am I lost on some God-forsaken, snow-infested world … alone … now I’m going to be all wet!” He burst out of the frozen fluff and staggered forward, brushing as much of it from his clothes as he could. He could barely speak, his teeth were chattering so hard. “Tellarities toes! I’m beginning to hate this stuff!”
He shook more snow from his hair. “Probably some kind of fire-breathing, snarling, gigantic, hungry bear-thing ran past me, looking for its dinner.” Patting himself down, he was mildly relieved to learn he still had his communicator and tricorder. “It’ll eat me so I won’t live long enough to freeze to death,” he grumbled.
He blew into his hands in a futile attempt to warm them. Forcing one cold and stiff leg forward, he finally looked up to determine some sort of path and nearly fell on his face.
Standing not ten feet away from him was a person. Or what he thought was a person. Humanoid—dressed in a puffy, calf-length parka. Though it was hard to tell due to the depth of the snow.
Or maybe the being had a cylindrical shape and the coat wasn’t as insulated as he thought it was.
He didn’t care; he still wished he had a coat like that—or any kind of covering at all.
Beneath the snow, he could imagine the human-shaped being was wearing thick, warm pants and moisture proof boots, too.
A wistful moan escaped him.
Then he took in the long, shining, deep brown hair that cascaded in curling waves out of the fur-trimmed hood. Golden amber eyes, framed by thick, dark lashes, displayed puzzled disbelief, and full, rose-pink lips formed an “O” of surprise.
It wasn’t a slavering bear-thing. It was the prettiest girl he’d ever seen. Well, if it was a girl. Maybe she was the planet’s equivalent of a big bad bear-thing and he was about to be torn to bloody ribbons.
That would not be a painless death.
She sure looked like a girl. A gorgeous girl in a big beautiful coat.
Death at the hands of such a creature might not be so bad. He was so cold; he most likely wouldn’t feel it much anyway.
“What are you doing out here?”
McCoy was so astonished by the being’s sudden appearance, and that she hadn’t killed him yet, it took him a moment to realize she had spoken.
His brain decided to let him in on a little detail he hadn’t noticed at first—she had spoken in English.
He honestly tried to tell her he was lost—he couldn’t divulge who or what he was—but his mouth was so rigid from the cold, all that came out was a mushy grunt.
“Oh! You’re freezing!” The young woman’s hands flew to the collar of her parka and she yanked the zipper down. “I’m sorry! I forgot for a minute that … uh, well, anyway, you must be freezing!”
She shucked it off, and in the next instant had it wrapped around him. “I was just so shocked to see you. There shouldn’t be any humans out here.”
McCoy’s sharp, medically-trained eye discerned the fact she was decidedly not barrel-shaped. Quite the opposite in fact.
She was wearing a dark green sweater. It, too, was quite lovely.
He’d always liked girls in sweaters.
Said girl was briskly rubbing her hands up and down his arms through the padding. “I’ve got to get you inside somewhere. It’s going to snow again and there are wolves … I think I know a place.”
“You-you’re g-going to f-freeze,” McCoy managed to stutter. He wasn’t a large man, but he was too big for her to carry. The woman would die trying to help him. He couldn’t allow that.
“Don’t worry about me.” Her radiant smile made his breath catch and his heart go pitty-pat. Or was that the sub-freezing temperatures? “This kind of weather doesn’t really bother me. The winter gear is just for show anyway.”
The warmth-creating friction halted and she backed away from him, her eyes going wide. She gulped and slapped her hands over her mouth.
McCoy must have already been suffering the effects of hypothermia. Had he heard her right? She’d called him a human. The winter gear was just for show? Thoroughly confused, he was going to ask her what she meant but all he got out was a muffled “urp” before his vision greyed out and he started to fall.
Edited: 09/23/2015, 03/28/2016