The Harvester-called-Ch’loi remained motionless and listened. The Need was as nearly still as it had ever known. Its hearing was remarkably acute. It had always thought the Need made its hearing sharper but that was apparently only true in the painful sense. Now, it registered sounds and conversations all over the building in which it lay. One voice above all however drew its full attention.
“How is he?” Chofa asked the primary of the physicians.
“Stable, my lord, healing itself at an unimaginable rate. All we really need do at this point is feed it.”
“A matter of self-preservation as well, I reckon.”
“Indeed, Lord Amisbhake. The creature…”
“Apologies, my lord! It..he..Ch’loi’s body is a highly efficient machine, utilizing very little of its intake and storing the vast majority, yet its augmented appetite is nigh insatiable. It-he is always starving, as it were. Always hungry. Yet is always in possession of plenty.”
“How is that possible?”
“It seems it was designed to store the food product…”
“’Food product.’ Ha. There’s a delicate term for people’s guts.”
“Peace Amisbhake, let her speak, continue lord surgeon.”
“The ichor if it please the Lord Counselor then, is stored with astounding efficiency but it is nearly unable to access it except in times of most dire need, and even then entirely involuntarily.”
“The food he stores is for another,” Chofa said.
“Recycling? Feeding him his own stomach contents?” Amisbhake asked.
“Crop contents in actuality but indeed. It’s a truly fascinating design. A marvel of applied bioengineering that is completely lost today and we are most fortunate to study.”
A new voice spoke, “Which could mean a boon in the elimination of the Monotooth scourge altogether, could it not doctor?”
“It certainly could go a long way, Lord C’yashi.”
“I’m not interested in killing him,” Chofa interrupted, “I want to save him.”
“Save him, Milord?”
“Lord Surgeon, if Ch’loi is willing, I wish to heal him. I wish to make him.. a person again.”