In the best show of proof anyone could hope for that Rose was designed to be far stronger and heavier than any human of her size, she and the bear went tumbling across the forest floor as she tackled it. It swiped at her and beat her down, but couldn’t dislodge her, and inch by inch she got it pinned to the ground. “Get out of here! Get to the lieutenant! Circle around, I’ll rejoin you when you’re clear!”
Dann struggled forward, crawling as quick as he could toward where Jackson had fallen. She was staggering to her feet as he arrived, and grabbed his arm to haul him to his. Together they staggered toward the clearing; the lieutenant was halfway across.
Dann barely recognized the man, bald and haggard as he was after the freeze. He looked worse than they had; maybe the extended wait had had something to do with it, Dann thought to himself. The lieutenant seemed to recognize him easily enough, though.
“Chambers? What’s this about? Rose took off and—”
“Bear. Huge one. She’s holding it, we have to circle around,” Jackson cut in.
“She’s holding … never mind, let’s move out,” he said, exhaustion showing.
“They’re just in past the edge of the clearing,” Dann said as they moved on. The other man was a shadow of the man Dann remembered, but handled himself well in a crisis.
“We’ll cut wide past these trees, work ourselves out to clearer terrain.” They matched action to words, and soon were circling the denser woods and headed back south. Some 20 minutes later Rose rejoined them. There was no sign of the bear, save for a few scratches on Rose’s smart-skin.