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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Ancalagon - 17. Chapter 17

Hook. Line. Sinker. It was an old line I’d picked up from my nurse. She’d had all these old idioms that made very little sense. I’d never lived near a lot of water, so that one had intrigued me the most. She’d told me stories of fish great and small, and giant white whales—creatures that roamed the depths of the oceans and had been hunted by men in boats dug out from trees, their weapons so primitive it seemed amazing they were able to catch anything at all, much less something so large.

But humans could do amazing things. Like trick aliens. I hadn’t been harmed, but the conversations I’d overheard hadn’t been exactly friendly toward my kind either. It put me on edge and tempered my curiosity about the Four Arms. I’d rather be studying the animals I’d discovered on Ardra.

I clasped my hands together and tilted my head to one side, sitting slumped on the bunk. Small. Two arms only. No suit. No weapon. Just wanted some clean clothes, that’s all.

“Seedrah, please bring the human’s pack to L17.”

Bingo! I resisted the urge to grin but just barely. “I appreciate that.” I hoped showing thanks in their culture wasn’t a bad thing. Garjah had helped me a lot; cultures that took offense to such gestures were usually more stand on your own two feet or flounder. He’d literally swept me off mine several times.

We spent the time waiting for the Four Arms Timok called, Seedrah, by cautiously probing each other. Timok was far more open in his questions about humans. He had a data pad which he used to tap in notes as he questioned me about my preferred planet, diet, and he was beginning on family structure when the alert came.

Just in the nick of time. How to explain absent parents and stand in nurturers?

At least I’d learned more about them. I’d grasped they didn’t exactly chew, but Timok had given me a closer look at his mouth. The jaw really did have a fascinating hinge, and their throat structure was very unique. It made sense why they would eat a diet more focused on protein. What vegetation they ate was usually prepared in strips or came naturally in long, narrow stalks.

I was hoping to get my fork as well as my clothes. The tongs were awkward, and I was afraid I’d slice my tongue off with the knife.

“The pack you requested, Timok.” Seedrah was one of the Four Arms who had ridges like Garjah. His markings were subtle, faded, and he looked like he was still growing into his limbs.

“Thank you.”

Seedrah saluted with two of his hands and stepped back so the door slid shut. His gaze was locked on me the whole time.

“Is he related to Garjah?” They had a similar intensity.

“Related?” Timok held my pack, the metal frame dangling from one of his hands. “That word has different meanings.”

“Do they share a genetic connection?”

“No. They are both of the same affiliation.”

I tilted my head. “Affiliation?” What could that be that lead to a similar physiology and behavior?

“Garjah is training Seedrah. He will be leader one day. The same as I am training Glovdok to take my place. I must check this,” he said, indicating my pack. “I know security would have checked it, but they do not have the knowledge on humans I do.”

Pressing my lips together, I nodded once. I didn’t like people going through my things, but Timok was at least a fellow scientist. Or a doctor. I wasn’t quite sure of his role. Timok. Glovdok. Garjah. Seedrah. The pattern couldn’t be a coincidence. Four Arms were named based on their roles and their bodies seemed to reflect that similarity.

Was it a genetic memory thing? A rank? Name then rank. Maybe I didn’t hear the separation between the two. I itched for anything to record everything I was learning, but I knew they wouldn’t let me. Maybe there was more to First Contact than I thought.

After rummaging around in my pack, Timok handed it over. “You can change. Low-gravvers struggle in an environment like ours, so after the meal, more rest is recommended until you acclimate better.”

“Can you step out?”

“Body shy? I did not think of that.”

“There’s not exactly anywhere private to go.” The toilet was in the corner, the shower was in the middle of the floor, and the bunk wasn’t going to hide anything.

Timok looked at me suspiciously, but he’d searched my pack. I waited. “I’ll be right outside. The meal will end soon, so please do not take too long.”

I dumped my pack on the bed as soon as the door swished behind him. Clothes, food, my first aid kit, my spare power packs, specimen kits, and small tools. I couldn’t believe they left those in there. With some privacy, I just might be able to rig up something with the tools at my disposal. I’d have to look more at their technology.

Skimming out of my suit, I pulled out a long-sleeved black suit stored in a tiny vacuum pack and undid the top. I shook it out then slid it on. It was snug, but it encased my feet and hooked over my thumbs to cover my arms. It was light enough not to be too warm. It would hide more of my pale skin. I couldn’t do anything about the lack of a second set of arms or my much smaller stature.

I tucked my kit back into my pack, carefully hiding the most useful tools inside my dirty suit, which I buried at the bottom. Trudging over to the door, I fumbled with the controls but eventually got it to open. Time to face the music. I snorted. Well, the room full of aliens who were bound to stare at me.

“Garjah!” My voice rose in surprise.

“Ready to eat?”

Copyright © 2020 Cia; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Chapter Comments

Could Garjah be feeling a connection with Essell? Could it be romantic? It seems like a key element for Essell either learning to function in Four-Arm culture  or escape is dealing with >2X gravity. Physiologically it would take a long time to adapt. Could Timok have some advanced medical technology to help?
So many questions, such short chapters! 😉 

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I really don't feel there is any romance in Garjah and Essell's future together.  Their physiology is so different that sexual intimacy between the two would be dangerous to Essell.  They do seem to be becoming affectionate, but it is more like a mentor relationship than romantic feelings. Garjah is concerned and caring, but that may be because he feels deep guilt for taking Essell away from his family, friends and home to live a life as a prisoner in an alien civilisation. Essell may be pampered for the rest of his life, but he is still a prisoner.

Essell is being stupid and impetuous again.  He may be able to escape his room to liberate Bouncer, but where will he go? How will he get there?  He definitely needs to be patient and observing.  Maybe go exploring the ship on his own. He must learn how the ship works. What icons/written symbols are needed to identify the functions used to communicate, navigate and pilot the ship? He should have learned that before he commandeered the shuttle. He doesn't seem to learn his lessons about survival quickly. 

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