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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 - 18. Chapter 18

“I thought you were working.”

“You’re going to eat now, yes?” Garjah filled the doorway.

“I thought Timok was taking me.” I stepped out of my quarters, and the door swished closed behind me. “He was just here.”

“Timok will meet us there. He is getting the food.” Garjah started walking, and before the turn in the corridor I was struggling to keep up and breathe without panting.

He slowed. “I apologize.”

“Fine.” I waved him off. “Just, slow down please?”

“Are you sure? I can carry you.” His lower arms lifted away from his body slightly.

“No! I can walk.”

His thin nostrils flared as his mouth twisted to one side. “Timok said I invaded human body taboos. That you have privacy laws dictating a neutral region of space around your form. Please accept my apologies.” He saluted and bowed, waving me forward. “Please, take the lead. We will go at your pace.”

I blinked repeatedly. That was oddly formal. When I first heard him talking to Timok I’d gotten the impression he was more muscle than brain. Action than thought. But the way the other Four Arms deferred to him and hints of things he’d said was leaving me with the impression he was someone far more important than I’d originally thought.

Not a simple alien stunning things left and right, that was for certain. Though, he still failed to retain some basic facts about me. “I don’t know how to get there.”

His face scrunched again. “But we went there once before.”

“I’m a slow learner?” He probably wouldn’t get the sarcasm. I actually graduated fourth out of thousands, the reasons I was awarded a solo research shipboard position rather than an assistant research role. “I also can’t read those.” I pointed to the guide strips.

Boldly, I reached out and gripped his arm. “Why don’t we walk together?”

“If you wish.” He kept his elbow out awkwardly, his upper arms crossed over his chest. Was he offended by my touch? But he’d touched me. A lot! “This doesn’t bother you?”

“No, why would it?” I tilted my head as we walked to look at his face, trying to figure out his expression. I wished he had eyebrows. With his smooth forehead, it was hard to read his facial expressions when they didn’t include his nostrils or mouth moving.

“You are touching me, and we are walking close together.”

“But I’m walking,” I pointed out. “You’re not carting me around like an invalid. It’s not about touching as much as the intention behind the touching.”

“I will remember that.” Walking at my pace was probably torture for him, but he didn’t complain. He attempted to explain the guides again, but I’d used my wrist unit to help me navigate all the ships, stations, and planets I’d lived on. I could follow a beacon’s directions—that was about it. Garjah seemed to have all sorts of skills and the respect of every Four Arms who crossed our path.

When we got to the dining hall, an entire table was empty except for Timok, though I could see that left the other tables crowded. Four Arms really were large and wide as a group. “Okay, I have to ask. What exactly do you do?”

Garjah ducked his pointed chin into his chest. “I haven’t done anything. You touched me.”

Was he still worried about that? “That isn’t what I meant. Look…” I waved a hand around the dining hall, trying to ignore all the stares focused on me. “I could assume none of them want to eat with me because I’m scary, or contagious, or something other reason l but then they probably wouldn’t be staring like that. So I’m guessing the distance is for you. To show respect. Or fear.” I paused after that last thought tumbled out of my mouth unbidden.

“But you don’t seem like someone who is too scary. At least, not after you stop shooting people and putting them in stasis without any warning,” I said acerbically. I shook off my resentment since it wouldn’t get me the answers I needed. “So who are you? Why do they all treat you this way? Are you,” I swallowed hard, “the captain?”

Timok heard my last question and smirked. “That would be a disaster.”

“As if you could be captain,” Garjah said mildly.

“I wouldn’t want to be.” He shuddered. “Too many people to manage. I’ll stick with my lab and studying life forms, thank you.”

Grateful for the chair pulled up to the table, I eased down to take the weight off. My legs ached and were trembling. I was going to have amazing muscles when I got off this ship. “I know what you mean,” I told Timok.

“I am the security leader,” Garjah said. He took the seat next to me, filling it and more. “I see to the safety and protection of all on this ship.”

“And you’re training Seedrah because….” I picked up the protein cubes, sure of what they were at least. These were spiced differently than before. Bitter, with a smoky undertone. Not as pleasant. I wrinkled my nose, putting down my fork.

“He is the same as I. It is his role.” Garjah sliced off a chunk of whatever slab thing covered his plate and swallowed it down.

“That explains nothing,” I complained. “Why is he like you? Is it his markings? His size? Is he family?”

Timok was watching us closely but didn’t say anything as he ate quietly.

“He was born to it, as I was.”

Pulling teeth… I wanted to scream! “What does that mean?”

Timok finally took pity on me. “Unlike humans, who apparently even have tests they take to find out what they have an affinity to do as a career, we are born to our roles. The knowledge”—he tapped his forehead—“is locked within. We must simply release it with the assistance of a trainer. Once we have matured, of course.”

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

Genetics works various ways. There are parental genes which frequently show up in children as they did in their ancestors. Talents can be genetic and influence the talents of offspring. However the wild genes that inhabit man are always the surprises for humanity. Frank Herbert pretty much covers all of that territory. We as earthlings persist due to these differences. Older alien races may have developed over a longer time in a caste system and abilities may be rigid in the gene pool, think clone. 

Essell better start using his human talents.  He needs to think outside the box or else without his environmental suit he might not make it. Let's not forget Bouncer, poor puppy, out like a broken light bulb. Three cheers for Bouncer and Essell. 

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6 minutes ago, Will Hawkins said:

I am adding this comment as a part of my testing.

And I can see it fine.

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Okay. that means I can now make comments that willbe visible however, at this point I have nothing to say. Amost unusual stste for me to be in.

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Okay, that means I can now make comments that wil lbe visible, however, I have nothing to say at this point. A most unusual cindition for me.

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4 hours ago, Will Hawkins said:

Okay, that means I can now make comments that wil lbe visible, however, I have nothing to say at this point. A most unusual cindition for me.

You may be able to see it easily, but on my end dark blue on dark grey is hard to see. The alternative of light blue on white is about as bad.

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I agree with @drpaladin that genetics is an evolutionary process that can explain why Garjah has his position. The idea of knowledge stored in the brain from conception and unlocked later is fascinating to ponder. I wonder if it also explains the markings on his people. It would be valuable information if Essell can figure out the individuals by their markings. Essell seems to have more freedom, but he need to learn how to follow the guide lights if he is to take advantage of that.  

I agree Essell is gadget dependant and today's youth not only cannot use a map, but also can't do simple math in their heads.  As a retired teacher, it makes me very sad.

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