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    Cia
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Ancalagon - 28. Chapter 28

Something didn’t feel right. My mouth was gummy, and I’d kill for a glass of water. I cracked my eyes open, but they were crusted over and blurry. “Waaa.” Oh stars, it really was dry.

“Essell? Can you open your eyes?”

“Nuuh.” I shook my head a tiny bit side to side. “Waat.” The word came out in a long exhale. I groaned, “Er.”

“Get him a drink.”

“Water?”

“No, he needs the nutrient fluid.”

If I could have wrinkled my nose, I would have. Nutrient fluid? That sounded awful.

It was. It so was. The fluid was thick, trickled down my throat in a warm stream, and had a metallic aftertaste. But it did wet my mouth and throat so I could talk.

“What happened?”

“A miscalculation on my part.” That was Timok’s voice. He’d been talking to me since the beginning. But I smelled Garjah, and he’d held my shoulders and lifted me so I could drink the nutrient fluid.

“Explain.” Each word I got out burned my throat like fire. I wanted another drink, but at the same time I didn’t want one.

“The bots were programmed to replace the missing body part… but I didn’t adequately define the parameters between our species and yours. We have no had this problem with the bots before. I have a theory that our genetics must be closer than most species for them to be so easily confused.”

I blinked, wincing at the rough scrape across my eyelids. I closed them, sighing. So the bots screwed up. What else could go wrong? I mean, seriously, since I’d landed on this planet nothing had gone right. My life was a series of stupid choices, apparently, mixed in with unfortunate circumstances.

It… was… “Ow!” The muscles in my neck crawled and shivered down my spine. I twitched, only then realizing Garjah still held me in his arms.

“Put him down. It’s not safe yet.”

“You said to give him fluids.” Garjah lowered me to a pillow.

“Just do it. They’re moving in his spine again.”

My spine? I need that. It was important. What had Timok done to me?

 

When I woke next the stinging, itchy crawling feeling in my body was gone. The blanket was tucked up to my chin, but I was on my side curled around the soft pillow on Garjah’s bed. How did I know that?

How did I know that?

Well, I recognized the softness of the pillow, but the bed was Garjah’s because his scent saturated the space. For the first time in maybe months, I felt rested and relaxed. I’d been on edge since I’d been posted on the ship and realized how much Sonez resented my placement. My plans for a study were put aside, and I’d worked relentlessly to find a way around his interference.

The trip to Ardra had been the perfect plan. Except for running into aliens. So much for my offhand confidence of being the son of a first-contact specialist. I’d never considered advanced aliens who didn’t participate in the universal community.

None of the scans of Ardra indicated any sentient life lived here or even visited. No habitations, no landingss indicating space travel, no harvesting or mining operations.

“Huh.” Just how were the Four Arms getting the oslium then? I rolled onto my back and kept going, nearly hitting the wall. “Whoa.” I opened my eyes, blinking. The room was dim, too dark for me to see anything clearly. I ordered the lights to brighten.

“Stars!” My breath quickened, and I pushed myself up with the hand I hadn’t injured. The other one, the one that Timok had removed, had regrown and looked just like it had before. But that wasn’t the most surprising part. There was a second set of limbs coming out… of my spine? I thought about bringing my hands together, and they did just what I was thinking. The fingers wove together then apart. I flexed and turned each wrist, bent each finger.

Swinging my legs over the edge of the bed, I sat. I tried to lift my arms. My normal arms, the ones I’d always had, moved freely. The new ones…? They didn’t go up and down far, most movement limited to forward and back.

This was insane! I stumbled to my feet and rushed into the bathroom, nearly slamming into the wall when I tried to stop before the door opened all the way. What happened to the gravity? It used to be so heavy, slowing me down.

My breathing had gone from light, quick breaths into pants barely preventing hyperventilation. What kind of freak did I become? I had to see. The door opened after what seemed like forever but was most likely only seconds, and I entered the bathroom.

The wall became a mirror with one touch, and I stared. My hair, brown and long enough to flop into my normal human eyes, was still there. Skin, still pale with pale pink tints in places better left covered—

Naked. I was naked. Why did they keep taking off my clothes? This time they hadn’t even put new ones on me!

“Essell?” Grajha’s scent had been in his bed but had faded from his room. It wafted from him as soon as he entered, spicing the air so I knew who it was before he even spoke.

Without conscious thought, my new hands covered my vulnerable bits. I spun to face the open door. “Where are my clothes?” I demanded.

Garjah stood in the doorway with my bag. “I just went to get them. Timok said you’d be awake soon, and all the bots had broken down and left your system so it would be safe for you to redress.”

Relief swamped me. “Great. Thanks.” I snatched my bag and hit the sensor to shut the bathroom door. I stood there, two new hands over my junk, one hand holding my bag, and one hand on the wall sensor.

Copyright © 2020 Cia; All Rights Reserved.
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Essell's attitude is starting to grate on me. Entitled much? For a scientist, he sure has many preconceived notions about a race that he, as a human, had no previous knowledge of. I get that the situation he's in is somewhat precarious, and given the fact that he's a, 'first-contact', I just think he'd be a little bit more open minded and not be so selfish. He wants to find out more about "four arms" but in his mind his goal is still to report his findings to whatever federation he owes allegiance to. I hope he sees the light soon. 

Great chapter, as usual. 😊👍

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There is yet a secret about the origin of the four armed ET's. There are still many things Essell does not know about these ET's. Timok just recognized the sameness between the two genome? Is there a stronger connection to humans than they will admit?

How long would it take for humans under duress on a planet and interaction with plants, animals and other forms of life, which forced DNA changes, to survive? Is Essell just another recruit? Still lots of questions that need answers. Thanks for a new chapter. I look forward to Wednesdays.

(Sorry, alien is currently a politically charged word I am trying not to use.)

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I hope we could see Essell getting his sh%t together and becoming a bridge, a point of first contact between the species!

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I like the changes, he even seems more sensitive to smells.  At least now he may fit into one of the aliens suits.  

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