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    Cia
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Ancalagon - 29. Chapter 29

“Stars,” I said weakly. This was going to take some getting used to. Clean. Even without water, I’d feel better if I cleaned myself up. I set the bag on the available shelf and dug around for some clothes. Cursing when I realized shirts were out, I grabbed underclothes and pants at least. I wasn’t sure if I was more angry or scared or if I was both in equal measure.

But I wanted answers.

I marched out of the bathroom. Garjah sat at his table.

“What did you do to me?”

“I didn’t do anything but give you nutrient fluid. Is something wrong? Do you feel okay?”

Dropping my bag, I spread my arms… my four arms. “No I don’t feel okay. Are you completely stupid? I have four arms. Four. Humans don’t have four arms. And why can I do this?” I picked up the chair opposite his. It was made of metal, thick bases on each leg helping it stay steady even if the ship was moving and they weren’t locked in place under the table. “That should be impossible for me to move!” Before he’d always had to move my seat for me.

Garjah shifted in his seat. “Don’t you remember? Timok told you.”

I narrowed my eyes. “I remember waking up. I remember him saying he’d messed up. I want to know what the hell you have done to me, right now.”

“It’s the middle of the night. He’s off duty right now. He’s been watching over you for six full shifts with barely a break.”

“Tough! Wake him up. This….” I gestured wildly and all four arms moved, which only increased my agitation. “This is wrong. I don’t understand what….” My knees began to give, and Garjah jumped up. My face planted against his wide chest, and he held me tight to him. “This isn’t right,” I said weakly. His scent overwhelmed me but the second he’d pulled me against his body my pulse calmed and my breathing eased.

“I know. You’ll be okay, Essell.” Garjah scooped me up. He held me close with two arms and rubbed my back.

I sighed. “Carrying me again.”

“Just to the bed. You’ve done too much, too soon. Timok said to keep you quiet until he came back. I’m sorry, I always leave at the worst times. Just rest. I promise, he’ll be here as soon as he wakes to answer everything, Essell.” He eased the covers down with his free hand and placed me gently on the bed. Then he crawled in beside me.

After everything, this was just too much. I grabbed the soft pillow and turned my back on Garjah, but he didn’t let me go. He stayed close, murmuring things I didn’t understand. Hugging the pillow to my chest, it was only minutes until my mind shut down.

 

 

“I heard you wanted to talk to me?” The impersonal handling and metallic band snapping around my wrist woke me more abruptly and it took a little while for the words to process. Especially once I realized it wasn’t one of the hands I was used to but one of the new ones.

“Where’s Garjah?”

“I asked him to leave.” Timok studied the pad he held.

“Why?” I scowled and sat up.

“Because there are things you don’t understand happening, and I find it necessary to explain them to you.” Timok tapped the pad. “This is fascinating.”

“Would you stop treating me like an experiment.” If glares could blast holes through someone, Timok would have two right through the middle of his green head.

“I apologize. I just never anticipated this. But maybe I should have. Ardra is a strange planet, and you were on the surface for some time.”

“Strange? I thought you guys were familiar with the planet. Garjah made it sound like you visited often.”

Timok gestured with one hand, a wave up and down. “We mostly stay on the ships when we travel, and those who go out do not usually do so without precautions. This trip is one of the first where we have gone beyond automatic mining operations. This is something… new to us.”

“Garjah was barefoot.” I remembered seeing him planted with those wide, strong legs standing firm as he stared down at us on the ground.

“Was he? And did you touch the soil at any time barehanded?”

“Of course.” I wiggled the fingers on the one he’d replaced. “Even if I didn’t, there was this ‘minor incident’,” I said sarcastically. “Now stop stalling.” Maybe that was a trait of their race. Oblique commentary without giving any real information. “Or else.”

“Or else what?” Timok pursed his thin lips, looking unimpressed.

I tossed a pillow at him. “Talk!”

“As you’ve created a bond with your cerops, so too you’ve created a bond with Garjah. It’s been there since the beginning, but since introducing the bots to your system, the connection seems to have created some sort of confusion on their part as to what your DNA structure should have entailed. So they ‘fixed’ you to the best of their ability before we realized what was happening and stopped further changes. Unfortunately, some things could not be undone once they began.”

My mouth dropped open. That was not what I was expecting. I laser focused on the heart of the matter. “What kind of bond?”

“Symbiotic? Some organism in all of you creating a link between you.”

“A parasite?”

“Nothing that big. This is microscopic. But it seems to be working to create bonds in order to do something for is hosts. Duplicate, protect, strengthen… I’m not sure yet.”

“We should be in quarantine.”

“No one else on the ship seems to have it. Just those who’ve been in contact with both the planet and your bare skin. Garjah has allowed no one but himself to do that since he brought you aboard.”

“You were just touching me!” I pointed out.

“But I have not left the ship.”

Copyright © 2020 Cia; All Rights Reserved.
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It seems WOW!!! is the word for this chapter. Between the planet and E.T.s and human DNA, there is a mega gene pool reacting in Essell and Garjah. How is Bouncer going to react? 😃

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How exciting! As per usual, I can't wait for next Wednesday! I'm still feeling some suspicion on Timok for some reason, and I can't point my finger at the proper reasoning.

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Hummm...what other developments await us, methinks there are several, many more surprises to come....

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Loved the chapter!  The tables have certainly turned on Essell, the investigator has become the investigated.

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I am sure most, if not all of us felt there were bonds developing, but these definitely are not the usual emotional bonds although emotional bonding is there also.  Something in the nature of Ardra seems to be a catalyst for them. Interesting chapter.

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