Inspired By: Clinton Shorter- "Heading Home" and Immediate- "Turning Home"

Karma's Wicked Twists

"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others"- Nelson Mandella

Christopher practically screamed into the air as he tried to collect his thoughts pertaining to the human system into one tangible idea that he could grasp. Her vitals needed to stabilize quickly and dug his fingers back into the wound to designate the problem, gently trailing through the muscle seams to find the source of the bleeding. At the opposite side of the bed, Oliver pulled up his little stool after lugging it tiredly from across the room (the medical bay was too big for him) and sluggishly boosted himself up to see what was happening. Any help he could provide for his father, he would give. Unfortunately, his father noticed him instantly when his little mandibles clicked and didn't want him seeing Amaya in that condition, snapping sharply, "Oliver, you can't be here. This is a delicate situation."

"I can help" he shot back firmly because he wasn't leaving and clasped his hands over his chest for standing up to his parent, bravery and wariness flooding his heart for it. His blue eyes widened at the vibrant red blood and exposed muscle causing him to stagger back in nervousness since he'd never witnessed such a thing. Oh, that's why his father didn't want him there. Still, she needed his help and he'd summon the courage for it. He knew she'd do the same in the blink of an eye if the tables were turned and gently stroked her hair in the hopes she knew he would try his best. He remembered his lessons with Jane (everything but grammar) and Amaya's own books that she brought for him to read about humans to increase his knowledge.

"Did you seal off the blood to find the leak?" he asked gently so he wouldn't break his father's concentration, speaking fluently in their true language rather than the broken type initiated by MNU. Their people held various dialects as people from all continents of Thalis had boarded Christopher's ship during the exodus and Oliver had studied about them within the module. How many tribes had perished throughout the years and which would survive? He was now on the mothership and within Earth's atmosphere where MNU's law against speaking their true language was void so he would not let his culture die.

Christopher, however, stopped working as his son's suggestion made sense and asked uncertainly to clarify, "Clamp the blood flow?"

"Yes, she's leaking blood, you have to find and shut it off" Oliver explained gingerly as he mustered up the courage to tell him of his studies. Everything he'd learned had to pay off and if this was his test, he wouldn't hesitate to purge his mind free of everything. There was no time to waste as he carefully explained the human body to his father, "She's bleeding from a tear and you have to seal it to stop it," his little finger hovered over an exposed nerve, "Purple thing there is a nerve, they only give pain but not blood. Muscle can heal if it's damaged but blood must stop or. . .she'll die."

"Where. . .," his father exhaled distressingly as he grabbed a clamping tool to find the troublesome bleeding vessel and Oliver peered in nervously to help. Oh, how he hoped his son's little bits of knowledge would aid Amaya. His frantic mind ignored the rapid beeps as it followed the blood trail diligently to find the leak and Christopher's eyes brightened when he found the bleeding vessel that hid between two muscle tissues. Quickly, he clamped the blood vessel to bring an immediate stop to its trickling flow, reducing it to nothing but tiny rivulets that drained into the larger pool contained within the wound.

"Clean blood" Oliver told him quickly and his father used the suction tool to wipe away everything within the wound. Nonetheless, the youngling's hands grabbed a few cloths in case he needed to dab anything as his blue eyes stayed locked on the area. Gruesome or not, he would brave this because Amaya and his father needed him. His father had saved him from a bleak future life within the district and Amaya had saved Christopher within the battlefield so Oliver owed them both. Good little boys had to be good sons as well.

Christopher sighed with relief for a brief moment when her vitals rose out of the danger zone, remembering the most important numbers as Amaya had informed him many years ago during Oliver's delivery. His youngling steered him in the right direction when he ordered quickly with flickering antennae, "Find the bleeding on the vessel and seal or she will keep fading."

Quickly, he turned back to his tools packet and picked up a cauterizing laser. Oliver grabbed the suctioning tool to clear the blood away from Amaya's wound, his little hands steady after fixing countless gadgets for his father. It was a small river of blood since the clamping had prevented any more continuous flows but his father needed to find the tear in the vessel causing her to hemorrhage. Oliver helped by scanning the little red vessel with his eyes, ignoring everything else surrounding it, and both poleepkwa smiled when they saw a tiny microscopic hole oozing out blood pumping from the heart and Christopher used the laser to seal the hole entirely. Amaya's people still lacked good advancements in medical tools so she was lucky he was using his own, which fixed a major problem in mere seconds, or she'd be gone. Giving himself a few seconds of peace, he returned to unclamp the blood vessels and watched silently to see if any further bleeding reoccurred.

It didn't.

Christopher's antennae rose straight on end to the miracle handed to him, thanking whoever or whatever decided to hand him some luck today, and sighed softly as the immense weight lifted off his shoulders, "It worked."

Oliver's delighted trills echoed through the empty medical bay and Christopher cleaned the injury thoroughly with both the suctioning tool and sterilized cloths before withdrawing the retracting tool. With gentle hands, he smoothed Amaya's caramel skin over the open wound to seal it with the blue laser as a tiny trail of clear smoke surrounded the cut before dispersing. They had stocked the med bay with basic tools for general care and surgery as the more important technology lingered behind with the scientific and medical teams on Thalis. Amaya would have a small hairline scar as a permanent souvenir but it would be better than what her doctors could provide in such a quick time. He could've allowed the auto-suture machine to sew up the wound with its clear and tight adhesive but he needed it done fast to stabilize her, looking to Oliver who nodded approvingly to his work. He could hear her vitals rise to a stable condition again on the wall console and leaned on his elbows to relax over the bed, hanging his head with clear exhaustion written on his face.

"We did it" Christopher breathed in disbelief and his youngling chirped cheerfully, his antennae flicking with apparent joy to the news. They had saved their friend! His small hand patted Amaya's cheek affectionately as the painkillers flowed through her system to keep her asleep. He wasn't confident about injecting her with sustenance fluids due to their old age and would put his trust on both his handywork and the monitors to keep her in close check. Careful not to prick his skin or injure his hands, he placed all of his used tools on the empty bed behind him and reminded himself to learn how to sterilize them later. He would place them in the nearby washing sinks soon but made sure to instruct Oliver not to touch them since his little one was eager on studying just about anything.

"She'll live?" Oliver piped up hopefully with shining eyes to make sure his handy knowledge wasn't in vain and his father nodded, relieving the tight squeeze on his little heart. His hands clasped over his chest as he beamed with happiness, gazing at the sleeping human that would remain alongside them throughout their journey. He would take it upon himself to guard her on Thalis since she'd done the same for him, a little youngling, on her planet and would treasure her company. Oliver was a cheerful child that enjoyed friendships, always eager to explore with his companions but now that they were all stranded in District 10, it was up to him to stand tough and help his father bring them to freedom.

"You saved her, little one" Christopher thanked appreciatively with a proud smile in his eyes for Oliver's tidbits in medical science. He knew it was a good idea letting him stay at Jane's since he enjoyed her teachings, absorbing them like a sponge, and it paid off brilliantly. If it wasn't for his keen intellect, Christopher would have been at a loss on how to save her and she would be dead. He owed his son immensely for his defiance to stay back and knew he'd have to start teaching him subjects that came naturally to their people like engineering and architecture. Knowing Oliver had saved his own mother, he locked gazes with him as Oliver tried to place a white blanket on her sleeping form and stated earnestly, "I'm very, very proud of you."

Oliver purred contently to the compliment, lucky to have a parent that both encouraged and loved him. Did his father miss his own? He knew he'd miss his father if he ever disappeared since he was all that he had in the universe, nobody else would take care of him. For both their sakes, Oliver hoped they would find their people on the homeworld with no lingering plague in the air. He didn't want to dwell on unhappy thoughts as he was finally free to do as he wished- whatever he wanted! There were no restraints to hold him back and with that in mind, grabbed Amaya's larger hand into both of his to make his first independent decision by requesting, "Can I stay here?"

"Be very careful and if anything happens, I'll be in the cleaning station next door" he allowed with a tired smile since his son deserved to spend time alongside his sleeping mother and nodded since his hands were covered in drying crimson blood. He needed to wash it all away and hope that he never had to touch anyone else's blood for as long as he lived; he was a scientist, blood was not a welcome sight (especially hers). Walking away, he let the repressed tension roll off his shoulders as he assured himself she'd be all right as long as Oliver was there. The bullet was gone, the blood was contained, and she'd been sealed perfectly. He couldn't wait until she woke up to certify it, anxious to see those stormy eyes gaze upon him as he had for the last seventeen years of his life.

Quietly, he exited the large medical bay with silent footsteps and smiled forlornly to the familiar silver halls. He'd run through those halls with his mother when she visited her friends and owed everything that occurred to her- this had been her dream and he'd achieved it. If he managed to find help for his people, the credit would go to his beloved mother and the others who had sacrificed themselves to ensure its secrecy. He entered the first door on the left, finding himself bathed in bright white light as the public washroom for patients divided a little personal space for each when they couldn't reach the levels below. He couldn't wait any longer to wipe off Amaya's blood from his hands, activating one of the showers by touching the green sensory keypad, and almost scrubbed his skin raw under the warm water until he felt it was enough.

And the water, he hadn't felt warm water on his skin for ages. Eventually, the simple cleaning turned into a full on shower to get a decent cleaning after lacking one for years (he wasn't a brown poleepkwa). He gazed at the water collecting at the bottom of the white floor and wasn't surprised to see it drain in a brownish red color, dirt from years' worth of filth and red from his injuries. The entire ordeal of the last hours would remain with him forever- one he would make sure would never be forgotten among their people- and he could only hope Wikus made it out alive as Amaya had. Humans were incredibly fragile, they could rival younglings at times. Is that why they feared anyone different than them? Despite the fright Amaya gave him, he couldn't help but smile and relish in the fact that he wouldn't see another human for three years- maybe time would help diminish his nightmares.

He was heading home to his people and nothing would stop him.

"I did it, mother" he whispered in lament, pressing his damp head against the pristine white walls of metal and hoped he'd made her proud. She had instilled her best traits within him and although he was proud to be her last surviving child, the guilt of watching her and his siblings perish never left him. More than anything, he yearned to have them alongside him as they headed home to Thalis. He doubted the survivor's guilt would ever leave but a small consolation was completing her work, smiling wistfully to breathe against the fogging metal, "I did it."

Seven years ago. . .

Amaya finished writing her last words in Christopher's native language, nodding with approval to her sample and smiled proudly to declare, "There. What do you think?"

Christopher walked over to observe her small paragraph in the dirt, each letter carefully written in the soft earth as she held a wooden stick against her chest. She had mastered his basic language at thirteen and achieved intermediate three years later but he wanted her to know his true language fluently, not just the basic broken language Earth imposed. Her writing skills were almost complete at nineteen but her conjugation was slightly off, leading him to constantly correct and tutor her on that. Who knew their son would have the same problem later on. With his own stick, he corrected the wrong words by drawing lines through them in the dirt with the concentration of a diligent teacher marked on his face.

"Oh no, now I'm worried" she chuckled nervously as he corrected another letter and bit her fingernails for emphasis in the hopes that he'd take pity on her. Christopher simply trilled with amusement to her playful expression, tapping the end of his stick with hers to stir a chuckle from her lips.

"You're doing well but you must practice what I told you" he answered with a satisfactory nod and trilled to tease her with words from her scribbled note in the dirt, "So you love me more than anyone in your life? Is that my skillful student trying to score extra points or my beautiful mate trying to cheer me up?"

"Both" she smiled mischievously to the crafty writing and Christopher erased the small paragraph with his stick to loosen up the dirt. He didn't want anyone to accidentally discover that if they passed by his small backyard, even if metal sheets surrounded the area. Risks were not to be taken when he had a family to protect. Slyly, she walked over to him with a sway in her movements and leaned over to tease playfully, "And how is your Afrikaans coming along?"

"I'm getting there but powering up a ship and working a double-shift takes up time" he replied with a small smug smile to his load of responsibilities and wrapped his arms around her. Behind his home, the two were safe from prying eyes as the carefully arranged metal sheets circled the back of the home but he remained watchful in case one decided to tumble down or an eye decided to peek through the holes in the sheets. She leaned into his embrace with a content sigh, enjoying every minute she spent with him, and smiled when his antennae touched her forehead.

"And I'm proud of all your work" she encouraged warmly and lightly touched the ends of his antennae with her index finger to send pleasant shivers down his spine. Her gray gaze locked with his as he held her by the waist, touching her forehead against his as she stated proudly, "You've always been brilliant, you just need decent food to keep that brain power going. That reminds me, why did I hear from James that Paul is having a hatchling? I should've known before him, I practically created that hatchling with all my careful planning."

"I'm pretty sure it would've needed either parent to be created" Christopher reminded gently with an amused trill to her humorous pout and she crossed her arms to feign displeasure, smiling widely when he nuzzled her face.

"No, he could've had it himself but I helped lure in Erica- ow!" she pointed out matter-of-factly but yelped when something struck her lower leg, looking down immediately to see her pant leg covered in mud. The wet dirt trailed down her blue jeans, falling onto the dry dirt with a soft plop, and she turned around to catch their own hatchling as the culprit to the playful crime. Oliver merely clapped his hands joyfully to his success and trilled contently from his muddy spot. Turning to Christopher, she smiled amusingly to the creativity of their little son but mused softly, "His muscles are getting stronger. He was just splashing in it last time."

"It's your turn to bathe him, he almost tore out my left antenna last time" he told her casually and she shook her head as he washed his hands clean of the task, walking over to pick up their muddy hatchling. His slick arms drenched in mud wrapped around his mother's neck with a cheerful coo and she winced as mud decorated her skin in which Christopher added wittily, "Seems you will too with that grip."

"Laugh it up, big guy" she chided gently but held her cooing child happily to bring him back inside their home. Oliver's bright eyes darted between both parents as he babbled nonsensically to both, trying to communicate his glee for the mud but neither understood him. Pressing her forehead to his, Amaya made up for the bump in communication by cooing dotingly, "Who's my little itty bitty baby? Who loves you more than anything? Who's the cutest hatchling?"

"You spoil him" Christopher chuckled softly as he watched their hatchling babble happily in return to her words, blue eyes sparkling affectionately for the motherly attention. He patted the back of Oliver's muddy head with a gentle hand as he used the other to hold the door open for his mate and child as the trio walked inside their warm home.

"Nurturing isn't spoiling. . .besides, he's my baby, I have motherly rights" she pointed out to dismiss her behavior and he laughed at her law abiding side since motherhood knew no bounds. Her cheek pressed against Oliver's, squeezing his little form against hers with undying love, and she smiled with closed content eyes to sigh appreciatively, "And I'll love him forever. He'll be my one and only."

Oliver simply chirped to his mother's affection, little bare feet wiggling in midair as she carried him.

"It almost makes me wish our other two had lived. . .but life is hard enough" he admitted softly with regret to their lost hatchlings and she walked over to embrace him with her free arm, showing the same loyal empathy he offered her. Amaya wished her two little eggs would've been strong enough to endure through the miscarriage and prayed they were in a better place, never forgetting they had existed. They deserved to be after what her naivety had cost them and would bathe Oliver with the extra love and care she would've provided for them. Christopher squeezed her shoulders to reciprocate her caring embrace and asked quietly, "Would you like to visit them later?"

"Mm-hmm, MNU stays only at the border today" she answered softly since he enjoyed his visits to his mother's grave to share his newest details in life as he kept their tight family bond, even in death. Amaya squeezed their son as he babbled nonsensically as he liked exploring the world around him with his parents, smiling when he patted her shoulders for attention, "I'll always protect you though, my little darling."

Christopher smiled to her devotion towards their child and caressed her cheek with the palm of his hand, grateful to have received a loving mate. Of course, in Amaya's mind, she was the lucky one. Who else could've followed him to hand him his little yellow ball or glued his name tag back together? Fate dealt her a lucky hand that day and she thanked whatever force existed for guiding her to him. She leaned into his touch with a loving smile, their son trilling softly as his blue eyes gazed at Christopher, and he purred softly, "I never thought I'd have a family with you after all of the barriers that have been set forth by your people but you insisted. . .you fought with me until. . ."

"We created this little beauty" she finished gently and Oliver patted his father's chest to draw on his green skin with mud from his little fingers. Christopher sighed softly to his lively son's painting but chuckled to his action nonetheless, giving his round head a little pat as Oliver trilled giddily. Amaya's gaze softened as she watched their son resort to artwork on his father's skin and ruminated solemnly, "Our other children weren't fortunate to endure the process. Other parents aren't so lucky to get their little ones registered and licensed either, especially when they pass the child limitation law. I like to think your mother watches over him just like we do. I'd give my life for him in any given second."

"I know" he whispered as he watched Oliver and tickled his hatchling's chin to make him purr happily, always ready to keep his son hidden from all the dangers in the world. After securing a smile from his son as his little mandibles clacked softly, he walked over to his dusty nightstand to open a drawer and pulled out a small picture frame that had been hidden underneath a pile of old worn papers. He didn't have anything that could be locked inside drawers and resorted to hiding it under rubble, using his fingertips to gently brush away dust to make sure it was perfect. Colorful buttons decorated the wooden picture frame as colored twine added texture to the picture he treasured, especially during depressive days, and spoke with a delighted trill that brightened his golden eyes, "I've been working on this using several items from the heap. I wanted to protect it and I am. See?"

Eagerly, he showed her the framed picture James had been forced to take during her last days before leaving to the university. She smiled tenderly in remembrance to the moment as his forehead had pressed against hers with undying devotion and blushed to the fact they'd mostly stayed locked inside his bedroom the entire time. Her fingers touched the wooden frame that held glued sapphire ribbons around each corner to protect it from breaking, outlining the small colorful buttons. His attention to detail over a small photograph touched her heart since she'd never framed her pictures out of fear for discovery and smiled brightly at Oliver to gush proudly, "Look at what your papa made. Isn't he the most skillful man in the district?"

Their son simply cooed to the pretty buttons of variable colors and offered a few babbles as he reached for the frame but Christopher had to pull it away. He loved his child dearly, he did. . .but he was quite destructive as a hatchling. Amaya loved seeing her little one tinker with items (only those bigger than his mouth, of course) but Christopher hoped his son would mellow out because he didn't want him to turn into one of those who joined the violence against humans. He wanted to hold his precious child in his hand, to shield him from all dangers and protect him like a fortress, and make sure he would grow into adulthood to have hatchlings of his own. Oliver was their hope for the future, one where they didn't have to be oppressed and could return to the stars to reclaim their lost culture.

Amaya brought him out of his reverie when she grinned mischievously to state quietly, "Those two nights were mind-blowing and fabulous. No gangs, just crickets and the rain giving us music as we-"

"There's a child present!" he broke in nervously with clicks emitting from his throat to ward off his own memories of those particular nights but his antennae drooped modestly to the rampant ardor shared between them. He practically dragged her to his bedroom every time her familiar scent entered his senses, passive or aroused, and neither allowed the other to leave the bed afterwards. There had been no reluctance to declare his love as she'd left to live in another part of the city that was unreachable, and still was, but MNU couldn't break them apart in spirit.

"You know what's funny? I doubted I could find other humans who could see you the way I did but I have" she smiled coyly to their secret relationship and tickled her son's abdominal arms, causing his tiny feet to wiggle in midair. Christopher tilted his head to the side to what she implied since most humans would hurl items at them while calling them the cruelest names possible, remembering his own awful memories. He wouldn't wish that on anyone, especially an innocent child wandering the city on his own; it was the sole reason why he'd never let Oliver visit it in the future. Amaya balanced their hatchling in her arms, using both to keep him comfy and explained with an intrigued smile, "There's a group on campus that's signing petitions for international government interference and it's so good to know there's people out there fighting for you besides me. Some even went as far to write on a poster board to marry a poleepkwa to give equal rights. I bet MNU had their panties in a bunch with that one since citizenship would mean no more profit for them."

"Were you the one that wrote it?" he asked suspiciously as his antennae gently tapped her forehead and she laughed to his expression, enjoying the crossed arms 'what did you do' look. She'd always been the number one suspect for upsetting MNU but as a student, she couldn't do much. This time, however, she was in the clear as she'd only been a spectator to the protest on campus.

"Of course not, they beat me to it but hey, maybe one day I can be the poster board wife?" she smiled impishly to the idea of a future where she wouldn't have to hide her love because others saw it as disgusting and a betrayal to their species. Love came in many forms and she'd rather share all of her days alongside Christopher than any other person in the world, knowing that he was the one her heart yearned for. The palm of her hand caressed his cheek, her thumb grazing the top as she stated confidently, "After all, my poleepkwa mate is quite a handsome fellow."

Raised their child into the air playfully, she pressed her head to his as he trilled happily to the little lift and kicked his feet into the air. Her gray eyes bore into his beautiful azure hue as she held him and cooed lovingly with hope for the future, "And who'll be the cutest hatchling? You will!"

"That cute hatchling needs a bath" he reminded amusingly as Oliver trilled cheerfully to his mother's mood, babbling words neither could understand, and grabbed the plastic bath from its place in the corner of their home. The yellow bath was placed on their dinner table as Amaya undressed her protesting child, his blue eyes narrowing fussily as he eyed the bath suspiciously and his thin arms waved in protest to being undressed. Christopher used a bucket of warm water he'd placed outside to be warmed by the sun and emptied a sufficient amount inside to keep his hatchling safe from aspiration. He stroked Oliver's head with encouragement to enjoy his bath time as he whimpered in protest, his little muddy arms flailing, and Christopher purred softly, "You'll be a healthier child. There's no need to be afraid, little one."

Oliver, however, clamped onto his mother's chest as he hung on for dear life and warbled woefully in the hopes that they'd take pity. She soothed him gently as she brought him down into the plastic bath, along with her stretched shirt, and dipped his flailing feet into the warm water. Despite his inability to walk, he jumped back up to his mother in reflex when he touched the bottom and she assured kindly with a soft voice, "It's safe, Oliver. Your papa warmed up the water just for you. He'd never let anything happen to you."

Again, she tried dipping his feet and he let out a piercing cry as he dug his face into his mother's bosom. Amaya couldn't bear to see him cry for any reason and soaked a natural sponge in the bath to dab at his skin to remove the caked dirt as he hung onto her. He whimpered with large blue eyes full of apprehension whenever the water doused his skin and she sighed hopelessly while taking a pause, "I don't know what he's so afraid of. Do you think he's scared of the color yellow? I'd bathe with him if we had enough water in this hellhole."

"You shouldn't coddle him too much, he's just fussy" Christopher told her since their son could be rather tenacious about bathing and grabbed the reluctant hatchling from her arms. Before Oliver could clamp onto him for refuge from the innocent water below, his father sat him down in the bath to soak him up to his waist and the child immediately began to splash around. Quickly, Christopher began to wash the mud off from his legs by using a wet towel but his son kept kicking water at his face as he thrashed within the bath. Amaya was surprised by their small hatchling's strength as Christopher struggled to clean him and her mate growled through the arduous process, "He's a tough one but he'll get used to it."

Amaya grabbed her son's arms to stop his thrashing as he'd been batting the top of Christopher's head in protest to his cleaning. Oliver's eyes locked onto hers in the hopes that she'd understand his reluctance but his mother was on his father's side, his large blue eyes attempting to charm her to help. Her little one was already showing his crafty brilliance but Amaya wanted her son squeaky clean for bedtime and squeezed his arms affectionately as she soothed with a warm smile, "Nothing's going to hurt you. See? Play with the water. Splash it. It won't hurt. Splish. Splash."

She guided his tiny hand into the water to make a splashing motion to encourage water frolicking to melt away his fear as she smiled hopefully. Instead, Oliver opened his mouth to release a loud earsplitting wail that shocked them both and Amaya began to clean him quickly to halt his crying. Together, the two adults shared the small baby soap container to wash their child clean soon before anyone thought they were killing the poor infant. Both adults couldn't understand his fear of the water, there was nothing that could harm him. Amaya soothed her child's crying by talking to him and scrubbing his small limbs while Christopher simply scrubbed and avoided being bitten by his protesting child when he cleaned the thicker and tightly packed shells behind his neck.

Seeing as his father was busy cleaning his back after finishing the front of his body, Oliver clung to his mother's arms and Amaya picked him up reluctantly to leave him hovering over the bath. She couldn't bear to hear his painful cries and allowed it, watching as Oliver settled himself against her chest to warble softly. Christopher hissed in irritation to his son's new position as water spilled everywhere, his body practically attached to Amaya's and she compromised gently, "Just wash him from behind, it'll fall in the bath and I don't mind getting wet. I'll clean it up later so don't worry about it."

With great reluctance, Christopher obeyed his mate as she held their whimpering hatchling but Oliver had cleverly managed to avoid a full bath once more.

A few minutes later, she wrapped a warbling Oliver into a thick yellow towel and held him against her shoulder, his face nuzzling against the crook of her neck as he whimpered to the recent bath. He knew playing in the mud would mean a bath and although he loved it, a bath would be out of the question for his stubborn little mind. Amaya soothed him as she carried him to the bedroom, humming softly to lull him into calmness, and Christopher threw the bathwater outside the doorway to sigh with dismay towards the orange sunset in the sky, "Is this how all hatchlings are?"

From inside the bedroom, Amaya patted Oliver dry with the towel and applied a soothing conditioning balm to his hard skin to keep his body hydrated against the harsh desert conditions. At night, she did the same to Christopher on any dry patches of his skin and had been relieved immensely when he told her months ago that he would no longer work at the mines. She'd practically thrown him into bed passionately in overwhelming happiness that he didn't have to suffer in backbreaking labor, a profession that always brought her worry as a simple mistake could cost him his life. Now, he worked at the MNU packing factories alongside Paul and he arrived home a lot earlier to be with his family. She smiled fondly at the miniature form of Christopher represented in her son as his blue eyes wandered over the familiar room, already twisting to the side to roll over and crawl away.

Amaya couldn't help but laugh to his little naked form trying to head off for adventure since he'd been screaming bloody murder minutes prior over a simple bath. Oh, how he brought immense delight to her heart. She grabbed him by the waist to pull him back to his old spot since playtime was over for right now and heard him warble hopefully, his little right hand pointing to the door. Shaking her head as she reminded that sleepy time would be soon, she began to dress him in his nightly pajama as dusk would arrive soon and watched his antennae flatten against his head. The baby pajamas kept his feet warm against the cold as the neckline was altered to be made larger to accustom his wider neck but he would be warm and snug for the night. Apparently, he liked it too because the room was filled with soft purrs seconds later when he was dressed in his blue pajama.

"See? Bath time wasn't bad" she cooed perkily to quell his fears about bathing and placed the wet towel on one of the wooden crates nearby to dry overnight. Lying on her side, she brought his little form against hers to snuggle him with kisses over his round face and caressed his raised feet with one hand. Oliver trilled giddily to the affection as he kicked his small feet, his blue eyes glittering with joy to his mother as she squealed dotingly, "Look at these cute little feet, I could just munch on them. Couldn't I?"

She made senseless expressions that made him laugh happily to its humor as she tickled his feet with a beaming smile and Christopher entered the room to inform regretfully, "Adam just told me the roads near the cemetery is flooded with the gangs and I won't have you and Oliver endangered. We'll try tomorrow, all right?"

Amaya nodded quietly with remorse and couldn't help but hate the gangs for dominating the road where Christopher's entire family was buried and scaring their only living child at night. Why didn't the city take action against this? They weren't a part of MNU and fell to their jurisdiction to be controlled. Sitting up to gaze at her mate, she released Oliver's little foot and shook her head to sigh morosely, "I hope no one gets hurt out there but maybe they'll stay away from this sector tonight. I want Oliver to get a good sleep, I'm so tired of seeing him wake up crying over their ignorant stupidity."

"So do I" he replied quietly because a peaceful night would be a wonderful gift in the district and kneeled down to squeeze his son's raised hand. Just like Amaya, he hated watching their son wake with fear and knew that wouldn't be good for his state of mind as he grew but he was determined to find a way to prevent that. He smiled serenely as he watched Oliver squeeze his fingers, his blue eyes transfixed with curiosity to play, and trilled softly with loving care, "Despite your frailty, you put up quite a fight. . .but you don't need to. I'll be here to protect you throughout life."

"Fatherhood has really made you attractive" Amaya spoke up beside him as she watched their interaction and he glanced away bashfully. She chuckled softly as her hands roamed over his back to caress any sore spots from work, settling behind him to glance over his shoulder as she kissed the back of his neck, "Who would've thought that we'd be here together nurturing our little one after all those stupid regulations? Not even the D9 border could contain me from seeing you."

"I'm lucky to have met you, not many would have such a chance" he whispered appreciatively for the joy she'd brought into his life since stumbling into it and cupped her cheek with his hand. Her arms wrapped around his neck to embrace him from behind as his cheek pressed against hers, enjoying the physical touch of her body and her presence by his side. Gazing at their little Oliver as he rolled onto his stomach with a curious flick of his antennae, Christopher placed one hand over hers on his chest and mused softly to their strange luck in life, "Fate guides us in the most strangest of ways but. . .I'm glad you followed me to give me my ball back and glue my tag together. You found me here despite the dangers and never left me against better judgment. You loved me even if my people were seen as hideous by yours and you gave me a precious hatchling that I'll treasure more than my own life."

"Don't make me cry, Oliver will get sad" she chuckled quietly and smiled appreciatively to his words, burying her face in the crook of his neck as everything he said was treasured. He was the one she fought for to provide a better future for his people and although she didn't know what would happen to them years from now, one fact was always crystal clear. Squeezing him tightly to show her love, her soft breath tickled his skin as she whispered with a never-ending vow, "I'll always love you, Christopher, to the end of time."

These were the moments he wanted to preserve for an entire lifetime. Their lives weren't perfect, not even average. . .but it was better than nothing.

Their love was everlasting, both as a mated couple and more importantly, as a family.

Christopher watched silently with immense relief (and joy) as Amaya continued sleeping without issue and Oliver had curled up against her uninjured side, fully asleep as well. He covered their son with the warm blanket lying over Amaya and sighed softly, hoping her body would heal correctly. He'd done the best he could with his advanced technology and mediocre skills. Color had returned to her pale face and took it as a good sign, gently tracing his fingertips over the apple of her caramel cheek with longing. He didn't know what he would've done if he lost her. Hints of shimmer brushed onto his fingertips from the artificial dust humans used to maintain their appearance and guessed she'd run from something important.

She ran from the ceremony, he realized with surprise and sat down on one of the hospital beds to watch her sleep as Oliver laid next to her in the fetal position. She'd been adamant about refusing the human despite his pleas and had disregarded the important event for him, After all the lies I told her about not loving her, she still came back to me. She's been through so much because of me and. . .

The gentle hum of the engines brought contentment, his shoulders sagging as the project had come to an end with success. He couldn't have done it without his mother, her colleagues, his friends, Amaya, and their son; all of them had helped accomplish their freedom. He would return for the rest of his people in three years, not a day later but definitely earlier if time granted him that. Treasuring the pivotal moment of joy for attaining freedom and keeping his little family intact, he thought warmly with promise, She's here with me. She won't be on Earth all alone and will travel with me from now on, helping me continue what we started. I'll make sure she's safe throughout everything this time. I promise you, Amaya.

"That reminds me, I have to perform maintenance checks on the ship and see what the humans changed while they were in here" he spoke aloud since the previously dormant ship had been rummaged by MNU and stood up to glance at the computerized vitals to make sure they were perfect. There was much to do on the ship to bring it back to its former glory and this time, would be doing it under much more pleasant circumstances as he returned home. He could only hope his civilization still stood or there wouldn't be much hope for his people if the planet was uninhabitable. He stroked his son's head gently since he'd promised to make a home for him on the homeworld and would try his hardest to make that happen. Amaya, on the other hand, had the prospect of a new life at her fingertips and smiled fondly at the human woman, "Keep resting and regain your strength. I'll be back soon. . .my dearest Amaya."

Oliver shifted in his position since the slightest touches woke him after today's events and his little antennae flicked to sense his father's scent in the air, opening his blue eyes to purr groggily, "Father?"

"Go back to sleep, little one" he advised gently since the entire ordeal had given his child the right to sleep and thanked his innovative skills, proud of his child's brilliance. He'd singlehandedly activated the mothership on his own and helped Christopher save his beloved. He might not have been strong enough to save his own mother years ago but his little Oliver had managed just that. His child held the hope of a better generation and Christopher would help that flourish, knowing that other children that wandered had the potential to achieve the same. They had been a race of engineers for the galaxy and it pained him to know they had fallen so far, oppressed like creatures that didn't deserve a second glance or consideration to what they could've provided for humankind.

If humankind could've been more peaceful like the other species in the galaxy, like the Valen, who protect flourishing species with their military prowess, or the Daki, who reign as the philosophers to provide peace within the galaxy, a different outcome would've occurred. His mothership had hoped to reach a planet or colony near Valen space since they monitored all of the borders of known galaxies and their help would've warranted immediate assistance to Thalis. Instead, they were met by a mistrustful species that held power more importantly than peace. It was a tragedy on both sides as the poleepkwa could've shared technology to help them reach the stars to meet the other races that existed in the beautiful endless veil of stars of the universe. Knowing what the humans had done to his species, there was no question that his remaining people on the homeworld would want retribution and the galactic union would find it justifiable. After all, the poleepkwa had been within their government for thousands of years and had provided technological aid for all species. Christopher knew there was genuine good within a few humans but would that play a factor in the future? He really didn't know.

Oliver blinked curiously at his father as the older poleepkwa dwelled in his private thoughts, his soft voice piercing through his mind, "Are we home?"

Christopher snapped out of his rumination to chuckle softly to his words as his eagerness always brought impatience, patting the top of his head affectionately. He would build a new life for his son, whether on their home planet, or another within the galaxy, and informed gently, "Not yet, Oliver. We have a few months at the most."

His youngling trilled softly before purring with hope in his sleepy blue orbs, raising a question that Christopher himself had been aching to ask his mother for years since arriving on Earth, "Father. . .are. . .are we free?"

"Yes, Oliver, we're free" Christopher answered proudly to his first taste of freedom in twenty-eight years and leaned down to embrace his child as happiness flooded his entire body, bringing tears to his eyes. Oliver returned his father's hug with a happy purr, glad to be gone from the crowded district and safe within the ship.

Nothing and nobody could hurt him anymore.

Meanwhile, in the rubble that was District 9, Wikus had managed to crawl away from the gory site of what remained of Venter. He didn't give a damn about what happened to the man (he was trying to kill him) but surprise had struck him mute at how the prawns gathered as a cohesive unit to defend him. Didn't they know what he truly was? Who he was? They put their lives at risk to save a disfigured human that days ago, wouldn't have cared where they went as long as they left humankind alone within Johannesburg. Mainly, he couldn't believe he'd stood up for a prawn and helped him escape the planet to let him go home and find his cure. He was torn between joy and grief that he remained alive for the time being; joy for being able to stay in the same city as his wife and grief for remaining on Earth to live desolately without a chance at being human.

He felt truly alone and discarded as he crawled over the dry caked dirt of the arid wasteland to seek escape somewhere. Fingers dug to break the earth as one hand held five fingers while the other held two as he tried to lift himself up. The energy in his body was completely depleted after his experience in the mechanized suit and his legs had the muscle consistency of gelatin as they limped behind his body without any helpful use. Pain erupted through every exhausted nerve ending and his muscles cried for rest but he couldn't stop, not yet. He didn't know where he was going but one thing was clear: he needed shelter and doubted the prawns would shield him after the explosions he'd caused. Wikus depended solely on himself because for all he knew, Christopher was the rare statistic that was friendly after all of the craziness he brought into his life. He had survived the barrage of bullets from MNU and would not accept defeat into death or the elements after coming this far.

Unfortunately, he didn't have much choice when three pairs of feet stopped before him and he tried to lift his head to see who had blocked him from crawling further down the road. Were they there to kill him? His quick answer arrived when one pair of silver feet threw dust into his eyes, blinding him temporarily. He cried out as the flecks of dirt pained his eyes and he blinked rapidly to clear his vision, uttering curses at the one who did so. What had he done to the guy? Then again, humans weren't very welcome in the district.

"So this is the disgusting human that's caused all the chaos? Two of my people were injured trying to help you but did you say anything. . .no, your kind is egotistical and highly above others" a deep voice snapped at him harshly with disgust, one foot lifting to kick his head in but a sharp hiss halted his attack.

"John, we aren't here to place blame" another voice cut in calmly as Wikus wiped at his eyes to see who was speaking to him and why they dared to pass judgment on him. He hadn't asked to be turned into one of them or chased by MNU in the first place and was only looking for a place to seek refuge for the night. If there was one thing he hated, it was being talked about and having decisions made without his input. One of the aliens growled irritably, a rattle settling within their throat but the same calm voice from the other one continued, "His people will be looking for him and thus, we will be searched as well. The best thing to do is hide him away-"

"And implicate ourselves? No, this human is a disease and should be treated as such!" the angry male yelled at the other and Wikus decided he didn't like this asshole. There went his idea of finding another alien like Christopher but maybe that other one wasn't so bad. On the other hand, they could be taking him away to dispose of him in a ditch somewhere so Wikus wouldn't be trailing after anyone. He wasn't scrambling over the dirt like a paraplegic animal to make friends, it had all come down to survival for the next three years and he had to make it. The same fierce voice lashed out curtly with a growl, "Disgusting creature, morphing into one of our own. It is completely despicable, an abomination of what we stand for."

"This disgusting creature 'elped one of your people get the fook out of here, where's my thanks?" Wikus spat sarcastically to what he'd just achieved with Christopher but it only earned him a tight grasp on his hair. If only his eyes would clear away the lingering particles of dust, he could catch a glimpse of the alien that was adamant on bruising him like a piece of meat. A sickening rip later, the patch of dark hair fell over the dirt as it had come off easily within the forceful hold. His eyes caught sight of the strands of brown hair on the earth and sighed dismally, Great, my hair is falling off now. I always wanted that bald alien look.

"He helped Christopher finish everything and I don't enjoy tormenting others or seeing it, we will not turn into their kind" the voice pertaining to a black pair of feet spoke softly with reason and Wikus decided that he'd rather talk to this guy. His vision wasn't perfect as the dust had cleared away but something lingered within his sense of sight, causing him to blur part of his field of vision. He used one achy hand to rub his left eye as he used the other to lift his head to gaze at black alien legs wearing torn brown trousers and heard them state thoughtfully, "His transformation is happening rapidly and if he can complete it, he can hide flawlessly among us. James' home is empty and by the time he finishes, we will all be moving to District 10."

"You cannot be serious on lending this thing help" John spat viciously to the idea, his silver feet indenting the dirt with his footprints. After everything he'd endured with those accursed creatures, helping one would be the last thing he'd do and hissed curtly to tell his friend, "I won't be a part of it."

Without another word, the silver poleepkwa left the scene and Wikus caught sight of a weathered black trench boat billowing in the wind before his vision blurred again.

"Adam?" Black feet asked the last silent owner of a pair of brownish-gray feet that shuffled over the dirt.

"I don't care for humans but I trust your judgment" Adam murmured quietly with mistrust and shifted weight to the left foot, leaning down to poke Wikus on his transforming shoulder. The human exclaimed indignantly to being prodded, it wasn't better than being beaten, and met the wary chocolate hued eyes of the brown-gray alien. Adam reared back instantly since he didn't trust a single human and stepped behind the leader of their little group, who Wikus had yet to see, and explained grimly, "More danger is the last thing we need and if keeping him silent and tucked away is the only good choice, then fine."

"What're you goin' to do? Abduct me?" Wikus called out to them to demand why they deemed it upon themselves to decide his fate and coughed against the dirt. He was supposed to trust a bunch of prawns, one who didn't give a damn and would probably kill him. He was born human and he'd retain that natural mistrust, snapping harshly to keep them at bay, "Fook no, I'll be fine on my own."

"You haven't even gotten past a hundred feet from where the biosuit is" 'black feet' pointed out sharply since he could see into the distance where the smoking heap lay beyond repair and a pair of similar toned hands grabbed him by the shoulders. Humans would surround the scene soon and the injured poleepkwa were seeking care from their own healers for the time being so they had to be quick. The black poleepkwa snorted a puff of air from between his tendrils and pointed out frankly, "You'll be shot dead by snipers before you reach a mile. Everyone is looking for you, human."

"I don't need any help from fookin' prawns!" Wikus growled heatedly and thrashed against the black male as he was lifted up by the collar of his torn white shirt. He could see the alien's hazy black form as he finally realized that his vision was dividing between prawn and human sight. Had his eyes changed physically? One eye was definitely sharper, his human sight, and the other was becoming blurry. A brownish gray male stood by the side without much interest in him while a silver speck could be seen further down the road. He didn't want to go anywhere with strangers and wanted to be left alone for the gruesome transformation, if he would survive it. Loudly, he yelled to be let go with a hurl of insults and curses to the duo but a strike to the back of the neck silenced him. Darkness covered his vision as he drifted into unconsciousness, hoping that the next sight wouldn't be more horrifying.

End of Volume 1.

Up next: Paradise Reclaimed

Thank you so much for your reviews throughout this entire story and although it isn't finished, Christopher's freedom has been achieved and he must look forward to the future to bring all of his people back to their homeworld. I can't wait to begin writing the final half as we meet the true poleepkwa, who I can assure you won't be too happy to hear what's been going on. Also, I think this will be my first story where I incorporate my own brand of aliens when Christopher seeks intergalactic help so I'm excited and hope you are too!

I'm glad to see this fandom is still alive and kicking so thank you again for your last reviews as the next time I see you all in the virtual world, the story will be under a new name. Also, scroll down after the reviews for the sneak preview to the upcoming volume.

ZabuzasGirl: Amaya will live to follow Christopher into his next task so don't worry.

WilltheKiller: Really, only 8 pages in the fandom? I really thought we had more than that. How can people deny the awesome cuteness that is Oliver? Lol. As for your question, yes, I will be focusing on both Christopher's journey to Thalis and Wikus' new life in the district. Christopher's will take a little more prevalence since the poor guy is traveling around the planet and has to seek help from not only his people, but the species that were meant to help his in the first place.

shippolove844: Amaya lives so no worries.

Cotton Strings: Thank you for loving each chapter, I'm almost a little misty eyed with having them leave Earth and closing this saga but it's for the best. I'm going to miss that little shack where they raised Oliver.

Deceptive D Minor: I've done the same with this story and others too throughout editing to make sure if they can make me sniffle, then hopefully, the same feeling will convey to the readers out there. I love involving the readers with the characters which is why I always try to be as descriptive as possible with their actions, emotions, and their surroundings.

RuinofDarkness: Lol, I hope I didn't ruin your eyes.

CLTex: The last chapters in this story were the most climatic due to the battle in comparison to the start where the desolate lifestyle reigned over Christopher and Amaya's lives as they wanted to stay together. Oliver will find out the truth in the next story because there's nothing holding back her secret now. Thank you as always for loving the tale.

Coming up in 'Paradise Reclaimed':

Musical themes of the story (since fanfiction modifies all links now and these pieces are too beautiful to ignore):

Start: Clint Mansell- "Leaving Earth" (Link: www. youtube. com/ watch?v= RRqpvijtzIA )

Middle: Two Steps From Hell- "Nero" (Link: www. youtube. com/ watch?v= gluk6sS6sUg )

End: Thomas Bergersen- "A Place In Heaven" (Link: www. youtube. com/ watch?v= afq29uIqiiA )

Christopher's Theme: Immediate- "Wyatt's Torch" (Link: www. youtube. com/ watch?v= 52RE2WXN4xA )


Oliver leaned down with glittering blue of joy to run his fingers though the green blades of grass, using his hands to scoop out the sepia dirt to hold the first piece of his homeworld in his hands. His eyes glistened with hope as he glanced at his father, raising his hands that protected the removed earth and trilled proudly, "Look, father, Thalis. This is our earth where we'll walk forever."

His antennae flicked down to smell the fresh scent of the earth and he turned to the right to show Amaya with a bright chirp, "I've never seen so much grass, mother. All of those pictures you showed me about Earth were real, I just," his antennae flattened shamefully as he whispered, "didn't realize how badly humans hated us."

"Not all, this one right here loves you like nothing on Earth- I'd give up ten Earths just for you" Amaya comforted warmly as she kneeled down to embrace her beloved child and kissed the top of his head as he held the patch of earth to his chest.


"I need to sneak into District 10, you and your sister believe in this cause to help the aliens" Tania pleaded desperately because this was her safest shot to enter the district without drawing attention to herself. She could never gain entry inside by using her father's name without alerting the entire company that she was within the compound. She grasped Elenor's wrist to emphasize the severity of her situation, halting the nurse from folding the clean blankets, and stated quietly, "If there is any chance that my husband is hiding within, I need to find him. I refuse to believe any of the babble this company spouts and you're bound by oath to help those that need it- that's all I ask."

Elenor sighed under her breath because if she was caught fabricating an infiltration, she'd be sacked faster than she could finish writing down a patient's vitals. On the other hand, her oath was to help people and what occurred in the district was unethical, leading her to check the nearby windows for any passerby that could hear. The small room was closed from anyone that wasn't from the clinic and agreed slowly with a low voice, "All right. I might've heard a few rumors here and there but in order to get you in, we'll have to fabricate a new identity and you'll be working for our clinic. Otherwise, you'll be out of luck because nothing enters the district unless you work there."


"If we have any hope of saving our people, we must unite all of the tribes in an assembly to explain the plight on Earth" Christopher spoke firmly to make them understand the severity of what their species faced on that planet, looking to each person gathered around him. They were the last remnants of his tribe, driven from the city and the outskirts of the forest to live deeper for safety from any future contaminants. Their ordeal with the plague had changed them but their people needed help and Christopher would exhaust his voice until he confirmed a plan from them, "We cannot stand idly by while hundreds, thousands, suffer and die under the harsh oppression of these aliens. We have endured this for years and after fleeing the plague, this is enough. . .no more death. I am tired of witnessing injustice, watching children starve, parents having their children torn away, being beaten within a breath of death, seeing families disintegrate, and I will not bear one more day of it."

Oliver squeezed his father's right leg to show his support and watched the audience before him, beseeching them to help with a solemn gaze as his father continued, "I am here, I came to find aid and I will collect it however I can to bring them freedom- they deserve it after decades of cruelty! If I must travel by myself to find the remnants of our people, I will."

Garcanuk stepped forward from the small crowd of their tribe, his green antennae betraying his nervousness to undertaking such a mission as they flattened against his head but his heart was adamant to aid the last of their people. His mandibles clacked rapidly against his green skin and he gazed at his childhood friend to agree modestly, "I-I might not be the strongest or the smartest. . .I don't inspire confidence and all I've known is how to fish. . ."

Placing a palm to his chest to portray his loyalty, he spoke softly to encourage Christopher, "But I will follow you, if you'll have me."


"For a spacious city, I don't see many people" Reivanakh remarked placidly as the areas around them were empty despite the marvelous architecture within the forest. After years of living in the desert, seeing an entire settlement of white metallic buildings hidden with a lush green forest was almost unbelievable. Again, he'd been born after the massive exodus of Thalis and had only heard the stories passed down by the survivors of his tribe- mainly his parents.

Tahyrne eyed everything around him with a calculating gaze since the open space unnerved him and mused grimly, "Or they could be watching us at this very moment without us being none the wiser-"

"I think that's him" Oliver interjected helpfully as he pointed to a sole poleepkwa standing before them at the center of a spiraling staircase, drawing everyone's gazes forward as they dropped any preconceptions about the city.

The scientist carried himself with a confident gait as his silver robes pooled against the metal stairs as he descended them carefully, his silver eyes pinned on the five weary travelers (and a youngling) as their mouths slacked to seeing a poleepkwa dressed so properly. It reminded Garcanuk and Christopher of the old statues within the city, white stone obelisks of scientists and scholars alike as their garb added grace to their intellect. Christopher almost felt underdressed with his bodysuit, subconsciously wiping away dusty patches from his bronze gauntlets as he stepped forward to ask carefully, "Are you Serelok? I am Kraiivyanwe-"

"I know of you, child of the Zalar, our scouts have already informed our leader of your arrival and I have been sent to lead you there" Serelok informed calmly as he typed carefully into his datapad, surprising the travelers to the technology he wielded since they were sorely lacking with theirs. Garcanuk couldn't help but feel obsolete already since all he carried were tools while Amaya felt tiny (in an unevolved form) as she caught sight of the old splendor of the poleepkwa race. Delicate blue metal decorated the high collar of his robes as the sharp shoulders were outlined, the lush robe parting below the hips as a gray bodysuit was worn underneath with light duty shoes. He raised a green hand to beckon them forward, the group following the scientist up the staircase with a wary eye as everything around them remained new and Serelok explained, "I am certain you have many questions concerning our city and will try my best to answer your inquiries."

"Are you really a scientist?" Oliver chirped curiously as he propped his little elbows on Amaya's shoulders, his antennae standing on end at the possibility of finally meeting another scientist outside of his tribe. The beauty of the hidden city displayed what his people were capable of, gazing at the pearly architecture in the distance as each building was unique in shape and materials. Human technology was subpar to theirs as he'd never imagined such wonderful sights and restrained himself from touching the delicate reflective metal for fear that he could shatter it.

Serelok cocked his head to the right as he spotted the small youngling with his peripheral vision and answered amicably, "Yes, I-"

"You received the majority of aid from the Union, why did none of your people reach any of ours for reconstruction?" Reivanakh cut in sharply to question the scientist and Garcanuk clicked in agreement as he still carried the scars from the plague, both poleepkwa anxious for answers. The cloaked black-silver poleepkwa stepped forward, his beige cape billowing behind him as he passed Christopher on the stairway, and questioned firmly, "Not that we're not grateful for receiving the cure but we were once a great people, united across the vast lands but none of you sought our tribes. My clan deserves an answer."


"It's a good thing we installed the fortified plating" Garcanuk breathed tensely as his fingers flew over the glowing control panel of the ship's command center, disbelieving to the situation they'd just flown into. This was not something their ship was prepared for and would have to skirt around the borders of space to prevent a catastrophe, displaying its neutrality and origin for any ships that scanned theirs. He didn't want the Valrynia to get critically shot in the middle of its journey to seek aid for their people. Christopher glanced at him for clarification but his friend didn't have to say anything, the clear windows of the entire ship gave its inhabitants a clear view of the new star system they'd just entered.

"We're in the middle of a war zone, Kraaivyanwe!" Reivanakh yelled with worried shock from the end of the room where he'd been looking through star maps on a datapad to find the eye catching sight outside.

Everyone from his team gazed at the nearest window as they watched two factions fighting above the cerulean planet, ominous warships tearing each other apart in a blaze of fire as metal debris rained throughout space to hover in deathly calm. One group held sleek silver ships that glinted against the barrage of fire while the other was rougher in constructions, their edges protruding in similarity to a lion fish that Amaya had once seen in the aquarium while the former held the fluidity of a manta ray. Only Serelok was unaffected by the ongoing battle (but terrified internally to being caught in the middle) as he stated simply in reminder, "I told you that this is why help has been kept back from reaching our homeworld. When one war finishes, another will rise just as quickly in this universe of ours and those species will take prevalence over ours. Sometimes I wonder if the Arak just likes to pick fight with any species they feel like, they were in a feud with the Nar a little over ten standard years ago."

He approached the clear window where Virheil, Garcanuk, and Amaya stood to peer out into the darkness of space to muse aloud, "Although, if I'm not mistaken, that is a Valen warship. The Arak might be trying to usurp their colony but apparently, this species didn't get their information correct. It is always that same problem with a young uprising species that-"

The silver warship's main cannons blasted through the hull of the asymmetrical red ship of the Arak, tearing it in half like a hot knife through butter without needing a second shot. The entire team gasped at the fearsome sight, not to mention the sheer power, of the alien cannon and Serelok finished, "cause them to lose a fight horribly against the Valen."

Virheil's pearly white head turned sharply towards him and she asked quietly with hesitation, "How are the Valen like?"

"Strong, disciplined- not a species you cross" the scientist answered as best he could because his own information came from data packets he'd found scattered through his city's library and his own experience. Their people had only been given the cure, three years' worth of food supply, and little materials to begin rebuilding before a war erupted - rallying all aid efforts across the galaxy. He'd met the aliens a few times since they had accompanied the willowy Daki as protection when they arrived to provide scientific and medical aid to eradicate the rampant disease. His species had always been tall but the Valen rivaled their stature and their physical composition was similar to Kraaivyanwe's mate but in a pale- almost ashen- hue but their eyes and limbs carried a white bioluminescence that he'd yet to see in any other species. It was an evolutionary trait that made the Valen dangerously beautiful because there were recorded history entries where a developing species had been known to become mentally swayed by the chemicals that they exuded. Fortunately, the poleepkwa species was not vulnerable but he wasn't looking to test their strength either. Thankfully, the Valen were not war hungering or dominating types and looked to the welfare of others as they protected them.

Posgo clicked thoughtfully as the sleek fighters dove gracefully in an attack formation to draw out a stubborn Arak fighter from behind a debris field and stated frankly, "If the humans want to attack us when we arrive, I want that species covering our rear ends. They pack a punch and by the looks of it, I think the Arak will lose this battle."

Serelok agreed with the brown poleepkwa and added in with afterthought, "They have the largest fleet in the universe that I know of."

Virheil and Posgo shared a knowing look that all fighters wore when they met a worthy adversary, stating in unison, "I want them."


Christopher gazed at his final team, proud of what he'd accomplished since arriving on the homeworld and smiled to thank them for the endless dedication, "Make me proud on this day, make yourselves proud. You are the voice of our people, the last hope and beacon of light that they can hold onto as they struggle in the veil of darkness within that accursed compound. We are not alone in this fight, the bonds we've built with each other and the allies we've gathered. . .it has to be enough."

"We will follow you to the death, Kraiivyanwe" Reivanakh promised with a firm golden gaze, placing his palm over the center of his chest to show his allegiance. He might be the heir to his own tribe but the forest dweller of the Zalar had proved himself to be a wise leader since their first meeting, admiring his perseverance after the horrors he'd faced in life.

Posgo laughed boisterously, clapping the slender desert dweller on the back with enough strength to almost send him flying and trilled, "Trust me, when they gaze upon me, they'll wish they were."

Arawnan's hawk-like gaze turned to Christopher, his blue antennae flattening against his head since this would be their last battle together to win their people a future filled with freedom and tried to lighten the situation by stating softly, "I'm sure that by the end of it all, they will be boasting their kill counts."

Thank you for reading the first part of my story and I hope to see you for the next journey with Christopher and his friends.