Personal Note: This manuscript that I am posting is a rough draft and therefore is presented “warts and all”
Disgraced crewman Solis DeLacey was supposed to be enjoying shore leave with her crewmates, the arboreal Guiranam. Their compound was attacked by unknown assailants. She has been shot at, carried through the trees, captured, tied up, mistreated and now she has encountered the natives of the planet Urwald and they have a few surprises.
His accent was thick and hard to understand but he clearly knew the rudiments of Koh. Solis was rusty and had to speak slowly. “We came from the sky, yes. From a great vessel.”
“You come from the moon?” he asked.
The moon? Solis shook her head. “We came in the shuttle. The flying machine.”
The Urwaldian nodded his head. “All the not-men come in the fly ships. They live in the Moon.”
Okay. The moon is the biggest thing in the sky. They probably figure everything that comes from the sky comes from the moon. Solis shook her head. “We came from a star vessel — a very big ship — from very far away.”
The Urwaldian nodded. “Like the Cru-men.”
That one puzzled Solis. “Cru-men?”
“Men — not like us — not like they –” he gestured to the Guiranam. “They say Cru-men. They come from far away.”
Solis could not figure out what he was saying at first, then she figured it out. The soldiers.
“These Cru-men… with weapons?” she mimed firing a weapon. The Urwaldians all around her gsaped in shock and consternation. Suddenly the hall was alive with concerned voices.
The old native raised his hands for silence. He turned back to Solis.
“The Cru-men come. They say to us that other sky people here…” he gestured at the Guiranam. “Must not see them. They say they need to keep quiet. They say no one can see them. But now you are here. You fix.”
The Urwaldian pointed at her. “You. You not-men. You fix all. Send the Cru-men away.”
Solis stared at the Urwaldian in utter confusion. “Me?”
The old Urwaldian nodded his head. “You come from the Moon. You Not-men.”
Solis shook her head. “I come from far away. I come with them,” she gestured to the Guiranam.
The old Urwaldian seemed confused. He shook his head. “You come from Moon.” he insisted. He took a step forward and poked Solis in her lower belly. “You come to get child in you.”
Solis backed away, shocked. “What?”
“You come to get child. All Not-men come down from the moon. They bring us seed for crops. They give us rain and cause the sun to shine. They cure us when we are ill. They fix what needs to be fixed. They command us to put children in them and they bring them back to us if they are men.”
Solis was utterly confused now. Had these Urwaldians confused her with some sort of god?”
The old Urwaldian pointed directly at her. “You are Not-Men. You fix. Now.”
Solis stared open-mouthed at him for a moment before shaking her head. “I can’t fix,” she said. “I do not come from the Moon. I do not bring the rains or seeds and I do NOT want to get a child in me!”
The old Urwaldian stood back from Solis’s vehement outburst. He gave her a puzzled look. Before he could speak again another voice called out in Urwaldian from outside.
Suddenly the hall was alive with a commotion. The Urwaldians all leapt to their feet. The old man shouted a command and a group came and seized the Guiranam. The old man approached Solis. “The Cru-men come back. We give them the others,” he gestured at the Guiranam who were being bound and dragged screaming out of the hall. “But you can fix. You must fix.”
The old man turned and hobbled out of the hall. Solis followed.
Outside the great hall the sun was still high in the sky and the Urwaldians were moving about, partly in excitement but mostly, Solis thought, in fear. They dragged the two Guiranam to the center ground where they had left her earlier.
There was a shout and one of the Urwadlians was pointing. Solis looked and saw figures approaching. A chill went down her spine at the sight of them. It was the soldiers, the same ones that had attacked them the night before.
They were on foot but were accompanied by a hovertank which made the tall grass sway and flatten and made a horrendous noise.
The soldiers approached, still in their combat armor. In the daylight Solis could see the combat suits more clearly and something about their construction was familiar.
The old Urwaldian clutched at Solis’s arm and moved her forward ahead of him. “Fix,” he whispered.
The soldiers were approaching casually as if they had nothing to fear. They held their weapons easily, but still ready to use if need be. Solid felt herself go numb as one of the soldiers approached.
He stopped less than three paces away. He reached up and unlatched the seals on his helmet. Solis gasped when he removed it. There was no mistaking the yellow, leathery skin, the hairless head, the black eyes and the twin mouths. The soldiers were Kruath, a Hegemony race.
The Kruath commander sneered with his twin mouths. “You have done well,” he said to the old Urwaldian in Koh. “You have brought us more of the interlopers.”
The Kruath commander took a menacing step forward and regarded Solis with hate-filled eyes. “…and a Terran.” he hissed in High Kruath.
…to be continued