7th, 16th, 20th June 2016
The tension on the Bridge relaxed slightly after Kathryn turned away from the Marquis commander. Tom smirked in his direction, gloating silently that the Captain had took his side. Of course he was unaware that she had calmed the Commander down by doing the complete opposite.
"Now, maybe we should work on rescuing our missing people. Then it's a matter of hitching a ride back home," Kathryn addressed everyone.
Tuvok stepped forward and around the Commander. "Due to our original reconnaissance, I believe we are dealing with a single lifeform."
"Yeah. Harry picked up only one other lifesign during our stint," Tom said. "Sporo something or other."
"Indeed," Tuvok said. "I would suggest the lifeform scanned our computer database to establish the most comfortable environment. In effect, a waiting room to pacify us before biometric assessment."
Kathryn chuckled to herself, "did it only scan the Little House on the Prairie program? It clearly wasn't interested in pacifying us. Sugar cookies, I mean, really? As opposed to not."
"Better than corn on the cob," Ian commented.
"Wait, so this guy kidnapped us just to scan us?" B'Elanna asked angrily.
"It's possible as a Sporocystian lifeform he or she was curious about humanoids. Why else would it have released us unharmed?" Tuvok said.
"He didn't though," Tom reminded him.
Kathryn marched forward toward the turbolift, everyone watched her carefully. "Time to christen the phaser rifles. Meet us in transporter room two. We're going back." Once she reached the turbolift she span around to speak to them all. "We'll divide into teams."
"Uh, who is meeting who in transporter room?" Tom questioned.
"Nobody lets me finish around here," Kathryn growled. "Mr Chakotay and I will look around for um, Larry and... um, er pass."
"Harry," Tom groaned.
"I thought that was our crewmember's name," Kathryn said.
B'Elanna walked up to stand by Chakotay's side, her head leaned to her left to whisper, "how does a woman like this get command? Next time, I'll gladly be the kidnappee than board USS Circus."
"I'm sure," Chakotay muttered back. "Jessie, our missing crewmember is called Jessie." Ian cleared his throat. Chakotay did the same thing. "We should hurry."
"Fine while we look for him too, Mr Tuvok you find out as much about this hellhole as you can. It brought us here, it can send us back," Kathryn said. "All right, let's do this."
Tuvok and Chakotay headed for the same turbolift, each taking a different route to it. Tom quickly ran to catch up with them all before Kathryn followed them inside. "Captain, let me go with you."
"If this is about getting even with Chakotay, then..." Kathryn said.
"It doesn't," Tom cut in sharply.
"Oh, too bad," Kathryn said, about to go in again.
Tom stepped forward, hinting that she should stop, "I don't want to see anything happen to Harry..." He frowned when he realised what she said, "wait what?"
Kathryn smiled fondly, "aaaw, you two will make a cute, albeit annoying couple. Okay, come on lover boy." She gestured for him to follow her.
Tom stammered a bit, his face turning red. "No! No!" He followed anyway.
Kathryn stared at the man in front of her with narrowed eyes. "Did you really have to get changed before coming here?"
Tuvok glanced down at his normal Starfleet uniform. "Regulations Captain."
"Uh huh," Kathryn said, leaving one of her eyes still narrowed. "Big girl."
The other two members of the awayteam looked on, one slightly bemused while the other still looked a little bit mad.
"No," Tom grunted.
Chakotay laughed, "are you still being homophobic over there?"
Kathryn sighed impatiently, "guys enough with the chin wagging, we've got work to do. Tuvok?"
"You were the one who started it. And I'm not being homophobic. Janeway is the one treating the idea of Harry and I as a joke," Tom suddenly snapped.
Kathryn's eyes widened as she struggled not to laugh, she sucked in her bottom lip as she looked at the other two men. "Seems like I pressed the knickers in a twist button. I wasn't even joking either. That's what I get for being nice, huh?"
"Looked up the word lately?" Tom sniped back.
Kathryn's good mood was wiped away in an instant. Tuvok knew he should change the subject back, "there are no other humanoid lifesigns on this station. Kim, Rex and Taylor are not within tricorder range."
Tom still managed to snicker despite his bad mood. "Rex? Should I have brought a bone to lure him in?"
Chakotay smiled back, prompting Tom to laugh further. The Commander joined in with him, "oh please, please save those jokes for when we rescue her. I have to be there."
"That won't be happening soon. I do not believe they are on the array," Tuvok said. He noticed Kathryn mouth the word station.
"Where else..." Chakotay murmured as he scanned the area. Then he spotted the old man with the banjo sitting by the house. "Him, he can tell us." He walked over to him without the others.
Kathryn hurried to follow him. "You two keep looking, keep an open comm line."
The old man groaned when he spotted the two approach him. "Why have you come back? You don't have what I need."
"I don't know what you need and frankly I don't care," Kathryn snarled coldly. The old man looked up at her, surprised. "I just want our people back and all of us sent home."
"Oh, well now," the old man laughed dismissively. "Aren't you contentious for a minor bipedal species."
Kathryn glared in Chakotay's direction. "Five minutes alone. That's all I need."
He winced in response and decided to crouch down next to the old man, out of gaze range. "No species likes being abducted from their home and toyed with," he said calmly.
"Oh it was necessary," the old man groaned.
"Where are our people?" Chakotay asked softly.
"They're no longer here," the old man replied as if it were nothing.
Kathryn's hands were on her hips now. Neither men knew how dangerous this was. "What have you done to them?" she snapped.
"You don't have what I need," the old man said. He hesitated, his hand raised to his chin. "They might." His face scrunched, he waved his hand toward them. "No, you'll have to leave them."
Chakotay shook his head, "no, we don't do that."
"Okay, so we're supposed to let you steal our people because they have something you want. Whatever the hell that is. Then go happily on our way for seventy years?" Kathryn grumbled. "Not a chance. We're their leaders, it's our responsibility to get them back safely. We won't abandon them. Maybe a selfish old geezer wouldn't understand."
The old man stared up at her, his jaw dropping. "Ohno. I do understand that," he said with some sympathy. "I have no choice. There's just not enough time left," he cried.
"You're not wrong there," Kathryn said, half tempted to roll up her sleeves.
Chakotay laughed quietly and nervously. He found it a little ironic that out of the two of them, the Starfleet Captain was the grouchy violent one and the Marquis resistance fighter was the voice of reason. He wisely kept that to himself. "What do you mean?"
"I must honour the debt that can never be repaid," the old man said. "But my search, it's not going well."
"Maybe if you tell us what our crewmembers might have that you want, we can help you find it and you can give them back," Chakotay said.
"You?" the old man snorted into laughter. Kathryn quietly seethed. "I've searched the galaxy with methods beyond your understanding. No. All you can do is leave."
Kathryn firmly ground her teeth before she replied. "You've dragged us seventy thousand lightyears from our home. We have no way back in our lifetime unless you send us. You've kidnapped three of our people because they might help you. Might. You've really screwed us over and for what, nothing? And you've got the cheek to get mad at us and tell us to get lost?"
"Sending you back is terribly complicated. Don't you understand?" the old man wheezed.
"No. It wasn't complicated to bring us both here, separately," Kathryn said. "It was easy peasy when you wanted something. Now that you're done with us, wah it's complicated."
"I don't have time!" the old man growled at her. Before she could say or do anything more, he waved his arm in their direction. Both of them disappeared in a transporter beam.
Kathryn and Chakotay found themselves back on the Bridge. Tom and Tuvok were right behind them looking a little startled.
Harry groggily opened his eyes. He squinted at the bright light that was shining in his eyes. When his eyes got used to the light he opened them up to see where he was. Two aliens with larger ears were watching down on him in a strange unfamiliar room.
"Where am I?" Harry asked as he tried to sit up.
"Don't try to move yet, you're very ill," the alien woman said.
Harry sat up. "Ill? This is a mistake, I'm not..." He felt something strange on his arm, so he moved his sleeve up to see why. Strange lumps had grown on his wrists, he gazed at them in horror and started to heave.
A loud bang started him. He wasn't the only one, the two aliens gasped in shock as well. They hurried towards a door that looked curved in a random place from what he could see. They were mostly blocking his view of it.
"No!" he heard a man shout on the other side. Grunts and lighter thuds against metal followed.
One of the aliens shakily produced what appeared to be a syringe, while the other's hand hovered over a door panel.
For a few seconds it was quiet. The alien with the syringe hesitated, unsure what to do next.
Harry glanced around the small room while he had the chance. That door was the only way out and he wasn't getting through that way anytime soon. His mind raced as he wondered where he was and how. The memory of the needle lingered in his thoughts, he subconsciously found himself staring at another growth peeking out of the exposed part of his chest.
Another loud bang made him jump. He glanced over as the two aliens stumbled backwards. The door seemed to have been parted slightly. It abruptly opened completely. The syringe was raised in anticipation. They lunged for a figure as he barged in. Before the alien could use the syringe, his wrist was grabbed. Harry saw the new arrival ball his spare hand into a fist and swing it towards the captor's face.
The second alien stumbled to the side in a panic. She seemingly didn't want to confront the intruder. Doing so allowed Harry to see him. He looked Human, so Harry immediately thought Voyager had already arrived to rescue him.
Instead he got little more than a blank look before going over to a second bed beside him. Harry looked around, only then noticing he wasn't alone. A Human woman lay on it with similar growths on her skin to Harry, still unconscious and unaware of what was happening.
The intruder was no more than halfway there when a garrison of aliens rushed in. He span around to confront them. One was shoved harshly away, another elbowed into the wall before they managed to sedate him with another syringe.
Harry could only stare, gobsmacked as they dragged him back outside. He noticed a few growths on his arms and one on his neck. He was in a similar predicament to him and his roommate, who he assumed this other man knew.
Apparently they were sick. Harry felt fine and apparently the intruder did as well. He thought about how they got there and why. Was the whole crew and the Marquis subjected to this, and were they all imprisoned in this place? Harry had so many questions, but had no idea where to start.
Jessie hurried into the corridor with a smile on her face, and eyes sparkling.
Ian stood there waiting for her. "Jess," he said as she passed.
"Hey," she greeted him warmly. "Have you heard?"
"Yeah, I was there. Listen..." Ian said with a growing frown.
Jessie didn't like the serious look on his face, it wasn't like him. "What's the matter?"
Ian hesitated. Jessie was rarely happy on this ship, which didn't surprise anyone who knew her. Shared living quarters, little room for belongings, crowded environment. For as long as he knew her and especially from what Danny and James had told him, she wasn't a freedom fighter. He often wondered why she had joined the Marquis.
Now he was worried that he had killed her good mood for something that could've waited. "Um, well," he stammered, while trying desperately to think of something else. Though he decided to talk to her not just for Jessie's sake. James was his friend and he couldn't deny the dread he felt when he saw him join the ranks.
It was a little late anyway. Jessie was already concerned. "Did James tell you why he joined?" Ian finally asked.
"He hasn't. But he's always gone out looking for fights with bullies, so it doesn't surprise me," Jessie replied.
"Perhaps you should ask him sometime. Some... stuff happened since you joined. He's different," Ian said.
Jessie's face fell further into full blown worry. "Oh, I know there's stuff. He's never been very good at hiding from me. When I get a chance..."
"You're not going to ask me what happened?" Ian said in surprise.
"As if you'd tell me," Jessie laughed.
"I was going to. Then I figured he's not going to be... different with you," Ian said.
Jessie stared at him curiously. "No," she shook her head. "James has barely been here five minutes. I'll give him a chance. He'll talk to me, I'm sure. He always does."
Ian nodded, "yeah, you don't have to worry though. It's everyone else that crosses him that has that luxury." He then worried he had said too much, so he hurried off towards the bridge. Jessie watched him with an intense frown, now more curious than ever.
Captain's Log Stardate 48315.6: Since the inhabitance of the station won't co-operate, we are left with only one lead; the energy pulses it keeps firing. We've traced their path to the fifth planet in a nearby system.
Kathryn stared out of the large window in her office, with a thoughtful and yet sad look on her face. The door chime barely distracted her from it. "Come in."
Tuvok carefully entered the Ready Room as he normally did; two steps in so he was barely in front of the door, keeping it open. He'd always check the air before fully walking inside. The strength of the coffee aroma was how he judged it, which he'd divided into four categories.
Low was an illogical risk, designated for emergencies only, but not for all. Sometimes an urgent situation would require someone with a cooler head, and that wasn't Captain Janeway on her bare minimum.
Medium used to be only one, but he had to divide them into two. Visual factors took place as well as her vocal tone. A medium aroma could be too soon, and an interruption would be dire. It was rare though, poor timing usually. The odds were great that he'd visit after she had consumed the agreeable amount.
Strong was avoid if possible, especially in emergencies. No questions asked.
With the smell and the visual cue of the empty cup on the desk, Tuvok assigned the situation as Safe Medium. So he allowed the doors to shut behind him.
"Captain. I've observed something peculiar about the Array's pulses. They're getting faster," he reported.
"Of course they are," Kathryn groaned.
"The interval between each pulse has decreased by point four seconds since we arrived," Tuvok continued anyway.
Kathryn exhaled huffily as she turned her back on the window. "What's the point? Look..." she crouched down briefly to swivel the computer on the coffee table over. Tuvok approached carefully so he could study the screen. "The planet they're firing them at is dead. No oceans, not even a puddle. It looks like it used to be a M-class but the nucleogenic particles are gone."
"Curious. The planet is incapable of producing rain," Tuvok said.
Kathryn gestured her arms widely while her eyes flashed. She once more faced the window. "I've never seen anything like it. I doubt anyone could survive there, but it's the only lead we have. Once we've finished repairs, we'll set a course for it. There must be a clue there that'll lead us to our missing people."
She sat down on her sofa, all while draping an arm across the back. "Did you know that Barry used to play the sax for some football team? Pretty odd I thought. Or maybe they were separate things," she murmured.
Tuvok had a feeling that she had misunderstood completely. He thought it was best to avoid getting into one of their correction matches for now. "I did not have the opportunity to meet Mr Kim."
"I hardly knew him," Kathryn sighed, her voice straining. "Or any of them. I like to, I need to take more time to do that. I still don't know that helm woman's name. That eulogy, I may have to wing it."
"Captain, you require sleep," Tuvok suggested.
"His mother called me before we departed from Creep Space Nine," Kathryn said, smiling slightly. "Funny woman. Said he left a clarinet behind. Then she asked if she had time to send it."
Tuvok's earlier suspicions were confirmed. Still he went along with it, "I thought you said he played the saxophone."
Kathryn stared at him in shock, "so did I. I laughed and she got all huffy. I cut her off before she'd ask about drums as well, or a football."
"Are you sure it was Kim's mother you were talking to?" Tuvok asked carefully.
Kathryn was silent, he assumed she was thinking about it. After a few seconds she smiled warmly at him. "No, it was. I was thinking of that daft Cabbage. I really couldn't picture that Barry boy in a football outfit, he'd disappear in all that padding. How embarrassing. At least with you back..."
"Indeed," Tuvok agreed. "Although you are probably exhausted. Your head will be clearer after some rest."
"You're right as usual. I've missed having you around," Kathryn said sincerely.
"And I am gratified that you came after me so I can counsel you once more. The crew will be as well," Tuvok said.
"I spoke to your family before we left too," Kathryn said.
Tuvok worried about that for a moment, "are you certain?"
"Cheeky," Kathryn scowled with humour. Though she didn't look sure. "Yes, it was them. They're worried about you."
"I hope you didn't contact the Jeffersons in London again. Vulcans do not worry, so," Tuvok said.
"Well at this point Jeffersons are like family. And shut up," Kathryn chuckled. "I hadn't met your wife and kids then. It was an easy mistake to make."
"They were Human, the children looked nothing like me. Their mother was a red headed woman who had never travelled outside of her home country," Tuvok said.
"What? You could have met your wife there, and it's rude to ask what species your wife is. I was lost and asking for directions," Kathryn said defensively.
"The Conference we were supposed to meet at was in Paris," Tuvok said.
Kathryn brushed him off with a half hearted hand wave. "Oh shush. I can never tell which side of the Channel I'm on. All the ports look alike."
Tuvok promised himself that he wouldn't get into these arguments only a few minutes ago, and still there they were. He shook his head, "perhaps I should navigate us from here. We are already lost."
Kathryn's eyes narrowed, "I thought Vulcans don't make jokes, or is this for my benefit?"
Tuvok thought carefully about how to answer that. The logical solution was to not.
Voyager and the Marquis ship carefully flew towards scattered metal drifting everywhere. A lone ship hovered directly ahead. It looked like it should've been a part of the field, but it was moving about on its own engines and had the lights on.
"Hail them," Kathryn ordered.
"Yes ma... my Captain," Rollins stumbled, fearing for his life for the slip up.
The viewscreen changed to show nothing but rubbish. Someone behind it hurriedly tried to clear it away. Then they could see him. Orange whiskers covered the outline of his jaw. Dark spots scattered across his forehead and scalp, as well as in a straight line from the ears down to his cheek. His temples a bright shade of yellow, highlighting the dark spots even further which surrounded it. The hair on his head reminded Tom of the Mohican haircut his prankster classmate received on April Fools Day. He ended up keeping it for months.
"Whoever you are, I found this waste zone first," the alien hissed at them.
Kathryn laughed at him, "you think I want this crap? You're funny. I like you. What do they call you?"
"Furball usually, or rat. But I prefer Neelix," the alien replied.
Kathryn looked on sadly, like she was ready to give everything up. "I'm never going to remember all that," she whispered. Tom smirked from afar, safely out of her range. "Um, I'm Captain Janeway of the Federation Starship Voyager."
Neelix looked very impressed. His amber eyes matched her despair ridden ones. "I'm never going to remember that. Can I call you something shorter, or is that offensive?"
Kathryn smiled, finally someone she could relate to. "Captain or Janeway is fine."
"All right Captain," Neelix beamed back. "Since you aren't interested in my crap, I'm delighted to know you. How can I help?"
"We're following the energy pulses to the fifth planet nearby," Kathryn began to explain.
Neelix shuddered fearfully before she could finish. "Oh you don't want to go there."
"We might have to. The station doing this has kidnapped three of our people," Kathryn said.
"Let me guess," Neelix sighed tiredly. "He whisked you from far away against your will."
His comment got everyone's attention. Kathryn muttered to herself in anger. "So the old coot's done this before."
"Oh yes. Thousands, maybe fifty times," Neelix said. "But the Caretaker generally tends to abandon people on that planet of yours, never to return. He's been up to this for months."
"The Caretaker?" Kathryn said as she pulled a face.
"That's what the Ocampa call him. They live on the same world," Neelix replied.
Kathryn glanced over her shoulder towards Tuvok. He stared back quizzically. "How?" She shook her head. "Will they know anything about my people?"
"Oh very likely," Neelix nodded. "He sends them directly to them. Nobody knows more than that."
"But, from our scans the planet's uninhabitable," Tom chimed in.
"You don't know the half of it. I'd show you, but I've got so much to do today," Neelix said, gesturing to the junk around him.
Kathryn leaned forward against the railing, she smiled slyly. "Perhaps we can pay you for your..." she quickly cleared her throat to stop from laughing. "Valuable time. We need to find these Ocampa."
Neelix scoffed proudly for some reason, puffing his chest out. "Well, there's very little you could offer me." Kathryn resisted rolling her eyes or commenting on anything for now. Tom didn't grant him similar courtesy, he continued to smirk. "Unless."
"Yes?" Kathryn said slowly like it was painful.
"You have..." Neelix said, batting his eyes pathetically. His whole demeanour did a complete U-turn in a matter of seconds. "Water?"
"Water?" Kathryn said in surprise. "You're kidd..." Tuvok pretended to cough once. "Yeah sure, that's a fair trade. Sure."
"Are you an Ocampa?" Tom thought to ask, holding back his smile for now. Neelix laughed off the question. "Or does this whole area of space have a water shortage?"
Kathryn scowled back at him, forcing him to retreat backwards towards the command chairs. He didn't dare sit, he had a brief vision of the Captain neutering him for it.
"Sounds like we have a deal," Neelix said cheerfully.
"Good," Kathryn smiled. "We'll beam you over and tow your... ship into a shuttle bay."
Neelix's face shrivelled up, eyes began to squint. "Beam?"
"Oh good lord," Kathryn turned her head to groan and roll her eyes. Once she was facing the alien, her diplomacy face was back on. "Our technology lets us bring people onto our ship instantly. It's safe, don't worry."
"Then why do you even have that fancy ship? I can offer you quite a hefty amount of credit for it," Neelix said a little too nicely.
Kathryn tried her best, but the twitch in her eyebrow muscles ruined her smiley facade. "No, that's okay. Standby."
"Stand by what?" Neelix asked. He looked around for a different spot to where he was.
"That was incredible! It's so good to meet you," Neelix dashed off the pad excitedly. "This room, it's so pristine."
"Yes," Tuvok said, eager to keep the conversation to the point.
"You Federations sure do know how to make a nice ride, so much more advanced than anything I've seen," Neelix said. "Well except the Caretaker I suppose."
"The Federation is not the name of Voyager's race. It's an organisation of many races. I am Vulcan," Tuvok corrected him.
Neelix pressed his hands against his own chest, "Neelix." Then without much warning, he lunged for the poor Security Chief, trapping him in a firm bear hug.
Tuvok wondered what he had done to the Captain to deserve this. The only thing he could think of was his navigation remark yesterday. Though he doubted that she knew he'd do this, or smell so badly that he had to lower his nostrils to block it slightly.
Thankfully the hug didn't last long as the visitor began to stare in wonder at everything else around him. "What does all this do?"
"I assure you that everything here has a specific function. It is not necessary or vital to our mission. I suggest I show you to your quarters," Tuvok said.
Neelix nodded, if not a little disappointed. Tuvok gestured for him to go for the door. Even that opening amazed the alien. As he passed another fresh batch of the smell blew into poor Tuvok's face.
"Perhaps you'd care for a bath," he said on following him out.
He got the response he expected, "a what?"
Harry was sitting on the bed he woke up on. He looked around the room in time to see his roommate waking up. He stood up and went over to her. She quickly sat up and stared at him warily.
"It's ok, ok," Harry said in a reassuring voice.
It didn't seem to work, she looked even more unnerved. "Who are you?"
"Kim," Harry replied. "Harry Kim."
He wasn't sure why but she briefly laughed. "I don't see you as the 007 type."
"What?" Harry said with a blank face. He was embarrassed when he got it a second later. "If I were, we'd be free now. No, I'm an Ensign on the Starship Voyager. I was kidnapped from the station just like you were. I have no idea where we are."
He waited for a response, all she did was tense and glance around. Her inspection stopped at the door.
"What's your name?" he asked.
"Jessie," she answered without breaking her gaze. "What happened?"
"I'm not sure. The last thing I remember was a needle," Harry winced. She looked back at him with wide eyes. "When I woke up I was here."
"The needle, it got everyone. Is everyone else here?" Jessie asked.
"That I don't know. We aren't alone though. There was another," Harry replied. He pointed to the door, "he tried to get in, I assume to rescue you."
Jessie rolled her eyes and groaned. Harry wasn't sure why. "Typical," she muttered. "Let me guess. He left those dents in the door?"
Harry glanced at them this time. The curve he saw before did look more like a dent now that there was no one in the way. There was a similar one further down.
"Human guy, blond, bit of a temper," Jessie continued.
"Bit is an exaggeration," Harry said. Jessie seemed annoyed, the groan was directed at the door as she shook her head. "What? He tried his best."
"That's not..." Jessie said quickly and defensively. "I'm not mad that he failed, I'm mad that he tried at all."
"Why?" Harry was more than confused.
"One day he'll pick a fight with the wrong person. Again," Jessie said as she stared at the floor. "James has always been overprotective, but these days he's taking it to extremes. I suppose it's to be expected."
"It is?" Harry said warily.
Jessie glanced back upward. In his perspective she was only looking in his general direction, avoiding eye contact. "You're a Starfleet officer? How come your ship's here too?"
Harry visibly cringed. He was wondering when she'd connect those dots. "We were under orders to find you when you disappeared. Apart from that, same story I guess."
He was expecting an angry response to that. Anything but a mild mannered hmm and an understanding nod. "I wonder how long we were unconscious. I woke up after you, so I've been under longer. That's... creepy."
"You've been missing a week. You weren't taken immediately right?" Harry asked.
"No. We tried hailing the thing, they ignored us. We couldn't go anywhere so..." Jessie replied as she absentmindedly reached to scratch her arm. Her fingertips grazed one of the growths, so she looked with a start. "What...?"
"Yeah," Harry said uncomfortably. "That's all our captors have said; we're ill."
"What, but..." Jessie started to panic. Harry understood completely, it took him a while to shake off the nausea on seeing them. "Who undressed me?" she was close to shouting.
Harry's eyes widened, "what?"
Jessie shuddered uncontrollably. "Oh god. That's really gross and violate-y. What was wrong with leaving me in my clothes?" Her panic grew, "ohno, where did they put them?"
"Um," was all Harry could say.
Luckily for him the door opened on its own. The male alien man walked through it, now sporting a bruised and swollen eye.
"I hope you're feeling better. I know how frightening this must be for the both of you," he said kindly. "I've brought some clothes if you'd care to change."
Harry cringed expectantly. Sure enough his roommate huffed in disgust, "I hope they're my clothes. I'm not going out in stupid white robes like yours."
"What is this place, and why have you kidnapped us?" Harry quickly asked.
"You are not prisoners. In fact we consider you honoured guests. The Caretaker has sent you to us," the man answered. "As long as you are not violent, you are free to leave your quarters."
Jessie sighed, "this is why you don't punch first, James."
Harry chuckled nervously. "Yeah um, so what's wrong with us? What are these things?" he asked, gesturing his swollen arm.
The man seemed troubled at the question. He looked sorry. "We really don't know."
"When you say not violent, you mean not anymore right?" Jessie questioned hopefully.
"You must be hungry. Would you care to join me on the courtyard for a meal?" the man ignored her completely.
****TO BE CONTINUED****
Part Three << >> Part Five