It made a noise and Hans tried his best to put the sound into words. “Shai halad?”Once again the alien made a few more bubbles and Hans guess that meant he had gotten as close as he could to the name of the alien. At least he knew what to call it now. It was a step closer to two way communication than they had been a bit ago. He just wished there was a way to speed things up so that they could really communicate.
“Look, Shai halad, I can talk till the cows come home, but we need to speed things up. We only have enough food here for one more day in this place and then we have to get going. I’d like to know why you’re here and what you want, but that’s not going to happen if we can’t find a way to communicate with each other.” Hans crossed his arms and stared up at the alien. He had no idea if it knew what he had said, but he hoped that it had gotten the gist of what he was saying.There was silence for a few minutes before the alien made a rattling gargle and pointed at toward one of the machines. It repeated the sounds again and jabbed towards several buttons on the machine. Hans walked over and touched the buttons the alien had indicated. Almost immediately a bright orb appeared in the centre of the room.
Shai halad placed a technical inside the orb and looked at Hans. It repeated the movement again and made a sound. Hans walked up to the orb and gave it a good look over. Slowly he reached out with his right hand and the alien screeched at him. He jerked his head back confused.“Maybe you shouldn’t be doing that.” Duke spoke up from where he and Honora had decided to sit and wait. There had been little for them to do since the image of the alien had appeared.
“It’s either this or nothing.” Hans looked over to Duke and smiled weakly at him. “It’s not like we have many options here.”Once again Hans reached towards the orb with his right hand, but the alien screeched at him. He looked at the alien confused as it once again stuck a tentacle into the orb and gargled at him. Hans raised his right hand and the alien screeched once again. Hans raised his blackened left hand and the alien gargled and produced more bubbles.
Hans looked at his hand and then back up at the alien. He had to admit there was a certain similarity between the skin on his hand and the skin on the alien. It was one of those questions he would have to ask when they could communicate. For the moment, all he could do was follow the direction of the alien. With some trepidation, he placed his left hand inside the orb.It was one of the most singularly incredible experiences of his life. It was like he was in two places at once. He knew that he was still in the lab, but as far as his sense were concerned he was somewhere else. He didn’t recognize the place, but he felt at home here, safe. Hans wondered if it was the orb that made him feel that way or something else.
We are the Shai Halad. We are a peaceful race, or at least we were until the Afoixox came along. For the Afoixox war was all that mattered, it was their way, and somehow they had managed to not destroy themselves. In fact, they thrived and spread, much like a disease, through the galaxy. There were two main factions of the Afoixox – the Sizocku and the Exiruji. Each faction would recruit other races to help them fight in this war – by force if necessary.We are not a species that takes kindly to being forced and while their weapons were greater we were far more advanced in technology. It did not take much work for us to be able to first protect ourselves and then we fought back. We eradicated the disease from this part of the galaxy, but at great cost. We sent the Afoixox back to their own galaxy, but they had managed to weaken our numbers to such an extent that we could not destroy them completely.
We knew that one day life would return to this part of the galaxy and that the Afoixox would not be held back forever. We created warning stations on many planets, well hidden beneath the ground and protected from accidental discovery. Most of our race chose to move on and resume a life of peace on another planet in another galaxy. Others, our new warrior class, were placed in a time-lock inside these stations to be awoken when the alarm went off.You have discovered one of these stations and something has gone wrong with the system here. An alarm should have gone off, but it never did. The guardian, Ohaemih, should be awake, but he sleeps. Thankfully, you have managed to activate the interactive communications system. We have been trying to understand your language so that we can communicate with you and so that Ohaemih will be able to communicate with you when he awakes.
They are coming. War is coming.
Hans blinked and saw only the lab again, the orb and alien were had disappeared from view. Duke and Honora were staring at him, mouths agape. Hans looked around the room until his eyes landed on Ohaemih. He needed to be woken up and Hans realized that he knew exactly what needed to be done to make it happen.
Hans walked over the console that they had originally taken for a case when they walked in and went to run his left hand across the top of it. He paused halfway there and stared at his hand – or at least what used to be his hand. Instead, from the wrist down he had a black tentacle instead. He finally understood why Duke and Honora had been looking at him so strangely.Hans held up his hand, or rather tentacle, for a closer look. He wondered what had happened to his fingers, but as he thought it the tentacle reshaped itself into a hand once again. A perfect match to his right except for the colour. Hans smiled and made his hand into a tentacle once again. He had a feeling this was an ability that he was going to enjoy.
Hans focused on the console once again and dragged his tentacle across the top. It responded immediately to his touch and new lights came to life where before there was only dull metal. Hans worked with the console for a few minutes before stepping back and glancing at where Ohaemih still rested in his time-locked state.