Chapter 3



Once in the bathroom, Trenae leaned against the door with her back and looked up at the ceiling, struggling with the great turmoil within. Her breathing rushed, her heart raced. Truly the last thing she needed was memories of Willson and Stiles’ evil treatment. Though when speaking them to Jenny she felt distant from their terror, now they settled in. Scenes and pictures flew around her mind, like a tornado, yet stopped their motion, periodically, to display a violent scene or episode from Hegemony Hovel. Especially prevalent were violent scenes when Stiles or Willson punched, raped, slapped, or committed other atrocious, humiliating acts against her. She could still see Stiles’ mean face looking down at her, violating her small body. And Willson’s devious, yet charming expression appeared, as he nonchalantly slapped her face. And she could even now feel the immense terror their vicious actions entombed her with, thrusting her brain into a state of denial, tricking her to believe that this was all happening to someone else, and she was just the innocent bystander, the observer, the nonchalant viewer of a violent movie. Her mind had tried desperately to protect her body.

Nevertheless she had to get a grip on these images and harness them down, place them in the far back corners of her mind now. She needed her consciousness fully functional and alert, because she had to remember other more important scenes.

Slowly Trenae calmed herself down with some gradual, deep breaths and visualizations of positive, pleasant memories.

She walked over to the toilet, just to the right of the sink.

            When finished, she stepped to the sink’s front and looked both in the mirror and around the small room. Wooden paneling, a white floor, red bath rugs, and bright blue towels colored the small room, decorations matching the rest of the house. Somehow, she concluded, they displayed the colors of Jenny’s personality; they had warmth, yet were bold.

            Could she have these colors? The warm part, yes. The bold? Well, she reasoned, that was yet to be determined.

            After finishing with her hands, Trenae studied her face closely. Yes, it was true. Her beauty was nearly perfect, model perfect, although she couldn’t accept it. The symmetry and proportions of her forehead, cheeks, nose, full lips, and chin were all delicate and feminine, yet completely complimentary. And her eyes were pretty and clear, with long brown eyelashes and a shape which gave them a permanently friendly, kind, and happy expression. Amazingly her own eyes could cheer her up, as they alleviated negative descriptions from Darin, her mom, or other people; the mirror could be her friend. If only her face, which appeared so special, full of life and esteem, could match her personality. Her personality felt more like an ugly, misbegotten troll. Even now.

            Regardless, now she needed to get back out there and finish the story. She dried her hands and headed out the door.

Jenny still sat in her red sofa chair, drinking tea. Trenae carefully walked between the sofa and coffee table and sat down where she had been before.

“Are you okay?” Jenny asked.

Trenae smiled and nodded. “Yes, I’m okay. Sorry about that. I just really had to go.”

“No, that’s no problem. I want you to be comfortable. But, getting back…” Jenny snatched up the recorder and turned it on. “You claim that something caught you. Something or someone?”

“Well, I felt it, something, wrap around my waist and shoulders, allowing me to fall more at first, like a bungee chord.” Trenae used her hands for descriptions. “And then pull me up, kind of hard, away from my fall. And then…gosh, it was a while ago. I just remember next being thrust into someone’s arms. I caught a fast glimpse of what was on me. But it was so dark, the thing just looked transparent. But, as I was being carried, it disappeared! I tried to see a face, of whoever carried me. The face…something looked wrong. And there was an odor, like copper, that wasn’t familiar. Then the next thing I knew, whoever held me was running, because I could see the trees move, feel the movement.”

“Where? Oh heck, sorry, just keep going.”

“No, it’s okay. I kind of have trouble remembering, because I was a bit drunk too. And then, after some distance through the woods and clearing, suddenly, it shocked me- I felt myself and whoever carried me, drop down, fast, into the ground! We were falling!”

Jenny’s jaw dropped.

 “And then, this bright green light surrounded me, as we landed, on the surface of wherever we were. And then I saw him, this…person, who was holding me. He looked straight into my face as he carried me. He only held me for a moment more, but I got a look. And I realized, as I looked at him, that he could not be human. No, he couldn’t.”

 “What do you mean? What DID he look like?”

“In few words, very strong, terrifying, powerful. His face looked human-shaped, in fact he looked rather Polynesian, you know, like Hawaiian?”

“Sure. They’re handsome people.”

“Or even Native American. Well, he certainly wasn’t ugly. He was actually rather beautiful, pleasant to the eyes. But fierce, very fierce-looking. And he had, well…these sections of short lines on his face and neck, like wires or stripes or something.”

“Really,” Jenny said slowly.

“Yes. The lines were thin, some a little thicker, and close together. Almost like a whole mass, but you could see each line. Mostly blue lines, dark blue or navy, some black, silvery, I guess depending on my view, the way the light hit them. But they were lines or stripes nonetheless…mostly near his cheeks, cheekbones and his forehead. Even around his eyes and mouth, his nose, jaw line other taut areas of his face. At first, I thought someone had taken a blue or black marker and drew short lines on his face. Or, I thought, ‘Oh, nice tattoos’- but as I looked closer, better, they were not tattoos, or even face paint. The lines…were beneath his skin, like veins, only darker. His skin was tan, maybe dark tan.”

“His skin wasn’t dark blue?”

“Well, mostly, but…areas of his skin, with fewer lines beneath, you could see the skin color. Just like veins show up beneath someone with tan skin, you could still see the tan skin color. But, he did have an overall dark blue tint, when seen from farther back, maybe…I don’t know. The thing that scared me the most, though, made me realize this was no normal person, was his eyes. The colored part of his eyes was black, but the whites were not white. They were some sort of silvery, dark aqua.

“And his hair, was black, but thick, like rope strands, maybe ¼- to ½- inch thick. And strange, like plastic or metal, unreal, and apparently long and pulled back, like in a pony tail. I could only see some of it above his forehead and sides of his head.”

“His ears, did he have ears, eyebrows?”

“Yes, both. His ears looked human, but his eyebrows and eyelashes were thick, short, black too, and with an odd clearness or transparency, maybe a silvery tint too. But there wasn’t any other hair on his face or neck, like a beard or something.”


“But then, he gently placed me on something. I just remember it was soft. He laid me on it, and as he was removing his arm from underneath my shoulders, I suddenly noticed that there was some sort of silver contraption, like a huge armband or splint thing, which covered from his wrist to almost his elbow, on his arm, his right arm.

“It was that point I started freaking out. He then started backing away, moving toward some seats. I noticed then too that he was very tall and appeared to be wearing regular clothes, you know, men’s clothes. I think, if I remember right, just jeans and a black tee shirt. But…he just couldn’t be human. And, more importantly, nor did his place. It looked like something I had never seen before. Futuristic, shiny, silvery light green. The walls were curved and rounded, not flat. It didn’t seem possible this sort of structure could be underground, not here. I then realized I had to be dreaming or hallucinating. This couldn’t be happening, you know?”


“All I knew from that point on- I had to get out of there. I remember my heart pounding like crazy. I sat up, shaking and trembling, and started moving on this, this sofa or seat thing, away from his direction. And then my vision started going blurry, so I could barely make out what was around. I remember hearing this sound, a familiar sound, but…then, he spoke. He said, ‘You may leave, if you wish’, something like that. His voice was deep, commanding…scary. The next thing I remember, this silver ladder thing suddenly appeared, in front of me, just a few feet from the seat. I tried standing up, the first time, and couldn’t. I fell back down on the seat a little. He asked me if I needed some assistance and started to come toward me! Well, I really started freaking. I mean, I’ll tell you, I MADE myself stand up, regardless of how bad it hurt!”

“From the fall?”

“Yes. All I know…I just forced myself up and then somehow climbed up that ladder. I had to get away from there. And it was so weird. That dirt hole up to the surface was surrounded by some luminescent type material, clear and silver.”

“Like the stuff that saved you?”

“Possibly. I just kept climbing to the top. I had to get out of there!” Trenae shook her head and glanced down. “And I don’t know how I did it, but I made it out. And I don’t remember too much else after that. The next thing I knew, I was waking up, in the driver’s seat of that car.”

“So at the time, what do you think it was?”

Trenae eyed Jenny closely. “Well, I remember waking up and feeling very cold. So I sat up, very slowly and looked around, to see if any of Willson’s men were there. But I was alone.

“I started up the car. The sun was up and I expected its rays to shine in my eyes and make me feel more nauseous and headachy, like usual after drinking. But I didn’t feel sick. I noticed it was around 9:00 in the morning, since I saw it on the car’s digital, but that meant it was like 8:00 Pacific. After I warmed up a bit, I strangely notice that my leg didn’t hurt at all. And my butt didn’t too. Then I looked at my fingers, and they were fine too, since I must have shredded them good grabbing the cliff.  I started to think it had all been a dream, a drunken hallucination. But then I noticed that my left boot heel was nearly broken off. And there were some dried bloodstains on my wrist and part of my leather sleeves. So, it didn’t make any sense, ya know?”


“Yeah, really. But then, everything kicked in about yesterday, and how they would hunt me down and kill me. I became very desperate. I realized- think quick and do something! I wanted to get away from that spot quickly, with all that weird crap that happened last night. And so, I decided, maybe it was best if I just went out on the roads, had some cops see me. Heck, I figured, I stole a car. The police must be looking for me, and if they see me, stop me. Maybe they can help me, right?”

“No, not if they’re involved.”

“I know, but…I backed out of there anyway. No one was around. And maybe I was just over-dramatizing a bit. But, I still felt very scared and quite tired. I drove, went up past Orogrande again and then west toward Grangeville. I was hungry and thirsty, and had to use the bathroom too. It was Sunday morning, so there wasn’t much traffic, fortunately. When I got to Grangeville, I stopped at a convenience store and got some gas, used the bathroom, washed the blood off me and bought some food. I had to walk very carefully because of that broken heel, try not to look too foolish, and all the while make sure I didn’t recognize anyone or get too close to anyone, but there weren’t many people there anyway.”

“You had some money? I thought you brought your purse up to the cliff? Didn’t you lose it in the fall?”

“You know, that was weird too.” She gave Jenny a perplexed look. “You would think it fell too, or got left behind, something like that. But it was in the car, in the morning too, just like me, and I don’t remember how. But not the wine bottle or flash light, so…”

“Yeah, weird.”

“Yeah. Like I told you a little earlier, I had about 20 or 30 dollars on me. Then I left the store and started heading north toward Lewiston, I guess on 95. And I waited and hoped for a cop car. I kept searching for anyone following me. But no one followed me and no cop cars were around. And I guess at that point, I remembered stolen cars weren’t pursued very aggressively by cops.

“So then, I started worrying, thinking- should I go to a police station, take my chances? Or, what else? Stiles would find me, he would, I just knew it.” Trenae glanced down, and touched her nails. “And it was eerie that no one found me yet. Maybe they were looking at my mom’s or something, some place they knew I would be. And I convinced myself they wouldn’t go to River Cliffs, since there was no shelter from the weather, no place to hide. So why would I go there? But if they had talked to my mom, and especially Darin, then they would know. I was sure my mom would tell them too.”

“Are you sure? That seems so mean.”

“Yeah, but if it was a choice between her life or mine, well…”

“I’m sorry, Trenae.”

“No, it’s okay.” She smiled a little at Jenny. “But, anyway, believe it or not, I decided the best place to be WAS at River Cliffs.”

“Hmm, me too, probably.”

“Yeah. I kept remembering how that guy, that being, whatever, had saved my life. Maybe he wasn’t real, but if he was, he was the best shot I had now. Plus, for some irritating reason, I just had to go back there and see if it was real, that I didn’t imagine everything I’d seen. And I knew, if I was wrong to go back there, and they found me, well then, they were going to find me eventually, anyway.”

Trenae stared into Jenny’s eyes and kept talking. “I don’t know if it was the light of day, but I felt a little bolder. Maybe I just came to the realization that I was going to die and have to accept it. I really didn’t have much to live for anyway.”

They both took tea sips again. While placing their cups down, Trenae noticed out of her eye’s corner that Jenny stared at her in a concerned, pitying manner.

“So, I went back there. I parked the car in the same spot like before, headed up the hill. And all along the way, I struggled to walk with my boots. The heel was really bad by now. So, finally, I took both boots off and walked in my pantyhose, carrying the boots, you know, although I put them down somewhere eventually. While I kept walking, I searched really well on the ground, especially in the clearing area. I looked closely on the ground for any sort of large hole, any evidence of one, to where that being lived. But, there were no holes.”


“And then I came upon my father’s burial spot. I leaned down on my knees and took away the stone. And boy was I shocked!”


“Because someone had dug there, with a shovel! I could see the big indent from it. Although they tried to cover it up, placing the rock on, I could still tell.”

“Oh my God, who?  Did someone tell Stiles?”

“That’s what I thought. I got up and started to turn around, in a circle, and frantically search the area for anyone. My heart just started racing so fast. I felt for sure they were close by. All sorts of adrenaline rushes hit me. I started shaking, feeling dizzy. It was awful, because I had to keep my wits at the same time, ya know?”

“Sure, absolutely.”

“I remember just feeling this was it, they’re here, I made a wrong move to come back. But, then I heard a noise. Like the noise of someone walking on dry leaves and pine needles.”

Jenny stared intently.

“I just knew someone was there. It came from down the hill, toward the gravel road, the beginning of the clearing. I turned to look, to my left. And down by some pine trees, the woods’ edge, I saw the same guy, that tall, scary guy, who saved me.”

As Trenae began describing that frightful day, her eyes could see and her mind could perceive the same vision of that moment, bringing her there again…



…She recognized him immediately, though he faced the trees. The strange, dark, rope-like hair, tied back behind his head, caught her eyes, as did his black jacket and blue jeans. When he neared a particularly statuesque tree, with few branches near its base but with other branches about six feet above the ground, and a trunk width of maybe 8-10 inches in diameter, the stranger grab the tree trunk with his hands. As she stared in incredulous and semi-conscious horror, the stranger effortlessly broke the pine trunk, with only his hands, about one foot above the tree’s base, from where it grew for many years in the protective soil. A loud and abrupt crackling-snap reverberated through the air, the tree trunk breaking in long shreds, with tree bark and other particles splintering in the air. He twisted the tree some, to tear the shreds, and then slid his hands toward the tree’s top, lifting the tree easily, gracefully. The giant plant began to fall toward the ground, yet he balanced it carefully, so that it fell gradually. The tree’s top branches, covered with dark green pine plumes, swept by the other treetops in its path, swooshing loudly, echoing throughout the rest of the woods.

But as the stranger turned around and followed the flow of the falling pine tree, his view led him up the incline of the clearing, directly toward a trembling young woman, dressed in a black leather jacket that partially covered a scanty, green dress.

Trenae gasped and covered her mouth with both hands. She could feel her body rattle even more, locking her eyes with the powerful being, who stood perfectly motionless though holding the heavy tree. Quickly she determined in her battered, tired mind that no one could do what this tall stranger just accomplished. No human, regardless of stature, could effortlessly break a tree as this being did, and then carry it like a feather, barely showing the slightest strain.

            Men’s voices, faint and distant, entered her ears.

Her knees began to shake uncontrollably. Her head became light as a balloon. Still covering her mouth and staring at the stranger, warm tears streamed down Trenae’s face, pouring onto her cold hands. She felt her knees turn to jelly. No! How could they betray me now? Yet she knew her body had lost. For hours her body had fought to keep going through lack of sleep, food, and water. And through impossible stress. And through the additional strain of excessive alcohol. Now her body could take no more. Realizing she was a sitting duck for this apparently dangerous stranger before her, due to her body’s lack of will and strength, she hoped within her mind for mercy. Mercy not only from this stranger, but also from Stiles and his evil accomplices, who most certainly treaded close by.

She collapsed toward the ground, her knees hitting the cold, damp soil, her blurry vision catching at the same time the tall stranger drop the tree. He felt horribly close, though probably 100 feet away. With extreme, inhuman intensity, the stranger exploded forward in her direction, a dark, swelling blur. Even before processing what was happening, she felt her body being lifted, carried. Maybe this is all a bad dream. She squeezed her eyes shut. This will all end, if I can make the world disappear. 

But it did not end. Her eyes yet sealed shut, she heard, she felt the stranger breathe and move as he carried her. It wasn’t long before she felt the uncomfortable sensation of her stomach left behind, held skyward, from a fall into the ground, just like last night. The stranger landed, hard, but she felt only a slight jolt. His arms cradled her like a soft pillow, with no harmful thuds entering her body.

He walked, carrying her. Her lower body soon lay upon his legs. He had sat down with her!

She kept her eyes squeezed shut, covering them with her hands. I can’t look, I can’t look!  “Please don’t hurt me, please don’t hurt me,” she said, her voice desperate, breathless, rampaged by cries and trembles.

“They were coming.” The voice vibrated with power, so deep, masculine, and completely unafraid. “I had to get us both away from there.” 

Her shaking increased. She could barely keep her hands over her eyes. In her mouth teeth made a horrible clattering noise. Then she felt his arms tighten around her body more, pulling her closer to his torso. His body gave some warmth. A strange, faint coppery scent on his clothes, just like last night, wafted around him, as did a familiar odor of clean or new clothes, from fabric softener. Nothing made sense. “P-p-please, you’re not going to hurt me, are you?” The words rattled through her teeth.

“Did I not save your life this morning? You may remove your hands now. I promise, I will not hurt you.”

True. He could have let me die last night. But maybe he only saved me to commit unspeakable acts upon my live body! Yet he did allow me to leave last night too. Back and forth, her mind wrangled. Ultimately, though, she was the one who came back. Nevertheless she couldn’t trust him. But what choice did she have now?

 Trenae inched her shaking hands apart, curtaining them to the left and right sides of her face, allowing her eyes to see. Crash! Without looking through the lens of a drunken stupor, his features crushed like an avalanche.

“I will not hurt you,” he said.

Those lines move, when his mouth forms words. Her eyes widened, fear filling their view.

Now she knew. The clumps of short, dark blue lines, with some black or silvery streaks, were like visible muscles from beneath his skin. As she saw the last time, the lines seemed especially predominant near his chin, cheeks, nose, and forehead areas, running mostly vertical on his forehead, diagonally and horizontally on his nose, vertically and diagonally on his chin and cheekbones, with a strange sort of oval or circular pattern around his eyes. Some faint lines existed around his mouth too, though those lines were fainter.

Clumps of the visible blue muscles, especially around his neck profoundly emanated a sinewy and metallic-like fibrous strength. The blue muscles did not seem biological, but rather artificial, impossible. And dangerous. His chin and neck resembled the chin and neck of a muscular body builder or big professional wrestler, yet somehow with a stiffer, less fleshy, or fat layered appearance. Even his overall face structure chiseled strong and powerful. No, this isn’t good. He appeared invincible.

Trenae stared closely into his eyes. His eyes shocked like nothing else. Deep-set, small, slit-like orbs were nearly completely dark. Where was the white part? There was none. Dark, piercing eyes stared down into her eyes. Maybe the current lighting made the difference, since she felt certain there was color in them, albeit dark, silvery color on her last visit. Fortunately, though, his eyes had a pleasant shape, possessing a handsome, Oriental design, in perfect proportion and arrangement upon his face. Their beauty erased a tiny amount of her fear.

Whatever his problem, she could stare at him no longer. She sealed her eyes shut again, forcing the inner turbulence of her terrified body, her racing heart, her rapid, strained breathing to emphasize. Her pounding pulse fluttered against shaking palms and fingertips by her temples. Tears poured from her eyes. “What are you?” she cried. “Who are you?”

“I am Ra’ammahkar.” His deep voice thundered the air. “Although call me Ra’am. We need to decrease your respiratory rate, before you enter a state of shock.”

Instantly she opened her eyes. What did he mean? It suddenly occurred to her just how close she was to his body. HIS BODY! His weird, creepy body! Though he held her tightly, his embrace didn’t hurt. Her head rested snuggly against his upper left arm and left chest, while her back and legs lay across his legs. But she felt trapped and powerless.

Waves of dizziness and nauseousness raked through her. She noticed the being remove his right arm from underneath her back side. Slowly he moved his hand, a large, blue-streaked hand toward her stomach. Her stare glued to his every motion, her body experiencing internal hysteria at the same time. “What are you doing?” she asked, fear crushing her voice.

“I am simply going to lay my hand on your stomach. You will then feel a warm sensation, as I attempt to lower the rates of your respiratory, cardiovascular, and endocrine systems. A series of mild electrical nerve impulses will pass to your spine. I will be gentle. It will not hurt.”

“No, wait!” Trenae felt horror-stricken. She stared at his hand, and then up at his face. Then back at his hand again. He had halted the motion of his hand, keeping his hand still in the air. He was waiting.

“If I do not calm you down,” he said, “I think you will become unconscious. I do not believe you want that now, do you?”

What little composure Trenae had left crumbled. She started to cry, really cry. “Oh God, oh God,” she whispered through sobs, “I’ve been through so much. I’m so scared. This can’t be happening. This…can’t be…happening…” She closed her eyes again.

She moved her trembling hands from her temples, pressing them over her wet eyes, securing the chance of seeing any disturbing visions. As she did so, she felt Ra’am’s large hand press upon her green dress, above her stomach. He pressed his hand further, until he compressed the synthetic green fabric firmly upon her middle abdomen. A warm sensation, just as he had described suddenly emanated into her abdomen and toward her back.

Trenae slid her hands aside and opened her eyes. Lifting her head a little, to see over her breasts, she stared at his hand. I have to touch him. She took her left hand from her face and quickly felt the top of his hand.

“What is your name?” Ra’am’s deep voice came soothing, docile now.

My fear shows blatantly, judging from the change in his voice. “Trenae,” she said softly. The back of her throat hurt from crying.

Ra’am’s eyes glared at her with knife-like, frightening intensity. She couldn’t look at them. She kept her stare toward her stomach, at the same time feeling his hand with her fingertips. She noticed his hand’s shape resembled a man’s hand, though lacking any hair so characteristic of a man’s hand. His skin felt warm on the surface, like a human’s skin, but taut and thick. Beneath his skin lay many tough fibers, almost like wires, which she absolutely had never felt before. Most felt linear. But some thinner fibers crisscrossed the larger, linear fibers. Trenae wanted to scream, their creepy feel shocking her, but felt halted by an ever-increasing drug-like state. Her heart rate was gradually diminishing. So was her breathing and intense trembling. Even her mind started to clear, allowing her to make more sense of all the strange circumstances hitting her consciousness in one blow. A relaxed, soothing, and less fearful state came to lie within her.

Curiosity slowly emerged. She felt more able to speak. “What are those things, those blue wiry things, beneath your skin,” she asked slowly. Her mouth felt so weak. Yes, she definitely felt drugged. She focused her stare on his hand, still avoiding eye contact. 

“They are called geed’aso, a very strong collagen and metalloprotein tendon, which only the males of my species have in great abundance. Because geed’aso protrudes into our skin layer, they can be seen easily, even more so than veins.”

What? Trenae found some courage. Slowly she lifted her gaze, staring into his eyes again, keeping her hand on his hand. “Then…then you’re not…human, are you?”

“No, I am not,” he said calmly.

His words left her rather unfazed, maybe due to his touch. Relaxation was growing more and more within her, even as Ra’am’s eyes unnerved fiercely. “Then…are you some sort of cyborg,” she asked softly, “a robot, a genetic experiment?”

“No, I am none of those.” He lowered his stare and looked down at his hand. “I am not from this planet, Trenae.” He stared back into her eyes. “I am an ometvah, from the planet Harkoav, in what your world calls the Andromeda galaxy.”

“No…that can’t be,” she said slowly. The sensation from his hand was beginning to feel very pleasant. “You speak English…you speak it well.”

Ra’am continued piercing her with his frightening eyes. She wanted to cringe, shut her fragile eyes, but could not.

“I have been here now for approximately nine earth years,” he said, “in many varied locations around the earth, underground, as you have witnessed. Although I learned your language within days upon my arrival, I have had even more experience with speaking it over the years.”

A barrage of disturbing, familiar voices blasted the air. Trenae jolted a little against Ra’am’s body, a scared doe. “Oh my God. No,” she said weakly. “They’re here! Are they, are they here, in this room? What are you doing?”

Ra’am removed his hand off her stomach. He carefully slid his right arm around her back again, gently lifting her up. Even with his hand gone from her stomach, she still felt remnants of that soothing sensation within her body. He turned around and gently placed her on the seat he had been sitting on, the same odd-feeling seat she had observed previously, during the last visit.

“There, on the display window, or khalon as we say,” Ra’am said. “That is what you hear.”

She turned and looked. He pointed toward an area of the room, to her left, that housed some sort of flat, half circle control panel with numerous lighted buttons and two small vertical, protruding objects. Two seats were before the control panel. The whole control panel was placed directly beneath what appeared as an actual window to the clearing above them. She could see the area where Ra’am had captured her.

Then she could see Stiles and Mr. Finley. Those evil men WERE at River Cliffs! Where had they parked their vehicles?

Trenae attempted to stand up. Her legs felt weak. Was it her haggard condition, or was it what Ra’am had just done with his hand, on her stomach? Either way, she began to fumble and fall back. As she positioned her hands to halt her fall, she felt Ra’am’s hands swoop down upon her shoulders, holding her. She looked up at him. He gently stood her back up. Without her boots on, he towered over her like a giant, compared to their last encounter. But the warmth and gentleness of his huge hands encompassing her small shoulders alleviated some fear.

“Come stand over here, just a short distance.” He released her shoulders and grasped both her hands in his hands, leading her a few feet more to her left. Her pantyhose-covered feet walked on a strange, bumpy floor.

Once he stopped, Ra’am released her left hand and put his right hand in his jacket’s pocket. He pulled out a folded paper. “Here,” he said, bringing the paper toward her face. His nails loomed closer. They’re black, different! “This is only a paper tissue from your planet, from a local grocery store. You may wipe your eyes.”

Trenae gingerly pinched the tissue with two fingers and stuttered, “Th-th-thank you.” Without his touch on her stomach, trembling began seizing her body again. She brought the tissue near her face, sniffing it secretly. It did have a familiar, earth-like scent.

With soft touches, she wiped her eyes and nose with one shuddering hand, while keeping a vigilant watch on Ra’am.

He let go of her right hand and began removing the black jacket he wore. Once off, he tossed the jacket in a straight shot onto the soft seat they had sat on, now behind her. Trenae turned, watching it whiz past her, but then turned back to keep her eye on him. She noticed that he was wearing the same silver armband he wore last night, on his right arm. She also noticed that his arms, exposed for view from near his shoulders right on down to his hand or arm band, due to the black tee shirt covering his upper body, did indeed have the same geed’aso running along parallel with powerful muscle segments. She observed too that his wrist and elbow joints seemed unusually large, and a little distorted in their structure.

Ra’am gently clutched her right hand. She cringed inside, even though his hand felt warm. Too much was happening at once. Slowly he pulled her until about six inches from his front body. Anxiously watching his every movement, she noticed his right arm, with the silver armband, move backwards a little and then plunge forward. At that same instant, a strange silvery yet clear substance began encircling them, about three feet from their bodies. She looked up, all around. From the very few inches above Ra’am’s head, all the way down to the floor, the substance surrounded them. It looked like the substance that had saved her life last night.

As the substance finished its encircling path and formed a giant bubble around them, it began changing, showing color.

“What is that?” Trenae asked frantically. She squeezed Ra’am’s hand a little. His hand’s interior felt like wires and thick rubber, immensely powerful. This can’t be. She looked up into his face.

Ra’am’s stare pierced through her eyes. “It is released through my koaksekhel, on my arm. It is called hemoom prodoh, and it is capable of nearly unlimited possibilities. Now, it is a viewing mechanism. Turn and see.”

Trenae turned around. Her heart crashed to the floor. There, just about 4 feet before her, stood Stiles and Mr. Finley!

She spun herself back around, whipping her free hand up and covering her face, attempting to protect herself. She squeezed Ra’am’s hand even harder and nuzzled closely against his body. “Oh my God,” she said, “You shouldn’t have done this! They want to kill me!”

His large hand gently cupped her chin, lifting her head up to see his face. “It is only an image, like a TV screen.” His deep voice resonated through her body. “We are not actually above the ground. We are still on the Memadshakor, below ground. Turn around and I will show you.”

Trembling and nervous, she turned, yet only her head. No, she determined, this is real! They talked, moved like real. And the trees, the ground, the rocks, and everything else looked absolutely real too! Even the soil by her feet appeared to have texture and dimension!

Ra’am lifted his right arm and made a quick movement. Instantly, the voices and images disappeared. Nothing remained from the scene. Nevertheless Trenae’s heart pounded again, pounded hard. Her breathing heaved rapidly.

“You see,” he said quietly. “The former image has vanished.” Without moving his arm, he brought the image back once more.

 Little by little, Trenae turned her entire body around. She pressed her right side against Ra’am’s body. She continued holding his hand. With fear, attentiveness, she allowed the words and actions of Willson’s men to singe her ears, burn her eyes.

Stiles stood next to Mr. Finley. Both men stared down at the flat rock covering her father’s small grave.

Ya think she knows, that you had to dig that fucking spot?” Stiles asked in a loathsome, near whisper. They obviously didn’t want to be heard.

“Hey, I’m not perfect, okay?” Mr. Finley said, quietly too. “I was just looking to see if she’d been here, and maybe there’s some coins or bills in that box. What’s your problem?”

“My problem is, if Johnboy hadn’t stopped you, you woulda dug the whole gadamn thing and she would’ve seen for sure. Ya shoulda pushed more of the dirt back in, you retard.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Mr. Finley said, waving his hand up in a sarcastic motion. He began walking to Trenae’s right, up toward the incline of the mountain.

Stiles stood alone. She quickly noticed that the man who had owned her, who had raped and abused her carried a handgun. A cold, dark, metallic, and very lethal-looking handgun.

“Where’s his b-b-bat?” she stammered. Ra’am said nothing.

As Stiles began kicking the sandy dirt and ground, keeping one of his hands in the ugly gray coat he wore and the other hand holding the malicious gun, Traferro came walking softly from behind Ra’am’s right. Trenae turned to get a better view.

Traferro spoke quietly too. “Hey Stiles, look what I found.”    

Stiles looked up. “Hey, Johnboy,” he whispered, “whata ya got?”

Instantly Trenae saw what Traferro had- her boots.

Traferro held the boots with glove covered hands, showing them to Stiles. Stiles appeared in charge of their sneaky and cruel operation. “You think she’s nearby?” Traferro asked, his voice hushed.

“Yeah, she’s gotta be, especially with her purse and keys in the car. Maybe she got spooked, from that freakin’ tree crashing. Something’s going on.”

Though Trenae felt lucky, hearing their conversation and yet not being visible, she wanted it all to end.

“Finley just went that way, up the hill,” Stiles said. He pointed past Ra’am’s right, and stared for a moment. Then Stiles curved his arm, making some gathering motions toward his body. Trenae followed his line of sight. Mr. Finley began walking back down the incline, between some trees. “Once Finley gets here, we’ll give him these, for Xavier and that damn dog. That cracked bottle and shirt Willson gave didn’t give much.”

“Didn’t he let it sniff her purse and the car seat?” 

Stiles turned and faced Traferro. “Yeah, but he wants something else she wore. Malcolm still has her purse, searching it and the Eclipse. Even with the dog, I think we should still branch out, each check a section. I’ll head back down by the Eclipse. She can’t be that far. You search down this clearing.” Stiles then thrust his gun-laden hand toward the same location that she had seen Ra’am earlier.

She looked to her left. Still on the ground lay the snapped pine tree, its broken, remnant trunk base protruding nearby.

“Good. I’m glad Finley’s taking the boots,” Traferro said. “I need my hands free.”

Trenae turned toward Traferro. She quickly noticed that he had a handgun too. She shuddered.

“I told you, Johnny-boy, we’re not using them.” Stiles again spoke quietly. “Unless we really need to. I’m sure once we see her, we can run her down. You can get those ‘ol legs going, can’t ya? Besides, she’s weak and clumsy, an idiot. We’ll have no problem, unless someone is helping her. Then, we have the guns.”

“Yeah, like you’re gonna be able to whack her anyway,” Traferro said boldly. Trenae shuddered more, her body shaking into Ra’am. She felt a confrontation brewing, since Stiles hated to be questioned.

“What exactly is that supposed to mean?” Stiles voice came louder, angrier.

“Oh, come on,” Traferro said, keeping his stare on Stiles face, holding his ground.  “You always kept her to yourself, hardly passed her around. You put her down, yet I doubt you mean it.”

Mr. Finley approached the two men.

Surprisingly, Stiles acted calm. “Look, she’s a white-trash loser, okay.” His voice was still hushed. He stared down and shook his head a little. “And to think I had that bitch nearly primed and ready for business, though it took long enough. What a waste, what a waste. A beautiful body with…I don’t know, not my kind of personality…gutless.” Stiles looked back at Traferro with a heartless glare. “I’ll have no problem killing her, believe me.”

Trenae’s stomach knotted in pain. She turned and looked straight up at Ra’am. “Please, can we please stop this now? I’ve…I’ve heard…”

No sooner had she finished speaking, and Ra’am raised his right arm again. The image disappeared, as she noticed from above his head. Even so, she slowly turned around to make sure. Stiles and the others were gone. Then she looked over to the viewing window above the control panel. Its image was gone as well. Only a light silvery green covered the viewing window, the same color as the rest of the underground abode.

She looked up at Ra’am again. He stared down at her. “I…I want to thank you, for saving my life,” she said softly. “Both now and last night.”

“Think nothing of it. When I realized you were here today, I made certain to stay in the area, just for when they came back. I knew the moment I saw them earlier, they meant to do someone harm. And I am sure the sound from the tree breaking drew them near again. Now, you are safe…But unfortunately, I cannot let you leave. You know too much.”

Ra’am walked away from Trenae’s left, in front of her, gently tugging her hand. He tugged her toward the farther continuation of the wide curved corridor they had been standing in. “Can you walk?” he asked.

She looked up at his dark, powerful face. “I think so.”

“Good, then follow me. There is someone I want you to meet.”

She obeyed him once more. What else could she do? But his words ‘I cannot let you leave now’ echoed ruthlessly through mind. Regardless, while walking with him, she made astute observations of all the surroundings. She searched feverishly for any sign of something dangerous or harmful, some weird contraption for alien experimentation or other form of torture. Like many others, she knew of alien abductions around the world. Who couldn’t these days? And now, here she was, with one of them! Or WAS he an alien, or something else? Her mind raced in a whirlwind to figure it all out.

They passed by a room, just to her left. Ra’am was moving a little fast, so she only had a glimpse. But the room appeared to have a table and some seats, made out of the same colored material as the walls, ceiling, and floor, and placed similarly to a booth in a diner or fast food restaurant. Adjacent to two walls in the room’s corner was a countertop, similar in shape to a boomerang.

But her attentive scanning of the room halted abruptly, as her steps moved a short distance past the room’s doorway. Ra’am now had them standing stationary in front of the next doorway down the curved corridor, directly to the right of the table room’s doorway. However, this new doorway was unopened, sealed shut with the same light green, silvery substance.

“This is my companion you are about to meet,” Ra’am said. “And I hope he is in a friendly mood, but I believe he will be.” Trenae stared up quietly at the tall being. But then, seeing motion, she looked down and forward. Ra’am’s blue-striped hand touched a flat, lighted oval object, just to the right of the doorway, about five feet from the floor.

Upon his touch of the button, the door rushed to her left, in the same manner that an automatic sliding glass door at any local supermarket would work, but with melting fluidity and rapid motion. And the sliding door didn’t enter into a compartment large enough to accommodate its size, as inside the wall to the doorway’s left. No, instead, it melded and BECAME the doorway wall to its left. It was as though the sliding door never existed.

Her gaze became transfixed upon the doorway’s strange phenomenon. Yet something else caught her sight, something large and golden that poked two claw-ridden rods into her upper thighs and lower abdomen. Trenae startled. She jolted her left arm up and forced her stare below.

“No no, L.B.!” Ra’am said. Trenae could not believe it. There, beneath her, was a dog, a golden, longhaired happy dog! His mouth was open, tongue panting.  

“A dog?” she asked. “He looks like a Golden Retriever. Is he?”

Ra’am didn’t pay attention to her words. Instead he knelt down and wrapped his arms around the rambunctious, friendly animal, moving the animal off Trenae. L.B. licked Ra’am’s face with great eagerness. “Hey, hey, you silly dog. Come on,” Ra’am said, between licks on his face and hands.

Quickly she realized that this dog’s bark was the familiar sound she had heard during her last visit here. She just wasn’t cognitive at the time, fear marring her judgment.

Watching them together, she also noticed a smile appear on Ra’am’s face, the first smile she had observed from the alien. But his teeth appeared light blue in color, ruining the moment a little. Also, several teeth appeared somewhat sharper and larger than a human’s teeth.

But Trenae pushed these negative revealments aside. She gradually knelt down next to L.B. and Ra’am. She smoothed her hand across the energetic dog’s soft fur. “Is he, from…?”

“Yes, a Golden Retriever from earth. He is a gift from a friend, who lives in Spokane, Washington.”

Though she wanted to ask more questions, L.B. gave Ra’am a paw, while asserting a low, friendly growl from his throat. “What am I going to do with you?” Ra’am told him, wrapping his arms around L.B. and giving the dog a close hug. As from a warm summer breeze, Trenae felt some of the sharp, stabbing ice crystals of fear and anxiety melt around her heart. For she knew, from many pets of her past when her father was alive, that an animal knew who loved them and responded in kind. An animal would not lie. If Ra’am truly loved this dog, could he be so bad?

Ra’am let go of L.B., appearing to have ended his session of reassuring hugs, pats and rubs on L.B.’s back and head. Ra’am stood up.

L.B. then turned at her. Since she continued kneeling, she was fortunate to receive a barrage of wet dog licks to her face as well. She felt the muscles of her face begin to unfreeze, like her heart, as she too could not refrain from smiling. Even a few quiet chuckles came from her voice.

Finally L.B. appeared to have had enough attention and began settling down into just a romping, tail-wagging dog.

“He is still young, only two years old,” Ra’am said. “His name, the letters L and B, stand for Lucky Boy. He was the runt of the litter and my friend believed L.B. would not survive. But, he did. I sometimes leave him in my room when I go up ground, depending on his mood. Most of the time, I take him with me. I could not today, due to those men and their German Shepard. But L.B. is a good dog. I have been…rather lonely. Without him, I do not know.”

Trenae looked up at Ra’am. His smile was gone. Instead, he appeared rather stoical, like before, and powerful. And large. And terrifying. “Come now with me and we will get some necessary items for you.” He stared through her with frightening eyes. “Would you like me to hold your hand?”

Somehow, with the way he looked at her, she prompted against it. She would struggle on her own now. “No, that’s okay. I’ll be all right.”

Ra’am nodded, without speaking, and began walking in another direction. L.B. followed him. She stood up and did as well.

She started feeling a little freer to speak with him. “Necessary items?”

Ra’am turned around briefly. “Yes, for your room. I have another sleeping room on this Memadshakor. The room you just viewed was my own. You will need blankets and a pillow.”

It then occurred to her that she had seen some blankets in that room, his room. Just for a fleeting moment, but the picture implanted her memory. Several colorful blankets, like the kind a Native American would make, like from the Nez Perce Indians, and some red and blue pillows, all lay on a small bed-like structure protruding from the wall, across from the doorway.

But that odd word. Memadsha…what? I’m sorry, I--”

“Memadshakor, the spacecraft we are now on.” Ra’am halted his movement and turned around. She looked up at him, but then glanced down, noticing him lift his right arm, the arm with the strange silver armband he called a koaksekhel. He held his arm horizontally and tilted it slightly sideways, in her direction, just at her eye level. She could see the armband clearly now.

Bright silver entered her eyes. The koaksekhel began its length just above Ra’am’s wrist and continued to two or three inches below his elbow, appearing to be molded out of one uniform material, yet taking on different shapes, heights, and textures throughout the armband’s length and width. Some apparent alien letters also covered the koaksekhels’s surface, in varying places. She studied it quickly, closely. From his wrist to the end near his elbow, a 21/2- to maybe 5-inch wide area, corresponding to the varying widths of his forearm, contained a ½ to 1- inch elevated area of various geometric shapes, tapering off to a slope at the wrist base, near the elbow, and along the sides. A little up from his wrist, a square border surrounded a small circular area, a circle with a kaleidoscope-type eye, with many crisscrossing swirling lines, meeting at one central point in the circle. Yeah, she thought, what he called hemoom prodoh, producing the all-encompassing viewer, shot forth from the circle.

Above the square border on the koaksekhel, heading toward his elbow, existed a long rectangular shape, having a very thin line down its length-wise center.  The very thin line abruptly opened, similar to two parallel sliding doors and with the same strange fluidity and odd melting-like or disappearing-like property as the door to Ra’am’s room. No moving parts or separate parts seemed to exist on anything she had seen so far. All matter anywhere on the Memadshakor appeared either to grow or shrink in size, yet come from just one main unit of matter. 

With the small doors opened, oval ½ inch buttons, a rectangular-shaped area, resembling a small viewing screen, and a thin, long line, near the inside of his forearm, all could be seen. All the items appeared fantastically advanced, and existed upon similar colored and textured material as the rest of the silver koaksekhel. The buttons had varying colors, placed in rows, with a strange fluid-like fluorescent liquid within them, yet again, did not appear as separate entities, but part of the koaksekhel’s whole.

The line near his inside forearm opened about a 1/8 of an inch.

Upon opening, an oval, three-dimensional color image materialized about two inches above its thin entry portal. “This is an image of Memadshakor, from above, right now,” Ra’am said.  “I removed the tekrah, or ceiling, so that you can observe within. Move closer, look inside.”

Trenae looked up at his face. Then, moving forward slightly, she gazed down at the image above his koaksekhel. She immediately witnessed a small, oval shaped vessel that looked so vivid, so tactile and real, so smooth, though only around 5 inches in diameter, that just couldn’t be holographic or three-dimensional. It was real! The oval shape had a central, circular area composed of four rooms, separated by cross hair walls. In the center of the cross hair, another smaller circle dwelled, dark in shade.

“Although this spacecraft is a Memadshakor, my personal name for it is Ha-Ta, or translated, The Cell. I call it this because of its similarity to a living cell, with a nucleus containing the most important and invaluable components, surrounded by areas of less importance, but indispensable nonetheless. The nucleus area is approximately 24 feet in diameter, where as the area which surrounds it, these wide hallways we are in, are 12 feet in width, making this interior approximately 48 feet diameter at its greatest width. You see,” Ra’am said, taking his other hand and pointing to an area next to the central circle, “we are here, right there.” The area he pointed to laid opposite the side of Ha-Ta where the control panel and viewing window resided. Thus, they stood near Ha-Ta’s back end, whereas the control panel lay in the front end.

How true were his words, as Trenae looked closer. For there they were, in tiny miniature, placed exactly as they now stood! And L.B. moved around in miniature, just as he did now, near her legs!  “Oh my gosh, it looks…it looks so real! How is that?”

“Molecular-sized aerial robotic systems, possessing viewing mechanisms, similar to digital cameras, although greatly advanced from earth’s technology. We call this particular system proodat t’notat teesatkhepah.  It responds at my command and produced this view.”

“And the colors,” she said, examining the image. “Everything is the same, like the light green color in here!” She looked up at Ra’am again. “Those molecular robots…is that how we could see Stiles and the others, above ground?”

“Yes. Proodat t’notat teesatkhepah transmit their information in the form of simple electro-magnetic radio waves to Ha-Ta’s main computation center, called a taktselekh, as well as to molecular, atomic, and subatomic computation or computer systems called proodat t’notat taktselekh in both Ha-Ta and my koaksekhel. All computer systems remain in constant contact to update all available information. Some of the proodat t’notat teesatkhepah also use a form of radar electromagnetic waves, that are generated forward, transferred back, and instantly deciphered by the robots, which then send the information to all the computer systems. But, I will explain more about this later.

“See, look here.” Trenae lowered her gaze. Ra’am pointed at a room directly opposite in position to his room. “This will be your room, here.”

If Ha-Ta’s ‘nucleus’ were a pie, cut in to four equal portions, Ra’am’s room and the room he presented to her existed in the bottom or back end portions. The two upper or front portions he had yet to explain and label.

But just as he began pointing at their position, her eyes scanned away a moment, noticing the size of Ra’am’s left forearm. His arm’s breadth surpassed her own thin forearm’s breadth by three or four times. An involuntary, secret shudder cascaded within her body. Though Trenae felt much better since L.B. had entered the scene, her trust diminished. Ra’am’s large arms, and his other examples of enormous strength, forced her to hope, upon all hopes, that this alien being would continue to be friendly and not turn on her. Because if he did, she was most certainly without any hope at all.

She looked up at him. “Why can’t I leave now?”

Ra’am darted his black stare into her eyes. “And why would you want to? It appears to me, that you are in great danger above ground.”

She swallowed, trying to be secretive. “But…but you said, I cannot leave now…why, why not?” Her voice came as nearly a whisper.

“Yes, I did. There is a slight chance your government will seek to silence or eclipse a human being who has made contact with an alien being. Are you familiar with this?”

“Well, yes, I think so.”

“You know too much now, and will learn even more. So, for your own protection and for my protection with continuing studies of your planet, it would be best if you stay here. I, however, do not need protection from any individual or group of individuals on your planet. I am far too powerful.” Trenae struggled to watch his eyes, yet did so anyway. “The koaksekhel itself, here on my arm, has enough power to produce a gradual chain reaction subatomic explosion to annihilate your entire planet, very effortlessly, although that is not my mission.” His expression became less severe. “But do not worry. I will provide you with food and clothing, bathroom facilities, heat, water, and everything else you need. All I ask in return is your help with my continuing studies, until I leave in approximately 21/2 to 3 earth months. As long as you are near me, Stiles and his men can never harm you.”

“S-s-studies?” she asked nervously.

“Yes, do not worry. The study of the earth’s biosphere, its plants, animals, microorganisms. Not you. You can simply assist me to locate and collect these species, that is all.”

“Oh.” She lowered her gaze again.

“So that is why you should acquaint yourself with Ha-Ta’s layout. Here, in this room,” he said, pointing to the upper right corner section room, “is my laboratory, or eyzkher tagleet. Opposite, is the eating room, a form of dining and kitchen facility, quite similar to those of earth. We call that room eyzkher mazon.”

That was the room, with the diner-like booth. “Oh…yes.”

“Over here, just before the eating room and near the long seat that we sat on initially, is the ceiling doorway, or delet tekrah, to the above ground. The long seat, which is on Ha-Ta’s left side, is called an evesmol.  In the front of this Memadshakor, is the control panel, or shleetah maksheer, where you viewed the men.  Above the shleetah maksheer is the khalon, as you have seen, produced by proodat t’notat khalon system.

“And to the right of the shleetah maksheer, there is another doorway, although now, underground, is rather useless. That doorway is called delet yahmon. And possibly you noticed, as we walked down here, there was a seat, similar to the one beneath the ceiling entrance, right opposite my room and against the outer wall, at a 45 degree angle from Ha-Ta’s center. There is another seat in the same position from your room. They are merely extra seating accommodations. Do you have any questions?”

Trenae looked even closer at the incredible, miraculous replication of the spacecraft. She did notice something that made her wonder. “Why is the area, this curved hallway, around the central rooms, so wide?”

“Ah yes. Good question. You see to your right, right here?” Ra’am turned toward the far curved wall on her right. She did the same. Three more separate doorways came into view, spaced apart from each other by about four or five feet, sealed with the same light green colored doors, similar too in size and texture as the door to Ra’am’s room.

 “Now look back on the koaksekhel image, in the same corresponding position,” he said.  She did as asked and saw three long, rounded-edged rectangular rooms placed side by side to each other, by their longest sides. They were outside the back perimeter edge of Ha-Ta, yet with entrances into Ha-Ta through their short-sided front ends. “This first bio-cylinder, or galeel khayeh,” he said, pointing to the a cylinder on the outside edge of the three, near Ha-Ta’s right side, “which is approximately 8 feet wide and 15 feet long, as are the other two, contains a greenhouse and a water holding tank. The greenhouse is entered first, while the water-holding tank is at the far end. And this next bio-cylinder,” he said, pointing correspondingly, “is actually similar to what you know as a bathroom and laundry room, when one first enters this cylinder. This cylinder also has a water tank at its back end.” He finally pointed to the last one, near Ha-Ta’s left side. “This cylinder contains a greenhouse, a storage room, and a small water-holding tank.”

“Where do you get the water from?” she asked, keeping her eyes on the image.

“From underground wells. Each tank has a built-in device capable of digging into the earth and securing water. This water is highly prized, since it is high in minerals needed for my species. You will find the water here to be quite hard, heavy with minerals.

“But the reason these cylinders are outside of Ha-Ta, is because a Memadshakor can be miniaturized. The cylinders have specific space available on board during travel in the universe, but once underground on a planet, they are removed. You see right here, here, and here also,” he said, pointing to the left side, right side, and back end, near where they now stood, of the curved hallway surrounding Ha-Ta’s middle. “These are the positions the cylinders will occupy when I return to Harkoav in the months ahead. But because of the potential possibility of ever needing to miniaturize Ha-Ta while I am above ground, due a particular circumstance, the cylinders must remain outside this vessel, since they contain biological life forms. Living matter cannot be miniaturized.”

She looked up at him. “What? Why is that?” Worry hit.

“Because living matter, or biological material, is far too complicated to ever miniaturize, at least now, at our current level of technology. Yet I doubt that will change, due to the incredibly complicated biochemical, bio-molecular interactions that occur every split second within the cellular dimensions.”

“Wait a minute…miniaturize?” Trenae asked softly. She continued staring at his face. “This spaceship, this Memadshakor? I’m no expert, but that sounds impossible.”

Ra’am quickly banished the image above his koaksekhel and lowered his arm. She glanced at his arm, but then looked back up at him. He flashed a light blue grin, staring down into her eyes. “Impossible? By whose standards?”

Dissolving his grin, he turned toward the greenhouse cylinder with the storage room. Then he looked back at her face. “Let us get you some necessary items. Come with me.”

Again, she obeyed his words.

When they stood before all three cylinder doorways, the doorway on the left quickly slid open, in the exact manner as the doorway of Ra’am’s room. A blanket of bright light fell from the open doorway. Trenae squinted, covering her eyes with her hands. Fortunately Ra’am didn’t see her do this. He faced forward and began entering the bright cylinder room.

She stepped into the cylinder, following him, and suddenly remembered her feet lacked footwear. She glanced down at her pantyhose-covered feet, her long, loose hair nearly blocking the view. She wondered why her feet didn’t feel cold. Shoot, and they’re right next to this strange, miniaturizing material. Could it be dangerous, full of radiation, or maybe some of those molecular robots? What if those molecular robots are in the air, and I breathed them in? What a great time to be without those boots!

“This, as I showed you previously, is one of the greenhouses,” Ra’am said. She looked up at him. He turned back.  “I observed you cover your eyes. Is the light too bright?”

Astonished. He hadn’t seen! “How could, how could you know?” she asked cautiously. “You were facing the other way.”  

“I have not explained everything yet. Underneath my koaksekhel, just below my skin and geed’aso, there is an organic-based artificial nerve fiber which travels up my arm, through my neck and connects with a portion of my brain similar to the corpus callosum in the human brain.”

“Corpus callosum?”

“Yes, the corpus callosum acts as bridge between the right hemisphere and the left hemisphere of the brain. In our brains, we have found a way to access this information bridge and allow computer system information to enter both hemispheres and be accessed.”

A wave of queasiness grabbed Trenae’s center. She closed up both sides of her leather jacket together, and then crossed her arms over her stomach, just below her breasts. She definitely didn’t feel well. She looked to her right, at the wall of the cylinder, displaying the same silvery light green as the rest of Ha-Ta, and longed to lean up against it with her right shoulder. But no, wait, what about those molecular robot things!

She looked to her left. Five exact, neat shelves of numerous plants extended from a wall, beginning farther down from Ra’am and proceeding toward the doorway until about two feet from the doorway. The plants appeared to be rooted in soil depth of three or four inches, as was the depth of each shelf. Any shelf below another shelf appeared to be lighted by the shelf above it, yet by no apparent light bulb or other light fixture. The light just glowed from the walls, ceilings, or shelves, the same as it was doing in the greenhouse. She looked up and saw white, all-encompassing brightness merely emanating from the ceiling. It didn’t make sense!

“I can receive any information from both the koaksekhel and Ha-Ta’s computer systems,” Ra’am said. She looked up at his face again. “Any information that is of an immediate urgency, as security scanning of the interior and exterior of this spacecraft, is received instantly. That is how I saw your movement.” She squinted again, and then looked back at the lighted walls. “The light comes from subatomic photon particles which are emitted from proodat t’notat orah system. I will now lessen the light, since it is too bright for you.”

At the exact moment Ra’am said his words, the room’s lighting decreased. However, its effect didn’t agree with Trenae’s weary body. A tiger sneaking up and attacking its prey, dizziness and light-headedness assaulted her. She began to tilt to the left, falling over toward the floor, falling over toward an unsuspecting L.B. just entering the room. Oh no, I’ll land on the poor dog! What’s wrong with me?

            She didn’t continue to fall. Ra’am lunged forward and caught her.

Both his large hands gently yet firmly grasped her shoulders, and straightened her against the wall. She looked at his face, but couldn’t see straight. His face shuffled in motion, floundering choppy, blurry, as though she had just finished spinning around in a tight circle. A new wave of fear and helplessness entrapped her body, her thoughts struggling frantically to understand all that was now occurring.

“You are still not well.” Ra’am’s deep, commanding voice surrounded her, making things worse. “I believe it is stress and lack of food and water. Do you think you can walk, or should I carry you?”

Tears again watered in her tired eyes. Her nose began leaking. She hung her head down in fear, shame, and fatigue, gingerly lifting a hand and wiping her nose.

“Trenae, can you hear me?”

“No…I don’t know…please, what’s wrong with me?” she whispered, her head still down. Her legs wobbled, getting weaker, weaker.

The moment Trenae felt her legs ready to collapse, similar to earlier in the clearing, Ra’am released her shoulders and swooped down, one of his arms wrapping under her knees and the other arm sliding around her upper back. He lifted, and then carried her toward the doorway. She wondered about such behavior, beginning to assume different reasons for why he seemed so caring. Any ulterior motives? What is he planning to do next with me? Yet all she could quickly determine was that she couldn’t remember the last time someone had treated her so considerately.

Just before he was about to carry her through the greenhouse cylinder’s doorway, the doorway widened, like liquid metal, accommodating both of them easily. He carried her out of the lighted room. She tried hard to keep her eyes open, within his arms, to watch everything he did, might do.

Though she could see his face and neck closely once more, seeing his blue geed’aso muscles, she instead tried to look around at Ha-Ta. But it was difficult through blurry vision. But she persisted.

The edge where the light green ceiling and walls touched one another was bordered by ribbon-like layers, five or six of them all together. The layers gave the edge a rounded appearance, instead of the typical sharp 90-degree angle found on most wall-ceiling angles.

“L.B, come along,” Ra’am said, turning around briefly, just as she searched for more Ha-Ta details. “I will give you something to eat too.”

She listened closely, noticing Ra’am’s shoes didn’t produce a sharp, crisp clang as he walked on Ha-Ta’s surface, as would be typical of a metal surface. His shoes instead produced a sound more characteristic of walking on sand, or a malleable, thick surface, like plastic, forming a low, clucking thud or squish noise. Yet did his shoes cause this sound or did the floor cause this sound? Actually, the noises sounded muffled, as in a cushioned sound room.

She tried to glance down and observe the floor, while he carried her through the curved corridor, passing her new room and the laboratory room. But the floor was just too far away now and she was just too dizzy. Maybe later she could determine the floor’s composition and appearance.

“I hope you will like what I have,” Ra’am said. “I think I have some food Dod gave me. The food should still be fresh.”

Trenae heard his words, and felt mildly grateful, but couldn’t fully appreciate or understand what they meant. She mostly struggled and worried over her dizziness and weakness, and her tearing eyes. Her breaths huffed shallow, and the back of her throat hurt again. She smelled the air, with each inhaled breath. Air on Ha-Ta had a strange, ionized sort of odor.

All of it, everything, weakened her even more. She suddenly felt an incredible desire to embrace Ra’am. So desperately did she need a hug! Yet instinctively, it felt wrong. He’s not…human.

She could only take some comfort in his arms holding her, his grasp gentle, though secure. And their bodies near. But it was creepy, too. But she had no choice. But she needed comfort. No, I’m going crazy.

She tried to relax.

Her gaze sleeked right, viewing the control panel and the khalon again. And then Ra’am turned, passing the evesmol. He seemed to have taken a farther route than necessary. Why was that? Then he turned again, entering the eating room, the eyzkher mazon.

Ra’am gradually, carefully placed her sitting on the first seat, the seat closest to the doorway. He made sure her legs were comfortable beneath the table, his soft touch placing them supportively. Then his palms pressed her shoulders, gently pushing her against the back of the seat.

“Can you sit up all right?” he asked.

“Yes, I think so,” she said weakly. She looked in his frightening face. “Why are you helping me?”

“Here, put your hands on the table, for support.” Ra’am lifted her hands from off the seat and placed them, palms down, on the table’s surface. With unnerving surprise, she noticed his fingernails again, this time with a better view. They were black, thick, and covered with six or more arrow-like ridges, ridges starting at his nails’ base and then pointing in the direction of their forward growth. Yet the nail’s tips weren’t pointy, but smooth and rounded, like human nail tips kept quite short. She shivered.

“Are you cold?” he asked, releasing her hands.

He moved away and sat down on the seat just across the table from her location. Trenae wiped her eyes. She could see clearly now into his incisive, powerful face, observing again his blue-lined geed’aso muscles. The view came far too close for comfort. As Ra’am placed his hands on the table, he then laid one hand on top of the other, with his forearms jutting out from either side, the koaksekhel not seeming to impede his folded arms. Sparkles of light reflected from his koaksekhel, from the room’s lighting. Though the eating room’s light shone brighter than the curved corridor, it was less bright, thankfully, than the greenhouse.

Trenae couldn’t keep looking at his intense, frightening eyes or his strange, dark fingernails. She looked down at her own hands on the table. Her trembling hands appeared so cold and pale. “I- I don’t know,” she finally answered. “I don’t think so.”

Movement stirred. She lifted her gaze a little. Ra’am was slowly gliding his right hand across the table. He placed his hand on both her hands. Oh my God, she screamed inside, HE’S NOT HUMAN! HE’S NOT HUMAN AND I’M HERE, ALONE WITH HIM! The words echoed violently in her head, banging back and forth, his hand’s view impaling into her mind. Blue, sinewy geed’aso and black, ridged nails could be seen viciously perfect now. She counted five fingers, a thumb and other fingers like a human’s hand. More light-headedness filled her mind. Her eyes widened in terror.

“You do feel cold. I will increase the heat in here. You are shaking. You are a scared little rabbit.” Ra’am slid his other hand over. He gently grasped both her hands now, in both his hands, and slowly pulled them nearer his side of the table, closer to his body. Trenae’s heart raced. He squeezed them softly, his hand's warmth penetrating her skin. “Trenae, look at me,” he commanded.

Slowly she lifted her head up and looked into his face.

“You must gain control over your mind now. I exist, and you must accept that. If you do not, you will continue to teeter on the verge of shock or nervous system deterioration.” He leaned his dark face closer to her. “Repeat after me, Ra’am exists!”

What? What is this? Her mind felt numb, her vision blurry. Her eyes gradually strayed from his frightening stare, looking away.

“Trenae!” he said firmly, squeezing her hands again, only this time harder. She suddenly felt a small taste of his unbelievable strength. It forced her to look back at him. She had to comply. “You must say this,” he demanded. “Ra’am exists!”

Overwhelmed, tears flowed from her eyes again. But, quietly, Trenae forced herself to speak anyway. “Ra’am exists, he exists,” she said softly. She bowed her head down, spilling her long, blond wavy hair around her arms and on the table. She began to cry even more.

Ra’am gently released her hands. She heard him move his hands back, away. Then she saw him bring forth, out of the corner of her right teary eye, several white papery objects in his left hand, gliding his hand across the table, near her hands. She looked at the objects. They were napkins.

“Here, use these to dry your eyes and nose,” he said. “Like the other one I gave you, it is just from a local store.” Trenae weakly picked up the napkins and blotted around her face. “Try taking deep, slow breaths. Tell yourself to relax. But most of all, you must keep telling yourself that I do exist. Eventually, your mind will catch up to what your eyes know as the truth. I have seen this before. It is not your fault. It is your world’s fault for not preparing you.”

 She looked up at him. He gave her an empty glance. Right afterwards, he rose up from the seat and then stood motionless near the table. “I will prepare us something to eat. Please, try to relax.”

As Ra’am walked over a short distance to the boomerang-shaped counter, Trenae tried what he requested. She took some deep breaths. She tried to relax and convince herself that he existed. Then she watched what he was doing. He was removing some food items from a few small closets above the counter top, so similar to the counter tops and closets of a regular human’s kitchen. However, the doors to these closets slid open and disappeared just like other doors on Ha-Ta.

L.B. bumped up from under the table, startling her a bit, poking his happy head by her right hand. “L.B., are you a sight for sore eyes,” she said quietly. She caressed his furry head and muzzle, petting him kindly, fervently, as someone who had just found a long, lost pet. When she brought her face closer to him, a wet tongue lapped her face. You’re my only connection to the human world above, she thought. How ironic, a dog. But the reassurance L.B. delivered was only fleeting and fake, for as soon as she looked at any of the material on Ha-Ta or looked at Ra’am, that reassurance scampered away.     

Ra’am returned. He placed upon the table a plate of food and a white tumbler of water. Watching him place the items, she noticed again the table possessed the same silvery light green color. Both the plate and tumbler, though, appeared to be white plastic, from earth. The plate contained many slices of dark orange fruit-looking pieces, cut in long slices, similar to a cantaloupe cut length-wise, yet had the overall shape of a butternut squash.

 “Do you feel any better?” Ra’am asked, sitting down.

She looked at him again, only this time with a sense of reality. So, he exists, get used to it. Besides, he hasn’t hurt you so far. “Yes, a little,” she said. “I felt very dizzy and light-headed back there, in the greenhouse. When you lowered the lighting…I don’t know, it did…something.”

“No, it was not the light. You are under too much stress. The light only worsened your condition. When was the last time you ate?”

The time. What was the time? Trenae lifted her left wrist. Pushing back her leather jacket sleeve, she looked at her watch’s digital clock face. It was almost 4:30, which meant it was almost 3:30 Pacific Time, since her watch continued to run on Mountain Time. “I ate around 9:00 this morning, Pacific Time. It’s been awhile.” She looked at his face. “Those molecular robots, are they dangerous? Because, that’s another reason, I felt d-dizzy. I was worried, about stepping on them, without shoes. Or breathing them, or anything else in here. Radiation, or anything?”

“No, there is nothing that can harm you.” Ra’am leaned back in his seat and placed his hands on the table, sitting tall and majestic.

Certainly no shrinking violet, this guy. He appeared, at least on the outside, to be her total opposite, similar to Stiles and Willson. But then again, he wasn’t human. Who could she compare him to or use as a gauge to measure him by?

 “The molecular machines or robots, or proodat t’notah, or systems of them, like proodat t’notat taktselekh, are part of a larger whole, and work together as a unit on a Memadshakor,” Ra’am said. “They have no use for any organic body of matter, since their whole purpose is to operate together, just like a large rock, although teeming with billions and billions of individual molecules, has no interest in interacting with your hand. It they are inhaled accidentally, they normally will leave the body or simply decompose harmlessly into natural elements your system will use or discard. You see, our technology is extremely complex, yet functions very simply. It is based on what your world refers to as nanotechnology and atomic computing.”

“Nanotechnology, atomic computing?” Trenae concentrated carefully to pronounce the words correctly. She desperately needed to cooperate with this being and not appear ignorant.

“Yes. Nanotechnology, or kleeproodah as we call it, a system of machines the size of an ohtah ha-kootsah and ohtev, meaning molecule and atom. The machines’ components are even atomic parts, that you know as the neutron, proton, electron, and other subatomic particles, which work separately or together as a whole unit, depending on the circumstances. The kleeproodah uses separate systems of molecular-sized machines, with varying names beginning with proodat t’notat, for varying tasks, like one system for miniaturization, one for life support, etc. But, though having separate or contiguous systems, a Memadshakor still functions as a whole unit. Our form of atomic computing is the proodat t’notat taktselekh and central taktselekh. Are you familiar with nanosystems?”

“I…yes, I remember. In school. Yes.”

“The origin of our present technology began when we mastered total control over the atom and the forces of the universe.”

She studied his face curiously. “Forces of the universe?”

“Yes, what earth’s physicists now refer to as the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, electromagnetism, and gravity, or understanding how large bodies of matter function verses how atomic structure functions. Your physicists struggle with uniting these forces, in particular with string theory, and their struggle recalls the time, thousands of our years ago, when we first united these forces together ourselves. It is not because earth’s physicists are looking in the wrong direction, they just need more time, especially in the realm of subatomic particles and these particles’ interactions.” He laid his arms on the table, leaning forward more and staring directly into her face. “You see, many subatomic particles or energy do have mass, because they contain other particles or energy quantities, which also contain other particles and properties, such as other dimensional realms, varying shapes, and so forth. Your physicists believe there are approximately 300 subatomic particles, yet there are many more.”

Ra’am looked down at the food and then back at her. “First I want you to drink some water, since you may be dehydrating. After drinking, you need to eat some of this fruit. It is from my planet, and is called ketoomahgas. It is very nutritious, high in amino acids and calcium, and other nutrients. Sweet too. I think you will like it. It will help you now.”

Oh, great. Now I have to eat his food? I’ll be poisoned, probably, she worried. “No, that’s okay, really. Don’t you have some other food, like you said?”

Ra’am stared a steely, overpowering glare into her eyes. “Trenae, you are going to have to trust me. I am an astro-biologist, as well as a scientist of other fields, and have studied your biosphere and geosphere extensively. I have studied human beings extensively. This will not hurt you. Dod has had some plenty of times, and is only healthier for it.”

“Dod?” she asked softly.

“Yes, Dod Whiteclay, my friend in Spokane, Washington. I have known him now for seven earth years. You will meet him soon. We trade often. But now, I want to help you. Besides,” he said, smiling, leaning down even closer to her face, “you have already received and absorbed some of Harkoav’s plant life and it has not hurt you. In fact, it has healed you.”

“What?” Trenae wiped some last tears from her eyes to see him better. “What plant life?”

He continued to lean close to her. “After you left, early this morning, I walked down the hill to see if you were all right. You were asleep in the car. I laid several leaves of tse makh yerape on your leg, on top of your panty hose. Tse makh yerape will then slowly break apart into its various biological molecular components, or individual molecular machines, proodat t’notah, and enter your blood stream.

“The whole system of machines in tse makh yerape is called proodat t’notat khayeh,” he continued. “Certain biochemicals are emitted during injuries or disease, such as inflammation, immune processes, and other signs of cellular destruction, which tse makh yerape instantly discovers and administers to. Then it immediately accelerates equilibrium and normalcy to the affected area, by greatly accelerating and enhancing your own system’s healing process.” His words came fast, his stare more intense. “It even destroys and breaks down waste products which could cause swelling, like excess blood or other fluids. Tse makh yerape is a genetically engineered combination of both biological and atomic computerization, a form of biological nanotechnology, which be assured, when it has finished its task, merely breaks down into various biological waste products that your blood and excretory system can easily eliminate.”

“Oh my gosh, that’s so…so much…to know,” Trenae said, placing her right hand just above her heart. Her palm touched bare skin.

No, my low neck line! Slowly, covertly she began pulling her leather jacket’s sides together. Ra’am’s eyes glanced down, watching her movement. Then, without flinching, he raised his glare, piercing her with his eyes. She swallowed. “Oh my gosh, I…I was wondering, what happened.” Again she swallowed. Why is he so close to my face now? The closeness of his penetrating stare, maybe less than 15 inches away, and the magnified view of his blue geed'aso lines, made her forget other problems. Was that his plan? Divert, divert his attention! “But, thank you. I guess you’re right, if that worked, and I’m okay, I guess, I guess…”

Ra’am backed away, assuming his former sitting position, his hands on the table and his back against the seat. “Then, you will eat some, correct?”

Did any other choice exist? With careful scrutiny, she looked down and picked up one of the pieces of foreign fruit. Its texture and thickness felt similar to a slice of cantaloupe. She slowly brought it up to her mouth, and then hesitated, holding it, yet not parting her lips.

“Trenae, please, give it a try. It will not hurt you. I assure you. And you will probably enjoy it.”

Okay, so, what have I got to lose anyway? Heck, I almost committed suicide, just last night. What does it matter? Finished rationalizing, she opened her mouth and took a small bite.

“Do you like it?” he asked.

She chewed the small mouth full, releasing a sweet flavor. “Yeah, it is…” She lifted her head and looked in Ra’am’s face. “Sweet, like a honey coated piece of cantaloupe or strawberry and, and maybe some apple. It is good.”

“Eat as much as you want. And drink some water.” Ra’am likewise took a piece of the fruit and put it in his mouth. But then he stood up. He walked over to the counter again, removed a large white bowl, and lowered it down to the floor. L.B. hurried over to the bowl and started devouring the bowl’s contents.

“Good L.B., good boy,” Ra’am said, patting L.B.’s back in a manner similar to how any human would.

Carefully lifting the cup to her lips, Trenae took a sip of the water. It tasted like the good, irony well water she used to drink at Aunt Heather’s farm, before her aunt and uncle moved to the city. And she WAS thirsty, probably from experiencing the hard breathing, fear, and near shock that had barraged her body. She quietly gulped down nearly the whole cup.

 Ra’am walked back to the table. He sat down across from her again, upright and tall as before. “While you are eating and drinking, I want you to feel free to ask me any questions. I know you must have many.” As he stared now, his dark, piercing eyes penetrated right through her, seeming to reveal a being not conscious or alive. Unnerving, to say the least.

She tried not to make eye contact, but did what he requested. “Your technology, is there anymore I should know?”

He leaned forward and placed his forearms on the table, only this time straightforward from his body, so that both his hands were on either side of the plate, close to her body. He clinched his fingers into loose fists. She looked down. She simply continued to eat, keeping her gaze away from his eyes, though she made sure to listen carefully.

“A Memadshakor, along with most other Harkoav technology, relies ultimately on total mastery of the atom and its subatomic particles, as I said earlier, as well as Harkoav’s form of nanotechnology and atomic computerization,” Ra’am said.  “Our atomic computerization, similar to earth’s quantum computerization, though far more advanced, uses subatomic particles to process binary code and other codes nearly at infinite times per unit of time due to enormous speeds.

“But probably more amazing, to a human being, is our capability to shrink matter. Actually, not matter as a whole, but we have the ability to reduce the distance between electron clouds and the nucleus of an atom, and yet not destroy these individual particles in the process or disrupt the covalent, ionic, or other bonds, with which the electron of an atom may share with other atoms, to form molecules. Again, I continue to use terms as your world refers to them. And though we may initially disrupt electron shells, subshells, and orbitals, in particular the finely tuned mathematically ratios and quantized integers between these electron placements, we can yet return the electrons to their original realm of placement when miniaturization is complete, generally creating no harm within non-biological matter, even with the presence of free electrons in matter or magnetized matter. Electron orbital direction is not disrupted as well. In addition, we can control both the wave and particle aspects of electrons, and other subatomic particles, allowing further manipulation within the atomic realm. You see, Trenae, there is a large amount of empty space between the average nucleus and the many shells and orbitals of which the electrons occupy.”

“Oh, yes. I remember, in school.” She continued looking down.

“What your scientists are not yet aware is that this space or distance can be manipulated, by controlling the precise subatomic field particle which regulates electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and other forces within the atom. Even when the electron is very close to the nucleus or within the nucleus, this does not present a problem in miniaturization of matter.”

He then paused for a moment.

Trenae swallowed another mouthful and lifted her gaze. Ra’am’s eyes yet stared empty daggers. Disturbing. She looked down, taking another slice of ketoomahgas, which actually did taste quite good, and put it in her mouth, hoping he would just continue talking and not harm her. 

“The energy released by this miniaturization process is then stored in the central energy containment cell on this Memadshakor,” Ra’am continued. “Any harmful radioactive subatomic particles given off during the miniaturization process are rendered neutral by certain atomic proodat t’notah systems. In fact, any form of radiation that comes in contact with a Memadshakor, is rendered harmless. Do you remember the dark circular object in the center of all four rooms?”

She looked at him, chewing politely, and spoke between chews. “Yes, I do. I wanted to ask you, what it was.”

“It is called a ma’argahar, and is the central energy containment cell. Within it lies the central taktselekh as well. The ma’argahar can also produce its own energy through a form of cold fusion, but not at the moment. It is just receiving energy, receiving energy right now, as we sit here. Since we are stationary, the outside of Ha-Ta is keeping the soil in a constant state of miniaturization, a precise miniaturization process that involves a slight oscillation between fully miniaturized and partially miniaturized states, to keep energy levels constant. But if Ha-Ta was to leave this position and travel underground, then the total mass and volume of the soil area we are now occupying would return to its exact pre-miniaturized state.” Ra’am drew his arms back and folded them on the table, near his body. “However, it disturbs me greatly that any living organism or organic matter which abides in the soil, and achieves contact with Ha-Ta during the miniaturization process, will be destroyed. That is why I try to keep Ha-Ta at the deepest underground level possible, and yet have a reasonable length for the delet tekrah’s tunnel.”

“Oh, that’s interesting.”

“Yes. The ma’argahar uses the stored energy for life support systems, and for the various kleeproodah systems to continue self-replication of more proodat t’notah.”


“Yes. Especially needed are those which help eliminate what your scientists call thermal noise, or any disturbance on the atomic and molecular level causing agitation of electrons, thereby interfering with the whole kleeproodah system.”

Mesmerized a little, she looked at him closely. “Wow, this is incredible. Is that how you got here, because of the nanosystems, or kleeproodah rather, and the…the ma’ar--”

“Ma’argahar. Do not worry. I will teach you better pronunciation, before I leave. But yes, all I have said. Additionally, the ma’argahar produces a form of propulsion through space using matter/anti-matter, or particle/anti-particle energy.”

“At the speed of light?”

Surprisingly Ra’am gave an unexpected warm smile. His blue tinted teeth disturbed her, though. “No, light speed is useless. Yes, Ha-Ta can travel close to that speed in vast space, but it causes distortions in time if done over great distances. The Andromeda galaxy is approximately 2.2 million light years away. If that distance were traveled at light speed, we would both not be sitting here right now. I would be long dead and gone.

“No, instead, we travel in a process similar to wormholes, but by using a subatomic particle we call khelh lo neerh. Khelh lo neerh, a particle similar to the graviton, allows travel through other space dimensions without distorting time. Its position and precise mathematical wave moment must be found and accessed, thereby allowing large matter to exist during the same time as subatomic matter, a very esoteric process using a special form of subatomic matter to accommodate a spacecraft in the same realm as subatomic matter. Then, space travel is instantaneous, even interstellar or intergalactic space travel, and far less dangerous than attempting to travel by other means.”

“Some of this sounds familiar,” Trenae said softly, “like I’ve heard it before. But I’m not sure.”  Obviously, this guy knows a LOT. Just keep him busy with questions and maybe everything will be okay.

“Yes. In summation, our technology is the mastery and control of space-time and dimensions, gravity, matter, and the properties of matter.”

“Oh, well, that’s good,” she said. Yeah, sure alien, whatever you say. She picked up another piece of the ketoomahgas and took a bite. After eating many pieces of the odd fruit, her body felt less anxious, for some reason. She looked at him.

“I am sure you must have more questions,” Ra’am said, his voice deep, direct. He stared into her eyes again.

Those dark, penetrating eyes. Could he be scanning my brain with those eyes? Keep him busy. “Uh, yes, I do. Your…your eyes.” She quickly swallowed a chewed mouthful. “Why are they so dark, like dark aqua blue, or something?”

“The same reason my geed’aso is a bluish tint. You see, the mineral/collagen matrix which forms geed’aso tendons have a rather high concentration of what your scientists refer to as a cupredoxin-type protein, simply meaning a copper-containing protein. It is this protein, along with some other metalloproteins, that give ometvah geed’aso a bluish or dark tint. Some portions of geed’aso will even appear clear, depending on the location and amount of the cupredoxin-type protein. We call the cupredoxin-type protein besarnekhet.

“The whites of human eyes,” he continued, “called sclera, are composed of random tightly inter-twined collagen fibers, which produce an opaque or white color, instead of the orderly structure of collagen fibers in the cornea, which appears clear. My sclera is composed of collagen also, but of a similar type as my geed’aso, so ometvah sclera have the same mineral/collagen matrix, with the high concentration of copper and other metalloproteins, giving the dark aqua blue color, as well as far greater strength than human sclera. There is also a different form of the triple helix structure of ometvah collagen, verses the human form. But these are the main reasons for the color, in both geed’aso and sclera.”

“And your teeth as well?”

“Yes, the enamel of my teeth also contains the same collagen, in a different form again, but with the same color producing minerals. I have been fascinated by both the differences and similarities between our two species.”

“So,” she said, reaching for the last piece of ketoomahgas, “so…Oh, do you want this last piece?”

“No, it is for you. I do not really want any now. I was only hoping to encourage you to eat. But, you were saying?”

Taking a small bite, she only chewed on one side of her mouth. “Yes, well, how about your bones then?”

“Ah, my bones, of course. Quite different from human bones. Much stronger. There are several reasons male ometvah are so much stronger, but the main reason is due to the difference in gravity on Harkoav. How much do you weigh?”

Trenae shrugged a little. “Oh, I guess about 115 pounds.”

“On Harkoav, you would weigh 172.5 pounds. The gravity on my planet is 1.5 times greater than earth, with the same earth density. I normally weigh 567.75 pounds on Harkoav, although of course we do not use your weight system on our planet to determine a body’s gravity pull. But here I weigh approximately 378.5 pounds.”

She gave Ra’am a searching gaze, looking up and down his upper body, of what was visible above the table. To her surprise, he seemed a little unnerved by her behavior, although all she really wanted to do was take a good gander at his large frame. His eyes darted away, toward the doorway, blinking quickly, behavior she had not seen prior. “Wow, you really are big,” she said gently. “How tall are you?”

“1.023 omom, in our measurements, or 7 feet, 2 inches, in U.S. measurements.” Ra’am looked back at her, with intensity. His apparent momentary jitteriness was a false facade. Or was it? His dark eyes stared mercilessly. “Actually, males of my species can be even taller, some 71/2 feet tall. But all is relative. On Harkoav, tall is normal, at least for males and our almehneht. Our females are much smaller, approximately 5 1/2 feet tall, like your height.”

“Oh, I see,” she said.

“The reason our males can grow so tall with the greater gravity, is due to our bone structure and tendon, cartilage, and ligament design. Whereas human bones are composed of approximately 65% calcium phosphate salts and approximately 35% protein collagen matrix, ometvah bones have more of a 50/50 combination of these two. Now this could seem to imply that our bones are weaker, but it is the opposite. Instead of only collagen, the protein matrix we have is a combination of keratin, a protein found in hair, wool, nails, horns and hoofs in earth’s biosphere, and collagen, with the addition of other metalloproteins, to form an incredibly tough and strong bone, along with bone minerals like calcium and phosphorous, capable of easily supporting the greater gravity on Harkoav, yet capable also of withstanding hard falls. This particular keratin/collagen mixture we call besarheven, differing from besarnekhet.

“In combination with geed’aso…the geed’aso tendons which are visible just under my skin are only the main anchors of smaller and thinner striated- and mesh-like geed’aso, forming a highly tightened protection layer. An ometvah’s geed’aso functions in many ways as an exoskeleton, similar to earth’s insects and other species with exoskeletons, even protecting our circulatory system, which traverses the geed’aso.”

Trenae felt curious. “You mean…the blue lines which I see, or can…feel, in your skin…there’s more attached to them? I can’t see--”

“No, you would not see all them, although they can be felt. Much as only larger veins can be seen on humans, instead of smaller veins, capillaries.”

“Yes,” she said softly, “I did feel them, I think, when I…when I felt your hand, and…”

“Not only do some geed’aso tendons attach to our skin, even protruding into layers of our skin, but geed’aso actually covers all the muscles in both striated- and mesh- like fashion, attaching to our bone for further support. But what I have been trying to explain, is that the combination of besarheven and geed’aso supports and protects our bodies well, from both our planet’s gravity and from accidental falls.”

She glanced over his face. “That’s really…really interesting.” She spoke half-meaning her words. Weariness started to expand within Trenae, from his detailed, scientific definitions and descriptions. Though he seemed to mean well and obviously wasn’t hesitant about sharing his knowledge, it became far more than she could handle at the moment.

“Ra’am?” she said quietly.

“Yes, Trenae? I am over loading you with information, am I not?”

Darn, he does seem to have good discerning abilities.  Or maybe he really does read minds, like in all those movies or shows about alien encounters. “Yes, you are,” she said softly, sweetly. “It is great stuff you’re telling me, but I…I’m rather tired.”  She glanced up at his eyes, but then looked down at her hands on the table and the empty plate.

“Say no more. I understand. As a scientist, I am always seeking truth. And sometimes, there is no simple way to explain such truth. Yet right now, I am hungry and you must still be hungry too. I am glad you ate all the ketoomahgas.”

She looked at his face. Ra’am darted a glance at the plate, then at her, and finally stood up, walking away from the table a little. He eyed L.B. The dog was licking his bowl clean. “And I see you are still hungry too.” L.B. raised his head and wagged his tail, panting. Like earlier, Ra’am smiled at him. “All right, I am sure there is more.” Ra’am turned and faced the counter.

If he would just smile more, I could relax better around him. Maybe it would make him more approachable. Or, maybe not. This whole experience was speeding by way too fast for her weary body.

Leaning back against the seat, Trenae began to look around, at L.B., at the ceiling, walls, floor. And then at Ra’am, far, far up at Ra’am. Besides being awed by his tall stature again, she also took note of his peculiar hair. Black, thick ropes, with blunt-cut ends. A thin, silvery instrument held his hair back, as a ponytail. Good, something else to ask him.

Her eyes became redirected, as the silver hair instrument reflected the light. She looked up. Light shone from the ceiling, even though no actual, detectable source of light could be observed. The ceiling simply shone brighter than the walls and floor, like the greenhouse room.

She looked back at Ra’am’s large frame. And why would he wear a black tee shirt, jeans- definitely clothes of a human being? Another good question. The shirt tucked loosely into the jeans, giving a good view of his body. Hanging threateningly off his broad, square shoulders, the black shirt revealed shoulders quite a bit wider than his hips, emphasizing to a great degree his obvious masculinity. She scrutinized carefully, observing what resembled shoulder blades under the upper part of his shirt, though the shoulder blade’s shape appeared different- larger, wider, and more defined than a human male’s. His buttocks and thighs appeared similar to a human male, yet his thighs seemed wider, thicker, though it was hard to know for certain from under his jeans. But overall, his legs appeared as though designed to withstand tremendous weight and pressure. Yes, his shape was human-like, but in a form of frightening exaggeration, though not without balance or proportion.

His back made him look even more powerful and formidable than his front.

A terrible thought quickly surfaced. Ra’am could see me gawking at him! Trying to appear nonchalant, she moved her gaze away, searching for something else to view. Her eyes focused down, toward the table. Strangely, Trenae thought for sure movement occurred on the table, from the table’s material itself. She lowered her head, little by little, until the table was only six or so inches from her eyes. There! Right at that spot. I saw movement!  The movement came as the snail’s pace motion of the minute hand on a watch face. It happened, but so sneakily. She stared and waited again.

Instead an empty white plate took the view. She lifted her head. Ra’am had sat down again. A white plate of food rested in the table’s center, between them. And he had placed an empty white plate in front of himself. “Did you see motion?” he asked. “Sometimes, it is possible.”

“Yes…I thought, I was seeing things. Can you really?”

“Yes, if you have good eyes. You must understand, like I told you previously, Ha-Ta is extremely complicated, on the atomic and molecular level, in ways that sometimes I am not fully aware, since I am not an engineer of Memadshakoreem.  However, I am completely capable of initiating any repair sequences. Yet…” He looked at L.B. “You see my dog, that wonderful and lovable Golden Retriever?”

She too looked at L.B., a dog busy eating again. Ra’am must have delivered more food to him while she had studied the table. She then stared back at the powerful alien. “Yes, I see him.”

“He sees, hears, breathes, feels. He eats, he sleeps, he barks, moves, wags his tail.” Ra’am used his hands for descriptive purposes, much as a human would. “And he can show affection and emotion. And of course, he urinates and defecates. Not a high number of actual possibilities. Nor is the number high for all the organs within L.B., which accomplish these physical movements and biological functions.” He stared fixedly at her. “And the same is similar for Ha-Ta, which can move through matter, whether a planet’s interior, exterior, or hydrosphere. And can travel through the universe. It uses miniaturization, matter/anti-matter, and khelh lo neerh particle path travel. It uses the ma’argahar for energy, in the form of stored energy from matter miniaturization or cold fusion energy. As I explained earlier, the energy is used for life support systems, artificial gravity in outer space, atomic computerization and the major functions of the kleeproodah. A Memadshakor can change its shape to accommodate its specific form of travel, and can be miniaturized. Do you see, do you follow…a small number of macro-possibilities?”

“Yes, I do, I think,” she answered cautiously.

“I believe you understand,” Ra’am said, forming an assured expression, similar to a human. “However, on the micro or molecular level, L.B. has millions, billions of intricate functions and parts, such as the many components of the cell- what your scientists call DNA, RNA, or the many globular proteins and their specific enzyme and non-enzyme functions. Or the many intricate steps involved with the blood’s coagulation cascade, which prevents L.B. from bleeding to death if wounded, or the many molecular, chemical steps involved in the immune system response to antigens and pathogens. There are thousands and thousands of complicated biochemical and molecular steps involved in so many of the processes, which produce just an apparently simple function. Like the incredible complicated steps of vision, for example. It takes great intelligence and years of study to master and learn all these complicated biological steps.

 “And such is the same for a Memadshakor, on a micro level, which has trillions of functions and parts, on the molecular and atomic scale, and thousands of layers and sections of proodat t’notah systems. Yet, they work together on Ha-Ta, in unison, like L.B.’s body, to perform even the most simplest and basic of maneuvers. Do you understand my point, Trenae?”

Actually, she did. But her explanation would use far less complicated words. “Yes.” She smiled a little. “You mean, that on the large scale, we function simply. But on the microscopic scale, we are very complicated. Am I right?”

Ra’am sat himself upright, resting his hands together on the table. He looked down at her, his countenance milder, even pleased, a slight smile molding his face. “Yes, well done, Trenae.”

“Thank you,” she said quietly. She looked down. Though feeling proud of his compliment, her vacillating trust denied its worth. Why, oh why, is he helping me? He never gave an answer to that question. And I can’t ask it again, for fear of the truth. Instead, she looked at the plate of food, tried to stay relaxed, and searched for questions. She found one. “What kinds of food are these?

“These brown items are from your world,” Ra’am said, pointing to the food. “They are almonds I grew here in one of the greenhouses.”

“Oh, yeah, you’re right. Sorry.” Stupid me. She lifted her head, to see his reaction.

“No, do not be sorry. You do not know what to expect.” He continued to point at the various food items.  “And these are more ketoomahgas, and here are some small carrot hybrids I produced in one of my greenhouses. These green items are called yarakmak, a vegetable from Harkoav that grows similar to celery, yet with different flavor and consistency. Dod tells me it is a cross between celery, carrot, and apple, but much juicier than celery, more like watermelon and apple in consistency. Here, try one.” He picked up a piece of the yarakmak, a vegetable resembling a stick-shaped slice of cucumber. It had green, juicy flesh and small seeds, and a darker green skin on one side. Slowly he brought it over and above her plate, waiting for her to take it.

Yet Trenae hesitated. The strange blue and tan tint of his skin, the dark blue color of his geed’aso lines! No!  Even more troublesome, were the strangeness of his black nails. She looked up at him. 

He gave a sly grin. “You are afraid, I may contaminate you. But I prepared the ketoomahgas you ate already. I assure you, I am clean.”

Ah ha! He CAN’T read my mind. It’s the nails and your weird blueness, dude!

Nevertheless she took the vegetable. Again, she couldn’t argue with him. Taking a bite, another question entered her thoughts. “Are your nails that color, because of that collagen- keratin protein in your body?”

“Yes, you mean besarheven. Our nails are many times stronger than human nails. You may feel my nails, if you wish.” Ra’am placed his left hand next to the right side of her plate.

Trenae placed the yarakmak piece down on her plate. She looked up at his eyes. His eyes challenged, pressured her, against her better judgment. Once more, she had to comply.

She sleeked her right hand forward and placed her small, still trembling fingertips on two of his dark nails. She began to feel them gently. They felt hard and smooth, like the deer antler from her father’s hunting days, yet also bumpy, from the arrow-shaped ridges flowing to the flat tip of each nail. She felt up and down over the five or six ridges on each nail, feeling the bumps, the texture. That is, until she caught herself lingering too long. A wave of heated redness suddenly tinged her face. But the warmth from his fingers felt so magnetic, warming her own cold fingertips, preventing her from stopping directly.

She lifted her gaze, to see his face. Oh, no. His eyes, his eyes were opened only slightly, as though feeling something very pleasurable. A debilitating, jolting shock rippled through her body, her mind quickly realizing she was in more danger than she thought. And she was alone with him. Sure, L.B. lived here too, but what could he do? Trying not to show her shock, Trenae forced herself to remain calm. She gently removed her hands and placed them under the table.

Another question thankfully arose in her terrified mind.

“You only eat…vegetables. No animals or meat?” Her will clamped itself in place; her voice came unwavering, calm. She looked up at him, and then down at the plate; she was surprised. Ra’am didn’t seem disturbed by her recognition of his momentary weakness, a worse sign than observing his eyes sensing pleasure.

Of course, he’s an alien. It could mean anything! But somehow, her first gut impulse felt more accurate. 

Ra’am removed both his arms and placed them beneath the table too. Good, keep your distance.

“Yes, we are primarily vegetable eaters, vegetarians,” he said, his voice calmer and less direct.

His eyes stared through her, yet in a more caring and compassionate manner. Could she produce this milder behavior, just from touching his hand? Maybe he was simply happy someone was here. He did mention loneliness.

“But,” he said, “do you notice something else these foods have in common?”

She studied the almonds, ketoomahgas, carrots, and yarakmak. All had different colors. And all were plant foods. “I don’t know. What is it?”

Ra’am folded his arms across his lower chest, his koaksekhel not seeming to interfere. His piercing stare returned. “Oh, come on, Trenae. Look again.”

Okay, I’ll look again. “Umm, well…” All the food items glistened with moisture or natural dryness, appearing crispy fresh. “Everything is raw, not cooked?” She looked up.

He gave her a brief smile. “Yes, that is right. On Harkoav, we do not cook our food. All food is eaten raw, in its natural state, as it was intended. This keeps our people very healthy, and strong.”

“But…but do you eat meat like that too?”

Unfolding his arms, Ra’am began serving some of the vegetable items, placing them on both his plate and her plate. “We seldom eat animal flesh, but when we do, yes, we eat it raw. However, many of the animals on our planet are more similar to large insects, with flesh similar in consistency to fish and other sea life here on earth.”

“Big insects? Gosh, that’s scary.”

“We are careful, yet used to them. It is normal for us.” He finished doling out the food items. “Please, go ahead. Try some. If you do not like everything, or do not find it filling, let me know. I have a box of saltine crackers and a jar of peanut butter.”

“From Dod?”

“Yes, that is correct.” 

Once more, Trenae did as asked and proceeded to eat an almond. Then she sampled some more yarakmak, which also did not taste too bad, and then some carrots and more ketoomahgas. She glanced at the alien now and again. Ra’am sat quietly, chewing his food. He ate his food politely, like a human, chewing with a closed mouth and avoiding enormous bites or mouthfuls. Either his planet had similar manners, or his friend Dod had taught him well. But she had no desire to question that now. Rather, she tried enjoying the calm solitude between them and continued eating the raw food.

L.B. poked his head from under the table, rudely interrupting her solitude. “L.B., what is it?” she asked. He began licking her hand.

“He obviously likes you,” Ra’am said. “And as you know…an animal will not lie.”

What? That’s eerie. Trenae felt undone within. But she skillfully avoided flinching or showing the slightest emotion. All the years of practice, hiding emotions from Mom and Darin, came in handy, sometimes, when needed. She just continued to pet L.B. and smile.

Ra’am leaned forward a little. She could see his motion from her eye’s corner. “Trenae, I must ask you. You seem like a nice woman. Why were you with men like Stiles and his associates?”

She looked at him and began to mouth her answer, but couldn’t complete it. L.B. nudged up against her legs and arms again with his muzzle.

“L.B.,” Ra’am said, his tone calm. But the dog wouldn’t listen. L.B. continued to nudge her. “L.B.! L.B., come here now!” Ra’am’s voice imparted firmer, though not mean-spirited, yet a little louder than usual. Nevertheless, she noticed his voice sounded even more commanding and frightening with its volume raised.

But it worked. L.B. obeyed and backed away from her. Wagging his tail profusely, he hopped over to Ra’am. Ra’am gently petted his dog’s head. “Sit, L.B., sit!” L.B. obeyed and sat down. The friendly dog presented his paw. “You are a silly dog. I do not want your paw now. Lay down, L.B., and stay!” After a few low whimpers and friendly growls, L.B. finally managed to slump to the floor.

Trenae felt impressed. “You have him trained pretty well.”

Ra’am spun his head in her direction, far too fast. She blinked her eyes. She instantly recalled how he had zoomed toward her, like a lightning streak, after he had dropped the tree.

“I apologize,” he said. “Sometimes I forget, I must move slower around humans. You are not accustomed to an ometvah’s speed. I will try not to do that again, unless you ask me to.”

“No, that’s okay.” She tried to sound calm. “You just surprised me a bit, that’s all.” His concern was nice, but his quick motion nonetheless reminded her of his pronounced physical superiority to humans.

Ra’am placed his hands under the table again and sat upright. He stared at her. “But my question. Can you give me an answer?”

“About Stiles?” she asked.


She looked down and folded her arms on the table, just below her plate. “Well, I was working at a night club.” Don’t mention the stripper part! “And one night, well, this guy named Clark Willson told my friend, that he wanted to meet me.”

“The man running for Governor of Idaho?”

 She looked up. “How did you know?”

“I have access to all your world’s computers, via the Internet or other means. And of course, there is always your planet’s television communications…and Dod.”

“Yes, you’re right.” She made a quick smile and looked down again. “But anyway, Willson told me he had a better job offer for me, working for him. And I kind of thought that he liked me too. But basically, the bottom line was, I got tricked. I moved there, in one of his apartments, and they did have me do some office work, computer work, phones. But then things changed, got really bad. And then finally, that night, last night, when you saved me from the cliff, they knew I had overheard a very bad thing, that Stiles and the others had done. I knew they would have to kill me and so I tried to get away. But…but I knew it was useless. That’s why I took that car and came here. I was, I was, well…”

“You were going to jump?”

Trenae lifted her head. Ra’am’s eyes discerned fervently now, his keen perception and intelligence drawing her into his mind. She felt like crying. But she just took a deep breath- I have to act tougher. “Yes, I just didn’t know what else to do. I changed my mind, though. I started to walk away.” She couldn’t lie “But I slipped. And then the next thing I knew, you caught me.” Her eyes released kindness, and pleaded mercy. “I am very grateful. Thank you, again.”

“I had no choice. I would have rather prevented the fall altogether, but knew you would be too afraid of me, just as you are now, if I arrived sooner. I could have startled you and caused you to slip. But as it turned out, you fell anyway.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“And I would have caught you sooner, as you fell, but had to wait for just the right moment, so that you would not sustain further injuries, from the position of my capture.”

“Really?” She glanced at him a second. “But thank you, anyway. I appreciate it.” She lifted more food off her plate, looking down, away from his piercing eyes.

“Why did you not seek help from the police, or your family?”

“My family, Ra’am, does not want me,” she said, munching a carrot. “And the police around here, well, some are involved with the mafia or organized crime that Willson knows. I thought about going to them, today, but I realized, that Stiles would find me anyway. And I thought about police in other states, but I didn’t have the money to travel that far. And even if my family wanted to help me, there's nothing they could do against those people. I would just get everyone killed.”

She saw Ra’am pick up his empty plate and place it to his far right side of the table. After that, he folded his arms on the table, parallel to his chest. She looked up. He slid his massive, folded arms forward, the koaksekhel shimmering, positioning himself lower and closer to her again. “What exactly did you do in the night club?” he asked.

Odd, dark geed’aso lines, in blatant triangular, oblong, or circular brush strokes. Strange thick hair strands. And creepy, nearly completely black, stabbing orbs. All his scary features forced their way into Trenae’s eyes. Lightheadedness seized her again. She slowly pressed her back against the seat, sitting up tall and straight, holding that position with her hands. “Trust me, you don’t want to know,” she said quietly. “You don’t need to know.”

But Ra’am sat up straighter himself, leaning over even closer to her. Though handsome, his beauty couldn’t distract from his frightening alien features. She felt her heart skip a beat, and a chill run up her spine, leaving her even more lightheaded than seconds ago. “I will not judge you,” Ra’am said. “I just need to know what I am getting involved with here, since I intend to protect you from these men, at least until I leave earth in a few months.”

Tears welled in her tired eyes again. She truly just needed to curl up in a ball somewhere and fall asleep. Then, maybe, all of this would end. But for now, she blinked her eyes several times and tried to control her tears. “Please, please, I’d rather not say. It brings back bad memories for me.”

Ra’am stared quietly and directly for a moment. “That is all right. You can tell me when you feel better, and trust me more.” He removed his arms from the table and sat back against his seat. “Would you like some of the crackers and peanut butter now?”

She blinked her eyes and smiled briefly. “Yes, that would be okay.”

The tall, powerful being stood up, removed the three plates from the table, and walked by the countertop. She waited for his back to turn. With trembling fingers, she wiped her eyes and nose with the napkin he had given her earlier. So what if he sees. At least he didn’t make me tell about Fontel’s.

Once finished with wiping her face, Trenae looked down on the floor and noticed L.B. curled up in a ball, sleeping. She wished that could be her right now, if only in a normal and cozy place, a safe place. Yet reality was unforgiving. No safe place existed for her now.

Ra’am stepped back, this time with a package of saltine crackers and a plastic jar of a supermarket brand peanut butter. He placed them in front of her, along with a small plastic knife and a small white plastic plate. “One more thing,” he said, turning and stepping to the countertop again. Then he arrived back with a white pitcher and another white plastic tumbler. He placed the tumbler near his seat and the pitcher near the table’s center.

“If you need more water, since Dod always tells me peanut butter sticks to the roof of your mouth, there you have it.” He sat down.

“Yes, that’s true,” she said, smiling. “Thank you. Did you ever try any?”

“Peanut butter? No, I never eat any food that is cooked. It is just our way on Harkoav, a long tradition.”

“Oh.” She opened the peanut butter and began to spread some of the smooth substance on a few crackers.

Ra’am poured water in his cup. “Are you warmer now?”

“Yes, thank you. I am.” Did he raise the temperature?  She really did feel warmer.

“Is there anything else you need?” he asked.

Trenae knew exactly what she needed. Sleep. She took a small bite of her peanut butter-cracker sandwich. “Yes, actually,” she said, between chewing, “I am very tired. You said…you said I could have a room?”

“Yes, absolutely. As soon as you are finished, we will acquire blankets and pillows. Is there anything else I can help you with, any questions?”

Hands yet slightly tremulous, she gracefully maneuvered the knife and crackers, trying to disguise her continuing discomfort. “Yes, there is one question.” She glanced up at him, but then looked down. “When I asked you about your height, you mentioned something about an almeh...something.”

“Almehneh,” he answered rapidly. “Yes. We do not have only two sexes or genders. We have a third.”

“A third?” She glanced at him quickly.

“Of every child born to a female, approximately 40%-47% is born as almehneh, 35%-40% ometvah or male, and only 13%-25% ometvehar.  Ometvehar, or ometvreheem in plural, is what we call our females. Of course, these are averages. Generally, in other words, nearly half of all births are almehneh. Almehneht is plural for almehneh. Or, put more simply, of every 1 female birth, approximately 1.5- 3 male births and 2- 3.8 almehneh births occur. The average is 1 female to 1.75 males, 2.25 almehneht. Almehneht are asexual, cannot reproduce. They have no hair on their heads.”

“They’re bald?”

“Yes, they are bald. They have features which appear both male and female, yet no sexual organs. However, they have two excretory passages, one urinary, one fecal.”

After eating the entire peanut butter cracker sandwich, Trenae felt more energetic. She crossed her arms and laid them on the table, looking up intently at Ra’am. This new information sounded fascinating. “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe this. Really?”

“Yes. Our almehneht possess some geed’aso in their bodies, of a type with less metalloproteins and copper, more of a light blue, clear, and silver color.  Almehneht grow to approximately 6-61/2 feet tall. They are stronger than ometvreheem, but not as strong and physically capable as an ometvaheem. Almehneht are essentially non-violent and make excellent religious leaders, diplomats and peacemakers, scientists, mathematicians, as well as artists and government leaders. There minds and souls are not hampered needlessly by the stress of reproduction, family life, and sexuality, and all its negative attributes. Therefore, they are highly intelligent. They are the true brains of our species. Their concentration abilities are excellent.”

“That’s really amazing. So…your females are smaller, but fewer. Then how does that work out for reproduction?” she asked gently.

“That is a very good question. Unfortunately, many males do not ever marry. Our governing powers on Harkoav encourage every married couple to have at least one female child. Sometimes that is only two children, with one lucky female born out of the two. Sometimes, it is six, like from my family. I have one sister, the rest are almehneht and ometvaheem. Ometvaheem is plural for ometvah.

“From a very early age, plans are put in place to have the female eventually married. Only the preeminent ometvaheem are ever considered for marriage to these females. These ometvaheem must be healthy, physically strong, intelligent, have a nearly perfect reputation and career path, with no evidence of past or present criminal behavior. These attributes are so important not only for the female’s safety, but to assure the high quality of the gene pool in reproduction. This method has worked wonderfully on our planet, producing low crime and population rates, and a highly productive and intelligent work force.”

A questioning, skeptical thought hit her. “Yeah, but what happens to the males who don’t marry?”

“Those who do not marry, must avoid females. You see, on my planet, females must be kept separate from males, except the males they are married to. Ometvreheem are allowed outside their homes, in very specific areas where females usually work, such as teaching institutions for females where the teachers are females or almehneht, health care facilities where the doctors and other health attendants are female or almehneht, and other social or work related fields where there are no males, just female and almehneht. Males are left to work and interact in institutions and facilities where there are only males and almehneht, such as military bases.”

“But why?”

“I am almost done.” Ra’am paused, a brief smile lighting his face. “Our males are blessed in that they can only reproduce, or allow conception to occur, one time during the Harkoav year. And as long as unmarried males are kept separated from females the rest of the year, their interest to reproduce is removed. In fact, they become more like an almehneh than a male, generally happy and content to go about their daily life’s routine with never a concern for the opposite sex. However, if males are allowed to observe females on a regular basis, well, then…this whole process…is disturbed.”

Why did he slow his last words?

Like a tidal wave crashing at leisure, Trenae gradually knew why. Even so, she had to behave calmly, coolly, methodically- ask the right questions. “What about you? Were you chosen?”

“Normally three to six ometvaheem are chosen for any one lottery for a female. All have the necessary attributes I described earlier. Therefore, their attributes are similar in quality and quantity. So, a number is drawn, and the winner receives the female. However, sometimes the female may decide.”

“But, were you chosen?” she asked quietly.

Ra’am lowered his gaze slightly, looking toward the floor. “Yes, I was one of five chosen, to marry. But, I declined. A male has that option.”

“Declined?” Her tone was soft. “Whatever for?”

“There was a war at the time.” He looked directly in her eyes, though a certain dimness marred his gaze. “One of the alien races we had befriended in Kadoorey Baheer, the Andromeda galaxy, developed a conflict with Harkoav, over a mineral mine on one of our planets. I already had some military training, and so I chose to help my world overcome this new enemy and forfeit my marriage arrangement. It was for the best, because I rose quickly in our military ranks, and was soon able to lead a thousand soldiers, who were mostly males, few almehneht, as is typical of our armies. We had many victories. Because of my soldiers and these victories, Harkoav won the war. I was decorated as a hero for my world, similar to what your country does, and allowed special privileges. The special privilege I chose was to serve Harkoav as a pioneer scientist, primarily as an astro-biologist, to study planetary biospheres and geospheres. And so, here I am.”

“But the female you were supposed to marry…”

“She was beautiful, there is no doubt.” Ra’am looked down. “But, her personality…she was too proud, arrogant.” He then stared into Trenae’s eyes. “She did not seem gentle or caring, not someone who would make a good mother or wife. Unfortunately, females are not generally screened as well as the males they marry, since they are so few.

“But typically, ometvreheem are of a very feminine nature, different in personality from ometvaheem. They are much weaker physically, and softer, smaller, more capable of handling newborn children. And they have long, soft hair, with numerous hair strands, similar to yours, yet differing in color, usually dark colored.”

Ra’am gazed steadily and searchingly, up and down, all around, at Trenae’s long, wavy hair. She shuddered a little, though tried to keep it secret. Judging from his expression, she knew he was aware this made her uncomfortable. But, he didn’t seem to care.

Think quick. “So, umm, can you try again, with the lottery, to marry?”

Ra’am gazed into her eyes again. “Yes, I may, as long as I maintain the same integrity in all qualifications. However, it is harder as time goes by, because each new year, there are younger males available. Younger males are considered far more valuable. The qualifying counsels who choose the males, must acquire the most virile and youngest available. Females and males are married young, to take into account the unlikely possibility of conceiving a female. Time span is limited.”

A very uncomfortable realization bled into Trenae’s mind. It seemed inevitable, that at some point, she would have to fight off Ra’am’s sexual advances. She just felt it coming. So, what did he normally expect from Harkoav females? If he expected a female stronger and more durable than her, then she was in trouble. He would probably be too rough and maybe kill her. But if Harkoav females had a physique similar to hers, she at least stood a fighting chance of surviving. Maybe.

“Can I ask you something else?”

“Yes, by all means, go ahead.”

“Are the females on Harkoav, physically stronger than me, or about the same?” No, wait. Don’t answer. Shoot, he might take this the wrong way. But it was too late.

Ra’am leaned forward. She froze. Backing away now would be far too obvious. “They are stronger than you, but not by very much,” he said. “Possibly only three or four times stronger, which come to think of it, actually is rather strong…compared to you.”

Trenae swallowed, in secret, yet kept her ground. As Ra’am stared into her eyes with his black eyes, she stared back. Her heart began beating harder, faster. She felt dizzy again. And she HAD eaten. “There’s…there is…”

“Yes?” Ra’am slowly gazed below her neck and then back into her eyes.

A strange, stabbing pain shot through her lower abdomen. It added even more discomfort to her racing heart and dizziness, making her weak and breathless too. She swallowed again. She looked into his eyes. “There’s something I need to know. If…if you’re not supposed to be around females, then…what about me?”

Ra’am slid his left hand across the table, his behavior seeming deliberate, and slowly took hold of the fingers on her right hand, one at a time. Her weary eyes widened a little, glancing from the alien’s face down to his hand. Soon his entire, large grasp embraced around her small, frail hand. Ra’am’s hand felt so warm. His blood surely did not circulate cold. He began slinking his hand toward her wrist and lower forearm, until she could no longer see her hand anymore. Only his hand remained; her hand was gone! But she could feel her hand, beneath the warmth and strength of his palm.

He showed not the slightest unease, judging from his body language. He began to wrap his fingers around her lower forearm, over her jacket sleeve. No, please, don’t do this. She looked in his face. Her body trembled again. He looked down at her arm, but then gazed into her eyes. If his emotions truly resembled a human’s feelings, then she was in trouble; Ra’am’s eyes burned with intensity, passion, and something else, something she couldn’t determine precisely. Whatever his intention, she suddenly didn’t feel as afraid anymore, only very weak and small. Her trembling subsided a little.

Ra’am held her lower forearm for a moment. Then he began to slide his hand down, then over her wrist, her jacket’s leather fabric crumpling a little with his hand’s motion. Soon he simply grasped her hand gently, firmly, yet gazing into her frightened eyes. “You are so afraid of me. But no, you do not need to worry. You are a human, I am an ometvah. We are two different species.”

“Oh…okay,” she whispered breathlessly.

She waited for him to let go of her hand, but he did not. Instead he began to increase the pressure around her hand, squeezing it gently, and then softly releasing the pressure, gliding his fingertips across the top and palm of her hand

“Your hands are so small and soft.” His voice came ardent, low, nearly inaudible.

Trenae could feel her heart racing within her chest. Dizzier, more lightheaded. She could no longer look at Ra’am or her hand. Where is all this going? Her will to fight was dissolving. Maybe begging’s an option now. She closed her eyes and lowered her head a little bit. “Ra’am,” she nearly whispered, “I don’t feel very well. My heart is beating so fast and I feel faint.” She drew in a quick breath, to calm herself. “I’m having trouble breathing too. Can you tell me…what’s wrong with me?”

             Her eyes yet closed, she felt Ra’am take hold of her other hand too. No! Still, she couldn’t look at him.

“Trenae, open your eyes.” She had to obey. She looked at him. Her body shook lightly. Expecting to see the same intense, passionate expression on Ra’am’s face, he instead now appeared concerned. “We need to get blankets, some pillows, some clothes. And you probably need to use the bathroom, maybe take a shower. Come, I will help you stand up.”

Ra’am maneuvered his tall legs from under the table, still holding on to her hands, and then slowly stood up, helping her to rise at the same time. She wanted to look up at him, but couldn’t. Her vision blurred again, staring at the floor. Because of this, she decided to let Ra’am guide her. There really wasn’t another option. Already she was wobbling on her legs, nearly falling, trying to stand and walk.

“You are right. You do need help.” Ra’am let go of her left hand and wrapped his right arm, the arm with the koaksekhel, around her right shoulder and upper arm. He gently pressed her body against his right side. She could barely keep her eyes open now. Why was he doing this? “Trenae, put your arm around my waist. It will give you support.”

She hiked her head up quickly, looking at him, causing her balance to spin even more. “Why, why don’t you just carry me?” No, no! Why did I say that?  He’s taking me to that room, with the bed in it! What have I done? She slowly gazed toward the floor, leaning against him. He in turn held her closer.

“No, I want you to try walking,” Ra’am said firmly. “I need to see if you can support yourself.” Phew! He wants me to walk. “Hold on tight, and I will lead us, being very certain not to walk on your feet. Some slippers are here, that Dod mistakenly packed with other items.”

She obeyed his words, lifting her trembling left arm and placing it around his lower back.

He began to lead them from the room. Right away, she noticed not only the great breadth and size of Ra’am’s lower back, but felt the thick, wiry muscles of his back. She swore his back had steel fibers supporting it. Was he a cyborg, an android, and lied? With each forward motion of his leg, she could feel his hard tendon-covered muscles press against her arm.

Even more disturbing, the top of her head only reached to about his underarm, while her left shoulder’s height measured only near his waist. His size was alarming. 

They continued out of the eyzkher mazon and down the wide curved corridor, toward and past the cylinder doorways, traveling onward to the opposite, or right side of the spacecraft. She looked down, observing Ra’am’s feet. He was wearing common tan work boots, apparently from earth. His shoe size looked enormous. But even with his great weight and tremendous height, his large booted-feet maneuvered carefully around her pantyhose-covered toes. The tall, powerful being didn’t talk while they stepped together, making Trenae feel more nervous and fearful. The constant fluctuation of emotions, between feeling comfort with this strange being, and then next feeling incredible terror of him weakened her cruelly. Breathe in slowly, she told herself, breathe out slowly.

And keep focused and alert, even though he’s so close!

Their walk continuing, Ra’am’s powerful arm snuggly, yet gently, embraced her against him. She struggled with this, simultaneously using her arm around his back to push away from him. Yet it soon became a losing battle. After some exhausting minutes, Trenae merely allowed her body to sink peacefully against him; it wasn’t so bad. Her mind sought reassurance in the fact he obviously didn’t want to hurt her. Scents from both the clean odor of his shirt and the lingering coppery fragrance of his skin entered her senses, from his body so close. Somehow, their fragrances relaxed and intoxicated. She breathed them in deeply with every inhaled breath and slowly felt calmer. Even so, she yet continuously sought to flee from him, if only in her mind. The walk to the room, traveling around the long circular corridor, took forever.

Once they made it to the room’s entrance, Ra’am removed his right arm from around her shoulder and stepped in front of her. She released her arm too. L.B. bounded into the room with them.

“Can you stand up on your own now?” Ra’am asked.

Her legs felt less wobbly, more stable and secure. She looked up, way up, at his face, and spoke slowly, “I think so.”

“Well, nonetheless, I want you to sit down on the bed, behind you.”

Trenae turned to look, but again suddenly lost her balance. Ra’am lunged, cupping her shoulders and supporting her. Like earlier.

In gradual steps, Ra’am walked her over to the bed, a bed protruding from the wall opposite the doorway, and gently lowered her to its soft surface. He sat down next to her, on her right, about a foot away. She began touching the bed with her hands, ignoring him. She looked at the bed’s surface. Just like the rest of Ha-Ta, it harbored the same color as the walls, floors, and ceilings. However, its texture felt different, softer, and similar to the evesmol.

She heard and felt Ra’am move. He surprised her. He suddenly knelt before her, placing his hands on his knees. “I will be right back. Stay seated, and I will get you what you need. All right?”

Taut, tan skin, over hundreds of dark blue geed’aso lines traversing his cheekbones, forehead, nose, and chin, especially his neck and arms, would not stop shocking. “Yes, okay,” she said, her words weak and quiet. 

Ra’am stood up and left the room. L.B. followed.

Feeling both disturbed and a little curious, Trenae began looking around the small room. It was empty, and had a curved-triangular shape. All it contained was the bed she sat upon and two orange-colored lighted wall buttons. One button was near the doorway, while the other button was above the bed, on the wall. Are they some sort of light switch controls? To her left, she noticed that the room’s corner had a rounded forward bulge from ceiling to floor. Probably from the ma’argahar, she concluded. The corners, where both the walls met the ceiling and the walls met the floor, were bordered by six 2- or 3- inch layers, with three on the wall and three on the floor or ceiling, similar to the layers in the curved corridor around the central rooms.

She looked at the floor. It appeared solid, except contained various, assorted patterns of different geometric solid shapes that protruded a little. Triangles, squares, stars, six-sided stars and other odd, symmetrical shapes.  Funny, she thought, I hadn’t noticed them while walking here. She looked out the doorway and observed them too on the corridor’s floor. They were the same light silvery green as everything else on Ha-Ta. But then, she remembered feeling something while walking, like soft, miniature sand dunes sinking, crushing beneath her feet. Obviously it was those geometric shapes. What are they?                

L.B. bounded back into the room again. Not hesitating, he galloped right up to Trenae and licked her hands. Then, he sat down on the floor and presented a paw.

“L.B., lay down.”  She looked up, by the doorway. Ra’am had returned.

Instead of listening, the silly dog turned and jumped up several times around Ra’am’s tall legs. In his arms, Ra’am carried three neatly folded blankets and two pillows, along with several clothing items. He carefully maneuvered around L.B. and approached the bed, laying the items down, next to Trenae’s left side.

Finally, after some time, L.B. listened and plopped down near the doorway.

Trenae watched, as Ra’am began to pick up the clothing items and hand them to her. In her hands he placed a light yellow jogging suit. On the suit’s long sleeve top was a cute picture of cartoon characters playing softball. The material of the jogging suit felt thin and cottony, her fingertips pressing several layers together.

 “Dod gave me some extra large shirts and other clothes one time, but accidentally included some of his wife’s clothing along with the bundle.” Ra’am handed her a pair of soft pink slippers. The slippers were plush, but not ridiculously so, and had white rubber traction soles and soft, elastic bands for the ankle area. “These slippers were mistakenly placed with the other clothes.”

Soon he finished laying the clothes and slippers in her arms.

Trenae placed the entire bundle to her right, close to the edge of the bed. She turned to her left and gingerly began looking through the pillows and blankets, separating each one. One pillow had pine green coloring, another deep blue. Neither had pillowcases. They seemed to be just large, soft, throw pillows. The blankets each had various widths of tan, orange, and red stripes, with dark blue trim and dark blue designs, similar to Native American patterns. Each blanket looked identical to the other blanket, and each blanket felt soft and plush.

She looked up at Ra’am. He was standing in front of her. “Are these from the Nez Perce Indians?”

“No. These are extra blankets Dod bought for me from a nation wide discount store. I assume he preferred these blankets to the others.”

“Oh,” she said. His dry wit felt a little funny. She wanted to smile, but couldn’t.

“I think you will be quite comfortable with them. Lay one down on the bed. The others you can use as covers.”

Ra’am then lowered himself. He kneeled in front of her, like earlier.

Trenae quickly panicked. This didn’t feel right. Further increasing her panic, Ra’am placed one of his hands gently on her right knee. And her knee was only covered by panty hose. She shuddered inside, but kept it well hidden. She looked into his eyes. 

“I believe…you will not be able to sleep here alone tonight,” Ra’am said slowly. “You will be too frightened.” Though his face radiated sincerity and concern, fire and passion oozed forth from his eyes, without mercy. Not good. His warm hand remained stationary, secured in place on her knee. “I want to suggest, that you sleep next to me tonight. I will merely hold you close, next to me, that is all.”

Trenae’s breaths began flowing hard and fast, air darting across her opened lips. Her chest was heaving. She worried he could see. Think, think! Again she turned her head to the right, to see the clothes. She picked them up. “These, these are really n-n-nice, don’t you think?” Damn, why do I have to stutter now? She couldn’t look at him and felt paralyzed with fear. But she tried, even so, not to let him notice.

In lingering motion, his fingertips sliding their warm touch, Ra’am removed his hand from her knee. He rose up, gently taking hold of the clothes in her hands at the same time. She hiked her head up, looking into his face. He turned and placed the clothes on top of the blankets, on her left.

Ra’am kneeled again. She looked at him, before her. He stared into her eyes and took both her hands, caressing them softly. His face burned her mind once more. His frightening geed’aso and hair strands, covering a large, powerful face, head, and neck, and his dark scary eyes reminded her again and again that he couldn’t possibly come from earth.  She also noticed, creepily, that it didn’t seem like he had skin at all, and all the blue geed’aso lines were exposed to the air, like muscles exposed on a skinned-alive human. She wanted to scream. But she couldn’t back away.

“Can you give me an answer?” he asked, his voice tenacious.

Tears once again formed in her eyes. No longer could she disguise the crushing, breath-squeezing feelings her body now experienced. She closed her eyes. “Ra’am, please…no, I can’t,” she said softly. She lowered her head, keeping her eyes shut. “I can’t, please.”

“It is all right.” His deep voice echoed through her body, a pleasant, calming vibration. “Open your eyes. I am not upset. I only want to help you.”

Lifting her head a little, she opened her eyes. Ra’am let go of her hands and stood up. She watched closely, tilting her head back gently, keeping her eyes on him.

He stared down at her. “The offer still stands, if you cannot sleep in here alone.” He looked to his right, at the floor. She followed his line of sight. L.B. had curled up in a ball on the floor, right next to the wall that encased the ma’argahar. “It appears L.B. is happy here. He often sleeps by the ma’argahar. It produces a mild humming sound, so sleep inducing. He can keep you company.”

Ra’am turned and walked over to the large, oval lighted button, by the doorway, similar in size to a small-flattened egg. From the button’s position on the curved wall, it occurred to Trenae how all the rooms followed the central, circular form of the ma’argahar, Ha-Ta’s ‘nucleus’. “This opens and closes the doorway,” he said, pointing to the button. “And the orah near your bed adjusts the light level in this room. And it is the same for the bathroom, which if you need to use, feel free.”

Finished with his words, Ra’am walked back into the room a little more and stared down at her. He didn’t speak. Great, just when he’s about to leave, he’s back. Come on, think of something. Trenae placed her hands on her lap, grasping them together, and stared up at him. “So, I guess my mother was right.”

A curious expression weaved through his face, so human-like. “Right about what?”

“About evolution. That we evolved. You know, I mean, how else could you be here?”

Ra’am crossed his arms over his broad chest and stood straight and tall. “Oh, really, you evolved?”

“Well, yes,” she said, scrunching her brows, perplexed. “How else would you be here. Or me?”

“I was created, Trenae.” He continued his determined stance.

“Created?” She swallowed. “By…by who?” Trembling rattled her body slightly.

“By God.” Releasing his arms, hanging them loosely by his sides, Ra’am began to turn around and leave the room.

He paused in his steps and looked back at her. “Remember, if you have any problems, find me. I should be in one of the rooms.” He stared at her, intensity in his gaze. “And one more thing before I leave. Not only did I not evolve, but evolution…is not possible. I will see you in the morning.”

He walked away…



…Trenae looked at her watch. Right on 10:05 pm. “Oh no! I have to leave. I told the taxi to pick me up at ten. I know we’re not done, but…”

Jenny turned off the recorder and placed it, along with the pad and pencil, down on the coffee table. She stood up from her red sofa chair. “No, that’s okay, if you have to leave.”

Trenae stood up and began walking toward the front window. “I’m sorry.” She glanced back at Jenny. “I usually don’t stay up very late anyway.”

“Me too. Not a biggy, though.”

Trenae looked out the large double pane window, to the right of the front door. She looked beyond the trees, finally securing sight of a vehicle. Sure enough, the same taxicab that had dropped her off earlier waited by the curb.

“I’m still not done, with telling you everything,” Trenae said, turning around. Startling Trenae, Jenny was standing almost right behind her. “Is there another day you want to see me?” 

Jenny smiled. She rolled her eyes upwards, quiet a moment. “How ‘bout Saturday, at 10:30 in the morning?” She looked back at Trenae. “Does that sound okay?”

“You don’t have anything before that, some earlier day?”

“No, actually, I’m scheduled to speak with this older woman Wednesday and Thursday night, about her alien experiences. And I don’t have weekend reporting duty, so I’m free Saturday. Do you think that will work for you?”

 “Sure, that will be all right. I can be here.” Trenae walked over to the red sofa chair by the door and lifted her jacket up, putting it on.

“I suppose we made it through this interview with nary a mobster chopping the phone wires or sneaking in through back doors and windows,” Jenny said, her tone friendly.

Trenae looked at her. Jenny smiled warmly and crossed her arms. Trenae smiled a little and took held of the doorknob.

“Well, see you Saturday,” Jenny said. “Okay?”

“Yes, thank you. Bye now.”

After skipping down the porch’s steps and passing the dark, frightening trees, Trenae fled toward the door of the taxicab.