Planetfall Ch. 02bywildehafer©
Authors note: My thanks for your comments, they are inspiring and as you can see lead to greater efforts. Please feel free to email with story suggestions along the sci-fi line or just for private comments.
Richard Jensen awoke to a gentle light playing on his eyelids. He felt a soft surface under his back and the sloughing of a light breeze through trees. Chimes tinkled distantly in the wind and the smell of fresh country air filled his nostrils.
For a moment he thought he was back at home. He reached to his side to feel for Jane, his wife, but the space was empty, just a soft flat bedcover beneath his hand. Then the recollection; lifeboats popping off a spaceship, a blinding explosion, the terrible descent and crushing force on his chest. Blackness. Confusion, a steep hill, rocks, a blinding pain in his head. Nothingness.
With a start he sat upright in the bed, eyes wide. Pain drove into his skull with a hammer blow and he cried out clutching his head and fell back on to soft covers.
"Oh Fuck" he groaned. "Fuck that hurts!" still clutching his head, eyes screwed up in agony.
He lay like that for a moment, as still as possible, trying to will the pain away and gradually it eased. He felt the area. There was large bulge under the bandage at the side of his head. Someone had bandaged it, and quite skillfully too. As his head throbbed less he heard a noise ahead.
Richard slowly eased up onto an elbow and opened his eyes to see a vision of godly beauty standing in the doorway to the room, not more than a few meters away. She was clad in a white armless samite dress that fell to just above the floor. Gold and silver patterns worked into the cloth glinted in the light seeming to make the dress alive.
The young woman was tall and by the look of her arms and the cut of the dress, of a willowy build. Long flaxen hair in a single large braid fell down her back. Her visage was cast by the gods. Strong, but delicate features: large blue eyes, small curved nose, high cheekbones and full lips above a firm but feminine jaw line all perfectly set and proportioned.
His eyes slowly dragged down from her face and took in the rest of her form. The material appeared to be less heavy than an historical samite as it clung easily to her curves before falling away. Her breasts pushed against the cloth and her hips hid alluringly, their sweep just discernable.
He looked back into her face and they locked eyes, soundlessly staring at each other for what seemed an eternity.
A sudden throb in his skull caused him to close his eyes and bring a hand to his forehead and when the moment had passed he opened his eyes and she was gone. Fearing the severe crack to his head was causing hallucinations, he lay back down and closed his eyes. He hoped that whom ever had bought him here and attended to his wounds would return soon with medical help.
The edge of the bed next to him sank slightly as a weight settled on it and he opened his eyes looking upwards into the beautiful face he had seen only moments before. Richard sighed in relief. She wasn't an illusion of his mind.
Before he could say anything she reached forward with one hand and gently lifted behind his neck and bought a glass of greenish liquid to his lips. He sipped the strange brew cautiously. It was light and a little sweet, tasting of some fruit he couldn't quite recognize. Grasping the glass he drank the contents surmising if she had meant him harm she would have done so by now.
"Thank you!" he said. He hadn't realized how thirsty he had become. He could have been unconscious for hours or days.
She smiled and said something that was in a language unknown to him. Some of the words sounded a little familiar, but he could make no sense of them. He reached a hand behind one ear feeling for the Universal Translator implant. It should be working. If it was damaged enough not to work he would have died of a massive brain trauma by now, so integrated was the device with his neurons. So he figured her speech was foreign to it. He had to give it data so it could learn and then program his language centers.
He patted his chest, "Richard," then pointed at her.
She looked at him oddly so he repeated the gesture.
"Ahhhh! Kira," she beamed a broad smile and patted her own chest.
"Please to meet you Kira, now we need to establish some reference points for the translator."
Kira just looked at him, her pretty head tilted slightly to one side like a confused puppy.
Richard had noticed he was starting to feel much better. The pounding in his head was almost gone and he felt energy flowing back into his body. Whatever was in that drink was certainly doing a job.
Pointing at the glass he named it, "Glass," looking up to her and then repeating, "Glass."
He then pointed to a nearby chair, "Chair," then the window next to him, "Window."
"Oh!," she uttered and then a babble of unintelligible speech before pointing to each of the three things that he had and saying what they were in her own language.
When she had finished he repeated them back and she nodded approval. Richard then pointed quickly to objects all around the room. It was decently furnished with a variety of things so there was a good start.
Kira got up and went around the room pointing to something and then saying her word for it. When she had described nearly thirty items Richard pointed to each of them in random order and repeated accurately her words for them.
She laughed and clapped her hands. She looked so delightful. At perhaps not more than her early twenties she radiated such youth and vitality he had not seen in anyone else before. This was strange planet and perhaps there were things, like in that beverage she gave him that imparted unusual benefits.
Risking a go at sitting up he raised himself again, this time without any of the result of his first effort. He felt good, really good.
"Kira, I want you to talk, just talk," he motioned with his hand, opening and closing, fingers against thumb like a mouth chatting. He hoped the sign language was near universal enough to get the point across.
He spoke nonsense for a minute, backing it up with his hand signal and then dropped the sign language and talked for a while longer. When he finished he waved his open hand at her, prompting her to do the same.
She was smart. Having seen him instantly learn everything she had shown him, she realized he was learning her language, and learning it very quickly indeed.
Walking around the room she picked up objects and talked about them. He watched her intently, giving every possible piece of information to the translator to digest. Soon he was beginning to understand her speech as the device worked to make associations, and apply the rules of language.
Richard felt confident to have a go and letting the translator guide his vocalizations he uttered slowly, "Kira, show place," as he waved an arm to the door.
She looked at him dumbfounded. He was already able to speak a little of her language in such a short amount of time. Clapping her hands with joy she motioned for him to follow and kept up the commentary. They walked into a central room, a lounge area he guessed by the furnishings. Seeing a book on the table he pointed to it, "Kira, what?"
She named it and he replied, "Show Richard."
The book would be a godsend of information. If she could read and point out the words the translator could accelerate it's job a hundred fold.
Kira pick up the book. It looked well made, like something from one of the museums, only in better condition. He flipped open the hard cover. Strange symbols covered the pages like a morass of insects. Pointing to the first word he looked at her. She looked at him then at the word and pronounced it. Nodding his head in approval he pointed to the second, then the third and so on till she took up the idea and using her own finger drew it across the page sounding each set of symbols as her finger passed underneath them.
They sat for hours pouring over the book as the translator absorbed the information like a sponge and started to assimilate it into a coherent structure which it could feed back into his brain. Overnight it would continue to refine it's learning and train the language neurons while he slept.
"Kira," he stopped her reading. "Me sleep, head hurt now." His head was hurting now more from the mass of data that the device was starting to process back into his brain, although the throb from his cracked skull was returning.
Smiling, she closed the book and took his hand, leading him back to the bed. He could feel how soft and warm her skin was against his and he thought suddenly of his wife Jane. What had happened to her? Had she survived the destruction of the spaceship? He had to find out.
Sitting on the bed he felt the weariness in his body and lay down on the soft covers. She was so kind to him. Taking in a complete stranger, tending to his wounds, feeding him. It was almost as though he was an injured animal and her selflessness in rescuing him displayed her total innocence and trust. He closed his eyes and started to doze, images of Jane and Kira floating through his mind.
Footsteps bought him awake and looking up he saw she had bought food and drink along with fresh bandages and a bowl containing a strange, odd smelling mash. She coaxed him back into sitting position and quickly and expertly changed his bandages, applying the mash he assumed to be a poultice of some sort back onto his skull before covering it with the wrappings.
"Eat, get well," he understood her to say as she pointed at the food. He nodded and watched her walk out of the room, the sway of her hips seductive and alluring. He thought of Jane and their last moments together and a deep sadness drew over him like a heavy cloak.
He ate with difficulty, his mood taking his appetite, but he knew he had to eat. It was delicious and despite his despondency quickly finished the meal. The drink followed and he noted the different flavour and unlike the green one earlier this earthier colour and tasting liquid now made him sleepy. He would find out what these were one day he promised as his limbs grew heavy and his eyelids felt like weights. He gave in to the growing torpor and laying back on the bed quickly succumbed to a deep dreamless sleep.
"Richard!" a voice called through his slumber.
"Richard!" it came again. A light, sweet voice.
A hand stroked his face and he finally stirred. His eyes opened, once again staring in to the deep blue eyes of the goddess that had saved him.
"K, Kira," he croaked. "How, how long did I sleep?"
She smiled; a smile that could bring joy to any heart. "Many hours. It is past the time of midday."
He smiled back, how could he not? She was so beautiful.
"Do you feel well?" she added.
He was surprised by how much he understood. The translator device had managed to process the huge amount of data overnight and program his language neurons incredibly well.
"Yes, yes, much better thank you."
She held out a glass of the green beverage, "Drink please, you feel good."
He took the glass and downed it quickly, the cool liquid soothing and refreshing his throat. Within moments he felt incredibly good again. The tonic was quite outstanding in its effect and he felt energized enough to continue to learn whilst he recovered from his accident.
Richard knew his understanding of her language was of prime importance, both in being able to help her people and to help himself and with his current injury he gauged that he couldn't reliably try to find his wife or any of his companions just yet. He would spare the time and give himself the best possible chance.
"Kira," he looked at her angelic face, "will you help me learn more?"
A beamed smile was all the affirmation he needed and grasping his hand she pulled him from the bed and skipped ahead leading him through the house and outside.
They spent the rest of the day together, she teaching him with increasing finesse the intricacies of the language and he learning more of it and his surroundings. He noted the construction of the dwelling; thick mud brick walls, well rendered surfaces. High grade glass and ceramic products, well made furnishings, exquisite floor and wall furnishings. This was no simple community. This sort of product was one of an ordered, well structured and knowledgeable society.
There didn't appear to be any other houses nearby and when he questioned her about it she said her work making ceramic objects for the community meant she had to live someway out and nearer to the materials she needed. He had seen the incredibly fine and exquisite works she made and was very impressed by her artisanship.
As night closed in she fed him books to digest. Richard absorbed the information at a prodigious rate, taking in volumes of literature well into the small hours of the morning. Unfortunately they told him little of her society, being some works of fiction and general material along with texts related to her work. He studied and allowed the translator device to process the language and tried to learn more about the society that fate had thrust him into.
Kira had fallen asleep behind him on the lounge many hours before and mindful of disturbing her if he moved, placed the last book aside and gently lay down on the lounge. She stirred as he moved and placed an arm around him holding him close. He felt strange, laying with a woman he barely knew, her arm around him as though claiming him whilst the fate of his wife still lay unknown. The thoughts quickly vanished as the veil of sleep washed over his exhausted mind.
The smell of something cooking bought him slowly out of his slumber and he rose to a sitting position on the lounge he had fallen asleep on with Kira the previous night. He looked around; everything seemed to be so vivid, the colours bright and alive. His body pulsed with an energy, a vitality he had never known. 'God I feel good!,' he thought to himself and stretched his arms wide, drawing in air that felt vibrant with energy.
"Good morning Richard!" Kira's sweet voice said behind him. "Did you sleep well?"
The translator had done an incredible job. In just two days he could understand her speech almost perfectly.
"Yes Kira, I feel good, very good in fact," he replied, turning around to see her. She was at an island bench in the kitchen, preparing food.
She smiled broadly at him and his heart melted. He had read a story once of a face that launched a thousand ships. Kira's smile could launch a million star ships, of that he was sure.
"Breakfast is ready. Please take a seat," she motioned to a table nearby.
He moved to the table and sat down as Kira placed steaming plates of delicious food before him. He realized he was ravenous, having hardly eaten the day before such was his focus on devouring the language and knowledge of Kira's society.
Sitting across from each other he tore into the food with gusto, occasionally looking up at his beautiful host before descending back to cleaning his plate. She grinned, watching him as a man possessed until he had his fill.
"Oh god Kira!" he sighed loudly sitting back on his chair, "that was absolutely delicious!"
She looked at him, half smiling. "I am happy for you Richard but..." the sentence trailed off.
He frowned, "But what Kira?"
"I do not understand." A confused look came over her face. He reached across the table and held her hand.
"What is it Kira?"
"You," she searched for the correct words, "you are not like us. Like my people. Where are you from?"
Richard dipped his head to the table before raising it to lock eyes with her. 'My god she is so beautiful' he thought. 'So innocent, so pure.' He felt his presence on the planet would change lives, many lives.
"Kira," he spoke slowly, "I am from another place: a place far away. There was an accident. I am stranded here, far away from my own people. I need your help."
She nodded, "You fell from the sky." It was more of a statement than a question.
"Yes, but I cannot explain how, I do not have the words." He looked at her, gauging her response before he continued, "Tell me Kira, what did you see?"
She squeezed his hand as she recalled the event: "I was out gathering clay for my work, there were lights in the sky like I had never seen before, curtains of colours then a bright flash, like a new sun. Later I heard a thunder and something burning through the sky before a mighty crash and the ground tremble in fear. I hid amongst the bushes till all passed and when I went to gather more clay I saw you fall and strike your head on the rocks. I had thought you to be an animal fleeing from the noise, but when I saw your clothing and form I knew this to be untrue. I was afraid, yes, but I knew I could not leave you to die on the ground like something unloved. That is not our way. So I bought you back here."
Tears had formed in her eyes and started to run down her cheeks as she recounted her tale, such was the emotion of her experience.
"Kira," Richard pressed, "can you show me where you found me?"
She sniffled, "Yes. It is not far."
"Thank you Kira. You are beautiful."
A smiled greeted him through teary eyes, "Thank you Richard. No one has ever said that to me."
He smiled and squeezed her hand back, "How far is it?"
"About fifteen minutes by horse back."
'Horse' was an approximation for what the animal actually was. The translator device had made the association between the use of the domestic native animal here on the planet with the one from Earth and come up with the word for 'horse' in his own brain. No matter, it equated to the same result he surmised having already seen the creature she referred to.
She led him out to the yard and they mounted the 'horse' creature. Six legged, about twice the size of a normal horse and quite docile it obediently took them to where she had seen him fall.
"There," she pointed, into a ravine. "I found you there." Carefully she guided the large beast down the side and to the spot she had indicated.
Richard climbed down from the animal and inspected the rubbled terrain. The bottom of the gorge was a nightmare of sharp rocks. It was a miracle he hadn't died from a broken neck if he had fallen as far as from the top as she intimated. Then he found it, a blood stained rock. A cold chill went up his spine as he looked up. It was a clear thirty meters to the top of the ravine. Death had passed him by a whisker and if not for Kira he would surely be laying dead upon the cold jagged stone that now wore his blood like a trophy.
"Can we get up the other side?" he called to her.
"Yes, but we need to travel a little way along. It is difficult for the horse here."
He remounted and let her guide the animal to a point where it could comfortably climb the opposing slope. The creature was unusually sure footed for its size, almost like a mountain goat and rapidly ascended to the level terrain above.
He sat behind Kira on the double saddle she had fitted. There was no room for discretionary space; his groin pressed hard up against her backside and the rhythmic motion of the beast had started an inevitable swelling of his manhood. He shifted back a little as this occurred, knowing that the sensation would distract him from his mission today and the fact that if he was correct, this planet was devoid of males. A hard on jammed against her backside at this point might be problematic.
Kira halted the beast on top of the ridge. They were on a generally flat plain interspersed with low hills. He tried to calculate the point in orbit at which the lifeboat had ejected, its approximate orbital transition into the atmosphere and rough trajectory in respect to his eventual arrival into the ravine below.