Nothing Special (Part Two)

by Sophie Anderson

Continued from Part One

I took a closer look at him now that he was outside the ship. He was humanoid, with two arms, two legs a torso and head. He was covered it what appeared to be short, light blue fur, with slightly darker splotches of color at random places on him. his face was triangular, with a pointed chin, full plum colored lips and a button of a nose, but it was the eyes that held my attention the most. They were placed on stalks that extended above his head on antennae. They were a lovely green opalescent color and they could look independently of each other too. His arms were about the same length as a humans proportionally, but his hands had only three fingers each, two main fingers and an opposable thumb. He was dressed in a full body jumpsuit of some sort of metallic cloth that left just his hand and head bare.

We studied each other in silence for a moment, the weight of what he was asking of me finally sinking in.

Then he spoke. “Do you accept this role as my guide to humanity?”

I hesitated for a moment and then responded with conviction, “Yes. Yes I do.” Jiskira responded with a brilliant smile. “Then Kristy, it is my pleasure, on behalf of the planet Ash’shy’or, to be the first to greet you.” He said and made a triangle symbol with his hands in front of him.

And that’s how I met Jiskira. From that day, everything changed. I had a constant companion with me for the next ten years. He was with me when I took my driving test two months after we met; quietly congratulating me in my mind when I passed. He was with me when I had my first kiss, sitting in the movie theaters. He was with me when I graduated high school, sitting on my shoulder as I walked across the stage to get my diploma, my proud parents beaming at me from the stands. He was with me when I received word that I was accepted into the University of I had chosen, clinging to my belt loops as I danced around the house with excitement.

He was there during my triumphs. But he was also with me during my failures, my embarrassments, my disappointments and my heart breaks. He kept me from panicking when I got into my first car accident, a slight fender bender driving home from school one day. I had a friend with me the first lonely nights I spent in the college dorm rooms, where I knew no one and was homesick for my family and home a thousand miles away. He was there the day I failed my first college test because I hadn’t studied at all for it. He was there the night I turned 21 and went out drinking with my college friends. And the night four months later when for the first and last time ever I got so drunk I was in the bathroom for hours, vomiting up my stomach contents. He was there to comfort me when my mother called to tell me that my favorite grandfather had died. He was there when my boyfriend of three years broke up with me because he found someone hotter; and when I found someone new in my life to replace the ex-boyfriend. I never really stayed with anybody long though. I already had a man in my life, I liked to joke with Jiskira, and I was usually pretty busy concentrating on school or work to keep a steady boyfriend.

Through it all, he never judged, never said things like you shouldn’t do that or why did you do something that incredibly stupid, even though I’m sure he should have at times. He would give me advice if I asked for it, always with the caution that he only had a limited knowledge with which to form an opinion. I found that despite that, if I could swallow my pride enough to ask for advice, he had an incredible insight into situations and people.

Of course, there were days where the secret weighed heavily on me. I wanted to tell someone about this other person that I was living my life with, but the consequences would be too great to take the risk. So I held my tongue when my friends discussed life on other worlds, or made up some excuse when my parents wanted to know who I was talking to when they heard me by myself in my bedroom at night. I held my tongue and hoped they would forgive me when the truth came out at the end of the ten years.

I’m fairly positive having Jiskira in my life influenced my decision to study world politics and get a degree in Global Studies in college. I wasn’t sure exactly what was going to happen when the rest of the envoys from Ash’shy’or’ arrived, but I had the vague hope that I would be a part of it. I know he has saved my life at least once by having me turn away a guy at a bar one night in college; all Jiskira would say is that the man gave him ‘the creeps’ and that was good enough for me. Days later that same man was on the news for kidnapping and raping a girl that looked a lot like me.

In those ten years I also learned a lot about his people as well. His species came from the fourth planet in system with a blue star. One time when I had the opportunity to look through a telescope, he pointed out to me where it would be, but he explained that no telescope I had access to would be powerful enough to see it. It had a green sky and blue grass, which is where his people got their coloring from, adapting to blend in and camouflage with the grass.

On his planet, there were actually two intelligent species that developed; his people, the Kalayin, and another, much bigger race, the Shy’Dra. The other race was very willowy and tall; usually at least six feet tall but could grow to seven or eight feet tall. They didn’t have fur like Jiskira’s species, but smooth scales, like a snake or lizard. They were mostly different hues of opalescent greens and green-greys, but some could be different shades of brown. They walked upright, on two legs like humans, but had tails to help them balance. Their arms had two elbows so that they were incredibly flexible when reaching for things or gesturing and their fingers were tipped with claws. Jiskira said they were the most incredibly beautiful dancers he had ever seen. Their heads were long and narrow ovals and they had perfectly round eyes with slit pupils like a snake or cat.

And while there was peace between their peoples now, there had been devastating wars a thousand years ago that people still talked about in hushed whispers. Jiskira’s people had developed telepathy, and had no vocal cords, their mouths were used strictly for consuming nutrients. It brought a whole new meaning to talking with your mouth full. the Shy’Dra, however, had developed vocal cords and spoke out loud. Jiskira was both envious of them and not. Speaking would be an interesting experience, however, the Shy’Dra were having to learn to speak a new language out loud, and that meant learning to move their mouths in new ways, whereas all he had to do was know the words.

Jiskira had volunteered for this mission, but the final choice of which candidate to send had been decided by the council of elders, three of each species and one elected Elder that could be of either species whose job it was to break ties during votes. Ours was not the first planet they had initiated first contact on, but the first time they had, it had gone horribly wrong, hence the reason Jiskira was here, when they had sent someone ahead to integrate with society ahead of time, the process had gone much smoother. He had left behind a mate on Ash’shy’or, her name was Jiskassa, but she was to be coming on the ship with the envoys. I could tell that he missed her very much. I sometimes felt bad for him, being stuck on an different planet with only humans for company. I asked him once, if he was ever lonely on such an alien planet and he replied with a smile, “Sometimes I am lonely, but it is no longer an alien planet to me, and that helps.”

During the summer between my junior and senior year of college, I interned in Washington D.C. with the Foreign Services Office and when I graduated, I applied for and was offered a job there as a low level aide. I am a senior aide now, and if tonight doesn’t change everything, which I’m sure it will, I’m sure I would be promoted to a full Foreign Services Officer in the next year. What a crazy journey the last ten years had been; I went from being a nobody to being a representative for humanity, it was still a little crazy to think about even now.

I came back to the present when Jiskira stirred at my side, he sat up and then carefully climbed onto my knee to stand facing the north. He looked at me before pointing off into the night sky. “They are here.”

You can find more great stories from this collection by clicking “Divide and Conquer” on the menu bar.

This is the home of the Foil & Phaser writers workshop, a spin-off community website for fans of the Sword & Laser book club and podcast who want to develop their writing skills.

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Posted in Divide and Conquer, Fiction, Science Fiction, Short Story (<7500 words)
Divide and Conquer: A collection of short stories from the workshops of Foil & Phaser for your Kindle or ePub reader.
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March 2014
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