Luminous figures invaded Louisa’s head, which drifted in a sea of dreams of strange people and worlds, and came to the surface of her mind. Enveloped in warmth and softness, a faint noise of footsteps drifted from the neighbouring room. Stretching her arms out on the soft padding beneath her, she rolled over and drew her eyelids open to see an outline of some person poking his head into the room she was in.
‘Hello?’ Louisa yawned out, her hands rubbing the sleep away. A grey figure came back into sight.
‘Hmmm, where am I, and who are you,’ Louisa asked as an Askan came to vision wearing a grey robe.
‘I’m Joyle - one of the medical practitioners looking after you. I came to check on you that’s all. How are you feeling?’
‘Tired, where am I?’
‘Your accommodation. Can I get you anything to eat?’
‘You needn’t go to the canteen on my behalf Joyle - let me get up.’
‘You’ll find some clothes in one of these cupboards; I’ll be in your lounge when you’re ready.’
My Lounge? Louisa thought as Joyle disappeared from sight and left her with a corridor full of cupboards. Exploring one to the next each bore no content bare the last she came to where Jean like trousers and a loose t shirt hung. Louisa dressed came to a sky blue lounge hidden behind curtains covering an arch way.
‘Louisa, you look different being in plain clothes, it’s nice to see this improvement,’ Joyle said smiling.
Louisa stared at him for a moment and then drifted her sight around two sofas surrounded by gadgets. ‘Have we met before then?’ Louisa asked stroking one machine that resembled some drinks machine.
‘Of course, you have been in the medical facilities for quite some time. You were so poorly, but now ... your friend Systea, has helped you make a full recovery. You appear less muddled.’
‘Systea was here?’ Louisa asked and walked the opposite side to Joyle, eying him with caution. ‘Where are the research team?’
‘Puden and his team will be in their research facilities, but you are more than welcome to visit them. I believe Miya has been given a budget to buy you anything you need, whilst you remain our guest,’ Joyle smiled as he sat himself down on one of the sofas. ‘Oh and you were visited by your three friends, they stayed only for a short time after the Emparian attack, but they will come back, once you have made a full recovery to update you with the latest news.’
‘Emparian attack? What has been going on, how come I do not remember anything?’
‘You have recently come off life support, we nearly lost you,’
‘I nearly died?’
Joyle nodded wearing a drawn face; concern written within the creases of his skin. ‘Despite all you have gone through, you seem to have made a good recovery. But, we ought to go back to the medical centre now to run a few final checks would that be ok - after breakfast of course. We can have some here if you prefer and meet a few house mates.’
‘Housemates, but my last accommodation was not like this?’ Louisa said looking around the generous accommodation.
‘You won’t be going to your previous accommodation, not now that you will be a guest here.’
‘A guest? But...hang on should I even be here? Was I not on some school trip?’
‘A lot has happened since that school trip, do you remember any of the events that have happened?’ Joyle asked as he walked to the drinks machine and retrieved two mugs steaming with purple liquid steaming.
‘Something big happened, but I can’t remember,’ Louisa said taking a mug from Joyle.
‘Well yes some things did happen, but we ourselves are not fully aware to the entirety of the situation that we have. We hoped you would know a little more. But, after everything you have been through, it would not surprise me, if it took a few days to recover your memories. However, one thing you should know is that the Institute of Planets has dropped all charges on you for the murder of Dario. You have nothing to fear from any of us. We are here to help protect and help you recover from all that you have had to endure. Now come we can finish our drinks in the communal lounge, it’s only right that you meet a few house mates.’
‘House mates?’ Louisa swallowed a nervous gulp, and stared down upon the purple liquid and followed Joyle to the communal lounge.
‘How is she?’ A familiar Askan asked stood to an island sat within a kitchen area as three others sat scattered upon the sofas.
‘Her friend Systea has made a remarkable improvement to Louisa’s health.’ Joyle said smiling as he brought Louisa to view his hands resting on her shoulders. ‘Louisa, this is Centyl, Aton and Prius,’ each gave a welcoming smile from where they sat.
‘Louisa, nice to see you up, do you remember me?’ A familiar Askan asked who stood by the island.
‘You do look familiar, you were on that moon I crashed landed on,’ Louisa said stroking a hand through her hair.
‘Trienz has also been keeping watch over you whilst you were acutely ill, you were a little trouble maker down there,’ Joyle said as he directed her to the kitchen area.
‘Ummm, Joyle.. how long was I in the medical facilities?’ Louisa asked as she walked up to the island glancing at Trienz with an assessing gaze, then to the others.
‘A good part of a week and most of that was spent on life support, so try not to do too much and try to rest your abilities .’ Joyle said whilst he brought two plates to the surface and took two puffed red sponge from some container in a corner. ‘Here this should be enough for breakfast. Then we’ll make a quick journey to the medical facilities for a check up.’ Joyle said and brought his plate and mug to an empty sofa with room spare.
‘Coming to join us?’ Trienz asked with a wink as he passed Louisa.
With a nervous look, she made her way to Joyle and took a seat as she made a start on her muffin.
‘What will this check up entail?’ Louisa asked.
‘I’ll need to take some blood, to see how deranged your blood values are. If everything is ok, I think we better go to see Puden and his team,’ Joyle said.
With a nod, Louisa continued with her muffin, the occasional glance towards her house mates. Who had their attention on a screen that floated in mid air before them. Where an Askan dressed in robes was talking with several other Askans showing footage of Louisa and the latest Emparian attacks. Within the footage, Trienz was injured shielding Louisa from the Emparians roaming around the hall. Glancing over to Trienz she saw how one of his arms was dressed with bandages. ‘When did you get injured?’ Louisa asked flicking from the screen to Trienz who rubbed his arm.
‘How come I did not get injured? Surely, Joive had one intention,’ Louisa asked, whose attention returned to the screen - her mouth dropped as she saw herself fight Joive with her own telepathic/ telekinetic powers. ‘How the hell did I do that?’ Silence invaded ‘unless that was not me,’ Louisa said watching how the rubble was orbiting around the collection of Emparians including Joive who wore a look of distaste. ‘He hates me, he will never rest until I am dead and now this...’ Louisa said closing her eyes. ‘What happened to him and his friends,’
‘Taken by your friends Systea and the others, as prisoners,’ Trienz said drinking from his own cup.
‘Did Systea or the others say when they would return?’
‘No,’ the house mates murmured.
‘Anyway, do not worry about that, your friends will come when they come. In the mean time, why don’t we make a short journey to the medical facilities Louisa?’ Joyle asked as he collected her empty plate and mug and took them away. ‘Come,’ he directed Louisa from the lounge and through the corridors packed full of people. Many were school kids travelling round in packs with the occasional adult who froze when Louisa walked past with Joyle.
‘Louisa,’ a voice echoed from behind.
Turning round Louisa faced a familiar student, tilting her head as she assessed this person before her, but no name would come to her mind.
‘Futanus go to school, and take your friends with you,’ Joyle said with a frown as he shook his head to those who stood like statues as they walked past. ‘Come down here... Louisa, take a seat.’ Joyle said using a hand to indicate a bed space with a chair sat to the side plus a number of devices scattered around all switched off.
‘Louisa,’ another medical practitioner said causing all others to look up and focus on Louisa.
‘Hey,’ she replied rubbing her neck and focused her eyes on the floor.
‘Let’s get your blood sample and then we will see the research team - a sharp pressure now,’ Joyle said as he took her arm and placed a rod-like device against her arm. A minute the pressure lasted for and Joyle went off with the sample. Whilst his colleagues drew in closer, interest laid in their eyes. ‘You guys, Louisa, would like less of the attention,’ Joyle said as he barged through the crowd towards a machine which ate the rod, and printed off a report, ‘good news though, whatever your friend did - your fully recovered - your blood results are all back to normal,’ Joyle said.
‘Oh,’ Louisa said roaming her sight around the medical room at many of the medical practitioners.
‘You won’t have any more bother from us, but well we better get you to the medical research facilities. The team are desperate to continue their research. I believe they have a few extra research teams, to help with the study on your race.’
‘But, I thought they had to do some other research project?’
‘Something far more important has crept up, this last week has opened up a lot of holes in our understanding of your species, and of our universe. Your display yesterday alone will generate new areas for research. You may even come across Andres and Velence, other housemates you have not met yet.’
‘Great,’ Louisa mumbled causing Joyle to grin, as they walked down a corridor that ended at some port for little white ships that shot off in different directions around the base. Joining a queue they waited their turn under the heavy gaze of those waiting or passing as they departed the port.
‘This one is ours,’ Joyle said boarding a little white egg shaped shuttle that floated before them. He watched as Louisa boarded the craft with little enthusiasm, and then pressed a finger onto a small panel that activated the shuttle, which after a slight jerk sped off into the air traffic and flew off to the furthest skyscraper gaining height with time. Until, the shuttled parked up against a landing station where two Askans stepped forward to use the craft themselves, their eyes focused upon Louisa as she got out with Joyle.
Having passed two sitting areas they walked deeper into the facilities entering a familiar open planned research facility which had an array of technology. Holographic projections of Louisa’s recent combats, Emparians, Dovians and other aliens glimmered there were also ancient sites from Earth projected around the facilities.
‘Great, just great!’ Louisa said as she suspected that her ticket home was far from sight. Many of the researchers had transferred their attention from their work to Louisa, silence invaded the floor, as the traffic on the corridors froze as well.
‘Louisa, hey Louisa,’ a voice shouted from behind.
Turning she faced an Askan dressed in a silvery blue robe lined with black at all ends. The Askan came with a following, many joining him. Amongst them; Puden and Steros wore nervous looks. Raising an eyebrow she gave a bored look and turned round to face Joyle, ‘why did you bring me here Joyle, as far as I am concerned they have finished their research and shall not learn any more from a willing subject,’ Louisa said looking round as the corridor she was in became packed full. To the far distance, Miya and Rufus came through the crowds pushing their way through.
‘Louisa,’ Miya said with a kind smile, ‘do you fancy a hot drink back in our office?’
‘Why not, we’ll be able to get away from these crowds hey?’ Joyle said looking more annoyed at the attention on Louisa.
‘I guess, I have nothing better to do, Joyle,’ Louisa said passing him with a raised eyebrow as she went to Miya who placed a hand upon her shoulder with a welcome smile as she led her from the corridor to the office they were based at.
‘Louisa your here,’ Sentukila said as he stood in the door way of the research office as with others from neighbouring offices all on the look out to see what was all the commotion. ‘Come... over to the sofa’s let me grab some hot drinks and cakes for everyone.’
Returning to her spot when she first came she looked out to the turquoise fields where boulders sat scattered around. There were additional mounds that disrupted the open space where white roads still cut through.
‘You have been attacked,’ Louisa said standing up by the window with Joyle to her side.
‘Hmmm, but nothing we cannot fix Louisa. How are you anyway?’ The Askan dressed in the silvery blue robes lined with black asked.
‘Recovered if you refer to the blood results Joyle got. But, tired ... tired of this situation I find myself in, thanks to you people.’ Louisa said sighing as she folded her arms and turned away.
‘We are beyond sorry, for what we put you through Louisa, you have to believe us... the evidence was so strong. We had no idea what was in the backdrop... what was being planned, the danger that awaited us, once you...’ Miya said as she squeezed Louisa’s arm with comfort.
Anger filled Louisa, but sighed too much was at stake to allow feelings to take control. ‘Let’s see if we can survive our futures, whatever, fate has decided for us.’ Louisa said giving a straight smile as she patted Miya’s hand and walked away. Back to her spot on the sofa, she sat not far from a metallic table where Sentukila has laid a tray of refreshments. Taking a mug nearest her she smelt a woody fragrance, as an orange - brown liquid rested within her grasp. ‘What do you intend to do whilst I am in your protection?’
‘Well we need to finish our research Louisa, and then we thought it be best if you were with people your own age for the length of time you stay with us, you’ll have to attend the local school. Puden shall also be your guardian whilst you stay here, he will have the help of his team. I heard you chose your accommodation yesterday, how do you like it?’ The Askan wearing the lined robe asked with Puden standing to his side.
‘From what I remember the accommodation was fine...what research do you wish to do?’
‘Well, I can’t give you a list, for we may discover new areas to research into. But, let’s say there will be a focus upon your neurology and a few other areas. But, don’t forget that the military shall want to question you in regards to the situation we find ourselves in. I’d say that would be more of a priority than our research, especially, since you are still recovering from recent events,’ the Askan with the lined robes said, Puden nodding in agreement and wore a soft smile.
‘Well, why don’t Louisa and I go for a shopping trip?’ Miya asked.
‘Must I?’ Louisa replied placing her empty cup onto the table.
‘Of course not, we can go to the military section. I am sure we could find someone wanting to find out more about our situation.’ Joyle said and stood up preparing to leave.
‘Any other options?’ Louisa asked as she led the path out of Puden research office.
‘Why don’t we head out into town for a quick lunch, and you can tell us how much or little information you want to give us.’ Rufus said pushing past a few other research members.
‘I guess that’s the best option, I’ll be given. But do not expect to learn a lot from me regarding the Emparians. I know as little as you people, even the alliance with the Ascorts was something I found out a few days ago from the Dovians.’
‘So you did not know you had an alliance with the Ascorts?’
‘Nope never heard of any alliance - not that I would, knowledge of that nature would be classified and available to a select few within the military/ government. ’ Louisa said as she followed him down several flights of stairs that led to a large hallway that led out to the surrounding lands.
Treading on the loose white stones that collected together to form paths across the open land, feet marched with the stones crunching beneath them or bounced away as many were kicked out of place. Mounds of earth sat scattered either side, where some had steam that escaped where metallic skeletons rested. Yet still, the landscape remained unchanged where boulders and turquoise fields filled the landscape and evolved to a gathering of trees that bore red leaves. Metallic buildings of all shapes and sizes stood together some were taller than the canopy of the forest that surrounded.
Numerous Askans and other beings filled a number of white paths that joined and led to the town and became small lanes that were lined with grey stoned shops with a backdrop of bronze sky scrapers that competed with the base that glimmered against the sunlight in that short distance away.
‘This way Louisa, I’ll treat you to my favourite restaurant in town,’ Rufus said as he gently tapped her arm and led her through a collection of lanes until a metallic blue single level building floated upon a large lake, with the forest and tall mountains in the backdrop.
Her companions were already making their way across a wooden path that floated upon the water, following Louisa caught up to Joyle, Miya and Rufus who patted a worker at the restaurant and soon became caught up in conversation. That was until Rufus’ friend laid eyes on Louisa.
‘Rufus you never told me you had such important company, come, Louisa, you can try some of the best food we have in our little town.’
Within the grasp of this waiter she was led through a seating area, and beyond two double doors that led out to an open seating area that looked out over the lake and the natural surroundings. Led to a large table that was separate from the rest of those dining by paper like screens. The sound of flowing water lingered in the background as each companion took their seat, Louisa trapped in a corner, but with the best view.
Shadows of people dining could be seen, many stood up, some pointed their fingers, as hushed whispers travelled round. ‘Rufus, I’ll get a selection of our best dishes, this meal will be on us,’ as the waiter left Louisa alone with her companions.
‘What a treat you will be in for Louisa,’ Miya said, her smile growing as she sat in comfort, the water reflected the sun, sparkling the surface at each ripple that formed.
A growing back ground noise of hushed voices rose. Joyle wore his constant frown not liking the attention that Louisa gained. Yet, the frown was short lived as a look of mystery took over, as three orbs floated above the water’s surface and onto the open seating area where the orbs morphed into Nevis, Mantine, and Systea, each wore smiles as they made their way to Louisa. Spare seats floated to the table grew in size on its own accord.
‘Louisa, look at you... fully recovered,’ Systea said as she nodded to her companions in greeting, whilst Nevis helped himself to bottled water filling the glass of his companions and Louisa. ‘You do not mind if we join this little meal, we need to update Louisa on a few things.’
Rufus, Miya and Joyle each shook their heads in silence, and were soon joined by Rufus’ friend who carried one large tray, and laid out several plates onto the table as he stared towards the new guests and that sat with Louisa and company. ‘I’ll get some more food,’ he said leaving the table as other colleagues emptied their own trays, each wore their own looks of surprise and astonishment.
‘You guys have got to try this dish it is lovely!’ Systea said, closing her eyes as she enjoyed that taste that lingered from some fresh salad of multiple coloured leaves drizzled in some red sauce with small portions of white meat sat to the side. ‘Here pass your plate, Louisa, you need to keep your energy up.’ Systea said, loading her plate full of an array of colours and textures.
Receiving a plate full of strange foods Louisa picked up a folk like structure ‘Thanks, so why are you guys here?’ Louisa asked - her companions shot their own head up, each wore looks of intrigue, their eye sights flicking between the Dovians and Louisa.
‘There have been some developments with regards to the situation we have, the Federation has called for an intergalactic meeting. Louisa, you have been called as a witness, but also representatives of the Institute of Planets shall be required. You have until tomorrow to select those who you intend to represent the peoples of the Institute,’ Nevis said as he took hold of his glass of water.
‘Federation?’ Rufus asked, his face turned to Joyle and Miya in confusion.
‘Federation is a collective alliance of Planets, like the Institute I guess, but we have different members, members that include the Emparians and Ascorts. But, you needn’t worry what the federation is doing. I’d be paying more attention to the persons chosen to represent the Institute of Planets. We shall come back mid morning to collect Louisa and the representatives at your base’s entrance,’ Nevis said, as his two companions got up and began to glow pure white as they returned to their orb like structures and floated away from them and beyond the skies. ‘It’s been nice seeing you Louisa, we shall have more time to catch up tomorrow. I’ll leave you to enjoy your lunch with your friends,’ Nevis said morphing back into his orb and caught up with the others.