A Different Species

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Chapter 12

June knew the human woman had the advantage. But even with a spear pointed at her, she tightened her grip on the dagger Kargon had made for her and held her ground. June narrowed her eyes when she didn't see no other being with the mystery woman. She knew she heard a male's voice. She wasn't crazy. Maybe the male had stayed outside.

But how was he able to warn her?

"Who are you?" June narrowed her eyes.

June swept her gaze over the woman's features. She had dark brown, almost black, monolid eyes. Her brows and hair matched her eye color. Surprisingly, her shoulder length hair was perfectly disheveled and clean, unlike June's which was tangled and needed another wash. She must have made or found resources to use, June guessed.

How long has she been here?

The woman was Asian, or at least partly. The odd thing—but not wrong—about her was the amount of freckles that covered her body. Especially over her small round nose and cheeks. She had two beauty marks, one above her rosy plump lips and the other at her chin. Both on the same side of her face.

"Lyra," the woman answered. "We're not here to hurt you."

I was right. She wasn't alone
. "Says the one who's pointing a spear at me."

"Precautions," was all Lyra said to her comment. The moment the head of the spear no longer pointed at June, she lowered her dagger. However, that didn't lessen her worries. Although they both shared the human race and gender, June couldn't lower her guard and trust the woman. "What's your name?"

Her eyes traveled to the rest of Lyra's body. She automatically knew Lyra had been on this planet longer than her. Besides her spear, her attire consisted of the same material of Kargon's loincloth.

"June," she answered.

A thick band of it went from under her armpit, across her chest, and over her shoulder. The skirt of her dress reached mid thigh, but had a slit on either side of her body to allow more mobility. Lyra had the body of a model. Thin, toned, and sun kissed skin.

Then she glanced at the arm she hid most of. What she saw made her eyes widened. Feeling she had been rude, she looked back at Lyra's eyes.

"My mom had . . . complications when she was pregnant with me." Lyra's orbs dropped to her prosthetic arm as she brought it forward. She balled her fingers into a fist and then relaxed her hand. The technology and materials used to fabricate it was similar to the ones most amputees used, only Lyra's was more advanced. The installed limb began a few inches above the elbow and ran down to Lyra's fingertips.

The prosthetic had almost seemed lifelike. The color of it matched Lyra's skin. The material was matte which was similar to the texture of her skin if you didn't zeroed in your gaze like June had. However, the crevices of where movement occurred were black. Each of her knuckles, her wrist, and her elbow. There was another crevice that ran straight down her forearm, connecting to her wrist and elbow. "You weren't being rude. I know it's unusual. Especially since I'm—"

A red light came from her wrist and a voice followed. "There's nothing unusual, nor wrong, about you."

"What is that?" June threw her question without a thought. Lyra opened her mouth to speak, but the arm had already spit out words.

"He! Not that," the voice scoffed. "We get teleported to another planet and forget that pronouns exist?"

Lyra rolled her eyes and held her wrist out. "June meet Atlas. Atlas meet June."

That was the male voice. That's how he knew where I was. The thing is a freaking A.I! "That's who you meant by we?"

Lyra nodded. "We came out here to find you. Atlas caught you in his radar and we waited for the right opportunity to approach you."

Right opportunity? And then it hit her. "You mean when Kargon would leave?"

"That's the alien's name?" Atlas asked, curious. "How close are the two of you?"

June met Lyra's gaze. "What did you want to talk about?"

"You know it's rude when someone asks you something and you don't respond," Atlas cut in. Despite Atlas not being human, he sounded exactly like one. June almost turned her head to the side. He sounds a lot like Tom Hiddleston.

"We can ask her about that later, Atlas," Lyra spoke to her wrist. Then she turned to June once more. "We want you to leave with us, June."

"Leave with you?" June's forehead creased. "And go where?"

"Our home."

"It's a cave," Atlas added. "But I guess you can call it a home."

"And it's just the two of you?" June arched a brow.

"No," Lyra answered. "You can meet the rest when we get there."

There's others? How many? Are they all women or are there men as well?

"Is there a woman named Destiny by any chance?" Hope hung to every word.

"No. Atlas and I have done our best to find anyone who was teleported here. There's probably others still out there, but it takes time and resources. Was she a friend of yours?"

June nodded. "She has to still be out there. We were together when the explosion happened. There's a high chance she ended up here as well."

Neither Lyra nor Atlas commented on the subject.

"I'd hate to cut our conversation short," Atlas said. "But we need to leave before the alien comes back." If Atlas had a body of his own, June imagined him clasping his hands together, brows raised, and then signaling towards the entrance of the cave. I did not just imagine Atlas being Tom Hiddleston.

"His name is Kargon and I'm not leaving."

"What?" Lyra and Atlas said in unison. Atlas continued, "Are you insane, woman? Why?!"

"Because I want to." I don't have to explain why.

Lyra's frown deepened and Atlas took a moment. "I think she has Stockholm syndrome," he told Lyra. He didn't bother lowering his voice.

"I don't." That's not why I'm staying. "I'm staying with Kargon."

This time Lyra spoke. "I get that you have developed a mutual respect with Kargon, but do you think he'll let you stay with him much longer? What happens when he has to go home?" June frowned. She had asked herself that many times, but there was never any other alternative as to what she should do—until now. "Every species has a community in which they reside in. Kargon will remain away from his home until he finishes what he needs to do in the wild."

"We're here to protect you from future harm," Atlas added to the debate. "And to hopefully reunite with human society."

"How?" June asked. "How would that happen? Because I don't see us getting out of this planet ever. I haven't seen any civilizations. If there are I don't think they're as advanced as we were, and even we don't have the technology needed to travel long distances through space. I don't have the slightest clue where we are, but it's not the Milky Way. We'd be dead if we were. We need resources and time. Even if we were to start, it would take generations to reach how developed we were on Earth."

"That's what Atlas is for," Lyra said.

Atlas then said, "Lyra and I know the gravity of the situation. We know what we need to do. We will do everything we can no matter how many resources, time, and energy we have to spend. We won't stop trying."

June didn't say anything right away. She thought of her options.

I could go with Lyra and Atlas, and join everyone else who was stranded here. I could contribute to making a living here. I could help them however I can and maybe we could make progress to finding a way home.

That was the most logical choice. It was the right choice . . . She'd be with other humans and Atlas.

Or I could stay with Kargon. Things would continue to be how they are. We would someday be able to speak fluently to each other. I'd learn more about this planet, how to survive in it, and about him. She hoped that's what would happen. But I wouldn't be looking for a way back to Earth.

There was no clear answer as to what other things would happen if she stayed with Kargon. Lyra was right when she explained why June should go with them. June knew that way before Lyra put it into words.

There was a difference between wanting to do something and needing to do something. Whatever she chose could lead to her demise. It was just a matter of how she wanted to go. What do I want? What do I need?

Answering both questions was simple.

Survival.

That is what June wanted. She wouldn't give up. She needed to continue living and would do anything to do so. The thing was that neither option seemed wrong.

Kargon, being a habitant of the planet, had the knowledge to teach her how to survive his way. She would never question his word and actions unless he proved he had ill intentions, of which he hasn't and could never imagine him doing so.

Lyra and Atlas had proved learn the skills needed to survive on their own, however long they've been stranded here. Even though June was unaware of Atlas and Lyra's full potential, there was still a high chance of survival and maybe even discovering how they ended up here. Maybe even a way out. Going with them would be surviving the human way.

June asked herself what would she choose. She didn't doubt the answer that came to mind and spoke, "I'm staying."

She expected Lyra to say more as to why June should go with them, but she didn't. Lyra didn't hide her confusion, but acknowledged June's answer with a nod.

"Let's go Lyra," Atlas sighed. "June, we'd appreciate it if you didn't tell the alien of our visit. For both your sake and ours."

"I won't tell him," she promised.

The three beings shared no goodbyes. No words of comfort or best wishes. The silence in the air said everything. They were simply strangers departing on their separate journeys.

As their presence diminished, June expected her body to act involuntarily and run after Lyra and Atlas. Instead, her feet remained rooted to the ground. Uncertainty of her choice settled in. Her hands felt warm and sweaty, but she didn't move to the entrance of the cave. She pressed the dagger flat against her stomach as she made her way to her sleeping mat.

This was were June wanted to be. Not in this cave particularly. It didn't matter which she stayed in. She wanted to be with Kargon and wherever the journey would take them.

I don’t have Stockholm Syndrome. June let out a small laugh. Okay maybe I am a bit stupid for staying.

A sigh escaped her lips as she casted her green eyes over the empty cave. "He should be back soon," she reassured herself. "I'll just get things ready for the morning. Saves us more time when we have to go."

With a nod, she stood and busied herself waiting for her friend.



Would you have chosen to stay?

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