Chapter 7: New Holborgon

Chapter 7: New Holborgon

A Chapter by Reese P. Holmes

Sarah's living room warped as if suddenly it were merely the reflection of itself on a spoon, and yet Pen's body remained unchanged. Nicole was not moving, yet she could feel her movement through space, or perhaps space moving around her. She couldn't tell. Her brain was ill equipped to process this bizarre environment she was encapsulated within. Her stomach threatened to be sick from the sensory overload. Warm arms wrapped around her and she clung to the soft, inviting body attached to them. A yelp filtered into her mind. It was familiar, effeminate. It was-

“Charlie!?” She noticed the bearded redhead was holding onto her and Sarah was hugging him, crying out for dear life.

Pen gasped, appearing astonished, and then furious. “What are you all doing here?!" he demanded in a rebuking tone.

The fantastical warp in reality gave way to rising pink and orange fluffy clouds that blanketed the sky above and below them. They all at once seemed to realize that these clouds were not ascending. No, everyone was descending...

From very, very high up.

The four began to shriek in unison, clinging to one another. Pen forced himself to regain his composure and he held tightly and protectively onto everyone with a determined brow, still wielding his PIT device. He had to save them somehow, but first, he admonished them. “Didn't I tell you this was dangerous?! Do you humans even know what dangerous means?!” This seemed to quiet the screaming and no one dared answer or contradict him.

“Think, think! There's got to be some way out of this!" he roared. Nicole, her eyes shut tight, beseeched him, “Please Pen! Do something!"

As towering organic windowed structures made of what looked like resin came into view below, the screams returned in full force. He disabled the safety and directed it to suck at any energy source nearby, other than the life forms he was trying to save, but there was nothing even close to powerful enough to recharge it before they made contact with the ground below.

Charlie barked angrily, “What was your plan once you got here?! Fall to your death?!” The madman pointed his PIT device several times at safe landing zones despite knowing it was out of juice. “I dunno! I was kinda hoping I'd get lucky again or be able to steal some energy on my way down!”

“What?! How can you be so reckless?!" Nicole screeched. Pen winced from more than just the wind. “I can't always plan out everything!” he alleged. Nicole wasn't buying it, “This isn't just some little detail! I can't believe you!” The surface of the alien planet finally came into view through the lower clouds and as they passed a lane of airships, Pen aimed it at them, preying on any amount of power he could gather, but it still wasn't enough, so Pen closed the PIT. “I'm out of ideas. I guess I just don't think things through! I'm sorry! I never wanted to include you all in this. I'm so sorry!”

Just as they were about to smash into the ground of a lovely brush covered park, a huge puff of air slowed their descent until they landed safely, albeit not gracefully, onto the ground. As Nicole lay there on her stomach, catching up with the reality that yes, she was indeed alive, she stared at the alien planet's dirt. It wasn't that much different from her own, except for these little multicolored rocks sprinkled amongst it. She choked out a laugh, “There's grass here too?! It's grass!” Pen sat up and quickly pocketed his PIT before crawling over to check on his unintended passengers. “Are you all well?" he inquired. Charlie wheezed, shaking his head as he squeezed his hand against his chest, still on his knees. “Are you kidding me? Yeah, I guess. Are we really in a new galax- oh, my, gob.”

He gawped when he realized there was a ten foot potato with cat ears and a cape made of pale yellow flesh standing not five feet away from him, carrying itself with four small stubs for legs. It stared with the six almost goat-like eyes distributed across its front. It whistled and made a sort of “fuu” noise from a huge beak that seemed the cross between a pelican's and a nutcracker from Christmas.

Pen stood himself up and brushed himself off as he approached the potato with a huge smile on his face. He huued and fhaaed and made a whistling noise, his arms gesturing emphatically. The other three looked on with confusion, fright, gratitude and nausea. Nicole was the first to snap out of the shock and she picked herself up, carefully approaching the odd new creature and using Pen's arm to steady herself. “Did this, erm, being, save our lives just now?”

Pen nodded at Nicole. “Oh right, I forgot you can't understand her.”

“Her?" Charlie croaked. He forced his shaky legs to lift him up and he took Sarah's hand to help her up as well, but her legs couldn't support her just yet. Pen reaffirmed. “She says she saw us falling and wasn't quite sure she could slow our descent enough, but she had to try. I thanked her and complimented her amazing air capacity, then I think she flirted with me. I just thanked her again, and so she asked what happened, and I explained that a teleporter malfunctioned.”

Nicole scoffed angrily. “You're lying though. That's not what really happened. Were you trying to die??” Pen winced at her tone, “Not trying per say; I just knew there was a very good chance I wouldn't have made it. I told you to stay away," he accused. She released his arm and turned away, focusing instead at the ground under her feet.

Charlie shook his head, knees still trembling. “How do you understand what it's saying?” The madman shrugged, feigning ignorance. “I dunno, lucky guess. She's a fhuu by the way, and her name is, wait, what's your name exactly Miss? I mean, fhuu ho haahk.”

The fhuu lady attempted a human like nod, her large airy body rotating up and down slowly. “Haah Eeek huh. Haahk.” Pen struggled, thinking very hard, before finally answering, “Pen, err Bheen, Sarah oh Saa-ah, Nicole oh Heego-oh, Charlie oh Hah-oh-ee”. He pointed at each individual as he introduced them. “She says her name is Eeek.”

Sarah was holding onto Charlie's arm for dear life, tears streaming down her eyes. She could hardly pay any mind to the conversation being held with a giant potato. Instead, she was looking up at the traffic of airships and puffed up flying potato people, some much larger than the one standing in front of her. It was dizzying. The things surrounding the group she originally mistook for trees were in fact, slow moving animals rooted to the ground with limbs that had thousands of thin green and red eyeballs attached, watching her. The skin of these creatures was rough like an elephant's and pink like her own cheeks. They had no visible mouths that she could see, but the very fact they were aware was enough to scare the wits out of her.

Charlie stiffened at the sight of his dear friend and held her close, soothing her quietly. “It's okay. We're okay,” he assured. Nicole looked over at Sarah and recognized her terrible state. “Sarah, are you doing alright?” Sarah shook her head, near ready to collapse. “No! I'm not alright, not even close to alright! I almost died, and the trees, the trees are staring at me!” She burst into tears, burrowing her head into Charlie's shoulder. Nicole and Charlie glanced around, both startling when they recognized what she was talking about.

Pen looked up at the 'trees'. “Oh, that's just an æmbre. They're harmless, used to have legs and walk around New Hol long ago but at some point they got so big they just started rooting to the spot. Now the eyes don't really serve much purpose, but I guess they could be considered creepy. Photosynthesize to eat, just to reassure you.”

Charlie rose a brow, looking up at the æmbres as he stroked Sarah's back. “Just like trees, except not at all.”

Eeek huffed, whistled and clacked, which got everyone's attention. Pen smiled contritely. “Sorry miss.” He responded, and they had a bit of a conversation that none of the humans could possibly comprehend, but then he translated for them. “She's inviting us to meet with her friend for lunch.”

Charlie chortled. “What do potato people eat?” Pen quirked his head. “The fhuu? I have no idea, but now I'm curious.”

Nicole grasped Sarah's hand and smiled at her reassuringly. “Well certainly I'm very curious as well. I want to know everything there is to know about New Holborgon.”

Sarah shook her head. “Can't we just go home?" she implored.

“Can't take you home until the PIT recharges," Pen confessed. “Sorry.” Charlie groaned. “When will that be?” The mad genius smiled proudly. “Only four hours,” he boasted. Nicole gave a shrug, pleasant, yet avoiding eye contact with the madman, despite speaking with him. “Oh well. Too bad. I guess we're stuck here until then. Might as well make the best of it. Tell her we'd love to join for lunch.”

Within wide, immense doors of one of the tall amber structures lay a first floor restaurant. There were no tables or chairs indicating it as such, but there were people and creatures sitting on circles of cushions, chatting away in foreign dialects as they consumed bowls of both familiar and strange foods. Pen, Nicole, Charlie, Sarah and Eeek were waiting for the final guest to arrive. “Eeek wants to let us all know that she finds our clothing fashion quite fascinating," Pen informed.

Nicole smiled at the fhuu. “Why thank you Eeek.” Then her smile didn't quite reach her eyes. “Pen, where are the menus for this place?” The spaceman scratched his chin. “The whats? Why would you need a menu? Just ask for something and they'll make it. That's it.” Upon mentioning this, he earned the incredulous stares of all three earthlings.

Charlie smirked, terribly amused. “No one around here wears trousers. What's up with that?" he queried. Pen lifted his shoulders. “I don't know. Personally, I think trousers are brilliant.”

A statuesque young woman with pale, flawless skin, brown eyes and ash blond hair tucked in an elaborate and flashy up-do arrived and tucked in her flowing gown as she sat beside Eeek with a whistle and then greeted Pen in a language Nicole found vaguely familiar. Pen greeted back in English, introducing himself and everyone else. “It's a pleasure to meet you all," the woman began. “I see you're from very far away; how marvelous. My name is Maita.”

“How do you know we're from far away?" Charlie exclaimed. “The way you're dressed is a start," Maita winked, “but the language is what clues me in most. It is obviously not related to anything from Holborgon or the colonies. So, where are you from?”

Charlie pondered. “Very far away.” Maita rose her brows and leaned in to hear more, but a tall pink creature with eyes on its hands and no obvious head glided across the floor towards the group, causing the three humans to clasp hands in fear. Despite not having a visible mouth, the creature spoke. “We're so happy you could join us today. What will you have?”

The humans froze. Eeek nudged at Pen, who up until that point had been paying attention to how odd his guests were acting. He responded to the horrifying creature in his own tongue, as did Maita, but so did Eeek. Charlie furrowed his brows in confusion, relaxing his grip. “Wait, how does this thing know English?”

“I do not; I am projecting my intentions directly into your mind, which you are interpreting as hearing," the waiter communicated. Nicole remembered to breathe and let out a sigh. “More psychics, great. I'm not very hungry right now but I could use a glass of water.” The waiter lowered its tendrils and raised them again. “Your wish is my command.” Charlie sniffed. “I'll have a Monty Do and a ham sandwich with Swiss cheese and extra mayonnaise.” Nicole elbowed him. “Don't be ridiculous! Why would they have your stupid soda brand all the way out here??” The waiter again lowered its tendrils and raised them again. “Your wish is understood my lord. And you, Lady Sarah?” Sarah nearly crushed the hands of Nicole and Charlie within her own, only managing a “meep”. The waiter bowed. “As you wish, I shall return when you feel more at ease with my company, my Lady," the strange creature confirmed as it removed itself from their company.

“What was that?" Sarah squeaked. “It's terrifying.” Pen looked around. “What, the waiter? He's just Ænor. They're an intellectual race, just like myself. We've coexisted peacefully for many thousands of years.”

“Hanor and Ænor can even get married now," Maita added. Pen's eyes widened in wonder. “What? No way! Good for Etronin!" he cheered. Maita laughed kindly. “Where have you all been? On a long space journey?” Pen shrugged. “Something like that.”

Charlie scratched his beard. “What's hanor? What's Etronin?” Pen pointed at himself and Maita. “You're looking at two hanor right now, and Etronin is the solar system we live in," he explained.

Maita leaned in close to Pen and checked him out, and then looked very closely at the three humans. “So, you three are not hanor. Are you organic robots then?” Sarah hid a giggle behind her hand, finally releasing her tension a bit. “Nope.”

Charlie pat Sarah on the shoulder. “No, we're-," as he was attempting to explain, a whooping alarm emitted from Pen's collar, triggering the restaurant's alarm to go off as well.

The escapee jumped to his feet and scanned the room as the civilians reacted with general anxiety and confusion. The potato being winced all six eyes, her pointy ears flattening against her head. Charlie, Nicole and Sarah all got up as well.

“What is that noise?!" Nicole fretted. Pen licked his lips and then rubbed at his mouth. “It's time to go. Sorry Maita, Eeek. It was wonderful chatting!” Maita nodded, no reaction to the alarm but for a little surprise.

© 2014 Reese P. Holmes

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Added on January 20, 2014
Last Updated on January 20, 2014
Tags: Singularity Effect, War, Aliens, Teleportation, Space travel, Adventure, Action