Chapter 15: The Return

Chapter 15: The Return

A Chapter by Reese P. Holmes

The two were dropped on another end of Charlie's property where a much larger home lie, something more akin to a mansion. It was a gorgeous mid 20th century white Neo-Classical old American house, something that seemed lost in time among the high rise buildings that surrounded its breathtaking property.

Charlie unlocked the door and guided his suffering friend through the grand entrance as quietly as he could, but Pen had another violent coughing fit into the crumpled up tissue in his hand.

“Charles? Is that you? You sound terrible!” called an effeminate voice from afar. The short redhead bristled at the sound. “No, mom!”

“Then who is it?” replied the voice. “It's nothing to worry about mom!” Charlie insisted, but it was too late. A petite, bleach yellow-blond older lady came rushing over as fast as her little high heeled legs could take her. “You call this nothing? You poor thing! Charles, don't just stand there, get him into a bed! You finally snatched yourself a real looker too! When were you going to tell me about him??” Her son turned red with mortification. “Mom! He is SO not my boyfriend! He's just a friend!”

“You've got nothing to be ashamed of my love. Why, your father was into all types before he settled with me, a real lover of the world. I sure do miss him; he was a wonderful romancer.”

“Mom, stop it! I'm not ashamed of anything! He and I aren't going out!”

Pen gave a little sigh of feverish exhaustion and he rested against Charlie for support. “We are too going out. You said. We just went to the place and you promised we'd go again.”

Charlie grit his teeth. “We just went to the Museum of Natural History! Not like a date!”

Charlie's mother poked at her son. “Just? Come now, museums count!” then she wagged her finger at Pen. “Don't you take his attitude, you hear me?” Before the alien could open his mouth and embarrass Charlie any more, he hurriedly led Pen towards the first floor guest room. “Sorry mom but he needs to rest, so I'm putting him to bed!”

The guest room was a comfortable size, easily fitting in a full sized bed but not overly extravagant like the entrance. The wallpaper was pink with ornate golden leaves weaving through more abstractly designed patterns. The bed had a fluffy blue comforter with pink and gold designs and matching pillows.

As soon as he saw the bed, Pen flopped right onto it without even taking off his outerwear and sighed through his mouth in happiness, unable to breathe otherwise.

Charlie closed the door behind him and spoke in a harsh whisper between grit teeth, “Why did you tell my mom we're going out??”

“Because we did,” Pen said, nearly interrupted by a terrible sounding cough. Distracted, he held his throat as he gulped, no longer paying his friend's feelings any mind.

Charlie rolled his eyes, a little too angry to care. “Don't you realize what that sounded like?”

Pen, still ignoring the human's rage, sat up and leaned over to untie his shoe, but then he flopped back into a lying position, out of breath. “Charlie, can you untie my shoes?” he asked pitifully. Charlie chewed on his lip, forcing himself to take a deep breath before untying the man's shoes and wrapping him up in a blanket. “You're definitely sick.”

“Seems so,” Pen replied as snot dribbled down his nose like a leaky faucet. He quickly caught it and kept the tissue on his face as he gave in to slumber.

That evening, Nicole rushed to the weary spaceman that was laid up in the guest room and wrapped her arms around his head as he lay on his stomach, dripping with snot and half asleep. “What happened to him? I leave him in your care for one day! One little day! And now look at him!” she cried as she glared pointedly at Charlie.

The redhead let out an irritated whine. “He's just sick! It's not like I have control over that sort of thing! Besides, he assured me hanor don't get sick!” At hearing himself be discussed, Pen forced himself back into the conscious world and. “Wha's all the yelling?” he slurred as he looked with glassy eyes at his ebony haired companion.

“And you just believed him?!” Nicole fumed a little too loudly, which caused Pen winced in pain and she lowered her voice accordingly, holding him like he were a precious babe. “I'm sure he didn't just get sick out of nowhere! The signs must have been there! How could you have not noticed?”

“Y'know, two could play at that game! I could say the same of you! But I'm not, because obviously putting blame on each other is not making him feel better,” Charlie countered.

“You're right, you're right. I'm sorry. I just feel like we're all so unprepared for this,” Nicole confessed. “I don't know what to do for him and I feel so stupid for not even thinking of the possibility. Pen, what do you do when you get sick? Pen?”

The sleepy spaceman again forced his eyes to look up at the woman who was holding him close. “Ah? I can't say. Never been sick before, not that I recall. I've heard of it happening during update glitches, but I've always been pretty isolated.”

Nicole raised a brow. “Update glitches?” Charlie added, “yeah, glitches in their nanomachines from updates. So, essentially, your immune system has never really had to fight off infections on its own, and I'll bet that our germs are a lot different from your germs.”

“But the thing is, since the germs here have never encountered a hanor before, it's surprising and telling data,” he paused to gasp for air, “that they can attack me. It says we're genetically similar enough that-”, he paused once more to cough as Nicole pat him on the back, “that, that I don't remember what I was saying.”

Sarah arrived and knocked on the open door as she wiped at her long blue skirt and waited to be acknowledged before walking in. “Aw, Pen, you look really unwell. Maybe we should take you to see a doctor?” Both Charlie and Nicole simultaneously stared at Sarah with disbelieving eyes, causing her to look down and shake her head, “right, not human. Well, maybe I can give him a check-up?”

Charlie rolled his eyes. “He's not our pet, Sarah!” She shrunk with a hurt frown. “But I used to take care of my brother and sister whenever they were sick.”

“What harm would it do? She's just trying to help. No one would really know how to help him except for another hanor anyway,” Nicole defended while stroking Pen's hot clammy forehead as he lay on her lap, falling back into a purgatory between sleep and wakefulness.

“Well, maybe we should go see another hanor,” Charlie pressed. “We can go ask Maita for help. It's programmed in the PIT device.” Pen forced a smile as he lifted his hand. “I'm sorry to interrupt, but I think we should at least warn Maita about this highly infectious disease that may or may not kill hanors.”

Charlie gave a smug little nod at Pen's point. “Exactly, we should go see Maita and ask for help and warn her about the infection that could possibly be ravishing her team.” Nicole assented with a thoughtful nod, “Okay, but first we've got to find out if his general condition is stable enough.”

With that decided, Sarah dropped her purse on the floor near the bed and fished out a thermometer. “Pen, I'm going to stick this in your ear, so just stay still.”

Pen's eyes opened and he winced as he felt the cold device violate his ear. “Ah! I don't like it!” he complained. Sarah bit her lip sympathetically with an inhaled breath. “I know honey, but unfortunately Charlie's mom doesn't have a diagnose tool in the bathroom so I need to take your temperature the old fashioned way.”

She removed it and continued with her examination. The purse had an amazing array of doctor's tools, including a stethoscope. Once she was finished, she gave a short sigh. “I'd guess he's got the flu. All of the symptoms are there, high fever, runny nose, malaise, fatigue, aches. It would be absolutely miserable for him to travel even for a short while, but I'm relatively certain it won't make his condition worsen.”

Pen looked up at Sarah with a raised brow. “Let's get it over with then.”

© 2014 Reese P. Holmes

Author's Note

Reese P. Holmes
Chapter name is still being tweaked. I may extend this chapter until it ends with them arriving once more in New Holborgon, depending on how pacing turns out.

My Review

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This paces out pretty well. Though I think you could totally add in the next little bit, for an extra punch of, Hey get ready!

Posted 6 Years Ago

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Added on January 20, 2014
Last Updated on January 21, 2014
Tags: Singularity Effect, War, Aliens, Teleportation, Space travel, Adventure, Action