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HOZ 8

HOZ 8

A Chapter by DB Heinemann
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What the hell happened- bit longer

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“Ugggggh Shoky it’s already been 5 days of me cooped up in here. I’m gonna die of cabin fever,” Nalie groaned.

Shoky rolled her eyes at the pubescent child. “You can’t die of cabin fever. At least…” she paused, her eyes flitting about the room. “I’m pretty sure you can’t anyways.” Her eyes refocused back on Nalie who had raised her eyebrows at her in a dubious stare. Shoky clucked her head. “C’mon, it’s your turn.”

“I’m tired of playing games with you,” Nalie slammed her cards on the table. “Can’t I wear some disguise and just go outside a little? I feel like I’m back on the spaceship in that tiny room.”

“And that’s exactly where you’re going to be for the rest of your life if you go outside and get caught,” Shoky reminded her. “The risk is too high. C’mon, just a few more days then you’ll be on your way home.”

“That’s just it, though,” Nalie protested. I spent 4 years of my life in a confined spaceship, I spent almost more than a week in this little pod. Then I’m gonna spend 4 more years in a spaceship. That’s, like, half my life I’ve spent indoors. And let me tell ya, I never liked the indoors to begin with. I miss the farm I grew up on.” Nalie looked down at her hands, her voice growing softer. “I used to spend nearly all day out in the fields during summer. During schooling, my favorite subject was recess because then I could go back outside. If Mama didn’t have a say, I’d probably sleep outside under the stars, too. In New Mexico, out in the fields, you can see whole galaxies out and about..” Nalie’s wistful gaze shifted to the window. “The fields here are a lot greener and foggier but goddamnit, at least it’s outside with fresh air and a sun poking through occasionally.”

Nalie’s head hung suddenly with a sniff. “That’s definitely the one thing I miss most is being able to go outside.”

Shoky gave a painful grimace. She put her hand on Nalie’s. “I know this is really tough for you right now. It’s tough being the one to keep you indoors. But Nalie, it’s staying inside for another 4 years versus staying in some lab for the rest of your life. You just gotta hang in there.”

Nalie inhaled. “You’re right. I’m sorry. It’s just- gah. I need to clear my head.” Nalie left the table and went to sit on the couch and watch TV. Shoky sighed as she started to put the cards away. Being the responsible one was tough. No wonder Ryan was perpetually angry all the time.

“... Of course anyone still at home must be the biggest lame-o around,” the TV chimed. “Today and tomorrow are the last day of the Earth Food Festival and it has just been fantastic so far. No wonder those humans are so obese all the time. And what variety! Who knew so many flavors were possible? It really is addicting, folks. Wow. And besides the food, we also have a lot of human-type festivities and commerce being sold here. For every Continent of the Day, we have all sorts of related gimmicks like fireworks, toys, and fashion from every major era. We also have some events going like today, which is European day, we have bull races, cheese chases, folk dances and much, much more.

“But even more exciting, tomorrow is the North American day. The grand finale, the best for last, where everything is pretty much just rolled into greasier, fatter, cheaper versions of the originals. So if you’ve missed all the other days, tomorrow is the one you don’t want to miss. The events are going to be wild and the most fun any zenonite has ever had ever! This thing’s going to be the talk of the planet for centuries to come. I’ve never seen anything like it! So definitely make a point to come visit tomorrow no matter what you have to do!”

“A disguise might work.” Nalie jumped to see Shoky suddenly standing behind the couch. She quickly composed herself to give Shoky a look.

“Oh, I see how it is,” Nalie chided. “I ain’t been outside in 4 years but it’s too risky to give myself a breath of fresh air. You see the festival you wanna go to and suddenly it’s worth the risk, is that it? Miss I Ain’t No Tamati wants to go to some festival but screw my reasons for wanting to go. Yea, Ryan gonna be real pleased about that. You sho proved him wrong.”

Shoky squinted at Nalie. “You wanna go outside or what?”

Nalie glared at Shoky. “..... Fine.”


* * *


It was decided Nalie would best be disguised as a Bipouri. Shoky got her yellow, goat eye contact lenses, very sharp black nails for both her fingers and toes, dentures with symmetrically pointed teeth, a black morph suit with a face hole and matching black tail, and a dye that turned her tongue blue for a very long time. Shoky also applied black blush to her exposed face to better match the morph suit. She wrapped a headscarf around Nalie’s head to hide the seam of the face hole and further gave her the almost white robes Bipouris customarily wear. By the next day, she was quite the sight to behold.

After the agreed upon allowance for Nalie to frolick around the outside of the house until a razoon started chasing her (oh sweet freedom), she and Shoky quickly scrambled into the taxi and drove off to Zenon Central.

“Jeezus, it feels good to be outside again,” Nalie breathed. “Kinda sucks I gotta go into some crowded city for most of it, though.”

“Oh, it’s not as crowded as most Earth cities,” Shoky reassured her.

“But it’s not as open as a field, either,” griped Nalie.

The festival was a wonderful thing to behold. The place was filled food vendors of sorts of American deliciousness, of course. But there were also many children and even some adults running around in human-looking masks, some taking it a step further and wearing an inflatable fat suit. There were a few game booths like “Are You Smarter Than a Congressman? (everyone’s a winner)”, “Out-Polite a Canadian”, “Spin the AK-47”,  and “Jump the Border Fence”. Nalie and Shoky were also sure to take a few pictures with the street actors wandering around like the Anorexic Supermodel, the Homeless War Vet, and the Mexican Street Vendor, all to the background music of various American artists.

“I feel like I should be offended for somehow but I don’t really know why,” Nalie commented.

Shoky smiled, “That’s probably how all Americans feel about everything.”

Nalie was about to give her a disapproving look when she spotted something. “Hey! No way! They got riding bulls!” Shoky followed Nalie to a row of very well replicated mechanical bulls by the carnival games. “What do I gotta do to ride it?”

“Well, you wait in line, firstly,” replied Shoky, indicating the somewhat large line waiting by the bulls. “And then you get on. Everything here is pretty much free as long as you have a job card. The clearance here is pretty low.”

“Whaddya mean?” asked Nalie as she eagerly got in line.

“Well, with job cards, you can’t get everything with just any card. The more skill required for an occupation, the more you get. Like for me, I have the lowest clearance because I have a low skill job. But Ryan, being a pilot which takes a lotta years of schooling and is a very well respected field, he actually has a level 5 clearance.”

“How many levels are there?” asked Nalie.

“7.”

Nalie’s eyes widened. “Wow, you really got yo’self a sugar daddy, didn’t you?”

Shoky smirked. “ Well, that’s not why I started dating him. I just liked being around him. Something in him felt like something I had, something I almost never see in anyone else.”

Nalie scrunched her eyes now. “What do you guys have in common? You seem pretty opposite.”

Shoky gazed in the distance. “I sensed this ostracizing strangeness about him. Like, even though he’s really by the book and tries to fit in and all, there’s this part of him that feels like he doesn’t belong.” Her attention snapped back to Nalie. “Besides, I kinda like what a geek he is. It keeps me from flying off too far.”

Nalie twisted her lips to one side of her face. “I suppose that makes sense. My parents were kind of opposite but the same too. Daddy was- is, has been part of 3 generations of farmers but Mama grew up in Austin, Texas with my grandparents that were both accountants. She met Daddy when she came to New Mexico for the Chile Festival and got to talking about their mutual love of spicy things. Mama used to say she found my goofball dad a ‘refreshing contrast from her conservative upbringing’ and that she ‘admired his passion and independence’. People that marry their opposites seem to fight a lot though…”

“Why do you say that?”

“Well, Mama and Daddy were always fighting bout the farm and our ‘upbringing’ before I got taken. And you and Ryan seem to fight a lot, too…”

“Oh, Nalie,” Shoky leaned down to Nalie, putting a hand on her shoulder. “That’s just what couples do. Sometimes they fight more than others and sometimes that’s because they’re different from each other but just because you don’t agree on everything doesn’t mean you don’t love them anymore. You just gotta work things out and keep at it.”

“I suppose,” Nalie exhaled.

“Your turn, miss,” said the non overseeing the mechanic bull.

“Sweet!” Nalie raced onto the inflatable padding and climbed the bull standing in the center of it. With one hand firmly on grasped on the strap with the other loosely placed behind her, she shouted, “Ready!”

Slowly the bull began to rock, gaining speed. Soon enough, it was jerking and spinning all over the place but Nalie held firm. “YEEEEEEE!!!” She hollered in delight. After maybe a minute of this, however, Nalie began to lose her edge. With a final jerk, the beast managed to send her flying to the edge of the pad. But Nalie just laughed and laughed and laughed.

“Are you alright?” Shoky chuckled as she helped Nalie up.

“Fine. Man, it’s been forever since I rid one of those,” Nalie grinned. “There was one at this place my family used to go to. Me and my brothers would always compete to see who could go the longest. One time, I stayed on the whole time and won an ice cream. Best day ever.”

“Ooh, speaking of ice cream, let’s get some,” suggested Shoky. “In celebration! Also cause I’ve always wanted to try one.”

Nalie’s mouth opened wide. “Yea! And burgers and fries, too! I’m starving!

They quickly found a burger stand and after a very long line, received their treats and found a table on the outskirts of the festival. “Eeee, I’ve always wanted to try a burger,” Shoky squealed. “Don’t worry, I’ve been assured they don’t use real animal meat.”

Nalie’s face suddenly twisted in disgust. “Ugh! They don’t use real meat? Gross! I don’t want no tofu burger! Granny tried to make me eat that once and it was nasty!”

Shoky scoffed. “That is because you do not have the sophistication of Zenon technology. Didn't they give you meat while you were on the spaceship? I’m sure it’s the same thing and I didn’t hear any complaints then.”

Nalie’s face remained screwed but she reluctantly lifted the burger off the plate and took a small bite. Chewing slowly, her face stayed cold and hard. After a few tense seconds, she swallowed. Shoky raised her eyebrows. Nalie exhaled, tongue in cheek, “It’s got a decent meat taste.”

Shoky smiled satisfied. She took a bigger bite of her burger. As soon as the artificial grease hit her tongue, Shoky’s eyes became dilated. It took great effort to continue chewing without her breaking down. She put her fingers to her mouth as tears began to break the boundaries of her eyes. “Oh my God,” she swallowed. “That’s… wow… I never imagined such flavor and texture could dance so beautifully on my tongue as it does now.” Shoky’s fingers closed in front of her mouth simultaneously with her eyes.

Nalie leaned back, her lips curling inward to hide from the embarrassing scene in front of her. “You need a moment?” she asked. Shoky simply nodded. “Ok, I’m just gonna go… get some tacos…” Nalie excused herself. “Can I- Thanks.” Shoky gave her the job card which Nalie ran off with.

As Shoky composed herself, three men in suits were quietly scanning the area near her with some strange handheld device. Shoky may have ignored them except their conversation intrigued her ears. “I still don’t see why we couldn’t have just gone to the dude’s house 2 weeks ago when we found her,” grumbled one.

“Because confronting the residents about it would have confirmed the subject’s story,” the second replied. “One of the residents was already suspicious of it and if we interfered, they would’ve known for sure and we’d either have to arrest them and keep them in hiding or let them go and have them blab to everyone what we’ve done.”

“So why not arrest them? Serves them right for harboring a-” the first one stopped himself, remembering where he was. “Well, you know.”

Second sighed. “We aren’t like them. We don’t just arrest people when they discover government secrets.” He said the next part in a whisper. “We’re not even supposed to have government secrets. But of course the one we do have gets out and threatens national security until we find it. But even then, we can’t lower ourselves to them. We have to do it discreetly withOUT notifying anyone of public- even the ones directly involved already. With any luck, we can scoop the kid up when they’re not looking and the residents will think she slipped away from the planet with government secrets, confirming she’s a spy and not the other way around. Maybe they’ll even come to us and confess everything in a panic, thinking they aided a... thing in delving into Zenon secrets and try to stop an eminent human invasion.”

“Lucky us, we would have already taken care of that problem,” One beamed.

“Guys wait,” the third one who was holding the handheld device finally chimed in. “I’m getting some readings of subject DNA behind us.”

“Is it the kid?” Second asked, swivelling around to see.

“No, just faint DNA signatures over… there” All three looked up to see  where Third was pointing and were met with the wide eyed stare of Shoky trying to hide behind an umbrella stand. She had secretly been following them, listening to the conversation.

“S**t, it’s one of the residents,” Second swore. Shoky darted off after that. “Get her!” Second barked at One.

“Hey!” One ran off after her.

“We’ll grab the subject!” Second called after him.

Shoky quickly ran away from the crowd behind an Earth styled building, not wanting any upstanding citizens to try and aid in her arrest. One followed her to the attaching door, just barely snatching her before she ran inside.

“Let’s not make a scene. I really don’t want to have to explain it,” One told her as she tried to break his grip.

“Get off!” Shoky managed to twist around and smack him square in the face. An enraged One held his grib and smacked her back but harder. For a second, Shoky went limp and One reestablished his hold on her.

“That’s it, just calm down. We’ll explain ev-” One was cut off by Shoky taking a cheap at his junk. One released her and doubled over. Shoky took the opportunity to give One a firm kick. One stayed down to recover long enough to give Shoky a headstart through the building then back out to the festival. So they DON’T want to call attention to themselves, huh? Shoky thought. Crowd’s probably my best friend right now, then.

Shoky quickly got to the taco stand and scanned the long line looking for Nalie. Where is she? Something firmly grabbed her arm.

“I suggest you come with us,” a voice whispered in her ear. “Quietly.” Crap, Second and Third beat her here looking for Nalie, too.

“Do you have Nalie?” Shoky curtly asked.

“We will soon so you better just come with us.” There was still hope.

“GET THE F**K OFF ME, HEKONA!” Shoky screeched suddenly and tried to shake him off. “I’M NOT GOING BACK TO YOU AFTER YOU HIT ME!” Shoky pointed to her eye which was starting to swell. “YOU THINK YOU CAN BRING YOUR THUG FRIEND-” Shoky indicated to Third “-AND DRAG ME BACK? F**K YOU! GET OFF OF ME.” Shoky shook harder at the bewildered Second. At this point, everyone was looking at them.

Second lowered his voice to a dangerous level, “Stop it.”

“SOMEONE HELP, HE’S TRYING TO KIDNAP ME,” Shoky yelled desperately to the crowd which almost immediately started to respond.

“Hey, get your hands off her,” one non stepped forward.

“Yea, bug off!” another gunon agreed.

Second blew steam out of his nose. He reached into his pockets and pulled out a badge. “Back up folks, this is police business, not a domestic. She assaulted an officer and is now resisting arrest. Please go about your day.”

“HE’S LYING. PLEASE, SOMEONE HELP,” Shoky pleaded. The people around her hesitated this time, however.

“Well, that is a real badge…” a non murmured.

“But she does seem pretty distressed,” said a gunon.

“You would too if you were getting arrested,” replied another gunon.

“Maybe on Earth,” a non scoffed. “Our ‘jails’ are 5 star rehab centers. Who wouldn’t want to go there?”

As the people around her discussed these options, Second smiled and went to grab some handcuffs from his belt. “Look at you, all out of options,” he mocked.

“WHA-CHA!” Second was suddenly knocked to his knees then hit in the face with a large black object.

“He-!” Third was similarly knocked out as well.

“C’mon, let’s go!” Nalie beckoned to a dazed Shoky, holding her fake tail by the tip.

“God, I love you, kid,” said Shoky as she got to her feet and started running with Nalie.

“Yea, yea, later,” Nalie replied shortly.


“Should we stop them?” asked a non standing by the knocked out officers.

“I dunno, kinda hard to tell who was the bad guy in that one,” a gunon replied.

“Did I just watch a Bipouri tear off her tail and hit officers of the law with it?”

“I heard they did that sometimes but never actually seen it.”

Meanwhile, Second groaned and shook himself up. He gave his communicator watch a quick kiss before telling, “We just lost visual of both subject and female resident, heading towards the airport. Requesting back up.”




© 2016 DB Heinemann


Author's Note

DB Heinemann
bit rambling, apologies. I felt it was all important, though and Shoky's a pretty rambling character anyways. Tips are welcome.

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Added on November 11, 2016
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Author

DB Heinemann
DB Heinemann

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Just a super awesome person looking to hone the craft. I mostly do fantasy but I occasionally get science fiction-y or some artsy fartsy soul searching writing. But fantasy's my main go to because the.. more..

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HOZ Prologue HOZ Prologue

A Chapter by DB Heinemann