Chapter 3: Survival of the Primest

Chapter 3: Survival of the Primest

A Chapter by StarNinja
"

More aliens? Ah Jeez

"

The smoke from the alien vehicle was billowing high above them now and Phillip felt glad they were heading away from it. Omar would stop occasionally to scan local vegetation with his glove. Phillip kept mostly silent, not sure what to say in this situation but after a while the silence started to bother him.

“Hey, Omar,” he started to say.

“Yes?” Omar replied distractedly. He was analyzing the leaves of a blue bush at the moment.

“You never mentioned how exactly we’re supposed to get home,” Phillip said.

“I don’t have enough data to give you a concrete answer on that,” said Omar.

“Shouldn’t we be getting more data then? It looks like you’re just scanning plants,” said Phillip.

“I’m trying to find an edible nutrient source. I don’t have enough supplies to last me for very long,” Omar said as he grabbed another plant, this one red.

Phillip hadn’t considered that. If they were going to be stuck in this place for a while, they would have to scavenge for food and water sooner or later. Knowing what was edible and what was poisonous would be useful. To think he’d started looking for food on his own earlier without any kind of guidance. He could have died from food poisoning! What was he thinking? His twin sister Katie wouldn’t have done that. She knew way more about survival than he did. They were fraternal twins, he and Katie, though their personalities couldn’t have been more different. She was on her third summer camp trip right now, learning all kinds of survival skills. She already knew how to navigate in the wilds and set up shelter and generally not die for stupid reasons while roughing it. The sudden memory of his sister hit Phillip hard and he had to try really hard not to cry. He missed her so much he even regretted not signing up for summer camp with her. But only a little.

“Looking for dinner is great and all, but I want to know what the game plan is. How are we getting off this planet?” Phillip asked.

“I’m not sure, but I’m certain there is a way,” said Omar.

“Can’t you just open a worm hole? How do you slide anyway?”

“It’s a bit more complicated than that,” said Omar.

“You sound like you don’t really know,” said Phillip.

Omar stopped and turned to face Phillip. There was a seriousness in the cadet major’s eyes that caught Phillip by surprise.

“I didn’t want to say anything, but there’s no point in hiding it. Right now, as it stands, we are stuck here.”

Phillip was speechless. It felt like the world had just been pulled out from under him. Stuck? They were stuck here?

“No, no. That’s not right. There has to be a way to get back. There has to be,” Phillip said, pulling at his hair.

“Don’t panic, Phillip Averrez. As it stands right now, we have no means of returning home. However, if there is a way to escape this planet, we can find it. I know we can,” Omar said confidently. He returned to studying more plant life.

“What if there isn’t a way to get back home? We could be stuck here forever! It’ll be like Robinson Crusoe but without the part where he gets found. We’ll never go home. No. No no no…” Phillip’s voice got caught in his throat. He started sobbing. Omar dropped the plant he was looking at, walked right up to Phillip and shook his shoulders violently.

“Pull yourself together!” Omar shouted.

Phillip pushed him away and blocked his face with his arms.

“Don’t slap me. I’m okay. I’m all right,” said Phillip between sobs.

“Slap you?” Omar asked, confused.

“Isn’t that what you were going to do?”

“No. I was just going to offer some encouraging words. Is that what people do on your world? Slap each other for encouragement?”

“Sometimes?” was Phillip’s unsure reply.

“Does it work?” asked Omar.

“No. No it doesn’t. I’m fine, okay? Don’t slap me.”

Omar rubbed his forehead. This was going to be a lot harder than he thought. He waited for Phillip to settle down, then said, “I can tell this isn’t an easy thing for you. I don’t know where you’re from or what kind of life you lived, but that’s over now. This is a fight for survival. You lose, you die. Understand?” Phillip nodded. “In the fight for survival, soft people don’t last long. I need you to keep a steady head on those shoulders and be strong. Stronger than you’ve ever been. Can you do that?”

Phillip didn’t say anything at first. He had to believe that he could get home. There had to be a way. He couldn’t die out here. There was so much he hadn’t done. His first car, his first motorcycle, his first kiss, his first ninja fight. He wouldn’t die out here. Not yet. He dried his eyes with the cleanest part of his shirt he could find.

“Yeah yeah. I’ll try. I don’t know if I can, but I’ll try.” It didn’t sound like Phillip meant it, but Omar was low on options. They would certainly fare better together than alone. That’s what the Core Cadet Field Manual said, anyway. Two are better than one.

“Let us continue foraging,” said Omar.

“We should find someplace to stay the night too. You know, like a cave or something so we’re not out in the open,” said Phillip.

“Good idea,” said Omar. There was a cluster of bushes and short trees up ahead of them. “That looks like a good place to set up camp. Let’s go check it out.”

Phillip felt his spirits lighten. Maybe things weren’t so bad after all. At least he didn’t have to face the dangers of this world alone. He was about to say something reflective and probably insightful about their situation when something made a metal clink on the ground next to them. They looked down and saw a small canister about the size of an apple resting in a patch of gravel a few feet away. It took a second too long for Phillip to figure out what it was. Omar saw it and reacted instantly, training taking the place of thought. He lunged at Phillip and managed to get between him and the canister before it exploded with rib shattering force.

Phillip lay on the ground, his face contorted into a grimace. He couldn’t hear anything except the ringing in his ears. He opened his eyes and saw Omar lying on the ground next to him, unmoving. The world wouldn’t stop spinning long enough for Phillip to do anything. He turned to lie on his stomach. There was a sharp pain in his back and, for the second time that day, he had wet his shorts. Why had Omar saved him? Why had he saved the life of someone he barely knew and didn’t trust?

He looked back one more time. Omar still wasn’t moving. It was probably because he was dead, Phillip concluded. He shut his eyes and suppressed the sudden urge to scream. He reached out and pulled himself away from the newly formed crater. A blue flash exploded inches from his face. Through the ringing in his ears, he could hear the dull explosion of a weapon just fired.

Phillip slowly raised his head and saw an alien standing not five feet away gripping a golden, pistol-sized weapon firmly in its slender fingers. It resembled the aliens Phillip had seen before. Rough blue skin, potato head, shabby grey military uniform. The main difference was that this one was tall, maybe six feet tall, and slender. It wore a dull medal on its chest. The alien made a motion with its free hand. Several blue shorties appeared from behind the foliage and aimed their guns at the boy. They wouldn’t miss from this range. Probably.

The tall alien holstered its handgun and took a step toward Phillip. It spoke in its wet flatulent language, elaborating its speech with fanciful gestures. This went on for about a minute before Phillip decided he was very tired and laid his head down on the sandy ground. This was the end. He was either dead or about to become a slave. The alien appeared to be wrapping up because it produced a strange looking harness device from one of its pockets. It stepped toward Phillip while raising its voice to a very dramatic crescendo.

“That was my only suit!” someone shouted.  Phillip craned his head and looked behind him. Omar stood at the edge of the small crater brushing ashes out of his hair. “I hope you slavers have a good reimbursement program,” he said with a confident grin.

Omar ripped what was left of the astronaut suit off his body and tossed it aside, revealing a new set of clothes underneath. He wore a jacket, black on top and white on the bottom, with a thick green stripe separating it at the chest. His pants had a similar design and black, white, and green color scheme. That along with his single black and green power glove made Omar look like a lost member of the Jackson 5. From space. He stood with a hand in his pocket, smiling the cockiest smile. The tall alien barked commands at his subordinates, but the shorties were frozen and shaking in place. Omar took a step toward them, which made all of them except for the tall one take a step back. Phillip wondered how Omar could have survived that explosion, but his thoughts were stifled by the sound of gunfire directly above him.

The aliens’ aim was so bad that one got the impression they didn’t actually know how to shoot. A wave of dust and sand obscured the cadet major’s position as a bunch of rounds or energy pulses or whatever the aliens were shooting hit the ground around his feet. The aliens shot in Omar’s general direction for what seemed like a long time, throwing everything they had at him. The leader swished its hand and the shorties stopped shooting. It said something that made the shorties chuckle, or the closest thing to chuckling they could manage. Then one of the blue shorties whistled fiercely, pointing ahead as the dust cleared. Omar had his hand in front of him, his glove projecting an iridescent shield made of fiery green energy.

“Impressive. You managed a two percent hit rate,” he said, still grinning. “Now, let’s see if your fists are any more accurate!”

The cadet major became a blur of motion. One second he was a dozen feet away, the next he had his knee planted squarely in the leader alien’s face, which sent it flying backwards into the brush. The others were stunned by the display. Omar landed on his hands and sprung into another kick that sent two shorties flying. He grabbed the barrel of a rifle and slapped its owner aside. He fired three shots and three shorties went down. An angry howl came from the brush. The leader scrambled to its feet with an explosive canister in its hand. It pulled its arm back, getting ready to throw it. Omar held his gloved hand out. The glove flashed green for an instant and the canister exploded in the leader’s hand, launching pieces of its body all over the place. The explosive wave hit Phillip square in the face. It was so sudden that it stole his breath. He barely got his arms up in time to shield his face as the lead alien's blood and guts rained down on him.

Omar studied the scene as the dust settled. When he was sure there were no attackers left, he did a victory dance while shouting, “Yes! That was amazing! I really did it, teachers! I did it all on my own!”

Phillip started screaming at the top of his lungs.

“What is it? What’s the matter?” Omar asked as he rushed over.

“Sweet Jesus, I almost died again!” Phillip screamed.

In a frenzy, Phillip wiped the alien blood and guts off of himself. There were body parts strewn everywhere, coloring the rusty hued soil blue. Omar helped Phillip to his feet. Phillip’s legs were weak beneath him. The smell of the dead aliens was overpowering until finally he couldn’t stomach it anymore. He fell to his knees and vomited the cadet major’s recovery mush all over the ground. Somehow, it tasted better coming back up.

“Oh god,” said Phillip between wretches. The smell of the vomit mixed with the smell of alien guts made Phillip vomit a second time.

“Don’t breathe it in. Once we clear the battlefield, you’ll be fine,” said Omar as he half dragged Phillip away from the mess. He set him down several yards away. Phillip stayed on his hands and knees as he suffered through a few more dry heaves.

“I’m done. I want out. I want to go home,” Phillip said between gasps for breath.

“Just breathe,” Omar suggested.

“I am!”

“Good. Keep doing that,” said Omar.

“What was all that?” Phillip asked when he could talk again.

“What do you mean?”

“What do you mean what do I mean? You’re alive and… and you did all that jumping and running and crazy karate fu. You’re fast. Seriously, what the hell? Are you a robot or something?” Phillip asked.

“What? No.”

“Part robot? Like, a cyborg?”

“No! I’m completely human,” said Omar, sounding offended.

“Then how?” Phillip said, making karate chop motions with his hands.

“What you saw was merely the result of the superb training I received from my teachers,” said Omar, like it wasn’t a big deal.

“I could train for a million years and never do what you just did. Like surviving a grenade at point blank range. That was impossible. That was… superhuman.”

Omar examined Phillip for any signs of physical damage. Luckily, he’d gotten Phillip out of the concussion grenade’s maximum effect radius, so the damage was minimal. Then again, concussion grenades were meant to stun not fatally wound, probably in order to make capture easier. There was nothing he could do about the mental damage, though. He also got the distinct impression that Phillip was seeing a lot of things for the first time today, which would only impede his mental recovery.

“Well, it wasn’t just my training,” Omar admitted, though he wasn’t sure how much he was allowed to say about the source of his heightened capabilities.

“Yeah, no kidding. Jeez, let’s go. I can’t take the smell,” said Phillip.

“Good idea. The Prime Grower said there are bands of slavers roaming around in this region looking for us.”

“The what?” Phillip asked as they started jogging away from the ridge.

“That’s what the tall one called itself. The Prime Grower. It must be a leader of some kind.”

“Those things are looking for us? What do they want?” Phillip asked.

“I do not know what they are after. Something about all of this does not seem right,” said Omar.

“Yeah, like how did they know where we were?”

“I imagine they saw us exit from the warp-hole and came to see what the commotion was,” said Omar.

“You think they have something to do with that? Did they warp us here?” Phillip asked.

“I highly doubt it. These slavers do not seem capable of that level of technology. They are marauders if nothing else. Not organized enough to have developed slide technology,” Omar postulated.

“Well someone warped me here. Who else could it have been?” Phillip asked.

“Not enough data. I need more information,” said Omar. He stumbled. He was still wearing the bulky boots that had been a part of his astronaut suit, so he paused to pull them off. “My teachers will not be happy to hear of this suit’s destruction.”

“Sorry,” Phillip apologized.

“Why?”

“Your suit got destroyed because of me,” said Phillip.

“True.”

“Thanks for that, by the way.”

“For what?” Omar asked.

“For saving me.”

“It was a reflex. No thanks needed,” Omar replied.

“A reflex? So you weren’t trying to save me?” Phillip asked. Omar kicked off his other boot and stood back up. He looked annoyed.

“Why does it matter? Just be thankful and don’t worry about it.”

“Don’t worry? How can I not worry? I’m trapped on an alien planet with a bunch of trigger-happy aliens and a guy who doesn’t trust me who could, in the blink of an eye, kill me just because he felt like it! Tell me you wouldn’t be worried right now! You’d freak the hell out!”

“You have no reason to fear me, Phillip Averrez. What I meant before was that I can’t trust you completely, but you and I can still cooperate for our own self-preservation.”

“Yeah. That makes me feel so much better,” Phillip said derisively as he sat down. “What happens the moment you decide I’m getting in your way? Will you kill me and get it over with? Will you leave me behind? How am I supposed to trust you?”

Omar scratched his head. He wondered if it would be easier in the short run to abandon this boy here and be on his way. There was the chance that Phillip might yet prove himself useful. A slim chance, he realized, after seeing Phillip crumple in the face of danger twice now but a chance none the less. Was it worth the risk? Omar’s memory went back to the Core Cadet Field Manual. Safety in numbers. Never leave a man behind. Those were important rules the Viridian Core strove to instill in its cadets. Phillip wasn’t a cadet though. The field manual didn’t say anything about civilians except to keep the useful ones around only if absolutely necessary. He thought Phillip was going to be useful when they first met because Phillip looked like a native, which was always handy for first world exposure. Now though…

“What would you do to get home?” Omar asked.

“I don’t know,” said Phillip.

“Would you be willing to do anything?”

“Of course. Yeah, I’d do anything,” said Phillip.

“Even kill me?” Omar asked.

“What? No way. I wouldn’t do that. That’s wrong,” said Phillip.

“Even if I was the one barring your way?” Omar asked.

“But why would you? You’re not making any sense. What’s with the weird questions?” Phillip asked.

“I have to know. I have to know what you’re made of. What you’re capable of. I have to know what you are,” said Omar.

“You want to know what I am? I’m lost. I’m a million miles from home and I’m lost,” said Phillip, burying his face in his hands. Omar was silent for a moment.

“You are Kamensah,” he said with a look of sudden realization.

“What?” Phillip asked.

“You don’t have a word for it? How do I explain... it means one who becomes lost through no fault of their own. We use the word to describe those who somehow end up lost in another sphere. As you can imagine, it is used very rarely. The word itself, though, is much older. It was once a name for the souls of those who never made it the After. It is said they wander the lands, looking for a way home, though in their incorporeal state they will never reach it.”

“That kinda sucks,” Phillip said.

“It is bad luck to deny a request from Kamensah. I’m not the type to believe in superstition, but I have heard the stories enough to understand their meaning. I will help you get home,” said Omar. He offered the alien rifle to Phillip.

“Really?” Phillip asked, unsure of Omar’s intentions.

“I’m a Viridian Core Cadet. My central focus is to keep the worlds safe from those who would abuse the power to traverse the barriers between them. What kind of Core mate would I be if I didn’t make sure you got home?” Omar asked. Phillip took the rifle from Omar. It felt light in his hands.

“I don’t know what to say. One second you’re saying you’d have no problem blowing up my guts, the next you’re telling me you’ll get me home.”

“You don’t have to say anything. I’m making it my sworn duty to achieve this. You and I are going home,” Omar said with a smile. Phillip couldn’t help but smile back.

“Team?” Phillip asked, holding his hand out. Omar stared at it quizzically. Was this an oath of some kind? Omar held his hand out.

“Team,” he said.

Phillip grabbed Omar’s hand and shook it.

“Okay it’s settled. We’re a team now,” said Phillip.

“Excellent! Let’s keep moving,” said Omar.

“Sounds good to me.”

All of a sudden, things didn’t seem so bleak. Phillip looked over his shoulder to make sure nothing had been following them. When he saw the coast was clear he breathed a sigh of relief.

“Do you know how to operate this weapon type?” Omar asked.

“Sure. It’s just like playing Duck Hunt,” Phillip replied.

“I don’t understand your reference,” Omar said.

“It’s… never mind.”



© 2021 StarNinja


Author's Note

StarNinja
Here's another one. As always, look for spelling, grammar, story holes, inconsitencies, that kind of thing. How does this hold up as a story so far? Be honest and let me know! None of this "It was good" shit. Lay it on me!

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Featured Review

“I am Princess Milica!” she announced. No one seemed to recognize the name.
*Alternative: Everyone stared at her blankly. (this reaction shows us that no one seemed to recognize her name.)

Milica realized she was still in her nightwear, a simple one piece gown that was both beautiful and durable.
*Comment: Unshaken and proud to the very end, even in her nightgown. Love it!

“What, like the meaning of life?” Neg asked.
“Yes, that’s exactly what I meant,” Gairmo said, rolling his eyes.
*Comment: This conversation made me chuckle.

“That’s impossible,” said Gairmo. “How could we all be speaking the same language if we were from different worlds? There are dozens of tongues spoken in the kingdom alone and they differ even among the nearby baronies.”
*Comment: An excellent question that keeps the reader wanting more.

“It’s Sophno. We’re all from Sophno. Don’t try to confuse me with your crazy talk,” said Neg.
*Comment: It really fascinates me how well-rounded and distinct each character in this chapter is, even though we are only just now getting introduced to them... Clodi is a people's person, nice and genuine and gives everyone a chance to speak their minds. She is also tolerant of Milica's insults regarding fashion... Gairmo is trying to remain composed and sounds like a mature teenager compared to Neg, but he is also easily confused and it seems he is not fond of arguments, but will participate if pressured. Neg is a ticking bomb, always on the edge and clearly dislikes social interactions and is very suspicious and uncomfortable with people who voice different opinions than his. Milica, my favorite of course, is strong-willed and proud to the bones. Her arrogance is a mask for the loneliness and bitterness she feels toward her family. And I love her. Please don't let her die. Thank you.

In general, there is not much to tweak or improve here because the story flows through the dialogue of the kidnapped kids... And you've done it so well. The stark difference between Milica's voice/vocabulary and Clodi for example convinces the reader that each come, indeed, from a different world.

See you in the next chapter.

Posted 6 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

StarNinja

6 Months Ago

Don’t let Milica die, you say...



Reviews

“I am Princess Milica!” she announced. No one seemed to recognize the name.
*Alternative: Everyone stared at her blankly. (this reaction shows us that no one seemed to recognize her name.)

Milica realized she was still in her nightwear, a simple one piece gown that was both beautiful and durable.
*Comment: Unshaken and proud to the very end, even in her nightgown. Love it!

“What, like the meaning of life?” Neg asked.
“Yes, that’s exactly what I meant,” Gairmo said, rolling his eyes.
*Comment: This conversation made me chuckle.

“That’s impossible,” said Gairmo. “How could we all be speaking the same language if we were from different worlds? There are dozens of tongues spoken in the kingdom alone and they differ even among the nearby baronies.”
*Comment: An excellent question that keeps the reader wanting more.

“It’s Sophno. We’re all from Sophno. Don’t try to confuse me with your crazy talk,” said Neg.
*Comment: It really fascinates me how well-rounded and distinct each character in this chapter is, even though we are only just now getting introduced to them... Clodi is a people's person, nice and genuine and gives everyone a chance to speak their minds. She is also tolerant of Milica's insults regarding fashion... Gairmo is trying to remain composed and sounds like a mature teenager compared to Neg, but he is also easily confused and it seems he is not fond of arguments, but will participate if pressured. Neg is a ticking bomb, always on the edge and clearly dislikes social interactions and is very suspicious and uncomfortable with people who voice different opinions than his. Milica, my favorite of course, is strong-willed and proud to the bones. Her arrogance is a mask for the loneliness and bitterness she feels toward her family. And I love her. Please don't let her die. Thank you.

In general, there is not much to tweak or improve here because the story flows through the dialogue of the kidnapped kids... And you've done it so well. The stark difference between Milica's voice/vocabulary and Clodi for example convinces the reader that each come, indeed, from a different world.

See you in the next chapter.

Posted 6 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

StarNinja

6 Months Ago

Don’t let Milica die, you say...
Hello, Dan, I had intended to finish reading this earlier, but this week had been a bit chaotic. Plus, I was a bit discouraged to read when I saw neither Phillip nor Omar mentioned in any scene. But I have to be honest, I'm getting more absorbed into the story after each chapter. What in God's name brought together all those young men and women from different realms? Why was Milica's mother sinisterly smiling the day before her abduction? Did she have anything to do with it?

I laughed when the princess described Codi as ill-named. I can really relate to and imagine the frustration of each of the characters as a result of waking up in a time and place you've never been familiar with. This chapter reminds me of old movies about forbidden experimentations on the human body. Were they Guiana pigs dedicated for trying out a powerful biological weapon or were they sacrifices gathered and awaiting to be slaughtered in the name of a deity?

Something, which many writers struggle with, that caught my attention was your ability to mold interesting and unique characters and just put them all in one place to hear them shout and mope about it. Spindle boy has never heard of a 'T.V', Milica is utterly offended by the way alien commoners speak to her, Codi seems like she's reading a mystery novel and she's working on finding hints and clues, and Neg refuses to believe any of this mess is real and is about to lose his mind. Your choice of custom fictional names was a bit odd, but not unreadable or dumb. It is actually very challenging to come up with names other than Jack and George and Ed.

Well-written chapter with bits of humor and insanity here and there, and it has provoked many questions and wondering. Thank you for sharing! Keep it up, I'll be reading you.

-Rain.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

StarNinja

7 Years Ago

Well gee, you're gonna make me blush :)
Thanks for the review, Rain. A pleasure as always to h.. read more
The first line of this chapter is amazing. It flowed, it was simple and it captivated. I felt like I was being swept away into a new world. After this I began to feel less and less connected to what was going on even though you were introducing these great, new characters. I think it is because there is very little description of the surrounding and only minimal description of the people. Show us what we've stepped into and bring this chamber to life. There was plenty of dialogue, which is great, but there's a great place to intertwine more description. I LOVE the ending. Leaves us with a mystery and wanting more.

"It felt like she had been asleep for a long time. She stretched her arms and rubbed her eyes. Then(,) she realized that something was wrong. This wasn’t her bed. This wasn’t her room." - A bit choppy (after such an awsome opening). You may want to try to bring it together a bit more in order to make it flow like the first sentence. Adjectives may do the trick.

"His hair was a light brown and his eyes were shifty" - What does shifty mean?

Posted 9 Years Ago


I really did like it a lot! :) Way to go! :D

~Bookers~ (Lizzard)

Posted 10 Years Ago



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Added on January 25, 2011
Last Updated on May 27, 2021
Tags: Fantasy, fiction, Phillip, planet, dimension, 80's, project, teens


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StarNinja
StarNinja

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