Story Family Lasts Forever [Epilogue Released, Awaiting Illustrations]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by WindshearAvali, Jul 3, 2019.

  1. WindshearAvali

    WindshearAvali Poptop Tamer

    Family Lasts Forever
    An Avali Fan Fiction by WindshearAvali


    This is the first story I have ever created outside of school projects. I apologize for any grammatical or spelling errors that I may have missed, and I am always open to feedback. I have purposely left the identity of the main character as blank as possible. That way, the character can be whatever you picture them to be. This is also why I chose the difficult task of making the story in the 2nd person point of view, as I believe it allows for the reader to be able to connect with the main character easier. Throughout the story I will occasionally use 3rd person, however I only did this when I believed it was necessary to enhance the story.

    My schedule is fairly inconsistent, however I will try my best to adhere to the release dates I have set.

    Content Warning: A vast majority of this story will be PG, however chapter 1 contains some darker themes. Nothing beyond PG-13, however it is something to keep in mind.

    Important Terms (work in progress):
    • Dialogue in italics indicates that it is spoken in English, and cannot be understood by Avali.
    • Pack: Group of Avali who have known each other since birth and often share the same expertise. Consider each other family and live in close proximity to one another.
    • Avalon: Avali home planet. Smaller and much colder than Earth, comparable to an arctic tundra. Atmosphere is primarily composed of methane and ammonia.
    • AEF: Avalon Exploratory Fleet - exploration portion of the overall Avali military force.


    All of the illustrations were drawn by Sushiroll. They can be contacted at the following locations:

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/5ushiroll
    Discord: sushiroll#4692
    Telegram: @SushiRollx






    [​IMG]

    Prologue

    Location: Primary Research Station - Colony Planet #712, 19 light years from Earth

    Date: May 5th, 2019


    You are running along a long, dark hallway. Tears run down your face as you desperately look down each side corridor.

    “Mommy?! Daddy?!”

    You scream their names, only for them to echo down the desolate hallway with no response. The hallway comes to a dead end, and you slouch down into the corner, defeated and sobbing loudly.

    “Kalo?!”

    You hear your name in a familiar voice, and quickly look around the hallway.

    “Kalo?! Wake up! It’s okay!”

    You feel yourself being shaken, and the hallway fades out of view. Moments later you wake up in your bed, and see the concerned face of your mother looking down at you.

    “Honey, it was just a dream. You’re alright. We are here sweetie.”

    Your father is just behind her, and he gives you a warm smile. He is white and navy blue, with yellow bands throughout his body. Your desert beige and black speckled mother picks you up and cradles you in her arms. You wrap your arms around her and sob softly into her chest feathers.

    “I thought I was all alone… both of you were gone…” You say between sobs.

    “We would never leave you sweetie. We will always be here.” Your mother insists reassuringly as she rubs your ears.

    “Do you promise?” You say quietly, your sobs dying down now.

    She nods. You wrap your arms tighter around her and smile a tiny bit. She kisses your crest feathers, and sets you down.

    “You remember what today is, right?” She asks you.

    You shake your head.

    “We are going back home!” She says happily, before noticing your confused look. “Our real home, Avalon! With this station fully autonomous, us engineers are no longer needed here.” Seeing your nods of understanding, she continues. “We are going to get on a big ship with the rest of our pack. We will live there for a few days, and then we will arrive at home!”

    She pauses for a second, waiting for you to process this. Upon seeing no questions, she continues. “Our pack will work on the ship, make sure it stays healthy while we travel. Our specialty is becoming increasingly rare, and they want all the help they can get.”

    “Where will I be?” You ask curiously, your brain having already moved on from the nightmare.

    “You can stay in our room on the ship, or follow us if you’d like.” She pauses and looks at a hologram on the side of the wall. “But that’s for later. Please begin to pack your things. Once you are done we will eat breakfast and leave.”

    You nod, and begin to sift through your various toys and gadgets as your parents leave the room. You pick up a small little glowing ball that you particularly like. After rolling it around for a few seconds, you set it into the small bag along with the rest of your items.

    After packing the last of your things, you pick up the bag and head out of the room. You walk into the kitchen, where your parents are busy making breakfast. You give them a light chirp to get their attention.

    Your father walks over to you while your mom continues cooking.

    “You got done fast! Good job!” He praises you and rubs your crest feathers, setting the bag off to the side and picking you up. He carries you to a table and sets you down in a seat, before sitting down next to you.

    He stares at you silently for a minute, contemplating what to say before speaking again. “I would never let anything bad happen to you. No matter how many nightmares you have, I will always be there when you wake up.” He leans in to give you a hug, which you happily accept. “I promise.”

    The hug is cut short by your mother setting down your plates, and sitting down across from you two. “Eat up, we have to leave soon.” She chirps to you both. You begin to eat your breakfast, which consists of a selection of meat and plants that were gathered by the pack.

    Once you finish, your father takes your plate and gets up along with your mother. He cleans the plate and sets it inside a cabinet. “A pack of scientists will use this facility in the future, so we want to have everything clean for them.” Your father explains.

    You get up out of your chair and wait by the door to your living quarters with your bag. Your parents walk up next to you once they finish the final cleanup items. Your mother picks you up while your father picks up your bag. She carries you down many hallways until you eventually reach the outside. The temperature is -35 degrees Celsius, more than comfortable for an Avali.

    “Wave goodbye to our old home.” Your father says as the three of you board a small ferry ship waiting outside, along with the rest of the pack. You oblige, and give a small wave to the research facility. You are set down into a seat along the wall and strapped in. Your parents then sit down on either side of you and buckle themselves in.

    “You’re going to feel as if you’re suddenly pushed into your seat, Kalo. This is normal.” Your father reassures you, and you give a nod of understanding. Moments later as if right on queue, the ship lifts up and accelerates out of the atmosphere.

    Not a minute later, you feel a small bump as the ship docks with the much larger colony ship in orbit. Your parents stand up, and unbuckle you. You are once again picked up by your mother, and carried through a small passageway and into the ship.

    Your ears perk up with curiosity, having never seen anything like it before. The walls are lined with holograms, and tech that you’ve never even heard of.

    Your parents discuss where the living quarters are located on the ship, and you are soon carried around a corner and into a much smaller hallway. You notice a slight acceleration as the ship slowly departs orbit and sets a direct course for Avalon. Your parents come across a door near the end of the hallway, and open it. You are set down on a bed.

    “We should probably go get started then.” Your mother exclaims with a sigh. “Can I come with you?” You chime in. Your father looks over, who had just set down the bags. “There’s an hour long crew briefing. You wouldn’t want to sit through that, would you?” He says with a slight grin on his face. You shake your head and look around the room.

    “How about you try to take a nap? You probably didn’t sleep very well last night from the looks of it.” Your mother adds. You nod. “If we aren’t here when you wake up, try to go back to sleep. We won’t be gone too long.” Your father reassures you.

    You lay down in your bed, and your father comes over and kisses you on your forehead. “See you soon”.

    With that, you close your eyes, and hear the door close behind your parents as you drift into a light sleep.


    [​IMG]

    Chapter 1: Evacuation

    Location: Interstellar Space - 15 light years from Earth

    Date: May 10th, 2019


    You wake up to the sudden blaring of an alarm. Your ears quickly perk up as you sit up in your bed, your brain desperately trying to piece the situation together. You rapidly scan around the room, looking for any sign of your parents. However it is quickly apparent they are nowhere in sight.

    You slowly get out of your bed in a confused daze. You then notice a strange sensation, and reach up to feel the source of it. Your hand touches your bottom right ear, and you feel something warm. You bring your hand to your face and see it is covered in faint purple blood. You take a couple more steps forward, before your legs give out from under you.

    You fall to the ground with a thud, and are immediately knocked unconscious. Time slowly passes in a blur to you. You wake up long enough to feel the shaking hands of your mother scoop you up and check your vitals.

    “Honey! Honey… look at me, please!”

    You glance up at her. She is crying softly as she gently caresses your ears, giving you a reassuring smile.

    “We have to leave now, alright? Stay with me… stay with me…”

    You glance around more and notice your father is nowhere in sight. The last thing you hear before you go under again is the loud intercom of the ship.

    “Reactor meltdown imminent! Evacuate immediately!”

    An unknown amount of time passes before you once again wake up. You are still in your mother's arms, who is now running. You cling onto her tightly and cry quietly, overwhelmed by the situation. You flatten your ears against your head in an attempt to ignore the loud alarm and the screams. The running continues for several minutes before it begins to slow.

    You look up at your mother, who is crying more now. She stops and looks down at you, giving you one last smile before she collapses to the ground, dumping you out of her arms in the process. You let out a loud cry, keeping your ears flat and huddling yourself into a ball, too weak to move.

    Suddenly you are scooped up again by an unfamiliar uniformed Avali. You almost instinctively grip onto them as they begin to run, resuming what your mother was unable to continue.

    You look around and notice many dead Avalis, all of which are bleeding from their ears. The stranger turns your face away and hides it in his chest. You reach an octagonal room after what feels like an eternity. Each wall contains three hatches. The stranger carries you to one of them, opens it up, and sets you inside a small cushioned spherical room. You glance over at them fearfully, and they give you an all too familiar smile, masking their own fear.

    “It’s going to be alright, kit. May there always be wind under your wings.”

    They reach to one side and pull a seatbelt over you before closing the hatch. The last thing you notice before you go unconscious is the sudden feeling of acceleration, and a cold white gas filling the room.


    [​IMG]

    Chapter 2: Impact

    Location: 200 miles east of Seattle, USA

    Date: June 11th, 2019


    It was quiet.

    Almost too quiet, Josh thinks to himself as he packs up preparing to head home after a weekend at the cabin. Josh is a young adult at the age of 20. He has a light complexion, with fairly short hair. Josh looks down at his watch and sighs to himself, noticing that he is going to get minimal sleep tonight thanks to the 2 hour drive home he has to endure.

    Josh packs the last of his things into the back of his car, and takes one last look around, taking in the beauty of the area and enjoying the simplicity of the world. He pauses and looks up at the stars. Josh smiles to himself, wondering if he is truly alone in the universe. He looks down and shakes his head to clear his thoughts before he gets into the car.

    Josh starts the engine and slowly pulls out of the secluded driveway and onto a small two lane road, surrounded by forest for as far as the eye can see. He hums softly to himself for a few minutes, before reaching over and turning on the radio. He tunes it to a station that plays light instrumental music, as he has never been a big fan of the more complex genres.

    Josh continues to drive and listen to the music for nearly an hour. By this point, he is practically on autopilot, not nearly as observant as he perhaps should be. Something catches his attention out of the corner of his eye, and he quickly snaps back into focus.

    He rubs his eyes to make sure he is not seeing things. When he looks up again, there is still a faint orange streak contrasting against the night sky. Josh has seen many shooting stars, and even small space debris come back down to Earth before. However, this appears to be different. He can’t quite put his finger on it. The speed? The color of the trail? He couldn’t tell, but something in his gut was telling him that this was unique.

    Josh pulls off onto the side of the road, and gets out of his car. He squints and notices the orange trail is getting bigger, and closer. After 30 seconds or so, the entire forest surrounding him has noticeably increased in brightness as the orange streak reflects off of the ground below. The brightness continues to intensify until the streak blazes overhead, forcing him to temporarily look down to avoid the bright light. He looks back up and watches as the streak disappears over the treetops. Several long seconds later a loud bang can be heard in the distance, almost like a crack of thunder as it echoes throughout the forest.

    Josh is frozen in surprise for several seconds, before springing into action. He jumps back into his car and does a u-turn, speeding in the direction of the sound. Several miles later he turns onto a side road, which he believes is a more direct path. 10 minutes to by and the road turns a corner, only to stop in a dead end.

    Josh lets out a deep sigh, and gets out of his car. He is in the middle of nowhere, and is completely guessing where the sound came from. After thinking for a moment, He decides to continue on, not willing to miss this type of opportunity. Whatever this ‘opportunity’ was. He goes to the back of his car, opens up the trunk, and takes out a small hiking backpack. Josh opens it up and takes out a high intensity flashlight, swinging the rest of the backpack around his shoulders.

    Josh hikes through the dense forest in the direction he believes is correct for nearly half an hour. His pants are torn, he has several bug bites, and his hope is running out. Just as he is about to turn around, he notices several broken branches high up in the treetops. Josh freezes and examines them, before following the path the broken branches have created.

    The broken branches continue to get lower and lower in the trees, with some trees beginning to be completely knocked over or destroyed. Whatever was in front of the orange streak must have been very heavy, and going very fast. It is evident that the object was traveling at a shallow angle, as there is a shallow groove in the ground. This groove gets deeper, and wider as Josh continues to follow the path of destruction.

    The groove eventually leads him to a small clearing. Josh’s jaw drops in awe as he examines the scene. Laying in the middle of the clearing is a large, metallic ball. He breaks into a run and approaches the object. He is beyond stunned as he examines its exterior. By his estimate, it is made out of an unfamiliar metal, and is no more than 6 feet in diameter.

    Josh runs his hand along the exterior, looking for some way to open it. Minutes later his hand feels a small groove in the object, nearly flush with its surface. He pauses for a second, weary of what he will find inside. His heart is pumping as he takes a deep breath, and prys open the hatch.


    [​IMG]

    Chapter 3: Adrift

    Location: Approaching the Kuiper Belt

    Date: June 9th, 2019


    Darkness. Silence.

    You faze in and out of consciousness, and wake up every so often just to see nothing. No light, and no sound. The only thing that confirms your existence is the feeling of the straps holding you down in the cushioned room.

    “Mommy?! Daddy?!”

    You call out to them, and receive no response. You softly cry and close your eyes, expecting to open them and see your parents looking down at you. Instead when you open them again, you are still in the nightmare. A nightmare which as more and more time passes, is seeming less like a dream.

    You cry out for your parents one more time, before slipping under once again. This cycle continues countless times, and your thoughts begin to wander.

    “Is this what death feels like? Am I dead? If so, where are my parents? Why aren’t they here?! They promised me!”

    You break down crying again, harder than all the previous times as feelings of desperation, and pure hopelessness overwhelm you. You want nothing more than to wake up, cradled in your mother’s arms as she reassures you that it’s all going to be alright. You eventually cry yourself back into the realm of the unconscious.

    You wake up again days later, and something feels different. The room you are in is shaking. Your ears perk up, as maybe you are finally waking up. That thought is quickly silenced however as you feel yourself being lifted up due to acceleration, only to be held in place by your straps. The room begins to feel extremely warm, and you feel your new temperature regulator implant kick in for the first time. The shaking gets more and more violent, until suddenly-

    You feel the room slam into something with extreme force, immediately knocking you unconscious as it skids to a stop in a clearing.


    [​IMG]

    Chapter 4: Revival

    Location: 150 miles east of Seattle, USA

    Date: June 12th, 2019


    When you open your eyes again, you breathe a sigh of relief.

    “It was all a dream…” You think to yourself, as your father picks you up out of your bed back at the research station.

    He strokes your ears, and smiles down to you as he begins to walk out of the room. “I told you I would be here when you wake up.”

    You smile back, but begin to get a strange feeling. “The room usually isn’t this hot… and where’s mother?”

    You try to ask your father, but no words form. Now that you think about it, you don’t seem to be able to even breathe. Your father looks down at you and begins running.

    He then speaks to you in a strange language that you cannot understand.

    “Wake up! Wake up! Can you even understand me?”


    Then reality hits.

    You are being carried through a strange environment, foliage flying past either side of you, confirming that whoever is carrying you is running. You try to take in another gasp of air, but rather than methane, your lungs are filled with oxygen. Suddenly you feel a warm hand turn your head upwards. You see a strange creature looking down at you. The only feathers they have are small crest feathers, they have unusually small eyes, and their skin is a pale color. They are also at least 3 times your size. Your first instinct is to run away from them, but they have a solid grasp around you.

    “Look at me! Look at me! Breathe! Please!”

    You take another breath. This time, your atmosphere regulating implant comes to life, allowing whatever methane is in the atmosphere to be sufficiently extracted. Your lungs fill with breathable air now, and you take several large breaths until you stabilize.

    “Oh, thank god! Stay calm. We are almost there.”

    You then turn your attention back to the strange creature who is occasionally glancing down at you as they run. They notice the visible terror and confusion in your eyes, and give a half hearted smile before looking back up and picking up the pace.

    Unsure of what else to do, you grip onto them with your hands, afraid they might drop you. You feel them hold you against them a little tighter as they continue to run. After several minutes you are finally brought into an open space, and the creature slows down to a walk. You look around nervously as you are brought to a strange vehicle. The creature opens the front passenger door, and sets you down on the leather seat.

    They keep the door open, and get down on their knees outside of the car so they are eye level with you. You look at them fearfully and take a step away from them as you begin to breathe faster. Noticing your fear, they silently take a step back and crouch back down to give you some space. You begin to realize that they do not mean to harm you, and slowly sit down on the seat lengthwise, so you are still facing them.

    They slowly get up and close the door before walking around to the other side of the car, and getting into the driver's seat. You quickly swivel around and back yourself against the passenger side door, so you are sitting as far away from the creature as you possibly can in the seat.

    “I need you to face forward so I can put the seatbelt around you now, alright?”

    The creature tries to communicate with you again, but you still cannot understand their language. They reach towards you, and you let out a quiet frightened chirp. They pause and smile a little bit.

    “Aw, so you chirp… that’s kind of cute…”

    They then make a turning motion with their hand, attempting to get their message across non verbally. You look at their hand in confusion for a moment, before you realize what they want you to do. You turn 90 degrees to the right so you are facing forwards.

    “That’s it! Good job!”

    You look at them, and they appear to be praising you. The creature then reaches over you and pulls a seatbelt over your lap before snapping it into place. You tug at the seatbelt a little to test it, and then silently look forward. The temperature inside the vehicle is very warm for Avali standards, however your temperature implant prevents you from overheating.

    “Don’t move too much please. I don’t want you to slip out of the seatbelt.”

    The vehicle begins to move, and your thoughts are fixated on the creature next to you for quite some time. However your thoughts inevitably are drawn back to the full scope of the situation. You are on a strange new world, with neither of your parents, nor any other Avali in sight. You have no idea where you are going, or what is going to happen to you. With this realization combined with the fact that you are mentally exhausted, you slouch down in your seat and begin to cry silently to yourself.

    The creature looks over and notices your crying. You feel the vehicle stop moving, and look up to see them undoing your seatbelt. They slowly bring their hands toward you, looking for any negative reaction. When you do not give one, they slip their hands under your wings and gently pick you up.

    They hold you in front of their face as an ammonia filled tear rolls down your cheek. It falls down onto their lap, and quickly evaporates. They don’t seem to notice, and bring you up to their shoulder, letting you rest your head against it. You continue to softly cry into their shoulder now, and they reassuringly rub your back.

    “It’s okay uh, little alien… don’t cry now…”

    This continues for quite some time, until you eventually cry yourself to sleep.


    [​IMG]

    Chapter 5: An Unexpected Friend

    Location: 100 miles east of Seattle, USA

    Date: June 13th, 2019


    You wake up an hour later and yawn silently, still hugging against the creatures shoulder. You look around just in time to see the vehicle pull into a driveway, just outside of a small house. The creature turns the car off, and notices you are awake. They gently rub your back and slowly get out of the car, still carrying you.

    “It’s okay… go back to sleep. I will still be here when you wake up.”

    You hear them speak, and although you cannot understand them, it seems to calm you slightly. You yawn again and rest your head back down on their shoulder, dozing back to sleep as they walk inside.

    You open your eyes, and you are once again back at the research station. You are sitting on a couch inside a large interior room, with your parents next to you. A majority of the other pack members are also there. The room has several displays that some pack members are situated around. The rest are all sitting down around you, talking with your parents.

    One of the pack members approaches you with a small cube that resembles a Rubix Cube. She leans down to get to your level, and hands you the cube, curious to see what you will do with it. She then backs away and watches, along with all the other pack members around you.

    You study the cube and spin it around aimlessly for a few moments, before realizing how it works. You then begin to match up the colors one by one, until eventually the cube is solved. The pack members around you clap and appear very proud of you for solving it.

    You wake up on a couch, with the morning sun shining through a nearby window. You yawn silently and look around. The creature is standing several feet away, typing something on their phone. You give a light chirp to them to get their attention, and they quickly turn around towards you.

    “Oh good, you’re awake!”

    They walk over and sit down in front of you on the floor next to the couch. They look at you for a moment, thinking about how to proceed. They point to themselves, and speak.

    “I am Josh.”

    They point to themselves again.

    “Josh.”

    They repeat this multiple times, trying to get their name across. Eventually, you catch on and realize his name is Josh, understanding how it sounds but being unable to pronounce it. You give another quiet chirp to make it clear you understand.

    “Now, what is your name?”

    Josh stares at you for a moment.

    “I think I’m going to call you Scout.”

    You sit quietly on the couch and look at Josh.

    “Now… what do I do with you? I have no idea where your home is, and even less of an idea as to how I’d get you there. I can’t give you to the government, because they always do bad things to aliens in alien movies.”

    Josh gets up, and paces back and forth for a few minutes, trying to figure out what to do. He looks over at you, and walks back to the couch.

    “I’m going to do more research. In the meantime, I have to at least try to take care of you.”

    Josh reaches over to you and gently picks you up. He carries you to the kitchen and sets you down on a wooden table. He then prepares a cup of water and a bowl of dry cereal, and sets them down on the table in front of you.

    “I’m not even sure if you drink water, but it’s worth a shot.”

    You pick up the cup of water tentatively, and test the substance with one of your fingers. You chirp quietly and quickly retract your finger before setting the cup down.

    “Well… I guess that answers that question. That is going to make this ten times more difficult…”

    You then slowly take a single piece of cereal, a plain Cheerio, and bring it to your mouth. You open your mouth and taste the Cheerio, before chewing and swallowing it. Josh breathes a sigh of relief.

    “At least I know what I can feed you. Maybe anything that doesn’t contain water is okay. I’m going to let you eat while I do some more research.”

    You slowly continue to eat the cereal one piece at a time, which keeps you occupied while Josh starts typing on his phone. After a few minutes he dials a number and begins talking with someone.

    “Hello, is this the SETI Institute? Okay. This is Josh Williams, and I think you’re going to want to hear this. I am currently in Washington, outside of Seattle. Last night on my way back from my cabin I saw a large line of fire streak through the atmosphere. I thought it was some kind of a meteor or something. No, no, it wasn’t a meteor. I found the impact site and there was this metallic orb in the center of it. Yeah, it was about 150 miles east of Seattle. Yes, this is weird to say, but there was an alien inside. Yeah. No, it isn’t aggressive at all. It was afraid of me, and it’s still kind of timid. It acts almost like a child. Describe its appearance? Okay. It is about 1 and a half feet tall. It has four ears, wings, and a long tail. Reminds me kind of like a bird, it even chirps. It also smells kind of like some strong chemical, like cleaning fluid or something. I just tried to give it water, but it rejected it. Right now it’s on the table eating Cheerios. Cheerios. Yes, it’s eating Cheerios. Is it intelligent? I’m guessing so. It can understand non verbal language. You want me to come there with it? The Carl Sagan Center? Where is that exactly? And you said that’s just west of San Jose? Okay. I’ll get there as soon as I can. Who do I ask for when I get there? Doctor Smith? Okay. Will do. Thank you. Bye.”

    Josh hangs up the phone, and looks over to you.

    “I hope you like road trips, Scout.”


    [​IMG]

    Chapter 6: The Journey

    Location: 100 miles east of Seattle, USA

    Date: July 13th, 2019


    Josh walks over to you and gently lifts you up, carrying you into his room. He sets you down on his bed and quickly begins to pack his things into a small travel backpack. A few minutes later he zips up the backpack and picks you up again, wasting no time as he heads out of the house.

    Josh opens the passenger side door of his car, and sets you down inside. He puts the backpack on one of the back seats, and pauses for a second before running inside the house again. He returns 30 seconds later with a blanket, and a box of Cheerios. He opens the passenger side door and lifts you up, setting you back down once he puts the blanket on the seat. He sets the Cheerios box on the floor in front of your seat, and gets into the driver's seat.

    Josh takes out his phone and puts the address that was given to him into google maps.

    “We are going to be driving for 13 hours, so try to make yourself comfortable. I’m not going to bother getting you in the seatbelt. You’re too small for it anyways.”

    You look over at him and chirp. He starts the car and begins to drive, merging onto the highway a few minutes later. Josh drives at exactly the speed limit, knowing being pulled over would be less than ideal with an alien next to him. After sitting silently for a bit, you stand up and look out the window. Josh turns to you and notices.

    “Go ahead, but be careful please. The windows are tinted anyways.”

    You look out the window for a solid half hour, watching as all the other cars go by. You don’t really understand this new world, but it intrigues you nonetheless. Eventually you slouch back down in your seat, unsure of what else to do.

    “Do you like music?”

    You turn to look at Josh. He reaches over to the car’s music controls, and presses play. Your ears perk up as you hear the instrumental music. You smile a little bit and lay down on the blanket.

    “I’ll take that as a yes!”

    You contentedly listen to the music for an hour, before you begin to get hungry. You reach down to the box of Cheerios, and lift it up onto the seat. Josh glances over and smiles. He silently watches you, curious to see if you can open it by yourself. You examine the box for a moment, trying to figure out how to open it. You then pry open the top of the box, and begin to silently eat the Cheerios.

    “Well I guess that answers the question as to whether you’re intelligent or not!”

    Josh looks ahead and quickly goes pale as he notices a toll station up ahead. You notice Josh’s expression and quickly look around. He quickly puts the Cheerio box on the floor, before picking you up and doing the same to you. He then reaches for the blanket and throws it on top of you. You let out a surprised chirp, before realizing he is trying to hide you. You lay down flat against the floor and don’t make a sound.

    When it’s his turn, Josh rolls down the window and silently hands the booth operator the fee. He then rolls up the window and drives off as quickly as possible. Once Josh feels it’s safe to, he puts you and the blanket back onto the passenger seat and hands you the box of Cheerios.

    “Sorry about that… I completely forgot about tolls.”

    You silently resume eating your Cheerios, and Josh turns the music back up. Once you finish eating, you try your best to close the box and set it down on the floor. You have been trying your best to ignore the feeling of dehydration, however it is starting to affect you at this point. You can only hope that wherever you’re going has ammonia. After listening to the music for a while longer, you let out a quiet yawn.

    “You can go ahead and sleep, there shouldn't be any more tolls. Hopefully when you wake up we will be there.”

    You lay down and get comfortable on the blanket, before slowly closing your eyes and drifting to sleep.


    [​IMG]

    Chapter 7: SETI

    Location: 10 miles west of San Jose, USA

    Date: June 14th, 2019


    You wake up to the feeling of you being lightly tapped on the shoulder.

    “Hey, wake up Scout… we are here.”

    You look around the dimly lit car, and see Josh staring down at you. It is currently the middle of the night, and the car is parked in a large parking lot.

    Josh smiles when he sees you stare up at him and slowly picks you up. He brings you to his shoulder, which you tiredly hold onto. He then takes his backpack out of the back seat and slings it around his other shoulder, leaving the blanket and cereal box in the car as he begins to walk towards the large building complex.

    Josh walks into the reception area for what he believes is the main building. The room is fairly standard, with a tile floor and white walls. Off to the side is a small seating area. Josh gently strokes your back to keep you from feeling nervous as he approaches the desk. The receptionist stares at you for a moment, unable to speak. Josh breaks the silence.

    “Hey, uh, I gave you guys a call yesterday about this little one. I was told to ask for Doctor Smith?”

    The receptionist regains her ability to speak.

    “Oh… hello! I’ll give him a call.”

    She picks up the phone on her desk and dials a number. Meanwhile you continue to silently hold onto Josh’s shoulder, facing back towards the entrance.

    “Hello Doctor Smith, this is Karen. There is a young gentlemen and… I hesitate to say an alien… at my desk. They said they were instructed over the phone to ask for you? Okay. Thanks.”

    She then hangs up the phone and turns to Josh. “He will be here in a few minutes. You can take a seat while you wait.”

    Josh thanks her and walks over to the seating area. The wall behind the seats is filled with pictures of various telescopes and distant planets. Josh sets you down on a seat and sits down next to you. You look over at the receptionist, who appears to be occasionally glancing over at you. They quickly turn away when you make eye contact.

    You sit in silence for several minutes. Eventually someone in business casual clothing with a white lab coat approaches both of you. He extends a hand to Josh.

    “Hi. I’m Doctor Smith, director of Astrobiology at SETI.”

    Josh shakes the doctor’s hand and introduces himself. The doctor then turns his attention to you. You back up in your seat a little bit as he leans down to look at you.

    “Did you happen to give them a name, by chance?” The doctor asks Josh.

    “Yes. I’ve been calling them Scout. Seemed like it was a good fit.”

    The doctor nods, and smiles at you. “Scout seems like a good name. Let’s go into our lab, and talk more there.”

    Josh nods, and gently picks you up. The doctor seems surprised at just how docile you are.

    “Scout doesn’t mind when you pick them up?”

    Josh shakes his head. “No, they never have. They will actually hold onto me sometimes.”

    Doctor Smith nods again, and begins to lead both of you down a long hallway. Eventually he reaches a set of large doors, which he opens and motions you two inside. You look around the new room. It is painted almost exclusively white, with several cabinets, tables, and scientific machinery scattered around. Doctor Smith puts his hand on a table and turns to Josh.

    “Can you set Scout down on this table for me? I’m going to quickly examine them. Nothing complex, just a typical checkup, and maybe getting some blood. It will definitely help us determine what they drink, since you mentioned they didn’t drink water.”

    Josh hesitates for a moment. “Yeah… can you please be careful with them?”

    The doctor nods reassuringly to Josh as you are set on the table. Josh pulls a chair up next to the table, ready to calm you if needed. The doctor gets closer to you, however you do not have the energy or motivation to back away from them. You slowly sit down, and they begin to carefully examine your ears. They notice the dried purple blood on one of your ears, and look over at Josh.

    “How long has this been here for?”

    Josh looks up with a puzzled expression. “How long has what been there for?”

    “There’s a dried purple substance in one of their ears. I think it may be their blood.”

    Josh gets up from his seat, and goes to the other side of the table next to the doctor. He looks at your ear and appears concerned.

    “I didn’t notice that before. Do you think they’re okay?”

    The doctor shrugs. “It could be anything. I’ll move on for now.”

    Josh nods, and makes his way back to his seat. The doctor looks into each of your ears with an otoscope and writes a couple things down on a clipboard. They then move down to your eyes and shine a bright light into them, which causes you to squint. They write more things down, before pausing for a moment to think.

    “You said on the phone that they understand non verbal language?”

    Josh nods. The doctor then opens their mouth and motions for you to do the same. You hesitantly open your mouth and look at them as they shine a light inside. They raise their eyebrows and write something down before turning to Josh.

    “I think it’s safe to say they usually eat meat based off of these teeth, but if they’re accepting Cheerios that works too I guess.”

    Doctor Smith then checks all of your vitals, taking note of the low heartbeat and high blood pressure compared to human standards. The doctor puts away the rest of the equipment, and pulls a small blood sample kit from under the table.

    “Josh, can you please be ready to hold them in case they don’t appreciate my blood sample? After seeing those teeth, I’d prefer not to anger them.”

    Josh makes his way next to you and gives you a quick smile. Doctor Smith takes out a small needle, to which you chirp quietly in protest. The doctor smiles upon hearing the chirp, and gently pulls back one of your arm feathers. You flinch when he sticks the needle in, but otherwise stay silent. Once a small cup fills with your purple blood he takes the needle out and puts the feather back into place.

    “See? That wasn’t too bad.” Josh says as he rubs your back.

    Doctor Smith takes the cup over to a machine, before walking back to the table.

    “I’m going to run some tests on this for the next couple hours. If you’d like you and Scout can sleep in my office. When you wake up I will most likely know what they drink. If the blood reveals anything else that’s noteworthy I will fill you in on that in the morning as well.”

    “Okay, thank you doctor. I’m not sure how much longer Scout can go without their equivalent to water so I really appreciate the help. Your office sounds like a great place for us to spend the night.”

    Doctor Smith nods, and Josh carefully picks you up. The doctor leads Josh out of the lab and down several hallways, until he eventually reaches his office. He opens up the door and leads you both inside.

    “It’s not much, but you both at least get your own couch to sleep on. I will be in the lab, so if you need me you can make your way back there. Now get some rest, we have a lot of ground to cover tomorrow.”

    Josh thanks the doctor, who then leaves the room. Josh lays you down on one of the couches before he turns off the light and lays down on the other one. You close your eyes, and within minutes you are sound asleep.


    [​IMG]

    Chapter 8: The Results

    Location: 10 miles west of San Jose, USA

    Date: June 14th, 2019


    You open your eyes, and you are sitting at a table. Your parents are sitting across from you. Your father looks at you and speaks.

    “Our species has accomplished many unbelievable things. At one point, we were a simple nomadic people, roaming the great expanse of our planet. However eventually we decided we wanted to be something more than that. We created technology, simple at first, however it quickly advanced. Now we have spacecraft, augmentations, the nexus, and a vast array of other technology. For instance, thanks to augmentations you are now able to walk onto an alien world without dying as long as it meets certain criteria. You are able to fight off disease on your own that would have previously killed you.”

    Your mother chimes in.

    “And maybe best of all, we are no longer bound to one planet. We are an interplanetary civilization, spanning across hundreds and thousands of light years. That’s partly why we are on this planet. To help pave the way for future settlers.”

    Your mom is suddenly cut off by an abrupt knock. The entire scene fades away and is replaced with a small room. You lean up, and see Josh getting up off of his couch and walking towards the office door. He opens the door, and sees Doctor Smith on the other side. Doctor Smith appears exhausted, and begins to talk to Josh.

    “I have figured out what Scout’s equivalent to water is, along with a lot more. I have also brought a few of my top researchers and scientists together. They are all waiting in a conference room. I will tell you everything when we get there.”

    Josh nods, and quickly walks to your couch and picks you up, allowing you to hold onto his shoulder as usual. The doctor begins to walk down the hallway and Josh follows. After walking for a few minutes Doctor Smith stops outside of a door. He opens the door and beckons you two inside before following behind you.

    The room has dark wooden walls, with a large black table in the center of it. There are five other people sitting on one side of the table, who all look at you. Josh sets you down on one of the seats across from the people, and sits down next to you. Doctor Smith sits down at the end of the table, and pulls a laptop out from his bag.

    “Now that everyone is here, we should all introduce ourselves. You have all met me before. I am Doctor Smith, director of Astrobiology at SETI.”

    The other five people introduce themselves from left to right across the table.

    “Doctor Anderson, assistant director of Astrobiology.”

    “Doctor Evans, Biologist.”

    “Doctor Walkers, Astrophysicist.”

    “Doctor Davis, Chemist.”

    “Doctor Jones, Biomedical Engineer.”


    They all then turn to Josh.

    “Uh, Josh Williams, College Student.” He then turns to you. “And I believe you all know this is Scout.”

    The doctor then looks down the table at everyone.

    “I will start this off with probably the most crucial thing. Scout’s equivalent to water is Ammonia, which would explain why they smell like cleaning fluid. I have brought some pure Ammonia from one of our labs. I’m guessing Scout is very thirsty, so I’ll give this to them now.”

    The doctor picks up a small container of Ammonia from the floor and slides it to Josh. You look at it and widen your eyes, very happy that you are finally able to drink something. Josh unscrews the cap and hands you the container, which you quickly begin to drink from once you confirm it is Ammonia. You drink over half the container before setting it back down on the table in front of you, saving the rest for later. Doctor Smith then continues.

    “This Ammonia biology along with several other interesting things I found in their blood is why these five people are here. Ammonia has a very low boiling point. The moment Scout stepped into our atmosphere, they should’ve died. However, they obviously did not. I was initially very confused by this, but after examining their blood a bit more, I quickly discovered why. I will let Doctor Jones describe what was discovered.”

    Doctor Jones nods to Doctor Smith, and turns to Josh.

    “Doctor Smith found a high density of nanotechnology inside their blood. After further observation I also confirmed this. Somehow this species has figured out how to safely fuse biomedical nanotechnology into their bloodstream. Although we do not know how, we can guess at its purpose. We believe that this technology acts as a form of advanced life support system, regulating not only the temperature of their blood, but also what they breathe. With this discovery we think it is safe to say that this species is hundreds, if not thousands of years more advanced than us.”

    “Thank you, Doctor Jones.” Doctor Smith says in reply. “I then discovered what I believe to be the reason for the dried blood in their ear. Scout appears to have absorbed a large amount of radiation in a very short time. We believe that they must have been on some form of spacecraft that had a nuclear incident of some kind. The pod you found them in is possibly some form of escape pod. This further confirms that the species is advanced. Normally the dose of radiation they were probably exposed to would have killed them, however we’ve concluded that the nanotechnology in their blood must have played a part in their recovery.”

    You reach for the container of Ammonia and begin to drink more while Doctor Evans begins to speak.

    “I analyzed a small sample of the DNA from their blood. The structure of it is remarkably similar to that of humans, however it also displays features that one would find in birds and certain types of dinosaurs. After looking at their DNA I can also confirm that Scout is far from fully grown. From my estimates, they are comparable to that of a human seven year old in terms of development.”

    Doctor Smith speaks once again. “Thank you, Doctor Evans. With the blood results out of the way, we can begin discussing how we plan to possibly make contact with the rest of this species.”


    [​IMG]

    Chapter 9: The Message

    Location: 10 miles west of San Jose, USA

    Date: June 14th, 2019


    Doctor Smith looks over at the other doctors.

    “You are all dismissed, except for Doctor Walkers.”

    The other doctors silently get out of their seats and leave the room. Meanwhile Josh looks down at you as you continue to occasionally sip the ammonia. You look over at him and chirp quietly, and he smiles back.

    Doctor Smith pulls out some papers and sets them down in front of himself.

    “Alright. Let’s get started then. Doctor Walkers, would you like to fill them in?”

    Doctor Walkers nods.

    “We have bounced around a few ideas as to how we should continue with Scout. The best case scenario would be that we somehow get in contact with the rest of their species, and they are able to return home. I won’t be the first to admit that this idea may not work. If it does not work, we will do more tests on them to determine if long term survival on this planet is even possible for Scout. If it is, then we will proceed from there. But that’s for later. Right now we have a basic plan to contact their species, and that’s what we will proceed with at the moment. Josh, what direction were you driving down the road when you saw the object?”

    Josh pauses and thinks for a moment.

    “Uh, I was driving west.”

    “Okay. And do you remember if the object came from the left, right, or directly in front of you?”

    “It came from about my 11 o’clock. Mostly in front of me, but a little to the left.”

    “Okay, thank you. Here’s the current plan. We have a large telescope array north of here that we use to listen for signals from deep space. This array also has the capability to send signals, which is exactly what we plan to do. Now that we know the direction the pod came from, we can now calculate from which point it entered the atmosphere, and therefore the basic direction to send the signal. Just to be safe, and to increase the chances of a reception, we will send out a total of twenty to thirty signals across that whole sector of space.”


    As they are speaking, you begin to get bored, and look around the room. You notice something under the table, and jump down from your chair. Doctor Smith notices.

    “Where is Scout going?”

    Doctor Walkers pauses before looking under the table.

    “I think I know where they’re going. They must be hungry.”

    You emerge from under the table with a pack of beef jerky, which was next to Doctor Smith’s chair.

    Doctor Smith chuckles.

    “Oh, I forgot I brought those! We figured that because of their teeth, Scout probably eats meat. We couldn’t give them meat with water for obvious reasons, so this was the second best thing.”

    Josh looks a little hesitant.

    “Are you sure they can eat this?”

    “Well, it is certainly more nutritious than Cheerios. I don’t see why not.”


    Josh nods before picking you up and setting you on his lap. He opens the pack and pours the beef jerky out onto the table in front of you. You begin to silently eat the beef jerky without any complaints.

    Doctor Walkers resumes.

    “Where were we? Oh, right, the signals. We will send out twenty to thirty signals just to increase the chances of reception. The chance that one could miss is fairly likely. The biggest problem with this plan is that this species may have communication technology so much more advanced than us that our unadvanced signals may go completely unnoticed. Even if they do receive the signal, they may think nothing of it, or not understand its significance. So as you can see, a lot can go wrong with this idea. Do you agree to attempt it, Josh?”

    “I agree.”

    “Okay. I will get the signals sent as soon as possible, most likely within the next hour.”


    Doctor Walkers puts his things away and leaves the room. Doctor Smith sits up in his chair and clears his throat.

    “As Doctor Walkers said, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong, and therefore we will begin brainstorming ideas for plan B behind the scenes. We have no idea how long it may take for the message to be received, and in the best case scenario, for a rescue party to be sent, so we have arranged a place for you two to stay on premises for the time being-”

    Josh interrupts Doctor Smith.

    “So what if they don’t arrive? Are you just going to make Scout live in isolation for the rest of their life? The public would freak out if they heard about Scout!”

    “That discussion will come later on, if plan A does not work. But it would certainly be a difficult path. Now would you please follow me?”

    Doctor Smith gets up out of his seat. You hold onto the last bit of bit of beef jerky as Josh picks you up and holds you against his shoulder. He begins to follow Doctor Smith down a hallway, and up a set of stairs. After another minute of walking Doctor Smith enters a hallway that has several doors on either side.

    “This is where our residences are. We have these here in case some scientists travel from out of state for a conference here, and need to stay overnight. But we will use one of them to house you two, I think you will find it adequate.”

    Doctor Smith opens one of the doors, and leads Josh into what looks like a small apartment, complete with a small kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, a small couch, and a TV. Doctor Smith also hands Josh a pager.

    “I’d prefer if you didn’t wander around the complex with Scout, since as you said, Scout would be quite the surprise for most people. I won’t stop you, but it would save me a lot of non-disclosure agreements. If you want to travel somewhere alone, one of us would be happy to take care of Scout. If you need me you can use this pager, or just call the front desk as you did a few days ago and ask for me. There is already ammonia, beef jerky, and some cereal in the kitchen, as well as plenty of food for you. I will come get you if anything comes up, but until then please make yourself at home, as I have no idea how long you will be here.”

    Josh sets you down on the couch and looks around the apartment.

    “Thank you very much Doctor. This will definitely take some time to get used to.”

    Doctor Smith then nods, and leaves the apartment.


    [​IMG]

    Chapter 10: Salvation

    Location: Interstellar Space - 15 light years from Earth

    Date: May 10th, 2019


    Rano looks around the large reactor room of the colony ship. His wife, Naali, was only a few feet away at her control console. Rano looks at his display and takes note of the time - 18:55 Avalon time. He turns to Naali and pokes her arm to get her attention.

    “Hm?”

    “Our shift is almost up, so the next group should be here soon. Finish up whatever work you’re doing.”

    “Alright. Kalo will probably be awake soon anyways.”

    Rano finishes up his own work, then gets up out of his seat when the next group of engineers arrive. He begins to brief the new engineer when suddenly a warning goes off on a nearby console. Rano and Naali quickly rush over to it, with the other engineers following suit. Rano sits down at the console and begins to assess the situation. After a few moments his face goes pale.

    “No no no… the reactor coolant is empty! There must have been a leak that went unnoticed!”

    Naali’s face becomes pale as well, and she crouches down to look at the console.

    “Then there’s no saving the reactor! Try shutting it down before it begins to melt!”

    Rano frantically types on the console to initiate the shutdown procedure. He confirms the shutdown and leans back to watch the screen. Initially, the shutdown appears to be working, however suddenly the reactor temperature spikes to critical levels. Rano gets out of his chair quickly and pushes an alarm button.

    “The reactor is beginning to meltdown. Naali, go get Kalo and meet me at evacuation room 4. I’m going to stay here a little longer and try to limit the meltdown. If I'm not there in 5 minutes go on without me. I will find another evacuation pod.”

    Naali nods and wraps her arms around Rano.

    “I’ll see you soon.”

    She releases the hug and runs out of the room. Rano sits back down and begins some final last ditch effort procedures in an attempt to slow the meltdown and save the ship some vital time to evacuate.

    After a few minutes he gets out of his chair and begins to run towards the evacuation room. On his way there, he checks their stateroom to see if Naali got Kalo. After confirming she had, Rano continues along the route to the evacuation room. He starts to see other Avali either unconscious, or already dead on the floor and picks up his pace.

    He continues running down the hallway until something causes him to stop dead in his tracks. His face gets even paler as he looks down and sees Naali unconscious on the floor, with no Kalo in sight. Rano frantically looks around for their child.

    “Kalo?! Kalo?!”

    He gets no response. With both his and his wife’s lives in immediate danger, he is forced to make a difficult decision. Rano picks up Naali, and once again begins to run to the evacuation room. Once he reaches the room, he picks one of the pods and quickly sets Naali inside before climbing in next to her. Rano closes the hatch, and feels the acceleration of the pod moments before he falls unconscious.

    The following events pass by in a blur. Rano feels a ship dock with the pod, and himself being lifted out of it and onto a rescue ship. After an unknown amount of time, he opens his eyes and notices that he is now in a bed. He glances to his left and sees Naali in a bed next to him before drifting back to sleep.

    Later that day, Rano wakes up and leans up in the bed. He looks around the room, and notices that Naali is no longer in the bed next to him. He gets up from the bed and slowly walks to the window. Rano immediately recognizes that he’s back on Avalon, thanks to the tall buildings and vibrant atmosphere. He turns around and sees one of his pack mates in the doorway.

    “Oh good, you’re awake.”

    “Hey. Uh… what happened?”

    “Your pod was rescued by an AEF ship, and you and Naali were brought back here along with everyone else who was rescued. Before you ask, Naali woke up a little bit ago, she is fine. Everyone was released from the hospital yesterday, and you two were brought here with us since they determined you guys were okay, just recovering. The AEF said its best for us to stay in the city for now, since they might need our help with the investigation.”

    Rano breathes a sigh of relief, and then remembers their child.

    “Where is Kalo?”

    The Avali hesitates for a moment, contemplating how to tell the news.

    “There is um… one escape pod that’s unaccounted for . The AEF couldn’t find Kalo anywhere on the ship, so it is assumed they were in that pod…”

    “And do they know where this pod is!?”

    “No… they don’t. They are currently looking for it, but I was told that their best bet is some kind of distress signal. They will get in contact with you the moment there are any breakthroughs.”

    Rano holds back tears and tries to keep a straight face.

    “Does Naali know yet?”

    The Avali nods.

    “Yes, she does. She didn’t take it very well. Maybe you could console her? She’s in the other room.”

    Rano nods, and follows his pack mate to another room. The room is much larger, and resembles a living room. Naali is in the corner of the room, looking out the window. Rano walks up to her and gently hugs her from behind.

    “Hey Naali…”

    She turns around and buries her head in Rano’s chest feathers, crying silently. Rano allows for one of his own tears to drop, and hugs her tightly.

    “It’s going to be okay… we will find them…”


    [​IMG]

    Chapter 11: Hope

    Location: Avalon

    Date: June 15th, 2019


    Days go by, with those days slowly turning into weeks.

    Rano opens his eyes, and glances around the room. He looks towards the window and sees the vibrant morning sunlight contrasting with Avalon’s atmosphere. At the same time, his ears pick up Naali’s quiet breathing next to him. He sits up in the bed slowly as to not wake her, and props himself up with the pillow.

    Rano sits there silently for quite some time, thinking to himself. It had been nearly two weeks since they had arrived back on Avalon, and with any hope of rescue diminishing, the two of them have slowly begun to adjust to a life without their child.

    Rano slowly slips out of bed, taking great care to not wake Naali, and heads to the recreational room of the living complex. Several other pack mates are scattered throughout the room, to whom Rano exchanges greetings with as he heads to one of the computer terminals.

    He sits down in a chair, and logs into the interface. A small blinking icon in the top left corner of the screen catches his attention. He taps the icon, and the screen transitions to his inbox. Rano’s heart rate quickens as he reads the subject line.

    “AEF: Distress Signal Detected”

    Rano quickly opens the message.

    “At 3:58 AM Avalon time this morning multiple signals were received across this sector of space, all of which were sent from a single exoplanet. After further observation the AEF can confirm these messages came from an intelligent source, and were deliberately directed towards us. We have reason to believe that these are related to the missing pod from the ship. Come to AEF headquarters ASAP for more details.”

    Rano reads the message several times, not quite believing what he’s reading. After getting over the initial shock of the message, he shuts down the terminal and runs back to his room. He shakes Naali to wake her up, who then rubs her eyes as she looks up at Rano.

    “Wh- what?”

    “Naali… they got a signal! They think it’s Kalo!”

    Naali bolts up in the bed, suddenly fully awake.

    “What? How do you know?”

    “I got a message on the terminal. They want us to go to AEF headquarters as soon as possible.”

    Without skipping a beat, Naali jumps out of bed and begins rummaging through her things.

    “I’ll be ready in 5 minutes.”

    Rano nods and walks outside of the room. He impatiently paces up and down the hallway as he waits. Naali emerges out of the room a few minutes later. Rano smiles at her.

    “You ready to go?”

    She nods. The two of them then make their way out of the building, and catch a small transport vehicle to the AEF headquarters, located just outside of the city center.

    Rano and Naali exit the vehicle, and make their way towards the entrance of the building. When they enter, an Avali in an AEF officers uniform is already waiting for them.

    “Good morning. I’m sure you both are anxious to hear more details. There’s a meeting among AEF officials regarding how to proceed with this in five minutes. You two are invited.”

    Rano and Naali exchange glances, before Rano nods to the officer.

    “We will attend.”

    “Very well, follow me please.”

    The officer motions for them to follow. Rano and Naali follow the officer with a quick pace as they are led into an elevator, and then down a large hallway. The officer stops short of a door and types in an access code. The door opens and the officer motions both of them inside.

    The room is a large conference room, with computer terminals at each seat around the table, and holograms lining the walls. There are several windows, which give a view of the city far below them. Eight of the seats are occupied by AEF officials. Rano and Naali take two of the open seats and sit down next to one another. One of the officials stands up and nods to them.

    “I am Admiral Jasyo, commander of AEF fleet #4. For those who are not aware, these two individuals are engineers who were in the recent disaster. The official then motions to Rano. The individual on the right stayed at his control panel, and was heroically able to delay the onset of the meltdown, potentially saving hundreds onboard the ship. Equally as important however, they both are the parents of the child who was in the unaccounted for pod.”

    The official sits back down and displays a large interstellar map onto one of the wall holograms.

    “Continuing on, the signals were transmitted from a single location on an undocumented exoplanet 12 light years from Avalon. Based on the frequency they were transmitted, and the deliberate direction, we are assuming that they were transmitted from an intelligent species. The location of this planet roughly fits with one of the computer models we had used to help narrow down the search grid for the missing pod, so the likelihood that this is a form of distress signal is fairly high. My team and I have developed a simple plan to investigate the source, and if we are correct, rescue the missing Avali.”

    The Admiral nods to one of the other officials.

    “Lieutenant, would you care to explain the details?”

    The younger looking Avali nods, and stands up.

    “We have a spare long range jump ship at our disposal. The current plan is for a team to board this ship, and travel to the exoplanet. We will find an uninhabited area as close to the source of the signal as possible and set the ship down there, and send out a small rescue party on foot if needed. The team would consist of the ship's crew, several armed AEF personnel, and one of the parents, in case we do rescue the Avali.”

    Rano and Naali turn to each other and exchange a long look before Rano stands up from his chair.

    “I’ll go.”


    Chapter 12: Lightspeed

    Location: Interstellar Space

    Date: June 16th, 2019


    Rano and Naali step out of the transport craft, just outside of the small jump ship that will take Rano to the exoplanet. Rano turns to Naali and hugs her.

    “It should only be a few days. When I return, we may have Kalo back…”

    “Rano… stay safe please, and go get our child.”

    They hold the hug for a few more moments, before Rano backs away and picks up his bag. He waves to Naali before turning around and walking towards the jump ship. Admiral Jasyo is waiting outside the door.

    “Glad you made it in time. We plan to depart in 5 minutes, so go quickly get yourself situated. You have a small room at the end of the hallway. Be in one of the seats along the walls behind the cockpit before we depart.”

    Rano nods, and quickly goes inside the ship. Rano recognizes the jump ship as one of the AEF’s older ships. Small and cramped, with utility rather than comfort as the primary goal of the design. He makes his way down the narrow hallway to his room, which is only big enough to house a small bed and some basic storage. He quickly unpacks and sets his empty bag under the bed before making his way towards the cockpit.

    Rano takes a quick peek inside the cockpit and nods to the three pilots, before sitting down and strapping himself into one of the seats behind the cockpit. Several uniformed Avali were sitting down in the other seats, and they exchange greetings with Rano. Admiral Jasyo makes his way past all of them and goes into the cockpit, giving them permission to depart before taking the seat next to Rano.

    “Okay everyone, we will be departing momentarily. Once we accelerate to full speed the time to destination is approximately two days-“

    The ship suddenly jumps forward as they begin to accelerate out of the atmosphere and the Admiral stops speaking momentarily. Once everyone gets used to the initial feeling, he continues.

    “Next to me is Rano, who is an experienced engineer and the father of the missing Avali. You will treat him as if he was an officer, because if he chose to he sure could be.”

    The rest of the crew nods. Once the ship exits the atmosphere and reaches its cruise speed, everyone exits their seats and resumes their various duties throughout the ship. Rano gets up and decides to explore and familiarize himself with the ship. He accomplishes this fairly quickly, and having visited the engine room and multiple other compartments, he decides to retire back to his room.

    Rano spends the next several hours working on various work related documents. He then exits his room and makes his way to the ships small eating area, and silently eats dinner alongside the rest of the crew. Once Rano finishes his dinner, he returns to his room and relaxes for a bit before falling asleep.

    Rano wakes up the next morning and remains in his room a majority of the day with the exception of leaving for each meal, since the ship doesn’t exactly have any entertainment options onboard. Later in the evening and without much else to do, Rano goes down to the engine room to observe how they operate, as this area most closely ties with his career field. After talking with some of the engineers, Rano goes back to his room and falls asleep.

    The next morning, Rano is awoken to a knocking on his door. He opens it and is greeted by Admiral Jasyo.

    “Good morning. We arrive in one hour. Please be in the seating area outside the cockpit in thirty minutes for a crew briefing.”

    Rano acknowledges, and finishes up his morning routine before making his way down the hall and sitting down in one of the seats. Some others were already seated, including Admiral Jasyo, however a majority file into their seats a few minutes later. Admiral Jasyo clears his throat before speaking.

    “Okay everyone, estimated time until atmospheric entry is thirty minutes. The pilots and navigator have identified a stretch of baron landscape not far from the signal point but far enough away as to not disturb the general population, which is where we plan to land. Once we land, we will wait for an hour or two to see if the people who sent the message will come to us. Otherwise a small group will be initially sent to investigate the signal point. Purely as a precaution, if anyone at any time needs to exit the ship once we land, they are required to wear full climate control suits. Any questions?”

    He looks around to see if there are any questions. Seeing there are none, Admiral Jasyo continues.

    “Good. As we are now less than thirty minutes out, everyone is required to buckle up and remain in their seats until we touch down.”

    Rano puts on his seatbelt sits silently in his seat for the remainder of the time. Less than thirty minutes later and right on queue, the ship lurches forward as it enters the upper atmosphere. Rano tightens his seatbelt, along with several members of the crew. The ship begins to get slightly warmer as it travels deeper into the atmosphere, and this continues for a couple minutes. There is a loud boom and the feeling of rapid deceleration as the ships reentry thrusters are ignited. After a few seconds, the ship touches down and the sound of the thrusters is replaced by silence.


    Chapter 13: Rescue

    Location: 10 miles west of San Jose, USA

    Date: June 18th, 2019


    You wake up to a loud knocking at the door.

    You lean up on the couch and look around the apartment as Josh comes down the hallway and quickly opens the door. Doctor Smith is standing in the doorway, and it appears he had been running.

    “Hey Doctor! What-“

    “Get Scout and follow me. I will explain as we walk.”


    Josh pauses for a second before registering what the doctor said. He quickly walks over to you and picks you up, holding you against his shoulder as he normally does. He then follows alongside Doctor Smith with a brisk walk.

    “So what is it?”

    “The signal worked. It actually worked. An unidentified ship entered the atmosphere and touched down in the desert east of here ten minutes ago. I ran here as fast as I could. We are going to try to get there as quickly as possible, as the last thing we want is for them to send out their own search party and alert the public.”

    Josh is led outside of the complex and towards a black SUV. Doctor Smith opens one of the back doors for Josh, who gets inside and sets you next to him. Doctor Smith then gets into the passenger seat and briefly explains the plan to the driver, who starts the car and begins driving shortly after.

    “Continuing on, we can only assume that this ship belongs to Scout’s species. If we are wrong there then saying we messed up would be an understatement.”

    “So what do we do once we get there?”

    “We will assess that as we go. We don’t know what they are going to do. Ideally we will just hand over Scout, and then they leave.”

    “Okay. How long is the drive?”

    “About five hours. I know I woke you two up, so feel free to sleep some more. There’s not much else to do.”


    Josh looks over to you, before shifting a bit and leaning against the window. You scoot over to the opposite window and stare outside for a while, still fascinated with all the strange things in this world. After a while you begin to get tired again and yawn. You lay down across the seats and close your eyes, drifting to sleep soon after.

    You are being carried down a hallway. You look up and see your mother staring back down at you. A single drop of purple blood falls out of her ear and onto your arm, and she quickens her pace. After another minute of running, she begins to slow. You look up at her and she gives you a faint smile. She falls to the ground, and you let out a loud cry.

    “Scout! Scout! It’s okay!”

    You jolt awake, and quickly look around the SUV, forgetting where you were for a second. You reach up to feel your ear, and relax upon seeing your clean hand. Josh and Doctor Smith watch you with a concerned expression.

    “Has that ever happened before, Josh?”

    “No… not to that extent.”

    “Alright. Maybe it’s a good thing that Scout is almost back with their species then. We should be arriving in a few minutes.”


    Josh nods, before looking back over at you. You look back at him for a few moments before looking out the window again. The SUV rounds a corner and a faint ship can be seen in the distance. Josh leans forward to stare at it.

    “Wow… that’s it then?”

    Doctor Smith nods.

    “What? You’ve never seen an alien spacecraft before?”

    Josh laughs lightly, before reaching over to your seat and picking you up. He looks at you for a few moments before gently hugging you.

    “I know you can't understand what I'm saying… but I’m really going to miss you, Scout.”

    Understanding the gesture, you chirp quietly and hug your wings around him in response.

    “I know you have a real family, and other people who care for you. But finding you in that escape pod may have been the best thing that’s ever happened to me, in a strange way. Thank you for helping me realize that there’s more to the universe than this small planet.”

    Josh sets you back down on the seat just as the SUV comes to a stop, just a couple hundred feet from the ship. Doctor Smith gets out of the car and opens the back door for you. Josh gets out of the other door, and walks around to your side. You jump out of the car and walk a few feet forward before stopping.

    A door on the back of the ship opens, and a small stairway extends down from it. Three Avali in armored space suits walk down the stairway. Two of them have weapons, and the one in the middle does not. Josh and Doctor Smith shift on their feet nervously as the three Avali walk forward, stopping halfway between the ship and the SUV. Josh approaches you and smiles.

    “Go on, Scout. I’ll miss you. Be sure to send me postcards.”

    You look at Josh, and then back at the three Avali, before slowly walking forward. You pick up the pace as you get closer, and the middle Avali begins to walk towards you. They reach up and slowly take off their helmet. Your eyes widen, immediately recognizing your father as you burst into a run. When you are close enough, you flap your wings and jump into your father’s arms.

    “Kalo!”

    You both exchange a long hug, and you begin to quietly cry.

    “Shhh… It’s okay… I’m here now…. You’re safe.”

    He hugs you tighter, and you slowly stop crying.

    “W-where’s mother?”

    “She’s back on Avalon, and is perfectly fine.”

    Your father releases the hug, and sets you down gently. He then crouches down and looks at you.

    “Are you alright? Did they hurt you?”

    “No, I’m fine! They took care of me!”

    “Okay, good… let's get you home then.”

    Your father leads you back to the ship, and you begin to walk up the stairway. You turn around and look back at Josh, who gives you one last wave before you board the ship.


    Chapter 14: Family Lasts Forever

    Location: Avalon

    Date: June 20th, 2019


    The jump ship begins to slowly descend through Avalon’s atmosphere, and you hold your father's hand a little tighter.

    “It’s alright… we are almost home, Kalo. Your mother will be waiting at the space port for us when we arrive.”

    You nod, and continue staring straight ahead. A few minutes pass, and the ship lightly touches down on the landing pad. Your father releases his seatbelt and stands up before reaching down and undoing yours. You slowly stand up and hold onto your father's hand. He smiles down at you and leads you towards the ships exit.

    When you reach the ship’s exit, you look outside and see multiple Avali waiting at the bottom of the stairs. Most of them are uniformed officials, but your mother and several pack mates are among them. You see your mother and quickly walk down the stairs with your father.

    When you reach the bottom of the stairs, you release your father's hand and run towards your mother. Upon reaching her you jump up into her arms. She catches you and hugs her wings around you tightly. She stays silent for a few seconds, before she decides to speak.

    “Kalo… I’m so sorry… I tried to get you to safety…”

    You bury your head into her shoulder as the events of the accident replay in your head. You begin to lightly cry, and your mother tightens her hug reassuringly.

    “But it’s alright now. We are all here and unhurt.”

    She pets down your crest feathers and ears with her hand, which comforts you enough to subdue your crying. Your father comes alongside the two of you and silently joins the hug. This continues for another minute, before your father takes a step back and your mother sets you down. Your mother then turns to your father.

    “Let's go home now. The pack has relocated from the temporary housing in the city to a small patch of land west of here. Most have already arrived and set up camp.”

    Your father acknowledges as your mother leads the two of you towards an awaiting transport craft. You enter and your parents help strap you in, before sitting down on either side of you. You remain completely silent for the short 15 minute hop to your new home, while your father explains your rescue to your mother.

    The ship comes to a stop, and the three of you exit the vehicle. You look around at the area you’ll call home from this point forward. There are multiple living tents, with a couple more permanent buildings currently being worked on by some of your pack mates. Your mother approaches you and gently lifts you up.

    “Do you like it?”

    “Yes, I do.”

    Your mother carries you into one of the tents that you can assume is your home, which already has some makeshift furniture and appliances set up. She sets you down on the floor and kneels down.

    “I’m glad. You must be tired after that whole… ordeal… would you like to take a nap while your father and I help the others?”

    “I’m not tired... Can I come with you?”

    Your mother gives you a warm smile and offers you her hand.

    “Of course you can.”


    Epilogue

    Location: Avalon

    Date: June 20th, 2020

    You wake up, and pause momentarily, listening for the sound of your parents breathing in the bed next to you. Upon hearing them, you relax and smile to yourself.

    You silently lean up in your bed, and decide to not wake your parents. The pack’s transition to life back on Avalon has been very smooth, and all of the tents and buildings have been constructed. Your parents have continued to teach you the basics of how to be an engineer, and you are finally beginning to catch on. The tent you and your parents share is well decorated, consisting of vibrant furniture and plenty of amenities.

    The Avalon government had given your family a large sum of money as compensation for the “incident”, which helped fund some of the construction and amenities. It took you and the rest of the pack several months to get past the events of the incident, and you still have not fully recovered.

    You stand up, and make your way into the other room. Over the past year, you have matured significantly. Whether this is in part due to the initial trauma of the incident or not is unknown. You silently make yourself breakfast, before sitting down at the table with it. You spend the next several thinking to yourself as you eat.

    Sometimes you miss the person that had practically saved your life, back on that strange alien world. You think to yourself how if it were not for them, you almost certainly would have died there, and would have never made it back to your parents. Although you could not understand their language, you later understood the significance of their actions. Part of you eventually wants to return to that planet, just to say thank you to them.

    You finish eating your breakfast, and quietly make your way outside. You sit down just outside of your tent, and watch the sky as the sun slowly appears over the horizon.

    The report for the full incident had been released by the AEF last month, and your parents allowed you to read through it. After reading through it, you realized how lucky not only you, but your entire pack is to be alive. Even though you were separated several lightyears from your parents, they never gave up hope - because family lasts forever.


    Some music that I thought fits the story to wrap it up:

     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
    DutchyBoi and Captain Karo like this.
  2. Captain Karo

    Captain Karo Cosmic Narwhal

    I’m enjoying it so far, and certainly look forward to the next chapter! Keep it up!
     
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  3. WindshearAvali

    WindshearAvali Poptop Tamer

    Thank you! I’ve spent about two hours writing Chapter 4, and it should be done very soon!
     
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  4. WindshearAvali

    WindshearAvali Poptop Tamer

    Chapter 5 has been released. I apologize to everyone who’s following this for not getting a chapter out yesterday, life gets in the way sometimes.
     
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  5. DutchyBoi

    DutchyBoi Poptop Tamer

    This is cool! Cant wait for the ending
     
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  6. WindshearAvali

    WindshearAvali Poptop Tamer

    Chapter 6 released. I once again apologize for releasing the chapter a day late - my schedule will be a lot less hectic in the coming days so I should be able to release the next couple chapters on time. I also realized this story will be longer than I initially predicted, so I have bumped the total number of chapters up to 12.
     
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  7. DutchyBoi

    DutchyBoi Poptop Tamer

    from what I understand you update daily so I really dont mind delays. take all the time you need!
     
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  8. WindshearAvali

    WindshearAvali Poptop Tamer

    Update: I have commissioned one sketch to summarize each chapter (including prologue and epilogue) for a minimum of 14 pieces of art to go along with this story. This number will increase if I add more chapters. These pieces of art, as well as information about the artist will be added to the original post over the next several weeks.
     
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  9. WindshearAvali

    WindshearAvali Poptop Tamer

    Update: Chapter 7 and chapter 8 have been released, along with the illustration for the prologue. I have also added two more chapters to the chapter layout, putting the total now at 14. On a more important note - I will be leaving for a 9 day trip tomorrow, during which I will have little to no access to any electronic device. Therefore there will not be any chapter releases during that period of time, and chapter 9 will most likely be released around the 22nd of July. The rest of the chapter illustrations will be added in the weeks following that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
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  10. DutchyBoi

    DutchyBoi Poptop Tamer

    Thanks for telling us! Have fun!
     
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  11. Captain Karo

    Captain Karo Cosmic Narwhal

    Keep it up, and have fun on your trip!
     
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  12. WindshearAvali

    WindshearAvali Poptop Tamer

    Update: I got home from my previous trip today, and immediately got surprised with another 6 day trip. I may be able to get a chapter or two out during this trip however I cannot promise anything. I have received the illustrations for the first five chapters and I will upload them when I get back home.
     
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  13. DutchyBoi

    DutchyBoi Poptop Tamer

    ill stay patient. its not like i have anything else to do.
     
  14. WindshearAvali

    WindshearAvali Poptop Tamer

    Update: Chapter 9 and the illustrations for chapters 1-7 have been released. Although I am back home, my schedule is still very busy. As such, I plan to get a chapter out every other day rather than every day.
     
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  15. DutchyBoi

    DutchyBoi Poptop Tamer

    Every other day is still one hell of a luxury, so I don’t mind.
     
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  16. Captain Karo

    Captain Karo Cosmic Narwhal

    I really like the illustrations!
     
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  17. WindshearAvali

    WindshearAvali Poptop Tamer

    Update: The illustration for chapter 8 has been added, and chapters 10 and 11 have been released. I have also begun working on an “Important Terms” section under “Authors Note” with the hopes that it will make the story easier to understand for those who are not familiar with Avali lore.
     
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  18. DutchyBoi

    DutchyBoi Poptop Tamer

    that illustration is pretty cool. same goes for the chapters
     
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  19. DutchyBoi

    DutchyBoi Poptop Tamer

    the new chapter is a little over-detailed in my opinion but it still had me hooked as usual.
     
  20. WindshearAvali

    WindshearAvali Poptop Tamer

    Update: The epilogue has just been released, which means the basic writing portion of this story is completed. However this is currently just a little more than a rough draft, and I will continue revising and adding content as I see fit. The rest of the illustrations will be released as I receive them over the next several weeks.
     
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