faraway world

chapter 1

The sun was setting. Rachel Rolander, famed member of the United States Space Force, awakened as the orange glow washed over her room. She had been unconscious for almost two weeks, but she didn't know that yet. What she noticed first was that she was laying in the most comfortable, beautifully decorated bed she had ever felt, even though her last memory was of passing out in the scorching desert sands of some unholy hellscape planet.

Slowly but surely, other factors of her current situation began to come to light. The room she rested in was welcoming, painted in soft and calming earth tones. The few pieces of furniture were made of simple, polished wood. The high walls featured windows near the top, the source of the fading orange glow. Immediately, as per her training, she began thinking about how she would reach those windows to escape confinement; however, her plans were foiled when she began to notice her own body.

Rachel had not fared well during her space travels nor during the attack in the desert. Both of her legs were broken and splinted. Her left arm was contained in a cast from wrist to shoulder. She could feel a slight pain in one of her sides when she tried to move, perhaps the effects of a broken rib. Most alarmingly, her tri-gun and spacesuit were missing, the latter swapped for a simple cloth gown which hung loosely on her emaciated figure.

Before she left for her mission, Rachel was considered one of the most attractive members of the Space Force. Much to her displeasure, she regularly received letters from admirers praising her looks and figure instead of her accomplishments. She hadn't become the nation's most skilled negotiator because she was beautiful, and the other members of the Force knew that flirtatious comments were liable to result in a punch to the jaw. Most people still would have found her stunning in her current state, excepting the fact that her incredibly thin body and numerous injuries made her a little difficult to look at.

She began to wonder whether she should call out to see if anyone was around or remain silent. Someone, or something, had brought her here and patched her up.

She didn't have to wonder for long, as a tall, thin being opened the door to her room and stepped inside. It looked almost human, with the exception of the fact that it had four arms instead of two, and unnaturally stretched proportions. Still, the pleasing face combined with her comfortable surroundings kept Rachel from panicking as the unfamiliar monster entered. In fact, as she noticed that it was carrying a tray of food, she began to feel a bit eager. She hadn't eaten anything decent since she left Earth, and she was starving.

"Good afternoon, Rachel. I'm pleased to see that you're awake," spoke the monster in his deep, soothing voice. Her heart sank. The only way that he could know her name and language would be through her missing tri-gun. Weapon, environment scanner, and communication device, the tri-gun was every Force member's most important tool for deep space missions. He must have used her fingerprints to unlock it while she was unconscious. In her discomfort, she felt unsure of how to reply to his greeting and thus chose to remain silent.

Undeterred by her lack of reaction, the monster came to Rachel's bedside and pulled up a chair. He lowered the tray, which contained a delicious smelling soup, some sort of soft dessert, and a syringe. "I brought you dinner and some medicine to help your bones heal a little faster. Here," he said, lifting the bowl and spoon in preparation to feed her.

"Absolutely not," she said, a little surprised at how hoarse her voice was. "I'm not letting you drug me."

He nodded in understanding. "Would you feel more comfortable if I let you scan it with your gun first?"

Rachel narrowed her eyes for a second before agreeing. As the monster disappeared to fetch her tri-gun, she smelled the delicious broth. It had taken a great deal of effort to not give in, but her sense and training overrode most of her basic instincts at this point. She continued to wait patiently, not moving, until the monster quietly reappeared through the door once again, her tri-gun held delicately in his hands. He returned to his seat beside the bed and carefully handed it to her.

Though the gun only weighed five pounds, Rachel found it difficult to lift in her weakened condition. She shakily activated it with her thumb print, then set it to scan mode and clocked the syringe first. The display on the back lit up momentarily as it processed the contents, and then turned green.


Not a guarantee, of course, but it had never been wrong before. She skimmed the list of detected ingredients, recognizing a few medical substances she had seen previously. Another scan revealed the soup to be not only safe, but composed entirely of Earth-native materials: Earth chickens and Earth vegetables. The dessert, made of caramel, came up with similarly Earth-derived ingredients. This was incredibly unusual for a planet so far away from Earth, and she began to be suspicious once again.

"Where are we, and why do you have food from Earth?" she demanded.

He laughed politely. "You are a cautious one. Well, your language doesn't have a name for this planet and I'm not sure what number it would be, unfortunately. It's a very small ocean planet quite far away from Earth. Terrestrial, of course, atmosphere primarily helium and methane. I've created a human-friendly environment in this building, though. To answer your second question, well, I'm fascinated with your species."

She started to interrogate him about his last admission, but before she could begin, her stomach growled loudly.

"I'd be happy to answer any questions you have later, but first, why don't you have dinner? You can eat and take the medicine on your own in private, if you'd like," he offered.

Rachel was intensely reluctant to rely on this alien stranger to take care of her, but she was smart enough to realize that doing those things on her own wasn't going to be easy, and to take help when it was convenient. She accepted his help, and stared into his dark eyes as he fed her the soup. He was careful, patient, and attentive as he fed her, gently dabbing her mouth with a napkin held in his third arm every now and again to prevent any mess.

She quickly finished the soup and found herself wanting more, yet resisted the urge to ask in an effort to appear strong. He began to feed her the dessert, its rich caramel flavor leaving her sated and content. Being full made her feel better, and she was able to relax as he lifted the syringe to her uninjured arm. "Three, two, one..." he counted, followed by a slight pinching feeling in her arm. "All done," he announced, bandaging her arm, collecting the dishes, and walking towards the door.

Before he left, she called out, "You never told me your name."

"You'd never be able to pronounce it," he replied. "Why don't you just call me Z? It's the closest thing that your language has to any of the characters in my name."

She nodded, feeling a sudden rush of sleepy haze coming over her. She relaxed into the pillows, watching the door close as Z left her to rest.
6 chapters, created 4 years , updated 4 years
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Kate2409 4 years
Love this so far!
SilverPathfi... 4 years
I really like where this is going ^^
Weight gain and escape plots are the best. Can't wait for the rest !