When I woke up, I was in the living room, or one of them at least. It took me a second or two to remember what had happened. I’d met a few of the others after talking with that girl. Her name escaped me currently. Her kindness still put me off and I didn’t want to risk anything else happening, so I’d decided to keep my distance from her. I didn’t like seeing such genuine purity in someone. It had me thinking I was hallucinating, or something. Also, I couldn’t see how a person like that could exist in a world like this. I get someone could be as blind as Leo, but that girl made no sense to me at all.
I checked the time and noticed that I’d slept a good few hours. I doubted if I could get anymore in that night and went into the kitchen for another round of coffee. Once again, I’d seen the very same thing in my dreams. I was still shaking from it, but this died down once I felt the familiar warmth of the cup in my hands. Taking in the silence, I enjoyed the peace somewhat. It didn’t last though, as someone came downstairs and poured a cup for themselves.
“Can’t sleep, either?”
“Yeah…” I replied, not paying much attention to who it was.
“It’s been four years and I still haven’t adjusted to the days on this world.”
I then realized his voice was familiar and saw that it was Nalar standing there without a shirt on. I did my best not to stare, but my face betrayed me before I could control my stupid emotions.
“Sleep is for the weak.” I mumbled, trying to hide the redness in my face.
“Is everything alright?”
“Yep. Great. Just fine.”
“If you say so. Tell me, what do you do on these sleepless night?”
“I do a lot of thinking. Too much of it. What about you?” I replied, not really wanting to go into the details.
“Usually, find someone to mate with.” He said without an ounce of shame. “Or get high.” He then raised the coffee cup.
“Oh…You sure are honest, hah. And , uhh…coffee makes you high?”
“My species, we believe in being open about these things. And Caffeine has a quite enjoyable effect on my species, makes us happy and excitable, although not much with merely coffee.”
“Ah. What else will do it for you, then?”
“I once drank one of those energy drink as you call them, I was quite…affectionate. I also spent an hour amazed at the wallpaper.”
“Heh, sounds like a good time.” I gave a faint smile.
“Not that I need help to be affectionate, just ask Kayla.” He grinned in a sly way.
“Oh, right. I heard most people need alcohol to feel that way…?” I wasn’t sure if I’d even met the person he’d mentioned, but decided to leave it be as he might give too much information about what happened between them.
“You have heard that most humans require alcohol to mate?”
“No, to feel affectionate, I mean. Like some would have…doubts whether to just hook up with someone they just met, let alone let their guard down in front of them.”
“That’s one place where our species differ.”
“There’s so much I don’t know about you. Pretty much everything they told me about, uh, the “Invaders” has turned out to be nonsense.”
“Then ask away, it is not like I have anything else to do.”
“What about…what was its name? Brad…no…Bardiche?” I struggled to remember what name he’d given it. “I’m sure he took a hit after fighting Rook.”
“I’ve already seen to him. He’s fine, he’s very sturdy.”
“Of course. Um…” Again, my mind kept pulling a blank, the lack of sleep probably getting to me a little. “Wait, um…I guess I shouldn’t be calling you “Invaders”, right? I don’t remember what they’d said other than that…”
“We’re called Tzari. That would do.”
“Sounds really cool. How far away is your…planet?”
“About a thousand light years away, took us two of your years to cross the span between stars.”
“Wow. So, like…why come to Earth? They’d told me that you all were invading, but not why.”
“Well, it wasn’t exactly my decision.” Nalar laughs. “The higher ups wanted to uplift your species, bring you into the fold, end your conflict and division.”
“That would’ve been for the best, I think…I still stand by my opinion of some people getting what they deserve.” My voice took a bitter tone.
“Living here has been hard at times, it’s very different. I was confused the first time I had to purchase something.”
“It’s really shitty if you’re unlucky, too. I recall sometime in the past, I had decided to bail on those I worked for That time I spent on my own was…well fuck, even worse!” My memories from that time were blurry, but I remembered feeling cold, hungry and alone.
“I could return back to the settlement, but I prefer it out here, so much to discover.” Nalar said with fondness in his eyes.
“I’m sure you’ll get the time to see it all.” I shrugged while looking away.
I knew I’d never be free from those I worked for. They were sure to remind me of this at any given moment. It just made me wonder even more why they’d let me come here in the first place. Was it all some kind of joke? Because, I knew it as fact that they’d never let someone like me go.
“What about you? Now that you’re away from your superior, what will you do?”
“Hah…I won’t ever be free of them. It’s a nice thought, though.” I scratched at the collar which served as a reminder of my fate.
“What’s the collar for?” Nalar asked once he noticed I was irritated by it.
I just stared at him at first. It didn’t really look that out of place, did it? Maybe all my scratching at it would have the stupid thing stick out eventually.
“Uhh…It’s so I…uh…behave, I guess.” I avoided his gaze. I already knew he didn’t approve.
“Why don’t you remove it?”
“I don’t think I can. It’ll be much worse if I do…”
“Maybe I could help, deactivate it?”
“They’ll know. I think the guy they have watching me is a tinkerer. Thank…you, though. The offer means a lot.” Looking down, I realized it made more and more sense why they’d have a guy like Turner watch a wreck like me.
“I could shoot him with Bardiche, I need to test out the ionic stunner.” Nalar suggested and I wasn’t sure if he was serious or not.
“You’re…really funny, you know that?” I sighed, not even bothering to muse the thought in my mind.
“I did not intent that as a joke, but I shall accept the compliment.”
“I mean, you’re a good person is what I was trying to say.”
“Lord Kiorga would probably disagree. I’m fairly certain she approved my application just to keep me on a leash.”
“I’m still not sure why they even let me come here…Like, the last thing you let someone like me do it…Just let them outside and be around other people…” I continued, my voice going low. “I feel like I’ve done something horrible…”
“I don’t know, but it’s why I haven’t been able to get much sleep. I keep seeing myself kill this hero over and over…It’s freaking exhausting, yet I can’t shake the feeling that I might have actually done it.”
“It may be nothing but a dream, I had a dream I was mating with Raskhan himself, did not make it true. I’m sure there would have been a reason if you had.”
“I don’t know who that is. I’m clueless with that sort of thing, remember? As for the dream stuff, I gotta figure it out soon…”
“Our supreme leader, he’s quite attractive…Very tall and strong in build.”
“Ah, so he looks like you?” I said before I realized how stupid my words sounded.
“Not much, he is a Rangrol, I’m a Qurhal.”
“O-Oh…Right.” I looked away, not knowing what any of that meant.
“But then again, I’ve heard we all looks alike to humans.”
“No, I didn’t mean it like that, I…nevermind, it was stupid.”
“No offence taken, we are different species, perhaps we have different way to recognize individuals. I’ve learned that Venusians identify each other by scent rather than sight, hence their close similarities.”
“Not sure if I’ve met one of those yet or not.”
“Big and blue creatures that look like earth lizards.”
“Hrm…I can’t remember anything. It’s kind of overstimulating being around so many people so suddenly. I may as well have just walked past one recently and not know it…” I said, trying to remember, but once again I came up with nothing.
“Are you alright, Nine?”
“Eh, I don’t know…I think I’ve bothered you enough for one night, don’t you think?”
“Well, it’s talking to you or staring at the walls all alone.” Nalar said in a way which had me feeling a little sad for him.
“I don’t know what’s better.” I said bitterly. Surely, there were other ways he could be spending his time other than talking to trash fire like me.
“You certainly are better looking, that is for sure.”
I said nothing and looked at him in disbelief. “I don’t get you at all…”
“In part the feeling is mutual, you are somewhat of an enigma.”
“What makes you say that?”
“The way you act, your mysterious masters, your attitude.”
“Oh, I doubt any of that’s interesting.” I said even though I didn’t want to talk about it any more than I already had…
“I disagree with you.”
“You’re just being nice.” I sighed from frustration.
“Others would say I’m just trying to get into your pants, but I do genuinely find you interesting. And adorable. I want to chew those silly ears of yours…That might be the coffee speaking.”
“That is most likely the coffee…” At least, I sure hoped it was…
“I have not had that much.”
“Oh…” I felt quite embarrassed and my face showed it before I had any objections.
“I better stop, I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”
“No…I just don’t know how to take that sort of comment. Like I’ve said, I’ve mostly dealt with people who think I’m a burden to be around.”
“Well, I do not.”
“I…well…thanks.” I said, too tired to disagree with him.
Nalar said he was going to stay up for a bit longer, but I really was exhausted and decided it was better to try and get some more sleep. I didn’t have much time to think about our conversation as I’d fallen asleep the second I found my way over to the couch.