Summary: The journey begins..
Author's Note: Sorry it took me so long to get this part out. I had a major case of writer's block but now I'm finally free!
Author's Note #2: This is the last part of "Arrival". Yes, the first story in the "Arrival" series is finished. But don't worry, there's more to come. Look for "The Longest Day", the second story in the "Arrival" series.
Disclaimer: I own nothing except the plot.
General Gabbren Kell stared at the two people in front of him. For the first time in his life he was speechless. He knew this would be a new chapter for Antar.
Kell hadn't been a royalist and he hoped the King and Queen wouldn't hold that against him. He just didn't believe after 40 years of rule by the cruel dictator Kavar, the royal four would magically turn up and everything would be better again. Like many, he thought the prophet Otaron was a heretic. But here he was standing beside King Zan and Queen Ava.
"King Zan. Queen Ava," he started. "Um, I'm not sure of what to say. I hope you will forgive me. I am not experienced in such things. I am General Kell of the East side infrintry."
Max and Tess couldn't quite make out what he was saying. Some words sounded familiar but they weren't fluent in Antarian.
Max and Tess exchanged a look.
Tess attempted to say "We can't speak your language," in antarian.
The general understood. He looked perplexed.
"Sir, what's the problem?" his assistant asked front the doorway.
"Communication. They can't understand us," Kell explained. Kell didn't know the full story but he had been part of the rebellion long enough to know that the royals were sent to another planet. "Nulis, can you get me a dictionary?"
"Right away, sir."
"Good." Kell picked up a pen and some paper and handed it to King and Queen.
Max took the pen and paper.
"Draw the symbol for the royal four," Tess said. Max nodded. They couldn't speak but perhaps they could convey something to these people.
General Kell smiled when he saw the symbol for the royal four. They really were royals. He watched as Zan drew the symbol for Antar and then drew the five kindoms.
Not long afterwards Nulis arrived with the book.
"Sir, I also got some food. I thought they might be hungry."
"Excellent thinking lieutenant." He handed them the food and tried to gesture to them 'food'.
Max and Tess stared at the food. It was a solid mass of green and pink stuff. It look kinda disgusting but it smelled good. Tess shrugged.
"I'm starved," she said. She broke off a piece of it. It felt like it would crumble in her hands but it didn't. She took a bite. "Wow. This the most delicious thing I've ever tasted!" she exclaimed surprised.
Max tried a piece. It was like all his life he had been deprived. He didn't know food could taste so good.
* * *
Max stared up at the stars. It had been a weird day. Leaving Earth, out-smarting thousands of enemy soldiers, arriving in a new place with a language he couldn't quite understand. Everything around him felt somewhat familiar but at the same time it was like a word on the tip of his tongue that he couldn't quite recall. A dream he couldn't fully remember. The future was so uncertain. Kavar knew they were on Antar and he would come looking for them. But Max didn't think he was ready to fight a war, although the soldiers he met on the base were.
Max felt a hand on his shoulder. He smiled. It was Tess.
"A penny for your thoughts?" she asked him.
"Are you sure? They're so jumbled right now." He paused. "Wanna go for a walk?"
When they were a considerable distance from the base and far enough from the edge of the forest that they could see the sky clearly, they were captivated by the stars. On a clear night on Earth you could see millions of bright specs sparkling in the sky. But on Antar there was so much more going on. The night sky was alive with splashes of color and movement. Nebulas of various colors left little part of the sky black. There was lots of other planets and satellites to keep company.
"It's beautiful," Tess whispered. So many nights she spent at the observatory gazing at the stars. But it was never like this. For the first time it really hit her where she was. Home.
Max looked at her. In this moment he couldn't lose the smile on his face if he tried. "Yeah, it is."
She smiled back at him.
After a few moments he said, "I don't know to do. I know Kavar will be after us. But I don't know how to fight a war."
"Max, we don't have to fight anything. We could come back here with Michael and Isabel when we're ready," she assured him.
"But we have to stay here a few weeks until the baby is born. I'm not sure if the base will be secure enough. And how are we gonna find a way back? The granolith can only make one trip. And even if we do get back to Earth, what if he has trouble breathing there?" Max said in a rush.
He waited for what seemed like forever for her to respond.
"Have you ever played the game Badminton?" she suddenly asked him.
"It's a game kinda like Tennis except the handle on the racket is longer and instead of hitting a ball you hit a thing called a birdie back and forth. I learned how to play it a few years ago when Nasedo and I lived in Arlington, Virginia."
Max wanted to ask her what did that have to do with anything but instead he continued to listen.
"The birdie is pretty light so it can travel really far off court if you don't catch it in time. Anyway, the fun thing about Badminton is that it's a very unpredictable game and you really have to keep on your toes to keep it going. You really don't know what to expect next and you have to take it as it comes. Kinda like life," Tess told him.
She turned to face him and took his hands in her's.
"I guess what I'm trying to say is that we have to take it one day at a time. I have no idea of what's gonna happen tomorrow or a week from now. But I think we should take it as it comes."
He slowly nodded. Perhaps it was best that they took things one step at a time. They shifted their attention back to the night sky. He knew the upcoming weeks would be difficult but somehow he couldn't shake the feeling as long as they were together everything would turn out okay.