The sirens blare all throughout the ship as the emergency lights flare up crimson red and flash so brilliantly it could give even the blind a headache. I grumble to myself, not for the first time, that perhaps rather than focusing on building such an elaborate panic system, the amare ships could focus on maybe making a design that wasn’t infiltratable?
The amare to my right moves his humanoid figure to glance in my direction, and I can tell without looking that he’s got his eyebrows raised at me, probably wondering what I dared mutter under my breath.
“I was wondering if the guards have managed to catch the intruder yet,” I offer before he gets a chance to ask. In response, he grunts, and I can tell just by the warbling notes that the answer to my question is still no. The amare glides away from me towards the screens to join my mother, who is currently occupied with chastising the control men for letting such a grievous error occur on the fleet’s lead ship of all places.
Of course, how could they know that the intruder the guards are trying to find is, in fact, one of the guards? My mother’s arms start to glow mahogany, symbolizing her frustration, which I felt was a tad excessive considering that all four of her eyes were glaring and her mouth was set into its thin-lipped position of doom. It’s an infamous expression of hers, as those on the outlying systems of the galaxy say that those who incur the Queen’s wrath have to retire from their regal positions and become farmers just to rid themselves of their newfound anxieties.
It’s just a rumor.
One of the guards enters the command center and makes the mistake of telling the amarean rulers that the intruder has somehow managed to evade all search groups and is only about an estimated thirteen quaarsects away from breaking into this very area. The queen, of course, is very angry to hear this and decrees that the royal family is to be ushered towards the safe rooms until the threat is contained. My reactionary smile elicits no alarm; to any of the onlookers, it may seem only as if I’m relieved to be taken out of the supposed sphere of danger. But in truth, this is exactly where the “intruder” will be heading us off. Everything seems to be going according to plan.
Let’s get this straight:
I’m the Amarean Princess of the Evenor Galaxy. (I’m not trying to brag; it’s just simple fact).
Our intruder is one of the odiums, our sworn enemies, who is currently posing as one of our palace guards.
By race, and by class, this odium is my enemy.
She’s also my girlfriend.
My family races down corridors on the starboard side of the spaceship, my mother muttering as we go that this was supposed to be a fun, carefree, simple family vacation into the neighboring sector. My father grunts his condolences to her and she swats his arm with a hand. “When we return home, deary, I’ll be firing all of the guards and pilots. They’re incompetent, all of them.” Mother’s arms surge again in mahogany. “I never should have let you do the important decision making,” she curses.
Father grunts to tell her that she looks lovely today.
She doesn’t get a chance to respond, however, when the guards surrounding us come to a sudden halt and draw out their Atomic Meson Desecrators, each aiming them at something unseen through the haze of stocky bodies and glowing arms. There’s really only one thing--or rather, one person--it could be though.
Mother’s arms glow neon in a surge of frustration. “How did they know we’d come this way?” She stomps her feet and even tries grabbing a Desecrator from one of the guards. “Impossible!”
Some of the guards shout at the figure beyond us to surrender, and even the queen calms down enough to see what the intruder does.
And the answer is: nothing. (Because it’s a hologram, but of course they wouldn’t know that.)
I can tell, because the guards start advancing slowly and warily, warning the creature to take their advice and just surrender already. Even my parents start to creep forward, flickers of curious orange dancing on their elbows.
A sudden gust of wind from directly behind me tousles my flowing sleeves and hair and would have startled me more if I didn’t know it was coming. “Don’t forget your lines,” a voice like dewberries on the melting fruit blocks of Cavarst sounds behind me. Elation and adrenaline flood my systems, turning my colors from a calmer green to bright, bright pink. In the few quaarsects I have left, I channel my emotions by focusing on a single thought--the idea of my parents, and the whole galaxy really, to discover the truth: that I’m dating an odium, and I like it.
The embarrassing shades of pink morph into an alarming yellow reserved only for moments of panic, and I summon forth a scream that even the renowned performers of Quada’ar would envy. In unison, every amare in the corridor glides abruptly to see what caused such a sound to come from me, and the colors of the amare switch from a spike of frightful brown to yellows, like my own.
Like two actors trust the other lead to fulfill their part of the role, I don’t bother to turn around and check that my supposed captor is holding an Atomic Meson Desecrator against my side. An arm wraps swiftly around my neck, cutting off the scream from the depths of my throat. My own hands raise towards it instinctively and claw away at it but to no avail. I can see out of the corner of my right eyes that in the hand attached to this arm is an Ectoplasmic Flash-Shifter: the handheld equivalent of a full-scale transporter. I register the mounting panic in the eight collective eyes of my parents as they identify the gadget at the same moment that the guards do.
“I’ll be taking her with me,” the voice from before growls with menace, before activating the Ectoplasmic Flash-Shifter. The last thing I see before I close my eyes is the hand of my mother grabbing my father’s fearfully, as she screams at the guards to do something.
I blink, and when light filters in again I find myself on an entirely different ship. Through one of the gaping windows, I can see the faint outline of the royal fleet, though it’s hard to identify as a consistent flow of asteroids float past the hull. We must be attached to one of them, I guess, so that the fleet’s radars don’t notice us.
“Make yourself at home,” my captor jokes, tossing the Desecrator into a bin labeled props. She’s a bit on the taller side, dressed in the uniform of the amarean guards. As she morphs back into her natural skin she loses the look of one of my kind, replacing the flowing colors with pale arms and the second pair of eyes for impressively long eyelashes, which she then proceeds to bat excessively in my direction. I laugh.
“I think today’s performance was encore-worthy, no?” She smirks at my comment before inclining her head towards one of the doors. We walk side-by-side, catching up on each other’s latest endeavors, deciding what royal official she’ll go undercover as next, debating whether or not I should be returned with a ransom or escape all on my own--all perfectly normal things to discuss with your enemy-turned-girlfriend.
We spill out into a dining hall, where in floating mists of liquid nitrogen, small eddies caused the droplets to swirl about in a dance known only to them. Large fronds and flowers were doted lovingly upon by insects undoubtedly purchased from the exotic markets of Frundrum. At an oddly shaped table, morphed into such a pattern that it arguably had no definitive shape sat at all a tall, wiry looking humanoid, whose head perked up at the sound of us entering the space.
“Good morning!” he called, for in odium culture days are nonexistent and their preferred “time of day” is the morning. “It’s good to see you again, Kay,” he says to me, using my nickname, for amarean names are depressingly long and are rather a headache for any other species to say. He motioned towards the seats irregularly spaced around the table, and we sit down. After offering us a few breakfast delicacies the man relaxes back to eat what’s been placed before him.
My captor reaches with a glass into the air and catches a bit of liquid nitrogen inside. “Will Mom be able to make brunch today?”
“I’m afraid not, Eva,” my potential father-in-law responds as Eva takes a sip of liquid nitrogen.
For odiums, if a name is longer than three syllables then it’s not the name of an odium, and really if anything in their lives gets too complicated they no longer consider themselves odium. Sometimes when I’m with my girlfriend’s family, I can’t help but think that if my mother tried the detoxing approach that they did, perhaps she wouldn’t be so uptight all the time. My mother, calm? The thought is almost laughable.
Eva’s father pauses between bites of intergalactic scrambled eggs to look at me. “And dear Kay,” he journeys, in that ever-calm tone of his, “I was wondering what time your parents would like you home by?”
I share a look with Eva. “Well, if we’re doing a ransom,” she starts, “then maybe--”
“Sometime after lunch?” I finish.
The other odium at the table wipes his fingers serenely on his napkin. “That’s fine by me,” he tells us. “Have you two made any extravagant plans for today?”
“Not this time,” I say, peering out of the window at the fleet and imagining what sort of chaos is ensuing at this very moment.
“That does remind me though,” my girlfriend announces, redirecting my attention. “I heard that there’s to be a new play on Quada’ar starting shortly if you’re interested. Opening night is said to be several days from now. This Saturday, I believe.”
I smile, thinking of what sort of scenario we’ll think up next to whisk me away for several hundred quaarsects. Something crazy, I’m sure.
“This Saturday, you said? Then it’s a date