Jane find Gorlak after he escapes from the scouts after they land on Earth. The body of the Dray is investigated by the Ourea doctors. Gorlak begins to recover. Gorlak learns how to be understood. Gorlak harms a couple of guards during a mental break / nightmare Jane fights to keep Gorlak in their camp after he attacks the guards.
She challenges the council to an election claiming that they no-longer stand for what the organisation was set up for: building relationships with intelligence in the galaxy.
5 YEARS PREVIOUSLY
It was raining, heavy, cold, depressing. Jane hated Wednesdays.
Another day in their little camp of misfits and pot heads. Jane had moved past regretting her decision to join the Ourea towards a new level of numbness with the entire situation.
She worked for Jim - the leader of the camp - as well as his cronies. The founders of their cult were a ragged collection of social dissidents, scientists and ecowarriors. Mostly her jobs involved organising their lives so they had hot water and fresh bed linens. She’d thought she was joining a movement, an alliance of likeminded driven people. A place that meant something, that finally after all her years of just sitting idly by, watching the stars and waiting for something to happen to her - life might finally be ready to get exciting. It was a leap of faith to leave her family and her job to run away and join their movement.
Regret didn’t even come close to how she felt about that decision now.
Sometimes you can just tell that a day is going to be especially boring, as she looked out over the washing up she was doing for one of the leaders - who was still passed out from a heavy night of boozing and preaching - she watched the water run mini streams over the glass of window. In the distance, towards the edge of the camp there was a noise. Someone was shouting but it wasn’t in alarm, it was more like excitement.
She took off the worn yellow gloves, dropped them by the sink, looked towards the door of the bedroom housing the still snoring leader - sighed - and exited the shack. Someone ran past her as she was pulled the door closed, she thought she heard them mutter something like, “They’ve found one..”, but without the context her mind started spiralling with possibilities about what they might have found. She chased the messenger towards the noise at the edge of camp.
Their camp (cult) was built on the ideology of peace across the galaxy but most people who actually lived here didn’t actually believe in extra-terrestrial life, they just enjoyed the vibe of the camp, using it as an escape from real life which they knew they would return to after a couple of months.
Jane slowed to a jog as she approached the mob. She couldn’t tell what they were looking at. She saw people handing over money, giggling, looking dazed, looking fearful. As the mob thinned a little she got her first glimpse of him.
There was an alien lying at their gates.
He looked awful. Black ooze dripping from wounds in his side and head. His exoskeleton fractured in multiple places.
No one was helping him. They were just standing around like fools, laughing about the absurdity of the situation. Jane paused and had to take a breath.
No one was helping him. So she would.
She barged through the mob, shoving them aside. She knelt by the body. Looking up, she told the first person who met her eye to get a stretcher. Internally she was still freaking out that this was all real, externally she was acting like the leader that the situation needed. She found another unwilling recruit and sent them off to get the on-duty doctor to prepare a sterile room.
After a minute of inspecting his body and trying to guess whether it would actually be safe to move him or whether that would be the final nail in his coffin (chrysalis?!), she resolved that he’d made it as far as their camp and that if they could get him somewhere safe to recover then he was in with a chance.
The stretcher arrived. She pulled two more people out of the slowly dissipating crowd to help her roll him onto the stretcher whilst trying to protect his fragile looking flesh. Less gently that she would have liked they got him onto the stretcher. It took four of them to lift him, with the stretch bowing unnervingly under his weight. Slowly they made their way across the camp to the medical centre.
The camp doctor was quite clearly freaking out when they arrived and it was only Jane who could stop him from shouting about procedure and to open one of the patient rooms so they could get the alien onto a bed. The air in the room tasted stale. The doctor couldn’t deal with the reality of the situation and promptly left before they even got the stretcher fully into the room. He could be heard muttering about what he’d signed up for as he stumbled away.
They got their patient onto the bed. Only now did the double layered lid of his left eye begin to spread - the right looked crusted closed from some dried material that had leaked from his skull. What had, up to that moment been a limp limb, now sprang up to grab the closest stretcher bearer by the throat.
Jane had managed to keep her cool through the entire episode, but she’d admit to herself later this was the closest she got to her breaking point. She could see the power in the arm of the creature, despite looking half-dead he looked strong enough to kill or at least maim everyone in that room, before succumbing to his injuries.
Another one of the stretcher bearers started to rush forward to help his colleague. Jane stopped him before he got much closer. She took a breath and started to figure her way through the situation. She calmly told them all to remain very still and very quiet.
Looking to the bed containing their new guest she spoke as calmly as her heart rate would allow. “My name’s Jane. What’s your’s?”
She felt so stupid starting the first actual contact with a (hopefully) intelligent life-form not from Earth like this, but it was all she could think of, so went with it.
The eye swivelled towards her.
The mouth opened. He gargled something unrecognisable. He stopped. He seemed to try again with the same result.
“I can’t understand you, but that’s alright. I’m sure we’ll figure something out.” She found herself taking on friendly-aunty-mode hoping it would do something to calm him.
“This guy right here,” She reached up to put her hand on the quiet, convulsing human in the alien’s grip, “He’s called Paul. I’m gonna need you to let go of him.” She paused. “Can you blink to let me know you understand?” She waited a second and then winked at the creature on the bed. “Like this.” She whispered, feeling ridiculous, thinking how mad it was that she was talking to a dangerous, gargantuan creature and expecting it to act like a puppy.
The alien’s head tilted slightly.
The sweat was showing on Paul’s forehead now. His eyes were looking around wildly, seeming to plead for someone to help him.
The alien blinked his large right eye slowly.
“Great. Now I want you to know that you’re safe here, but the only way that I’m going to be able to help you is if you let go of my friend.” She raised her arm slowly demonstrating the motion with her fist spreading to an open hand - the creature’s eyes followed her every movement.
The alien seemed to spend a second considering the proposal. His grip loosened and then he released Paul who crumpled to the floor before scrabbling his way towards the door.
Paul stood by the door rubbing his throat. “Well what are you waiting for?”, he shouted, “Shoot it!”
The alien’s eye enlarged even further and he seemed to start struggling to the edge of the bed.
“Wait.” Jane shouted back as some of the audience started to unholster weapons from their waists. “Paul, get a grip, he’s just shown you mercy in a situation where he had no reason to trust us. Let’s not show him that his faith was misplaced, yeah?”
Eyes on the alien now, but still talking to the room, Jane continued, “He’s wounded, badly. Consider what you would do if you were cornered somewhere with no idea if you could trust these people around you. We need to show him right now that he’s come to the right place.”
The alien seemed to relax just a little. Jane glanced back and saw the people sharing glances and then slowly holstering weapons.
Jane breathed and noticed that thankfully some of the tension in the room had lifted.
“This is fucking madness.” Paul huffed as he shoved his way out of the room.
“Alright you can all go, I’ll be fine here. I’ll shout if I need anything, thanks for you help.” Jane nodded to her stretcher bearers.
She touched the arm of one of her closer friends in the room, asking them to see if Paul was actually alright and to try to calm him down. There was no point having someone shouting their mouth off about the dangerous alien they had in the medical centre.