Home > Choosing Theo (Clecanian #1)(5)

Choosing Theo (Clecanian #1)(5)
Author: Victoria Aveline

 Sitting up, she examined the room more thoroughly. There was a large desk in front of a picture window across from her. The desk, combined with the couch, made the room resemble a therapist’s office. She should know. She’d been in and out of enough of them.

 Through the window, glimmering silver spires could be seen stretching into the sky. Crossing to the window, she examined the spires more closely. Floating round balls, like the one she’d chased, congregated near the base of the spire, and she could see very tiny figures leaving and entering the pods.

 Jade stepped back a few feet and studied the wall she’d just been pressed against. She noticed a shallow curve to the wall. I must be in one of those weird skyscrapers.

 Jade felt a momentary surge of happiness and pride that her guesses had been correct. The round ball was a vehicle, and whatever was in it had taken her where she’d wanted to go.

 She jumped about three feet in the air when the door to her left opened. A tall, middle-aged woman entered, sending Jade scrambling back behind the arm of the low couch.

 A woman? Jade straightened, forgetting her fear. The being in front of her looked just like a human woman.

 Jade crouched back down behind the arm of the couch as she studied the woman in more detail. Not exactly human. This alien was taller than most human women and was drop-dead gorgeous. She moved with a supernatural grace Jade had never seen before. A cream-colored flowing jumpsuit that accentuated her waist billowed around her legs and arms elegantly as she moved.

 The woman glanced over at her as she entered the small room. “Oh good, you’re awake.” She gave Jade a brief smile, and then went to sit at the small desk.

 Jade blinked, trying to force her brain to catch up. Was she having a stroke, or could this woman speak English? How was that possible?

 “Can you understand me?” she asked Jade calmly.

 Still crouched behind the arm of the couch, Jade nodded.

 The woman had a kind face—alien, but kind. Her eyes were just slightly too big to be human, but they made her appear sweet and sympathetic. Long black hair trailed down her back, and when she tucked it behind her ear, Jade noticed the ear was pointed on both the top and bottom. “Good!” she exclaimed, exposing elongated canines. “Would you mind speaking so I can see if I understand you?”

 Jade opened her mouth to speak but couldn’t for the life of her think of something to say. This was all so surreal.

 “Just say ‘hello’ and tell me your name,” the woman offered helpfully.

 In a croaky voice, Jade said, “Hello, my name is Jade.”

 “Damn, that didn’t translate.” The woman frowned, clearly disappointed. “We hoped that because you had a translator installed in your ear that your language would be common.”

 Jade’s eyes widened and she touched her ear. So that must’ve been what the lizard aliens had done. Implanted a translator. If so, it was incredible. When the woman spoke, Jade heard the words instantly. Her mouth even looked like it was forming the words.

 “I can see from your expression—you didn’t know this had happened.” She said this as more of a question than a statement.

 If I have a translator, why couldn’t I understand the lizard people?

  “I’m going to ask you some questions and try to explain a few things if I can. I’d like you to nod for yes.” The woman nodded to illustrate. “And shake your head for no.” She shook her head.

 Jade nodded briefly to show she understood. The woman seemed pleased.

 “You’re on another planet.” She paused. “Did you know there was life on any planet but your own?”

 Jade shook her head vigorously.

 “I thought so.” She let out a sigh. “My name is Meya. We’re on a planet called Clecania in a city called Tremanta. I’m Clecanian.” Looking at her seriously, she said, “I’m very sorry for what has happened to you. Your planet is most likely considered a Class 4 planet, and taking you from there is against the law. Not just the law of this world but the law of most worlds in this section of the universe. Do you understand so far?”

 Jade’s head swam.

 “You had some injuries when you were brought to us. I’ve given you a mild injection to help with the pain, but I cannot fully heal you or feed you until we know your species. Did you see who took you?”

 Nod.

 “Are they still here?”

 Jade did not know how to respond. The lizards were gone, but whoever had hired them was still here. She nodded and then also shook her head.

 “Yes and no?” Meya questioned. “Hmm. I need to scan the translator in your ear in order to find out which language it’s translating to.” She held up a small device, similar to a price scanner.

 The woman hadn’t done anything to Jade thus far, and if she really wanted to, Jade suspected she could’ve scanned her translator while she’d slept. Instead, she’d waited and asked permission, which spoke volumes.

 Jade nodded. The woman rose and slowly began walking over to her like Jade was a scared animal she didn’t want to spook.

 She could just imagine her saying, “Eeeasy, girl.” Jade frowned. She was a human, not a donkey, but to a species as advanced as this, she might as well be.

 Jade turned her head to give Meya access to her ear. The device emitted a soft hum. Meya moved to her desk, studying a small screen on the device.

 “English. An Earthling language,” she said, reading the display.

 “Earthling?” Jade felt the hair on the back of her neck rise at the word. Only an alien would call a human that.

 Looking up at Jade, Meya said, “The good news is Earthling languages have been documented in the Interplanetary Archives, so we should be able to update our translators so we can understand you. The bad news is, locating the update may take a while. I’ve never even heard of an Earthling before.” Meya glanced back down at her device. “The area of space you’re from is very far from here.” Meya observed Jade studiously. “It’s strange, how alike we are. Our species, I mean.” She began studying Jade, speaking more to herself than Jade. “So amazing that a Class 4 planet species could have evolved so similarly.” She cocked her head and smiled.

 “Hopefully you can tell us more about your kind while you’re here. In the meantime, I’m going to learn what I can about humans and see how much healing I can do before a full-body scan. I’ll also be sure to check which simple foods and beverages you can have.

 “I’d like to call the leaders of the city together so you can tell us about what happened to you and so we can decide what to do with you.”

 “What do you mean, what to do with me? Send me back home!” Panic and fear overwhelmed Jade, but even as she started to argue, she remembered Meya couldn’t understand her. She clamped her mouth shut angrily.

 “I’m sorry, I didn’t get that,” Meya said, concern showing on her face. “This must be frustrating, but it will be much easier after our translators have been updated.” Meya rose to leave. “Are you comfortable waiting in here until I can arrange the meeting?”

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