Matt Hanson and his 3 sons lived on a farm on the planet Milya in the Lambda Quadrant of deep space. His wife had died 4 years earlier. They were humans whose family had lived on the planet, like so many other humans, for at least 300 years, having traveled in the Great Migration from Earth after the nuclear holocaust of the early-22nd century.
He was a tall (6'4"), tanned, muscular man with medium-length brown hair, neatly-trimmed beard, brown eyes, and a chestful of hair.
He was a trained, well-respected, and highly decorated pilot but, after his wife's sudden death, he'd resigned his commission and returned home to raise their sons on their farm.
He occasionally admitted to missing the excitement of flying around the galaxy, but everyone who knew Matt knew that his family always came first to him.
One morning during the Cold Season Matt woke up and, after dressing, put his coat on to go feed their livestock, collect eggs, and milk the cows and goats.
It had snowed overnight. As Matt opened the door, he noticed footprints in the snow leading towards the barn. There was a blue liquid as well.
“Hey boys, any of you walk to the barn during the night?”, he asked. They all shook their heads.
“Martok, stay here and keep an eye on your brothers. I see prints and some strange blue liquid coming from the river to the barn.”, he said to his eldest, aged 15, as he grabbed his phaser.
The footprints seemed small, too small, for a full-grown man, but Matt wasn't taking any chances. The prints and liquid went from the direction of the river to his barn.
They looked as if they weren't made by someone or something walking in a straight line but, rather, by something or someone who had been staggering. With the amount of liquid he saw, whatever or whomever made them was not only not human, but was most definitely seriously injured.
When Matt arrived at the barn, he noticed the lock was opened.
“What the hell? I know damn well I locked this door last night.”, he thought to himself.
Senses heightened even more now, he aimed his phaser and slowly opened the barn door, shutting it quietly after entering.
“If anyone's in here, they're not getting out easily, if I have anything to say about it!”, he said to himself.
Quietly, without a word, he looked in each stall for the intruder. He spotted the blue liquid in the barn as well. As he neared the back of the barn, he heard soft groaning, as if something or someone was in pain.
Reaching the back of the barn, he looked to his left and saw a humanoid woman laying in the hay, semi-conscious and bleeding the same blue liquid he'd seen outside.
Matt quickly holstered his phaser and ran over to her.
The woman was approximately in her mid-20's. Her skin was entirely blue, and she had ridges on her nose from the bridge most of the way down that lay flat against her nose. She had markings on her forehead and over her eyes, deep blue eyes that were now quite pale, and long black hair that went down her back halfway to the top of her posterior.
On her right ear she wore an ear cuff with a chain that was connected to a gold hoop earring. Both of her ears had a piercing in the innermost cartilage fold of her ears. She had been badly beaten, and needed immediate medical attention.
“It's alright, Miss! I'm Matt Hansen. You're safe here on my farm. I'm not going to hurt you. What's your name?”
She looked positively terrified, and didn't speak. “Give me just one minute and I'll be right back, Miss!”, he said.
Running back to the house, Matt called out, “Martok, bring a heavy blanket out to the barn please! There's an injured woman out there, and bleeding badly!
”Materri, please put two bath towels and a pillow on the couch for her to lay on! Martohn, get my first aid kit, and also put on a pot of tea, please!”, he said to his sons.
Martok followed him back to the barn, handing Matt the blanket when they got to her. Matt covered her up, picked her up into his arms, then said,
”My son and I are going to bring you into our house. You'll be warmer there, and we can tend to your injuries better as well.“
Turning to Martok, he said, ”Make sure the door's locked when we leave, please.“
Once inside the house, Matt placed her on the couch by their fireplace. He held her hand and, squeezing it gently, calmly told her,
”You're safe here. May I have your permission to look you over and treat your injuries?“ She nodded, gratitude along with intense fear emanating from her eyes.
Along with numerous cuts and bruises to her face, arms, abdomen, and back, she had a large twig sticking out of her left thigh.
Her right wrist was sprained, and she had numerous bruises on both legs. She'd obviously been a punching bag for someone, or "several someones", as Matt's boys liked to say.
He said, ”It's going to hurt as I pull this twig out, but I need to do that to stop your bleeding. I need you to take a deep breath and hold it.“
The young woman did as he said and, as Matt removed the twig, she screamed in agony through clenched teeth.
Once the twig was out, he told her to exhale slowly. He put an antibiotic cream on the injury, bandaged her leg, put an elastic wrap on her wrist, covered her up, then said,
”There you go, Miss. We'll get a pillow for you to rest your wrist on, and will put some ice on your larger contusions. What's your name?“
She said nothing, too terrified to speak. ”Who did this to you?“, Matt asked. Once again, she gave no answer.
”Did humans do this to you?“, he asked. She nodded shyly.
”What race are you, and what planet are you from?” Still no answer, but at least he had an idea why she wasn't speaking.
“You're perfectly safe here, Miss. You're on the planet Milya. These are my sons Martok, Materri and Martohn. Would you like some tea? I'll have breakfast ready in a little bit. You just sit here like this and relax.”, Matt said. She nodded nervously.
Matt started breakfast and Martok handed her some tea.
“I'll go get the eggs, Dad.”, he said.
“Dad makes the best scrambled eggs, sausage and potatoes! He scrambles everything together!”, he told her, smiling.
Laughing, Matt said, “The only thing I'm good at cooking is breakfast. Oh, and spicy meat soup. Otherwise I'm a horrible cook!
”We're having spicy meat soup for lunch, by the way. Are you a good cook?”, he asked. She shrugged her shoulders.
Martok came in with a basket full of eggs. “Here you go, Dad.“, he said, handing Matt the basket.
The boys had never seen anyone with blue skin before, and were discreetly looking at her, trying not to stare at her. She noticed them, but said nothing.
"She's more terrified of you than you are of her.”, Matt told his sons quietly.
Martok wasn't too nervous, he told Matt. He was more fascinated than anything.
Matt cracked twelve eggs into the skillet containing sausage and potatoes he'd been cooking. He stirred everything together, adding shredded cheese to the mixture.
When the eggs were fully cooked, he filled the boys' plates and they sat down to eat. He poured them each a glass of orange juice as well, then filled two more plates and went over to sit and eat with her for a few minutes.
After she'd eaten a few bites, Matt handed her a glass of orange juice. She took a few sips and smiled shyly. Matt smiled at her in return.
After breakfast, it was time for the boys to do their schoolwork. She watched them, listening intently to their lessons.
After a few hours, it was time for lunch. Matt had been simmering the spicy meat soup all morning. The boys took a break from their lessons and started eating.
Matt brought a bowl over to her, along with a glass of iced tea. He ate his lunch with the boys, then went over to see if she wanted another bowl. She nodded, handing him her bowl. He refilled it as well as her glass of iced tea.
After lunch, it was time to get back to their lessons. Around 4pm, they quit for the day. Matt told them they'd be going to town in two days for supplies.
”You're welcome to come with us. We'll be having lunch there as well. You'll be perfectly safe with us.“, he told her, smiling. She still hadn't spoken, and Matt decided not to rush her.
They had the rest of the spicy meat soup for dinner.
Eventually, it was time to get some sleep. Matt suggested she sleep in his room since it was closer to the bathroom. He'd sleep on the couch. She shook her head.
He then suggested they share the bed. That way, he told her, he could help her if she needed assistance during the night or the next morning, at least until her injuries were fully healed.
At that point, one would sleep on the couch while the other slept in the bed, switching once a week. She nodded, but was obviously very wary of him.
”I promise, you're perfectly safe with me. I'm not like those other humans. I'm not going to hurt you.“, he said, looking at her knowingly.
He gave her one of his late wife's nightgowns, then left the room so she could have some privacy while changing clothes.
Five minutes later he re-entered the room, knocking lightly first before entering. She'd already climbed into bed, and was laying near the edge. He told her it'd be best if she didn't sleep so close to the edge in case she fell out of bed.
He reassured her he wouldn't hurt her. She then moved away from the edge abit, closer to the middle.
”Goodnight. Sleep well.“, he said, covering up her shoulder with the quilt.
Matt heard her crying softly a few minutes later, but decided not to frighten her by putting his arms around her to comfort her. Her crying continued for another 30 minutes or so until she fell asleep.
The next morning he woke before she did. He covered up her shoulder once again. The boys joined him in the kitchen as he made breakfast. He'd decided to make a real treat, steak and eggs with mashed potatoes, gravy, and buttered dinner rolls.
Their guest must have smelled the meal cooking because, just a few minutes later, they saw her walking slowly to the bathroom.
Afterwards, she walked towards the kitchen, then ran back to the bedroom and hid under the covers.
Matt went to see if she wanted to join them for breakfast. As he gently pulled the covers back, she screamed in terror.
”It's okay! It's okay! I'm not going to hurt you! I just came in here to see if you wanted some breakfast, that's all. Breakfast is ready if you're hungry. Come on, you're safe.“, he told her.
She cowered under the covers.
”Whenever you're ready, just come on out. I'll have a plate for you.“, he said as he turned to leave the room.
Two minutes later, she shyly walked out of the bedroom. ”Here you go.“, Matt said, putting a full plate on the table. ”Here's some lemonade as well.“
He'd cut her steak for her, knowing it'd be uncomfortable for her to cut it with her sprained wrist.
She then slowly started eating. She liked the food, but was still frightened by the humans.
”Would you like more lemonade?“, Matt asked her. She nodded shyly. ”Do you know what planet you're on?”, he asked.
She shook her head. “Are you from Milya, our planet?”, he asked. She shook her head. “Are you from a planet in our solar system?” She shrugged her shoulders.
“Do you know the names of the planets in your solar system?”, he asked. She shook her head. “Do you know what a solar system is?”, he asked gently. She looked at him blankly, then shook her head.
“Do you know what planet you're from?” She shook her head.
“Do you know what race you are?” She nodded her head. “Well that's good. That's something.”, Matt said, smiling reassuringly at her.
“You ARE able to talk, but don't want to because you're afraid of us, right?” She nodded once again. “Okay, that's understandable. That makes perfect sense.
”Humans hurt you, and you're in a cabin surrounded by humans. I completely understand being afraid.
“Just remember one thing though. Yes, humans hurt you, but humans also helped you, and are keeping you safe.”, Matt said, smiling reassuringly at her as he poured her another glass of lemonade.
Merci pour la lecture!
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