Federation Directorate territory
Perched in a tree, the Cardistanian man looked through his telescope and spotted Hessian soldiers two miles away heading towards the subdivision. He was starving, having not eaten in 5 days, so his job was not going to be easy.
He was stranded on this planet, unable to safely fly back his shuttle to his ship without something to eat, and soon.
Without food, he was as doomed as the inhabitants of this planet.
He slowly climbed out of the tree, then headed quickly into the neighborhood, going from home to home, searching for homes with residents inside. They'd have food, he said to himself, and he could rescue them as well.
Every home he went to was locked, with no signs of life inside. He was running out of time, both for himself due to starvation, as well as for the residents he was trying to save.
Finally, he found a home that wasn't locked. Quietly and very carefully, he walked inside. He could hear children and an adult female speaking from behind a nearby door. The voices sounded off in the distance at first, then grew closer.
He knew he needed to get them all out of there, but also knew he'd be no good to them if he didn't have something to eat first. Five days living only on water made him too impaired to fly his shuttle back to the ship.
Quickly looking into a bedroom, he saw an infant sleeping in a crib. He then walked out of the room.
As he stood just around the corner from the door, he pointed his phaser out of habit. His hand was shaking from hunger, so he held his weapon with both hands. He was trying not to pass out.
The woman and children reached the top of the stairs. She shut the door, then turned towards him.
Seeing him there in front of her as she turned, she screamed in terror.
Her children screamed as well, and ran to the Gathering Room for safety.
Shoving her against a wall, holding her by her throat, he said urgently as he pointed his weapon at her, his hand shaking,
“Food. Where is your food, human woman? I need food. Please!”
The woman was holding a basket of laundry, but dropped it onto the floor. She put her hands up.
“In...in the kitchen. Take what you want. Please don't hurt me or my children!”, she begged, pointing towards the kitchen.
“Take me to your kitchen for food!”, he begged, his hand still around her throat and his phaser still aimed at her. Both hands were shaking.
She nodded, saying, “Alright.”, and he released her throat. The woman walked towards the kitchen with her hands up.
“Please put your phaser away. My children are frightened. I'll give you all the food you want, but please put your phaser away.”, she said, slowly lowering her hands.
He looked at the woman, then put his phaser in its holster, and followed her to the kitchen.
She told him to sit down at the table, then took out two bags of lunchmeat plus lettuce, mustard, pickles, cheese, and a loaf of bread.
He grabbed the lunchmeat out of the bags and started shoving it in his mouth, a handful at a time, not even stopping to make a sandwich first.
The woman poured him some fruit punch and he quickly drank it. She could tell he wasn't human, but wasn't sure what alien race he was.
She heated him up a meat round left over from the previous day's dinner, then put it on a bun with cheese. He ate that as well. She poured him another glass of fruit punch, and he drank it quickly.
“Thank you, human woman! You saved my life! I cannot thank you enough!”, he said in Terran as he shoved more food in his mouth.
His table manners left alot to be desired but, since the man appeared to be starving, she decided not to mention it.
“You're very welcome. When was the last time you ate?”, she asked as she handed him some reheated zappi.
“Five days ago. I was sent here on a mission. Unfortunately, the ship's prep team didn't pack any food in my shuttle. I've had water, but no food. Apparently none of us who came down here on the mission were given food. We all left our money cards on the shop, so we couldn't buy anything to eat.
”I'm the last remaining pilot on the mission. The others returned over the last couple days. A hungry Cardistanian is an angry and grouchy Cardistanian.”, he replied, smiling ever-so-slightly, poking abit of fun at his race, eating the zappi as he spoke.
“You're Cardistanian. Why are you here? This is Federation Directorate territory. You Cardistanians tend to stay out of our territory.”, she asked.
”That's very true. We do travel through your territory occasionally, but we tend to stay away from your planets.
“Federation Directorate asked us to check something out for them here on your planet. Because we're allies, we agreed to help them, since for some reason there were no Federation Directorate ships in your vicinity.
”Do you hear that? Do you feel that?“, he asked, suddenly hyper-aware of everything around them. The woman shook her head.
”I need you and your children to pack only what you absolutely need. I need to get all of you out of here immediately. I'll explain once we're in my shuttle.“, he replied.
”You'll have to explain more of what is going on, Sir, before my children and I go anywhere with you!
“You broke into my home, pointed your phaser at me, grabbed me by my throat, terrified my children, shoved food in your mouth in a disgusting display of gross, nonexistent table manners!
”And now you want us to pack and go somewhere with you? We don't even know who you are or what you're doing here! All you've said is you're on a mission here. I don't think so! We're staying right here!“, she said defiantly.
”Ma'am, you saved my life, and now I want to save yours. The longer we stay here, the more danger you're all in!
“Trust me, you don't want your children to see what the Hessians will do to you if you're captured! And you don't want to see what they'll do to your children! Now please, Ma'am...hurry!“, he replied urgently.
She immediately sent her three oldest to pack their clothes and a few toys to keep them occupied. They packed their blankets as well, putting everything in cloth totes and backpacks. She packed diapers, her clothes and other supplies, packing them in two large cloth totes.
She then had her oldest three use the bathroom, changed her youngest child's diaper, and emptied the clothes from the clothes basket into a large plastic bag with the alien man's help.
The woman and her children then all came back downstairs. She was wearing her youngest, two months old, in an infant sling and carrying her purse, a diaper bag and the two large cloth totes.
The children carried their own cloth totes, which were lighter. She put the heavier totes in a stroller, deciding it would only slow them down if they had to carry them.
He picked up the other cloth totes, and her youngest daughter as well, while her older children held her hands.
”We can take your transport pod to my shuttle. Hurry now! We don't have much time before they get here.“, he said.
Seconds later, Chirek said, ”Wait!“
Chirek looked out the back window then said,
”Everybody downstairs! They're in your yard and heading towards your door! Kids, be as quiet as you can!“
They ran downstairs as he pointed his phaser towards the door. He had the door open just a crack.
The soldiers walked in the house and saw the food on the table. As they left the room and walked upstairs, he motioned to the family to quickly and quietly walk out the back door, which the soldiers had left open. He quietly closed the door behind them.
Once outside they ran to the pod.
”I'll fly your pod to my shuttle. The soldiers will soon realize we've snuck out. They'll hear the pod abit, but not as quickly or as loudly as they would if I hadn't shut the door.“, he said as he started the pod.
When they arrived at his shuttle, he quickly ushered the family inside, then put their belongings into the craft, locking the door behind them immediately.
”Strap your children into this seat while I start the shuttle and raise our shields. Then sit here in this seat and strap yourself in as well.
“They're getting closer!“, he said as calmly as possible, not wanting to frighten the children more than they already were.
Once she sat down, he immediately started lifting the shuttle off the ground. She screamed as she saw several heavily-armed soldiers rushing towards them, firing their phasers at the shuttle as it lifted up off the ground.
”Our shields are up. They'll protect us.“, he said.
When the shuttle was 25 feet off the ground, it sped off towards the sky. Within five minutes, it was in the void of space.
”What's going on? Why did we...? What's going on? Do they have anything to do with your mission?“, she asked him.
”Those were Hessian soldiers. The Hessian Federation is trying to take over the planet by sending radioactive soundwaves to the planet's core, trying to irradiate the planet.
“They think if everyone is sick or dying from radiation sickness, they can take over more easily.
“Our mission was to find where they were hiding out at. I'd tracked one battalion of soldiers to approximately five miles from your neighborhood and advancing fast. I was also looking for residents so that I could get them out of there.
”Yours was the only house with anyone inside. I'm sorry I frightened you like I did. I meant you and your children no harm.
”I appreciate the food. Had I been feeling better, I would've noticed the buzzing and the sound of the soldiers approaching much sooner.
“Please forgive my manners, Ma'am. I'm Colonel Chirek Qhot, elite warrior of the Cardistanian Empire. My home planet is Cardistan.
”It's a pleasure to meet you and your children. My children will enjoy meeting all of you as well.”, he said, smiling broadly.
“It's a pleasure to meet you too. I'm Yanitsa Thiehlen. These are my children Louis, Nadya, Lucia, and Jack. Peter, my husband, was a fighter pilot. He died eleven months ago on a training mission while on deployment.
”Chirek, if I may call you by your first name, what's going to happen to our home, our neighborhood, and our friends? How many children do you have?”, she asked.
“I'm not sure, but it definitely won't be fit for habitation for a long while once the Hessians are done with it. I have 3 children. Three beautiful daughters, ages 13, 10, and 7. I'm a widower, raising my girls on my own since my youngest was born.”, Chirek said.
Five minutes later they arrived at the ship.
“You'll all be safe here.“, Chirek said as he guided the shuttle into the hangar bay.
After exiting the craft, he helped them out, carrying their belongings and her youngest daughter in his arms. The older children carried backpacks and totes as well.
Yanitsa pushed Jack in his stroller. There were Cardistanians everywhere, she noticed.
Crewmembers watched them with intense interest. Although the Federation Directorate and the Cardistanians were allies, it was unusual for a human family to be aboard a Cardistanian ship.
”The humans seem quite pleasant enough.“, the crew said to themselves.
Chirek guided her to the lift that would take them to the floor where his cabin was located.
Eventually they arrived at his cabin. He told her they'd have their own cabin once she and the kids were comfortable around Cardistanians. For now though, they would share his cabin with him and his children.
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