Chapter 21:


From University Graduate to Soldier in an Interstellar Conflict: I Got Isekaied to an Alien World at War

I sit in the back of the ship, left to my own devices. Delume hasn’t bothered me since our chat. I wonder if I scared it away with my insistence that I don’t need to be guarded like the Japanese emperor. If so, that was never my intention. Beings shouldn’t have their romantic feelings suppressed, regardless of who it is. And the same should apply to aliens.Bookmark here

The signs were there, but I didn’t see them. The sleeping bag made from her skin. The directing of the statue's creation in my likeness. How did I not see it? The hints were right under me all along, but I saw it as kindness. That was my mistake. I have learned my lesson. From now on, I will be more suspicious of their good deeds and kind words.Bookmark here

But I enjoy not having my personal space encroached on the regular. I can’t deal with that, no matter how madly enamoured one can be. Maybe she’ll figure out what I meant. And, from now on, it will regulate her behaviour when I am around. I don’t have a grievous distaste for her company if that's what she thinks.Bookmark here

The ship is slowing down. We’re here.Bookmark here

Once outside, I rush to see if the Mutu will say something to confirm its promise to me. It’s been too long. Anytime would be great to tell me what it knows of the black hole incident, but all it does is look at me before turning away.Bookmark here

“You bastard, why don’t you say something for once? All you do is stay in the same spot and do nothing.”Bookmark here

It remains quiet.Bookmark here

“Just talk for once. Come on, open up! If you cared about me, you would’ve told me what you knew years ago.” I get into its face. “We gave you a nice break and you’re still holding on to your solitude? That’s unfair to me.”Bookmark here

“Okay, Sato. This is not the way to do it,” said Braltui as it and Haibul pulled me away.Bookmark here

For me to go off on it wasn’t a rarity. Its silence provoked that behaviour to spill out. I can’t stand it. If my parents are dead, just tell me. Don’t leave me in limbo. Crush my spirits now so I can give up on this dream. But without confirmation nor denial, how can I progress with my life? Yes, I will be fighting aliens for the immediate future, but my mind will become clearer based on what it tells me. Not knowing the survival of a family member is hard. With death, you can have closure. But when they are missing, it implies hope.Bookmark here

I want the truth. I need it.Bookmark here

The fate of my parents are withheld by this... this… this vermin! Stuff like this is why I’m not a fan of the Gloup. I struggle with why I fight with them, I really do.Bookmark here

“Being aggressive will make it more reluctant to speak.” Braltui sounded tired. It repeated this to me over and over in some variation more than it would like in many of my outbursts.Bookmark here

“I know… But I just want answers.”Bookmark here

“It will speak when the time comes. To act in an angry tone like me isn’t the way.”Bookmark here

“I understand.” They let me go. As soon as I took one step forward for me to go into my house, I check the backlog of messages and I couldn’t care less, but I read anyway.Bookmark here

The lifeforms that were missing are totally missing. With no other understanding of those dead and those gone, we have no choice but to accept that the Caxhels have made away with them. In other news, the ones that have eaten the Potuks was tracked down. The utilizing of implanted portable substance analysers is what was used to find them. The beings who killed them by biting their flesh, the Savel, are committed to fighting for Me’blenxclan’s future. Our full energy will revert to the taking out of more possible sleeper cells: the current big danger to the Gloup. Bookmark here

This is their statement. What was stated didn’t require a crystal ball.Bookmark here

“Sato,” Fruisolp taps my leg. “Delume is shouting your name. Didn’t you hear?” It points to her as she was coming towards us. “I’ll leave you two alone. Have fun!”Bookmark here

“You don’t have to say it like that.”Bookmark here

“Like what?” It snorts.Bookmark here

“Like that.”Bookmark here

“It’s your fault for educating us about human culture. Don’t blame me. Those memories said a lot as well.”Bookmark here

I hold my head in shame. That’s what I get for blabbering.Bookmark here

“Sato...” It was Delume. It was right in my line of sight, so I couldn’t miss what it has to tell me.Bookmark here

“Yes?”Bookmark here

“Sato, I will be a female for you.”Bookmark here

This got my sweat pores overflowing. “Oh no, you don’t have to. You all are androgynous. There’s no need to do that.”Bookmark here

“Well, I just thought that it will make you feel more comfortable since humans are used to two genders: male and female.”Bookmark here

“Well yes, but to conform to human norms is not what I want from you. Just be yourself, that’s all.”Bookmark here

“Can you tell me if this is true, then?”Bookmark here

“Sure.”Bookmark here

“You see me as someone to work with, not as something more, don’t you?”Bookmark here

“Well, ummmm… Welllll… You cannnn say…”Bookmark here

“I see. So you don’t feel that way.”Bookmark here

“Yes, but no.”Bookmark here

It requested clarification. What I said didn’t make sense.Bookmark here

“Well, what I mean is… Ummm… Well, as you can see…” What am I doing? Just man up and tell her how you feel. This same lack of confidence is why you never had a girlfriend. “I’m sorry. I should be more honest with you. The truth is, I never liked you the way you liked me.” I become squeamish anticipating the worst, thinking all women are passionate to a fault for their crushes, and that I will be at the epicentre of her tremors.Bookmark here

“You should’ve told me sooner. That’s all.”Bookmark here

She doesn’t hate me? I was sure it would… Damn it, I’m conflating my gender pronouns.Bookmark here

“I’m sorry for making our relationship awkward. I just had this strange feeling I didn’t know how to deal with it. It took me a while to rationalise, but once I did, I had to act on it. I hope you understand.”Bookmark here

I gave a fervid nodding.Bookmark here

“So friends?”Bookmark here

“Friends.”Bookmark here

I pat her head as we walk to my house for vocabulary exercises.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

…Arouse, Delight, Liking, Disposition, Warmth, Tenderness, Fondness, Desire, Intrigue, Solicitude, Worship, Ardour, Devotion, Doting, Lust, Infatuation, Yearning, Attachment, Affair, Delight, Infatuation, Darling, Sweetheart, Inamorata, Girlfriend, Honey, Angel, My Love, Amour, Beloved, Intimate, Intimacy, Intimateness, Infinitetism…Bookmark here

Waityuix shut off the machine. “This is not it, metal suit. This is the fourth instance in a row you’re repeating old words while not pronouncing them properly.”Bookmark here

“It’s this romance novel I read before I got here. All this love talk got me thinking about it. That book provided no interest to me. Seeing that type of interpersonal development was not a compelling draw considering the types of stories I consume. I hated the cover too. The use of zany art and lettering didn’t match the general tone of the text.”Bookmark here

“So chuck it to the side and get concentrating. You a wuss?!” Haibul had to be corrected for her tone. Fruisolp and the rest were frustrated with our slow progress, but they were more moderate. Being aggressive was not how to doBookmark here

“I’m not in the proper state of mind.”Bookmark here

Waityuix suggested that we should take five.Bookmark here

I go to generate some soup. The warm flavours should make me at ease. While waiting for it to be completed, something bumped into me.Bookmark here

“Sato, are you thinking about me?”Bookmark here

“No, uhhhh… Why you would think that? Didn’t we clarify this earlier?”Bookmark here

“It’s just that we would like to get this done, and you’re holding us back. The sooner you get whatever is bothering you off your chest, the better.”Bookmark here

“No, I have nothing to let off.”Bookmark here

“You can’t lie like that, Sato. Tell me what’s wrong.”Bookmark here

“Okay,” I inform her the whole talk we had regarding our feelings is getting to me. That ‘being a female’ stuff tripped me up. It’s tough to move on when a lifeform says something like that. Getting that out of your head is not easy.Bookmark here

“You can do it. Just let it go.”Bookmark here

“Okay, I’ll try. I know I can.”Bookmark here

It didn’t work. Today was a dead end. But there were able to stay for more than a day – the first instance they were permitted to do so.Bookmark here

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They went back to their ship, leaving behind the language machine for tomorrow’s attempt.Bookmark here

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