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Chapters
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
 
 
 

Bara Nocta - REVIEW THIS STORY

Written by Protege moi
Last updated: 07/30/2007 11:36:51 AM

Chapter 1

She was staring, she knew she was, but she couldnít help it. Reia had never seen a human before. Well, she had on the news, on vid-screens and on media pads...In fact, that was probably the only reason why she recognized him as human. Terran, yes, thatís what the media called them. But what was a Terran doing on Chandílar? As far as she knew, the Shiíar hadnít made first contact with Earthís government yet. She knew of the X-Men; was he an X-man? She pondered that thought for a moment, but then rejected it. The X-Men were close to the Majestrix, having aided her many times when the Empire was in peril. No, an X-Man wouldnít be found here, not in these parts. So, why had a Terran just entered this restaurant in the middle of the seediest hemisphere on Chandílar? Reia considered him to be incredibly stupid; obviously he didnít know much about Chandílar if he was in Bara Nocta. Even the police kept their distance from this hemisphere. They only entered it unless they absolutely had to, and usually it ended in their deaths. Bara Nocta was run by the gangs. The Imperial Guards gave up on it a long time ago. The nobles didnít dare show their faces in these parts for fear of being assassinated. Yes, the gangs had power here. Unfortunately, Bara Nocta was one of the "affordable" places to live. The nobles called it "the projects." The small, almost non-existent middle class called it suburbia. Reia called it home.

She continued to watch this stranger from her table in the restaurant. At least this Terran had chosen a safe place to eat...well, safe to Bara Nocta standards. Morbidly fascinated in this Terranís fate, Reia continued to stare as the owner walked over to him. Trouble, Reia thought. The gangs didnít take kindly to strangers, especially aliens. Definitely stupid.

Finalement, Remy thought to himself. He had been standing at the entrance to this restaurant, if you could call it that, for two minutes before any moved in his direction to seat him. He was hungry, and this seemed like the safest place to eat. He didnít like it here. He could tell it was trouble...like the streets of L.A., but ten, no twenty times worse. Despite holding a considerable amount of respect and knowledge of the streets of New Orleans, Remy still felt uneasy here. This was walking into danger.

"Can I help you?" A voice interrupted his thoughts.

Merde, I knew he was cominí too! Remy looked at the man. He had a sickly weight, and his smile revealed a row of yellow rotting teeth. Remy returned the smile, "Iíd like a table, please." The man looked at him in surprise. Remy was trying to tone down his Shiíar from the small bit of the formal dialect he had picked up on various stays at the palace. Perhaps it wasnít toned down enough. Remy tried not to show any apprehension, hoping that he hadnít sounded too pretentious.

"Yes, of course," was the response. The gaunt man appeared not to notice the quality of Remyís Shiíar. He motioned for Remy to follow and rasped, "Right this way."

Remy let out an internal sigh of relief. Merci Dieu, he thought as he looked slightly upwards. He was already a stranger to these parts, and Remy had already figured out that being taken for the wrong kind of stranger was asking for death. When he refocused, he decided to do another scan of the room. To his left, there were three rather large looking Shiíar sitting in a booth. They were hunched of the table speaking in hushed voices. It was obviously not a conversation meant for public ears. The one in the middle was older by Shiíar standards, and had a rather large scar that ran from the corner of his lip to his ear. Obviously this part of Chandílar couldnít afford proper medical care. Remy had never seen a scar on a single Shiíar, other than some of Lilandraís older Generals. He knew their medical technology was highly advanced, but apparently it was expensive. It was then that the scarred man raised a hand to motion silence that Remy noted some rather expensive and gaudy rings adorning all five of his fingers. Gang leader, Remy thought to himself.

He passed a table of younger Shiíar boys. Tíings doní change much from home, I íspose. The boys, well younger Shiíar males, were acting much like one would expect to see from a group of teenaged gangsters in the Bronx. There was a definite tension between the two sides of the restaurant. Remy could smell it. Gangs. Yet, there was this imaginary barrier that ran down the middle of the restaurant that Remy instinctively knew was there as he watched the gaunt man in front of him shoot warning glances to certain tables. This was his restaurant, and no one crossed that line. There was no fighting in this place. Remy new this man had to hold a fair bit of respect in a place like this for an unwritten rule of neutrality to exist in this restaurant, and actually be obeyed by the gangs.

He could feel eyes watching him. He wasnít surprised. Why not? Youíre a stranger, an outsider...human. You doní belong íere, you know dat homme. Oí course dere be eyes on you. Remy also new that once he wasnít perceived as a threat, he would be monitored, glanced at from time to time. Except for one pair of eyes - they belonged to a girl sitting in clear view of the entrance. Sheíd been watching him ever since heíd crossed the threshold. Here was nothing malicious about her staring, though. That was just it, she was staring...curious. Sheíd probably never seen a human before, Remy figured.

"Your table," the man rasped.

"Thank you." Remy sat as the patron handed him a data pad, obviously the menu.

"I hope you know how to read." He started to laugh. The laugh turned into a cough. Remy smiled and took the pad from him.

"Iím sure Iíll find something."

The girl was still staring. Ironically enough, Remyís table was only a few paces from hers. Until now, he had pretended not to notice her, but now he decided to look in her direction and offer a smile that said "I know youíre starting at me."

Okay, busted. Reia broke her stare. She had followed this incredibly stupid Terran with her eyes all the way to his table. She hadnít heard what was said between him and Marínan, but she could see a lot of body language. Judging by the smile the Terran gave Marínan when he offered the menu, he didnít know the Shiíar language. Poor bugger, she thought. She chided herself for it first, but then proceeded to pick up her drink and walk over to his table. For whatever reason, Reia felt the need to be charitable. As much as her home was Bara Nocta, she didnít condone the way people in these parts conducted themselves. She was not like them; she was going to be civil. He watched her carefully as she took the empty seat at his table. She couldnít read any expression on his face at all. She felt a little awkward, but proceeded to introduce herself.

"Hi, Iím Reia." She offered a small wave. She had no idea if he understood a word she said, but it was worth a shot. To her surprise, she heard him respond.

"Remy." He offered a hand. She took it.

Okay, so he got the name thing. Pretty basic, I suppose. She smiled. "You new around here?" By Shara, Reia! How stupid! Of course heís new around here! Heís not even Shiíar. How school girl. Please let him not know Shiíar.

"I guess you could say that." Remy let out a small chuckle as he watched her face flush a little. He gathered she hadnít expected him to know Shiíar, especially from the slowness in her speech when she introduced herself. Her asking if he was new around here...probably school girl nerves. But she wasnít a school girl. Remy could see that she was past the age of majority, but she was still young by Shiíar standards. "Iíll bet you say dat to all the boys."

She blushed even more. He had an accent, which she supposed was only normal. But jeez, his response! Was he being a jerk? Or was he trying to make her feel better for making a stupid comment by making one himself. She decided to change the subject. "See anything interesting on the menu?"

It was a probing question, Remy knew. She was trying to figure out just how much he knew about the Shiíar and life on Chandílar. "It, um, all looks...interesting." He smiled, "If I knew what dese foods were, dat is..." He paused for a moment. "Períaps you can recommend sometíiní?"

"The soupís good...creamy marinthot." The blank look on his face prompted her to explain, "Itís a starch like vegetable..."

Sound like potato to me. He glanced over at her now vacant table. "Is dat what you íad?"

She blushed again, "Yeah." She looked at him with new seriousness. "What brings you to Chandílar? Especially Bara Nocta? You know you donít exactly belong here, right? Not to be rude or anything..." Damn girl, youíre babbling! But she couldnít help it. He was handsome, even if he wasnít Shiíar. There was just something about him.

"Um, Iím wantiní to experience Chandílar...de real Chandílar...not what de diplomats would waní yaí tí see."

Okay...stupider than I thought. She smiled, "Well, yes, the politicians definitely donít want to show you this place. They have a hard enough time acknowledging our existence. But honestly...Remy?...you could have picked safer hemispheres...safer hemispheres with normal, common Shiíar."

"Apparently," he mumbled.

"Are you ready to order?" It was a waitress who had asked the question. She looked at Remy as she asked the question, but then looked at Reia wondering if this...alien...spoke any Shiíar.

"Iíll íave what she íad," he responded, pointing at Reia, "aní a bottle of water, please."

"Ooh, a polite one," the waitress remarked sarcastically. "One marinthot cream soup coming up." With that she turned and attended to other tables before heading to what Remy could only assume was the kitchen.

Reia watched her go, and looked back over at Remy. For the first time since he walked into the restaurant, she saw something she could read on his face - fatigue. He had closed his eyes and leaned his head back. She watched him as he took a deep breath in and slowly let it out. Then he opened his eyes again. There was something in the red and black, but Reia didnít know what exactly. She assumed they were memories living there, perhaps even ghosts.

His soup came, and instead of examining it as if it were some sort of growth in a lab experiment, the Terran started eating it. She half expected him to be hesitant before eating, the food being foreign to him. I suppose heís just happy to be eating, she thought. And then she said something she couldnít believe herself for.

"So...you have a place to stay?"

Remy was about to put another spoonful of soup into his mouth as she asked her question. Instead, he placed the spoon back in the bowl. He looked up at her and raised an eyebrow. Dieu femme, que fais-tu? He wasnít sure what to make of the question. He didnít get the feeling she was after sex, nor did he get the impression she had any malicious intent behind the question. It seemed perfectly innocent, and her body language seemed to confirm it. But still, he had only spoken five minutes with her, and now she was asking him where he was staying?

His look asked the question for him. Reia elaborated, "Well...rent is absolutely killing me and Iíve been looking for a roommate for a while..." She kicked herself for playing this next card, despite how true it was, "And itís not the safest being a girl living on her own in these parts." He was still studying here. She guessed he was trying to read her. "Look, Iím just as much putting my neck on the line offering this to you as you might be to take it. Iím a student; I live here because itís what I can afford. For all I know, you could be bad news, but something tells me youíre okay. Iím gonna stick with that feeling for whatever crazy reason that only Shara knows."

Sois attentif, LeBeau. He knew she had a point, it was better for her to have someone living with her. Him being human, however, made him wonder just how much difference in safety it would afford her. And the reality was he did need a place to stay, and he was sure her offer would be better than whatever they had resembling a motel around here. He sighed. " íow much is rent?" Merde! Pourquoi ai-je fait ça?

"Nine hundred imperial units per month. Water and power are included - rare in this hemisphere - but everything else is extra...so Iím afraid I donít have a media screen, or anything..."

"So four íundred aní fifty for me. Itís a deal." He knew full well he cut her off and it was rude of him, but he didnít care. He was tired, and the prospect of a stable place to stay was enticing. Plus, Reia was rambling, she was nervous, so he figured heíd give her an excuse to stop talking before she said something embarrassing again.

"That will be six units" the waitress had come back to the table.

Remy reached into his pocket and pulled out a 10 unit note. He placed it on the table and stood up. "Keep de change."

"Right then, shall we?"

Reiaís place was small, but it was clean. The locks on the door met Remyís satisfaction, which allowed him to relax a little. He noticed various text books and what he could only assume to be Shiíar stationary randomly strewn across the apartment. So she was a student. There was a work uniform of some sort laid across the corner of the sofa, but other than that, Reia kept a tidy place. Reia had moved into the kitchen after taking his coat, but she continued talking to him. "I know itís not much, but it has two bedrooms and a great room area, which is really rare in these parts, too. Probably really small to you, I guess. I mean...I donít know what housing is like for Terrans. Do you want anything to drink?"

"I never did get dat water at de restaurant," Remy replied.

"Right, one water cominí up!" She shouted back. Remy could hear her rummaging around. "Sorry about the mess. If Iíd known you were coming, Iíd have tidied up a little," she laughed nervously.

"No, itís great," he said. He sat down on the other side of the sofa from the uniform.

She came out of the kitchen with a glass of water and handed it to him. "Merci." He took it gladly. Remy brought the glass to his lips and closed his eyes as the cold spread through his chest into his stomach. It felt good.

"What does that mean? Is it Terran?"

"Sorry?" Remy was pulled out of his repose.

"That word you just said...mesi?" She tried to work her lips around the word, but she couldnít remember exactly how it sounded. "Anyways, whatís it mean?"

"It means thank you," he replied, realizing heíd slipped into French without meaning to. Dieu LeBeau, fais attention!

"So merci is Terran for thank you." She said the word a little awkwardly, it still being foreign to her.

He chuckled, "Not quite. Itís French, a Terran language." He put stress on the "a." She looked at him incredulously. "Uh, dere are many, many Terran languages," he said as he took another sip of water, leaned his head back on the sofa and closed his eyes once more.

"Oh, I see," Reia said. "Youíre tired. I should show you your room. I have a bed in there for when I have guests; it has all the sheets and everything." She paused and then continued, "Though, you might want to change the décor eventually, itís kind of...girly."

Remy chuckled again, "Iím sure itís jusí fine foí now."

She kept talking as she showed him to the room. "I have to work in the morning; Iíll be gone pretty early, but I should be home around supper time. Feel free to just hang out and get yourself acquainted with the place. The towels are in the hall closet for when you shower, and help yourself to anything you like in the kitchen." She watched him as he put his bag down on the bed and heard him say "thank you." He opened his bag and started rummaging for pajamas, she assumed. "Iíll let you sleep. Good night, pleasant dreams."

"Good night," he replied in kind as he watched her close the door. He sighed as he took off his shirt. It had been a long week of space travel and Remy was exhausted. He tossed his shirt onto a chair sitting in one corner of the room. He undid his belt and unbuttoned his jeans. He tossed those on the chair, too. He took in a sharp breath as he pulled his boxer pants on. He sighed heavily as he ran his hand along the right side of his torso to feel a newly formed scar under it. He furrowed his brow and frowned in disgust. It still hurt - a lot. Space travel and fatigue hadnít helped any. Remy looked at the bed. Reia was right, the décor was girly. The bed spread was a floral pattern with pinks, purples, and pastel blues and greens. But he didnít care, not tonight. The bed looked warm. He couldnít be asked to wash up; he didnít have the energy for it. Je míen fou. Il faut me coucher.

As he lay in bed waiting for sleep to come, he couldnít help but wonder why he had agreed to this assignment. He should be recuperating in the comfort of his own bed, in New York, on earth, without the stress... He wasnít looking forward to the next few weeks at all.

"Cíest de la bêtise, LeBeau," he mumbled to himself as sleep took hold.

"I WANT TO KNOW WHO HE IS!!! I want to know everything about him, what planet heís from, what he eats, where he sleeps, and what business he has with Reia!"

Kuílin watched as his lord paced the length of his office. "My Lord," he uttered, "I donít know that Reia..."

"I donít care!!" He snapped. "I want to know why heís here!" Toríkol had seen his fair share of strangers enter Bara Nocta, but it never really ended well, especially when those strangers were alien, and this one was as alien as they come. Toríkol had never seen the likes of his kind before, and Bara Nocta was the last place a foreigner should ever find himself. But how would he know about this hemisphere when the politicians liked to deny its existence? Something about this strangerís presence sent Toríkolís radar off. This was his territory; he knew when things felt out of place. This was one of those times. The precious, yet precarious balance of power that had taken him seven hundred and fifty years to establish over much bloodshed was Toríkolís main concern. The feeling in his gut told him that this stranger was the harbinger of chaos, perhaps even more war, to Bara Nocta. He watched his lackeys stare up at him. "Well, donít just sit there! Idiots!" They continued to look at him, still in there seats as if glued to them. He leaned over his desk, placing his hands down forcibly. "NOW!!!"

With that, the three men got to their feet as fast as they could and scrambled to the door. Once the door was shut, Toríkol sat in his chair and flipped on his vid-screen. The gangs would have to assemble; the balance was at stake.

 

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