Ess...kews mee, Dehr-rik, mey aye...peek yoo...hup? her accent was strong, but the important thing was Siyuu had spoken a complete sentence and Derrik understood it.
Very good! You speak well! he clapped his hands looking up at her, feeling so proud of both of them. Three long weeks of learning each other's alphabet and sentence structure were starting to pay off. The walls were covered in various colors of paint with their exchange, half of it was Siyuu's 'small' and simple strokes to display what turned out to be a massive alphabet of some seventy or more characters. They seemed to be comparable to English print, but far more specific in their phonetic representation.
One of the first things he learned was that her name wasn't pronounced 'Sah-yoo' but more like 'Sye-yoo'. Derrik had a hard time keeping track of most of the Alarian letters, so he made a piece of paper that he used to compare them to English sounds. Likewise, Siyuu seemed to have a problem figuring out that certain combinations of letters didn't necessarily result in the same sound, making Derrik agree that English was indeed a hard language to learn.
Things had been going well for a long time now. After returning from his retrieval mission and finding Siyuu in a hysteric depression, Derrik destroyed the personal alarm right before her eyes, trying to display that he wasn't going to leave her alone again. It was still a couple of days before she actually started to speak to him again, communicating only through visual context, such as eating her rations or approaching the erosion chamber for a shower, but in the end, Siyuu finally approached him for company.
Derrik had taken it just as hard as she did, barely eating, and sleeping against the wall in the main lab just to be there when she woke up. He did everything he could think of to make her more comfortable but he didn't want to press her to allow things to go back to how they were. When she approached him with her hands out meekly, he literally cried in her hands out of relief and happiness.
She was wearing something of a shirt and skirt combo made from a number of sheets and blankets Derrik had provided her with. He bashfully assisted her in fitting them and would get dizzy from blushing when they ended up too tight and split when she moved the wrong way. Even though it had happened a number of times, he had yet to get used to her extremely lax reaction; simply saying what he eventually learned was similar to 'oops', while he would turn away and sit down to recover from head rush.
They had been sleeping together every night, and since she was no longer wearing her body suit, it was a whole new experience. Derrik would find himself absentmindedly stroking her skin, or curling up some, while she would wrap her hand around him and rub his chest with her thumb until she fell asleep.
Derrik knew that he had very strong feelings for Siyuu, but as she seemed less inclined to hold back her feelings compared to the human norm, she might have only seen him as a close friend. He hadn't taught her the word 'love' yet, as he had no real concept of how to go about doing it, but finding a way to get it across had been nagging at the back of his head lately. It had been works of sheer will to keep from simply throwing himself at her in a physical display of emotion such as grabbing on to her and not letting go. She might have simply seen it as him being cute, a conclusion that Derrik wouldn't be content with. He had no idea what he hoped to accomplish by telling her how he felt, just that he yearned for her to know.
He shook the thought from his head with a sigh, and looked up at her. He prepped the words in his head and in a similar fashion to Siyuu, stumbled out a sentence.
You may, yes. Do, please. Derrik managed to say. Siyyu giggled at his sentence structure, but all in good time. She gave him her own applause, clapping very lightly. She carefully reached to him, cupping her hand behind him as he let his knees give out and sat himself in her palm. With tender care, Siyyu lifted her friend from the ground to face-level, and raised her left hand to him, gently stroking the front of his shoulders with her middle and index fingers.
Her index finger against his cheek and Derrik responded by placing his hand on her finger, holding it there and stroking up and down. Smiling warmly, Siyyu adjusted her hand, leaving her finger where Derrik held it while bringing her thumb to one of his sides and her third finger to the other, playfully rubbing his sides, tickling him as he had proven to be.
They had spent a difficult to determine amount of time together, and while a little dismal at the fact they were all alone apart from one another, Siyyu was happy. While the thoughts of losing Jeuno were hard, Derrik had proven more than capable of keeping her happy. He had provided materials for her to make clothing, shared more than enough food once her rations ran out, and even grown accustomed to her want of holding him, to the point where he didn't even react if he was doing something at the moment, unless he was sleeping.
There seemed to be nothing he wouldn't do for her, and despite the normally obvious complication of such a notion, had been taking care of her. Even when she distanced herself from him, he always stayed where she could see him, keeping an unspoken promise. Derrik hadn't even so much as walked back into the room with the large vehicles since that day.
Siyyu lowered her friend to the ground, once again, mentally noting that the difference in their size was something she had become comfortable with. Maybe it wasn't the right word, but it just seemed like the awkwardness was no longer there, their sizes simply another fact of everyday life. She would actually have to remember that their people were so different, and that there was a war going on, often returning those last moments aboard the ship to mind, but Siyyu had managed to come to terms with her loss by now.
Over time, the cracks in her self-esteem, and even her heart, were being filled in by Derrik's kindness. He had become a dear friend, perhaps more, but Siyyu didn't know if he was willing to pursue anything. The atmosphere was hardly romantic, and after so much peace and quiet, she would have much preferred something loud and exciting to spend their time together.
She had learned a fair amount about human culture from watching the movies that looked to be more realistic. One strong trait she found was they were proud, sometimes too proud and ended up hurting themselves and others. Another trait that was evident, was the closed nature of their feelings for one another, rarely ever being honest with each other. This trait in particular was rather close to home for Siyyu, especially now that she looked back and realized what she felt for Jeuno. It was heavy on her heart, she didn't want those feelings to be lost again, but she still didn't know how to say 'love' and wasn't sure how to bring it up.
It would have been so easy to just pick him up and hug him, kiss him even, but she had no idea how he might react to such a bombardment of affection. Siyyu knew she shouldn't use the movies she watched as reliable sources of things to keep in mind, but most of the women that had been rather forward seemed to have the most disappointment, except for the few that managed to win over the male.
That was another thing Siyyu had noticed. Humans always seemed to have only one person as their lover, and if they had more than one, it seemed very rude to everyone else, especially those he was with. It confused Siyyu to no end how humans were so...picky with their feelings. Not able or not willing to share them with more than one person. She and Derrik were alone, so there wasn't really a concern of him becoming uncomfortable, but one way or another, they would have to leave this place, and one of them would likely be a prisoner.
Hey, hey now. None of that. Derrik stepped forward and patted Siyyu's knee, speaking once more but in her language, <Cry not. Here I am.> He was still fumbling with the structure and conjugation, but he was sure he was at least getting the message across when she looked down at him and gave a reassuring smile.
That's better, returning her smile, he procured the portable terminal of the compounds main computer. Accessing the speaker and interstellar radio controls, he set it to 'Seek' and listened for any new popular music that they could enjoy.
Tuning to the different frequencies, the commercials, talk shows, and propaganda sputtered amidst one another: '...for that special someone, you can always count on...with us today. So, tell me Joel, where was this film...For that cold, golden taste. Henz Soda is...conflict three weeks ago in the Kilern...No, Bill, the NSL is a real threat to...'
Whoa whoa whoa...what? Derrik blinked, setting the radio to the previous station, listening intently.
...Captain Jacob Thend was court-martialed yesterday after his report of defending UEC space from hostile crafts was found to be a lie, proven by an anonymous source. According to the report, rather than intercepting the enemy craft and chasing it into the uninhabited Kilern system, Captain Thend had the ships under his command abandon their patrol and attacked the vessel unprovoked in neutral space, an action worthy of a war crime. No faction has stepped forth to claim the ship, even though it is a fact the vessel had managed to escape Captain Thend's ships.
Derrik understood the broadcaster was talking about Siyyu's ship right away. The public wasn't aware of the Alarians as far as he could figure, so the government wouldn't hand out any information that wasn't censored. On the other hand, he had good news for Siyyu; her ship had survived the conflict!
He spun around to his alarian friend, <ship, Siyyu, live! Ship lived battle! Siyyu ship away from battle!> He tried again and again, to convey the message, looking cheerful to help give her the idea that it was good news.
She watched him speak, listening to his words. Derrik could see her thoughts processing what he was trying to say. Noticing her react as each piece fell into place, her eyes widened with hope, and she asked her best in English, Yoo...ser-ten...? to which he gave a fervent nod and a confident smile.
A relieved laugh escaped Siyyu's lips, her eyes quickly tearing up as at least some of her worries were eased. She closed her eyes wiped the tears away, looking to Derrik once more when she was done, Tonk hyoo...
Siyyu was changing out of her hand-made clothes and putting on her patched-up, light gray space suit. Originally a little torn from the impact, Derrik had used some kind of substance that made it airtight once more. It started looking thick, globby, and white, but once Derrik had finished, it was mostly transparent and stretched with the suit as she moved. He had even managed to fix her helmet with the same stuff, though it scared her that it seemed a little flimsy to the touch, though she had tested before that it wouldn't tear no matter how hard she poked with her finger.
Once she tightened the fasteners and it pressurized to her form, Siyyu stepped out of the chamber to find Derrik was in a space suit of his own. It was an off-white color with orange accents on the shoulders, elbows, abdomen, and thighs, and was heavily padded compared to her own extremely form-fitting suit.
They each held their helmets at their hips, looking to each other with grins. Derrik turned and walked to the entrance of the room with the large vehicles as Siyyu followed behind. Stepping inside, the truck with the meteorite was still there, unmoved in three weeks.
Derrik approached one of the others, motioning to Siyyu to come close. She did, and waited as he pulled the large vehicle forward until it was past the others. A second later and the back groaned open from the top, revealing a bed of conveyor belts and walls of mechanical arms. Siyyu stepped up onto the bed and scooted forward until she could prop herself up against the front part where Derrik controlled the vehicle.
A moment later and it began to lurch forward, towards the massive airlock doors. With that, Siyyu pulled on her helmet and gave a small sigh of relief as she heard it pressurize normally. What ever the stuff was it really worked.
They passed the first door and once it closed she could feel the exchange of pressure on her body. The second set of doors opened after a few minutes and the truck moved forward onto a platform that led to about ten other paths. The platform spun to an exit that held a pair of symbols over it, but Siyyu now knew them to be symbols for zero and seven. The vehicle began to move forward into the sloping tunnel, though it was lit artificially every so often.
Siyyu had just begun to think that it was a bit lonely when through her peripheral audio enhancers, she heard a distinct 'click. She looked over to see the door of the vehicle open and Derrik's arm come up, waving at her. The human soon went about trying to pull himself from the door and on to the top of the vehicle, but Siyyu reached her hand behind him, finding her fingers around his chest and lifting him from the entrance while he kicked the door closed. Sitting him down, she surrounded Derrik with her arms, making sure there was no chance of him falling.
The vehicle climbed out from the tunnel into the night of the moon. The sky was cloudless and was lit with the light of billions of stars and planets, while the blue and orange gas giant, Kilern-4, waxed in the south-west.
Siyyu choked up she was so happy to see the sky once again. She pulled her arms together and pulled Derrik into a firm hug, her way of thanking him for it.
They stopped after a not too long drive. Derrik was looking at a portable terminal that seemed to double as a remote control for the massive vehicle, making changes to the trucks position until he was satisfied. Watching the monitor carefully, he finally looked up and pointed to towards an empty part of the sky. It wasn't empty for long.
Streaks of yellow and green shot through the sky, sparsely at first, but soon hundreds of of them lighted up the heavens. They watched the cascade of lights for a time, Siyyu holding Derrik close and oohing and ahhing in her helmet. She couldn't remember the last time she had seen a meteor shower.
For some time, they simply sat there as thousands of streaks of light painted the sky. It took a moment for her to realize Derrik was struggling in her too tight hug, to which she freed him, giggling innocently within her helmet. She stroked her fingers over him, but through his and her own suit, it didn't seem as personal as she would have wanted.
Just as the meteor shower started to die down, the yellow-orange sun came over the horizon, ending the show with a celestial crescendo. It reminded her of when she spent time with Jeuno before the war, but in a very good way. If they hadn't needed their suits, she would have kissed Derrik for being such a kind and loving person, wishing she knew the word to say how she felt about him.
It was the day after had shown Siyuu the meteor shower and sunrise, and Derrik was confidant he was close to finishing his project. Siyuu had managed to salvage what was left of her escape pods emergency broadcaster, and for the last two weeks, he had been carefully fiddling in the communications room to allow for the signal to be transmitted for Siyuu's allies to find her and pick her up. He wasn't sure what would become of himself, but for the time being he didn't care about that.
After what seemed the millionth combination of wires, the console registered an input device, giving Derrik an immediate sense of satisfaction, then purpose. He made sure the connection would hold, then walked from the room and out to the central lab, where Siyuu was relaxing in one of her make shift outfits. He had come to marvel at her acute hearing as she turned to him immediately though he didn't make much noise from what he could tell.
Derrik gave her an assuring smile and nodded, telling her Radio ready, can send message! Siyuu brightened and reached for the panel but stopped short. She looked to him as though she had realized something, though he knew exactly what she was thinking.
He simply smiled at her modestly, trying to portray that he knew what she was worried about. She got to her knees and slowly approached him as he stood on the upper level, her face stopping just before him, regarding him with true sadness, maybe even something more.
With a sigh, Derrik stepped up to the edge of the platform, reaching out and placing his hand on her cheek, to which Siyuu brought up her fingers and gently stroked his arm. They just gazed at each other for a time, both of their feelings welling up inside.
To his own surprise, it was Derrik that made the first move by leaning in and kissing the corner of her bottom lip, looking up at her after and stating the words, I love you, but you can't stay here.
Happy tears formed in her eyes as she smiled, clearly choking up over his statement, her lips quivering as she tried to form words, Hye...lhuhv...yoo...elso... her hands came up, one wrapping around his waist and the palm of the other resting on his back with her thumb across his chest, lifting him closer.
Derrik didn't resist, but it was partially due to the realization that she understood the word immediately. As a scientist, he was surprised she picked up the gist of a single word with such a complex method of expression, but as the man that loved her, he felt lighter than air that she really did love him back. It was then that he found Siyuu pressing her soft blue lips against the front of his face.
He let her hold him there for as long as she wanted, knowing there was the possibility she never would have the chance after that. Her lips parted from him, but she held him against her cheek, clearly not wanting to let him go. Derrik rubbed his hands against, resting against the person that for the first time in years, many, many years, gave him true happiness.
Several minutes later, Siyuu finally pulled him away, looking at him with a bright, but tearful, smile. He sat in the palm of one of her hands while the other came up and began to tickle his sides once more. Derrik laughed and jerked some as she played with him, wrapping an arm around one of the fingers of the hand he sat in as he tried to swat at her other fingers with his free hand.
After her fun, she lifted him back to the upper level, letting him slide off and never taking her eyes off him as she scooted back to the panel and input the appropriate commands to send out the signal. Derrik strolled back into the communications room, simply to sit down and think. Unfortunately, he didn't have the time as there was an incoming signal.
A little worried at first, he decided even through a tachyon radio, there was no way the UEC traced it here so quickly. With that thought in mind, he turned it on, This is Derrik Hunt at site-- he was cut off by a familiar voice and face.
Derrik Hunt, this is Agent Jeremiah Innes aboard the military vessel 'Springboard'. We are in orbit around Kilern 4 and have just picked up an signal that matches alarian encryptions through the anstible. Derrik stared at the screen, feeling himself going a bit pale and his eyes widen in distress.
Innes bared down on him, not giving him the opportunity to think of something, I know you are the only human on that base, Hunt. I dug up the assignment records on that site and interviewed all 49 of your original team. Supplies have been sent to that base as frequently as ever, not once did you attempt to inform the UEC of the lack of faculty, or the amount of resources being sent to that base despite the fact you're the only one there, and now, I have a confirmation that you just sent out what is believed to be an alarian distress signal. Do you have ANYTHING to say in your defense? Agent Innes stared at him through his dark shades.
Derrik hadn't moved, simply staring at the screen in shock. Innes took that as he wanted, In that case, Derrik Hunt, you are hereby arrested for the misuse of UEC resources, harboring an enemy, and contacting the message cut out as Derrik turned off the console. He breathed sharply, knowing he didn't have a lot of time before they'd be on the moon's surface. He needed a plan, and fast.