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SECOND

ENCOUNTER

Read Lenol and Mivin's first encounter HERE

Lenol sat in the back of the crowded, open roofed hover-bus, and held on to the handrail tightly. On the surface, he tried to maintain a calm expression, like some of the other passengers, but it failed as the driver took another ship turn that nearly flipped the vehicle upside down. Lenol looked over the shoulders of the passengers in front of him, trying to at last get a good look at the person causing his stomach to turn, but the driver remained hidden in front of the crowd. Lenol concluded that the individual must have had some extraordinary skills, because he couldn’t understand how it was possible to have such a bumpy ride in a hover-bus which didn’t even physically drive on the rocky terrain; and as far as he could see, this particular stretch of land was actually quite smooth.

 

The driver suddenly braked, then spinning the car and causing the engine to cry painfully, they pushed the bus into reverse. The driver drove full speed in reverse for far too long for Lenol’s comfort, before sharply turning the car around to face forward again, causing a gust of wind that sent the light dust on the planes of Brinner flying into the air. Unprotected due to the vehicles open roof, the passengers began coughing and spitting out dirt that got into their mouths, eyes, and lungs. Lenol spat out the side of the car, and watched one of his fellow passengers, excrete pink slime from his or her two pairs of eyes to remove the sand.

 

“Sorry dear friends, I missed the turning. We will continue with smooth riding from here,” the driver said over the intercom in an unapologetic, almost teasing voice, which sounded like it came from two mouths speaking simultaneously.

 

“How could you miss a turning, there’s literally nothing but empty land here,” Lenol heard one of the other passengers mutter.

 

Lenol leaned half his body out of the car and laughed lightly as the wind blew his hair back. Despite everything, he was enjoying himself. True to the driver’s word, the drive became less chaotic, and Lenol was able to enjoy the landscape of Brinner. Granted, there wasn’t much to see, as the planes of Brinner were very much barren, yet he found the empty expanse of brown and pale-yellow rock and sand extremely comforting. Compared to the towering high rises and floating buildings of his home world, Cajara, which was beautiful in its deliberate design, there was an elegant and wild beauty in this completely natural landscape. Occasionally, in the distance, he saw lights at the peaks of what appeared to be mountains, but he knew were probably norvins, the mountain living complexes of the natives of Brinner.

 

He was heading to one of those norvins, one of the only two out of hundreds of norvins on the planet, that allowed tourists en masse. He’d already been on the bus for six hours, and there were still four hours of traveling left. Once during the long ride, he had seen a group of about fifteen native brinans trekking and pulling large transparent egg like cases that hung just above the ground. Lenol knew that native brinans, didn’t use hover technology, so he was curious to know how they managed to make objects levitate. He had drawn a quick sketch in his journal and made a note to ask one of the natives when he had the chance. Lenol turned on his side just as they passed dangerously close to the top of a cliff side, nearly tipping over. A few of the passengers let out curses and complaints, but most people just laughed, already used to the crazy driving, and learning to enjoy it.

 

Passing the cliff side, entering into a natural tunnel through the rocks, the landscape opened up again, and Lenol was provided a view of a new set of mountain ranges. He took out his journal and began scribbling and sketching furiously. He couldn’t get over how much the sight of what basically amounted to emptiness thrilled and inspired him. It was like his mind had expanded into some higher dimension that could only be accessed once the noise of the civilization he knew was removed. Many times, he had visited the Gianiv: a city built around lake Niva, Brinners only body of water, but he knew that no one considered the Gianiv as the real Brinner. It was just a convenient location which off-worlders had converted to the galaxy’s playground. The real Brinner was in the desolate mountain ranges and planes of the Brigin, where the natives lived. He had heard of the strange people, how alien they looked, as well as their technology that was said to be on par with Cajara and even Iclax, although he wasn’t sure how much of that he believed, after all, what sort of technological advancements could be made in the hive like societies of the brinans.

 

He stiffened, then deliberately lifted his pencil off the paper, and set his gaze on the horizon. He wanted to be as unbiased about brinan society as possible, but all the books and stories he’d heard, painted a very specific image of native brinans: Stoic and expressionless, not just because they didn’t familiar facial features, but because of how robotic they behaved; like machines set on one purpose. He’d read in one account that brinans were second only to Iclax in their disregard for emotion, but unlike Iclaxians, brinan’s didn’t even have the concept of enjoyment. They started working as soon as they were able, and worked until they died or were otherwise incapacitated, all in purpose to furthering the hive agenda, whatever that maybe. Lenol shook his head, to clear away the thoughts.

 

“Ahh why did I bother reading anything.” He sighed, continuing to watch the horizon.    

 

Lenol squinted against the setting sun as they began steadily going up an incline. As night fell, a thin haze descended and the green globe of the planet Frild slowing creeped up from the horizon along with Brinner’s moon, casting a light green fog over the planet. Ahead of them, they could now see the lights of a couple more transport busses similar to theirs, as well as groups of people walking, hunched together to protect themselves from the dropping temperature. Among the crowd, Lenol could spot people from a variety of planets. There were Frildians in their half dome personal carriers, some Cajarans like himself, and he couldn’t be sure, but he thought he saw mundarian slinky thought the throngs of people. He grew slightly irritated, though, when he spotted an Iclaxian; their green glow barley concealed under their cloak. He continued to casually glance over each group, not really focusing on anything in particular, when suddenly, he felt a pull of familiarity towards a hunched over figure, covered in many layers of cloth, and limping in the distance, slightly separated form the mass of travelers.

 

He leaned forward to get a closer look, and as the buses moved past the crowd on the loosely demarcated street, a slight wind blew, and the layers of cloaks and cloth on the figure, shifted just enough to allow a metallic glint to be seen. Lenol gasped as an unbelievable thought passed through his mind, and despite his disbelief, his body was already moving. He stood quickly, causing the man in front of him to turn around and send him a glare, which Lenol didn’t notice as he jumped off the side of the moving shuttle. The other passengers moved to look over the side wondering what had come over him. Lenol sprinted towards the man, jumping over the heads of travelers, and calling on his Cajaran abilities, he moved faster, almost flying toward the stranger whose identity he was becoming more and more certain of.  He reached the man in manic excitement, grabbed his shoulder, and turned the man to face him. The man gasped, almost losing his footing.

 

 “What in Sol’s breath is wrong with you, you jit,” The man said, letting out an undignified exclamation, and raising a fist.

 

It only took a second for their eyes to focus on the face in front of them and they stared at each other in shocked silence for a short moment.

 

“No way,”

 

“Unbelievable,” they said simultaneously.

 

Lenol looked into the man’s dumbstruck face which mirrored his own expression, and laughed loudly, moving closer to inspect his face more, as if he could mistake that rough appearance, and irritated defiant eyes for anyone else’s.

 

“Mivin, is it really you?” Lenol asked, his voice that was high pitched with wonder. He couldn’t remember the last time he had felt so excited, staring at the man that was practically a stranger. He’d never expected them to cross paths again.

 

“You! What was your name again?” Mivin said slapping Lenol’s back “Limin?”

 

“Lenol! You old lunatic…” he said laughing heartily, by this time, the shuttle had caught up and stopped beside them. The driver and some passengers had disembarked to see what was going on.

 

“What are you doing here?” Lenol asked, bending to pick up the small bag Mivin was carrying.

 

“Nothin’ much, just wandering around…” Mivin said, reaching to take the bag back from Lenol, but Lenol moved backwards taking the bag just out of his reach.

 

“Are you heading to norvin Editch,” he asked, taking another step back as Mivin reached for the bag again.

 

“Yes, I… What in Marviel’s bloody fist are you doing? Give me my bag,” Mivin said in frustration after another attempt to take the bag.

 

Lenol smiled but didn’t hand the bag back. “Well I’m heading the same way. This bus should have enough room for one more, let’s go together, it will be faster that walking.”

 

“Don’t have money for a bus, that’s why I’m walking,”

 

“I’ll Pay.”

 

“No thanks.”

 

“It’s Nothing…”

 

“No.”

 

“You left so abruptly last that time. What was that? Two, three years ago?”

 

“No.”

 

“Come on, look their waiting,” Lenol said, gesturing to the people on the bus who were sporting looks of irritation. The driver, Lenol finally got a good look at him, was a squat purple man in overalls, leaning against the bus, smoking some strange pipe, with contents Lenol didn’t even want to guess at, from his two mouths.  “Come on, you’re really too old to be hiking like this. There still at least two more hours left, and that’s with the hover-bus… come,” he said.

 

Mivin looked towards the road ahead and internally cringed. At his pace, it would take at least ten more hours, and from his map, he knew most of it would be uphill. He looked to the bus, which while crowded already, would still be the better option. He knew what his body would prefer, but he didn’t want to admit that he needed the help. He was about to decline the offer again, but Lenol was already loading his bag into the bus’s Luggage hold.

 

“You’re a Winforan through and through,” Lenol said. “If your pride won’t let you accept the offer willingly, just think of it as following me to get your bag back,” Lenol added, and reached out a hand to help him onto the bus.

 

Mivin looked at the hand and was suddenly on the floor of that shopping center again, staring up at the meddlesome young man offering unsolicited help. He wouldn’t ever admit it, but that day he’d been close to giving up on a lot of things. In fact, he had been ready just lay on that floor till his body turned to ash and was swept away by the cleaners, but then that irritating hand appeared. The boy’s eyes were just as naive and innocent as before, but now Mivin noticed wearily, there was also touch of mischief in them.

 

“I remember you being much nicer,” Mivin grumbled too low for Lenol to hear, before taking the hand, and allowing Lenol pull him up once again.