Pearce was an android convinced he was human from spending so much time with
them yet he knew he wasn’t one and was busy now trying to save them.
He stood high on a rocky outcrop waving the flare and signaling the approaching
rescue ship, crying out, “ Go back! Turn around! Go back! “
The ship kept descending to land and he was frantic. Hadn’t they got his message?
“ Please! “ he cried “ Save yourselves! “
The day prior he was part of a small geological survey crew who landed on
GAO3R4, an earthlike planet., to search for minerals and possibly find a rare hard
gem known as Asbotite. They found neither and they never had time to.
The planet was supposed to be uninhabited but by nightfall they found out there
were natives and they weren’t welcoming.
In the crew were Pearce, geologist Chris DeVito, the ship’s pilot Malachi Gostov,
and the doctors Ana Boon and Maria Donic. The ship was named the Galatea.
At first the crew heard rustling in the trees of the forest and then animal howls
much like Rhesus monkeys and thought nothing of it. Pearce, however, was
“ I believe this planet has wildlife, “ he said, happily. “ I should rather enjoy seeing
them while we’re here. “
Pearce then saw his companions falling unconscious as tiny darts were fired at
them. The android plucked the darts from his face and arms and was horrified as he
watched a humanoid species step from the forest. They walked directly at him, wide
eyed and aggressive.
As he backed away he tripped and fell over. He was surrounded and at their mercy.
He would find none.
They kicked at him, tore at his uniform and found his immunity to their toxins
fascinating. As he cried out they mocked him and laughed.
Their leader stepped forward and identified his people as the Tamerengi, people of
flesh and bone. They were dark in colour with white spots on their forearms, and all
of them had a rock hard bony growth looking much like an exposed skull.
The leader spoke aggressively to Pearce, “ Tikurzi isar j’us tapti’ sulig? Byloti! (
Where do you come from? Speak! ). “
The android tried to explain himself and already the natives were stripping his
companions and hanging them upside down on poles and carrying them into the
forest. It was then he ran for his life.
They chased him, threw rocks and fire torches at him, hollered and howled after
him, and they always felt closer than they were.
All night he hid in the undergrowth and watched them search for him.
When daylight arrived he made his way back to the Galatea and sent a distress call,
which he later regretted. There were no weapons on board and he was never
programmed for combat and survival and he clutched his his hair and rubbed his chest
feeling a very real human sense of panic.
He could hear his companions crying for help and he followed their anguished
cries to the Tamarengi village where he concealed himself beneath a hut. What he saw
made him tremble in fear.
The doctors Boon and Donic he saw first. Pearce bit his fist to muffle his yelp of
shock and disgust.
Donic – the younger doctor – was tethered and bound naked on her knees, head
shaved, and the children were dancing around her throwing stones. Her face was
Boon was already dead, spread eagled, her limbs staked to the ground, head
shaved, covered in charcoal handprints, the Tamerengi men leaving a handprint after
they finished having sex with her corpse.
Donic was sobbing and knew she was next.
The pilot Gostov was tied to a pole and the leader of the Tamerengi was using a
small stone blade to make incisions on the man, having him cry out in pain.
Pearce saw DeVito’s body hanging upside down, headless and gutted, and the
Tamerengi women were tending to it. One of them hauled DeVito’s innards to a stall
and feed the livestock his guts. They then took the body down and carried it to a pit
off hot coals and threw Devito on top of them to roast.
Pearce then realised a young native girl no older than five had quietly snuck upon
him and was peering under the hut.
She smiled and said quietly and cheerfully, “ Labintias. ( Hello ). “
Pearce put a finger to his lips and whispered, “ Sssh. I’m not like them, “ and tried
to demonstrate he wasn’t human.
The girl whispered, “ Tapti’ del ir zaist. ( Come out and play ). Nu uzit hurt tu. ( I
won’t hurt you ). Tapti’ del sulig antai, tu silly thing ( Come out from there, you silly
thing ). “
Pearce understood some of her words and was offered a glimmer of hope at
He whispered, and demonstrated, “ Fire. I need fire, “ then pointed at Donic, “ I
need to save her. “
The girl quizzed, “ Fire? Saud? Tu virt’ne noret saud. ( You don’t want fire ). Tu
noret your dolega. ( You want your friend ). Nu valia itik your dolega. ( I will get
your friend ). “
She smiled and nodded, her little teeth still sharp and not yet rounded.
The girl calmly strutted over with confidence, drawing a small stone blade from
the hilt on her clothing, and Pearce felt relieved. Then quickly the girl slit Donic’s
throat from ear-to-ear.
The leader of the Tamerengi snatched the girl’s blade and yelled at her, “ Kodel
did j’us isar anas? ( Why did you do that? ). “
Pearce cried out “ NO! “
The little girl pointed to where he was and started crying, explaining, “ Ta’ve silly
thing meken told nun Kia dary zhol! ( The silly thing told me to do it! ). The leader
ordered everyone in the village, “ Nesti nun jiso skin ir bones! ( Bring me his skin and
bones! ). “
Pearce scrambled and was on the run again. It was at that moment he heard the
boom of a descending ship. The rescue ship. He needed to warn them!
In the Galatea Pearce found flares and wrote a quick message: UNSAFE! TURN
BACK! DO NOT LAND ON GAO3R4! HOSTILES!
Outside he looked for high ground and made a charge for it. There was still time to
warn the rescue crew. He hoped they got his message.
Pearce stood on the rocky outcrop waving the flare and screaming now, “ TURN
BACK! PLEASE! THEY WILL KILL YOU AND EAT YOU! “
The rescue ship kept descending.
Behind him the Tamerengi approached and he heard their leader growl, “ Firstly,
nu valia slice niant your zmogus. ( Firstly, I will cut off your head ). “
Pearce slumped to his knees, thinking about his message and realised something.
In his panic he didn’t press send.
He screamed as if he were screaming into the void.