The second they entered Denise's house 101 looked a little surprised. It was for a number of reasons. One of which was that she was his age (or appeared to be) and was living in a house. Although some of the pictures had a grown man in a military outfit. The other was that despite there being a desert outside, the inside was cool. She had climate control? That was something 101 had never seen. The Usachi wouldn't spend any money on climate control for their children. Another thing that surprised him was the luxury (in his mind) of the place. Once again 101 had never seen such things. Denise held her hand out to a chair as she walked over to a phone. 101 cautiously sat down. Wow...the chair was soft. Nothing like the chairs he had ever sat in. Denise calmly picked up the phone and dialed.
"Hmmm...huh? Oh come on! Answer the phone! Grrrr..." Denise grumbled. The answering machine beeped on the other side of the line. Denise's tone instantly changed sweetly. "Hi Daddy! I know you're busy. I really need to talk to you though. Call me back as soon as you can! Bye." Denis hung it up. "He's probably just polishing his nuclear weapon." Denise turned around irritably. She looked at 101 questioningly. "Do you have a name? A name? NAME! Like me, Denise." 101 shook his head. He decided that he shouldn't tell her he called himself 101. Denise crossed her arms.
'Everyone should have a name.' She thought. A name popped up in her mind. It's what the word meant why she chose it.
"Can I give you a name?" Denise asked. 101 just looked confused. "Give you name!!! A NAME!! Oh, he doesn't understand me. Frayne." She pointed at him. He looked confused. "Frayne." She emphasized. "Frayne." Then she pointed to herself and back to him. "Denise...Frayne. Get it?" 101, now Frayne nodded. At least now his name was a word and not a number.
"Frayne." Frayne said. He kind of liked it. Denise smiled. Until her dad called back she had nothing to do. Well, him not speaking English was annoying. Denise held up her hand for him to wait a second and left the room. After a few minutes of rummaging she found some old letter cards her dad had used on her when she was about one. She rushed back into the room where Frayne was sitting confused. Denise sat next to Frayne and showed the 'A'.
"Ah." Denise said. She was sounding out the letters. She flashed the card. "Ah." Frayne looked at it for a moment.
"Ah." He repeated. Denise smiled.
"Good, it's also now pronounced 'aye'. Aye...Aye."
After about an hour Frayne figured out all the letters and how vowels worked. Denise handed him the first in the series of about 12 dictionaries. She quickly realized something quite amazing.
Denise's father finally called back about four hours after. He was a former marine still working for the government so he always sounded like he had a plank up his butt. Denise picked up the phone.
"'Ello?" She said groggily.
"Denise? It's dad, why did you call me?" Denise grunted and it sounded like she was sitting up.
"Yeah..." Denise said sleepily.
"If all you do is sleep all day maybe you need a job."
"Hey, I took a walk in the desert today! Forgive me if I'm a little tired."
"We'll talk about when I get home."
'If you get home.' Denise thought.
"Why did you call me?" Her dad asked.
"Well, you know the whole crash at Roswell?" Denise's dad suddenly got mad.
"I've told you time and time again. It was really a weather balloon! I work at this "alien infested" area 51 and there is nothing not from earth here."
"If you say so, but one of your "weather balloons" landed in the desert today." There was a long drawn out pause. Denise's dad felt his spine tingle.
"What's he doing?" He asked a little panicked.
"Why? Are weather balloons hard to come by?" Denise said with a chuckle.
"What?" Her dad asked a little more seriously.
"Chill out dad, he's only reading dictionaries. He's a machine!! He read them for three straight hours!" Denise's dad relaxed.
"So he's calm?"
"Calm? Of course he's calm." Her dad sighed with relief. He wasn't one of them. "You're acting strange."
"Just stay there. I have to look at this weather balloon." Denise smiled.
"Sure thing. He's not going anywhere without me anyway." Denise hung up before her father could get curious about what she said.
Denise sat up on the couch. She smiled as she looked at Frayne. She had fallen asleep before him, but sometime after that he fell asleep (he probably had had a long day). When Denise woke up Frayne was curled up beside her. She couldn't help giving him a hug before she picked up the phone. Denise yawned.
"Well, at least he's cute."
Twenty minutes later Denise's dad pulled into the driveway. As soon as he did Frayne sat up groggily. He had never slept this much before. They were given eight hours to sleep and the past month he hadn't gotten much sleep at all.
As soon her dad pulled up Denise rolled her eyes.
"Now that's the fastest he's ever gotten home; when I have a boy over." She said as she slapped her head. "You'd think someone told him mom came back." Her dad opened the door. Denise's mood changed back to pleasant. "Hello daddy!" Denise's dad wasn't going for it.
"Where is he?" Her dad demanded. Denise pointed. Frayne stood up. Denise's dad violently grabbed him and stuck his face right in his. Denise flinched. For a moment Frayne stood and stared into the man's face in shock, and then he looked away. Denise's dad finally completely calmed down. "He's not one of them."
"One of who!?" Denise shouted. She was mad because he scared Frayne. As soon as her dad let him go Frayne cringed in a corner. As far as Denise could tell Frayne was as peaceful as anything she had seen. Denise's dad ignored her. He walked over to the phone and dialed a number. Denise walked over and came down to Frayne's level. "It's okay." Denise cooed. Frayne didn't move. Denise thought for a moment. She went forward and hugged him. "It'll be okay..." Frayne was shaking. He was most of all confused. He didn't get what was going on.
"Uh-huh, send a squadron of forces at my home." Denise's father said on the phone. "You don't know where my home is!? Grrr, alright, it's at..." Denise stormed over and slammed her hand on the receiver.
"Dad stop it!" She shouted. Her sweet tone had completely dropped. Denise's dad's eyes grew angry.
"Denise! This is nothing to mess around with! Stay out of this!!" Denise looked equally angry. She pointed at Frayne.
"Look at him!! Does it look like he needs a gun to his head!?" Denise's dad looked at the cringing Frayne. He sighed and put the phone down. "Just take him yourself." Denise's dad stared angrily for a moment.
"Fine." He walked over and roughly grabbed Frayne.
"He's not going without me." Denise said. Her dad grew angry again.
"And why not?" Denise shrugged.
"It's not me." Frayne grabbed onto a couch. Frayne and Denise's dad abruptly stopped as Frayne's hand locked with a vice-like grip. "It's him." Denise's dad ground his teeth together.
"...Fine." He finally said. "If he tries anything funny...I'll call the squadron." Denise smiled a little mischievously her sweet-like attitude around her father had melted away.
"With me or with the base?" She asked a little suggestively. Denise's father looked at her severely. Denise threw her hands up. "Just kidding! I'm only joking! Let's go before you kill me...or him." Denise's dad walked out the door, but Frayne didn't move. He was still confused. Denise walked over to him. "Come on." She said and motioned towards the door. Frayne flinched. "Oh don't worry about him. He's just uptight." Frayne still didn't move. Denise rubbed her head and walked over to him. She pulled his hand off the couch and held it. "It'll be okay." Frayne looked at her with trust. "You'll be fine. I'll...protect you." Frayne thought for a second.
"Protect." Frayne repeated. "To protect or guard from attack, insult, injury or ?" Denise looked shocked.
"Did you...understand all that?" Denise asked. Frayne's face turned slightly red.
"...Parts of it." He replied. Denise looked surprised. Did he understand what she said? Now Denise blushed a little.
"How far have you read?" She asked.
"I read to...'scope'." There was an awkward silence.
"Um, well, come on. My dad's waiting." As she dragged Frayne he defined "dad".
"Dad, informal; father."
"That's going to get annoying..."
The car ride was silent. Denise didn't want to talk because her dad would find out Frayne could speak English. She knew if he knew Frayne spoke English he would toss her out of the car. Frayne became more and more nervous. Where were they going? He only got to 's' and some of the definitions he read still didn't make sense to him. He only knew some of what they meant. Denise turned and saw that he was nervous. He still looked cute in her mind. They were both sitting in the back seat so she grabbed his hand.
"It's okay." She whispered quietly enough that her dad couldn't hear. Her whispering reminded him of Lorelei. His mind suddenly filled with her once again, and when it did, much to Denise's surprise, Frayne squeezed her hand.
Frayne was shoved into a room. Denise was forced to wait outside grumpily. Three scientists began looking him up and down. Denise's father glared at Frayne. He had this overwhelming feeling that Frayne had already begun to hit on Denise. In truth Frayne knew nothing of the human social hierarchy. The scientists and Denise's dad began talking with one another. Frayne only understood snippets of the conversation.
"Is he one of them?" Denise's dad asked.
"We can't officially tell without a blood test...but he doesn't have the right behavior or bone structure." The scientist replied "There's no way."
"I thought so." Denise's dad replied. "I just wanted to be sure." He walked over to Frayne and gave him a cold stare. "Could we at least see if he recognizes them?" The scientist shrugged.
"Why not?" The scientist said. Denise's dad grabbed Frayne roughly and dragged him into the next room. He practically slammed Frayne down in front of three large glass tanks. Frayne looked up and looked a little stunned. Inside the tanks were bodies with only skeletons left. Bodies recovered from a well-known crash. Frayne thought it was strange, he still vaguely recognized the bodies. He somehow thought they looked familiar.
"Look at this." Denise's dad ordered. He pushed a button and a panel came out of the wall. On it was a piece of the legendary ship that was the "weather balloon". Frayne's stomach exploded. He felt very dizzy and his brain felt like someone put it on the tilt-a-whirl. The symbol that everyone feared was right in front of his face. Frayne screamed and fell against the wall. It was them! The ones no one was to ever come in contact with. Them!
"What is with him!?" Shouted one of the scientists.
"Apparently he recognizes them." Denise's father said a little jokingly. Frayne was shaking. He had never felt this kind of fear before. "Hey! Hey!! Snap out of it!!!" Denise's father reached over. As soon he touched Frayne he screamed again, this time louder.
"What's going on!?" Shouted Denise from two rooms away.
"He's lost his mind!" Denise's dad shouted back. "Get the guards! We'll deal with him!"
"Let me in!" Denise shouted.
"Stay out of this!!" Her dad shouted back. Denise began pounding on the door.
"Let me in!! Let me in!!!" Now Denise was getting louder. Her screams were making Frayne panic more. Denise's dad growled, but had no choice.
"Let her in." He growled. The door opened. Denise bounded through two rooms and over to Frayne. Without really thinking she quickly wrapped her arms around him. She held his head against her chest and cooed things in his ear. It somehow made the scientists feel all warm and fuzzy. Even Denise's dad's expression softened a little. For what seemed like an eternity the two just stayed there. There was utter silence in the room. Frayne slowly stopped shaking and his hands slowly dropped away from his face. His trust of Denise was basically growing before their very eyes. Finally Denise's dad cleared his throat.
"Ask him who they are." He said softly at Denise. Denise nodded and whispered in Frayne's ear.
"Who?" She said softly. Frayne looked up at her with confused eyes. 'That's right,' Denise thought. 'He only made it to 's'.' Denise tried to say something else. "Name?" She asked instead. Frayne lowered his head. He seemed to be contemplating telling her. Denise leaned over so she could hear what he said. Frayne whispered the word he didn't want to speak. Denise heard it and lifted her head up.
"Who are they?" Her dad asked. Denise took a deep breathe. When she said the word Frayne flinched.