The locals came as always to see the creature. They gave him the foods he liked so he would come out for them to see. He had once attacked them; now he was gentle. He had once muttered his strange sounds at them while pointing; now he was silent. No one understood the thing, but they knew it was sentient. It had come from the sky in a spaceship. The ship was broken and now destroyed, but they let the thing live. It chose its home to be a cave in the hills by the town, and they let it stay.
"Mama, can I feed it today?"
Little Tik was always so interested in the creature. It was because of her that they now went to see the thing every day. The creature had become so accustom to the little girl that he would even take food from her hands. The others loved to watch the two, but it worried her mother. What kind of fascination was it for girl to have? She was supposed to dress up, and play house. Instead she thought about the creature, and studied the ship it had come in. It wasn't healthy, but her father insisted she be allowed to.
"Of course dear just-"
"Be careful, I always am Mama."
Tik would soon be old enough to meet suitors, but what man would want to marry a woman so obsessed with a space creature? Tik's mother could already hear the rejections of the other mothers when she asked for a suitor meeting. It would be bad for their family, but her husband didn't care.
Tik raced ahead with the basket of food she had chosen for the day oblivious to her mother's worrying. Today she had chosen several of the creature's favorite foods, and one it had rejected before. This time Tik planned to teach the creature how to eat the fruit so it would taste good.
As the girl reached the wide opening to the cave the crowds automatically parted for her. Tik settled at the large rock the locals used to put their offerings on, and cleared away the debris on it. She began setting her foods on the makeshift table with the others as the creature approached and sat opposite from her. He accepted a loaf of bread that Tik knew he loved, and set it by his side already picking pieces to eat from it.
Tik saved the fruit for last, and as expected the creature shoved it away. Tik patiently set it on the table, slapping the creature's hands away as he reached for it, and pulled out the long blade she hand brought along with the two small knives. Tik was pleased when the creature hadn't fled at the site of the weapons, and instead watched her with interest.
The girl deftly used a small blade to slice the fruit from the stem and center. Removing the sour core, the girl then severed the fruit in half with the large blade. Handing a piece to the creature, she took one for herself, and with care showed how to pick out the gray seeds with the small blade. The creature followed her lead, and soon two halves were prepared. Then Tik cut out the meat, careful to not slice into the skin. Lifting the meat to her mouth she bit into the luscious fruit, and motioned for the creature to do the same.
The creature sat watching the girl as she ate, and then slowly lifted a piece to his mouth. He took a nibble, and a surprised look overcame his face. Soon the creature was devouring the meat, even turning the skin inside out to lick at the inside.
Tik laughed, and handed the creature another when he was done. She guided his hands through the difficult task of removing the core with the stem attached, and watched as he cleaned and devoured the second fruit.
Satisfied the girl made to leave, but a firm grip on her wrist stopped her. Tik turned amazed as the creature had never before touched her. It let her go, and when she made to move again it grabbed her. Tik stayed this time when released, and the creature scurried into the cave where it lived.
When the creature returned it carried a box. It handed the box to Tik, and watched as she slowly opened it. Inside were a bracelet, a pair of sun glasses with things that went into the ears, and a vial. They were made from a metal that Tik had never seen before with markings on them.
Tik carefully closed the box, and bowed to the creature. "Thank you."
The creature bowed too and muttered, "ank ooo."
Tik felt glee rush through her, and then ran home leaving her mother straggling behind.
Tik had been sequestered in her room for the entire day when her father got home. Tik's mother filled him in before he went up to see his daughter.
Tal entered his daughter's room and sat on her bed, "You're mother is worried Tik." He said in a disapproving tone.
"She told you what happened, are you worried?" she instantly responded.
Tal sighed knowing he was already defeated. "No."
Tik turned from her desk to her father. "He gave me things today Father, and the metals they're made aren't in the database- not even the added ones from the scans of his ship."
Tal leaned forward to read the results of Tik's work now exposed to him, "That's certainly strange."
Tik held up the vial. "This liquid is a metal too."
Tal took the vial and inspected it.
"The other things are devises that have power. I want to try them."
Tal's head snapped up, "Tik, I can't let you they could be very-"
"Dangerous I know, but Dad, I know he wouldn't give them to me if they would hurt me."
"I'll do it in your lab."
Tal fell silent. "Don't tell your mother, and promise not to do anything with them outside of the lab."
"Promise," Tike replied with a grin.
Tal stood, "Dinner will be ready shortly, please go set the table."
Tik shut down her desk, and ran to help her mother.
Tik clutched the box as she followed her father through security. Once in the main building he worked in Tik saw many of the men that visited the house for parties.
"Tal! And little Tik too! How big you have gotten!" A man cried as he approached the two, "I didn't realize that it was bring your daughter to work day."
Tal smiled while Tik hid behind her father the best she could while not being obvious about it, "It's not; did you look at the research I sent you?"
"Amazing stuff; is that what we'll be working on today?"
Tal glanced around, "Yes, and Tik too."
The man looked at the girl critically. "A girl? Tal-" he began disapproval coloring his voice.
"You know as well as I do that there are plenty of women in our field in the world. Just because there aren't any here doesn't mean that my daughter can't follow her aspirations. If you can't handle that then I will find someone else to work with Reb."
Reb quickly waved off Tal's threat, "Not necessary, it's just so unusual for any parent to encourage their daughter to pursue the sciences and higher education. Little Tik is more than capable."
Tal only nodded, and led his daughter to his lab. There they did more testing before finally letting Tik don the gear.
Tik sucked in a breath as the images the sunglasses showed her were in such depth. They started in a lovely place similar to the cave that the creature currently lived in. The colors of the plants were green, not the purple she knew, and the rocks were brown and black not green and yellow. Was this the creature's home world with its strange blue skys, and stranger yellow star?
Before Tik could study the alien landscape more the images changed to another one of the oddly alluring beautiful world. The images continued to play out before her eyes eventually moving on to cities, planets, spaceships and even space stations. There were thousands of his kind shown in their lives, and Tik was amazed at how much they outpaced her kind in technology.
By the time the somber girl removed the glasses she had an entirely new perspective of the creature, and was beginning to understand him and his behavior much better.
"Father did you see all that?"
Tal nodded, "We recorded it."
"I think I need to go see him."
Again Tal nodded, "Let's go together."
The crowd split before Tik and Tal, and they ignored the whispers. The creature came forward the instant he spotted the girl, and accepted the box back from her.
"Thank you so much for showing me your people." Tik said passionately hoping that would show her gratitude as the creature wouldn't understand her words.
Tik looked from the creature's eyes to the view of her world he had from his home. It was so different, and the only thing that was the same was the color of the water. She knew why he had chosen here to live, and why he would watch the water flow by for hours now; it was likely the only thing that made him feel at peace in an alien world. What worried her more though was that they hadn't come for him. Didn't they know he was here? Couldn't they swoop down and capture him taking him home on one of their many ships?
Tik nearly jumped from her skin as the glasses were slid over her eyes once more. She looked to the creature before new images sprang up before her. When it was done Tik took the glasses away weeping. He had shown her the history of his people, and the war they were waging against the possessed ones.
"I'm so sorry," she whispered even as he patted her hand to comfort her.
Tik seized his hand, and looked into his eyes. "Human," she said trying to say the foreign word correctly.
The creature nodded, and pointed to himself, "Human," his disused voice croaked.
Tik pointed to herself, "Talrik."
"Tal-rik," the human repeated slowly.
Tik nodded, and smiled. It was time to learn a new language for both of them.