Blaue opened the exit, and we descended onto the planet's surface. The sky was lavender, which seemed odd to me, since I was used to Earth's bright blue sky. I supposed in time I would get used to the color.
Near the foot of the ramp stood a humanoid. He was easily two feet taller than me, and his skin was pale orange. He seemed very human, except he had no nose and his eyes were a burnt orange. It astounded me that in a universe where life's development was mere chance, a being so close to human had evolved. Perhaps their home planet was near Earth's, therefore they had been subject to many of the same cosmological conditions.
"Which of you is John Earhart?" The being's voice was gravelly, and it took all my strength not to cringe. Carlee did not have the same self control. She flinched.
"I am John Earhart." I stepped forward.
"I am called Korhin," the being said. "I am part of the Cultural Assimilation Program, and it is my honor to assist you as your assimilate into our world. Your organic captain has informed us of your physiological needs and an appropriate habitation has been arranged." His words struck me as mechanical and made me feel as if I was being put in a zoo. However, the rational part of my mind reminded me that this alien had probably just learned English so he could communicate with me and that he would have no idea of the connotations instilled in me by my upbringing on Earth.
"You must be Carlee Earhart, the owner." He said 'owner' very coldly as he turned his strange gaze to Carlee. She shrank and stepped a little behind Ven, as if he could protect her.
"I'm John's sister," Carlee said in a small voice.
"You are John's oppressor," Korhin said. "We have little tolerance for oppressors on Halshia."
"We were issued visas," Ven said. "Yuo can check with my Artifical Cognizant. Both Carlee and myself have your government's permission to be here."
"I am aware," Korhin said. "We try to be tolerant of organics, but you will have to forgive me if my slavery to your kind has made me quick to judge." Ven's jaw was set angrily. He hated the term organic and he hated androids. This planet had to be his worst nightmare.
"Korhin, Ven and Carlee are good people. You need not worry about either of them oppressing you," I said. "It was actually a lie as far as Ven was concerned, but this man needed reassurance, not doubts.
"Oh? Then why are you seeking refuge here? Why do you feel from them?" Korhin asked, his gaze focusing back on me. I could suddenly feel Carlee's eyes on me, as if she too was dying to know the answer. In her eyes, I was undoubtedly running away, fleeing from her. I could not explain the truth.
"Because this is what is best," I answered. The being studied me, his eyes narrowing as if he could see that I did not really want to leave my human companions.
"Of course," Korhin said. "Come, we will go to your habitation and discuss details." I nodded and walked down teh ramp, Ven and Carlee following. I felt like I was walking to my doom.