A Jix short story
By Micah McNully
Lauren’s cell phone buzzed on the nightstand next to her bed. She let out a groan and rolled over on the empty king sized bed to grab it and answer it. She instinctively drew the sheets around her, despite the fact that she was wearing a nightgown.
“Hello?” she said into the phone, realized she hadn’t actually answered it and hit the button on the touch screen.
“Hello?” she repeated, slightly more awake.
“Hey, babe. This is Paul,” the caller said.
She frowned. Paul never called her “babe” when it was just them talking, but he did like to do it in front of others. It was one of his weird quirks. He was probably still at work, but according to the time, he should have been off by now.
“I thought you were coming home,” Lauren complained.
Paul sighed. “Listen, with Hurricane Irene coming, they’re having me on hand for the evacuees. Speaking of which, why does it sound like you just woke up.”
“I did just wake up. I had a really late night with Alice. Why?”
“Lauren, you have to be out of Manhattan. If you don’t leave soon, you’ll be stuck in the city when the Hurricane hits. I’m not sure our apartment is safe and you have no chance of getting a cab at this time.”
“I love you, too,” Lauren grumbled and hung up on him. She rolled out of bed, slipped the gown off and slipped into bra, panties, shirt, and shorts. Even though the hurricane would be there soon, it was still fairly hot out.
Lauren went down the hall and into the kitchen to catch a late afternoon breakfast. She heard Jix talking softly to Alice. Lauren poured a bowl of cereal and a splash of milk and fixed her a cup of coffee. She stood wondering if she should be in a bigger hurry. After all, she had never been through a hurricane before.
She took her breakfast into the dining room and saw Alice sitting in her highchair while the small blue fuzzy alien fed her puree of something or rather. Alice could eat a little bit of solid foods by now, but she was mostly eating baby food.
“Looks like rain today,” Jix said, turning her ears back and forth, listening to different faint noises in the apartment.
“Jix, there’s supposed to be a hurricane coming for New York,” Lauren said plainly.
“Are human structures strong enough to withstand Earth hurricanes?” Jix asked, turning both ears towards Lauren.
“I don’t know, but I think we ought to get somewhere safe,” Lauren said, taking a sip of her coffee.
Jix rubbed the fur near the scar on her chin with her thumb in thought. She said, “Should we be waiting around so long? I think they’re saying Irene could hit within hours.”
Lauren shrugged. “I’m not really sure how this works.”
“When we got hit by hurricanes on Rosimba, my planet, we had an energy shield that rose above cities, but I haven’t seen anything like that here. Do you even have the technology?”
“No…we can’t even make a small force field,” Lauren laughed.
“I didn’t think so, but your sci-fi shows threw me off,” Jix shrugged, scooping up a little more of the puree of carrot to feed to Alice. Alice was making sounds with her mouth between each spoonful of food.
“Can we use your spaceship?”
Jix nodded, ears bobbing up and down as she did. She said, “We have to get to it quickly, though. The wind speeds could tear up my cruiser. We’ll get above the weather and to the ship in orbit. Will Paul be joining us?”
“Nope. He’s working with the shelters. They’re needing paramedics to help out. Where are we going to go to wait out the hurricane? I’m kind of broke right now.”
“We’ll go to my house. I’ve been wanting to see my mom again,” Jix said, scraping the last bit of puree of carrots from its jar.
A few minutes later, Lauren was lacing up her sneakers. She had put a bag of clothes and toiletries together and tied her waist length hair into a long ponytail. She hadn’t taught Jix to braid hair and she didn’t really know how to braid her own, so she left it long, but it would have come in handy.
She had also put together a bag of onesies for Alice and loaded up the diaper bag with every diaper she could find. She had just bought a new bag, so she didn’t really needing it. She also threw whatever baby food she had into the bag for Alice.
Meanwhile, Jix was gathering up Lamerix’s more important inventions. She dumped it all into a bag along with some components.
Caligos, Dyonus, and Dyona didn’t have anything to bring, they just had to get themselves ready for making the journey to Central Park. It was at least three or four blocks from Lauren’s apartment building to the ship. They had a couple of hours window to leave before the winds got too bad, but Lauren didn’t want to take any chances.
The five of them gathered in the living room. Lauren had Alice strapped to her back in a baby carrier. Alice was already almost seventeen months old and getting a little too big for the carrier, but Lauren was in excellent shape and thought she could handle Alice on her back for a few blocks.
“Alright, because we’re running through the city in the middle of the day on a crowded street, I want everyone in holograms. Split up if we need to, but we meet at the ship all the same. We will wait for everyone to get there, but if conditions get too bad, we go without. If you get left behind, go to the next rendezvous and contact the ship,” Lauren explained, showing them a printed map of the most direct route to the ship. Jix and Laruen had estimated where it was. They all had a remote that would uncloak the ship and open the back hatchway.
“Are you ready, Alice?” Lauren asked.
“Ba ba aba,” Alice replied. Lauren took this for a “yes.”
Dyonus and Dyona both had internal switches for their holograms. Dyonus became a red-eyed Lauren, Dyona became a black business woman, Jix became her normal blue-haired Hawaiian woman, and Caligos became a red-haired man. The hair was spiked almost to the point that it rivaled Goku’s.
From what Lauren had seen, Ambis legs were muscular enough to make up for their shortness. They would have to take more steps to make up for the lack of strides, but they were built for it. Their tails certainly helped with the balance, too.
They decided to take the elevator and spent the time stretching. Once the doors opened, they emerged into the lobby at a sort of sprint. The bag and the baby were already weighing Lauren down, but she managed to keep up with the aliens.
Once they hit the sidewalk outside of the building, they took off at a run. Lauren knew how to pace herself, but she still didn’t want to waste any time and went at a moderate speed.
The biggest obstacle were the mass of people trying to get a ride out or trying to go across traffic. Despite the bags and Alice, Lauren was keeping up with the Ambis, but she was at the back of the pack with the organic Ambis at front and the metal in the middle. The androids weren’t necessarily built for speed, but they were built almost to par with the biology of a natural Ambis. They were stronger than Ambis, but their leg movement was more mechanical and slower.
“Crossing the street,” Jix announced, turning her head slightly so that even Lauren could hear it. The crosswalk symbol changed and their little group raced across the crosswalk.
Lauren eyed the darkening sky and her stomach started to turn. She had been afraid of thunderstorms when she was little, but as an adult, she still got a little apprehensive when they came. The wind stirred the hairs in her ponytail as she ran. It wasn’t strong enough to pick the entire thing up, even though it was flapping back and forth with her movement.
Within minutes, the group made it to Central Park and began making their way down the pathway. Lauren was already starting to feel the strain in her lungs, legs, back, and arms. In her mind, she pulled up the image of the map she and Jix had made. They were getting closer to the ship.
The trees in Central Park were already starting to bend in the increasing winds, but they had only a little ways to go to get to the ship.
She vaulted a fence and looked back to see Alice looking uncomfortable with her bumpy ride, but otherwise she was doing fine.
Within a few minutes of entering Central Park, they were coming up on the ship. The park itself was fairly empty, except for a few stragglers who refused to leave Manhattan. Lauren didn’t understand the desire to stay during the hurricane.
When they finally made it to the ship, Jix took out her remote and pressed the button to lower the back ramp. As they entered the ship, the Ambis turned off their holograms and started to prep the ship for departure. Lauren sank into one of the ship’s chairs after removing Alice from her back and sat their panting while she made sure her baby was okay.
End of Part I
On to part 2? (Not up yet)