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Strength

by FlameCatcher57


Strength

WHERE: Arkin

WHEN: April 6th, 2299

Peter woke up in his bed. He sat up, confused. He could have sworn he had been in school, but now it looked like he had been sleeping. He sat up, rubbed his eyes, and hopped off onto the wet jungle soil. Wait. Jungle soil? He finally opened his eyes all the way and screamed. He was inside a strange forest, unlike anything he had ever seen. The trees were weird, the sounds were weird, and the fact that he was standing in a jungle was weird.

“Siri X? Where am I?” He asked his watch.
It responded, “Arkin, 5th planet in the Juklor system, heated by a blue giant.”

Peter nearly fainted from the realization. This was not good. Arkin was the 3rd planet humans settled on, the first being Earth, the second being Pandora, and the third, Arkin, was the one he was somehow standing on. He was just in school, he knew it! But somehow he was here.
“How did I get here?” he asked.
“Unknown,” Siri X responded. He knew something was wrong now. He soon found himself walking through the jungle, scanning lifeforms to learn about them. But something cut his mission short. He stepped forward only to land on a hard metal object. He looked down and saw that it was a large armband that might fit his arm. He slipped it on and felt something different. He felt like he could smash through a brick wall. Peter had always thought of himself as weak, not likable, and uninteresting.
He pushed away could-be friends, and never talked to anyone except his dad, and himself. His dad works at NASA, so he’s not usually home, leaving Peter by himself. With all his technology, he could 3D print himself dinner, or watch virtual reality tv shows. But loneliness is what he likes sometimes. His blue eyes and blond hair came from his mom who died when he was three, and it left him to fend for himself. He does not want friends, as he knows how much it would hurt if they died.
Suddenly, a heavy, furry tube landed on his shoulder. It coiled around his neck and nuzzled his skin. Peter jumped and looked down. A squirrel-like creature had wrapped itself tightly around his neck, but thankfully it was not choking him. It had 6 legs and a very long body, with sharp teeth. He found, after he scanned it, that it was called a shridlet, and the teeth were for scraping moss off of trees. The moss was poisonous, but they are immune. He cautiously pet the creature, and it made a sound similar to a cat's purr. He smiled but was cut short after hearing human chittering. It sounded human, but the words were higher pitched and alien-sounding. All of a sudden, a pew sound blasted through the jungle, and his arm melted off his body. “Aaaah!” Peter's scream of pain could be heard a mile away, but no one he knew could hear it.
He woke up, again, in a bright room. It was illuminated by weird bugs that glowed, but Peter didn't care. He wanted to know what just happened. He glanced at his arm, but it was not there. Instead, a stub lay on the leaf bed he rested on. His armband was sitting on a wooden table-thing, next to a cage holding the shridlet. The whole room smelled like musty vegetables. He could not feel the pain anymore, but the stub where his arm was scared him. What could happen next? What could an armless middle schooler do on an alien planet?
“You…are…o..k-k..ay?” A voice called to him from the end of the large room.
“Who’s there? I have one arm left, and I’m not afraid to use it!” Peter stood up, fist clenched, ready to punch the speaker. But it was not human. It was a squid thing. It had tentacles with fingers on them, and it was holding a metal arm.
“Is that… for me?” Peter asked tentatively. He could see the segments of the arm, and it reminded him of Bucky's arm, from the ancient movie, Avengers: Infinity War. The creature nodded and handed him the arm.
“Do I just put it on?” he asked skeptically. The alien nodded again. Suddenly excited, Peter placed the arm over his nub, and it made several clicking noises before tightening around his stub. Peter flexed the new arm. “Cool,” he whispered. “What’s your name?” Peter asked, worried the answer would be too alien to pronounce.
“Zflognbar. What… is… yours?” The alien asked. He had trouble pronouncing English because the translator device on his mouth was malfunctioning.
“Umm, Peter. Nice to meet you Z… flo… gan… bare?” Peter said cautiously, not wanting to mispronounce his name.
While having this conversation, Peter had secretly been scanning Zflognbar and discovered that they were an alien race, only slightly less advanced than humans. Humans call them “people squid”, but they classify themselves as Zwaetogons, and all people squid’s first letter in their name is Z. Peter suddenly realized that he was shot by these aliens, and took 5 steps backward, untrustful as always. “Why did you shoot my arm off?” Peter asked worriedly, afraid of what the answer may be.
“We assume all unidentified beings as… threats.” The alien's translator was working better now, so that was a plus. “You would be dead, but the cannon missed and hit your arm instead of your head.”
Peter started gathering his things. He unlocked the shridlets cage and put the armband back on. He felt powerful with the armband on.
After leaving the building, he was surprised to see an entire town stretched out before him. Though it was cool, he wanted to leave. He could not trust anyone, even Zflognbar. He exited the town and started running. He knew the Aliens were staring at him, but he did not care. After getting far away from them, he turned around and saw Zflognbar. He was gasping for breath, because they aren’t built to move on land, but on trees.
“I… forgot… to ask! Where did you… get that… ring?” he asked. The translator definitely needed to be looked at.
“I found it on the ground, why are you asking?” Peter questioned while petting the shridlet.
“It is… magic of some sort. The ancestors… left... them... for us, but we have.. only found one. They give the user... enhanced... strength, so our king is the only... one... trusted to... wear it,“ the alien said.
That must be why I feel stronger now! Cool. Peter thought, excited.
“Do you… want to… help find the other? It is probably… in the… underground city, where our ancestors… mysteriously disappeared. No one… knows why. Only two… escaped, and they repopulated this continent. But, sadly… our technology… was lost, and… we had to… start over.”
“Umm, sure. But umm, how strong exactly?” Peter questioned excitedly.
“You… would… be able to lift up… an… earth... elephant,” Zflognbar said. “Most of our technology..was advanced.. by a magic metal, ark… steel. It can be… used to make... powerful cannons, like… the one… that dissolved your arm or to make 3D printers. But it also.. was used by the... ancestors to unlock... magical powers, hence your... super strength.”
“Well, let's go! This should be cool! But first, how can I test my strength?” Peter asked rather impatiently.
“Punch that… tree. I am… going to try… to fix my translator… now.” Zflognbar said, slightly annoyed.
Peter walked up to the tree. He winded up, and let out a blow. CRACK! A large hole appeared in the tree and it collapsed soon after. After several woohs! and hehe’s Peter calmed down. “That’s so cool, but where does ark steel come from?” Peter asked, curious.
“Nobody knows, although there are several less scientific theories. Oh. That’s better. Now that my translator’s fixed, I can finally have a normal conversation with you. A little off-topic, but have you thought about naming that shridlet yet?” Zflognbar asked, straying from the point of the conversation.
“I was thinking about calling it Noodle,” Peter said, scratching the shridlet under its chin.“That’s cute, but we really must be going. We mustn't let it get dark.” The alien said, which was odd, as he was the one who had started the conversation. “These jungles can get dangerous at night.” Well, that was ominous… Peter thought, scared now.
After walking for what seemed like hours, they arrived at what looked like a metal vault door. While Zflognbar was cranking the door open, Peter, unfortunately, was tasked to keep watch. The bushes rustled, and twigs cracked, but nothing was seen. Suddenly, Peter heard a growling noise behind him. Without looking, he scanned it not wanting to see what it was. A Lyconesi, the scanner called it. It was six-legged, about 9 feet head to tail, with a bony maw. “Zflognbar, is a lyconesi dangerous?” Peter asked, scared half to death.
Zflognbar gasped. “Can you deal with it? Just punch it in the shell on its face. It’s practically indestructible, so you can’t break or damage it. It will just hurt it. A lot. It may also hurt you, as it will be like punching a metal bar.”
“Umm, are you sure? What if it bites me? What if I get scratched-” He was cut off by the lyconesi charging at him, about 20 feet away. 15 feet. 10 feet. 5,4,3-Peter closed his eyes and swung his fists. “Oww!” Peter pulled back his fist, blew on it, and breathed for the first time in 2 minutes.
“Well done. Look at that coward now.” Zflognbar pointed at the whining beast who was scampering away. “Anyways, I got it open, so let's go.” Zflognbar awkwardly climbed down the ladder, gesturing for Peter to follow. Peter did, climbing into the darkness below.
Part 2: The Underground
When they reached the bottom, Zflognbar turned on a flashlight thing. The entire underground civilization was made of ark steel! “Whoah..” Peter whispered.
“And to think nobody wants anything to do with this place anymore!” Zflognbar said, tentacles dancing around.
After admiring the underground city, Peter and his guide stumbled upon a lever. Peter wondered what it was used for and pulled it. But it snapped right off, and Zflognbar, after scolding Peter, used a welding tool to glue it back together. Then, Zflognbar pulled it gently, and it made a clicking sound. Several hidden gears turned, and the ground beneath Peter’s feet swallowed him up, down a long tube slide, and onto rough, sandy terrain.
“What is this place?” Peter whispered to himself. It looked like the colosseum, but it was made of ark steel. He was in an arena! But what was in there to fight him?
CREAAAK! A large gate opened, allowing Peter to look in at the darkness within. Well, actually, it wasn’t total darkness. 4 glowing eyes stared at him from the black. ROOOOOAR! The sound reverberated through the entire arena, but Peter used this pause to scan whatever was in there.
It was called an Armored Devil, and the name served it right. It looked like a rhino, but with 6 horns, 2 above its eyes, and 4 in a line across its face. It was covered in thick plating all over, except for its tail, face, and underside. Its tail was tipped with a baseball bat-like club, with an ax-like protrusion at the tip. And it was pawing the ground, ready to charge at Peter at any moment.
Peter took a breath and held it. The Armored Devil charged at him, but Peter rolled out of the way. Even when the monstrosity swung its scary tail at him, Peter still rolled. He was very bad at rolling. He had several bruises now. But Peter had been hurt before. When he was 6, he loved climbing trees. He climbed to new heights every day. But one day, everything changed. Peter fell after trying to climb down and had to get stitches across his face. Since then, he hasn’t been very reactive to pain.
Peter kept dodging until he had had enough. He swung his right fist at the beast, and a satisfying crack could be heard through the stadium. The Armored Devil stumbled backward, not used to prey trying to fight back.
But this only made it more vicious and more urged to destroy him. It charged, and Peter did as he had done before, rolled, and got up again. But he was not expecting the tail to come from behind.
“OOOF!” The wind was knocked out of him, and Peter could hear his rib crack, but a wave of adrenaline had come over him, like nothing he had experienced before. He charged at the beast, and let the strongest punch he could muster fly at the Armored Devil. Crunch! That was the sound of the Armored Devil smashing into the ark steel walls surrounding the arena, leaving a large dent. It fell, but it did not get up again.
“Peter, that was very brave of you. Well done.” Zflognbar said from the stands above the arena.
“You just stood and watched! While I did all the work?” Peter yelled up at him. “I could have died, and you sat there?”
“In my defense, it was an artificial monster built for battle by the ancestors, so I wanted to keep my distance. Again, well done.” Zflognbar said, annoying Peter. But Peter had other things to worry about. He clenched his stomach, squinting, feeling nauseous. His rib was definitely broken. Make that 2-no 3 ribs. Peter was in such excruciating pain that he did not feel angry anymore. He felt like he could explode. But, his vision went black, saving him from the torture he was in.
Part 3: Home is where your strength is
He woke up, gasping, in the same room he had started his journey in. “Zflognbar! Where are you!” Peter yelled. “What happened?” But there was no response. Instead, a different alien walked in.
“I’m afraid your travel guide is dead.” She said,
“WHAT! No…how?” Peter was confused. He felt like he did at home. Weak, not capable of anything without help.
“You see, after you fainted, a table came up from under the arena. On it was a ring, like the one you have. Apparently, it teleported you to this planet because it chose you to find it and bring it to its people. Well done, Peter'' She responded.
“You didn’t answer my question! How did he die!” Peter was angry again.
She told him that on the way back, while carrying his limp body and the ring, he sent a message to them. “He told us to come immediately. 3 soldiers obeyed his message and went to the coordinates, only to find a lyconesi, presumably the one you fought off, had ambushed him, and he was attempting to hold his ground. But the lyconesi killed him, and the soldiers carried your body, the ring, and your confused shridlet here. We healed your ribs, and now you are here, in the present.”
“How do I get back home? I want to go back.” Peter started grabbing the ring, but the alien slapped his hand.
“It is best that the ring is left for the tribe it was intended for. The shridlet, however, you may take home. If you really want to get home, you can tap the ring that sent you here in the first place.” She responded calmly.
“Okay. Thanks, I guess.” Then Peter held the shridlet tightly and touched the ancient ring.
“AAAAAH!” It felt like he had been falling for hours. His feet lightly touched the ground, and he saw that he was in his room, on the bed he had arrived on Arkin in.
Needing help isn’t a bad thing. It proves you are brave enough to do greater, even if you needed some assistance along the way.
The end






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6 Reviews

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Mon Mar 20, 2023 1:11 am
iriisblooms wrote a review...



Hi! I'm not the best at reviewing works of literature, but here goes-

You say he/him/his/etc. a lot, and I recommend saying Peter's name more instead. It gets a bit repetitive after a while of just hearing he/him/his/etc. This doesn't mean to just replace all of the pronouns with Peter's name, it just means to use a variety of things :)

Next, some of the formatting was a bit weird- I recommend adding more paragraphs, but not new writing, just format the current writing differently. I for one find it hard to read things that are one big jumble/paragraph, and I'm sure other people can relate, although not everybody.

Finally, use more adjectives, especially more unique ones at that. It seemed kind of bland, not that it wasn't good. For example, instead of saying something like "he smiled" say "he smiled greatly" or something like that.

This story definitely has great potential and I hope you keep working on it! :D




FlameCatcher57 says...


thnx! Will do!



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Fri Mar 17, 2023 11:06 pm
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foxmaster wrote a review...



Hello! This is Foxmaster.
I have to say that this was a very interesting short story, but try to add some more space between the paragraphs, because then you can get lost.

Also, as this was really cool and original, it was a bit fast-paced for me, and if someone walked up to me and said: "retell this story for me." I think I would not be able to. I also feel that maybe you could have added an introduction, or a flashback to show what peter was doing in the beginning and stuff.

But that is all, and I really liked this. I hope you can make a second part because I would definitely read it. Also, if you are looking for anything to review you can do my work. :)

-Foxmaster




FlameCatcher57 says...


Thanks! When I pasted my writing from google docs to here, it deleted the indentation on the paragraphs, and I did not know that would happen. Anyways, I'm going to start working on Part 2 soon, so be ready. I will certainly add more introduction in the next part. Thanks for the feedback!



FlameCatcher57 says...


It should be fixed now, thanks for the tip.



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6 Reviews

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Fri Mar 17, 2023 7:30 pm
FlameCatcher57 says...



Thank you for reading!





Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.
— Mark Twain