How Rannn met Ansel

The start of his crew

Rannn was sitting on a bench outside Admiral Orin’s office. Back on Yunkin, it was suffocating with all the politics, the questions, and requests to visit family. He couldn’t wait until he was back on his ship.

But first, he had to talk to his cousin, Orin to get authorization to claim a doctor from the academy. A doctor that would graduate with high honors in a few hours. Time was ticking and he had things to do. It was taking a great deal of energy to keep from barging into the office and tell, whoever Orin was talking to – to get out.

Orin’s office door opened and out walked a green-scaled Bolark. Admiral Armsono’s eyes leveled on him. “Captain Rannn, I didn’t see your name on any court sessions today.”

“I’m not on trial today,” Rannn responded.

The Admiral gave him a small side glance before walking away. Once he was out of earshot, Rannn looked at his cousin., “we need to talk.”

Orin swatted the air, gesturing for Rannn to follow him back into his office.

“When you say we I expect to have a say in the topic, but I have a feeling you mean, you have to talk.”

Rannn took a seat in front of the large desk with a single Minky screen. On the other side of the desk was a medley of pictures of his family, vacations to the ice lakes, and a few of his children holding up fish they caught.

“It’s your lucky day because today you get to voice your opinion.”

Orin snorted, “What do you want?”

To the point, Rannn liked that about Orin. “I want the Numan.”

Orin’s eyes widened for a split second, then threw his head back and laughed deeply in his chest. Two seconds later he abruptly stopped and said, “You can’t have him.” The academy is hiring him as an instructor. They need him to teach what he knows and he will be re-writing the books, procedures – everything.”

“Who says he can’t update the procedures from a ship’s medical position?”

Orin sat forward putting a finger on the table, pressing down until the knuckles turned light grey. “The Numan has not only challenged our procedures, he’s created devices that heal. It’s so advanced we lost the first container., as in someone smuggled the healing tank straight out of the academy’s lab! It’s insane. He is not going to be allowed to leave the planet – not with all the valuable information he has in his head.”

“Exactly, he’s highly valued and he will be treated like a lab rat for the rest of his life. You know that and I know that.”

Orin sat up straighter. “He won’t…”

Rannn cut him off with a raise of an eyebrow. “He will and you know it.”

“We’re Yunkins, we wouldn’t treat anyone like that.”

Rannn shook his head. “I have it on good authority the Admirals over at the academy are keeping a close eye on everything the Numan does, where he goes, and who he can talk to.”

Orin frowned. “I’m sure that’s for everyone’s safety. He’s still a Numan. They are still a dangerous race.”

Orin was right it was for everyone’s safety – at first. But after years of being in the academy, they still were treating him like a hostile. Or at least, that was how Rannn’s mother described it. She was the one who asked him to rescue the doctor.

Orin shook his head, his eyes averted. “The Numan wouldn’t have the resources on your battleship, as he has here. We need him.”

Guarding the border between the Federation controlled space and the Outworlds was not for the weak-hearted. His ship had survived hundreds of ship-to-ship attacks. The ship was midsized and keeping good crewmembers was hard. If the Numan was dangerous they would be far enough away from any real civilization that he couldn’t hurt anyone. If the doctor was what Rannn’s mother said he was, being on an active ship was essential. The Numan would get first-hand experience with a diverse crew and impromptu dangers. Field experience was the best kind of knowledge.

But Rannn didn’t have time to explain it. He needed to get the Numan’s orders changed and he needed them done before the beginning of the Academy’s graduation. “My mother contacted me and asked me to help the Numan.” Lowering his head, but not his eyes, Rannn added, “She also said that she asked you the same thing.”

Orin ran a hand over his right brow and rubbed. “Admiral Armsono has already asked for the Numan to work on a project he’s overseeing., By the time your mother sent me the message I already said yes to him.”

Rannn snorted. “Don’t tell me you’re too afraid to contact Armsono and let him know things have changed.”

Orin kept his face neutral, but Rannn suspected he was right.

Rannn stood and used his knuckles to tap the desk. “What did your mom always say?”

Orin glared up at him.

“A petty officer is the heart of the Federation. A commanding officer is their support. A captain is their protector. Character and skills are improved when a person is challenged and valued, not when they are belittled and ignored.” Rannn knocked once. “My ship needs of a medical officer. The ones I had are gone.”

“How convenient,” Orin shot back.

Rannn flashed back on the last medical officers he had. Just thinking about them made his fists tighten. “The last medical officers were mistaken that a Krant’s lethargic and agitated symptoms were a space cold. You know what it ended up being?”

Orin made a noise in the back of his throat. One that suggested, regretfully he could guess.

When Rannn had found out about the mix-up, he broke his office desk by beating his fists on it. Rehearsing the situation brought back all those memories. “You and I know that  Krants who work in the Federation are supposed to wear a hormone inhibiter at all times to keep them from digressing into their heat-season. His inhibitor was expired, no one checked. He was missing for two weeks, and his lead didn’t question it because they thought he was staying in his room recovering from his cold. For TWO WEEKS he held a female officer in his room, unable to leave, unable to contact anyone for help – and no one noticed.”

Orin cleared his throat. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”

“The Krant was a good crew member and I had to dishonorably discharge him because the medical staff didn’t do their job. I had to demote two leads for not checking on their crewmate and I had to transfer a female officer off of the ship to a medical trauma facility to deal with what happened.” Rannn took in a deep breath as he steeled his emotions. “If my mother is correct, and the Numan is well versed in all races, and their sickness, then I want him on my ship.”

His cousin took in a shaky breath before rubbing his temples. “I am sorry for what you had to go through, but that was an honest mistake.”

Lowering his voice, Rannn said, “You don’t get to say things like that to me. You didn’t see the female’s swollen red eyes because she had been crying nonstop for days. You didn’t see the crushed look on the Krants face and how he couldn’t lift his eyes from the ground. YOU DIDN’T get the report that the Krant committed suicide as he was being transported back to his planet.”

Orin’s head fell forward, “damn.”

Rannn had said more than damn when he found out. “Transfer the Numan to my ship. I’m attending the graduation with my mother. I will escort the new doctor to my ship that is orbit docked and waiting for me.”

Without looking Rannn in the eyes, Orin grabbed his Minky pad.

Rannn read the name of the Numan and took a good look at the student’s picture. The male looked young, thin with wavy brown hair. Next to his picture was the name, Ansel.


The stone graduation building was cold and the entry was wet from all the attendees as they stomped the snow from their boots. The halls usually were illuminated with modern lights, but during graduation, the Admirals liked to burn the heavy torches. The orange and red firelight gave the walkways a sense of wonder.

It was a tribute to their ancestors that sailed the icy oceans and traveled the bitter cold, conquering the planet, and bringing all Yunkins under one authority.

Rannn could feel his mother’s hand wrapped around his forearm as he escorted her to the second row – reserved for the teachers of the academy. As her personal guest, he sat next to her, watching the several hundred guests take their seats quietly in the auditorium.

“Were you able to get what I asked for?” his mother whispered out of the side of her mouth, but not turning her head.

“Of course, I did.”

“Good, good. He will be much better with you.”

Rannn wasn’t a hundred percent confident of that, mainly because he’d like to get his own impression of the Numan.

The Admiral that directed the school stood up and gave a speech about expectations and honor. After that, another Yunkin stood next to a large translucent Minky screen that showed a picture of the students, their name, and their duty station.

The class had hundreds of students like most years. But there was something missing from each student’s graduation sheet. Student ranking; a number based on academic achievement and grades.

“When did they stop ranking students?” he asked his mother.

“This would be the first year. We had a meeting the last week and the Admiral thought it was impossible to account for a proper ranking since not all students studied the same information.”

Or the Admiral didn’t want a Numan with the highest ranking since the academy had started.

Ansel’s name was called and all the small hushed conversations stopped. The Numan walked with his head lowered. When the announcer read off Ansel’s duty station, the male stopped mid-stride and regarded the screen, shocked.

The announcer cleared his throat and then muttered something about, that not being right, but glossed over it, handed Ansel his graduation coin, and waved him to the other side of the stage.

“Mother,” Rannn began, but she cut him off.

“I know, you need to go, but use the back exit,” she warned.

His mother knew him well. And if she was paying attention to Admiral Armsono who was sitting on stage, tapping his heel as if he couldn’t stand to be on stage for one more minute, she knew how important it was to get a head start.

Slowly slipping down the row he exited the back way, trotting down the side of the narrow hall in an effort to catch Ansel.

By the time he was in the great hall’s conference room, his breaths were coming in quick pants. Ansel was surrounded by three academy security guards, not letting him out.

Rannn slowed to a walk, held up his arm, and called, “Ansel.”

All four males turned.

“My name is Captain Rannn.”

When Ansel or the others didn’t seem to understand that importance, he elaborated, “I am the captain of Lowlett battleship.” AKA, your duty station. The guards were the first to move, keeping Ansel behind them.

Ansel remained still but his eyes darted between the three guards.

Rannn understood why the males were taking a defensive posture. They had not been given permission to allow the Numan out of their sight. With the quick change of the duty station, they were going to be even more suspicious.

When he stopped directly in front of them he pulled out his Minky pad, showed proof of his identity. He flipped the screen to the transfer orders signed by Admiral Orin. The orders had an addendum added, which Rannn pulled up after that.

“Now that you’ve been updated, I am taking responsibility for the Numan.”

The guards stepped back.

Ansel had not moved, and if Rannn was reading him correctly, the Numan didn’t trust him.

“I was told I would be staying on Yunkin. Why was my duty station changed?”

Rannn knew the three guards were curious too. It was impossible to lie, but explaining everything would break the confidence of his mother. So, he answered, “Because you’re the best, and my ship deserves it. I guard the border to the Outworlds, and we take a lot of hits. I need someone who can think on their feet, and keep my crew alive. Does that sound like something you want to sign up for?”

“You make it sound like I have a choice.”

The mild way Ansel spoke almost made it sound as if he wasn’t upset about the situation, but Rannn heard the words, even if the tone was casual. “You have a choice. You want to stay here and rot in a lab. I’ll get your orders changed. It may take a lot of explaining, but I can get it done.”

The Numan looked towards the exit and then at Rannn. “How securely will I be watched on your ship?”

Rannn understood why the doctor asked the question. And in a way, Rannn wanted to keep an eye on the male until he could be trusted, but that wasn’t how he ran his ship. “I have many personal rules for my crew. One of the important rules is that I have to be able to trust them to do their job – as they trust me to protect them.”

“That did not answer my question.”

Rannn reached down and pulled out a knife from his boot, turning the handle so the blade flicked in the firelight. “You see this, I will cut your heart out if you end up experimenting or hurting my crew. If you are what you say you are, then the next time you see this blade will be when I’m using it to defend you from an attacker. In other words, if you’re loyal to me, I’ll be loyal to you.”

Ansel looked at the blade then at Rannn. “You’re a… strange Yunkin, and I think, despite your threats, that I’d like to work for you.”

Pushing the blade back in his boot, Rannn said, “Good, because I didn’t want to have to explain to Orin that I made a mistake.” Using his chin, he jerked it toward the exit., “time to get your stuff and get the hell off this planet.”

Ansel snorted but didn’t make another sound as they left the stone building.


Rannn’s body swayed as the Whisk Traverse crawled down the mountain. Rannn was in the driver’s seat even though he was merely watching the navigation screen instead of actual driving.

There was a puddle of water under his boots and he was sure the seat under his thick layer of pants was damp as well. The Whisk’s heaters were on full blast. Anything less would let the subzero temperatures creep in.

The academy dorm rooms were at the base of the mountain. Pulling off the main road he asked, “Which section are you in?”


“350,” he repeated thinking about his time in the academy. Those students who lived in 350 when he went to school were the Kirca Demons that the Yunkins didn’t fully trust.

Taking the road to the back of the building he stopped and let the Whisk continue to run. Rannn got out with Ansel and followed him to the first room. As he stepped inside the automatic lights activated and Rannn stood in the cleanest student room he ever saw. The bed was made, the corners tightly folded. The floor was clean and polished. Nothing on the walls, or on the counter.

Ansel walked straight to the closet, pulled up a black duffle bag, and moved it to the floor, opened it up, and inside was folded academy uniforms, socks, undergarments, and undershirts all folded neatly in the case.

“You never unpacked?”

Ansel pulled up two shirts and set them aside before answering, “I didn’t see anywhere to unpack.”

Rannn scanned the room and realized the Numan was right. There was no nightstand, no desk, and no dresser. They gutted it leaving a bed, a chipped table, and a single chair that didn’t match.

Ansel reached under the bed and something clicked. Then he pulled out a disk the size of the graduation coin, but it was round and smooth. The top part was lighter than the bottom black part.

The Numan’s hiding place? “What’s that?”

Ansel stuffed the object in his case and put the shirts back on top. “A prototype.”

“Of what?”

Ansel stood up and tilted the case so the wheels activated. “I call it a medscope. I made another one before, much bigger, but somehow it broke and had to go out for repairs. Not that anyone told me about it until after it was gone. It never showed back up. I was told someone stole it. I’m more careful with who knows about my designs now.”

Rannn didn’t like how the Numan kept secrets from the school; not that he didn’t understand – he did. Orin said something about one of the Numan’s projects disappearing.

But something bothered Rannn, and he needed to know the answer before taking Ansel on his ship. “Do you regret applying to the Federation academy?”

Ansel’s eyes turned away. “I’ve wanted to quit every day from the beginning.”

Not reassuring. “What made you stay?”

Ansel raked a hand through his hair. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but… your mom. She was my consulting doctor.”

“How would you know who my mother is?”

Ansel made face, “Because she has your picture all over her office, and whenever I picked something up quickly she always said, you’re smart – like my son, Rannn, he’s a captain now.”

It was almost amusing to hear his mother talk about him that way. His mother tended to talk to him like a boy, rather than an adult. At least behind his back, she spoke thoughtfully of him.

“I assume she is the reason I have been transferred to your ship.”

“She is,” he confirmed and then turned to the door.

Rannn led the way back to the Whisk and got in. Ansel pressed his hands on his thighs and announced, “I should warn you, there is a good chance your medical staff won’t like working with me.”

Rannn punched in the new destination into the navigations screen and pressed, confirmed. “I doubt it.”

“I’m not. Trust me, the second I step on your ship, the medical crew will try to get me to do things their way, which will be the wrong way, and we will argue and trust me when I say it will get ugly. I’ve fought with almost every teacher I had, and many failed me. The only reason I passed was because of a clause in the academy contract that states if a student fails, we can state our case to the governing Admiral. Each time I failed, I was able to prove my point and he overrode the grade – pissing off the students and the teacher. I’m telling you this to warn you of what will happen.”

Rannn didn’t know about that clause, probably because he didn’t need to use it. He wondered if it had always been there, or if they rewrote the academy contracts. Either way, he had to clear up Ansel’s misconception. “Currently you are the only medical staff my ship has.”

“What? How?”

Because they had the time, Rannn rehearsed what happened between the Krant and the female officer. It wasn’t any easier to talk about, but he imagined that this was the last time he would ever tell this story. As he finished he added, the crew may have misgivings, but they will learn to adjust, especially when they see what you can do. And once we get them settled, we will hire support staff for you. Not transfer someone in that is above you.”

“I don’t work well with anyone who follows Federation medical standards. You will probably be uncomfortable where my science comes from and all the medical tools I will create. However, I vow I won’t do anything to hurt anyone. My Numan specialty is in healing.”

“Numan specialty? I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying.”

“Not all Numan’s are alike. Can we at least agree on that, right now?”

Rannn didn’t realize he held an entire race in that stereotype. Until right then he figured all Numans had the same medical interests and that they all worked in labs and experimented on people for sadistic purposes.

“I’ll agree to that,” he said at last.

“Thank you. But I’d like to explain what that means.”

Rannn pointed to the screen, where it read the estimated arrival time. “We have time.”

“Numan’s are higher functioning beings. We are like artistic geniuses. Except we don’t all have the same style of art or to better put it, the same interests.”

“And your interest is in healing people?” Rannn asked.

At Ansel’s nod, Rannn followed up his first question with, and how long have you been healing people before you showed up to the academy?”

“From the beginning, and before you ask who I was healing I will be honest with you. My mother was one of those Numans that you hear about. I also need you to know, I never talk about it. So don’t ask. But just know that I have an undeniable need to keep people from suffering.”

Rannn took a long breath to steady himself. The Numan next to him was raised by the sadistic bastards that tortured people. Knowing that didn’t leave a good feeling in his gut. Did Ansel take part in that torture? Was he the Numan who healed the being after his mother ripped them apart? Thinking of the latter, Rannn wondered if that left the Numan more than emotionally stunted. What if the male was also mentally unstable?

Of course, anyone could look sane for a while, but Rannn was going to have to keep an eye out for any eventuality.

“You told me, you had to trust your crew to do their job,” Ansel said as he turned, leveling his light brown eyes at him. “Can I trust you, to not interfere with me doing my job?”

Using his words against him, Clever Numan.

“I doubt you trust me, and you know I have a good reason not to trust you. If this is going to work, we are going to have to blindly trust right now.”

“You know what I find interesting? Is that you speak of blind trust instead of hammering in the concept that if we both act honorably, then we won’t have any issues.”

Rannn lifted a lip, “My father was an Admiral and my mother is a medical officer. One thing I learned growing up is, honor is interpreted differently from person to person.”

Ansel nodded, “I agree. Although I will be honest, I didn’t think any Yunkin realized that.”

Tilting his head, Rannn said, “Not all Yunkins are the same.”

And just like that, the Numan’s stoic expression cracked. His smile was genuine enough that it reached his eyes.

“I think, I’m going to like working for you.”


Admiral Armsono was waiting for him inside his ship. Rannn and Ansel had just crossed from the ramp to the cargo bay when the green-scaled male stood with his feet apart, and arms crossed, on either side of him stood two Yunkin security guards.

Behind them stood Yon, a sour, indomitable, and insufferable pilot, that took his job and his title too seriously. Rannn believed it was because the Yunkin had been exiled after divorcing his wife.

The pilot kept his position in the Federation, but it was made clear he would never advance any further.

The council admirals thought Yon’s actions were dishonorable. That divorcing was a heathen practice. Rannn, who was married, believed otherwise. He’d never say the words out loud, but he wished he had the audacity to do the same to his wife. A wife who didn’t care about him at all. A wife who only married him to gain recognition of being a captain’s wife. And of course, she liked to make comments about being an admiral’s wife one day.

Rannn left those thoughts to the past when he noticed Ansel slowed. Not stopping, but drawing out the space between them.

As captain, he couldn’t afford to look weak. “Admiral Armsono, my ship is locking down and preparing to return to the border. I know you want the Numan, but the transfer has been approved.”

“He belongs in a lab,” the Bolark snapped. “His science needs to be tested, his methods have yet to be proven viable. You take him out to the far reaches of the universe and you can be sure, that male will experiment on your crew. Every professor has said the same thing about him–that he does not follow the rules. Every medical student must learn the rules before they can conduct proper studies to advance the science community.”

“I respectfully disagree.”

Armsono’s green face lightened with anger. “What is wrong with you? I just explained how dangerous he is? As a captain, you are honor-bound to protect each person on this ship. To allow the Numan aboard is a mistake. Do the right thing and reject the transfer.”

Rannn kept his eyes on the Bolark, but he saw a flash of red in his periphery. Without having to look, he knew it was the Red Demon, Pax.

His Minky pad pinged in his pocket and he knew without checking it was his second in command, checking to see where he was.

It was time to shut this down and get the admiral off his ship. Without picking him up and tossing him out which, he wanted to do.

“Admiral, I’m not going to reject the transfer, and I will not change my mind. The Numan and I have an understanding, if he hurts the crew, I hurt him. It’s simple. Now, please leave my ship, I’m already past my assigned take-off time.”

Armsono took a step forward. “I’m not leaving without the Numan.”

Rannn closed the gap and whispered, “Unless he’s under arrest, you can’t take him. And he’s done nothing wrong in the past hour from his graduation, so I’d say… you are leaving without him.”

“I don’t know what’s motivating you to do this, but I know it’s not honor. And the moment that psychopath hurts your crew it won’t just be him who gets discharged. I will make sure everyone knows I warned you about this, and you rejected my wisdom.”

Rannn bit back his response about Armsono being wise. Instead, he lifted his head and announced, “Time to go. Pax, escort our guests off the ship.”

Pax was at the admiral’s side, hand held toward the ramp, waiting for the Bolark to follow. When the admiral didn’t move, Rannn gave him a warning glare.

With reluctance, he left.

Rannn pulled out his Minky and called his second in command. “As soon as the ramp is up, take off.”

“Yes, captain.”

Slipping the Minky back in his pocket he called over to Yon who hadn’t left. Rannn intended to ask Yon if he had something he wanted to say when Ansel made a noise in his throat.

“Huh… a half breed.”

Yon’s confident expression evaporated as his eyes darted to Ansel. “What did you say to me?”

Rannn was looking down at the doctor too. “Half breed?”

Ansel looked at Yon and then at Rannn as if he was looking at children. “He’s got Red Demon traits in his bone structure. What other Yunkin have you meet that has that curl in his shoulders and height. And his nose is flatter. Really, you didn’t know?”

Yon’s hand struck out and grabbed the Numan’s uniform jacket. Pulling him off the ground. “Shut your mouth.”

Rannn thrust his hand between the two. “Let him go.” And when the pilot didn’t, Rannn yanked the doctor out of the grip and stood face to face–mostly, Yon did have a few inches on him. “Calm down.”

Yon’s jaw clenched.

Rannn was still processing what he heard. After all this time, he had no idea the male was part Red Demon. How he kept it a secret was beyond Rannn’s thought process at the moment. What he understood was how other Yunkins would view it.

A half breed.

Mixed blood was not something anyone should care about, but many would. Yon must have figured that out and made it so no one knew. Or if they did, Yon found a way to silence them.

As captain, he wasn’t supposed to have biases… and for the most part, he didn’t.

Yon, should have known that, maybe he needed a reminder. “You kept it a secret for a reason. I’ll make sure it stays that way.”

Yon’s voice was harsh when he rumbled. “Make sure.”

Ansel cleared his throat. “I’m sorry.”

“Alright, what did I miss?” Pax said stopping next to the Numan. “Yon… you look more pissed off than usual? I need to know what happened so I can duplicate it.”

Rannn stepped back and looked at the Red Demon and saw the curved shoulders and flattened nose that Ansel was talking about. It was plain to see, now that he knew what he was looking at. Odd no one else noticed.

Grabbing Ansel by the shoulder he announced, “This is our new doctor. His name is Ansel.”

“And he’s a Numan, who according to a nasty green-scaled Bolark, is going to experiment and kill us,” remarked Pax.

“Hurt me or my crew and I’ll rip your head off,” Yon threatened, then amended his threat, “but feel free to poison the Red Demon. I won’t tell anyone.”

Pax grabbed his chest, “Ouch.”

“Shut up both of you,” Rannn pushed Ansel’s shoulder forward. “I’m taking him to Medical. You two get back to work.”

“My work is to guard the crew so I’ll escort you, captain,” Pax said with a sly smile.

Yon mumbled something about being a nip before walking off.

In the medical bay, Rannn and Pax stayed by the door as the Numan familiarized himself with the setup.

“Once we get settled, you can talk to logistics about hiring support staff.”

“I don’t need support staff,” said the Numan as he browsed through a drawer.

“Ships run three shifts that total thirty-six hours. You can’t be on call, all the time. So you’ll get staff.”

Ansel stopped and glanced at him. “I’m aware of Federation shifts. But you don’t understand, I’m not like you. I am a Numan, we don’t get brain fatigue. I work all shifts. I will live here, I will turn one of the operating rooms into my personal room where I can change clothes and shower, but other than that, I don’t need hours to rest.”

“No one could sustain that schedule,” Pax said standing next to him.

Ansel went back to searching the drawer when he said, “The professors at the academy couldn’t trust my logic because they had seen proof that their science was sound. It wasn’t until I could prove that my way also was true that they started to gang up against me. Because no one wants to be wrong, and even more, no one wants to have their truths shattered.” The Numan glanced up, this is the first truth I will shatter for you. It’s up to you to decide how you take it.”

Pax whistled.

Rannn on the other hand had to confront the candidness of the Numans words. Rannn was a thousand percent sure no one could work all three shifts. But if he put his foot down, he would be acting like the professors. And his mother trusted that he would protect Ansel and let him thrive.

“Fine,” he said reluctantly. “But if you crash out, I’m leaving you where you fall.”

Ansel’s lip twitched.

Then something else crossed Rannn’s consciousness. “The first time you misdiagnose a crew member, I’ll consider that a sign of fatigue.”

Ansel shut the drawer and took on a tone of contempt. “Fatigue is a disruption of proper systematic execution of conscious decisions. Symptoms include reduced mental and mechanical executions. For example, Terrans suffer headaches, dizziness, weakness, a reduced immune system, blurry vision, poor concentration, and extreme hallucinations. Yunkins, suffer reduced empathy, appetite loss, bellows of rage, and increased aggression and sexual desires.”

Rannn had suffered those when he pushed himself during battles. Mostly his appetite disappeared and aggression with people that were acting stupid.

Ansel continued, “Numans have superior mental abilities because our bodies can withstand longer intense activity with shorter rest periods. Your circadian rhythm is thirty-six hours. Mine is one hundred and four hours. And even then, I only need thirty-minutes of rest. So I will agree to your terms because I don’t misdiagnose.”

Rannn didn’t have a response so he kept silent.

“You forgot to mention how Demon’s look when fatigued,” Pax said.

Ansel’s lip twitched again. “You mean Kircas.”

“We like the term Demon. It sounds scarier.”

Ansel lifted his head and lowered it slowly as if he was willing to concede the name. “Demons will become reclusive when stressed.”

“Hate to burst your all-knowing bubble, but that’s not true. I’ve been stressed and I never found a corner to hide in.”

Ansel tilted his head. “Demons for the lack of a better word are thick-headed. Your culture is harsh, which makes full-grown Demons mentally, physically, and emotionally daunting. I doubt you’ve ever been fatigued.”

Pax looked over at him and grinned. “What he means is that I’m pretty much a perfect specimen.”

Rannn rolled his eyes but also thought the assessment was on point. Out of all his crew members, he could depend on the Demons to not freak out during an attack. Interesting, it took the Numan to point out something so obvious.

“I like him. Especially knowing he pissed off Yon in a matter of seconds. You gotta tell me what he said.”

“No,” Rannn said to Pax and then peered over at Ansel. “Let me know if you need anything.”

Ansel nodded, but Rannn doubted he would ever need anything. Rannn was going to give him a week to settle in then he would come down and check in on the doctor. And he would continue to do so because Rannn cared about his crew. He doubted anyone was going to befriend the male. And everyone – regardless of race, needed someone to care about them.

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