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Neon Lights

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Neon Lights




His friends were weird.

 

And that was being polite.

 

He'd known them since college, and now they were grown men with grown men’s problems. Like bills, and bills, and the occasional starvation of struggling Millennials who live in a world where the minimum wage hadn't been changed in half a century. Plus more bills.

 

Namjoon had been his roommate throughout their life in college. Joon was a smart, capable young man who was a double major, in philosophy and linguistics. And as if that didn't prove how much of an insufferable nerd he was, Namjoon was also minoring in music production. If Yoongi got tired just from reading a sentence of all of Namjoon’s courses, he couldn't imagine what it would be like to actually take them. But overall, Namjoon and Yoongi were quite similar despite their academic differences.

 

His other friend, Hoseok, was a ball of energy. Yoongi was introduced to him through a class project. His music composition class had collaborated with the choreography class for a joint project. He and Hoseok were paired together. Yoongi really dreaded working with such a loud, and quite frankly, obnoxious person. At first, he found it a bit hard to create a song for Hoseok to dance to. Yoongi was much more interested in lyricism at the time of the project, so he had been hard to work with admittedly. Yet Hoseok persevered and finally shook Yoongi out his shell. They got an A+. Hoseok ended up being the jelly to his peanut butter. Whereas Hoseok was wiggly, jiggly, encompassed a variety of types, sweet and able to adapt to anything thing the world threw at him, Yoongi was an acquired taste—hard to chew through, and really only had too modes: crunchy and smooth. Whatever that meant.

 

Jungkook was the youngest of their friend group. He was also probably the most normal, in Yoongi's opinion anyway. The young lad liked to binge on video games, inhale pizza at an inhuman rate, and lived at the gym. Sure he could be a bit bratty, and was slightly annoying when he followed the older group around, Yoongi decided it was cute in a brotherly way.

 

Unfortunately, it was through Hoseok’s friend that everyone else met Jungkook.

 

Kim Taehyung.

 

Any time Yoongi even thought the kid’s name, a migraine came knocking.

 

And it was like Taehyung pulled the abstract surrealism out of everyone.

 

See, Taehyung was one of those free spirits. And God would Yoongi have been lucky if he was just a typical Bohemian-style obsessed, Tofu and Yoga is My Sexuality, Full Moon Amirite? type of free spirit. Actually, conspiracy-freak was the real proper term for someone like Taehyung, but the last time Yoongi said something like that Taehyung went on a Government is Controlling Your Mind rampage, and convinced Namjoon to convince Yoongi to apologize. Ugh.

 

See, Yoongi totally believed that the government does hide things from the general public. He can totally believe they've even conducted experiments without public knowledge.

 

But, Taehyung totally believed that The Government™ does hide Things™ from the general public. He really believed they've even conducted Experiments™ without public knowledge (and consent of course).

 

In short, instead of a hemp crocheted beenie kind of guy, Taehyung was a tinfoil hat kind of guy.

 

And for some odd reason, he totally convinced the rest of their friend group that Conspiracies were a thing to be knowledgeable of. Hoseok, Yoongi was astounded to find out, was totally into UFOs and The Greys. Namjoon was suddenly writing a thesis on the perception of alien kind and how it has advanced human ideology, technology, and social interactions, completely for fun. And Jungkook, who's usually eyeball deep into some kind of screen, was suddenly talking deeply about how the Alien franchise was really just the subliminal account of a man who claimed to have astrally projected into a situation akin to the plot of the first Alien movie, and how the government had him assassinated when he spoke out about the coming of a species similar to Xenomorphs.

 

How the fuck had Taehyung turned them all into Ancient Alien theorists? He genuinely didn't know how it all happened. Yoongi swore he surrounded himself with mellow-minded and reasonable human beings.

 

But it escalated from there!

 

Suddenly, he had convinced Namjoon and Hoseok to go UFO watching, then Jungkook, and finally, of course, since Yoongi was the only one with a car, he was dragged into it. They came out every other Thursday night to sit in the freezing cold desert and watch the sky for strange unidentifiable objects. Thursday because Wednesday was too obvious, being the exact middle of the week, but Friday through Sunday would've been too cliché to catch a UFO, and Monday and Tuesday were too boring.

 

Yoongi's life couldn't get any more of a bigger sigh.

 

He was so tired of hearing shit like, “Fear not the Boogeyman, but the Grey man.” and, “But to be honest I read an article about how the Boogeyman is a government created idea used to instill fear of the faceless into children so they can unquestionably submit to any personified body that's greater than them.”

 

Great for fake intellectual small talk, aggravating for everyday normal talk.

 

And now his car was beginning to smell of ramen, chips, and Sprite. He had fabric seats damn it! The smell of poverty and young men were starting to seep into the very foam of his car’s interior! All because his naive friends wanted to watch for any kind of twinkling light in the sky when a tumbleweed was more probable!

 

Thursday's put him in a sour mood. He wasted gas and time.

 

But God did he love his friends.

 

Maybe he didn't hold all those beliefs, and sure he was pretty positive Taehyung was the real brainwasher, but Thursdays held a place in his heart. However, aggravating.

 

It was a time for them to catch up on each other, relay things that happened, eat junk food, laugh, chill. There were a few times they saw weird things in the sky, and Yoongi loved seeing the elation in everyone's eyes. The pure looks of fascination and wonder, Taehyung would start rattling off the type of UFO it could be based on what little they could see. Hoseok and Namjoon were the most likely to argue those semantics with Taehyung, while Jungkook— a map of the desert in hand—would direct Yoongi ways to get closer.

 

Yoongi never had a lot of friends. His humor wasn't for everyone, and the way he closed in on himself made it hard for others to connect. So his little group of friends was his comfort zone, despite their method of bonding. It was a strange way to bond, but bond they did.

 

And so it was another Thursday in the freezing cold Lores Desert, way off of the road and surrounded by boulders, desert shrubs and cacti. They sat in the car, finally giving up on begging Yoongi to turn on the heat. “You should've brought me five bucks each for gas. If I had a full tank, I'd happily blast the heat.” Taehyung soon after reached from the back to the front passenger seat, clambering to pull a big bag of classic chips from between Namjoon’s legs. Any type of corn chip and any type of cheese chip were prohibited in the car, per Yoongi's orders and attempts at keeping his car as decent smelling as possible.

 

“But can you really apply seeing a plane as a UFO?” Taehyung asked, ripping the bag open and beginning to munch away.

 

The sky was clear, save for some beautifully twinkling stars. Yoongi never got immune to the satin blue night sky, glimmering gems as stars. When the cone tip of Taehyung’s tin-foil hat poked Yoongi's cheek, he crumpled his face. “But UFO means Unidentified Flying Object.” Yoongi argued, mostly just to irritate Taehyung.

 

“Well I mean, yeah okay that's true, but like, it's transcended that definition. If there's an investigation then, of course, that connotation applies, but otherwise, people know you mean UFO, like, ‘ UFO’ UFO, feel me?”

 

“No,” Yoongi admitted dryly.

 

Namjoon sucked his teeth and offered his hand to the back, “I feel you V.”

 

Taehyung slapped Namjoon’s hand in solidarity and Yoongi winced at the transfer of potato salt.

 

“And anyway,” Taehyung continued, “I highly doubt a UFO would appear in front of a guy like you.”

 

Yoongi snorted, “What are you talking about? UFOs only appear to guys like me. The skeptics, the people who literally blame everything else but the possibility of the unknown. You're just pressed ‘cause you'll never get to see one.”

 

Taehyung caught the bait, totally offended by Yoongi, “I'll have you know that I've seen five actual UFOs in my life. All un-disproven.”

 

“Really?” Namjoon said, his linguistics degree in full swing, “Un-disproven?”

 

“All words are coined.” Was all Taehyung said. It instantly sparked a debate between the two.

 

Hoseok and Jungkook were oddly quiet. But Yoongi knew it was because Hoseok was drawing out new choreography and Jungkook was focusing on his senior thesis and project. It was amazing how he was only steps away from graduating. Yoongi remembered it like it was yesterday, and he partially wished it was. But now he was a college graduate, trying hard at life and failing miserably. Being a producer at a time where suddenly everyone wanted to produce was obviously not easy. It was hard to be taken seriously, and sell his music. Jungkook, the lucky bastard, was immediately accepted into a small film company—one who had been invited to the Sundance Film Festival a few years prior—without even graduating yet. And Hoseok had become a full-time choreographer at the studio he had interned for during his last two years in college. Yoongi could only find solace in Namjoon and Taehyung. Namjoon, neck deep in graduate studies. Taehyung, neck deep in his struggles as a freelance artist.

 

But suddenly, Yoongi was snapped out of his thoughts, “What the fuck is that?!” Namjoon said in surprise, loudly. And then everyone in the back was pushing each other to see out of Yoongi's windshield. Namjoon pressed his round face to the glass, and Yoongi, after fighting with his seat belt, also leaned in.

 

There was no denying the string of rainbow-colored lights that shone brightly in the sky miles away. Yoongi squinted.

 

“It's a cigar shape!” Taehyung yelled happily.

 

“No it's not!” Hoseok refuted, squeezing his face in alongside Jungkook and Taehyung, their foil hats bumping. “See how the lights round off at the end? They're probably wrapping around the craft!”

 

Yes, the lights did sort of curve at the ends. But it was hard to distinguish any sort of shape, at least, not like the ones of countless vintage photos Hoseok and Taehyung always shoved in Yoongi's face. The lights were very bright and very close to each other, blinking rapidly at various strengths. It was stunning, the effect of the bizarre rainbow flashes against the dark sky.

 

“It might be a saucer?”

 

“It can't be saucer-shaped.” Now Namjoon was talking, face still pressed against the glass, eyes watching with deep concentration.

 

Yoongi didn't think it was a saucer either.

 

In fact, Yoongi didn't even think it was an alien aircraft. A smirk strung his lips upward, “Wanna get closer?”

 

This immediately excited everyone, so Yoongi turned on the car and started driving closer to where the object was suspended high in the desert sky. Since they weren't on the main road, so it was quite bumpy. Yoongi was lucky to have a car with more than one drive. He swerved between desert bushes and boulders, taking them closer to the bright lights. Namjoon was recording on his phone, while Jungkook had his camera, and Taehyung was sketching away fervently.

 

The lights were bright, and Yoongi had to put down his sun visor. The closer they got, the more intense was the rainbow light show.

 

But once they got a certain distance, the lights stopped, it was dark again, and Yoongi threw his visor up to see that he was heading to nothing. Everyone observed the sky before them in confusion.

 

Before he could utter a single word of bewilderment, Taehyung squeaked, “Holy shit!” And his lanky arm pushed between the two front seats and pointed miles to their left, where the object had instantly relocated.

 

Yoongi's jaw dropped, and Taehyung started his giddy mantra of ‘holy shit’. Yoongi turned the car around to face where the object now resided.

 

“Look at how it's moving!” Jungkook yelled, as he rolled the window down and stuck his camera further out, heightening everyone's attention.

 

The lights were a bit dimmer now, but creating an infinity shape in the sky, over and over again, tracing itself. Yoongi was shocked. He leaned in closer, trying to see better.

 

“Maybe they're orbs just following each other?” Taehyung questioned.

 

Yoongi's mouth fell slightly, his stomach with it.

 

“No-”

 

“It's a solid fucking object.” Yoongi finished for Namjoon, who readily agreed.

 

Namjoon expressed how the stars and night sky were not visible between the rainbow lights, meaning that the lights were a part of a bigger, denser, opaque object. Whatever they were seeing had tremendous power, to be so flexible and stay suspended in air as in circled itself into shapes. And though it was miles in the air and away from them, anyone could tell it was massive.

 

It brought chills to Yoongi's skin. There was just no way. So he hit the gas and started traveling towards the craft again, mind combing through possibilities of what it could be.

 

“This shit’s insane,” Hoseok mumbled, totally enraptured by whatever the fuck was in the sky.

 

More lights blinked on, covering the dark spaces of the flying object, once more a string of colored lights. It seemed to be moving further away the more Yoongi got closer as if it were taunting him, knowing its top speeds were infinitely higher than that of his car. He cursed. “It's not insane.” Yoongi said with annoyance, “It's perfectly justifiable.”

 

“Speed up!” Jungkook urged, butting in with his map, “But bear slightly right because in half a mile the floor is gonna drop one foot, start turning!”

 

Yoongi obeyed, switching his high beams on to see better. He maneuvered his way between more plants and cacti as his friends rattled off observations about the flying object. It seemed to travel in a straight line, no longer curving like it had in the sky previously. Namjoon mentioning that he'd never heard testimonies of a UFO bending like a noodle. Taehyung complained that his hands were too shaky to draw what they were seeing, so his sketch pad was abandoned.

 

As Yoongi started to turn right, car tracing where the desert floor declined, he thought maybe it was some sort of mobile light show. Something one would hire for a party, like a Laser show. He willingly ignored its ability to transfer itself to another part of the sky in the blink of an eye.

 

But then, to everyone's surprise, a small burst of what looked like electricity cracked around some unknown shield surrounding the craft. And then in another part.

 

Yoongi could feel the car shift through his driving, someone was shifting around in the back.

 

“Turn left around this Boulder, coming up in a few yards!” Jungkook announced, even though Yoongi could see it with his high beams.

 

“Oh my fucking God!” Hoseok exclaimed, “Behind us!”

 

Yoongi could feel everyone but him shift to look out the back window.

 

“Is that a fucking pilot!?” Jungkook screeched, then he cursed when his camera slipped out his hand. He scrambled to pick it up.

 

Another crackle of electricity rippled across the surface of the invisible casing around the flying object, but only Yoongi and Namjoon saw it.

 

Taehyung gasped, “He's shooting! He's shooting!” And he could feel everyone's horror fill the car to the brim.

 

“Yoongi, cut your fucking headlights off!” Namjoon barked.

 

So Yoongi did for their protection, having already switched off the brake lights before the trip. It was perfectly legal to be in the desert where this was happening. But now that there was some kind of aircraft actively hunting and shooting at the object, Yoongi soberly realized their actions could become mysteriously illegal if the government decided it needs to cover something up. He could feel his heart pounding, and the need to turn around and see the aircraft that was supposedly firing rounds. They could just barely hear the flyer as he crossed over Yoongi's now hidden car. But now Yoongi could see the orange pops of rounds coming from the plane, still ever so silent, but just as distinguishable against the night sky as the UFO and her bright neon lights.

 

“She's got some kind of force shield,” Namjoon muttered breathlessly as they watched the bursts of energy ripple across nothingness. It was deathly silent in the car, as they followed and observed the cat and mouse chase. Surreal couldn't even begin to describe the scenario.

 

And then the colorful lights started to move like a snake.

 

She swerved around the sky elegantly, ducking and dodging, slithering through the sky as expertly as an anaconda through the jungle. It was purely breathtaking. The pilot tried to catch up to her, she took an obscenely sharp turn, coming back towards and over their car. Yoongi hit his break and swung the car around, pressing the gas pedal hard with a racing heart and his hand gripped tighter around the wheel to subdue the trembling.

 

“Fuck!” Jungkook cried angrily as he dropped his camera again.

 

The pilot and Yoongi were now struggling to keep up with her, Yoongi more so. He was able to fly past Yoongi though. The rainbow lit snake of an aircraft turned right, taunting everyone through her escape, but then that's when they all heard it.

 

What sounded like a loud explosion, but really, Yoongi, Namjoon, Hoseok, Jungkook, and Taehyung—all of them—watched with jaws dropped as the aircraft broke through the sound barrier, and chased haughtily after the UFO. And after that, their real chase began. Yoongi couldn't keep up, his car, merely a civilian transportation device, fell behind pitifully.

 

When they couldn't see the UFO and aircraft anymore, Yoongi stopped the car, turned it off, and everyone sat in silence. Their hearts were beating fast. Yoongi licked his lips uncomfortably, as he blinked up at the sky he thought he knew.

 

Disbelief rang loud.

 


 

Yoongi laid wide awake. He scratched his elbow mindlessly as he stared that his ceiling. It was stucco, dirty, and headache inducing. He's also pretty sure the stucco swirls of paint have caused him to hallucinate before. His fingers twiddled, pulled at the fabric of his blanket in boredom, picked at frayed strings. They would interlace for a few minutes then go back to fidgeting.

 

It was two o’clock in the morning and Yoongi couldn't sleep.

 

He tried different sleeping positions, he fluffed and re-fluffed his pillows, he drank warm milk and honey, he even counted to three hundred and forty-three sheep until he distracted himself enough to lose place. Hoseok was willing to talk to him until about midnight, at which he bid Yoongi goodnight.

 

Namjoon was only capable of sleeping and studying. Jungkook was probably awake but was also probably playing video games. And his attention span couldn't handle beating a game and texting all at once.

 

Yoongi sighed and dragged his hands down his face.

 

That left Taehyung.

 

Taehyung was a night owl, drifting off when the sun rose. He swore he could only paint better when it was night. Yoongi really couldn't remember or be bothered about the ins and outs of Taehyung’s logic. He just knew that Taehyung would only want to talk about what Yoongi didn't.

 

The neon lights, as his group had taken to calling it.

 

Taehyung was painting the event. He'd sent their group chat pictures of his progress. But Yoongi couldn't bring himself to look at it. Something about that night had shaken Yoongi to his core, and it was going on a month ago that it happened.

 

Why was it bothering him so much?

 

Well, how could it not?

 

He kept Google searching the description of the… The… He really didn't want to call it a UFO, but that's what it was wasn't it? An unidentified flying object? He probably came up with a hundred ways to describe that thing on Google that night;

 

Sparkling sky snake

Sparkling snake in the sky

Snake-like laser show

Rainbow colored lights that slither

Rainbow colored lights that slither in the sky

Rainbow like lights moving in strange fashion??

What the fuck am I even doing right now?

 

Nothing yielded decent results. Yoongi even tried to search if anyone else had seen the lights, but they were there at from midnight to two in the morning. No one else, at least in recorded news, had seen anything that Thursday morning.

 

But his mind was obsessed with the incident, especially the fact that he had, to some degree, witnessed an aerial battle.

 

A deep sigh escaped him as he stared at his ceiling.

 

And furthermore, it was disturbing his work ethic and sleeping patterns to an almost concerning degree. Yoongi wasn't used to this! He could sleep through an earthquake for Heaven's sake. The fact that he couldn't sleep over something as simple as a fucking— A Goddamn— Ergh! A UFO! But! A UFO in the true sense of the acronym, not the newfangled connotation that immediately discerns alien craft. Well, it was alien in the sense that it was unknown or foreign, but that's not what he meant. What he meant was-

 

God damn it! Yoongi covered his face with a pillow and screamed. He only wanted to sleep!

 

Yoongi picked up his cellphone begrudgingly from his bedside table. He really wanted to avoid texting Taehyung if he could, but maybe he could be bored to death by reading his conspiracy theories.

 

Me:

Are you awake?

 

Not even half a minute later;

 

Taehyung:

Of course I'm awake. It's only 3am. p early tbh.

 

Me:

What do you do to fall asleep when you can't fall asleep?

 

Taehyung:

OoOoOoooo asking a senior night owl?? Binaural beats. Duh.

 

Another sigh, this one long and drawn out, anyone could tell it was from agitation. Trust in someone like Taehyung to use binaural beats.

 

Me:

I dropped my balls just to ask this question and you won't even humor me?

 

Taehyung:

Not gonna tickle those srry. But I'm so srs. Fr fr. Binaural beats saved my life.

 

Me:

Go to sleep.

 

His phone vibrated some more but he was already outside of the messenger and searching the app-store. There was no way he was going to tell Taehyung that he took his suggestion. The light from his phone was making his eyes burn, so he turned on the yellow overlay. It turned out that there were way more binaural beat apps then he would've expected. So he glanced at the ones with the nicest looking icon and at least a 4.2 star rating. After having finally selecting and downloading one, he opened it up and scrolled through the interface. Really, it seemed the app was just for relaxing ambiance sounds. It wouldn't hurt to try it though, Yoongi was desperate. He decided to play a deep sleep binaural grouped with the gentle gurgling of a lake, some soft rain, and a bit of cricket chirping.

 

Yoongi didn't want to admit it, but after twenty minutes his back had relaxed into the mattress and his eyelids were becoming heavy. He lifted his phone from his tummy, glanced drearily down at the app and put on a timer for it to stop. His head sunk into the pillow, and after another thirty minutes, Yoongi was kind of annoyed that Taehyung was right.

 


 

Yoongi could feel someone pushing him. He clenched his jaw and hands in annoyance before curling up under the comfort of his blanket.

 

He was only shaken some more. After letting out an agitated sigh, he turned around aggressively. “What the fuck Namjoon. Why are you here?!” His eyes weren't even open. He squeezed the blanket around him tighter.

 

Namjoon’s stupid laughter rang through the room. “Eggs n bakey, Sleepy butt. We got a song to compose today.”

 

He sighed again, and vaguely wished that with each sigh a new, competent person would replace his friends. Yoongi was contemplating how long it would take him to use his blanket to strangle Namjoon, sleep a little bit more, eat breakfast then rehearse the sob story he'd give the police once he reported his friend’s demise. But his thoughts were cut short as the blinding rays of sunlight pressed against his eyelids, which tried in vain to stifle the light by squeezing tighter.

 

“Namjoon.” Yoongi warned.

 

But his friend was either suicidal or stupid, because he sat on the edge of the bed, “C’mon, seriously Yoongi. We need to get this song fuckin’ finished.”

 

Yoongi only groaned pathetically. Why was Namjoon even so worried about it? He was still in school, on scholarship. It's not like completing the song mattered to him financially. It was Yoongi who needed to sell it. He groaned again and kicked his feet. Yoongi's hands clutched the blanket tighter, wanting to remember and savor the feeling of being snug and asleep for the first time in weeks.

 

“Time?” He croaked, and maybe it was a little bit dramatic. If he played up a sleepy voice would Namjoon leave him alone?

 

“It's afternoon asshole. Half past one.”

 

Damn. The binaural beats knocked him the fuck out.

 

“Are you going to get up?”

 

Why did Yoongi ever give this guy a key to his house? He distinctly remembered thinking that Namjoon would be less annoying to trust with a key instead of Hoseok, and that assumption was clearly wrong.

 

Suddenly the covers were yanked away from him, slipping out if his unsuspecting grip, leaving him exposed to the elements. Yoongi started shaking uncontrollably.

 

He heard Namjoon tsk, “Stop being so dramatic. It's like seventy degrees in your house.”

 

“Well, it was eighty under the blankets.” He mumbled petulantly, finally giving in and opening his eyes.

 

Namjoon stood in his line of sight, black leather jack and old shirt, comfy pair of jeans, and tousled peach hair. Yoongi would never fail to admit Namjoon was a looker, and okay, maybe he had the smallest ounce of a crush on him. But it lasted only a few minutes before Namjoon opened his mouth and revealed a nerdy side that kind of made Yoongi feel like an idiot at times. Mostly though, Namjoon could talk Yoongi into a nap. How could he date someone that always made him sleep?

 

“We only got like, two-thirds of the song left dude. Let's knock it out and catch dinner or something.”

 

There was no way they were going to finish that much of the song, but Namjoon’s optimistic enthusiasm (and mentioning of food) energized Yoongi, so he stretched thoroughly before sitting up and rubbing his eyes.

 

He even had eye crust.

 

“Yo,” Yoongi said, “Have you ever tried binaural beats?”

 

Namjoon shrugged, “Yeah, since undergrad. I use them to study and sleep.”

 

Of course he did. Yoongi scoffed and clambered out of bed. He collected his towel from the door as Namjoon got comfy on his bed, pulling a laptop out of a bag Yoongi didn't notice. Namjoon plugged it up as Yoongi told him he was going to shower.

 

“Cool.” Was all Namjoon said.

 

So Yoongi stepped out his room and into the hall bathroom.

 

Once in the shower, Yoongi's mind drifted to the song he and Namjoon were composing. They had been working on it for two weeks. He was so sick and tired of going back to his computer screen and hearing the same first parts of the song. The person they were making it for was being so indecisive that it was driving the both of them up a wall. Never mind that they've worked on the score for two weeks, before that they had a nearly completed song that took them a month. And then the client had told them he changed the lyrics and mood. Just thinking about it made Yoongi scrub his skin a little too hard. The client still paid them for their time wasted but didn't want the song. So then they had to start a new.

 

They were struggling with it, from the beginning the guy hardly knew what he wanted. Namjoon and Yoongi spent a week hashing out ideas with him only to have the sample disinterest the client.

 

He stepped out the shower, warm and fresh. With a towel wrapped around his waist, Yoongi headed back to his room.

 

Namjoon looked up when the door opened and Yoongi strutted in. He was stripped of his leather jacket and had his legs tucked into a criss-cross, his laptop on his lap. Yoongi pulled open a drawer and slipped a pair of boxer briefs on, then stripped his towel off shamelessly. There was no embarrassment between them, after all, they were both guys. Besides, when they were both undergrads they had been friends with benefits to relieve stress. Being naked around each other just wasn't that big of a deal. Jungkook too, Yoongi thought, was pretty mature about it. Of course, that was only one time where Jungkook had forced Yoongi to go to the gym with him and they had changed and showered in the locker rooms. But still, Jungkook was pretty mature for his age, at least, at that moment.

 

“You know I was thinking,” Namjoon started, but then he got lost in his work.

 

Yoongi sat at his desk, donned in a plain cotton shirt and sweats, and turned on the tower to his computer. “Of?”

 

Namjoon peeked at him and bit his lip, looking down at his computer screen again. “Hoseok made a pretty cool suggestion.”

 

The computer started up and Yoongi typed in his password.

 

“We thought it'd be kinda cool to make a song about that night, about the lights?”

 

Yoongi froze, then looked over his shoulder to where Namjoon sat on his bed. “And how would that be cool exactly?”

 

Namjoon shrugged, but it wasn't out of disinterest or lack of ideas on how it'd be cool. It was because he was unwilling to argue with Yoongi about it, who made it very apparent to his friends that he didn't want to make a song on it because he hardly even wanted to talk about it. “Just something instrumental. Something that we could listen to that would remind us of it.”

 

Yoongi scoffed, “Who could forget it?” He said sarcastically. It was so bizarre, and the fact that he couldn't justify what he saw with regular, ordinary, everyday excuses made him uncomfortable. He couldn't understand why his friends were so obsessed with an event whose creepiness out-weighed its outrageous intrigue.

 

“I don't understand why you won't talk about it.” Namjoon began to type furiously, a sign of his own frustration.

 

But what did he have to be frustrated about? Yoongi was the one being forced to speak about an event against his will. “Don't you find it fucking crazy that we were in the middle of a battle between some unknown object and probably the government?”

 

“I mean, yeah, but it was so fucking cool and unbelievable.”

 

Yoongi snorted, “Yeah, you're right, absolutely unbelievable, because I refuse to believe what happened, and you know what? If I believe it was really what it really might have been,” Could he sound any crazier, “Then what we saw was potentially a danger to our beings.”

 

It was Namjoon’s turn to scoff.

 

“I'm fucking serious Joon. You guys wanna fuck with Taehyung and his anti-government ass so bad. Pay a little more attention to the theories he's always rambling about.”

 

“Like you ever listen to him.”

 

“I listen to him enough to know what every single close encounter entails, especially what we witnessed. This was a close encounter of the first kind Joon, but with the addition of a fucking battle plane.”

 

Namjoon opened his mouth to speak but Yoongi kept going, “Anyone of us could get a visit from the Men in Black and turn up dead.”

 

He watched as Namjoon’s mouth dropped, a look of surprise, and then his best friend outright laughed at him. Namjoon slapped a hand over his mouth as his eyes crinkled from entertainment. “Are you-” He wheezed, “Are you serious ?”

 

“Yes, I'm fucking serious!” Yoongi blared, offended by his friend's lack of care.

 

Along with trying to dig up information about what they saw that night, Yoongi was reminded of conspiracy theories Taehyung would often mention concerning Men in Black. These Men would appear anytime someone had an encounter of the second kind or higher that was so believable it put the government in danger. There were even reports of people turning up dead or missing some time after a visit from the Men in Black. Taehyung had even shown him some footage of the Men going into the workplace of people who had encounters. Some people who had been interrogated by these mysterious Men have even claimed that it seemed like they weren't human. Their faces lacked empathy, sometimes distorted unnaturally as they talked, monotone voices, and their emotions seemed to trigger on and off like a switch. Taehyung also told him that Men in Black weren't always Government agents. They could be unaffiliated or affiliated with organizations that had their own agenda.

 

Normally, in a sane world, Yoongi would dismiss the possibility of their existence. But that night he was confronted with things he wouldn't normally believe. So now anything could be fair game, including his safety. And that was concerning.

 

But he sighed dejectedly. It had been a month and so far, everyone was fine, so maybe he could let his paranoia die down. “Okay, maybe I'm being a little dramatic.”

 

“A little?” Namjoon raised a brow.

 

“I'm not bending.”

 

“Okay.”

 

Yoongi turned back to his screen, “Let's get this guy's dumbass song out of the way, then we can focus on songs for fun.”

 

Namjoon agreed so they got to work.

 


 

 


It was nine o'clock at night. They had worked for almost eight hours straight. Namjoon shut his laptop and stretched loudly, groaning and bones popping. Yoongi did the same.

 

“I'm fucking hungry.” Namjoon yawned.

 

Yoongi agreed, relaxing into his work chair and swiveling around to Namjoon. His friend looked beat. He felt bad. Namjoon had to do work for two majors and a minor, as well as help Yoongi with this song. He couldn't imagine the levels of stress his friend was under, but his exhausted face gave a pretty good idea.

 

“What do you want?” Yoongi wondered as he searched the desk for his wallet.

 

Namjoon shrugged, “You feelin’ that Chinese place where you can get half a chicken?”

 

“Yeah sure, why not.”

 

So his friend stood up and stretched again, “You want your own half?” Yoongi nodded, “Rice, lo mein and crab wonton?” Yoongi nodded again. Namjoon slipped his leather jacket on and started to walk out of the bedroom. Yoongi followed him into the hall, which led to the living room. Namjoon moved through the living room to the front door and chucked his shoes on.

 

Before he could leave Yoongi tapped Namjoon’s arm with his debit card. Namjoon looked down at it and opened his mouth, but Yoongi interrupted him, “Just take it. Save your money for school stuff or something.”

 

Namjoon grinned and nodded, “Okay. I'll be back in an hour.” Then he was out the door.

 

Yoongi sighed and made his way to the kitchen, which was a seamless transition from the living room. It was at time like that where Yoongi wondered what it would be like to have a relationship. Not with Joon of course, but in general. When his friends visited, there was always a point where he would have to see them off, and it always reminded him if how alone he was. Even Taehyung, who was annoying, obnoxious, and considerably weird, had a place in his heart. Maybe he just needed a roommate? It would help with the bills and keep him company. But not a lot of people can put up with his personality.

 

He began to tidy up the kitchen, cleaning the dishes so he and Joon could have things to eat with.

 

Yoongi was pretty tidy though, and he didn't have a lot of personal things. So a roommate would have sufficient room to call their own. He even had a second bedroom that was supposed to be his office, until he realized he couldn't survive being more than a yard from his bed. Yoongi had tossed around the idea of asking one of his friends to stay with him, but… He was worried, worried that it could ruin their friendship. Namjoon had been his roommate all of their undergraduate years, so he wanted to give him space. Taehyung was an immediate no, for previously stated reasons, plus traditional artists were messy. He knew in his gut Taehyung would ruin his home. Jungkook was a good candidate but was too young, and sometimes Yoongi felt awkward and old around him. Hoseok was the best candidate but was barely ever in his own home, so Yoongi just couldn't depend on him to keep him too much company.

 

Right as he finished cleaning the dishes and countertops, there was knocking at his door. Namjoon certainly got the food fast, and as Yoongi dried his hands and made his way to the door, he wondered how Namjoon forgot his copy of the key.

 

He unlocked the door with a chastise on his lips but froze when he opened it wide enough to see the person on his welcome mat.

 

Yoongi's mouth hung a little lower as he took in the cherry red hair, the full plush lips, elegant eyes and petite stature. Donned in a rather tight holographic jumpsuit and a pair of crisp white combat boots, Yoongi licked his lips as he wondered why such a good-looking person would knock on his door. It was the first time in a long time that Yoongi felt butterflies for anything other than his bed and blankets.

 

“Could I speak to you for a moment?” And his voice was soft and angelic. Yoongi struggled to breathe.

 

“Um,” He stuttered, “Sure…”

 

And little did he know how much his very unsure ‘sure’ would impact his life in the days to come.

Chapter Text

“Dive! Dive! Dive the ship! ” His oldest brother screamed for dear life, as the dancer—steerer—of the aircraft attacking them flew about, shooting at them constantly.

 

Mi-ji was suspended in air. The cockpit was built for two dancers, though could be commanded by one. It was made up of a window that expanded across the whole of the vessel's face and two enormous spheres for each pilot to step into. Once inside, they were suspended and assumed control of the ship through movements and gestures.

 

He listened to his brother, tucked his tail between his legs, and spun, dipping his body down into a diving motion. The ship also spun, started to nose dive, and from the window he could see that they were heading into a black abyss, spread across the surface of this planet, and glistening under the glow of their satellite.

 

Get into your safety belt Soh-ji!” His brother continued to yell. “ Now!

 

The eldest brother hastily ran to his bed, strapped himself in and held on tight.

 

Meanwhile, his brother hopped into the cockpit sphere beside him. Mi-tam was raised into the center of it, and he quickly tucked his tail as well before making a diving motion.

 

Their ship pressed down faster.

 

The brothers pushed their legs back, and waved their tails, making swimming movements with their lower bodies, downward and with their arms kept closely to their sides.

 

Brace for impact!” And from the cockpit, his voice rang through the ship. Mi-tam swam faster, his tail waving powerfully behind him.

 

Then they crashed straight through the ocean’s surface. The impact was neutralized for the brothers, who were protected by their spheres. But Soh-ji felt the force a little bit more, luckily remaining unharmed.

 

“That dancer can probably still see our lights, but Soh-ji said these beings can't go too far into their own waters.”

 

Mi-ji acknowledged his brother's remark. “Should we just go deeper then?”

 

A smirk pulled up Mi-tam’s face. “ Engage eyesight and thicken the ship’s skin! ” He blared out. The ship made a short melodic tune that confirmed his orders. Then lights at the front of the ship blinked on, and the lights that ran down the sides of the ship all shifted from prismatic to one warm natural color. And no one could see the plates of the hull thicken but it could be heard quietly.

 

Mi-ji’s heart was racing as he kept his eyes trained on the ocean surrounding them. Through the cockpit window, he could see fine bubbles of oxygen and foreign aquatic life swimming around them in fear. Some of these life forms were curious and wiggled their bodies and clans alongside the ship as it slithered deeper into the ocean, mimicking his and his brother's body movements.

 

They were absolutely adorable, and he couldn't wait to leave the ship and explore the foreign water.

 

But he winced.

 

That is, if Soh-ji let him.

 

It was his fault they had ended up being attacked. Mi-ji had begged them to stop at the planet that had so beautifully shone in space. Glittering in green and blues, it reminded him of their home. Mi-ji begged Soh-ji to let them land, he begged until his throat hurt, but the eldest brother said no. Said that the planet was notoriously ignorant, he had been a few times years ago. Soh-ji, when he was still a diplomat, went on an ambassador journey to the little green and blue planet and all the diplomats were astounded to find out just how willingly ignorant and arrogant the people were of extraterrestrial matters. So Soh-ji sketched a few life forms and took samples, illegally he joked, before leaving.

 

Mi-ji didn't give up though, didn't heed his brother's words. He just wanted to go see the oceans and seas, the life their water creatures lived, the kind of beings that were intelligent and the kinds of beings that just were. He was just itching to dance in the water, and did not have the same amount of control his brother Mi-tam had.

 

Mi-ji had steered the ship into its atmosphere, and he thought that if he perhaps chose the side of the planet that was shrouded in darkness, he'd be fine.

 

He was wrong.

 

Yet before he could realize just how wrong he was, Mi-ji marveled at the brightly lit civilizations. He could see specks of light all over the planet, despite the sun residing on the other side. He dove in closer and closer, observing any and everything he could. While Mi-ji had maintained a good distance from the surface, he had made a fatal error.

 

The ship’s lights were still on.

 

And it attracted the attention of a small ground craft, that steered towards the ship. Mi-ji tried to disinterest it by flying the ship further away, but the small land glider kept following after him. And it was endearing, so he fancied himself to do a little show for the beings. He danced in rings before noticing another aircraft on the system’s map, and the speed was fast so he began to swim away. The little beings followed his ship, but he was paying no attention because right when he suspected the other craft could be a threat, it was. And it began attacking as soon as it was in the vicinity.

 

The distress alarms woke his brothers, and the look on Soh-ji’s face was highly murderous and extremely disappointed.

 

Mi-ji was beyond embarrassed.

 

And even though they managed to get away, nothing could prepare Mi-ji for Soh-ji's wrath. The moment the ship had stabilized in the depths of the ocean, Soh-ji was walking with a purpose towards his younger brother's sphere. He reached in and yanked him out, throwing him against the nearest surface.

 

“Didn't I say no?! Didn't I say we weren't to step toes on this planet?!” He hissed, thick wet tongue lashing heavily around his mouth.

 

Mi-ji whimpered under his brother. Soh-ji's hands gripped the collar of his silver and reflective space suit. It made a slightly high pitched and tinny sound when crumpled. His brother's hands were bigger than his, wet, finger pads round and fat.

 

Soh-ji’s eyes were not the largest out of the three of them, but they were menacing. His face was long, mouth relatively small, for their kind anyway.

 

He shook Mi-ji abruptly, annoyed with the lack of response.

 

“I'm-I'm sorry Soh!” Mi-ji truly was. He tried to get away from his brother, squirming and trying to slither from his grasp.

 

Soh-ji hissed louder at his attempt to escape. “You've never been this insolent! Never! Since you hatched from your egg, you've always been so well behaved. Why the instant I tell you no do you decide to endanger us?!”

 

He had no words for his older brother. Soh-ji’s face showed clear disdain. He dropped the young one from his grasp and turned his pale figure away. His tail was long and dragged behind him by a couple of feet, leaving a wet trail. Soh-ji stepped wide to leave room for his rose-gold hair and not step on it.

 

Mi-ji turned to see Mi-tam put the ship into auto. He stepped from the sphere, tail slapped against the floor, and sauntered over on his somewhat short legs. Soh-ji was the tall one, not the Mi brothers. Mi-tam was taller than Ji however.

 

He fixed Ji’s space suit, patted, smoothed it, and sighed. “You've done wrong brother.”

 

That was something Mi-ji already knew. So he fixed his gaze downward only for his flat and serpentine head to be lifted up by his brother. Mi-ji was embarrassed. He tangled his hands together, nervously. Interlocking his eight fingers.

 

“I know it was wrong of me,”

 

Tam just nodded and pulled him into a hug. Ji whined a bit and apologized profusely. “Let's just give Soh a minute to calm down. Then we'll all eat dinner together. Go clean up.” Tam squeezed his little brother lovingly before letting him go.




Their ship was massive, some might even say too big for just the three brothers alone. But often times they needed space away from each other, and couldn't do that on a small ship. It was long, and tunnel-like, divided into separate rooms and compartments. It's linear design made it easy to fly and submerge, but it did mean that they had to pass through many rooms just to get to a particular room.

 

Mi-ji walked through the different compartments; the control room, the food prep and dining area, finally to the water room.

 

The water-room was where they refreshed, cleaned and rejuvenated their skin. It was an enormous room, equal sizes to every other room on the ship. More than twenty of their kind could probably fit in its area alone. There was a giant tank along one wall, cubic and nicely sized for swimming. He shed himself out of his holographic jumpsuit, pulled his arms out and pushed it down to his hips. Mi-ji unclasped the hook that tied the suit around his tail, and then proceeded to pull his legs out. He tossed the suit to a corner of the room before stepping into the tank. There were many buttons along the wall, and he chose the one that would filter water to the tank from outside the ship’s hull. He knew they were in danger, but he really wanted to feel and taste the new and foreign water.

 

His aquatic toe pads clung to the floor of the tank, to hold him in place as the water began to seep through the walls and fill up the tank. He brought his hair forward, it was long, reaching the back of his knees, but not as long as Soh-ji’s which brushed the floor. He brought it forward and began to undo the plait he had tied his bright red hair in. The hair fell heavy on his back when he was done, and the water level had already begun to lick at his ankles.

 

Mi-ji squatted and brought his hands together, giddy. He cupped the water and brought it to his face, sniffing the foreign liquid with his little-slitted nostrils. The water was saline, which was normal for a planet that sustained life. His giant tongue struck out and slapped against his palms. He tasted every drop of the water from his hands as it filled the tank around him. His eyes widened.

 

It tasted so… So… Different.

 

Mi-ji was ecstatic. This had a different life, flavors, and he laid down in the tank, squeezing his eyes closed in joy.

 

Then he started wiggling, kicking the water around him and splashing as he turned around repeatedly in the water. He shimmied his back in it, sat up and threw it in the air, sniffing around him and sticking his tongue out to lap it up.

 

When the tank filled up he spent hours swimming in it. Mi-ji couldn't get enough of it. His skin was rehydrated and he felt more flexible than he did previously. The water of the planet had more of a metallic taste than he was used to, and some other things he couldn't really recognize. But overall, Mi-ji liked to think that different never equated to bad, so he spent more time playing and rejuvenating in the unique water.

 


 

Eventually he fell asleep, and only realized it when he felt his body on the cold hard ground. He blinked rapidly before sitting up and stretching. From the corner of his eye he could see a figure, so he turn and realized it was Soh-ji. His arms were crossed and face passive. His brother had been the one to drain the water.

 

“It's time to eat,” Soh-ji said plainly. Then he left the water-room.

 

Mi-ji scrambled to get up, and trotted after his brother. His tail dragged heavily behind him, hitting the doorway as he cut around it to keep up.

 

The dining area was closer to the front of the ship, and was huge. Mi-tam was already sitting on the ground, nestled in a plethora of cushions and pillows, stuffing his face. The other two joined him and a triangle was formed around the food.

 

Tam was immediately trying to feed him, Ji barely had the time to open his mouth. “The life of this planet is so good!” He told Ji happily as his brother began to chew whatever he had given him, “I've never had water creatures that taste quite like this.”

 

Ji moaned. “It is good.” The bones crunched between his jaws, the blood left a metallic taste running through his mouth, but Soh-ji had already given him a bowl of water to wash it down. As Ji was slurping the water, bowl clutched in his hands, the oldest spoke;

 

“Well, we’ll probably be on this planet for some time,” Soh-ji said with just the smallest hint of annoyance on his breath.

 

Tam glanced at Ji so quickly that neither of them noticed, and then said, “It can't be that bad.”

 

That was clearly the wrong thing to say. Soh-ji’s glowered, “We've exhausted our fuel running away from that fighter and finding a suitably deep body of water to land in. Furthermore, we cannot leave the ocean too soon, as they're probably still searching for us. Out of all the intelligent life on this planet, only 10% know of the existence of alien beings. And more than half of that number is represented by powerful elites.”

 

Mi-ji reached over and grabbed a small looking creature, but with an enormous jaw and teeth. He ripped the jaw off as he listened to his brother talk.

 

“Let's proportion this out, shall we. Of that 10%, maybe 60% is elites and officials, the other 30% being regular humans.”

 

“Humans?” Ji interrupted, the word could barely form around his tongue, “Is that the intelligence here?”

 

Tam laughed loudly, “What an odd thing to call themselves. What is their planet name?”

 

Soh-ji smiled unwillingly, “Earth.”

 

“Eert?” Ji said, trying to mimic his brother.

 

Tam screeched with joy. Loud hisses and huffs of breath.

 

“It's not funny!” Ji pouted, “Ee-art?”

 

Soh-ji waved away his little brother's inability to say the name and tried to shush Tam. Ji mumbled as he went back to work, picking up a little hammer to bust away at the beings large teeth, and eventually crack the bones down to more edible sizes.

 

“What I'm trying to get at,” Soh-ji continued, “Is that this miniscule percentage of people have the power to control what everyone else knows. This planet, is more or less, under the impression that alien life is a very subjective possibility, not an objective reality.”

 

“But that's stupid,” Tam said, finally calmed down.

 

Soh-ji agreed, “What I told you before, that was how I was treated by one of their nations. And although they have hundreds of nations, none of them seemed keen on giving us any of the respect owed to equally intelligent beings. In fact,” His tongue lashed out to collect some of the fish Mi-ji had broken up. The little brother glared at him. “Their interests are solely based in furthering their own kind at the expense of our kind.” He smacked around the answer.

 

Tam made a displeased sound.

 

“This includes killing or running experiments on outsiders like us, and reverse engineering their stolen crafts and technologies.”

 

The two youngest brothers stiffened as Soh-ji said that, and Mi-ji lowered his head.

 

“Which is why I didn't want to chance coming here.” He looked out the large window that had opened up for them to have ambiance as they ate. The waters out there were dark, light not being able to penetrate so far down into the ocean. “They have gorgeous land and creatures that they themselves hardly appreciate, so expectantly, they cannot appreciate us.”

 

It was silent after that, as everyone continued eating the foreign food that Soh-ji decided was safe. He still felt extremely guilty about putting them in their dangerous position, but a teeny side of him still wanted to go and explore. It had been so long since they landed on a planet, especially not one as gorgeous as this.

 

“I have some old sketches from my journey here long ago to show you,” Soh-ji said, standing up and leaving.

 

Mi-ji was excited about that. His brother never showed his work from his time spent as a diplomatic scientist. Mi-ji always thought it reminded him of their home too much. But Tam was pushing food against his lips again, and he opened his mouth willingly. They continued to eat and feed each other until Soh-ji came back, his old pad and display cube in hand.

 

He sat down and pressed the cube on. His fingers expertly typed a few things across the glass square in his lap, light emitting at each point touched. “These are a part of the samples of animals and creatures I got while here. This, I think you guys will enjoy,” And as he said that a holographic projection of a small animal appeared on top of the cube.

 

Mi-ji gasped in astonishment and pushed his food away to lean closer. The little creature looked like them! It couldn't walk upright, but it's features were eerily similar, right down to each of its four little fingers.

 

“What is this little thing?” Tam wondered as it crawled down the side of the cube. It was a fiery red, with burgundy spots.

 

“They call this creature a newt. It's a sub-species for the broader salamander kind.”

 

Mi-ji hissed airily, his laugh lighter than Tam’s. “A noot?”

 

“Newt.” Soh-ji corrected automatically.

 

The hologram ran to Tam on its tiny legs, it's tail swinging behind it. Tam squealed jovially and pushed himself back to give it room. “Could we possibly be a more advanced version of this creature?”

 

“It really does look like us Soh, we must be cousins.”

 

Soh-ji nodded along with the observations of his brothers. “I thought the same. In fact, when I was here I wanted to run experiments on this creature, just out of curiosity. But one of Earth’s main fears was that I would somehow advance this creature's intelligence and evolution, to create an army that I would combat Humans with.” Soh-ji snorted,  “They're absolutely ridiculous. But I suppose it's a valid fear, if not a paranoid one.”

 

His brother's made noises of detest and agreed with him while they observed the newt. Mi-ji stuck his tush in the air and swung his own enormous amphibious tail around, though it was so heavy that half of it still sliding around the ground.

 

“It seems that the dominant intelligent life here is derived from a warm-blooded species,” Soh-ji began to speak again, “Which I was told meant that their body heat stays relatively the same, and can generate on its own, regardless of the environment’s weather. Our kind, including this little newt creature, is considered cold-blooded.

 

So with our planets being similar overall, in terms of water, temperature, and land ratios, it is a possibility that we were created similarly to this salamander, but were able to develop a higher intelligence. This creature doesn’t even have a complex language system, nor do they have a societal structure.”

 

Tam and Jimin nodded along as they watched the newt scurry along the floor. They were able to mimic walking like it, on their hands and feet, following it playfully across the floor. It brought smiles to their faces. Seeing something similar to them in such a faraway place made Mi-ji happy and fueled his want to step out of their ship and into the foreign world even more.

 

The newt disappeared and was replaced by more wondrous creatures their older brother was able to record and take note of. Each animal Soh-ji showed them astounded the brothers time and time again. This was why they decided to become travelers, explorers. Seeing a new life and touching new textures, smelling new scents, witnessing the neverending creativity of the universe was a joy anyone would marvel in.

 

The universe was the original beauty.

 


 

It wasn't long after dinner that they had split up to do separate things. Soh-ji decided to contact a correspondence on Earth that he trusted. Tam and Ji decided to exercise, wanting to maintain the perfect physique for dancing and swimming.

 

As the brothers stretched, Tam spoke. “After seeing so many interesting creatures, I wouldn't mind going for a swim in this ocean.”

 

Mi-ji couldn't agree more. “Do you think Soh-ji knows how sorry I am?”

 

“I think he does,” Tam said as he bent backward, hands now on the floor behind his feet. “He's probably already forgiven you in all honesty.”

 

He mimicked his older brother, “Because I want to propose an idea to him.”

 

Tam let out a rude snort, “So what you mean is, you want something but you're only gonna ask for it if Soh isn't mad?”

 

“Well, of course it's gonna sound bad if you put it that way…” Whereas Tam was just bent backward, Ji had done the same but took it to the next step. With the strength of his arms, Ji pushed his legs up, his tail fell slack--touching the floor, but his legs were in the air and he spread them into a split.

 

Tam followed soon after, “Mi-ji I really don't think you're in any position to ask for anything. What you did was reckless and dangerous. Just because I haven’t chastised you as much doesn’t mean I think any less of what you did. And it sounds like these humans really could kill us.”

 

Mi-ji winced and avoided looking at his brother. What both his older siblings were saying was true. He messed up, really badly. But Soh-ji had told them before he had gotten them in trouble that the humans couldn't go very deep into the water. Unlike Mi-ji and his brothers, the human bodies didn't have the capabilities of such extremes. And the machinery that was available was apparently expensive and hard to come by. So who would catch them if they just took a swim outside the craft? It wasn't the safest thing to do, but nor was it completely stupid and unfounded.

 

What was the point of being light-years away from their home planet if they were going to sit around and shift their tails? Mi-ji thought it was worth taking a chance. He wanted to see more of the creatures Soh had shown them, he wanted to see the food they ate in their natural habitats.

 

But Mi-ji didn't argue his case. He knew Tam would only get as snippy as Soh-ji, and it just wasn't worth having both of them annoyed with him.

 

So the brothers carried on stretching together. When they were done, they played a recording of traditional music from their home. Folk instruments with the sounds of the water nearest to their city. They moved gently with the sound of waves and soft rolling of the sea. They slid around each other, arms swaying beautifully as they wound their limbs together, crisply moving each joint with the beat of an instrument.

 

Doing dances made Mi-ji nostalgic.

 

One of the main reasons the brothers had decided to space travel, was because their parents had both died, and they were more or less ostracized for not following in their political footsteps. If they had been of a higher rank, maybe it wouldn't matter. Soh-ji was a political scientist, and so no one was too concerned with him, as he had followed the family duty. But Ji and Tam were considered dead weights. But their love for the fine arts made it impossible for them to think of anything else, including marriage and procreation. At some point, even Soh grew tired of the slander his brothers received, and with the help of his fellow field members, was able to procure a retired space vessel. The brothers souped it up and left their home.

 

It was pretty easy in all honesty. Their planet was a popular trade source in the galaxy, so connections were easy to make. Landing permits were easy to obtain, especially with Soh-ji’s previously high position. Really, they hardly had any trouble traveling.

 

Mi-ji loved it the most though, and he rarely ever wanted to go back home despite his nostalgic behaviors. He loved meeting new races, eating new foods, learning new styles of dance. Most of all, he loved new water.

 

There was something purely amazing about swimming alongside new beings, watching how they spoke and interacted.

 

And he supposed his brothers knew that because they hardly went home unless Tam ended up begging (which itself was rare because he was extremely prideful) or they were in desperate need of things only their home had. In some ways, Mi-ji was a bit spoiled. His brothers ensured he had the most fun anywhere they went, and when Mi-ji thought that, his foot slipped and Tam had to catch him before he fell.

 

Tam asked him if he was alright, and he only made a noise of affirmation.

 

Perhaps it was just a little selfish of him to want to explore such a dangerous place so bad. Soh-ji was right. The one and only time he said no was when Mi-ji decided not to listen.

 



Tam and Ji had done about seven routines when Soh-ji entered their dance area. The two brothers didn't notice him until the end of their routine.

 

Mi-ji was startled by Soh-ji’s presence. “When did you get here?”

 

His brother smiled contently, always pleased to witness the beauty and grace his brother’s danced in. “I’ve been here long enough to see most of the routine.”

 

They both laughed with embarrassment, breathing heavily since they had virtually danced nonstop. “Was there something you wanted, or did you just find yourself in the mood to watch us?” Mi-ji asked, and it may have seemed rude to any outsider, but Soh-ji frequently watched them dance when he was homesick, bored or restless.

 

“Actually, I have some news.” He said, “And it’ll probably please Ji more than anyone.”

 

At that Mi-Ji perked up, stepping a bit closer to his brother with full attention. Tam came up behind him, splashing water all over himself with a pitcher. He splashed some on Ji as they listened to Soh-ji’s next few words.

 

“I’ve spoken with my correspondence, mostly on the subject of needing assistance with fuel renewal. This is the same human that helped me gain those illegal samples of animal life on Earth years ago.”

 

The brothers nodded.

 

“He’s agreed to meet up with me in order to give us what we need.”

 

Tam cheered, “Really?”

 

Soh-ji nodded, he opened his mouth, hesitated. “Something I forgot to mention,” He started, unsure.

 

“You can tell us.” Tam said with a wide grin, “We’re your brothers. We won’t hurt you.”

 

“Well,” Soh-ji sighed, “I have transcripts and samples of the human genetics. It was given to me by my correspondence, along with the ones for the animals I showed you.”

 

The information was surprising, but beyond that Soh-ji’s brothers did not express why it should matter to them. As far as they were concerned, having such samples was only natural of a scientist interested in the study of biology.

 

Mi-ji saw that their lack of understanding, and therefore silence, made Soh-ji slightly annoyed.

 

“It’s extremely dangerous of any intelligent race to hold the very script that builds you,” Soh-ji went on to say. “They could clone you, they could figure out what makes you sick, what makes you die.”

 

“But we wouldn’t do that.” Mi-tam immediately said, and perhaps the rebuttal was as naive as it was true.

 

Soh-ji sighed again, “I know that brother. I know.”

 

“So what do you having hiyumin biologic samples have to do with us?” Mi-ji asked.

 

Human. ” He corrected, before he walked closer to them, in a way that seemed almost uncertain, as if his very brothers posed a threat to him.

 

It made the Mi brothers feel slightly concerned.

 

“Remember those eggs I had installed? The ones I said we may have to use if we ever encountered a situation where we might have to go to a planet where we’re not welcome?” Soh-ji asked carefully.

 

The brothers nodded slowly, but not quite understanding just yet. Way before, when they were just about to leave their home planet for the first time, Soh-ji procured a few eggs. They were machinery of the most advanced kind. He explained to them how they wouldn’t ever have to use it as most planets they’d visit were friends of their kind. Mi-ji understood that they were unwelcome on Earth, but not sure why Soh-ji was hinting at having to use the eggs.

 

“These eggs were a technology hidden from our people, rightfully so. They’re expensive to make and were in development for longer than my life. And are potentially dangerous.” Soh-ji continued.

 

“So how do you have them?” Tam wondered for his and Mi-ji’s curiosity.

 

“They were a retirement gift for all my good deeds in the field. Besides, I was one of the few people the government could trust with such dangerous machines. There’s so few of them that the three I own is a third of all the ones in existence.

 

Anyway, I already told you that my friend, my correspondence, agreed to supply us with fuel. It’s illegal on his part and ours, as we are not allies with Earth, nor do we have permission to be residing here. If we couple that with the fact that I have human genetic codes, I can tell you what the eggs are for.”

 

The brothers waited patiently as the oldest of their family brought his brown hair forward over his shoulder. Soh-ji was making Mi-ji worried.

 

“The pods that I own are able to change the genetic makeup of anything, and rebirth that biologic life form into something new.”

 

Tam gasped aloud and Ji looked at his oldest brother in surprise. “W-What?” Mi-ji stuttered. Sure he knew such pieces of technology existed, they could travel through space because their society was so advanced. But never in his life would he have guessed his very brother owned something so sophisticated.

 

“Like, anything? ” Tam wondered.

 

Soh-ji nodded warily, still unsure if his younger brothers were catching onto what he was trying to tell them exactly. “Yes. Any biological matter. If I were to put the transcript of an animal life in, and place you into the egg, you would become that very animal. Likewise, if I were to place the transcript of a plant into the egg’s system, you would become a plant and your consciousness would effectively be killed.”

 

That sobered up the brothers. “But, it’s reversible right?” Mi-ji asked.

 

His brother smiled brightly, “I’m glad you’ve asked that question because the reason why I’m telling you two this is because we need to step foot onto Earth, and we need to be hidden when we do so.”

 

“You can’t possibly mean-” Tam began.

 

“Yes. I’ll have to rearrange our molecular structure so that we can become human.”

 

“Madness!” Mi-ji blurted, gripping Tam’s arm in disbelief. “Brother we can’t.”

 

“We have to if we want to leave this planet,” Soh-ji said seriously.

 

“But-”

 

Soh-ji interrupted him sternly, “Ji, you’re the one who got us in this situation, don’t forget it. I’m trying to do what I can to get us off of this planet.”

 

The words hit Mi-ji cruelly, “Why do me and Tam have to go!? Isn’t it a bit too dangerous for all of us to leave this ship alone and journey up there?”

 

His brother scoffed, “Now you’re concerned with leaving the ship?” Soh-ji asked rudely, but when he saw the way Mi-ji winced and started squirming against Tam in distress, he softened his voice. “It will be fine. Things have been rearranged countless times in these eggs. I'm not the first owner, and I've been maintaining them well.”

 

Mi-ji wasn’t listening, however, and was still squirming restlessly against Tam, trying to gain comfort and away from Soh-ji’s words.

 

The oldest brother kept trying to calm him down though, still talking as Tam wrapped his arms around Ji. “Listen Ji,” Soh-ji said, stepping forward, “It’s reversible alright? Nothing bad will happen to us. We’ll become human, we’ll get the fuel, and we’ll go right back to being us.”

 

“But you said-”

 

“I know what I said. You only die if you are replaced with something incapable of handling your consciousness and spirit.” Soh-ji pulled his little brother away from Tam and hugged him tightly. “Out of all of us, I thought you’d be the one most interested in going above.”

 

Ji buried his head into Soh-ji’s torso. “That was before the prospect of dying.”

 

“We won’t die Ji.” Tam said, finally speaking. “I don’t doubt those machines for one second. They were made by our kind anyway.” He rubbed Ji’s back. “And besides, Soh-ji is right. I know you were gonna beg him to let us swim in the ocean.” Tam said with an arrogant smile, lining his face with Ji’s vision.

 

Ji turned his head away in response and huffed against Soh-ji’s chest.

 

“And I think it’ll be safer.” Soh-ji said, “To travel in numbers on Earth. Tam can come with me and you…” Soh-ji pulled Ji away in order to look at his little brother with a gentle smile. “Why don’t you go off and explore Earth a bit?”

 

Mi-ji was completely surprised by his suggestion. “You-You trust me?”

 

Soh-ji’s smile wasn’t forced, but genuine and consoling. “I am disappointed by what you did. However, we’ve been to dozens of planets, and I know that you’re a knowledgeable and experienced explorer. So, of course, I still trust you.”

 

That made Mi-ji relax a bit in his brother’s arms.

 

“So how does the egg work?” Mi-tam asked.

 

Soh-ji was happy to answer. “Simple. I just place a sample of the organism I would like to create inside the machinery. If the being has a spirit, it does have to be put into a comatose state beforehand. Preferably cryogenically. Once we’re all comatose, the machinery will begin to rearrange our cells and their structures to create a human body. Mostly.” He replied honestly.

 

Mi-ji tilted his head, “Mostly?” All the calming down his brother did to him was starting to be redacted.

 

“Well,” Soh-ji corrected himself hurriedly, “Since our samples of humankind are so small, we won’t turn completely human. Only the main things will change, things that other humans would notice. Like our outer body.”

 

His younger brothers winced and listened to him with skeptical expressions. “What do humans even look like?” Tam asked.

 

“Ah,” Soh-ji said grinning, “I actually have depictions of them as well.” He said, untangling Mi-ji from his arms.

 

The younger brothers followed Soh-ji with curiosity, leaving the dance room to go back towards the front of the ship. When they made it there, Soh-ji had gone to one of the desks and picked up his glass tablet once again. But this time he threw the cube into the air and it hovered. He typed a few things on the glass before a hologram began to materialize.

 

“This is a male human,” Soh-ji informed them.

 

Mi-ji gasped as he looked at the image. A creature, standing on two legs, looked straight ahead. He took everything in, everything that was so unlike how he and his brothers were. The human nose was fleshy, whereas theirs were just slits, their eyes sat right in the middle of the plane of their face, everything was in the middle of their face really. How could they see to the right or left?

 

“Why are their torsos so short?” Mi-tam asked, looking at their abdomen. Their torsos in contrast, were long and slinky, with their legs on the shorter side. Their tail was also lengthy and powered most of their swimming. Some of their kind had frills that fanned open to reveal fins lining their spine, right down to their tail, which also helped with swimming.

 

Soh-ji laughed, for the first time since they had escaped the fighter. His laugh was oftentimes contagious, coming out in spurts of high pitched squeaks that reminded Mi-ji of when he wiped a wet surface down.

 

“They're not swimmers like us, brother.” Was all he said.

 

“They're rather unattractive don't you think?” Tam continued analytically. He tilted his head to the side as if that would help him see clear enough to change his opinion. “There's nothing creative about their genetics. And they’re so boxy. They look like walking rectangles.”

 

Mi-ji laughed loudly at that. It was true, especially with their incredibly straight, broad shoulders. Mi-ji continued his gaze downward, “How does the male retract his phallus?”

 

“They don't have that ability.” Soh-ji squeaked out, doubling over in laughter at the disbelieving looks of his brothers.

 

“You mean,” Mi-tam interjected, looking scandalized at the human hologram and back to his brother, “Their phallus hangs out like that, at all times?

 

Soh-ji laughed louder, a painful confirmation.

 

“But surely that's… Uncomfortable?“ Ji said.

 

“Painful.” Tam added.

 

“Inconvenient.”

 

“Unhygienic.”

 

“Unattracti-”

 

“Yes yes, brothers,” Soh-ji interrupted their list, “It is very… unique. They do wear clothes like us, so their private bodies are somewhat protected.” It was hilarious to see his younger siblings react much the same way he had when he was shown a male human subject those years ago.

 

Mi-tam waved a dismissive hand. “The males are ugly,” Mi-ji nodded his head supportively, “Let's see the females.”

 

Soh-ji hissed out a few more chuckles as he typed in the descriptor and the cube broke apart the male to create its counterpart. He watched with amusement as his brother's circled around the image.

 

“What are these?” Tam asked, gesturing to her torso.

 

“Those are how she feeds her children. They latch onto her, onto that piece that's extended a bit, and she secretes a nourishment. I'm not too sure about how it works or what exactly they're eating if I'm honest.”

 

Mi-tam hummed in understanding.

 

The brothers continued observing her more until Mi-ji pointed towards her pelvis, “The females have their reproductive organs hidden?” Mi-tam also wanted the answer, as he bent down to look more closely between her legs.

 

Soh-ji had to swallow a smile, “Erm. More or less brother. The females of their kind have reproductive organs that remain in their body. They're not entirely visible from the outside. Like us, the male must penetrate the female to reproduce.”

 

“I can’t believe the men are just unable to hide their phallus.” Mi-ji groaned, and it really bothered his brothers apparently. Soh-ji understood, as their kind could sheath the phallus away inside themselves when they weren't procreating. It was understandable to not want a body part like that exposed.

 

“I want this body.”

 

“Me too.”

 

His younger brothers said, with tones of finality. They looked at their oldest sibling expectantly.

 

Soh-ji sputtered, “Ji, Tam!” He struggled to form a sentence, “You can't have that body.”

 

“Why not?” Tam asked in confusion. “This body seems easier to maintain.”

 

“I was given male samples since we're male. The coding for the physical features has been arranged for us already.”

 

“When?”

 

“On my last visit. My correspondence was kind enough to create personalized looks for us, in case we should be welcomed onto the planet. But as I’ve said already, we weren’t welcomed, and he gave me the genetic codes anyway. So all these years I've held onto them.”

 

“Do you already know how we’ll look?” Ji asked, but he didn't seem that excited. The disappointment of having the male body was written across his face.

 

Soh-ji felt bad. “No, but he did create handsome, human, male bodies for us.”

 

Tam scoffed. “The beauty standard of these humans doesn't matter to me. Both versions of this creature are ugly anyway.”

 

“That may be so,” Soh-ji replied, “But beauty matters a great deal on Earth. Apparently, they're more likely to trust attractive individuals. Handsome people also advance faster in society. Gaining human trust will make blending in easier for us, and exploring will be safer.”

 

“So,” Mi-ji began, crossing his arms, “You never answered my question. Is this reversible?”

 

“Yes,” Soh-ji assured. “I'm going to be taking ten samples from each of us. We will use them to change back into us once we're finished refueling and can finally leave.”

 

Mi-ji looked at the female depiction of humanity. For him, this occasion seemed different than all the other planets he had explored. He supposed it was because the circumstances made it different. Usually, they flashed their licenses and permits, Intergalactic forms of permission, and were granted access to the planet. They would split up, have fun on their own. Sometimes even taking up lodging in different areas. Mi-ji liked to go on trips with locals, expeditions, visit places for art. Once he and Tam even performed for locals who had never seen the traditional dances of his kind.

 

He stared at her flat face, features pulled to the center, and winced. Sure they had encountered prejudices, but it's never prevented them from landing on the planet. They would just receive a cold shoulder here and there. Never had they been attacked and endangered. And he couldn't believe it was by a species so short . The female only met just under his chest, and he was the shortest of his brothers.

 

“You mentioned they couldn't go deep in the water?” Mi-ji asked disdained.

 

Soh-ji hummed sadly, “Unfortunately not. Their bodies would be crushed by the water pressure. They have evolved for the land. When I was last here the ocean itself was only discovered by about 5%.”

 

Mi-ji would be lying if he said this didn't bother him. His kind were amphibians by nature and had societies under and above water. Water still played a big part in their life. In fact, they were raised in the water until they became adolescents and finished developing their lungs. Their bodies could handle ocean pressure. But it seemed all these creatures could do was splash around in puddles and pretend to know the water. The ocean he had bathed in earlier seemed so interesting, it was a shame to pass up the opportunity to explore it, to breathe it in and filter it through his body.

 

Mi-tam also winced, “So they don't even have gills?”

 

Soh-ji confirmed Tam’s question forlornly.

 

Tam sighed dramatically like he was usually prone to do. “This is going to be so boring. How do they have fun if they can barely swim? Most of their planet remains unexplored by its own highest intelligence. Really?”

 

“Don’t be so hard on them Tam,” Soh-ji chastised. “Their evolutionary characteristics were out of their control, and their technology just isn’t high enough yet.”

 

“But if they’re unwelcoming to extraterrestrial kind, how do they expect to learn enough to gather information on how to advance their sciences and technologies?” Mi-ji quipped back, not so ready to defend the very being that has them submerged in hiding. “We have the ability to change form with our technology? Imagine where they would be if they were willing to talk to different kinds.”

 

“Don’t be so naive Mi-ji. We all know that while these humans behave with extreme caution, that every kind of being in space is not like us. And they may have met beings on this side of the galaxy that we have yet to come across.” Soh-ji said.

 

His younger brothers kicked their feet with their heads bowed, not knowing what to say.

 

Soh-ji sighed. “If we’re going to do this it has to be soon. I don’t want to be idle while we’re in so much danger.”

 

Mi-ji opened his mouth, to object, to prolong having to get in that egg, but Soh-ji kept talking.

 

“But before then, why don’t we explore their ocean before we no longer can?” Then he gave his brothers the dazzling smile he was known for on their home planet.

 


 

Swimming always made him feel weightless. Being suspended in the vast ocean, the feeling of water filtering through his body to extract oxygen. Light couldn’t reach the depths they floated in, but with their big eyes, they could see just fine.

 

Mi-ji saw his oldest brother swimming ahead of him. His blush pink body slithered through the darkness. Soh-ji’s long hair also trailed behind him at a soft pink, yet neon greens and yellows lined down his spine, their shine even tipping his fingers and toes. He was the only brother to have fins fan down his spine and tail, swaying along with his body and being pushed gently by the water’s movements.  Mi-tam came up swiftly, the center of his body a soft pink like his older brother, but as the light extended to his limbs and tail, his body became a shocking violet color. Tam liked to show off when he swam, but everyone tended to forgive him since he was humble and pretty bashful. He passed Soh-ji and made a circle shape around them, his body lit like an amethyst against the black canvas of the ocean.

 

They hadn’t come across many creatures as the explored the abyss.  

 

Animals were finely attuned to their habitat, Mi-ji had long since learned, and could probably sense their presence and the presence of their ship. They had made sure to turn the lights of their ship off before they left.  That didn’t keep the little creatures from steering clear of them though, and that was okay. The family of three could understand how imposing it must have been.

 

But the few creatures were unique. Exhibiting the same kind of bioluminescence as them, some fat and fleshy, others thin and wispy, translucent or opaque, all of them were foreign to Mi-ji, and they all were beautiful. Soh-ji observed each marine-being as closely as he could, memorizing every little detail. Mi-tam and Mi-ji, on the other hand, liked to try and dance in the water, breathe it in and out.

 

Mi-ji twirled around, his body a gentle orange, hands, feet, and tail turning a blazing red in the dark water. He was the only one amongst his brothers to inherit their mother’s warm colors. His hair was also a burning scarlet, trailing after him like lava while he chased Tam.

 

They spun around each other playfully as Soh-ji looked on happily.

 

The two brother’s slipped into another dance easily, already having danced in the water several times since leaving the ship. Dancing on their planet was based on swimming and the movements of water and how their kind moved in the water. The fluidity that they created by slowly moving their body, winding around each other in such strictness while maintaining grace always mesmerized every planet they went to. They danced around each other, spinning, tumbling, spiraling, and it all seemed to be in slow-motion. Each of their body movements was precise and slow, and it could take what seemed like ages to complete a routine. Soh-ji watched his brothers with a sense of pride, that even though they were in this finicky situation of theirs, his brothers managed to find a sense of comfort.

 

Mi-ji went through the motions with his brother. Dancing was automatic now. They could tell what routine the other was going to do by a mere gesture. As they swam around each other, their skin glowing in the unlit waters, Mi-ji’s wandered onto the topic of how he would manage not going so deep in the water when he began his life as a human. He even still had some apprehensions about going into the egg. What if something went wrong? Horrible thoughts of his brother mixing up the samples, losing his soul, never waking up again--they kept eating at his mind. Mi-tam was taking it better than him, but Tam was also the type of person to keep his thoughts and worries to himself until he had to speak up. He knew his brother would never make such a catastrophic mistake, yet how could they be sure? Mi-ji peeped a glance at Soh-ji while he and Tam twirled around each other. Soh-ji deserved his trust though. It was the absolute least Mi-ji could do to him, seeing as he stripped away a layer of trust between them with his reckless actions. Thinking back on it made him wince again, disappointed in his own self. It was all he could do to just get in the machine and let his brother do what he did best: take care of them.

 

The brothers finished the dance, swimming in the shape of a circle slowly, in opposite directions, ending with their backs together.

 

Mi-ji looked far out into the darkness and wondered how he could ever step foot onto their land when they had a body of water so gorgeous.

 





So-ji wiped his brothers down with antibacterial liquids. They were naked, all their clothing packed away for when they surfaced. It was decided that the ship would make a slow ascension as they transformed in the pods. Human bodies got horribly debilitated when they rose from deep depths of the ocean too quickly. So they put the ship in auto and turned of the lights, programmed it to slowly progress upwards over the course of a week. Their kind could naturally compress their lungs and the gases, in order to balance their bodies under the extreme water pressure. Humans, unfortunately, didn’t have the power to do that to the degree needed.

 

After he was done cleaning his brothers down, Soh-ji pulled them into a tight hug. Mi-ji snuggled into him, along with Tam. It would be a lie to say Mi-ji was no longer scared. When he saw the orange, spherical pods at the tail end of their ship, his mind started reeling with paranoia. His brothers had to calm him down by curling around him until he was safe and secure, hidden away.

 

Everything was moving too fast for Mi-ji’s liking. Soh-ji told them that the ship would hit the surface in the night so that they could be relatively hidden, and his human correspondence would be at the shore waiting for them with transportation and food. They had gorged themselves, even though Soh-ji let them know that the eggs were supposed to nourish them throughout the transition.

 

Mi-ji stood idly by as Soh-ji strapped Mi-tam into his egg, giving it one last antibacterial wipe down and placing in Tam’s human genetics sample. The youngest brother raised his hand to touch the places Tam had just nuzzled him before being placed in the pod.

 

He was so scared.

 

Soh-ji closed the hatch and pressed across the door, oranges spots lighting where his fingers pressed against the red sphere. Then he turned to Mi-ji, who cowered under his gaze and tried to appear smaller.

 

“It’s going to be fine baby brother.” Soh-ji said as he approached Mi-ji.

 

“Can’t we go in one together?” He tried weakly, as his brother brought him into one last embrace before their sleep. There was no need for a response.

 

Soh-ji led him into the sphere quietly, hooked up the required instruments, stuck needles attached to tubes into his arms just as he did with Tam. He wiped down the interior of the egg and leaned in to nuzzle his younger sibling. All the while Mi-ji’s heart was racing quickly, as if he’d been swimming away from some unavoidable predator. He yipped in fear, and cried out with a whine. Soh-ji still withdrew however, pushing his brothers pleading hands down as he retreated and closed the hatch. Mi-ji wanted to calm down but he couldn’t, and his brother didn’t bother to since the gas and medication would slow his breathing anyway. He could barely make out his brothers form, just a dark shadow on the outside.

 

He remembered vaguely thinking that Earth better be worth all the trouble, like he had thought when he landed them into this miserable situation.



 


Foreign voices were talking around him, and a hard shiver wracked through his body. But he couldn’t move, as he was swaddled comfortably in a thick fabric. His eyes tightened before opening up slowly. It took a series of closing them and squinting before he could finally open them widely.

 

“Mi-ji!” Someone said.

 

Yet the voice didn’t sound like anyone he knew, and the tone, the infliction of their mother tongue was all wrong. He turned his head to the left groggily, where he had heard the voice come from.

 

“Brother!” They said again, the language was butchered, the pronunciation strange. He wasn’t hearing the pitches and notes that a word like ‘brother’ was supposed to carry. Mi-ji opened his eyes wider and took in some strange creature kneeling next to him. He jumped back, not going very far because of how he was wrapped.

 

The being looked at him with deep dark eyes, hair that was at the roots, as white as the furthest star, and as purple as the galaxy towards the tips. The hair grain was very, very , thin, and Mi-ji couldn’t help but to wonder how useless it would be to have hair like that. Yet the most disconcerting features was its pinched face, everything more or less centered. Extremely small eyes, an interesting waste of flesh for the nose and mouth.

 

“We’ve been wondering why you wouldn’t wake up!” The being continued to say in a garbled version of the language Mi-ji was raised to speak. It was so bad that he wanted to correct it, but didn’t know where to start seeing as everything being said was wrong in its own way.

 

“Get away from him Mi-tam,” Another voice said, “Can’t you see he’s recovering?”

 

But Mi-ji was stuck on the fact that this thing had the same name as one of his dear brothers. His mouth fell open slightly.

 

Then all the memories came rushing back to him. Steering the ship onto a beautifully marbled planet, being attacked, landing in the water, and having to become the beings inhabiting the world in order to get fuel.

 

“M-Mi-tam?” He spoke, sounding just as incorrect and foreign as his brother.

 

The human nodded enthusiastically. Mi-tam was as naked as the day he was born, and stood up to stretch his arms out for his brother to see his new body. It was… interesting. At least, a better version of the example Soh-ji had shown them. Tam wiggled his hips and swung his phallus around.

 

“This,” He said, doing it again, “Is so stupid.”

 

Mi-ji cringed at his brother’s antics as he sat up. He unravelled the blanket he was tucked in, marvelling at his new hands, a finger extra than he was used to. His skin was… different. There was no residual wetness, it was rough, and when he grazed his hand along the arm he could feel the thin strands of hair. He immediately looked up to find that they were in the middle of the infirmary. There was a man taller than him and Tam typing away at a glass tablet. It must of been Soh-ji.

 

His hair was short and rose-gold, the same color. Mi-ji wondered if everyone’s hair resembled a former aspect of themselves. Tam’s seemed to be the colors he glowed in the dark.

 

“We’re running behind.” Soh-ji muttered, his voice hinted at annoyance, “Stop playing around Tam and get dressed. Help your brother.”

 

Tam mumbled something before pulling out their spacesuits from one of the drawers of the sick bed Mi-ji was previously laying on. He watched as his older brother stepped into the legs, and could immediately tell that they had been altered, probably by Soh-ji who was the better of the three at domestic affairs. Mi-ji untangled his new legs from the fabric. They were long, straight, and the toes were all at one end of the foot, close together and not spaced out like he was used to. He hopped off the bed, deciding to mimic what Tam was doing since Soh-ji seemed busy and irritated. Tam pulled the holographic jumpsuit up his thighs, then he halted and he and Mi-ji had the same thought:

 

“Where am I supposed to put this?” He said, voicing the grievance he and his brother had thought of.

 

Mi-ji snickered, surprised by the way his throat worked, how the bones in his mouth felt.

 

“Just figure it out. Tuck it off somewhere.” Soh-ji mumbled. He had his suit on just fine.

 

Tam mocked up behind his back to Ji, and then he pushed his new phallus to the side and slid his spacesuit up the rest of his body. Mi-ji followed along, copying what his brother did. The suit fit differently on his new body than his old one. He wasn’t used to his leg ration being longer than his torso, and when it slid up his backside (an all new body part in itself) there was no interference with a tail since they no longer had one.

 

Soh-ji typed one more thing before rushing around the infirmary, stuffing things into a bag, packing things he deemed valuable. Mi-ji had half a mind to ask him why he was fidgety and rushing, but he was afraid of sounding as stupid as his brothers.

 

Mi-tam saw the confusion on Mi-ji’s face and decided to enlighten him, “We’re behind by a day. Your body didn’t develop on time.”

 

That made Mi-ji concerned, and all the paranoia he felt before being strapped into the egg resurfaced, “Is something wrong with me?” He asked with widened eyes, “Is my body defected? Does-”

 

“No Ji, calm down.” Soh-ji said, stopping his last minute packing to hold his brother by the shoulders. “You’re just fine. Your body just took longer because you were a bit more afraid than me and Tam.”

 

Mi-ji was still a little worried, but his oldest brother pushed luggage containers into each of their human hands. “We can only bring three of our traditional outfits each. Me and Tam already packed, and we packed your stuff for you.” Soh-ji said, leaving the room with his tablet in hand. He typed away at it as his brothers rushed to follow along.

 

They got to the travel pods, which were close to the back of the ship, but about three rooms before where the eggs were. Soh-ji put in his keycode, and a door opened which led straight to a small vehicle. The brothers entered the small ship, and Mi-ji decided that they were pressed for time because they were a day late.

 

“My correspondence is waiting for us like I said he would be.” Soh-ji said, and when the door shut he programmed the vessel to swim back to the main ship. “I’ve already programmed the ship to return to the depths of the ocean and resume auto control.”

 

Mi-ji poked his small tongue out and licked his lip. He didn’t really know what prompted him to do it, but he did, and he also squirmed, sidling up next to Tam. Everything seemed to be too quickly. He barely had time to connect with and understand his body. Soh-ji and Tam did as Mi-ji slept an extra day. Mi-ji placed his luggage between his legs as the small transformation device counted down the time until they would be ejected from the main ship. It was silent, and uncomfortable, for the youngest at least. Tam was humming happily as Soh-ji started to type again on the thin piece of glass.

 

“Don’t worry little brother.” Tam said, squeezing Mi-ji’s thigh with his strange hand.

 

The choppy and sullied version of their language only served to make him more anxious. Soh-ji had promised that he’d get to go off alone once they settled, but he wasn’t sure he wanted to do so. The barrier between their cultures was apparent without having even met one of them yet. The fact that they had to disguise themselves, leave their ship behind hidden, all of it made Mi-ji evermore aware of the precarious situation he landed his family in. When Soh-ji had told him no, he meant it for a reason. Being privy to the reasoning behind his brother’s harsh words made him want to take back his actions even more.

 

The small vessel was ejected from the ship, and their bodies jerked to the same side briefly, until the mini ship stabilized and projected itself to its destination.

 

“Look at yourself Mi-ji.” Soh-ji had said, holding his tablet to him younger sibling.

 

He liked hearing Soh-ji speak, his voice was slowly beginning to sound like their home again. Mi-ji supposed maybe their new vocal muscles could eventually make all the pronunciations needed. The younger brother took the tablet and looked down at its surface. The glass went from transparent to opaque, hardening and producing a reflection for Mi-ji to look at.

 

His new face was long, like Soh-ji’s, but he had arguably more of a fleshy mouth than his brother’s (though they all had reasonably cushiony lips). His nose was long and flat, on the bigger side like Tam’s, but more angular. The eyes that gazed at him from the reflection were small and beady, dead and tired. He pursed his lips unhappily, only sufficed with his burning hot red hair.

 

“I don’t like it,” Mi-ji mumbled, not feeling the least bit handsome that Soh-ji promised. “Hiumins are ugly.”

 

Soh-ji nodded, “Humans.” He corrected softly with a quirk of his lips.

 

The smile made Mi-ji stop his pouting briefly, “But you’re kind of handsome I guess.” he said, wrapping up his sentence so he wouldn’t sound like an idiot as he spoke their language.

 

“I think my body is kind of good-looking.” Tam said, pulling the tablet from Mi-ji’s grasp. “The violet hair is gorgeous.”

 

Mi-ji nodded, agreeing with his brother’s self-praising attitude. Tam gave the tablet back to their older brother. He relaxed into the chair, slipping an arm behind Mi-ji for comfort. Mi-ji began to think again. Maybe he just needed to spend some time with his brothers first? Although he was feeling uncomfortable, that was because he was in a new body. Perhaps the feeling of rejection was still stuck in his mind because of the paranoia. Truthfully, he still wanted to explore the planet, but not if it would put them in so much danger. However, Soh-ji had promised that no one would be able to see through their disguises. He only hoped that was true, for everyone’s sake. Otherwise he wouldn’t dare leave their side.

 

A few minutes later they felt their vessel start to move up solid ground. It was smooth, but noticeably not water,  and Soh-ji checked the coordinates.

 

“We’re here.” He announced. “We’ve landed on the beach.”

 

Mi-ji froze and looked at his brother. So soon?

 

Soh-ji stood up, Tam followed, so Mi-ji did reluctantly. They gathered their stuff as Soh-ji pressed in the password to open the door. He stepped out first, then Tam, and Mi-ji? Mi-ji hesitated, hid behind the door frame. But in the night sky he could make out the sandy land that their small craft had slid onto, the dark blue, almost black, waves lapped up the sand repeatedly. He swallowed nervously as he lingered.

 

“Come on Ji.” Tam ushered from where he stood. “Me and Soh are fine.”

 

So Mi-ji finally came out, stepping his white boots into the sand. They sunk down a little from his body weight, and Mi-ji sucked in a deep breath. The air was salty and cold. He saw his brothers, their reflective spacesuits glimmered under the light of the night sky. A black land vehicle lingered on the shore, and a person was standing outside of it. He was human, tall and lanky like Soh-ji’s new form, but he wasn’t dressed in the same exotic colors. Instead he was donned in a black top whose collar surrounded his neck. His bottoms were also black, crip from being pressed by the looks of it, and the top was tucked into it. He wore shiny black shoes of some kind on his feet, and as he walked towards them Mi-ji hid behind his brothers. Mi-tam also, for once, stepped slightly behind Soh-ji.

 

However, Soh-ji greeted this stranger warmly, holding his hand out, “Leeteuk!”

 

“There you are!” The human responded jovially.

 

But the two younger brothers were shocked. How could they understand these foreign words?

 

The human ushered them to walk though, and Mi-ji heard the vessel splash back into the water, following it’s programmed instructions. Leeteuk paid it no mind, seemingly used to unexplainable technologies, or perhaps he know of them and that’s why he was not too impressed.

 

“We have to hurry back to my car.” And he led them to the black vehicle, supposedly the car.

 

Mi-ji followed closely, clinging to Tam’s back, who in turn was walking extremely close to their older brother. Soh-ji dipped his head and stepped into the vehicle. It was small, Mi-ji found out, as Tam and he stepped in as well. They all assumed seats as Leeteuk closed the door. A clicking sound was heard, which Mi-ji jumped at, and the vehicle began moving. It was cramped with all their luggage. Soh-ji and the human were whispering to each other quickly, as the person steering the ‘car’ drove across the sand.

 

“Here you all are.” Leeteuk said loudly, handing an envelope to each of the brothers, “It has all your legal credentials, right down to identification cards for the each of you. If you didn’t use those DNA samples I gave you those odd years ago, we’d be in trouble. Each of these envelopes go with each sample.”

 

Mi-ji was trying to wrap his head around the new words that he somehow understood. Although he took his envelope, he kept starting at Leeteuk. His hair was colored similar to Soh’s but slightly darker. He was soft in the face, with pretty features and a charming smile. Leeteuk felt Mi-ji’s stare and met his eyes, smiled, then ushered him to open his envelope.

 

So Mi-ji did, undoing the brass clamp and digging his hand through. He pulled out papers, a small blue booklet that read PASSPORT (he deciphered with surprise), and a hard card that had a picture of him, except his hair was inky black. “Why’s my hair black?” He questioned automatically, then dropped the card to press both hands to his mouth with wide eyes. How could he speak the language?

 

Tam looked to him with a surprised expression as well.

 

Leeteuk laughed though. “Did you not tell them about the language modifier?”

 

Soh-ji shook his head as his younger brothers looked to him for an explanation. “Well,” He said sheepishly, “I input my memories of the language as a part of your development in the egg.”

 

His brothers couldn’t believe a word they were hearing.

 

“Isn’t it so cool? I could only imagine what we would do with that kind of technology here on earth.” Leeteuk said, “But yes, about your black hair. It seems that the DNA samples didn’t transform you completely.”

 

“Yes,” Mi-tam said, “Our brother said it wouldn’t.”

 

Then Leeteuk was the one to be surprised, he looked to Soh-ji for an answer.

 

“Our realized on the ship, once I had left Earth years ago, that perhaps our bodies couldn’t fully take on the change. To be frank, but never rude, we’re slightly more sophisticated than human beings. A lot more components go into us than you, so while you might fully be able to become us, there just isn’t enough to work with for us to become you. Hence, our hair colors, and who knows what else.”

 

“I see,” Leeteuk said, picking up Mi-ji’s card when it slipped onto the floor. He handed the card back to the youngest. Mi-ji took it gratefully. “At least hair dying is common amongst young men here.”

 

Mi-ji decided to read the card with his pictures, “Ji-Jimin?” He said unsure, “Jimin Park?”

 

“Perfect!” Soh-ji complimented, “My name is Seokjin Kim.”

 

“I’m Taemin Lee.” Mi-Tam said to his brothers.

 

Soh-ji quirked his head, “I thought we were going to be your relatives?”

 

Leeteuk shook his head dejectedly, “It’s too dangerous. I’ve been on surveillance ever since I retired.”

 

That immediately started a conversation between the two men that Soh-ji wasn’t interested in enough to listen to. Instead, he looked out the window of the moving vehicle. The buildings they passed were filled with artificial light, the light that drew him to the planet a week or so ago. Few people were out during the night ours, which was completely different from his home culture. But there were lots of cultures around the galaxy that preferred and flourished in the daylight, so it wasn’t uncommon. Everything looked to be made of stone and metal, glass and other materials he’d have to get familiar with. Colorful advertisements were plastered everywhere, from signs to enthusiastic posters. Mi-ji never would’ve guessed it would be so colorful down here when they were hovering near the planet from outer space. All he could see were the greens and blues, and the artificial warm lights.

 

The vehicle stopped and a few humans passed in front of them, talking, smiling with the straight set of teeth each of them had. Tam laid his head down on Mi-ji’s shoulder as his breathing evened out and his body relaxed. Mi-ji wondered what each human they passed were thinking, what their lives were like. Why were they roaming around so late at night? A sigh escaped his lips as he wondered if he’d ever be prepared to go out and explore what their lives were like.

 

He wondered if he was prepared to be Jimin.

Chapter Text

I totally messed up the plot line and got way to excited with this story. So now I have to go and untangle some of the plot holes and fix it. I feel so bad, but I'm planning on posting some other stories that have a better plot. They're solid. So, look forward to those guys. Thank you!