The entire crowd held their breath as the creature pulled out the three men. It gently placed them down in front of the owner. "These little ones are quite alright. Merely sleeping, I will however have to take them back with me as they were quite naughty." The crowd seemed simultaneously horrified and amused at its condescending attitude. The hotel owner responded with "that is acceptable then. We mean you no harm creature if you mean us no harm."
The creature smiled wide. "Well this is frankly delightful, I mean no harm at all to you little ones. I come in peace and offer aide." The crowd seemed apprehensive but positive as after almost 7 months of no outside contact with the rest of the world food supplies were beginning to run low and most everyone was anxious to get home.
Henry uninterested returned upstairs, Johnny tried to get him to stay but gave up after a short try. He and the rest of the crowd excitedly bombarded the creature with questions. Henry stopped his escape after hearing a gunshot. It was seemingly to silence the crowd and the owner tried to maintain a semblance of order. "Now dear residents, let us give the alien some space and time to answer all your questions. Let us do this in a nice and orderly fashion." Henry plopped himself down in the stairway and leaned back into it resting his head against the stairs as he listened to the crowd and alien. The creature now properly introduced itself though Henry barely caught its name and heard something about a 3rd bloom whatever that meant. The alien also was apparently a woman. Henry chuckled at the fact an alien woman was here talking to a crowd of reporters like a mother with overly eager children. The morning faded into afternoon as reporters continued to barrage the poor woman with questions. Henry tried to keep track of what he learned, something something free food and housing, something treaties, something about pets he didn't understand, and finally the US of A was now a protectorate.
The days began to truly blur now that the aliens, correction, Affini arrived. Henry had finally learned the name of the alien species and was at least pleasantly surprised at their general good nature. In the first few days Affini roamed around the entire hotel offering help to anyone who needed it. They even organized most of the former soldiers so they could return home soon. The Affini were slightly stretched at the moment as "pacification" efforts across Asia were bogged down. This didn't particularly mean much to Henry but it did raise in his mind what to do next.
He had now spent well over a year in Vietnam. His original tour was supposed to end in August, but now he was nearing the end of the year still here. He originally was just going to go home to his parent's houses for lack of something better, but frankly he despised that option. All his mother gave him was scolding and arguments and all he gave his father was disappointment. Though his father also didn't like him much anyways Henry had always let him down despite his best efforts. He didn't want to come home another failure, he could already see his father berating him for taking the cowards way out of the war.
Then again what else was he supposed to do? Stay in Vietnam? He didn't like Vietnam much but then again he did enjoy his time in the hotel. At least for now the Affini weren't pressuring anyone to leave so he might as well stay. He continued his routine with Madame Rosaline and spent many evenings with her musing on the Affini. "Do you think they're actually peaceful madame?"
"Perhaps, they come with food and gifts saying they are freeing us. Give it a few years hun and I think you'll have your answer"
Henry thought for a while. Where would he be in a few years? He didn't have a passion or any interests. His most notable trait he'd earned so far is he liked drinking and eating brunch. Not much to build a resume on, though he realized that maybe he didn't have to work? But what then?
It was now Christmas Eve and Henry realized he was all alone. Johnny had disappeared off into Saigon again saying he was "seeing" an Affini. Henry couldn't decipher if it was sexual; he frankly couldn't even imagine what that would be like, so at least for now he ignored the possibility. Madame Rosaline on the other hand was off at a party with the city's leaders and some local big whigs. Apparently the Affini's arrival managed to stabilize the city so these things could become normal again. Yet that didn't help Henry much. He had eaten breakfast at 1 pm today so he knew he was gonna be up late. He wondered if he should find a party or something to occupy his time with. He didn't really know anyone so probably not. He decided he'll read in his room, maybe out on the balcony.
He wanted to find something special to drink for the night, it was his first Christmas away from home, and his first Christmas alone. He might as well get plastered. The hotel bar had apparently gotten some Affini alcohol which he was curious to try but he ended up staying with the classics. He got a bottle of champagne, he was pleasantly surprised it was free, he still had a pile of dollars in his room that managed to survive the earlier shortages. Regardless he managed to drink the whole bottle that night slowly reading his way through some fantastical story.
By morning he couldn't remember what it was exactly about but he knew he enjoyed it. He groggily checked the time and saw it was nearly 12. At least he was up early for Christmas. He made his way downstairs before realizing he had a terrible hangover. He drank way too much. He made his way over to the dining room, a large open area with huge colonnades and flowing white drapes. The tables were all pristine now after a previously decaying state. Yet, barely anyone else was around, it was Christmas after all, and most people had gone home now. He found his usual seat near a window overlooking the nearby garden. His heart hurt.