Learning The Truth
An Overheard Conversation
Myst had headed to her room the night before and had taken with her all the inedible parts of the raptors but also usable. Storm had followed close behind not wanting to interfere in what the rest of the crew was doing. It was odd for the both of them to be in a ship this size; what with having to explain themselves to everyone they saw. But it wasn’t as bad as one might think, it was definitely better than still being trapped on Dinoplenta that was for sure. She had set the box of usable raptor parts in the corner, farthest away from the bed and then the two had gotten some much needed sleep. It had been some time since Storm had run with everything packed on his back so he was just as tuckered out as Myst was.
The next morning saw Myst with her compartment door open, Storm still sleeping and Myst up and about trying to figure out how she was going to dry two raptor skins on an enclosed ship with little light. She set the two skins over the table in her quarters and decided to work on the bones she had scrapped last night from what remained of the carcasses. It was easier than trying to figure out what to do with the skins. That’s about the time Chloe ventured into her room, wondering where she was and why she hadn’t come to the galley for breakfast as she had a portion of egg with her.
“So, how’d you sleep?”
“Better than on the bed I made back on the planet, that’s for sure.”
“Yea, these beds sure are soft and comfortable. So what are you doing? Cause you missed breakfast. Becker gave me your portion and some meat for Storm and I came to bring them to you.”
“Well thank you, but Storm is still sleeping, probably will be for the better part of the day. He’s used to rations since most times it was too dangerous to venture out to hunt and all so last night’s meal was kind of big for him.”
“Well that’s good to know I guess. So he’ll be full for a while then?”
“Not necessarily. Big meals aren’t a big thing for the two of us since we scrounged for most of our food when we couldn’t eat. No more than likely he’ll be more than ready to eat by the end of the week. So other than breakfast food what brings you by?”
“Well, you know, I didn’t get to know you that well back on Dinoplenta with you saving my life and all and I kinda just wanted to talk, get to know you better.”
“There’s not much to tell.”
“You can start with why you were in a transport ship headed away from you home world for starters.”
“Guess I could start there.”
“So why were you in a transport ship headed away from you home planet?”
“I was being transferred. It’s kind of a long story, how do you say it…um…I forget the English word for it. Our word for it is Kutchan (Horror). And story is story in any language.” Had we known that Mr. Brody was passing by outside I probably would have gone into further detail about my ‘transfer’.
“Transferred huh? And why was that?”
“I really don’t want to talk about it. I can tell you it was something that scarred me for life. It was something that I vowed I would never go through again after the ship crashed. Can we please change the subject? Like how you and Lt. Scott kept eyeing each other at dinner last night when you thought nobody was looking.”
“You saw that huh?”
“I’m a very Shutu (Observant) person.”
“What’s Shutu mean?”
“It means observant. I guess I have never really talked this much because I was so used to talking to Storm that it didn’t really matter how much I talked and when the danger became too much, we couldn’t talk at all, let alone move the rock from the front of the cave lest one of the predators lurking outside decided they wanted me for a meal.”
“Hm, well you haven’t really talked that much about your life before the planet. I guess I really haven’t told you much either. It’s just we all got stranded out here, several billions of light-years away from Earth and everything just got complicated. We’ve been looking for a way back home ever since.”
“Yes, destiny has a tendency to throw a curve ball every now and then into one’s life but you just have to get used to your new predicaments and move on.”
“Very fortune cookie of you.”
“It’s a cookie we have back on Earth. You break it in half, pull out a piece of paper and read what the piece of paper says. It’s a fortune; it’s supposed to tell you something good.”
“You mean like a Crotune porcay (Good luck charm).”
“You really need to stop using your language, I can’t understand you.”
“Will it help if I use my language and also write down the words I am saying so that you will have a dictionary to look at?”
“That would work. Come on, TJ wanted to give you the look-over to see if you are really okay. She gave me a look-over when I got back on Destiny yesterday but you were too busy for her to take a good look at you. Colonel Young would probably like to know if you are in good health.”
We stood up and headed for the Infirmary, leaving Storm to continue sleeping. I shut the compartment door so he wouldn’t be able to get out and come looking for me and then we left. As we made our way to the Infirmary, both Chloe and I started to get weird glances from the rest of the crew as if I was some sort of plague or something. We dismissed it as my being new on the ship.
After TJ had successfully examined me without much squirming, she announced that I was fit and healthy. She had noticed the few scars on my body that seemed to be older than three years and when she asked about them I just told her I was clumsy as a child. She took the answer but could tell that I didn’t want to talk about those scars. She didn’t press the matter and Chloe and I headed for the Observation Deck where Eli, Scott, James, Varo and Grear were waiting. I had brought from my compartment a bag with some sewing equipment, boring needles and carving tools. There were also some bones from the raptors in the bag as well as some teeth from one of the sharks I had managed to kill two weeks before.
We sat on the couch and I sat the bag on the table and started to go through it. When Chloe’s friends came over, they could tell that I was hastily trying to put some things together but couldn’t tell what they were.
“Hey Chloe, can we talk to you for a few minutes? Hey Myst.” Scott said.
“Hi, go ahead Chloe; I need to get these utensils made up before tonight so I’ll be pretty busy.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, go, I’ll be fine.”
“Okay, I’ll be back, might even stop by your compartment and get Storm so he can sleep out here near you.”
“Okay, just be careful when you wake him. There is a walking stick by the door, poke him with it and be out of the way or you’ll get swiped. He’s swiped me a few times when he didn’t want to wake up. You might want to talk to him as well, just to let him know that a friend is near.”
“Good to know, I’ll be back.”
I went back to carving one of the small bones into a needle. I would puncture a hole in it later once the needle was small enough. It was to be a large bore needle which I could use to sew the raptor skins since the needles I had wouldn’t puncture the skin as I had never been able to kill any raptors while living on Dinoplenta. I basically ignored everyone that was in the room and concentrated instead on carving the many utensils I had in mind for the bones.
Meanwhile…Chloe followed Scott, Eli and the group to the galley where Brody and a few other key members of the crew were waiting.
“Eli, what’s going on?”
“Brody overheard you and Myst talking earlier and we’re trying to stop a rumor before it starts.”
“What did you overhear us talking about Brody?”
“You asked Myst why she was on the transport ship and she said that she was being transferred somewhere. That’s all I heard but it can’t be anywhere good since we all know that most transfers happen to be because of criminals.”
“We don’t know that she is a criminal. Besides, if she was a criminal, do you think she would have saved my life back on Dinoplenta? It’s common sense Brody.”
“She could have done that to get out of whatever sentence they had deemed fit for her. That transport ship of hers probably didn’t crash there. She was probably dropped off as some sort of punishment for something.” James said.
“So you think just because she told you something, it’s not true?”
“What do you really know about her Chloe?” Eli asked.
“Her home planet is Aphelion and she was clumsy as a kid but most kids are.”
“What do you mean clumsy?”
“TJ found a bunch of scars on her that were older than the planet and when she asked Myst about them she shrugged it off to being clumsy as a kid. It’s like she didn’t want to talk about it.”
“Is that all?” Colonel Young asked.
“That’s all, now if you don’t mind I need to go bring Storm to Myst so that he doesn’t freak out and tear up her room.”
With that Chloe left the room, kind of mad that they had drug her away from her new friend to confront her about something Brody had overheard. When she got to Myst’s room, Storm was already awake and wondering where his friend had gotten to. She opened the door and Storm followed her to the Observation Deck. When he saw Myst, he went and lay down next to her before falling back to sleep. The previous day had obviously been too much for him, anybody could tell that. Chloe went back to the couch and sat down getting a look from Myst at the same time.
“Hey, we need to talk.”
“About why you were being transferred. Brody overheard us talking this morning and well he thinks you are a criminal. Now I did try to defend you but he heard that you said you were being transferred and well he now thinks you are a criminal and well, I don’t want it to become a full-blown rumor and all.”
“I figured someone would overhear us but I didn’t think anything bad would come out of it. You have to understand Chloe that that part of my life is over; I don’t ever want to become one of the Storku (Enslaved) again. It was hard for me to understand at such a young age and now that I’m older, I don’t ever want to become one again.”
“Okay, but what does Storku mean?” Chloe asked as her friends and some of the other crew members that had been in the galley walked in. Those that had already been on the Observation Deck were already listening and I was starting to feel a little self-conscious.
“It basically means Enslaved or Slavery. That’s right your grand ol’ rescuer was a slave before her transport ship crashed. And the only reason I was on that ship to begin with was because my old master lost me in a Sabretite (saber fight). Basically he bet on his saber to win the fight and used me as collateral not thinking he would lose. Well his saber died and the winner claimed me as his own. Though he was considerably nicer than my old master. After the crash, he said that if I was ever found, that I would be free to live my life however I wanted. That he had only won so that he could free me. Apparently, it was part of his job as a Sabrekey (Saber Patrol Rider), the specialists in the military that used saber mounts as fighters in Sabretite’s (saber fights). The sole purpose of winning Sabretite’s was to free the slaves that were put up as bets. Storm is only three years old, the man that had won me had bought him from a seller when he was only a month old and was transporting him back to his home as a present for his daughter. He asked me, that if I should ever meet his wife, that I give her the message that I was free and that he loved her and his daughter more than anything in life. I have his Vidoa (last words recorded before death) in one of my satchels to give to her if I ever do meet her.”
“That was a long explanation but I think we understand a little better now that you’ve actually told us the truth.” Grear said.
“Yea, which is why if and when we get to Aphelion, I’m staying on the ship so that there is no way my old master will be able to find me again and make me his slave again. Worst time of my life, that’s for sure.”
“Is that where you got your scars from?” TJ asked.
I hesitated before nodding and answering the young medic. “Yes, he would sometimes beat me just for the fun of it and he would invite his friends over to beat me as well. Look, um…I think I’ve said enough for now. Storm and I are gonna go back to our room and I will finish this up there. It’ll be easier without everyone looking at me every time I look up and all.”
With that I left the area and Storm followed me back to the room where I closed the door and got back to work. I didn’t need nor did I want any more distractions for the day. I could do without food for a day as well.