If, I told you one human man saved almost fifty Nami from dying on a Marin ship, would you believe me? If I said I was there, would you say I was lying? Of course you would, because humans, as fierce as they are, couldn't perform such a feat, and Nami are notorious frauds. But, that doesn't matter. This is about him, the way he made that day about us.
I don't know his name, none of us did. I don’t think I want to. In a way, he’s more powerful without it. He was our savior without a name.
He was in the wrong place at the right time. A lot of people were like that during the Orion War. That's what he told us. He didn't say where he was before the Marins caught him on the hideaway freight with us. He didn't say much, but the things he did took root deep in a spot I didn't know a Nami had.
“I won't do it.” We’re the first words I heard come from his mouth, as he was shoved through the door into the holding chamber. He was unremarkable in every way. He had brown short hair and came up to my shoulder like most humans.
“Come on, human. Just shoot one and we'll let you go.” A Marin said, behind the human, as he shoved him again.
Many of us instinctively lined up on the back wall, ready for whatever punishment came for us today. Months at the hands of the enemy teach you to stop trying to actively fight them, especially when they’re almost twice your height and three times your weight.
We’re not fighters anyway, us Nami. Not in the traditional sense. We out think our enemies. We don't have an unnatural understanding of physics from birth, like the Graes, but we see things other races don't. We pick up on the small details. Like, how the human's hand starts to flex before turning into a fist and connecting with the Marin's face.
“I won't do it.” He shouted in his scratchy voice. It wasn't quite as flowing as humans' voices tend to be. The Marin grabbed a hold of him, with his large russet hands, and threw him to the floor with a sickening thud.
“They're nothing. They're barely even sentient.” Spittle sprayed from his mouth as he shouted. The human only sneered up at the hulking form from where he laid.
The Marin stood for only a small amount of time before yelling again.
“Maybe, you humans are just as dumb.” He walked to the door, turned to us and stomped his foot, causing many of us to quiver in fear of becoming the next target of the Marin's anger, but he left after his rage subsided. I stayed by the wall along with the rest of the Nami in the room. The human rubbed his head and sat up. Long moments went by. I've long since lost my ability to tell time effectively since staying in that dark room. It could have been minutes or hours.
“Well, are you guys going to stand there the entire time.” He asked us, trying to take us all in. I’m not sure if the look the formed on his face was in disgust of our appearance or our actions.
Some of the braver Nami sat down, but I kept standing. I stood until everyone sat down actually.
“Sit down, man.” The human called to me. “I’m not going to bite.” Sure, I hesitated. I liked to think I’m just wary of strangers, but there’s no point in lying anymore, I’m just plain cowardly.
I sat down eventually. He smiled at me, a gesture that our races actually share. I tried to return the smile, but there were so very few things to smile about anymore. We sat in silence, for a long time. It wasn't different from most of the time weave been in here, aside from the punishments, but this time there was a human in our midst. Until now, it was only us. We are the only ones the Marins hate.
“Stop it.” He broke the silence. I startled along with a couple others. He looked around at us. “You’re letting them win.”
A particularly bold Nami in the back of the room spoke up. “They've already won.” The human frowned, causing deep lines to etch in his brow, but the other Nami was right. They've got what they want. There’s no getting past that.
“You can't think like that.” The human responded, looking into his lap. He's wrong. That’s the only way we can think. It’s literally our only option.
“What do you prefer?” The words whispered from my mouth, without my consent. His head snapped up and his eyes held a ferocity that I've learned was distinctly human. He tore his gaze from mine and shook his head.
“What else can you do in here? What else is there to do, but hope?”
Again, that uncomfortable silence settled over us. “What do we hope?” Someone asked.
The human again kept his eyes down. “You hope you'll get out of here.”
“Do you think we will?” The same person asked him, as if he held all the answers to the universe.
It took him longer to answer this time and he refused to look at any of us. When he did finally say something, I had to strain myself to hear him. “I hope so.”
Our wait dragged on, like usual. We sat in the room for a long time. I slept twice, but I don’t know for how long. We were used to it, but the human didn't seem to be coping well, especially with the little amount of words between us. However, we've long since run out of things to say.
The human would look around the entire room, over and over, scanning the corners and edges. I never asked him why. Finally, when it seemed like days have gone by, the human stood and said, “Make a circle.”
We didn't move. He didn't make sense. The human, wrinkled his nose and looked around. “Please, this will be good.”
We formed a circle in the room the best we could, and he motioned us to sit and like a herd we did what he wanted.
He grabbed my hand and another’s from our positions next to him in the circle. He looked at us and we did the same. The entire circle was linked by the hands. It was an odd experience. I needed it. I didn't know it, but all of us needed it.
“I’m from Terra, but my father was from Earth.” He said, look at each face in the circle, then mine, “Where are you from?”
I paused, and looked at the others. “My whole family is from Lumin.”
He smiled, “I thought so, you guys have those amazing gold eyes.” He motioned towards my face and I couldn't help the smile from reaching my face.
He nodded at the next Nami and each one after. We all said where we were from.
He did the same with our favorite colors and favorite foods. His favorite color is green, like the ocean. His favorite food is a smoked meat from his planet.
I told him what he wanted, everyone did. We didn't need his prompting after that, though. Someone would say how much they liked to eat salted greens and another would say how derin meat is the best. We were talking, conversing, joking even.
Everyone was going on about what they liked and missed. We even argued a bit about what the best things at home were. The human smiled almost the entire time. He would sniff, make a face, but always return to his smile.
“What do you miss most?” I asked him.
He turned to me and his smile dropped just a fraction, but he retained his composure. “My daughters, Hannah and Ellie.” Family. That surprised me at that moment. He didn't miss something much more pleasant or helpful from home.
“Are they on Terra?”
His mouth moved to the side and he nodded. “With my wife. I had to leave them for the war.”
I didn't know what to say. Was there anything I could say to that? He left the thing he misses most, for some other race that humans have only known for ten cycles at the most.
“Why would you do that?”
He looked at the ground for a while, before saying, “It’s not about me. The war is about you guys. We couldn't just sit by and watch this happen. I couldn't just sit by and watch this happen.”
I didn't say anything else. This human was far more than any of us. Were they all like this? Were all these short, pink, beautiful people so concerned with the rest of us?
The man again scrunched his nose and frowned. The rest of us Nami looked at him. We saw small details.
He looked at us and said, “Think about the best thing in the world.”
The room started to feel hot, and the temperature only climbed. Toward the ends of the room slots opened and flames issued forth.
It was happening. The Marins were finally going to kill us. The Nami started to stand and go out of control.
“Don't,” the human shouted, “Don’t give them the satisfaction. We won't go down like that.”
A few Nami huddled in the corners, but the rest held on tight as fire and smoke filled the room. Some swayed and fell against the Nami beside them, others cried, but none let go of the other’s hand.
“Think about what you loved most in the world,” the man shouted, “think about your color and your food.”
And, I did. I thought about everything that made me smile on Lumin. I thought about the beautiful purples in the northern lights of Lumin, the tastiest foods I've ever eaten and the most fun I've had on fast ships and in the oceans.
“You don't die if you don't want to,” He said, now. It didn't make sense. There was no logic and yet, logic wasn't going to save us, now. We were at the end of the rope and all I wanted was to think about the things I “loved” most in the world.
Smoke filled the room and my head felt heavy, I just wanted to close my eyes and lay down, but my shoulders were being held up by others. I wasn't dying. Because, like he had said, I didn't want to.
I made out the man’s form, next to me. Tears streaked down, through the grime, from the smoke, on his face.
I rocked back and forth trying as a hard as I could to stay awake, even though I couldn't seem to breath. But, I held on, because he held on, we all held on. We weren't by ourselves.
Maybe, he didn't save us from the fire that day, on that ship, in the middle of space. But, he saved us from the dark before death. He was a light in the space. He saved us from being alone.
“Together?” I asked.
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