Part 2: Crew of the Jago
Once again I awoke in an unknown place. From what I could tell, my limp body melded into what felt like a cushioned table. The first thing I noticed was how cold it was, and then I started remembering what had happened. Somehow I ended up on a bounty hunter's space ship.
I couldn't move. I don't think I was restrained but for some reason I couldn't move a muscle. My pain was gone but I felt dull and weak. All I could do was lay there and wonder where I was and what was going to happen to me. Without warning, the door suddenly opened and another young girl walked inside.
"You've regained consciousness I see." The person sounded familiar, like the girl's voice from the intercom earlier… Tammy, I think is what Rei called her. She had a very monotone voice.
"Yeah…" I rasped. The sound I croaked was kind of creepy.
"You've been unconscious for almost a week."
"A week?" No wonder my throat was dry.
"Yes, the use of the sync ring with Kiko left you with many torn and shredded muscles, ligaments and tendons in your arms and legs." She began pressing buttons at the head of the table. "With the sync rings on, your muscles mimic Kiko's muscles, but her physical abilities are at a much better state than yours however, so when she powered them off your brain suddenly interpreted how much damage had actually been done."
She had walked over so I could see her now standing beside me. She was a small girl, and her skin was very white. She was probably about the other girl's age… Rei, maybe younger… she definitely looked younger. She had silvery, translucent hair in two braids resting on her chest, and her hair… looked like it was glowing slightly.
Her eyes flickered side to side, calculating information and making quick but precise hand movements over me. I guess there was a holographic board there that I just couldn't see. It looked kind of funny from my perspective actually.
"I see…" I finally said. I was basically a mess thanks to Akiko, or Kiko is what she called her. "Will I be able to move again?"
She stopped all movement and faced me, her light brown eyes catching mine, "No," she said in all seriousness. "However, we have decided to let you live the rest of your existence on this table."
Stunned, shocked, depressed could hardly describe how I suddenly felt all at once. I stared at the ceiling, mortified at the thought of never being able to move freely again.
"That was a joke." She continued in her same monotonous voice. Even her expression never changed.
"What?" I looked at her, "That was a joke?"
She stared at me blankly. "Yes."
I stared back at her. What the heck was that? I'm no expert in jokes, but that really sucked.
She spoke again, "Although your injuries were very severe, I was able to piece you back together. In about a month or so you should be fully healed. For now, I have put you in a sort of stasis. I was waiting for you to regain consciousness before placing you in your brace."
"Oh… thanks." I was praying that wasn't one of her jokes again. "I have to wear a brace?"
"Yes. I will bring it to you." She started walking away but then turned back around, "A warning, the brace was made specifically to limit your movements and to allow support for movements you would normally make… like walking."
"Why is that a warning? I don't plan on running anytime soon."
"Because it will hurt getting in, and you will look funny." With that she turned back around and disappeared from the room.
I'll look funny?
I laid there. It was comfy, soothing and quiet. What am I going to do now?
About a minute later the girl came back again holding a pair of neatly folded gray clothes. She set them at the foot of my table and began touching an imaginary board again. It was about this time that I noticed something.
"How did I get out of my clothes?" I tried not to sound so nervous about it but I noticed I was only in a pair of boxer shorts.
"You were changed." She said simply, still waving her arms around. "Don't worry, I had Cashel change you. He's the captain of the ship."
She finished with the holographic board and pushed one final button that triggered an electric bolt through my body. Then the pain slowly came back but it wasn't as bad as before.
She took a step back, "Move all your fingers and toes."
I did. They were achy and hurt but at least I could still move them.
"Okay. I take it you can change into your brace yourself?" she asked.
I tried to sit up, and the cushion on the table helped lift me up before laying back down.
That was cool.
She walked away, "I'll be on the flight deck if you need me."
The door slid closed behind her. I examined my arms and legs… everything seemed normal besides the pain, plus I was squeaky clean, which, I don't think I've ever been this clean before. It was strange to see the actual color of my skin.
I couldn't move my limbs too much before the aching got to me. Great, getting dressed is going be like being in battle again.
I took a closer look at my wrists and I could see that I was still wearing the sync rings. I didn't know what to think about that so I chose to ignore it. I grabbed the gray clothes off the table and began the taunting mission of putting them on.
I don't think it took that long, but it was definitely the longest it's ever taken me to change. I had to take breaks in between, but eventually I got the job done.
I wasn't sure where the brace part came in until I was fully dressed. The clothing tightened around my skin and suddenly my arms and legs were outstretched. I must look ridiculous. How am I supposed to even walk? At least they dulled the pain considerably.
I wobbled to the door and stood there. There was a small window I could look through. Should I go out or just stay in here?
I didn't have to think long because I saw the top of a head bobbing by and then do a double-take to the door.
It slid open.
"You're up!" Rei smiled at me. She saw my posture and laughed.
"I see Tammy's already gotten to you!" she continued laughing.
I didn't get it.
She tried to compose herself, "Here let me help you." She pressed her hand to my shirt and it lit up. Text appeared but I couldn't read it upside-down.
She mumbled to herself, "Degree of laughter…" she chuckled. "8 out of 10."
She used a finger to write on my shirt. I guess it was good to know I was being used for comic relief. After finishing up on my shirt, my arms and legs went back to being a normal posture.
"Thanks for that." I said with relief.
"No problem." She smiled at me again, "I guess you figured out that Tammy likes to joke around."
"I'm Rei by the way. Aki said your name was Sarth. It's nice to meet you!"
Sarth? Aki? Akiko? Akiko said my name was Sarth? "Uhh…" well… Sarth was better than Trash… I'll just go along with it.
Rei took me by the hand, "I'll introduce you to everyone!"
Before I knew it I was being led through the ship by this girl. Their ship was actually pretty large. From the looks of it, we were on the mid deck which was the largest section. Above us was the flight deck and below was the lower deck that was used mainly for storage. The room I was in turned out to be the medical bay on the mid deck.
She led me to the nearest person who was upstairs on the flight deck and found Tammy sitting in the pilot's seat pushing buttons. The view through the flight deck window was amazing. There were thousands of bright glowing stars in the dark cosmos of space.
"This is Tammy! Her real name is Tamsin but we just call her Tammy." Rei explained. Tammy simply ignored us and continued working. "She's our pilot, navigator, technician, doctor, and anything else we can't do."
So what can they do?
"How's it going Tammy?" she asked.
Tammy responded, "Everything is still running. It looks like we will be able to make it straight to Crux."
"That's good news! I'll go tell Cashel."
Rei grabbed my hand again and we headed down to the lower deck. We walked slowly because I was still trying to heal. For such an enthusiastic person, she didn't seem to mind the slow pace.
The lower deck had a few boxes and crates. There was an old, but still strong-looking man maybe in his 60's with a bald head and a long white beard. He was looking at a hologram glass and glancing at the different crates around him.
"Ah, Rei and you must be the one Tammy was fixing up?" he asked, as he finished writing.
Rei answered for me, "This is Sarth from Sola. He helped us capture Vaughan."
"It's good to see you up and about." He held up his arms as if unveiling the ship to me for the first time. "Welcome to the Jago."
I nodded and replied, "Thank you sir."
"Sir?" he chuckled. "Just call me Cashel."
Rei butted in, "Cashel's the Captain of the Jago." Then she remembered what Tammy told her. "Oh yeah, Tammy said we can head straight to Crux."
"Ah, that's good. Would you mind telling Kiko for me that we won't be making a pit stop?"
"Sure, no problem."
Once again I was taken to a new part of the ship, this time toward the back of the mid deck.
Rei clarified the area to me. "Back here we have the training and weapons room and down the hall are the living quarter, which is where we started. Let's see if Aki's in her room."
She was the only one that called her Aki, Tammy and Cashel both called her Kiko. So what do I call her?
Rei placed her hand on the door and it lit up red.
"Hm…" she frowned, "I guess she's in the training room."
I followed her to a lone door down the hall. She placed her hand on the door again and this time it turned yellow.
She sighed, "I guess she's busy. Well, you've already met her so I guess it's no big deal." She saw me brace myself against the wall. "You should get some rest. Your room is down the hall, it'll light up green when you place your hand on it. Tonight's my dinner night! I'm gonna go prepare it now so I'll see you later in the dining room okay? Don't be late!" Then she took off down the hall.
Alright? I wobbled down the hall and placed my hand on each door. It took two tries before a green door opened before me. Inside there was a bed, closet and table. It wasn't very big but I wasn't about to complain about having a room to myself. It had been years since I slept on a real bed. I tried it out and fell asleep instantly.
Beep Beep. I opened my eyes. My chest was glowing again. I poked it and it stopped beeping. Guess that means dinner is ready, where was I supposed to go again? I got up and headed for the door. There was map that lit up on it, with a red dot where I guess I was supposed to go. I studied the map and learned that by doing different hand movements I was able to zoom in and out of it. It was really cool.
Somehow I still ended up lost but I eventually made it to the dining room. Rei was in the kitchen making a lot of noise for someone who was supposed to be cooking. Cashel and Tammy were already sitting at the table so I sat down with them.
"Where's Akiko?" I asked.
"I guess she's not hungry" said Tammy, her voice as monotone as ever. She reminded me of a cyborg because she never showed the slightest expression. Maybe she was. I saw her take something out from one of her many thick bracelets.
Cashel nudged her and whispered "Gimme one."
I watched as she took out another really small and thin sheet of paper from her bracelet and hand it to Cashel. They both quickly put it on their tongue just as Rei walked out with a tray full of food. She sat in the seat next to me with her usual smile on her face.
"Since Aki isn't coming let's eat now!" she chipped as she started grabbing food and piling it her plate.
The other two started picking items as well but not nearly as much as Rei. I took a few good looking pieces of… something. I had no idea what it was, and took a bite.
I can't describe the taste that suddenly hit my mouth. It was like something had died and ate something rotten and the dead-rotted carcus taste had seeped into the food. Yes, it was the worst thing I've ever had... and I've had my share of really bad food.
It took all my strength to swallow it and I even started choking. Cashel laughed and Tammy stared as I tried my absolute hardest not to throw up what I just managed to swallow. I especially didn't want to hurt Rei's feelings since she was so happy to have me there and eating her food.
"What's the matter? Need something to wash it down?" asked Rei, half her food was already gone from her plate.
I nodded as politely as I could and she got up and went to the kitchen.
There was no way I could take another bite.
"Too bad you woke up on Rei day." Cashel chuckled and whispered, "We take turns every other day making dinner. Consider that your induction bite to the Jago!"
Tammy handed me a sheet from her bracelet. "It will nullify the taste."
"Another joke?" I asked cautiously.
"It's no joke when I suffer as well," she assured. "I wasn't sure if you would taste the same thing we do, but obviously you do."
I put the sheet on my tongue like the others did. It worked very well, even the aftertaste disappeared. I put a teeny-tiny bite of food in my mouth and I couldn't taste a thing, although I couldn't avoid the texture, but I could live with that.
Rei came back with drinks for everyone and we continued eating. She made a lot of food and ended up eating most of it herself. I helped her clear away the dishes but she insisted she'd wash and put them away herself since I was still injured.
It was hard to tell if it was nighttime in space since it was always dark outside, aside from the glowing stars. Plus it wasn't like there were many windows. I figured it was since we had dinner and all, so I went back to my room to go to bed.
Once I got there I ended up looking through the items in my closet and table. There were clothes in my closet, some for sleeping, some for day use, and even some for training. There were a couple drawers in my table with nothing in them but a writing stick. I took out the writing stick and twirled it in my hands. The table glowed for a moment. I wondered… then tried writing on the table. The words stuck to it like it would on regular paper.
I haven't written in a long time. Not many people know how to on Sola but I was lucky enough to find someone who did and they taught me a lot, including how to read and write.
Writing came easy to me and I began writing about how I got here, the Jago, and the new people I've met. I don't know, maybe someone will read it someday.
Time flew by and I realized I had to use the bathroom but didn't know where it was. I went back to the map on my door to look for it. I couldn't read the text but there were only a few rooms I hadn't visited and they happened to be right next to the training room.
I made my way over there and stopped in front of the training room door. I wondered if Akiko was still inside. I debated putting my hand on the door to find out because for some reason I wanted to see her again.
I stood there for another second until deciding to leave, then suddenly the door slid open and there stood Akiko in her training clothes. Her stunning gray eyes looking directly at mine with a hint of bafflement.
I quickly looked down and my nerves got to me, "Oh… uhh… sorry I was just headed to the bathroom." I said as I hurried away as fast as I could. I was hoping with all my might that she couldn't see me standing there outside the door somehow.
The next two days I spent wandering around the ship and the whole time I never saw Akiko again. I would see Cashel, Rei and Tammy working around the ship but never Akiko. If she was working around, then she was clearly avoiding me for some reason because she never came to dinner as well.
I found myself talking to Tammy a lot since she always gave me straight, detailed answers, even if she would joke around sometimes and on the fifth day I decided to ask her why Akiko was avoiding me.
"Because she feels guilty about your injuries" was her answer.
"What?!" I asked, totally not expecting that answer.
I was sitting against the control panel by her feet as she worked from her pilot's chair.
"Because she feels guilty about your injuries" she answered again.
I sighed, "I heard you the first time, I just don't believe it."
"That is the conclusion I came to. If you want to know the truth then you should ask her yourself."
"But I don't even know how to find her. I've even tried looking once."
She didn't respond and I sighed again.
Then her chair turned and she faced me, "Have you ever seen the sky deck?"