The next day Rei took me shopping.
“What are we looking for?” I asked. We were inside a travel shuttle heading toward the city this time.
“Tammy asked if we could get her some items for the projects she’s working on.”
We traveled almost to the center of the city before getting out in front of a bunch of small shops. Rei glanced at the map from the hologram bracelet Tammy gave her earlier.
“It should be close by here…” she said searching around between people. “There it is!”
It was a small store filled almost to the brim with electronics and trinkets. We made it inside and Rei began gathering all the items we needed as I surveyed the items for sale. Every item was different. I scrounged around a bit until something glowing caught my attention. I picked it up to take a closer look.
Is this what I think it is? It looked like a little star in a tiny black vial.
“Ah, I see you activated the firestar.” An alien woman said to me. Her skin was jet black and scaly, but she had soft, green, human eyes. “Those are rare. It’s one of the galaxy’s tiniest stars. It is said that if it resonates well with you, when you die it will also burn out and be reborn anew for someone else to carry.” I held the firestar vial in my hand. It flickered for a moment and then it slowly burned out. “It seems your soul has connected with another who would resonate well with it.”
I don’t know how, but I knew Kiko was the one who activated it.
“How much?” I asked.
“Since you were able to activate it, I will sell it to you for 6,000 Yomen.”
I wasn’t sure if that was a bargain or not but I wanted to get it for Kiko.
“I’ll take it,” I said holding my hand up to pay.
Once it was paid for I put it safely in my pocket, then I felt bad only getting something for Kiko so I continued to browse around to find gifts for the others.
I looked in a pile of scrap that I thought Tammy would find interesting and I found something else that caught my eye.
It was small and rectangular and I could easily squeeze it in my fist, but what I liked about it the most was its color. It was mainly silver but also glowed the same color as Tammy’s hair. I didn’t know what it was but it reminded me of her and was pretty, so I decided to buy it.
It was harder to find stuff for Rei and Cashel so I ended up getting them memory flashers. They were rings that were able to capture an image and display it as a hologram or you could send it to another programmed ring, which is what I figured Rei and Cashel would do the most.
Altogether I spent almost my entire allowance on gifts. I didn’t feel bad though, because it’s not like I had any other reason to spend it.
I helped Rei find the rest of the items to buy, then we headed out to flag down a ship to take us back. I was about to call one passing by, but she suddenly gasped and grabbed my arm pulling me aside.
“There’s one more place I want to go before we go back.” She said shoving the bags into my arms. “You know how to get back right?”
“Uh–” I juggled all of the bags in an awkward pose. “Wait– Where are you going?” I asked still struggling to hold them all.
“Just to this place right here, I won’t be long.”
She shoved her way into a building with the large illuminated words, “Gambling Hall” at the top.
Seriously? I never knew she liked to gamble. I thought about our card games and it clicked. This wasn’t a gamble for someone with her power; she was in here to make money for certain.
But wait, they wouldn’t let her in knowing her species had that power… but then again, her ID said she was a human.
This had ‘bad idea’ written all over the place.
The place alone looked like it beckoned all sorts of troubled roamers. We were already in a shady part of the city and she just walked into the Scavy den. I knew Kiko would kill me if she found out I left her in a place like this, so I followed her.
The air was thick with rancid smoke. There were groups of people sitting at tables making bets and playing games. I saw Rei was already at a table playing cards with a small group. I moved over to the food lounge and sat in a place where I could still see her.
I had a meal and waited for her there until she was finished. She occasionally cheered loudly. Eventually I saw a group of men, of a variety of species, eye and point at her, approaching her like a stalking predator. Then, one of them spoke in a booming voice.
“Hey there, girlie. You’ve made a lot of money, you wanna share some of that with me and my buddies here?”
Eyes glued to her cards, she casually blew them off with a flick of her hand, “Yeah right, get your own winning streak.”
I sensed this meeting wasn’t going to end well. As I made my way to her, the scowling man grabbed her arm.
“Let her go!” I demanded.
The guy looked at me. He had empty black eyes and no hair but spikes coming out of his skull.
“Pathetic human. Who do you think you are, ordering us around?”
No one sitting nearby seemed to care that we were being harassed. In fact, I think the noise caused a few patrons to casually move seats.
Their leader spoke again but this time to his friends, “We’ll take ’em with us and teach ’em how to act toward a superior species.”
The other guys grabbed us by the arms and started dragging us out the back door. Rei wasted no time fighting back. She easily slipped out of her hold and made her way towards me, but more guys blocked her path and took out their blasters, forcing her to kick over a table and jump behind it.
Of all days, her pistol blaster was with Kiko for maintenance. I got a glimpse of her behind the table before I was over-powered and put down with a powerful punch to the ribs. I could’ve sworn I was hit with a sledgehammer. The pain was immense but my concerns were with Rei as I tried to straggle on all fours back toward the door.
Their leader came back and faced me, “You humans never learn.”
I held my ribs and glared at him. “It’s sad you need your friends to take down two lowly humans.”
Wrong answer. If he was mad before, he wanted to kill me now. He slugged me hard on my cheek and I collapsed to the ground. I don’t know how, but I was still conscious and in a lot of pain. The leader held up his fist revealing steel plated knuckles that were embedded in his green-tinted skin.
“Hold him down,” he ordered to his buddies as he slipped off his jacket.
They pinned me to the ground, not that I was able to resist at that point, and the leader walked right over me, ready to pound my face in when someone appeared from the far corner down the street. It looked like a girl...I couldn’t tell who it was but when the guys saw her they began to panic.
“Oh shit, it’s her! Let’s get outta here, get him in the ship quick!”
They threw me in their ship before I could see this mysterious person, but I had a feeling I knew who it was. There’s only one person I knew who could induce this kind of fear.
We sped down the alley, turning corners and looking for an area to flee into the sky but it was too late. I heard a thud on the roof and suddenly it was disintegrating into a fine powder and blowing away. It didn’t take long for a young woman to slip inside the ship and knock them all unconscious before they could even pull out their blasters. What I wasn’t prepared for was the fact that it wasn’t Kiko.
The ship came to a slow stop when she took out the driver. Then the young woman turned to focus on me. At first glance she was very pretty and had long golden hair tied up in a ponytail like Kiko’s.
“You all right?” she asked me. She had a strange accent but sounded sincere.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I lied. Breathing hurt and half my face was throbbing and swelling with pain.
She chuckled, catching my obvious lie. “I saw what you did in the Gambling Hall,” she said.
Was she referring to the fact that I couldn’t do anything to help Rei?
“Rei!” I said suddenly. I had to see if she was okay. I tried to get up but a sharp pain from my ribs stopped me.
“She’s fine,” the young woman said quickly, stopping me from moving rashly. “She was contacting someone when I last saw her. I promise she’s fine.”
The sound of sirens approaching caught both our attentions. “We should get out of here, it’d be a big mess if we were caught.” I didn’t know what to do or how to get back to Rei.
She helped me out of the ship and put one of my arms around her neck
“I have a place not too far from here. You can stay there for now,” she said.
I didn’t have much of a choice since she was half-steering half-carrying me, so I let her lead the way to her personal ship.
We flew a little further toward the middle of the city than I hoped, but eventually we made it to her place just as the sun set and the lights in every building simultaneously burst to life.
It was everything the Jago apartment wasn’t. It was very sleek, stylish and very clean.
She helped me inside again and set me on one of the many couches.
“Sorry my room is a mess,” she apologized.
I looked around and there was a stack of papers spread all over a large table. She considered that a mess? I didn’t want her to see our apartment.
“This is your room?” I asked looking at all the couches.
“Well, this level is…yes.”
“This entire level?” I asked, surprised.
The level was easily four times as big as our entire apartment.
“Yes, why?” she asked curiously.
“Uh, I was just wondering.”
I winced at the pain in my ribs.
“Let me help you with that,” she said. “Take off your shirt.”
My head cocked with hesitation, “Uhh...”
“You can trust me.”
She seemed sincere enough. “Okay…” I felt awkward undressing in front of her, plus she did most of the work, but I did comply. I hoped she could help me somehow because my ribs and face were already swelling up pretty bad.
She rubbed her hands together and her palms began emitting a yellowish light, then she placed one hand on my cheek and the other on my ribs.
“What are you doing?” I asked nervously.
“It’s all right,” she smiled softly. “I’m able to break down or repair any molecules that I touch. All I’m doing is repairing your damaged tissues.”
She had a caring smile and suddenly my mind was lost in wonder of who she was.
She came closer to my face and gazed into my eyes. “You have very pretty eyes,” she said taking an interest in them.
I gazed into her green eyes as well, getting lost in them. “Thanks…” my lips barely uttered the word when the room nearly blew apart.
Someone barged through the wall from the entrance patio and was searching around frantically through the cloud of debris.
It was Kiko.
“SAR-!” she stopped abruptly when she noticed the young woman and me sitting on the couch. She was still right in front of my face, her hands on my bare ribs and cheek.
My mouth dropped when I realized the position we were in, and I was half naked.
“Kiko!” I exclaimed.
I’ve never seen her so flustered, her head shot to the ground as she spun back around. “I’ll give you a moment,” she said as she fled the room.
“No wait! It’s not– nothing happened– hold up!” I pleaded, trying to stand up to chase after her. The young woman let go of me and stood up.
“You’re pretty much done anyway,” she said, quickly freeing me to pursue Kiko.
All my swelling was gone and I grabbed my shirt and threw it on. “Thanks for the help,” I said sincerely and quietly. Then I ran out through the torn down wall where Kiko was furiously pacing on the ship platform.
“What were you doing!” she yelled at me. “Rei told me you were in trouble and I find you here with her!” She pointed to the young woman who was standing arms crossed now glaring at Kiko from inside the room.
“She saved me from those guys at the Gambling Hall and brought me here to help me!”
The young woman’s attitude changed. “As destructive as always I see,” she said in a displeased tone to Kiko. “Thank you for ruining my entry way, now you better run along before Breccan comes by.”
Kiko was too angry to reply so she turned around to flag a ship to keep from destroying the entire building. I’ve never seen her so mad. It was scary.
When the ship arrived she got in and I was about to follow but she slammed the door in my face and yelled at the driver to go.
I stood there and watched her ship take off, back toward our apartment.
Ughhhh! I didn’t understand why she was so mad.
I turned around to see the young woman now smiling and shaking her head at me.
“You’d better go before Breccan comes,” she warned.
“You know Breccan?” I asked.
“Yeah, he owns the building,” she said back in her normal, kind tone. “And he won’t be pleased to see someone from the Jago did it.”
“Oh, good point.” I flagged a ship. “Thanks again for saving me. I’ll see if we can help with repairs.” I said getting in the ship.
“Don’t worry about it. It was nice to meet you, Sarth.” She smiled and waved.
The ship took off before I could ask how she knew my name. Maybe because she knew Breccan?
I was dreading the return to the apartment. I’m sure Kiko was still furious at me, and I hated the thought of her ignoring me again.
Everyone eyed me as I walked through the entrance. Kiko was in her room and I saw Rei standing by the table. She was the only one who looked happy to see me. Cashel chuckled and shook his head and Tammy simply stared at me.
“I’m glad you’re all right,” Rei said genuinely.
“I’m glad you are too,” I said sincerely but with a weak smile.
Then everyone continued with what they were doing.
The next few days were hard. I didn’t see Kiko at all and I was getting frustrated not knowing why. I didn’t go out much after that. Then one day it was just Tammy and I. I always shared my thoughts and feelings with her, she would always listen and give me advice.
“I don’t understand what I did wrong,” I said to her.
“You did nothing wrong,” she answered.
Today she was working on some sort of ship piece and I helped her clean the parts. We had to take on part time jobs to help pay for the damages to the Gambling Hall because apparently Kiko destroyed the place even more when she arrived. I was surprised that the young woman who helped me that day really did cover for us because there was no word about getting Breccan’s building fixed.
“Then why is she angry with me?” I asked.
“She’s confused,” she stated. “According to Rei, she was very worried about you when she heard what happened, and she went off right away to find you. When she saw you safe with Lux she didn’t know what to think so her first emotion was anger.”
Tammy told me earlier when I explained to her what happened that the young woman’s name was Lux and that she was Breccan’s First Mate and second-in-command of his crew.
“Lux was only trying to help me! I didn’t do or tell her anything.”
“Where Kiko is from, touch is an intimate gesture, especially the face. How you feel about your actions is felt very differently from her perspective, therefore it is difficult for both of you to comprehend each other’s emotions towards what she saw going on between you and Lux.”
I was beginning to understand how Kiko must have felt. I thought it was silly to think someone placing their hand on my face would make anyone flip out this much but I obviously wasn’t considering how that looked to her, plus I was half naked. Then I imagined seeing a man kiss her… No. I didn’t even want to think about it… why? Was I jealous?
I changed the subject. “I bought something for you.”
Tammy looked up from her work as I took out the present I bought for her at the store and handed it to her.
If she ever showed emotion it was in the slightest so I was pleased when she reacted to what I gave her.
“It reminded me of you, so I had to get it.” I said happily.
She must’ve known what it was because she was able to open it, which I didn’t know it could do.
Curiosity got the best of me, “You know what it is?”
She examined it more before a woman’s voice came from it, “Catalogued entry number 56,378. No reaction. End entry.”
There was no hologram. It was just a voice coming from the small gadget.
“It’s a data preserver,” she said as she pulled out a glowing hair from inside the device. “It’s from my home planet. I thought these were all destroyed long ago… thank you.”
She closed the glowing hair in her fist and closed her eyes. Then she opened both again. The hair stopped glowing and she tossed it aside.
“What was on it?” I asked.
She tucked the data preserver inside one of her many pockets, “Nothing important, a detailed description of our people torturing humans for enjoyment.”
I looked at her, appalled.
© Copyright 2016 Anon Amous. All rights reserved.
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