Jade Star: Snippet 2

The second snippet from my WIP. You can find the first one here, from earlier this week. Slow progress, I guess I’m still in vacation mode. Need to get my head straight. 

Jade Star

As I said, though, hard to be angry with them when it was clear they were pleased as anything over their work. Took me a while to figure out they’d never met an old human. They just restored me to what they thought I should be, thinking old age was a result of my scooter accident. Like little children with a building set, they are.

I wish I had a better name to give them, the little people with the big eyes and plush fur. They don’t look like animals to me, but mebbe… mebbe a little like something I remember from a picture book. A lemur. Only they don’t have tails like that. They’re affectionate as anything, and…

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m forgetting a lot. Might be this old brain, I’ve no way of knowing what they did to it, if anything. Damned if I’ll let anyone open it up and take a look. Not yet, by a ways.  

After I’d taken my mad out on the wall, I’d lain down on the bed and taken a nap. I was tired, and my hands were bloody. When I woke up, one of them was curled up with me. Half asleep, I thought he was one of the cats. Cats suited well to space. Dogs, not so much. So we’d always had cats with us in the rocks. They kept the vermin to a dull roar – vermin will follow humans ever – and they were company, when a rockjock was out for a month at a go, picking up ore.

I’m afraid I cried into his fur until he was soggy and no doubt sorry he’d volunteered to stay with me. But it was the best thing they could have done. He patted my face and talked to me, not that I realized the sounds were words, then. But it was soothing, and it tided me over until I was in my right mind again. That wasn’t a quick process, but I don’t see a need to spill all the details, iff’n you don’t mind. Even if you do.

Once I was ready to go on living, I started in on learning how to talk to them. Wasn’t hard. They had been in contact with humans before. Not many – they’re shy, my friends are – but enough to have a bit of a phrase dictionary. I helped them with that. ‘Twas easier for them to learn my lingo than me to make theirs. I can’t sing. I got to the point where we could have a conversation, and then I asked them to drop me off somewhere.

I could have stayed with them. They let me know that from the beginning. And nights spent with a mass of them all snuggled in a pile ‘round me, it was tempting. They loved me. But I was a pet, to them. Not as dumb as that cat I’d first mistaken Blackears for, but not much brighter. I could no sooner understand what made their ship go than that old cat, for sure.

I wasn’t willing to be a pet. Cosseted and coddled and petted… Me, who’d been a rockjock with my man and nothing ‘tween us and the stars but a bit of spun ceramsteel. I had nothing, but then, I’d had nothing before him, too. He’d picked me up… neveryoumind where. It’s enough you know that it wouldn’t be the first time I’d started out with nothing more than my body and the brain in it. Only I figured I had a leg up this time around. I had a young body, and an old brain.

It took me some time to come to that conclusion, and more time to convince them of what I wanted. I wasn’t in a big hurry, but I didn’t want to wait either, and get comfortable where I was. Finally, I was back out in the big black again, the stars wheeling around me, as I maneuvered toward a station, calling a mayday on all channels.

One of the reasons it took ‘em so long to let me go was the need for secrecy. Someone along the way had hurt my soft little friends, and they’d learned caution. Meeting up with a lone human, or a little settlement way out in the sticks was one thing. A whole station full ‘o folks t’wasn’t happening. So we’d worked on a plan. They fixed up my scooter, which they obviously felt was a dangerous toy, and they phased in and out neat as you please, leaving me adrift in their wake.

I watched the ship I’d spent so much time in blink out of reality and choked a little. I’d miss them, and I was pretty sure at that moment I’d not see them again. Then I took a deep breath, sniffed hard, and turned on the emergency locater. I gunned it for the station, alarms shrilling, and waited for the welcome committee.


2 responses to “Jade Star: Snippet 2”

  1. A very promising start – looking forward to the rest

    1. Thank you! I am hoping to keep this one to novella length and release it as part of a collection in a month.