Claiming to know someone who could talk to the Hummers was taking a wee bit of convincing until Coal managed to pull up some info on his computer about by friend, Arr, Jake Harcourt’s partner. Seemed a doctor named Margaret O’Connor was doing a bit of a study on him and she had recorders that attested to his ability to learn languages faster than a Roughnut snake can swallow a gerbit. You see, Arr’s people all have genetically inherited memories - abilities that are passed from generation to generation in the basic makeup of their brains. Arr can learn languages just by listening to them. Within a few hours he can master any language. Last count he gave me was one hundred and one, and that’s fluent, not just counting to ten and asking where the restroom is located.
A while back Arr and I were stuck in adjoining hospital beds for an extended period of time. We had a lot of time to exchange stories as we healed. That story is in my log books as “Body Bags and Other Dark Places” if you wish to look it up. Anyway… Arr told me about Jake explaining to him how the NBs worked - that they each held a Hummer inside. Arr was trapped alone on a planet for several years until Jake found him. Arr was shocked to think the Hummers were isolated in the NBs. He wanted to talk to them to make sure they were okay with what he saw as captivity. So Jake parked their ship, the Calpernia, by one and Arr took a few hours to learn their language and reassure himself that they were quite content as they were.
Arr told me this story, along with a string of others, and I remembered it.
Now Daniel and I were onboard my ship headed to rendezvous with Jake and Arr to see if they could help us out. The other two members of our disjoined team were linked in with us, but stayed behind – Zack because I did not have the proper hook-ups for his servo-chair aboard me ship and no time to refit, Coal because the Valarians insisted Zack be kept in custody until this affair was concluded. Who knew what would happen after that to the man who, no matter how unintentionally, killed eight-three people.
“It’s all my fault,” Daniel said. “If I hadn’t been such an ass to Zack he wouldn’t have written the damn virus in the first place.”
Daniel had been beating himself up almost since the moment we had boarded Ma-rye-a.
“Yes, it was partially your fault,” I had to admit, “but, it was also based on years of built up anger about his situation. If not the NB virus, it would have manifested itself in some other way. Zack needed to take action - to control his environment again. You just happened to be the catalyst for his efforts.”
“We get through this and I am going to find a way to make it right,” Daniel said, as he picked up his mug and took a swig of his tea. He grimaced. Moby had just popped it out of the prep unit and he always served everything hot, hot, hot!
I leaned over from my captain’s chair and placed my hand comfortingly on Daniel’s knee. “If anyone can do that, you can,” I assured him.
As much as Zack’s actions had unwittingly led to deaths, having met the man, seen his condition, heard his story, I did want to see things resolved in his favor. He didn’t deserve to be imprisoned on a penal planet. In fact, I didn’t even think that was possible for a guy in a servo-chair. Most likely he was facing execution. I would rather see him on a physic ward for the rest of his life. Perhaps Daniel could throw some money around and get that to happen. Anything would be better than Zack’s current life.