Saturday, March 18, 2017

Star Trader Update - Academy Brats - 020.12

Author's Note: Sometimes when you are doing a 'free write' as I do with this blog, just 'winging it' each Saturday, you might see something you want to change in order to make the story better and move it along. I changed one sentence in the previous post, but it made a world of difference to how this week's episode reads. Happy reading as...

The story continues...

Travis escorted me out to the ramp where I found the kids all sitting placidly across from Thomas as he held Tiff’s Scatter on them. Travis had asked me to carry the sandwiches and chips. Perhaps to keep my hands full or maybe because he was hungry. Kelexion’s were big creatures and known for their appetites.


“Afternoon, everyone,” Travis said. “Why don’t you have a seat with your crew, or are they passengers?” Travis cocked his head, but when I didn’t answer he went over to the opposing mattress and folded up his decidedly goat looking legs, in order to kneel beside Thomas. Sitting across from him, I noticed for the first time that his hands were bleeding – so did Thomas.

“Travis, you’re hurt.”

He had cut himself on the glass of the turret or some metal, who knew?

“There’s a first-aid kit in the ship’s sick bay,” I offered. Get them separated. Divide and conquer.

Travis was a trained merc. He saw where I was going and put out a hand to keep Thomas at his side. “Later.”

Thomas was ill named as far as I could see. He was not human or Kelexion, more lizard like, though I did not see a tail of any kind. His face was scaled, but flat nosed. His hands five digits, but with claws. He was small, about the size of Callen. I did not recognize Thomas’ species.

“Pass the sandwiches around,” he ordered me, “and don’t think of sailing the tray at my head or I will let you sit out here and starve until you see things my way.”

I passed the tray and the kids dove in. Tiff was at the end of the line and after she took her sandwich off she looked to me to see if she should shove the tray over to the two convicts. I nodded my head. Something else to distract them. No telling when was the last time they had a ham and cheese.

Tiff went up on her knees and pushed the tray across the space that separated the two mattresses.

Thomas looked questioningly at the offering.

“Go ahead,” Travis coaxed in what only could be interpreted as a parental tone. He looked at me. “Ham and cheese… a staple to those not confined to a penal planet.”

Thomas took one and slid the tray to Travis, but the Kelexion kept his eye on us, refusing the offering for the moment. Thomas bit into it and the look on his face was one of wonder. Any Earther mom would have been proud of him. He chewed that bite until it was pulverized.

“Good, huh?” Travis asked.

“Incredible,” Thomas sighed.

“Okay,” I spoke up, “we have all determined I am a marvelous cook. Why don’t you get down to telling me why I should take Thomas with us if we are able to get off this rock.”

The kids all looked at me then at Thomas.

“Take a murderer off the planet?” Drake spoke up. “You can’t!”

“I never…” Thomas started, but Travis’ voice rode over his.

“Now that we are settled, let me tell you a story,” Travis began. “I was one of the first lucky souls to be dumped here along with Thomas’ father, Garn. The Galactic Forces knew Garn was a Caree, but they had no idea he was in gestation when they dropped him here. You see, the Caree are all born male, but when they become attracted to another, they can shift to female and bare young. Garn had a lover that was killed when he was captured for a robbery in which three innocents were killed. He and his lover did not do any of the killing, but none-the-less through the greater wisdom of the Galactic Council, they sent him here.”

Thomas reached for another sandwich and then pushed the tray back toward Drake who had consumed his in about three bites. The kid was an eating machine.

“Being the first on the planet, Garn and I pulled together in order to survive. We discovered the ruins of an ancient civilization and buildings that we could use carved from stone.” He pointed across the valley below to the edifice in the cliff. “You can see the largest one from here.”

Drake passed the tray about again. This time Tiff shoved it back over to Travis and the Kelexion could not resist. You could almost see his mouth watering. He picked up a sandwich and bit into it, rolling it around in his mouth as if it were a fine wine.

“You are an exceptional cook, Captain…” He paused for me to fill in the blank.

“3su,” I supplied. “And this is Drake, Mims, Callen and Tiff, my passengers.” I wasn’t about to give him more information than our names. I didn’t want him to know he was dealing with several brilliant kids who might be able to help me figure a way out of this mess. Besides being excellent barter material from their wealthy parents.

“Well, 3su,” Travis said around a second bit of his sandwich, “Garn morphed over the next year and a half and by the time our little colony had grown to a dozen inmates, he had Thomas. Unfortunately, he died in the process. I lost a good friend, but I gained a son.” He reached over and placed his sandwich holding hand on the young Caree’s shoulder.

“So, you see, he does not belong here. He has done nothing wrong and I want him to be able to experience the world.” Travis put his sandwich to his mouth and took another bite. “Since he is not on the roosters for this planet, you can take him on as just another passenger when the Galactic Forces show up.”

“If the Galactic Forces show up,” I corrected him.

“Oh, they will. I have a plan for that too,” Travis grinned and stuffed the last of the sandwich in this mouth.


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