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So, About That...

Posted on 08 Apr 2024 @ 7:27pm by Captain Easton Lawe & Crewman Apprentice Unknown 'Weirdo'

1,099 words; about a 5 minute read

Mission: Miranda

The crowd had started to thin around the newcomers, with more directed conversations taking place. The group that would go into the cave system was already preparing to depart, and Easton didn't feel any need to oversee that. He would touch base with Petrova shortly about her conversation with this woman "Maria," but for now, Easton and his headache (which he had not seen the doctor for yet) cut a line to the crewman who didn't really have a name but had still managed to make the most fascinating discovery of their time on this planet...

He had been talking with several of Maria's friends and showing them around their temporary camp when he saw the captain walk over from the corner of his eye. "Give me a few moments," he said and turned to meet him. "Hello, captain!" he said with his usual cheerful grin.

Easton hesitated for a moment, always a little caught off guard by this man's effervescent personality. It was almost like talking to a child, even though he knew that was not the case and it was probably a little patronizing to think that way, and yet... He almost felt bad to dim to excitement, but he had a few issues. "Crewman," Lawe greeted with a tight smile, nodding for the strange fellow to walk with him away from the others. "I'd like to hear again, from you directly, exactly what happened when you meet this folks and chose to bring them to the camp..."

"Strictly speaking, she found me," he said, strolling along with Easton. "She had been following me, keeping more or less out of sight until I called out, and then she revealed herself. She asked me what I was doing there and I told her I was exploring the cave system. That's when she told me she lives there. The whole conversation was recorded, incidentally, so you can analyse it at leisure. Scans also revealed she's human, her body language seems to confirm it. I asked her if she would like to meet some of my friends, which she interpreted as her coming along with me. And since it would be easy enough to discover us after leaving the caves and looking around from up there, I reasoned it would be easier to just let them come along than having them do some exploring on their own later on."

"Indeed," Easton commented noncommittally. There was logic to it, but their entire existence was still bothering the hell out of him. That wasn't the crewman's fault, of course, but still. "It might have been better to check in before bringing her and the others, but I take your point." The captain glanced back toward where the crowd still milled about. "What's your feeling about her and the others? Medical does agree, they are human, but there's something..." He trailed off. He couldn't quite put his finger on it.

The man nodded instantly. His customary cheerful grin had disappeared. "Yes. There's… something. They look human, they feel human. Scans say they're human. It is all very neat. But it's like… there's something, just outside the edge of my perception, just out of reach." He paused for a few moments and looked at the people he brought with him. Then he shifted his gaze to the other group which was about to leave. "Some of the sciency or medical people should take a real good look at those scans," he resumed. "And I'm very curious to what Elleese and Sha'mer have sensed, once they return."

Easton made another noncommittal sound. "The good counselor says that they feel human to her as well, but she senses there is more that's not being said. On the other hand, that should be expected. They have no reason to tell us everything about themselves right away. We did land on their planet, after all. Not the other way around."

The smile returned, slowly, like the sun peeking out from behind storm-tossed clouds. "So, basically, the only thing we can do is what we're already doing. Invite them over and talk with them, but be cautious. Visit the place where they live and be friendly, but wary. And learn from each other what we can."

"That would seem to be the case, yes," Easton said with a bit of a side-eye. "Still, I'm suspicious. It's hard to imagine that us missing them was accidental. I'd think it by design, but then the ease at which this woman approached you contradicts that. Something doesn't add up, and I want all of us to be on guard for what it might be. After the ship being hit by a plague, I'm not interested in more surprises."

"Do you think these events are related?" the man asked, regarding the captain with his usual open curiousity.

The captain wanted to say YES, but that was really only because he wanted things to make sense again. Nothing was making sense right now, and it bothered his usually ordered, logic mind. "I can't see how," he said. "I just know that after what's been going on lately, I would like something to make sense again. It doesn't seem like it's going to happen any time soon, but I would like it to."

"Quite understandable, captain." The reply came smoothly. In the time since he'd arrived on this ship (everything before that was still lost, except for a few tantalising fragments, tiny slivers that occasionally stung) his experience was that most people felt this way, trying to create order from chaos, wanting to weave everything in a cohesive whole. He, on the other hand, thrived on chaos and loved the unpredictable. But between the two extremes, usually something emerged. Islands of stability, as it were, for him to discover and present to the rest. "Is there anything else you'd like me to do?"

"Keep close to our new friends for now," Easton said. "Just...observe. Interact as you like, but just mark anything you notice." Despite the man's...oddness and, dare we say it, flamboyant nature, he paid attention and had a keen eye. "Let me know if anything seems off, alright?"

"Of course, and of course." The man gave an elegant bow. "Then I will leave you to your tasks, captain, and I will attend to mine." And with that he was off again, moving towards the crowd which had slowly began to gather around the newcomers. "Hello everyone!" His voice cut easily through the noise. "How about we give our new friends some space? Yes, lovely, thank you, there we go..."


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