I’m not sure when we landed but when I woke up I was very cold. I could see my breath in little puffs in front of my nose before they disappeared into the cool blue of the steel wall. I could hear Roger talking to someone outside.
I turned over in my cot and saw Jeremy sitting in the corner of the cabin, huddled into himself. I think he was still scared. He wouldn’t talk about what happened and Roger said that if people don’t talk about something it means they’re scared of reliving it. He said it was the same for everyone whether they were human or not.
“Jeremy? Are you awake?”
“Where are we?”
“A supply station, something’s wrong with the ship.”
I shot up in my cot so fast I hit my head on the low hanging ceiling. “Crud… What’s wrong with the ship?”
Jeremy shook his head. “I think we hit something in that ice field. Well, Roger fell asleep at the wheel. I got him up and he drove the ship here. We were drifting for a while, they aren’t sure where we are.”
“Why were you up in the cockpit?”
“… I had a bad dream… and had an accident.”
I got up and rubbed Jeremy’s back. I could feel the scales under his shirt. His scales were so smooth, all but the few that had jumbled and matted over his scars. “It’s ok, everyone has accidents.” He didn’t seemed convinced. “I mean, I bet Roger nearly had one when he found out we were drifting.”
Jeremy laughed. He pointed at his large cot. “I think it’s frozen.”
“Martha! Jeremy! Git out here!” called Roger, “Git ya coats on! It’s colder than Earth’s sun out!”
We did as we were told. I helped Jeremy with his coat. It was a proper coat, we had to sew three coats together to have one fit him. It looks rather ragged but Jeremy said he liked the buttons most, because they almost looked like they matched.
We hurried down the hall to the docking bay. The door opened with a scratching swoosh, we hated the sound.
Wherever we were, it was dim. There wasn’t much light to illuminate the dock, and it wasn’t very crowded. It must have been one of those backwater planets Roger warned us never to dock at. The ship must have been banged up pretty bad.
Roger waved us down from where he stood. “Git on over here!” He seemed happy enough. “Straight’n up Jer, ya don’t need to hunch over like that!”
Jeremy stood up a little taller, his shadow engulfed me. Jeremy towered over everyone in fact. Someone bumped into him and got bumped back.
“Hey you Jurivan- you got a problem with us humans?!” shouted the man.
“Sorry ain’t good enough!”
“Hey! Back off punk!” I shouted. “He’s only nine, he doesn’t need any of your shit!”
“Watch your mouth you bitch.”
“Why don’t you say that again,” I was rolling up my sleeves.
“I said, watch your mouth you—”
Roger pushed me to the side. “Ya like fightin’ nine-year-olds and teens? Pick on someone ya own size, stranger.”
That’s when she stepped in.
“Now Ruffus, I know that we’ve talked about this before.” A hooded woman put herself between Roger and the man. “Not everyone’s lookin’ to fight you.”
Ruffus backed off like a dog being scolded. “I’m awful sorry Ms. Adrienne. I’s thought that well—”
“I know what you were thinkin’. But I’m not the one you need to apologize to.” She stepped aside and presented me and Jeremy to Ruffus.
He hung his head and hid his eyes with the rim of his cap. “I’s sorry to you both. I didn’t mean anything by it.”
Jeremy perked up a bit. “It’s ok, we forgive you.” I let Jeremy talk. I figured it would be nicer than anything I had to say.