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"I'd.. rather not elaborate. They just want something I have."
"I just thought it would be a good idea to warn you all first..."
Sven lets a beat pass before deciding to lampshade their growing number of pursuers.
So we've got a ship one of us defected from, (he points to Ira) and a captain who tried to kill him, (he points to Melvin), and now people who are a source of so much terror that this girl's (he points to Parada) afraid to name them. I love our odds.
...Sven's sense of tact is a bit lacking right now.
Parada's face hardens and her tone turns harsh.
"I do not fear these men. They're filthy cowards. But to tell you why they're after me would be placing trust in you all that I don't have yet."
Kauri, after listening to a good chunk of the crew's stories, isn't sure what to make of any of it. Half of them are being chased, the other half have had some scarring experiences he hopes to never have for himselfÖ And what is he? Some random child looking for someone? As far as he could tell, these people have been through more in three days than he has his entire life. Is he even fit to be on this ship at this point? He remains curled up, his fingernails digging into his sleeves.
No kidding... (Ira says to Sven.)
Duane after hearing this surprisingly mature talk from this girl, speaks up. Parada, I understand how you feel, but you need to realize that if weíre taking care of you, you can tell us whatís going on. If weíre gonna travel together, I donít want any secrets hindering us.
Duane turns to all the crew, looking between them. And that goes for everyone. Me? Iíll be an open book if youíd like. If my cousinís gonna tell you all his story, might as well fork yourís over.
He makes a clear nod toward Ezekiel at one point, but doesnít end on it. He hopes this move wonít rouse suspicion, but will give Zeke his true thoughts on the matter.
Melvin nods sadly when Duane mentions his story. He notices Duane shooting a look at Ezekiel and is shocked at first, but also nods at the privateer.
"..." Duane's words don't seem to have moved Parada.
".. I told you all so it wouldn't be a surprise if they come for me. That's all I'll say about this."
Kauri remains mostly silent, but a single sniff can be heard from him.
"You can go next if you wish, cous," says Melvin.
Well, Parada, itís, uh, important to talk to us about it, and, Iím sorry?
Duane is caught off-guard slightly by Melvinís comment, but he gets over it.
Uh, okay, my turn, I guess. Uh, so I donít know how well you guys understand rat genuses and such, but uh, in case thereís any mistakes, I guess Iíll make this clear; Iím not normal.
Melvin, heís a rat, and heís supposed to walk and talk, but Iím, uh, not supposed to.
(Ira begins to tell Duane to just wait until Parada's comfortable with sharing all of her story, but abstains once Duane starts telling his own.)
Oh? What happened? (Ira asks.)
Well, one Doctor Apollo Marcel figured that rats that could talk, and rats that couldnít, could probably manage to intermingle, and he seeked to prove that rats who couldnít talk, actually could, if taught.
Duane sighs, Uh, I think he had been experimenting on my family for a while, and he hadnít been getting results with my brothers or sisters, so, he sort of, tried an alternative method, and, well, that worked on me. Soon enough, I was thinking and questioning like a real boy.
After I had illustrated to him what he called Ďhigher level of thinkingí, he got to teaching me all the things he could. I was apparently pretty easy to teach. My brain was already able to pick things up well. He always told his peers I was an ďOutside-The-Maze ThinkerĒ. Duane politely laughs at the suggestion, as if to try to lighten the mood. The laugh, from itís hollow projection, doesnít read as sincere.
Edited by TacoBadger on Apr 12th 2019 at 9:35:52 AM
Ezekiel can feel the pressure on him as the others begin to share their stories. He silently shows his sympathy for the others, even considering putting a paw on Parada's shoulder when she tells them there are men after her, with her comment about trust making him reconsider, but all the while, his mind's still racing on how to not totally blow his cover. He would have more substantial questions, he would engage more deeply with the others, but his main priority is to ensure he stays on this ship.
He laughs along with Duane, then simply prods the diminutive rat along: "And then what?"
Edited by BlackMageAnolis on Apr 13th 2019 at 6:18:34 AM
Well, the scientific community sorta ate me up, I guess. We went on a small tour around several islands, and they all got a kick out of me. I was his meal ticket now, see. His parlor trick.
But, that all came to an end when I was about nine years old, and people started wondering why I wasnít dead yet. See, most rats like me live about a year or two, three if lucky. But it was one Dr. Murray Goldiron, looked into it. He supposed that if Dr. Marcel had used some rare, magical concoction, like say, beast blood or some other witch fluid, then that would prove different rats naturally canít intermingle. No one could ever prove foul play, but the theory popped everything. Sure enough, Dr. Marcel got labeled a fraud anyway, and my, uh, ďconceptionĒ was deemed immoral, unethical, and an unsupportable hobby of the disturbed.
Duane looked at a spot on the ship hard, as if trying to recall something. And I think it was at... twelve, when Dr. Apollo and I made sure that we knew he wasnít my dad, and I wasnít his son.
After that, I entered into the schooling system, in the diverse town of Polo City, I engaged in my schooling, entered into the historical field, got my bachelorís degree in Historical Education, and I never really wanted to talk to Apollo since then. ...if Iím being completely honest, I donít think I shouldíve been created in the first place. Duane has some slight reluctance stating the last sentence, as if to make sure he gets wording right, but he pushes it forward anyway.
This whole personal spiel should sound very alien to Melvin, partly because Uncle Apollo always seemed like his smart, kind uncle, and Duane never seemed to disagree with him at family gatherings.
Kauri sniffles and shudders.
Duane shrugs off, But thatís all a bummer, we donít need to talk about that any more. Did any one else wanna talk about themselves?
Melvin is still in shock, however.
"But... he always said you were one of us... I guess that doesn't make sense now, but..."
What else was I supposed to do? Go back to my own rats? I couldnít, it didnít feel right. He gave me a place, and he gave me an education, ...but I never loved him, and he couldnít make himself love me. And Iím fine with that.
"I love you. The family way. You're still my cous, Duane, no matter what. When I crawled back to the closest town after being kicked off the ship, you were there for me when no one else was."
Edited by DrNoPuma on Apr 13th 2019 at 3:53:29 PM
Despite not actually watching, listening to Melvin and Duane interact makes something bubble up from within Kauri. Family members. There for each other. Things like that began to bring back memories. And with all that, he began to bite into his sleeve in a desperate attempt to keep himself together.
Thank you Cousí. You were always my family. None of those others. Yíknow that?
Melvin makes happy rat noises. "You too."
Ezekiel grunts with discomfort as the two rats lob their affection at one another. He glances at Kauri, who also doesn't seem to be handling watching this very well.
He shuffles on over towards Kauri, his arms still crossed. "Boy," he whispers to him, "what's gotten into ya?"
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