Written in 365 Parts: 162: We Are Not Good Neighbours

Drick’s head swam but the loud pounding of their own heart was softer now, the rushing blood had subsided. Licking dry lips they coughed a little. They were sat upright in a bed or cot. Soft surface under the whole of their body, trying to open eyes that felt heavy and sticky. Drick squeezed the lids of their eyes together tightly and released a few times, willing moisture onto the dry orbs. Then blinking into bright light as the tears welled up they tried to focus on the room.

“Keep still” the gruff feminine voice, “can you give them something to stop the shaking?”

“Sure,” male voice again, they were a blurry shape. “It will pass anyway, reaction to the poison and temperatures. We nearly lost you. You were seconds from total brain death, I reckon. Which would have been unfortunate, well for us,” Drick detected what sounded like genuine regret. “For you, it would have been better to die.”

“Where am I?” Drick’s voice felt slurred but at least the words were distinct. The shapes were starting to become more solid, edges were less blurry. A face swam into view, male looking with a few days of growth. Sharp cut grey hair, balding in the middle. Overweight, maybe by twenty or thirty kilos above where they would be more comfortable on a spaceship. Though the gravity felt light so they likely didn’t feel those extra pounds. Drick spent too much time going from surface to space to enjoy carrying extra mass. Their eyes were kind, in a sad sort of way. Light grey with flecks of a darker slate, stuck between ice blue and azure.

“You already asked that,” said male voice, “as I said, in the sick bay. We have a few questions for you. You have been unconscious for a few hours. We have you on an intravenous routine to help keep you alive.”

“Is there a price for this service, or are you just some good neighbours?” Drick coughed again and focussed on the female voice, for some reason Drick felt they were in command here. Dark hair, slightly tanned skin, green eyes. They were bulky for their height, couldn’t be more than one hundred and sixty-five centimetres, but broad shoulders and thick muscled neck. Clearly they had a very physical routine, or a tasking type of work. 

There was one other person in the medical bay. They looked male, a little over one hundred and eighty centimetres, with a mass of unkempt blond hair. Drick couldn’t make out their eye colour or other details as they had goggles on and a respirator mask attached to a filter. They were holding a long barrelled plasma pistol. The gun looked as if it had been modified down from a marine issue blaster carbine. A common practice amongst the seedier denizens of the colonies was to modify the, common to buy, illicit carbine to help hide it under clothing. They made no attempt to hide the weapon in this room; it was pointed lazily towards Drick.

“We are not good neighbours,” the female voice replied. “We are the people who saved you just so that you could tell us what happened to the ship we were stalking. Oh, and you might also want to tell me why you had this communicator, and why my husband has a harpoon through his lifeless body.”

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