Template:PostIn CatH Post 38 Clear has come aboard Mirare Station where humans are banned and she comes to realise just how human-centric her life has been. When confronted by an alien male he is angry that she can only speak and understand English, a human language. She is rescued by an old Grey named Lumo who tells her that he is from Mirare Station itself. He reveals that he has met Martians before and Clear explains that her name is not an English name because salmitton names are the meaning of the words in any language. He tells her, then, that her name would be Pinno Fat in his language. Lumo does not trust her friend, Aellisin Koure, and gives her information that he believes she would need to protect herself from his species. He leads her to a shop but Koure fears it is a trap. He is proven right when Clear is attacked and kidnapped by several aliens under the guidance of Lumo.
The young Salmitton has never seen such a vast array of sounds, scents or visuals all crammed into one place. And not a single human to be seen. Her entire view oft he galaxy, she now realises, has been human-centric. Even in her hatred of the human species, she was moulded by it. Everything she knew of reality inter-lapped with humanity. But here in this vibrant and hectic little world there is no human to cloud her view.
There are shops, apartments, restaurants and other establishments that she doesn't understand their function. She isn't even sure if "shop", "apartment" or "restaurants" are even applicable terms to most of the establishments she sees and is merely guessing. The roof is quite tall compared to the corridors of The Hopeless, but certainly no towering complex like the human constructs of Dacato and Galactic Centre. Every establishment is an enclosed space, terraced along the wide passages, with open fronts to allow people to get in and out without the fuss of a door. Many establishments have lights blaring out, sometimes simple, often neon, sometimes more exotic lighting such as a place lit by insects in jars, or one shop with streaks of encased lightning swirling around its ceiling. The people of the station seem even more varied than the establishments they reside in. Some appear near-human, making a Salmitton look incredibly exotic, while other species look so little to anything Clear could recognise as being a sentient creature that she may as well be a human in red face-paint.
The passages are spacious and yet filled with people and things. Smaller vendors without establishments have parked in the middle of the passage and are selling their wares to passers-by. Huge fans above, protruding down in their vents, keep the passage filled with atmosphere and pump out the rank air - though Clear feels they could be doing a better job. She wonders if the air is being filled with all manner of elements to keep as many different species comfortable as possible. She notes some marked off sections that, according to Koure, have a different kind of atmosphere suited to a whole different manner of being that Clear would need a spacesuit to enter.
When a man, or at least what Clear presumes to have been a man, asked her something in jibberish, Koure had to explain to the alien that Clear could only speak in English. He sneers at her with his quivering, lipless mouth.
Alien Man: "You speak only human tongue? Betraying your own kind, humanoid!"
Old Grey: "Now now, there's no need to insult the girl."
Clear, after being surprised by the man's aggression, turns to see a short, grey-coloured alien just like the Æon student Jeb. He looks quite a lot older than Jeb though, his head looks like an old sack of wrinkles and an occasional hair pokes out of his leathery skin. His big, black eyes look saddened with the drooping of his eyelids and he wears nothing to conceal his modesty - not that there appears to be any male genitalia to conceal. The only reason she assumes the Grey is male is his deep voice that sounds much younger than he appears.
The alien man mutters something in his own jibberish that Clear again didn't understand but she assumes is meant as another insult. She looks down at the old Grey.
Old Grey: "Welcome, little one. I haven't seen a Martian in many-a-year! It's nice to see such a young one running around this old station again."
Clear: "You-you know my people?"
Old Grey: "Of course! There was always one or two Martians looking to make some shady deals round these parts once-upon-a-time. Before the humans. Tell me girl, how many of you are there?"
She looks down at the old man. Sometimes she could say the words without pause. As though saying them had become meaningless. But this old man, knowing her people... she becomes tight-lipped. The old man seems to understand and nods sympathetically.
Old Grey: "Humanity have done us all a great injustice, my dear. Their greed, their avarice, it affects us all. I'm sorry about that lout. He doesn't understand that some of us have been twisted by humanity more than others. It is truly a shame that you have lost the use of your own language."
Clear follows the Grey as he begins hobbling along.
Clear: "I never really lost it, I didn't get to learn it. I've seen it but I couldn't pronounce anything. The humans settles my world long before they... took it. Their culture and their language was pervasive. Many of the salmittons already learnt their language when the fighting began. Afterwards the humans forced everyone to speak English. And only English. People that used their own language were punished. So my father only taught me English."
Old Grey: "Thank you for telling me. We all have our stories of human abuse but yours sounds sadder than most. My name is Lumo, by the way. Can you tell me yours?"
Clear: "I'm Clear."
Old Grey: "An English name even?"
Clear: "Sort of... our names are their meanings, not the words themselves. So my name is whatever the word 'clear' is in your own language. I don't know what language that is, otherwise I'd use that word."
Lumo: "Come to think of it I do remember some old rascal used to call himself Ovun when around me. That means 'sexy' in my language."
Clear finds it hard to imagine anyone of Lumo's species being 'sexy' enough to need such a word.
Clear: "What is the word for clear?"
Lumo: "Pinno Fat."
Clear: "Oh... that doesn't sound very... charming..."
Lumo: "To an English speaker, probably not. But if I met a female named Pinno Fat of my people, I'd be most captivated."
Clear: "Well, you could call me Pinno Fat if you'd like to."
Lumo chuckles again.
Lumo: "I understand English well enough, little one. What about your friend, by the way?"
Clear turns to see Aellisin Koure speaking with a group of men at an establishment behind them. She and Lumo stop to watch him.
Clear: "I wouldn't call him my friend. His name is Aellisin."
Lumo looks up at Clear with concern then shakes his head.
Lumo: "Be careful around that one, my dear. A dangerous species to be sure."
Clear: "Why's that?"
Lumo: "Ah. You don't seem to be in love with the man, so perhaps he isn't like most of his kind..."
Clear: "In love with him!? Ew."
Lumo: "Go there, tell them your situation with your companion and they'll give you something to protect yourself. Please do it before you return to your ship with him."
Clear: "Uh... okay?"
Lumo: "They'll explain why if you ask them."
Koure: "You should purchase supplies for your ship, Captain."
Clear jumps and turns to see Aellisin is standing just behind her.
Clear: "Wow. Do you always sneak up on people like that?"
Koure: "I wasn't sneaking."
Clear: "I don't have any money. The president--"
She stops and looks at the old grey. He is nice but she doesn't want to go telling him that she's on a secret mission for the humans.
Clear: "I didn't get paid yet."
He hands her an Imperial credit card.
Clear: "Can I use that here? Isn't it too..."
She glances around.
Lumo: "Money is money, Clear. They'll accept it."
Clear grins, feeling rich again. Until she had her reward from the rebels, Clear had never had much money. Being able to buy things without consequence was a wonderful experience - one she is certainly willing to repeat.
Lumo begins to walk again and Clear marches after him. She doesn't think to ask where they are going, or even if she was actually invited.
Lumo: "So tell me, what bring a young and lonely Salmitton all the way to Mirare?"
Clear thinks fast and wiggles the Imperial card in front of Lumo.
Clear: "The idea was to find a new jump drive for my ship. It's a really only ship and the hyperjump is... really inconvenient. The ship literally pins you to the walls to keep you safe during the jump."
This time Lumo's chuckle is much more excited.
Lumo: "I remember those! My goodness. Even I was a lad those drives were old! Got to ride a ship with one though. A budget line to get me from Mirare..."
He trails off and Clear thinks he suddenly lost himself in memories. She waits for him to snap back into reality.
Lumo: "Well anyway. You'll find a lot of fancy new drives here on Mirare. Not just the standard Imperial ones you see those cheese wedges using! Drives from as far as the outer rim worlds or even the core worlds. Whatever you need it's here somewhere. The trick is finding it."
He laughs again, this time at his own joke. Or at least she assumes it's a joke. He leads them from one passages to the next.
Clear: "Where are you from, Lumo?"
Lumo: "Mirare, my dear. This systems is the home system of the Greys."
Clear: "Uh... your were born on this spacestation?"
Lumo speeds up a little and turns into an establishment without replying to her question. She stops but he beckons her in. Aellisin grabs her shoulder as she starts after Lumo.
Koure: "I don't trust this little Grey. Go in, but be on your guard. I shall wait out here for signs of trouble."
Clear: "How brave of you."
Koure: "Don't get sassy with me, idiot."
Clear shakes her head and marches into the establishment. The outside is quite plain with only some hanging signs to indicate what they sold - not that she could read it. Inside are a lot of tables and chairs, but none of them are uniform. Some are large and round, others small and square while the chairs themselves are even more eclectic. When she gets in there she sees that the place is empty save for Lumo himself. He stands at a very low bar and pours a white liquid into a small cup. Small to her, overly large for him. He lifts up the cup and holds it out to her.
Lumo: "Most humans call this tea, but obviously you can tell from the colour that's not quite right. It is similar though. Try some!"
She walks across the room, stepping across stone tiles underfoot. Just before she reaches the old man the lights suddenly blink out. She spins around to see Aellisin take a step back as shutters slam down between her and him. Now she is in complete darkness. She stumbles into a table. Then something is thrown over her head. A bag perhaps. Hands yank and pull her arms. She struggles and fights. She thinks she can hear Lumo ask her to calm down but she doesn't. She kicks someone. They fall into a table. She lowers herself and sweeps the floor with her leg and connects with another figure that topples over. Her arms free she tries to pull the sack from her head. Then more bodies are on her. Three, four... five? One hoists her from her feet and lugs her over their shoulder. Then her feet are bound. Amidst punches and slaps she fights against the person tying her wrists together but to no avail.
She shouts and screams for help but nobody, not even the Imperial General, tries to save her. She can hear some commotion somewhere. Crashing, shouting, fighting and wonders if they've attacked Aellisin Koure outside. Maybe he is trying to save her?
She feels movement as she's carried somewhere. They don't seem concerned that she's making so much noise and eventually her throat grows tired and her voice too hoarse to yell. She whimpers instead. Ten she hears Lumo clearly tell her not to worry. For some reason that makes her worry more. She squirms just enough to get her arms up to her mouth. Even through the sack she can bite the knot in the rope that binds her wrists. She tugs with her teeth and feels the knot loosen. The taste of the sack is disgusting but desperation is enough to ignore it.
Abruptly she is thrown onto something soft and she bounces about on it for a moment. She rolls to her side and wriggles her wrists. The binding is loose enough that she manages to get one hand free. Someone notices and shouts. But not quickly enough. She whips the sack from her head. The first thing she sees are people all around her. With renewed vigour and anger she lashes out.
Her bound feet whip up into the face of a particularly human-looking woman who is knocked with such force that she is taken off of her feet and lands on her back. Clear completes the motion with a complete flip backwards, rolls over the soft and unusual bed, and lands on her feet with the piece of furniture between her and her kidnappers.
One man dives at her, springing across the bed, but she leaps up into the air. Her feet smack into his back, sending him sprawled out on the bed. She jumps off of him and straight at another creature in the room. It's a Grey, but not Lumo himself. Her fist cracks the young Grey's jaw to the side and his spins right round until he hits the ground. She, again, hears Lumo's voice somewhere shouting for her to calm down. Fat chance. One woman grabs Clear's arm. The only reason she didn't get punched is because a man instantly grab's Clear's fist. She squirms and squirms ignoring their jibbering voices. She could have kicked them both into the dust if her legs were free. Instead she throws her head forward and head-butts the woman squarely on the nose. She yelps and staggers back, releasing Clear's hand. She thumps the man who also holds her, but it's not enough to force him off. She strikes again but still to no avail. She is about to jump up and take him down with all her weight but the man from the bed has gotten up and locks his big bear-arms around her waist. She squirms and struggles in his grasp but there's little she can do. Someone else approaches, a woman with blue skin and strange hair. She holds out a flower and squeezes it. Clear finds her mind is instantly fuzzy and sluggish. She tries to keep moving. She has to get away. She hits the man's arms that are locked around her but she feels how weak her strikes are. She slaps her own face, trying to wake up. Eventually she is dumped back on the bed.
She forces herself to roll to freedom and falls off the edge of the bed onto the cold, grey floor. Although everything is blurry she sees that the room isn't very big and is circular with grey, dull walls and a single, right light hanging from above. Faces peer down at her but they're too blurry to make out. She pushes herself away from them and eventually winds up underneath the bed. Somehow she feels safer there and she lies still, waiting for the poison to wear off. She plots and plans, despite her slow brain. She can see the hole where a door might be. She just needs her strength back and she'll make a run for it...