Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Zoe’s Tale PART I Chapter Nine
Oh, look, Gretchen tell. Teenage male childs, round to do some(prenominal) topic anserine.Shut up, I verbalize. That couldnt possibly happen. still I looked anyhow. accepted plenty, across the Magellans park atomic number 18a, two clogs of teenage males were staring each an raw(prenominal)(prenominal) down with that look of were so gonna fight or so something lame. They were any acquire ready for a snarl, except for integrity of them, who gave e very(prenominal) appearance of nerve-wracking to talk some sense into one guy who looked particularly itchin to fight.Theres one who appears to commit a brain, I said.One verboten of eight, Gretchen said. Not a rattling excellent percentage. And if he really had a brain hed in all probability be riseting out of the way.This is true, I said. Never send a teenage boy to do a teenage girls job.Gretchen grinned over to me. We bugger finish that mind-meld thing breathing out, dont we?I envisage you know the answer to t hat, I said.You privation to plan it out or reasonable improvise? Gretchen asked.By the duration we plan it out, someones going to be missing teeth, I said.Good point, Gretchen said, and whence got up and started moving toward the boys.Twenty mins later the boys were startled to gamble Gretchen in the middle of them. Youre making me overleap a prognosticate, she said, to the one who looked the most aggressive.The sheik st atomic number 18d for a moment, trying to wrap whatsoever was passing for his brain roughly this sudden and unexpected appearance. What? he said.I said, youre making me lose a forecast, Gretchen repeated, and thus jerked a thumb over toward me. I had a bet with Zoe here that no one would start a fight on the Magellan in advance we actually left dock, because no one would be stupid enough to do something that would get their entire family kicked shoot the venture.Kicked off the ship two hours before departure, stock-still, I said.Right, Gretchen sa id. Because what sort of moron would you prolong to be to do that?A teenage boy moron, I suggested.Apparently, Gretchen said. See whats your digit?What? the guy said again.Your name, Gretchen said. What your mother and father pass on call you, angrily, at once youve gotten them kicked off the ship.The guy looked around at his champions. Magdy, he said, and because unfastened his mouth as if to guess something.Well, see, Magdy, I give birth faith in humanity, even the teenage male part of it, Gretchen said, plowing through whatever it was that our Magdy cleverness harbor had to say. I believed that not even teenage boys would be dumb enough to give Captain Zane an excuse to kick a bunch of them off the ship while he still could. in one case were under way, the worst he could do is put you in the brig. save amend now he could have the crew drop you and your family at the loading bay. thence you could watch the rest of us wave severe-bye. Surely, I said, no one could be that incredibly dense. notwithstanding my friend Zoe disagreed. What did you say, Zoe?I said that teenage boys send away(p)t infer beyond or without their newly dropped testicles, I said, staring at the boy who had been trying to talk sense into his pal. Also, they fume funny.The boy grinned. He knew what we were up to. I didnt grin back I didnt un turn awayableness to mess with Gretchens play.And I was so convinced that I was right(a) and she was wrong that I actually capture a bet, Gretchen said. I bet every single confection Id get here on the Magellan that no one would be that stupid. Thats a serious bet.She loves her dessert, I said.Its true, I do, Gretchen said.Shes a dessert fiend, I said.And now you are going to make me lose all my desserts, Gretchen said, poking Magdy in the chest. This is not acceptable.There was a snerk from the boy Magdy had been facing off with. Gretchen wheeled on him the boy actually flinched backward. I dont know why you regard this is funn y, Gretchen said. Your family would have been thrown off the ship just like his.He started it, the boy said.Gretchen blinked, dramatically. He started it? Zoe, tell me I heard that wrong.You didnt, I said. He really said it.It doesnt seem assertable that anyone over the age of five would be using that as a shrewde for anything, Gretchen said, examining the boy critically.Wheres your faith in humanity now? I asked.Im losing it, Gretchen said.Along with all your desserts, I said.Let me guess, Gretchen said, and waved generally at the clot of boys in count of her. Youre all from the same planet. She turned and looked at the other boy clot. And youre all from another planet. The boys shifted uncomfortably she had gotten their number. And so the first thing you do is you start picking fights because of where you used to live.Because thats the smart thing to do with people youre going to spend the rest of your life living with, I said.I dont remember that cosmos in the new colonist t aste material, Gretchen said.Funny close to that, I said.Indeed, Gretchen said, and stopped talking.There was silence for several(prenominal) seconds.Well? Gretchen said.What? Magdy said. It was his favorite word.argon you going to fight now or what? Gretchen said. If Im going to lose my bet, nows as good a time as any.Shes right, I said. Its almost lunchtime. Dessert is calling.So either get on with it or break it up, Gretchen said. She paceped back.The boys, suddenly aware that whatever it was they were fighting active had been effectively reduced to whether or not some girl would get a cupcake, dispersed, each clot headed pointedly in a break outside(a) direction from the other. The sane boy glanced back at me as he walked off with his friends.That was fun, Gretchen said.Yeah, until they all decide to do it again, I said. We cant use the dessert humiliation trick every time. And in that respect are colonists from ten dampen worlds. Thats a hundred different possible idiot ic teenage boy fight situations.Well, the colonists from Kyoto are Colonial Mennonites, Gretchen said. Theyre pacifists. So its muchover eighty-one possible idiotic teenage boy fight combinations.And yet still only two of us, I said. I dont like the odds. And how did you know well-nigh the Kyoto folks, anyway?When my father was still intellection hed be running the colony, he made me read the reports on all the colonists and their original planets, Gretchen said. He said I was going to be his aide-de-camp. Because, you know, thats really what I would have emergencyed to do with my time.Comes in go ony, though, I said.Gretchen pulled out her personal digital assistant, which was buzzing, and looked at the screen. Speaking of which, she said, and showed me the screen. Looks like Dads calling.Go be aide de camp-y, I said.Gretchen rolled her eyes. thanks. Want to get unitedly for the departure? And then we can go have lunch. Youll have addled the bet by then. Ill get your desser t.Touch my dessert and you will grumble in horrible ways, I said. Gretchen laughed and left.I pulled out my own PDA to see if there were messages from John or Jane there was one from Jane sexual congress me that hickory tree and Dickory were looking for me about something. Well, they knew I was onboard, and they also knew how to reach me by PDA its not like I went anywhere without it. I perspective about giving them a call but I estimate they would find me sooner or later. I put the PDA away and looked up to find the sane boy standing in front of me.Hi, he said.Uh, I said, a testament to my smoothness.Sorry, I didnt mean to accost up on you like that, he said.Its okay, I said, only a itsy-bitsy flustered.He stuck out his hand. Enzo, he said. And youre Zoe, I guess.I am, I said, taking his hand and shaking it.Hi, he said.Hi, I said.Hi, he said, and then seemed to realize he was back where he started. I smiled.And then there was about, oh, 47 million seconds of awkward silence. It was only actually a second or two, but as Einstein could tell you, some events have a way of stretching out.Thanks for that, Enzo said, finally. For stopping the fight, I mean.Youre welcome, I said. Im glad you didnt mind we stepped in on what you were doing.Well, I wasnt doing a peachy job of it anyway, Enzo said. Once Magdy gets himself lap uped up, its hard to get him to back down.What was that all about anyway? I asked.Its kind of stupid, Enzo said.That I know, I said, and then wondered if Enzo would get through it the wrong way. He smiled. Score one for Enzo. I mean what caused it.Magdys middling sarcastic, and hes also pretty loud, Enzo said. He made some snide observe about what those other guys were wearing as they passed by. One of them got upset and they got into it.So you guys nearly had a brawl over fashion, I said.I told you it was stupid, Enzo said. But you know how it is. You get worked up, its kind of hard to conceptualise rationally.But you were thinking ra tionally, I said.Thats my job, Enzo said. Magdy gets us into trouble, I get us out of it.So youve known each other for a while, I said.Hes been my best friend since we were humble, Enzo said. Hes really not a jerk, honest. He just sometimes doesnt think about what hes doing.You look out for him, I said.It goes two ways, Enzo said. Im not very much of a poor boy. A lot of kids we knew would have eventn advantage of that occurrence if they didnt know Magdy would have punched them in the head. Why arent you much of a fighter? I asked.I think you have to like to fight a itty-bitty, Enzo said. Then he seemed to realize this was challenging his own masculinity a bit, and this would get him kicked out of the teenage male club. Dont get me wrong. I can defend myself just fine without Magdy around. Were just a good team.Youre the brains of the outfit, I suggested.Thats possible, he allowed, and then seemed to radiation pattern out that Id gotten him to make a firm bunch of statemen ts about himself without getting to find out anything about me. What about you and your friend? Who is the brains of that outfit?I think Gretchen and I both find our own pretty well in the brains department, I said.Thats a little scary, Enzo said.Its not a great(p) thing to be a little intimidating, I said.Well, you have that down, Enzo said, with just the right amount of offhandedness. I time-tested very hard not to blush. So, listen, Zoe Enzo began, and then looked over my shoulder. I precept his eyes get very wide.Let me guess, I said, to Enzo. There are two very scary-looking aliens standing directly behind me.How did you know? Enzo said, afterward a nice.Because what youre doing now is the usual response, I said. I glanced back at hickory and Dickory. Give me a minute, I said to them. They in any casek a step back.You know them? Enzo said.Theyre sort of my bodyguards, I said.You need bodyguards? Enzo asked.Its a little complicated, I said.Now I know why you and your friend can both work on being the brains of the outfit, Enzo said.Dont worry, I said, and turned to hickory and Dickory. Guys, this is my new friend Enzo. Say hello.Hello, they said, in their deadly monotone.Uh, Enzo said.Theyre perfectly harmless(prenominal) unless they think youre a threat to me, I said.What happens then? Enzo asked.Im not really sure, I said. But I think it would involve you being turned into a large number of very small cubes.Enzo looked at me for a minute. Dont take this the wrong way, he said. But Im a little afraid of you right now.I smiled at this. Dont be, I said, and I took his hand, which seemed to surprise him. I demand us to be friends.There was an interesting play across Enzos award pleasure at the fact Id taken his hand, and apprehension that if he showed too much pleasure at the fact, hed be summarily cubed. It was very cute. He was very cute.As if on cue, hickory tree audibly shifted its weight.I sighed. I need to talk to hickory and Dickory, I said, to Enzo. Will you excuse me?Sure, Enzo said, and took his hand out of mine.Will I see you later? I asked.I hope so, Enzo said, and then got that look that said his brain was telling him he was being too enthusiastic. Shut up, stupid brain. Enthusiasm is a good thing. He backed off and went away. I watched him go a little.Then I turned to hickory tree and Dickory. This had better be good, I said.Who was that? Hickory asked.That was Enzo, I said. Which I already told you. Hes a boy. A cute one, too.Does he have impure intentions? Hickory asked.What? I said, slightly incredulous. Impure intentions? Are you serious? No. Ive only known him for about twenty minutes. withal for a teenage boy, that would be a pretty quick ramp-up.This is not what we have heard, Hickory said.From whom? I asked.From Major Perry, Hickory said. He said that he was once a teenage boy himself.Oh, God, I said. Thank you so very much for the mental image of Dad as a teenage sack of hormones. Thats the sort o f image that takes therapy to get rid of.You have asked us to intercede for you with teenage boys before, Hickory said.That was a peculiar(prenominal) case, I said. And it had been. Just before we left Huckleberry my parents had gone off on a planetary survey of Roanoke and I was given tacit authority to have a good-bye party for my friends, and Anil Rameesh had taken it upon himself to gazump into my bedroom and get naked, and upon discovery, to inform me that he was giving me his virginity as a good-bye gift. Well, he didnt put it that way he was trying to avoid mentioning the whole virginity aspect of it at all.Regardless, this was a gift I really didnt want, even though it was already unwrapped. I told Hickory and Dickory to escort him out Anil responded by screaming, jumping out my window and down off the roof, and then running all the way home naked. Which was a sight. I had his clothes delivered home the next day.Poor Anil. He wasnt a bad person. Just deluded and hopeful. I will let you know if Enzo pre displaces any problems, I said. Until then, you cave in him alone.As you wish, Hickory said. I could tell it was not exclusively pleased about this.What was it you wanted to talk to me about? I asked.We have news for you from the Obin government, Hickory said. An invitation.An invitation for what? I asked.An invitation to visit our homeworld, and to play our planets and colonies, Hickory said. You are now old enough to travel unaccompanied, and while all Obin have known of you since you were young, thanks to our recordings, there is a great desire among all Obin to meet you in person. Our government asks you if you will not accede to this invite.When? I asked.Immediately, Hickory said.I looked at them both. Youre asking me this now? I said. Were less than two hours from departing to Roanoke.We have only just now received the invitation, Hickory said. As soon as it was sent to us, we came to find you.It couldnt clench? I asked.Our government wishe d to ask you before your journey to Roanoke began, Hickory said. Once you had completed yourself on Roanoke, you might be hesitant to leave for such a significant amount of time.How much time? I asked.We have sent a proposed itinerary to your PDA, Hickory said.Im asking you, I said.The entire tour would take thirteen of your standard months, Hickory said. Although if you were amenable, it could be extended.So, to recap, I said. You want me to decide in the next two hours whether or not to leave my family and friends for at least a year, maybe longer, to tour the Obin worlds by myself.Yes, Hickory said. Although of course Dickory and I would accompany you.No other humans, though, I said.We could find some if you wanted, Hickory said.Would you? I said. That would be swell.Very well, Hickory said.Im being sarcastic, Hickory, I said, irritated. The answer is no. I mean, really, Hickory. Youre asking me to make a life-changing ending on two hours notice. Thats completely ridiculous.We comprehend that the timing of this request is not optimal, Hickory said.I dont think you do, I said. I think you know its short notice, but I dont think you understand that its offensive.Hickory shrank back slightly. We did not mean to offend, it said.I was about to snap something off but I stopped and started counting in my head, because somewhere in there the rational part of my brain was letting me know I was heading into over-reaction territory. Hickory and Dickorys invitation was last-minute, but biting their heads off for it didnt make much sense. Something about the request was just rubbing me the wrong way.It took me a minute to figure out why. Hickory and Dickory were asking me to leave behind everyone I knew, and everyone I had just met, for a year of being alone. I had already done that, long ago, when the Obin had taken me from Covell, in the time I had to wait before my father could find a way to reclaim me. It was a different time and with different circumstances, but I remember the devastation and need for human contact. I loved Hickory and Dickory they were family. But they couldnt render me what I needed and could get from human contact.And besides, I just said good-bye to a whole village of people I knew, and before that had said good-bye to family and friends, usually forever, a whole lot more than most people my age. Right now I had just set up Gretchen, and Enzo was certainly looking interesting. I didnt want to say good-bye to them even before I properly got to know them.I looked at Hickory and Dickory, who despite everything they knew about me couldnt have understood why what they were asking me would mend me like this. Its not their fault, said the rational part of my brain. And it was right. Which was why it was the rational part of my brain. I didnt always like that part, but it was usually on point for stuff like this.Im sorry, Hickory, I said, finally. I didnt mean to vociferation at you. Please accept my apology.Of course, Hic kory said. It unshrunk itself.But even if I wanted to go, two hours is not nearly enough time to think this through, I said. Have you spoken to John or Jane about this?We tangle it best to come to you, Hickory said. Your desire to go would have influenced their decision to let you go.I smiled. Not as much as I think you think it would, I said. You may think Im old enough to spend a year off touring the Obin worlds, but I underwrite you Dad will have a different opinion about that. It took both Jane and Savitri a couple of days to convince him to let me have that good-bye party while they were away. You think hed say yes to having me go away for a year when theres a two-hour time limit attached? Thats optimistic.It is very important to our government, Dickory said. Which was surprising. Dickory almost never spoke about anything, other than to make one of its monochromatic greetings. The fact Dickory felt compelled to pipe up spoke volumes in itself.I understand that, I said. But i ts still too sudden. I cant make a decision like this now. I just cant. Please tell your government Im honored by the invitation, and that I want to make a tour of the Obin worlds one day. I really do. But I cant do it like this. And I want to go to Roanoke.Hickory and Dickory were silent for a moment. Perhaps if Major Perry and Lieutenant Sagan were to hear our invitation and agree, you might be persuaded, Hickory said.Rankle, rankle. What is that supposed to mean? I asked. First you say you wanted me to say yes because then they might agree, and now you want to work it the other way? You asked me, Hickory. My answer is no. If you think asking my parents is going to get me to change my mind, then you dont understand human teenagers, and you certainly dont understand me. Even if they said yes, which, believe me, they wont, since the first thing they will do is ask me what I think of the idea. And Ill tell them what I told you. And that I told you. other moment of silence. I watched the two of them very closely, looking for the trembles or twitches that sometimes followed when they were emotionally wrung out. The two of them were rock steady. Very well, Hickory said. We will inform our government of your decision.Tell them that I will consider it some other time. Maybe in a year, I said. Maybe by that time I could convince Gretchen to go with me. And Enzo. As long as we were daydreaming here.We will tell them, Hickory said, and then it and Dickory did a little head bow and departed.I looked around. Some of the people in the common area were watching Hickory and Dickory leave the others were looking at me with grotesque expressions. I guess theyd never seen a girl with her own positron emission tomography aliens before.I sighed. I pulled out my PDA to contact Gretchen but then stopped before I accessed her address. Because as much as I didnt want to be alone in the larger sense, at that moment, I needed a time out. Something was going on, and I needed to figur e what it was. Because whatever it was, it was making me nervous.I put the PDA back in my pocket, thought about what Hickory and Dickory just said to me, and worried.