3-7: Language Barriers

“I don’t think they want to eat us,” the Bartender said as he surveyed the little aliens, who continued to chatter excitedly and gesture to the cave.

“Are you kidding? Look around. What else is there for them to eat? We probably look like a nice cut of Becha to them.”

The Bartender chuckled slightly, then whistled shrilly. The chatter stopped, and they all turned their wide eyes to the reptilian.

“Well, go on. Talk to them,” Lauire said, making a sweeping gesture towards the expectant creatures.

“I don’t speak scrapworld chatter,” he replied. He sighed, and attempted to pantomime Scorch’s robotic movements. The scrappers tittered, a high noise that might have been laughter. They turned to one another, talking in hushed tones.

Laurie shrugged at the Bartender, who simply shrugged back.

A more distinct noise emerged from the crowd, something like “Oo-ah”. They turned back to the two offworlders, and repeated it.

“Oo-ah.” They pointed to the distance, between two pile of scrap. “Oo-ah!”

“Might as well follow them,” Laurie said as they scampered off in that direction. The scrappers moved swiftly over piles of constantly-shifting metal, the occasional puddle of ooze and other assorted junk, alternating between simply running and hopping, to nearly crawling, using their over-long arms to steady themselves.

Laurie 1Laurie and the Bartender did their best to keep up, and the creatures would occasionally pause to shout something unintelligible back at them.

They passed through canyons of garbage, paths the little creatures had clearly used often, weaving through hundreds of years of discarded spaceships. It smelled of rust and oil, a scent that seemed to constantly linger in the air. The sky and the broken pieces of ships seemed blend together, one drab color giving way to another, with only the occasional swatch of color where paint had not yet peeled away.

The sun was setting, casting long shadows from wreckage, when they reached their apparent destination. A circular arena of sorts had been made, crude seats made from ship parts. In the center stood a rudimentary statue, about twice as tall as a human, but resembling the scrappers, who all bowed to it, chanting “oo-ah” as they did so.

“Oh, good. You’ve accepted their gospel,” Laurie said to the Bartender.

His thin mouth twisted into and expression she hadn’t seen before and his tongue flicked in and out of his mouth. “Perhaps it can forgive your sins where the Dead Corps could not.”

“Hey, now.” She turned to the devotees of the crude god, trying to explain that their god was not what they were seeking. She held her hand at head height to show Scorch was somewhat shorter than their statue. They looked at her with blank expressions, before turning back to their god.

“Looks like we’re on our own,” she said, turning to leave their theater. They stopped chanting again, and surrounded them, forcing them towards the statue.

“I take it back,” the Bartender said. “I think they do want to eat us.”

“Or maybe they really do want us to repent. I am kicking Scorch’s ass when we find him.”

“Maybe we should just stay here. It’s getting dark, and we are pretty far from the ship. They seem harmless enough so far.”

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