8.4

Jessie woke up to the sound of another ship overhear and sat up as Misa walked past. He had Calvin’s shoulders and a moment later the officer walked past with his legs. She shuddered a little at the look in Calvin’s eyes and waited until they had left the ship before getting up. Vortran snored underneath her bed in the burrow made of blankets, so she tiptoed out of the room and found the others outside.

Hedgy’s oddly shaped towing ship was in the other clearing, and he was busy hooking up his ship to the dead one as they approached. Nobody seemed to notice her as she climbed into the now dark ship and started checking all the rooms. The others had emptied everything they could out during the previous days, leaving only the stuff that was bolted down and furniture too big to fit in Sam’s ship. She heard a whirring noise from underneath one of the counters and knelt down with her head against the floor to look. The cleaning bot that had eaten her hair before whirred again and she tried to stick her hand underneath to grab it. It was too far back to reach though.

“You should come out, the ship’s gonna get smushed soon.” She called to it. It clicked but didn’t move. “Mr. Calvin will be sadder if you get smushed.” She tried to reach for it again with no better luck.

“Jessie, you can’t be in here.” Misa called from the doorway.

She glanced around the room but couldn’t find anything to force the robot out, “I’m trying to save Mr. Calvin’s little robot!”

Misa joined her in the kitchen, “Robot? What robot?”

She gestured to the space under the counter and he knelt down to look.

“Huh. Alright.” He reached under the counter and managed to get a grip on the floor cleaning bot, pulling it out, “Maybe this’ll help.”

“Help what?” Jessie reached for the bot but he walked out of the ship with it. She huffed and followed after him, struggling to keep up with his longer strides as the made their way into Hedgy’s ship.

Jessie stopped in the doorway to the room Calvin was in. He was in a bed hooked up to several machines with a tube down his throat. Misa set the floorbot next to his hand and it clicked and whirred, wriggling but unable to move anywhere. Calvin’s head tilted towards the noise and he opened his eyes again, setting a hand on the robot. Misa’s expression brightened a little and he turned away, scooping up Jessie and heading back outside.

“Misa what did you do?”

“Don’t worry about it, Jess. Now let’s go see if we can find that other guy before it’s time to leave.” He set her down and took her hand, leading the way off into the woods again.

***

Hedgy had finished preparations and everyone was eating lunch by the time they returned empty-handed. Nobody else had seen Jerret and neither functional ship could do a detailed scan to hunt him down.

“I’ll take Officer Levins, Mr. Sutro, and Mr. Yikikik back to the station so we can start the paperwork right away. You might as well take Jessie and Vortran, then we’ll get together once everyone’s landed and had a chance to rest.” Hedgy made a face as he tasted some of what they’d been living on for the past week, “And a good meal. With salt.”

“Sounds like a plan, I’ll let mother know to send someone for the other guy once we’ve sorted things out.”

“Oof, poor guy doesn’t know what’s coming.” Hedgy shrugged a little as Sam made a face at him. Vortran snickered a little but said nothing. They left some bottles of water and what non-perishable food there was to spare in a container a little ways away and split up to prepare for takeoff.

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