She's poorly spoken, ill mannered, and all together charming(I hope).
|A Chat with Litsa
The location she chose was an old diner that resembled an even older freighter. I arrive a few minutes early so I'd be sure to meet her and pick a small booth in the corner. No sooner have I sat down, than did the tiny bell over the front door ring gracelessly for a new customer. She is young, I guess she is maybe ten standard years, but she carries herself erect through the crowd of sentients. Her eyes take everything in as she sits down, not wary, but curious. There is an odd mix of wonder and drive in her demeanor, as though she sees broken objects scattered about the room and is deciding what to do with them. I was apparently easy enough to pick out. Must have had REPORTER written on my forehead.
Finally she brings her piercing angular blue eyes to bear on me. Her expression takes on slight puzzlement, but she doesn't utter a sound. We sit for what seems an eternity, staring at each other. Aside from the eyes she has short black unkempt hair, with an odd set of goggles on her head. She's wearing gloves that look five sizes too large, a loose long sleeve shirt and breeches. The legs are stuffed into large boots that are strapped with course leather strips. Our server comes to our table and asks what we would like to drink. I ask for anything iced and strong, Litsa simply points at a fruit juice on the menu.
"Well..." I begin, "at most interviews sentients usually talk and ask questions. Why do I get the feeling you have at least as many questions as I do?"
Litsa purses her lips in a far too adult manner and looks down at the menu. When she looks back up, she opens her mouth to speak and is interrupted by the server bringing our drinks and taking our order. Once he is through, I turn my attention back to the girl across from me and smile disarmingly. She smiles back, the way only an innocent can. She shows no teeth, but the grin has the look of play and joy on it.
"I think, I am liking you," she says. Her voice is small but powerful, not at all self-aware but wholly confident. It takes me aback a little having someone with out agenda be so forth right and complimentary.
"Thank you!" I say smiling back. "The pleasure is all mine!"
"So what are you liking to know?" she asks bluntly not slurring or mispronouncing, but showing little care for diction.
"Well...for starters what do you do for fun?"
"Really? Such as? I mean 'do you enjoy everything?' or do you mean 'you have so many hobbies you can't name them all'?"
"Well...I'm still new to the...galaxy? I think that being the word, but I am not meeting or doing anything I am not liking," she replies succinctly.
"OK then. What would you say is your favorite thing to do? What would you do with free time?" I ask, hoping to get a deeper answer.
"You mean 'what would I doing now'? I would fixing Val's Lite Hyper, it being such mess."
"Val." I say with a slight shiver. No one in the galaxy hadn't heard of him, but few knew what he looked like. "You mean Valdrian al'Ragus? Such a notorious being. How would you describe your relationship to him?"
She laughs unselfconsciously, the sound carrying lightly through the restaurant, infecting the air. Sentients, servers and patrons alike, take notice of the small being, and she is completely unaware. Maybe she knows, but doesn't know to care or pay heed. I can only guess she likes the monster.
"I am new to...conversation? I am sorry if words make little meaning. Val is difficult man to be knowing. I am thinking he is worse at it than I am. Conversation I am meaning. Also he keep trying to sell me off, but I make difficult for him, and am hoping to stay. He be calling me 'a greater plague than Caniwei.'" She laughs again, pushing off her gloves and rolling up her sleeves. Her hands and wrists are covered in scars, and I'm not sure if the horror shows on my face, but she doesn't seem to notice. What horrors has this young sentient endured? I swallow past the knot in my throat and look back to her eyes. There. I finally see the pain, but it's dim and fading, like waking from a nightmare and you've already forgotten the horrible dream.
Our food arrives and she digs in with eagerness, completely forgetting eating utensils and politeness. No...it seems she was not taught such things, and she isn't likely to learn them from Valdrian al'Ragus. The impression I get from her is that she is remarkably intelligent, but wholly un-mannered or self-conscious.
She's halfway through a large piece of meat, when she stops with the huge piece hanging from her small teeth. She gracelessly lets the piece drop to the table and looks at me, question written on her face. I haven't touched my food.
"How come?" she gestures to the plate in front of me. "You not liking?"
"The food is fine Litsa. I just could not help but notice the scars on your hands and wrists. Do they hurt?"
She looks at her hands as though seeing nothing wrong. The knuckles of each hand are disfigured and knotted with pink scars, and her wrists had what looked like fleshy ribbons sewn deep into the skin, some reaching from her wrist to her elbow.
"Scars?" she asks. "You mean these?" pointing to her hand. I nod. She laughs again and the sound is disconcerting given the scars. "I don't remember anymore, but Val says they hurt very much. I wouldn't be knowing."
It takes me a second or two to take in what I've just heard, head swimming, but logic slowly starts to surface again. Sentients tend to protect their progeny. Why had she not been protected? The answer hits me between the eyes. Val hadn't been there. There had been no one else. I looked at the tiny sentient across the table from me with a new found respect. Those weren't wounds of a victim. Those were wounds earned in self-defense, against a bigger predator. And she had won.