Everything Under the Stars Ch3

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Literature Text

Chapter Three: For the first time

© Lady Owl

A couple hours later...

Heather woke.

For several minutes she had laid there in silence. She tried to open her eyes but they felt sticky, heavy, and her vision was blurred. Every muscle in her body ached and she felt like she'd be sick.

What had happened to her? Her mind raced.

The last thing she remembered were bright lights.. she couldn't even remember what had caused them... and then, there was nothing.

She tried to open her eyes again. She could barely see and everything was so blurry and bright. Her head was throbbing. She sluggishly sat up, her arm shaking as it tried to support her weight. She rubbed her forehead and blinked hard, hoping to clear her vision. The fuzziness was slowly fading and she could make out crude shapes of her surroundings.

Where the hell was she? She thought to herself. The room she was in was enclosed on all sides, however the wall directly across from her was different. It was light blue in color with horizontal lines running up it. It also appeared to be transparent. She was still too weak to stand so instead, she slowly scooted herself off the padding, onto the cold floor, and slid herself over to the strange wall. She wanted to touch it but decided against it and instead, reached back and grasped at one of the blankets. She tossed it weakly at the wall and it simply hit and slid down causing a soft, static buzzing sound. She winced; even her ears were sensitive. She didn't want to believe it, but it seemed like it might be a force field. Something she had only seen in her sci-fi movies.

She thought she could hear muffled sounds outside the strange blue wall. Moaning, scratching, and crying. It made her shiver but maybe she was only hearing things. Every sound was echoed to her. Pounding in her head. The aching refused to let up and it made her tired. Every thought and sound, and sight seemed to tire her that she was having trouble focusing. Her eyelids felt heavy. She stopped resisting and closed them. She laid back on the cold floor and tried to rest. Just a little longer..

Neelix had gone back to work. Not to his job, but to his pride and joy. He flipped on a switch and the lights slowly came to, revealing a beautiful, custom made ship, resting in the center of a large, private hanger. A lot of people on the station knew about this ship. It was hard to keep it secret when you're the lead mechanic always shopping for parts in the market districts. And, although the station was large, people liked to talk. Once wind of this had spread throughout most of the station, a lot of people were very interested. Especially since he had been working on it for years and people knew Neelix wouldn't skimp out on quality.

He had gotten many offers. Huge offers that tempted him into selling. Some of the offers were so good, he could have bought a whole new ship that could fly him away from here, just as easily, to a better place... but something about leaving here with his own creation meant more to him. He had worked so hard on this ship for so long he couldn't bare to see someone take it from him. Someone else flying it for the first time. Watch as it flew away. No.. he had turned down every offer. The ship was almost complete, too. He only needed to purchase a few more parts and it would be finished. Maybe another four months of hard work and he could leave here.

A small bleep sound echoed in the large hanger and a light flashed on a near by panel. Neelix stumbled through stacks of junk and boxes and over wires to get to the panel. He hit the button and Veeno's face popped up on a screen. He looked excited. Anxious. He also looked a little worried. "So I guess the shipment came in, huh?" He asked Veeno. "Oh man Neelix... you gotta get down here! You'll never believe what those two goons brought in. I think you'll really like this one!" Neelix sighed to his friend for the second time that day, "Fine, fine.. I'll be down in a few minutes." Neelix hit the button and Veeno's face disappeared from the view screen. He walked to the door and turned to look back at his ship. He let out another sigh and flipped the lights off.

There was a knocking on the large metal door and Veeno came rushing over and opened it. He grinned at Neelix, who stepped in, looking around, slightly annoyed. "Alright Veeno... so where is this 'amazing' creature?" He shook his arms about, being sarcastic. Veeno just gave him a dirty look, closed the door and grabbed him by the arm. "Come see here..."

She woke startled by a loud slamming. Her ears were still picking up sound twice as loud as normal. She felt so dopey... but she could hear more noises; voices. She lifted her head a little and looked up, out towards the force field. Two blurred shapes were behind it now. She couldn't see if it was the field making them blurred and silhouetted or of it was her eyes still messing with her.

"Oh... wait..." Veeno paused, putting his arm out in front of Neelix to stop him from moving forward. "She's finally awake..."
"Would you stop stalling and show me already? Knowing you, this is going to be one of the most hideous looking things you have ever seen and it's going to jump out at me as soon as it can see us."
"Hold on, man.. wait. I'll make it so it's viewable only one way." Veeno hit a button on the side of the door frame of the cell and she came into view. Neelix stopped goofing with Veeno and was speechless as he looked into the cell.

A small slender creature lay on the floor inside. She had long golden colored hair and her skin was very pale. Her brilliant green eyes were altered by the red and puffiness around them. She looked very tired. His lips had parted slightly as he stared in at her. Veeno grinned as he looked at him and whispered, "I told you..." She was looking up at them as she crawled to the side and slowly tried to stand, grasping at the wall for support. Her legs were shaking but she was able to at least keep herself up. She moved to the force field and tapped on it lightly, speaking out:

"---lo... pl---e is ---er so---on th-re?" Her voice was weak and raspy. Veeno looked at Neelix who just kept looking at her, placing a hand up on the force field. She gently reached out and touched the force field where Neelix had placed his hand. He smiled, but his eyes turned from surprise and interest, to concern as she gave up trying to stand and let herself slide back down the wall. Tears formed in her eyes and ran down her cheeks.

"Veeno... let down the force field.." Veeno looked at his friend with his brow raised, but did as he asked. The force field buzzed, cracked, and flickered away. Her head jerked up, her eyes now worse than they had been because of her tears. She wiped her eyes and looked back up at them. Her lips parted as she gasped and found the strength to quickly push herself away from them to the back of the cell. Her eyes wide with fear.

"Oh god... no no.." Neelix gasped aswell, moving slowly into the cell, letting himself fall to his knees. He slowly reached out to her but she had huddled herself up into the corner, tears forming in her eyes again. He moved a little closer but she covered her face with her arm, grasping fiercely for the blankets and bringing them up to cover herself. "Pl--ase --... -o no, do-t!" she yelped.

"Keep trying to get her to speak, Neelix." Veeno said encouragingly. "I'm understanding some of her but not all... and please be careful. I've cornered a few weak looking slaves before and they almost killed me..." Neelix was hardly paying attention to him. He just kept staring at her, a worried look in his eyes. He didn't want to scare her like this. She must have never seen another intelligent species before... otherwise why would she be acting like this? He wanted to touch her. Just place his hand on her shoulder to let her know it was ok but he was afraid to at the same time. Afraid he might hurt her or scare her into harming herself. "It's ok..." he whispered to her... "It's ok.. I wont hurt you..."

"Neelix... she can't understand you..."
"Then get me one of those damn translator units you stick in the ear!" Veeno's eyes widened a little. It wasn't often he saw Neelix like this. It wasn't often Neelix shouted at him, either. "We don't have any down here, Neelix, I'm sorry."

Neelix didn't bother to respond, instead he inched a little closer to her and very softly touched her arm. She flinched as he did but he didn't move away. He softly caressed her arm with the side of his finger, trying to let her know it was alright. She didn't move at first, and Neelix smiled softly, having hope maybe she was understanding he meant her no harm.. until the realization kicked in that, that was hardly the case. She jerked and shoved the blanket off and pushed past Neelix, shoving his arm away and crying out. She sprang up to her feet, stumbling once but recovered quickly. She shoved Veeno away as well and ran past him, right out of the cell.

Dumbfounded, Veeno yelled out, "Oh shit! Grab her! Grab her or I'm done for!" Her eyes darted around the room, finding a cracked door, she ran to it. As she grasped the heavy door and forced it open, Neelix, stunned by what had just happened, had finally managed to stand up and get out of the cell. Both him and Veeno saw her near the door and started rushing to her but it was too late. She slipped out and took off.

They both took off after her. She rushed down any hall that looked like a way out. Breathing heavy, eyes darting in every direction. Her heart pounding loudly in her chest, panic and adrenaline fueled her.

"Dammit, dammit, dammit, Neelix! Something bad just had to happen. Oh fuck me I'm screwed! ... I'm a dead man... they'll toss me out the nearest airlock!" Neelix didn't say a word until he saw a glimpse of her turning a corner. "I'll try and cut her off... she turned down that corner over there. Maybe I can..." His voice trailed off as he ran off in a different direction while Veeno, in complete panic, kept after her the same way.

She turned again and again around every corner she came to, hoping to lose them. Hoping she could get away. Find some way out of here. She glanced back behind her as she turned another corner, making sure she had lost them... but ran right into Neelix. He had cut her off perfectly. Knowing these halls. This station. He quickly locked his arms around her and she screamed out. Veeno could hear the screaming echo down the hall and another surge of panic shot through him. He went running in its direction, cursing to himself.

Veeno turned the corner and came to a sudden stop, finding Neelix on the floor holding onto the girl tightly. She was squirming in his arms but soon surrendered. All three of them were breathing heavily. Veeno was bent over with his hands on his knees, "I think I'm gonna be sick..." he said, more shaken up than tired. Neelix could feel the wetness of her tears against his skin as she cried out in defeat. He held her head against him, "shhh... shhhh..." he tried to calm her, rocking her gently. He slowly stood to his feet, holding her in his arms as he did and he and Veeno began walking back to the cell blocks.

As they entered, Veeno rushed into the back room, quickly returning with a small metal object. He moved the object up to the girl and Neelix moved her long hair aside, exposing her neck. He knew what Veeno was doing, and though he didn't want to, he knew it was for the best. Veeno pressed the object against her neck and pushed a button on the end of it. A small hiss from the device and she slowly felt her limbs become limp and more tired than she already felt. She slumped in his arms. He stroked the side of her head as she slowly drifted. Her little fingers weakly grasping at his shirt. She knew what they had just done. She didn't want to be sedated but it was too late. She kept whispering no over and over until she fell silent. Neelix carried her back into her cell and laid her softly down on the blankets. He grabbed another and covered her with it, gently caressing the side of her face. Wiping away the wetness from her cheeks.

"Thank the gods..." Veeno let out a huge sigh of relief.
"You're selling her in the auction tomorrow, aren't you..." Neelix asked and Veeno nodded slowly, "She'll become some disgusting alien's slave..." he tightened his eyes and continued to caress her cheek. Veeno lowered his head, "Someone rich, too... something as rare as her won't sell cheap..." Neelix sighed. He wanted more than anything to just take her back with him. Rescue her from her fate. He could take care of her... couldn't he? He was always alone so he had the privacy and space. An extra mouth to feed wouldn't be a burden for him. His mind raced with the possibilities. Maybe he couldn't take care of her... being a loner, he wouldn't know how to interact with her. He was lucky he even had Veeno as a friend, and that was because he was the only one willing to tolerate Neelix's solitary nature. He had even given up on dating because of it. Too busy or shy to even bother anymore. All those things, plus she was alien, too. He didn't even know what she would need to survive or if he could even get it for her. All those facts just hurt him more. Even if somehow he could have her, he didn't know the first thing about taking care of her. He never even owned a pet! What the hell was he thinking?!

"That just makes it worse..." Neelix sighed, "I... I can't stand to see that, Veeno.." He turned to his friend. Neelix looked lost and hurt. "I don't know what to do. I don't want that to become her life... she doesn't deserve it.." Veeno stared down at his friend, "To be fair, Neelix, nobody does. I deal with hundreds of slaves a year... not one of them deserves it..." Neelix sat down inside the cell beside her as she slept. The two didn't say a word for a long time.

Veeno finally approached him and gently placed his hand on Neelix's shoulder. "I'm sorry, Neelix... I should have never asked you to come..." Neelix let out another sigh, "No... I'm glad you did I just... I never expected this, ya know? I need to go, though," he said as he slowly stood, "I can't be here right now..." Veeno nodded his head slowly, and Neelix walked past him and out of the cell. Veeno turned to watch his friend leave and lowered his head with remorse.

Neelix couldn't sleep. He couldn't get her off his mind. All night he moved from one activity to another. Pacing about his living quarters. Thinking about her. He didn't understand why he felt this way but then remembering what had happened earlier, her fear, the look in her eyes and how he had held her, her tears soaking into his shirt. All reminded him why he did feel this way.

He sat down, placing his elbows on his knees and resting his head against his folded hands. "I feel so helpless..." he whispered to himself, "There must be something I could do..." Many ideas had come to mind but all of them would end up in him getting into serious trouble. If only I had the funds, he thought. I could go to the auction tomorrow morning and bid on her... maybe I could win... He paused his thoughts, lifting his head up from his hands and stared out ahead. An idea had finally struck him. "The funds..." he said aloud, the sound of his voice reassuring the conclusion he had finally come to. With determination in his eyes, he quickly stood and rushed to the door.

A loud banging echoed throughout Veeno's quarters, startling him out of sleep so abruptly that he ended up on the floor, dumbfounded. Untwisting himself from his blankets, he stood rubbing his head. "Shit, what the hell..." he said to himself as he worked his way over to the door. It slid open quickly, revealing his friend who looked surprisingly excited.. "Man..  It's seriously late... are you alright?" Veeno asked him.
"I have a way."
"What are you talking about?"
"I have a way to save her."
"What? How?"
"I'll sell my ship."
"What?!" Veeno choked, shocked.
"You heard me, Veeno..."
"Of course I heard you but what are you thinking? I know you don't want to see any harm come to her but really... sell your ship? Are you crazy?"

Veeno leaned his elbow against the door frame, resting his forehead against his palm, his gaze lowered, trying to take this all in. "I.. I know what that ship means to you, Neelix. You've been working on it for as long as I can remember. I think, even before you met me. Selling that ship shows a lot... proves a lot. Are you sure you want to give up something so important to you for an alien creature you don't even know?" He looked back at Neelix, searching his eyes for an answer. Trying to understand what his friend was thinking.
"You're right, Veeno, and anyone would find me incredibly stupid to do such a thing.. but if it isn't for being able to have her, then at least to stop her from a life of slavery. It's the right thing to do, I guess in a way I'm just benefiting from it but at least I'd be doing some good..."
Veeno nodded slowly, "Are you sure, though?" he asked. It was a noble thing his friend was doing. Or just really, really stupid. Either way, he somehow respected Neelix for it. He knew he could never make such a sacrifice, himself.
"Yeah, I'm sure... I'm just really concerned I wont be able to find a buyer on such short notice with the auction being this morning... or if I'll even get enough for it. What if someone outbids me?"
"I highly doubt that. I've never heard of a slave selling for more than a ship. They might come close but they wont surpass you. As for finding a buyer, you know almost everyone on this damn station is interested in that ship..."
"I really hope you're right, Veeno. If I take this chance... sell my very life. Everything I've worked so hard for and I can't even save her..." he covered his face with his hand.
"It's gonna be ok, Neelix. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure you don't get screwed over, especially since it's my own fault for asking you down there in the first place. And if you do, somehow get screwed, I'll be there for ya and you can kick my ass everyday for the rest of my life... how about that?" Neelix looked at him, unconvinced and Veeno grinned and moved his hand onto Neelix's shoulder.

Neelix slowly nodded. Purpose and hope strong in his heart.

‹‹ Chapter Two | Chapter Three | Chapter Four »

Sorry this took a little longer to get up but hopefully it will be worth the wait. c:

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Everything Under the Stars by Lady-Owl

Story © Lady Owl & H-Falcon, 2010 | Tumblr |
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The-Second-Brother's avatar
My one problem is: Neelix seems too good for this place :P  With his skills he should be able to make a living anywhere, at least it seems to me!
Unless of course, there's people out there who make him look like a slipshod greasemonkey :D A scary thought, but one I often encounter when people compliment me on my drawing, and I just think of folks who are so much better right.  So congrats I guess, you've got a sympathetic character here!  Good job
Lady-Owl's avatar
Funny thing about life: anyone can have talent or work hard to hone their skills, but not everyone can get opportunities. Sometimes you just gotta make the best of whatever shitty situation you find yourself in.
this story is really interesting you should get it published :D
Lady-Owl's avatar
Thank you, and perhaps one day, but I gotta finish it first! c:
Yea geuss you would lol can't publish a unfinished story, I like what your art too :)
DunkanBulksGurl's avatar
This story has me really interested.
DunkanBulksGurl's avatar
I really hope that there is more chapters after 20. I am very curious about what will happen to Heather and Neelix
Lady-Owl's avatar
Yup! EUTS is an ongoing work in progress so there will most certainly be future chapters and artwork coming! :heart:
DunkanBulksGurl's avatar
Alright :) I really did enjoy the chapters that I have already read
Lady-Owl's avatar
I am very glad to know that you have! Thank you. c:
DunkanBulksGurl's avatar
Multisheeplover's avatar
Omg, I love this! I usually don't read. Nothing keeps my attention. But this did! It was a great story line, perfect pace. Emotion, and the cute calling between Neelix and Heather! It was great! Adorable! :heart: I think I'm going to have to start reading these!
Lady-Owl's avatar
Thank you so much! I'm glad I was able to keep your attention! :heart:
Multisheeplover's avatar
Omg, X3 I love this! I usually don't read much. I get bored. But this kept my attention! It was so sweet, and a perfect pace! Neelix was adorable :heart: I'm going to have to start reading these!
Multisheeplover's avatar
Psh XD Ignore that. Delete it. Sorry...
aximilifaolan's avatar
AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW neelix is the SWEEETEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he reminds me of my own character, vardex, in a way, i guess....but OMG HE'S SOOOO SWEEET!!!!!!!!!!!!! :love: :love: :love: :heart: :heart: :heart:
SunPaint's avatar
This is soooo awesome. I have always had a secret alien love fantasy, and this totally makes me want an alien more.
Lady-Owl's avatar
Heh heh, well I am very glad to know you're enjoying the story! :heart:
Raygor's avatar
I am liking it so far. The setting in particular is very nicely described, gives a lot of base details that the imagination can build upon. Neelix and Veeno both come to life in these early chapters, as the dialogue between these two friends tells us a lot about the setting wherein they live their lives as well as their outlooks on life and the world they live in. Overall, I am quite impressed with their interaction and how it fleshes out the setting, and hope to see how their interaction with Heather continues on in the future chapters, bringing the human element into the mix.
Lady-Owl's avatar
Thank you, Slug. Your comment got buried in my inbox so that's the reason for the late reply. D:

Falcon actually found it first cause he likes to go back to my older submissions to check out any new comments I may have received and told me about it. I was like "Oh wow he finally read it? He must have been bored." =p

I'm hoping if you continue reading, that you'll be able to see my progression. It's almost been a year now since I started this and I think I've learned quite a bit with each new chapter. I go back to the first few chapters and I hold myself back from wanting to spend hours cleaning them up. XD
Liliesshadow's avatar
wow. is this anything in specific? cuz if it is you should put it on fanfiction!
Lady-Owl's avatar
No no, this is 100% my own work so unless fanfiction accepts original work, then I'm afraid I couldn't put it up there. D:
My-Fairy-Lust's avatar
omg the more I read the more i love this story
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