Part Two - 17 - Hopper

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"Captain's log, entry 305. The weirdest thing happened yesterday. I know, weird is my day to day life, but this time, even I got taken by surprise. We were scavenging an abandoned mine, on an Ushu planet called Mulsong, when we found a kid. He was alone on that rock, in the middle of the ocean, famished and dehydrated. I first thought he was dead. But when I got closer, the brat actually bit me! He jumped on me like a red-eyed demon. I swear, if the wound gets infected, I'm going to shoot him. He is a wild and nervous creature. He keeps jumping at every sound and movement. The twins call him Hopper. He doesn't speak English, and our Kori is rudimental at best. For now, he took up residence in the engine room and refuses to mingle with the rest of the crew. I will have to figure out what to do with him. Log entry over."

"That damn sand is getting everywhere," growled Hopper.

He was laying on the dusty and dry ground of an abandoned planet, under a rover he was trying to repair.

"Come again?" said a female voice, Jessie's, through the open line in his earpiece.

"I have sand up in my butt crack," he said, louder this time.

"Sexy," came Memphis' voice with a laugh.

Hopper ignored him. His throat was also dry. The air on this hostile planet felt like gulping hot dust straight out of a bottle. No wonder the colonists had enough and gave up their independent colony. What stupid idea made them come here in the first place? As bad as planets went, this one was pretty shitty. But thanks to the settlers' bad choices, that ended up with them running away, tails between their legs, a lot of good stuff was left behind to scavenge. Like this rover Hopper was working on.

They had left the planet Texas two weeks ago, and this job was the only one they could find that kept them under the radar. Half the universe was still after them since the bounty on the captain's head had doubled after their little adventure in Charleston-XV.

Kala was now entirely healthy again, bless the stars, and was working on the med bay, to make it more efficient during those kinds of situations. Their own small hospital on board.

Thinking about Kala made his heart flutter and his body go hot. Which wasn't helping considering the already scorching heat of the desertic planet. Since their moment in the forest, they had been stealing kisses whenever they could in the ship. It hadn't been easy, considering the six other very nosy crew members sharing the space. So far, they had managed not to get caught by anyone, except the twins that first time. But they knew they were pushing their luck. He had no idea what the captain would do once he discovered their little romance. Not that it mattered much. Whatever might happen, Hopper refused to back down.

He finished twinking the old rover and crawled out of under it in the dirt, cursing loudly.

"Language!" came the captain's voice through the line this time. "Do you kiss your daddy with that dirty mouth?"

"Daddy never let me kiss him. He is too grumpy for that," said Hopper.

A disagreeable radio static noise resonated on the line. It was Lucas's way of giving his opinion without having to actually talk. Hops laughed before muting his mic and climbing in the old dusty rover to see if it now worked. He turned the key and the engine came back to life. He whooped.

He touched his bracelet again and said, "The rover is working. It doesn't look like much, but those old models are tough. We can sell it for a good price on another independent colony."

"Good job," said Allan. "If you are done with it can you do a perimeter check? Those damn monsters are trying to push their luck again."

"Okay. Will do," said Hopper before dropping his hand.

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