Aldin studied the thin cast on his arm. It was some sort of plastic polymer and blended in with his fur color. It was very light weight, yet very strong. It could support his full weight without any pain or stress to the broken bone. He was as fascinated by it as he had been about the 3-D printer they had put his arm in to make it. That printer was better than anything they had back at Nahmakanta and much quicker too. Thanks to the strength of that cast, he was able to climb up into the hovercraft on his own, though a bit awkwardly because they had to cast the whole arm and not just the section that broke. It made him wish he knew their language. He had so many questions for them as he was sure they had for him.
He gentle tapped the windshield, well dome, as the whole top of the vehicle was covered by it. It didn’t have the sound of glass. Must be some sort of plastic. He didn’t want to distract Orlan while he piloted the vehicle, so he turned to Aouphril. “In English,” he tapped the dome, “dome made of plastic.” He switched to (chitter)speak. “Name you speak?”
She glanced at Orlan who didn’t need to actually pilot once he programmed into the navigation where he wanted to go. “Do you think he means the wind dome or what it is made of?”
“Could be both.”
They turned to Aldin. Aldin pointed to the dome, indicating the whole dome and said in English, “Dome…windshield.” He then tapped it and his cast. “Plastic.”
“It’s a funny language. I think he has more than one word for it.” Aouphril pointed to the wind dome, to indicate all of it. “Wind dome.”
“Win..dohm.” Aldin repeated.
Aouphril nodded. She tapped it. “Plastic. Well type of plastic.” Aldin swished his tail waiting.
Orlan, quipped in, “Stick to simple for now. Go with plastic, as it is easier than clear polycarbonate.”
“Plas-tic paul-e-car-bon-it,” Aldin repeated before Aouphril could choose which to say. He smiled. “Win-dohm,” pointing to the whole of it. “Plas-tic paul-e-car-bon-it,” tapping it and his cast. “English, Dome or windshield, plastic.”
“He’s trying to learn our language.”
“Aldin not wild an-i-mal. Not wild coh-zin. Louck wild coh-zin.” He switched back to (chitter)speak, “Here,” he pointed to his head, “like Orlan, Ohfril. Need learn you speak.”
They were quiet for a while. They had been at the clinic longer than planned and the sun had set a few klicks before. Aouphril gazed up at the night sky. She always loved star gazing.
“Do you star gaze, Aldin?” She asked.
Orlan translated it to, “Aldin look night light points?” and held his tail in a brief question mark (curiousflick).
“Night light points far suns. Yes,” he paused as he looked up and then chattered nervously as he stared. “Not home night light points,” he paused, “In you speak, stars.”
Orlan translated. Aldin did his best to repeat it. “What mean?” Orlan asked.
Again, Aldin chattered nervously. “No right words (chitter), need learn you speak.” he paused thinking a moment using the local language for stars and (chitter)speak for the rest. “Stars wrong place.”
They both looked at him. He pantomimed with his arms and forepaws holding a finger against the other palm and scribbled it back and forth.
“I think he wants something to draw with,” Aouphril said. She pulled out her handheld flat panel, and opened a drawing program. She showed Aldin how it worked by touch.
“Thahnck you,” he replied recalling the words used in the clinic on his behalf thanking the rabbit doctor as he started to etch-out the night sky, being careful to use the pads of his fingers fearing he’d scratch it with his claws. He didn’t take long. He knew he only needed to draw a few stars to get the point across. He then indicated to hold it up to compare to the stars above them.
They both stared as Aldin pointed out the differences between the stars and what he drew. Where the “Frying pan” constellation was he drew what looked more like a box or maybe it was a cooking pot with a rather crooked handle where the handle on the “Frying pan” was nearly straight. He showed them how to use the end of the box to find another star. The one he drew was faint unlike the one near that spot above them, which was one of the brightest in the sky. If it was as dim as what he indicated, it made sense to use other stars to find it. He pointed to that star in his drawing and indicated they should twirl the flat panel to show that it stayed in place in the night sky as the other constellations rotated around it. So, that dim star was the north pivot star like the bright one in their sky. They glanced again at one another and then at Aldin. He could see they were nervous based on their body language.
“You aren’t from here,” Orlan caught himself and switched to (chitter)speak. “This not Aldin home.”
“Yes, try tell no right words (chitter). Not home,” he made a circle in the air before him. “No mean nest home. All home. Big home.”
Aouphril stared a moment. “Orlan, I think he means this isn’t his world.” Still wide eyed, she pulled-up a satellite photo of the world on her flat panel and showed it to Aldin. “World,” she said.
“Yes!” Aldin exclaimed and hugged her. “Aldin not from Orlan Ohfril world.” He then drooped his tail and used a mixture of their language and (chitter)speak, “Aldin, chatscreechatchir (lost far) my world.”
The hovercraft came to a stop in front of Aouphril’s home and gently floated to the ground as it powered down. As they got out, Orlan asked the same question he asked earlier that day in (chitter)speak, “How Aldin come here?”
Aldin sighed. “No right words (chitter).” He pointed to the entry door of Aouphril’s home as she opened it. He stood outside. “My World,” he pointed around himself. He grabbed the edge of the door and nearly closed it. He then opened it quickly, switching back to (chitter)speak. “Bright light,” he then went through the doorway, “Aldin fall,” and closed it most of the way before reopening it, “thunder.” He darted into Aouphril’s entryway. “Land hard,” and switching back to their language as he spread himself out on the floor, “Orlan Ohfril world.”
There was a bit of fear in both Orlan’s and Aouphril’s eyes. They conversed quietly. Aldin waited patiently. They then turned back to him. Before either of them could say anything, Aldin spoke.
“Aldin not wild coh-zin. Like Orlan, Ohfril,” he pointed to his head with his tail as he switched back to (chitter)speak, “here. Orlan, Ohfril tell Elders Aldin not from here. Elders take Aldin away.”
There were tears in Aouphril’s eyes. “Yes. No choice.”
Again, Aldin took her hand into his forepaws and patted it like the previous day. “Is okay,” he spoke in English. He turned to Orlan and said it again, “Is okay.” He yawned and switched to (chitter)speak. “No words (chitter),” switching to their language, “for,” and then English, “Is okay.” He drooped his tail and finished in (chitter)speak, “Elders do same Orlan Ohfril land my home. Aldin sleep first?”
“Yes, we all sleep first,” Orlan replied. Aldin repeated it slowly. Orlan indicated he wanted to talk to Aouphril alone. Aldin nodded and went in.
“There is no choice, Aouphril,” he said as he brushed tears from her eyes. “At least he seems to understand. When I get back to my apartment, I’ll make the call as soon as I figure out who we should contact. Or I’ll wait until morning at the latest.” He paused and looked in her eyes, “Will you be alright alone with him, or do you want me to stay here with you.”
“Aldin isn’t a threat. I’ll be fine. I just hope he will be alright.”
“Me too. If what he said is true, he must be really scared deep inside. How would you react if you found yourself in a strange place without even a common language?”
She nodded. “This place was a little strange compared to home when I moved here for college, Orlan. But at least we all speak the same language. I don’t think I could remain that calm if I was in Aldin’s place.”
They hugged and he got into his hovercraft. Aouphril entered her home as he pulled away. She found Aldin already fast asleep curled-up on one of her sitting cushions. He had left her hammock alone so she could have it.