Read Theodore Online

Authors: Marcus LaGrone

Tags: #Furry, #Fiction


BOOK: Theodore
12.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub











Marcus J. La Grone




Theodore absentmindedly stroked the silky fur of his infant
sister, Abby, as she slept in his lap.  Next to him sat, half asleep as well,
his other young sister, Rose.  They had sat there for over three hours now,
waiting for a word, any word, about their parents.  The industrial furniture of
the lobby was padded well enough, but seemed ill suited for his Taik form.  It
seemed that the one universal constant across all lands, all planets, that such
furniture was always uncomfortable.   It was too short for the mighty Shukurae,
their three meter frames would have dwarfed it.  Too high for the Gelkin, their
stubby legs would have been dangling.  Theodore would have taken amusement that
the human couple across the lobby was likewise uncomfortable, even though the
furniture was unmistakably designed for human form, but he had no heart for
such pettiness.   He was scared, stranded on a distant world, and the only
family of his to be found were his two younger sisters who were both
desperately looking to him for strength and support.

Suddenly Rose sat upright and started nibbling on her long
tail.  Her soft white fur with its black rosettes trembled as did her long
black hair.  There was mild fear in her eyes and in her mannerism, but that
wasn't what had woken her.  Theodore laughed lightly, his own brown and black
fur rippled in the harsh light.  He recognized the look in his sister's eyes
and smiled gently to her, “The bathroom is straight across the lobby, where the
little blue sign is.  Go in on the left.”

Rose nodded and quickly bounded across the room leaving
Theodore with Abby.  He sighed as he watched what was left of the crowd fade.  
Theodore and his sisters had been an interesting distraction for most of the
others in the lobby.  With their fur coats, long tails and cat like features
they had been the source of amusement and curiosity for the other travelers as
everyone fought for a distraction.  No one wanted to think about what had just
happened, everyone just wanted to find a way back home.

He had to give credit to the designers and crew of the
starship: when the explosions ripped through the upper decks near the engines,
they were able to quickly isolate the damage and seal off the remaining decks
to protect the passengers and crew.  The ship had limped into this star system
on its own power but yielded to emergency transports to shuttle everyone to the
planet's surface.  Their parents had been on a different deck and had become
separated from them.  He took some comfort knowing that his parents’ deck had
been well clear of the fire and smoke.  He just wished they had landed at the
same port.  It was now painfully obvious that they must have been transported
to a different space port on the other side of the planet.  When taking
emergency shuttles, one couldn't be too picky.  At least his little sisters
were with him and not stranded with total strangers.  What should have been a
simple holiday from the university with his visiting family, had now become a

Theodore put on a practiced smile for Rose as she came
bounding back.  He carefully stood up, cradling Abby.  “Come on, let's check in
again and see if there is any word on the rest of the family.”  Rose smiled
back, more honestly than Theodore had, and took his hand as they approached the
kiosk again.

“Theodore Foxdale, right?” asked the human attendant in the
common trade tongue.  “No Taiks,  not here.  We start trace now, okay?  If we
no find, we transfer you hotel.”

Theodore grimaced at how badly the human butchered the
language.  It was a
language they were speaking and he was far
more fluent in it than the human.  There were hundreds if not thousands of
human languages, he had to remind himself.  For all he knew, the attendant
spoke a dozen languages flawlessly, it was just this one he was butchering. 
“Yes, please.”

“Names and ages, please.”

“Theodore Foxdale clan Blackford, age 17, Rose Foxdale, age
5,  Abby Foxdale, age four months.”

“Family name Foxdale or Blackford?”

“Foxdale.”  Well, Foxdale was the family name, trying to
explain clan names would only add unwanted confusion and confusion would serve
no one right now.

“Parents names?”

“Father, Aidden Foxdale.  First Mother, Fiona Foxdale. 
Second Mother, Emily Foxdale.  Third Mother Charlotte Foxdale.”

“Wait, wait, wait!”  the human attendant looked thoroughly
confused.  “Second mother?  Your father's ex-wife traveling with party?”

“No,” began Theodore as he chose his words carefully.  “They
are all part of the same family.  It's just one big family.”

“Which one is real wife?”

In spite of his best practice, Theodore could feel his blood
start to boil.  He didn't have time to explain Highland culture to someone that
barely could speak the human trade language.  He just wanted to find his family
and go.

“You're a Highlander from the planet Afon, aren't you?”
suddenly asked a teenage human girl with blessedly clean diction and grammar.

 “Yes, ma'am!”  Theodore replied, grateful for
who might help with the language barrier.  “If you could please help explain
the situation, we would be most appreciative!”

The girl grinned and started conversing with the attendant
in a different language with much gusto and speed.  Theodore didn't recognize
the language and he didn't care; he was just grateful for the help, any help!

“The other station on the other side of the planet has not
collated all of the emergency arrivals yet.  It is well past midnight over
there, so the clerk here doesn't think they will have a proper list for another
six hours.”

“Six hours?”  Theodore was more than a little dejected.  How
hard was it to type in a bloody list of people's names?

The girl hung her head apologetically, “Sorry, sir, I don't
know what to say.  It may be best to just get you to a hotel and get you a meal

Theodore bowed apologetically back to the girl.  It wasn't
her fault; she was just trying to pass on information and she
very helpful.  “I'm sorry, ma'am.  It has been a long and difficult day.  You
are correct: the first order of business is survival.  Help with the hotel and
meal cards would be greatly appreciated.”

She grinned back at him, “Um, you're welcome.  Just call me
Anna.  I'd be glad to help!”

Theodore smiled back, “Thank you again.  And please, just
call me Theodore.”

“Theodore, nice name,” she grinned and turned her attention
to little Abby.  “Oh, she's darling!  Is she yours?”

His ears flushed and his fur coat started to stand on end,
“Um, she's my little sister.”

Anna laughed at the confusion, “I'm sorry, I didn't mean to
embarrass you.  I've not been around many Taiks so I'm not the best at judging

Theodore grinned, “I'm just glad you are so very good at
languages and happen to come along.”

Anna flashed a quick smile as she returned her attention to
the attendant at the kiosk.  Theodore couldn't follow the conversation but it
was apparent, even from his removed position, that positive things were
happening: the attendant was smiling and dancing away on the computer and
stopped only to provide a short bit of information and a few pass cards to
smiling Anna.  “Okay, I think we have you three squared away until morning.  I
have a hotel pass for you, three meal cards and three taxi vouchers.  The people
at the hotel lobby should be able to coordinate the rest for you tomorrow

Theodore smiled broadly and bowed politely, “That was
wonderful of you.  I cannot begin to tell you how grateful we all are.”

Anna flushed and smiled back, “Hey, not a problem!  I was
glad I could help.  Here, give me a minute to run down my father and I'll lead
you down to the taxis and make sure they get you going in the right direction.”

“Take what time you need; we are in your debt.”

Anna laughed, “Hey, a girl can only blush so much; give it a
rest!  Come on, I'll introduce you to my father.”

“I'm sorry we interrupted you from meeting your father
earlier,” offered Theodore.

“If you don't stop apologizing I'm going to paint your fur
blue!” laughed Anna.  “I did get the expression right, 'paint your fur blue?'”

Theodore laughed, half at the joke and half at the wonderful
effort the young lady was making to bridge cultures.  “That is correct!”

Anna smiled as they walked, “It's okay, my dad was on call
here because of the accident.  He's a doctor who specializes in burns and
things associated with smoke inhalation.  Fortunately, it seems there was
little need of his service today.  I do volunteer work with Emergency Services
after school, so I've been here all afternoon, too.  Kinda scary when they call
out for help; always glad when things end up being boring.”  She suddenly
turned and looked Theodore square in the face, “I can hear you
don't you
thank me again!”

Theodore laughed, “I'm sorry if I am so predictable.”

“Ack!  You apologized again!” laughed Anna.  “Oh, do you
need help carrying the little one?  Abby was it?”

“Thank you, I'm fine,” replied Theodore with a broad smile. 
Suddenly he watched Anna's face make a subtle twitch, “Oh, I'm sorry, did you
to carry her?”

“Yes, please!”  she beamed and laughed lightly as Theodore
passed the infant over.  She cooed lightly at the child and then carefully
cradled her to her shoulder as they continued walking.  They passed several
long halls before entering a “restricted” area.  Anna swiped her card at the
door lock and the door opened on its own.  They passed several shorter halls,
full of a variety of medical types, packing away their equipment for the day. 
Many gave a quick shout out and wave to Anna as she walked by until they
finally approached a serious looking door labeled “triage.”  Anna pressed the
call button by the door and respectfully waited.

“Who is it?” came a serious but friendly female voice.

“It's Anna Westmore and friends.  Is my father free?”

“Oh hi, Anna!  Come on in, you father is just doing
paperwork!” came the cheerful reply.

The door opened like before and Anna led them in.  A nurse
at the call desk smiled and waved to Anna and pointed her to the main room. 
Anna smiled and nodded back just as an elderly adult human exited the far
room.  From the broad smiles it was obvious to all that the man in question was
her father.  He carefully hugged her, dodging the sleeping infant.  “It seems
you have a new charge there, Anna!”

Anna grinned and gently rocked the infant, “Her name is
Abby.  I was helping Theodore here and his two sisters with the clerk.  The
clerk's trade tongue was... bad... and his cultural skills lacking.”  Her brief
frown flittered away as she suddenly brightened turning to Theodore, “Theodore,
this is my father, Dr. Westmore.  Dad, this is Theodore Foxdale and his
sisters, Rose and Abby.”

Dr. Westmore smiled and smartly shook Theodore's hand, “Glad
to meet you, just call me Thomas.  Sorry we couldn't meet on better terms.”

Theodore smiled honestly, “Delighted to meet you regardless,
sir.  And your daughter especially, she was incredibly helpful dealing with the

“Always glad to hear she's done her planet proud,” he
offered with a fatherly smile.  “Your accent, you're not Kulpgurie are you.”

“No, Dad!” interjected Anna.  “They are Highlanders from

Dr. Westmore laughed, “That would explain it!”  His eyes
suddenly narrowed, “You are a long way from home, lad.”

Theodore nodded, “All too clear to me, sir.  My family came
up to visit me for midterm holiday.  We decided to do a little sightseeing
since they had never been off planet, and well...”

“Things got scary fast,” finished Dr. Westmore with a
frown.  “Don't worry, there have been
reports of fatalities to the
passengers.  People are just scattered across three landing zones.  They should
sort it all out by morning.”  His brow suddenly wrinkled, “Midterms, so you
were studying off world?”

“Yes sir,” replied Theodore proudly.  “I'm a second year at
Phillips-Grauer University.”

“Second year?  How old are you?” he fished with a broad

“Seventeen sir.  I started at sixteen on the TetzWeyr
Foundation scholarship,” beamed Theodore.

“You are a sharp,
lad!” grinned Dr. Westmore.

“Can they join us for supper?” interrupted Anna gleefully. 

   Dr. Westmore laughed and tussled his daughter's hair.  “I
was, in fact, getting ready to invite them.  Call your mother and warn her we
have guests.  That is if you would care to join us?”

“We'd be delighted, sir,” replied Theodore with a broad
grin.  Out of adversity comes hope and life.  Theodore was determined to
salvage what he could of the trip.  If not for his sake, but to expose little
Rose to a positive view of other peoples.

Theodore soon found himself with Rose and Abby in the
parking garage of the space port.  Theodore was surprised and relieved that Dr.
Westmore produced an infant car seat from the trunk and carefully fitted it in
the back seat.

Anna must have noticed the expression on Theodore's face, “Hey,
my mom and dad do volunteer work all the time.  A good safe car seat is a

“I'm just surprised that it fits little Abby's tail.  Not
often you see cross species safety equipment.”

“Hey, it's a
port!” grinned Anna.  “Here, help
me with the booster seat for Rose.”

BOOK: Theodore
12.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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