He squeezed it and watch the blood slowly squirt out. It dripped down his finger and temporarily stained his dry skin. Dex clenched his fist and flinched when he heard another sound; soft footsteps, almost too quiet to hear.
"Hello?" Dex asked tensely. It didn't make any sense for there to be footsteps in a gravity free room. He was sure he had imagined that. Something had just fallen. He gripped the corner of the shelves and peeked around the corner. His eyes still hadn't adjusted very well; all he could see was a bunch of shapes and shadows of things.
He pushed himself away from the shelves boldly, now certain that he was alone in the room; the idea of footsteps was just silly. The idea of someone in here was even sillier, and he was old enough not to freak himself out like that. He was about to go tell Marty that everything seemed to be stable enough in there to not have to tie down anything when he heard a loud bump.
He whirled, expecting to see a metal box or something near a shelf, but instead he saw two eyes shining at him from the shadowy corner. Dex automatically kicked off of the object nearest him and flew into the wall behind him. He banged his head against a sharp corner.
The pain made him stop and think. He had a gash on the back of his head, probably bleeding. He groaned out loud, forgetting to be scared of whatever was in there with him, and lifted his hand to feel. Good; it wasn't a gash and it wasn't bleeding. An overreaction. He would have a bruise back there, maybe a mild headache later. Or a severe headache now; either way, he would be fine. But now, more importantly; what was back there? What - or who - was watching him?
"Hello?" he asked. His voice cracked. Great. He actually sounded scared.
He thought he heard a deep breath, like someone had thought about talking and then changed their mind. He took a step forward, his eyes finally starting to adjust to the dim light in the room. He had dropped his flashlight somewhere, so he couldn't shine it at the person/thing that was hiding in the corner. Or, he assumed that he or she was hiding in the corner. He peered and tried to see the eyes, or at least a body that went with them.
He couldn't see anything. Hesitantly, Dex took a step forward.
"Hello?" he said again.
A quiet voice answered him.
"Hello." a very, very soft voice.
"Come out where I can see you!" Dex demanded.
He heard things moving around and being knocked into the shelves and walls.
Dex kicked off frantically from the wall he was closest to and looked around for his flashlight. He didn't see it anywhere. He looked up, now looking for the person/thing that had answered him, and then he saw her.
She had a small frame and was clenching the vertical make-up of one of the shelves, now on the other side of the room. He couldn't see what she was wearing, or what color her hair or eyes were; only that she was huddled there like a scared animal.
As she turned her head, he saw the light shining in her eyes.
"Come on out," said Dex, trying to sound stern. He didn't succeed. He liked to think he was too nice a person to be mean to someone that was scared, but he wasn't sure if that was the reason.
She paused, and slowly began to emerge from behind the shelf, but paused again, as if waiting for something. "It's alright," Dex assured her.
She shook her head; her hair looked like it was wavy, or curly, or something. A little bit different from anything he had seen before. Yeah, it was definitely different.
"Are you the Captain?" she asked.
Dex was surprised by this question; but he answered quickly anyway.
"No, I'm not."
"Who are you?" she asked.
"Dex," he said, unable to think of anything impressive to say.
"Are you the writer?" she asked.
She emerged some more from behind the shelf.
"You're the mechanic, maybe?" she asked. She sounded hopeful, like she wanted to be right.
"That's right," said Dex, confused. How had she known that?
"You like to fly the ship, though." she said it like a guess.
Dex frowned; he wasn't sure what to make of this. It seemed really weird; and he should be asking her the questions, not the other way around.
"Who are you?" he asked, trying to sound stern again.
"Xarryn," she answered. "Xarryn Shaa."
"Zarin Shaw?" asked Dex, trying to get the pronunciation right.
"That's close enough," she said, but the humor that should have been in her voice wasn't there.
"What are you doing here?" asked Dex, taking a step forward. She withdrew all the way back behind the shelf.
"It's alright," he assured her. He would just have to give up being stern. It wasn't working, and if it did he would only scare her.
"I'm not going to hurt you," he added.
"The Captain will be...angry," she said.
"Why?" asked Dex, although he was thinking that it wouldn't take a whole lot to make Marty mad.
"I'm not really supposed to be here," she explained.
"A stowaway," Dex whispered.
She nodded, an action he could barely see behind all of the junk floating around the shelves.
"Yes," she whispered back.