I didn’t come out of my room again until the next day when I had to go get my teeth fixed. We were all sitting in the cafeteria afterward when the governor came in with his son in tow. When I say he was ‘in tow’, I mean the governor had him by the scruff of his neck. He came up to our table and placed his son so that he faced me most directly, then he gave him a shake. I winced along with him; that little shake had to have hurt since the whole side of his face was purple.
“I’m sorry,” he said, through clenched teeth. “It won’t happen again.”
I wasn’t too sure I believed him. Sure, he wasn’t likely to challenge me again, but then again, I wasn’t likely to pass through this space station again. I looked at his resentful expression and suddenly had an insight into the reason behind it. I might regret this, but I thought I aught to try. I got to my feet and motioned him to follow me.
When we reached a spot where no one could overhear us, I asked, “Why don’t you come with us? You look like you could use a change of scenery.”
He looked at me in disbelief. “What makes you think I want anything more to do with you?”
“Suit yourself,” I said. I tried. I started back to my seat.
“You’re going to Earth,” he said to my back. “I can’t go there. I can’t even go to most asteroid colonies. I have enough trouble walking the strip here.”
I turned back to him and looked at his too thin form more closely. “I think I can help you . . . if you’re willing to try.”
He scoffed. I expected that. “You can’t help me; not unless you can give me a whole new body. Dad has taken me to so many doctors, I’ve lost count, and they all say I’ll never be comfortable under gravity. There’s a reason why it’s against the law to give birth to children anywhere other than on a main planet, and for children to spend no more than one year in five in space until they’re teenagers. My mother ran away with a miner before I was born. By the time father found her on some unnamed little pebble, I was already thirteen years old.”
I tried one more time. “I still think I can help you, but if you’re too scared to try then . . . well, I was going to say ‘I’ll be seeing you’, but I doubt I ever will.” I went back to my seat.