Author's Notes: Etaipos is the young man who was introduced in How To Select Your Mate. Anything in italics is thoughts. And this time I know that I've got it right. I've learned a bit of HTML and fixed my other stories so if you end up re-reading them, it might make more sense now. This story will be in two parts.
I would also like to dedicate this story to my husband who went through pretty much the same ordeal with my family when he first came to America. :)
Chapter 1 Feeling Like An Outsider
"So this is the Wastelands?" asks Etaipos as he looks around the barren area. "Impressive," he says with a curt nod of his head to the others.
Their traveling group includes Loviisa, her parents and brother, and Rodan. He turns back to them with a large smile and states, "I was quite excited when Loviisa broached the subject of accompanying you on your trip."
Excited, huh? I wonder what they were doing? wonders Andrain with a smirk.
Shut up, Andrain! projects Loviisa.
Andrain sends back, Or what? You'll read me the riot act instead of just reading my mind?
Such as it is, returns Loviisa.
Hey! he shouts in her mind.
At that point, both Leela and Andred turn and give them withering glares. Andrain and Loviisa look back at their parents and then at each other before transmitting in unison, Sorry.
Etaipos eyes the siblings suspiciously as he continues, "It will be a true honor and privilege to meet your friends."
Leela smiles fondly at recalled memories. "They began as friends but now they are our family."
Andred spies Nesbin, Presta and Jasko making their way towards them and he waves back in greeting. He turns to Etaipos and explains, "Now that the Capitol is allowing use of the transmit for interplanetary travel, we're able to visit them as often as we'd like."
Nesbin and Presta come over and embrace Andred and Leela while Jasko strides over to Rodan. Laughingly, Nesbin says, "We'll run out of room if your numbers keep growing."
Jasko leans down and whispers in Rodan's ear, "You're more than welcome to bunk down with me."
Rodan blushes sweetly and surprises them both with her answer. "I might just take you up on that offer."
Jasko returns her shy smile with a wolfish grin as Presta and Leela watch them and glance at each other knowingly.
Nesbin stalks over to Etaipos and gives him an appraising look. He clutches his spear menacingly and growls, "I'm sure this is your first trip out here. How do you think you'll fare?"
Etaipos grins broadly and replies, "Oh, I've been researching everything on Televid to familiarize myself with the habits of the wildlife indigenous to this particular area. I'm sure that I'll be quite capable of handling any obstacles that may arise."
Nesbin barely holds back a bark of laughter as he replies, "Well, good for you." He then turns to Andred and sends him a telepathic inquiry. He doesn't seem to comprehend the true threat here. He does realize that we're going to see if he's deemed worthy of our Loviisa, doesn't he?
Andred gives Nesbin a wry look and sends back, Not a clue. We tried to explain to him how protective her appointed guardians are, but…well…Let me put it this way. Academically, he's absolutely brilliant, but emotionally…not a clue.
Nesbin's eyebrows practically rise to his hairline as he considers this revelation. He turns to the boy and says, "I have just one bit of advice to offer you. Any pellets that you might find on the ground are not food tablets."
Etaipos mulls over this piece of information before asking in confusion, "Then what else would they be?"
Nesbin clasps his shoulder as he begins to steer him towards the Outsiders settlement. "We can't take all of the discovery out of your first trip, now can we?" he asks with a wide smile.
The others quickly follow behind them and spend the next few hours settling into the camp.
It's midday when Loviisa finds her mother watching her father with what she considers an inappropriate gleam in her eye. For years now, Andred had taken to wearing the garments fashioned out of animal skins whenever they stayed in the Wastelands. His attire not only reminded Leela of her life with the Sevateem, but tended to bring out the more feral side of her passionate nature.
"Mother, please!" scolded Loviisa. "Show a little decorum!"
Leela slowly drags her eyes away from her husband and asks, "Like you did earlier with Etaipos?"
Loviisa isn't quite able to meet her mother's eyes and nervously replies, "I don't believe I know what you are referring to."
Leela laughs incredulously at her daughter. "Then let me explain it to you. I am referring to when you asked Etaipos to stand guard for you as you bathe. Don't think I'm not aware of what you're planning, Loviisa. You were raised out here. It's far more likely that Etaipos will be the one requiring protection from you."
Loviisa's look of mortification morphs into a scowl when Andrain walks by and says, "Oh, you little vixen! What will Father have to say?"
His sister glares at him as she retorts, "Say one word about this to anybody else and I'll tell all of your Citadel sweethearts how the girls out here have more than one type of predator that they have to fend off."
Andrain opens his mouth and then quickly closes it, looking to his mother for assistance. Leela shakes her head back and forth while holding her hands up in the air, indicating her refusal to join their argument. She releases a sigh as she spies Andred chopping wood in the distance.
Andrain storms off with Loviisa trailing behind him, still issuing threats. Leela's attention is finally drawn away from her husband as an arrow lands a few feet in front of her on the ground.
Presta walks over to Leela and sits down beside her. "Rodan's aim seems to be off today," states Presta. "Perhaps you should go back to teaching her, Leela. She was doing so well under your instruction."
They watch as Jasko helps Rodan pull back another arrow on her bow. Leela turns to Presta and replies, "I would be more than happy to offer my advice but I think Rodan has her eye on a different target just now."
Both women break into laughter as they watch Nebin push Etaipos out of the way of another one of Rodan's errant shots.
Etaipos picks himself up and dusts himself off. He turns to Nesbin and says, "Thank you, sir. Your assistance is most kind." He begins brushing small brown patches off of his clothes and declares, "I do believe that I've found some of those pellets that you were telling me about earlier."
Nesbin wrinkles his nose as he takes a step back and concurs, "Yes, you have." Nesbin watches they boy examine the crumbling patches as he continues his interrogation. "So, what are your plans once you graduate from the Academy?"
Etaipos wears a smug smile as he answers, "I'm going to be a Surgeon General. In fact, I fully intend one day to be the Surgeon General for the high council as well as maintaining my own practice for the Capitol's residents. Just my small contribution to ensuring our world's future."
Nesbin regards him curiously. He's not quite sure if the boy is being arrogant or is truly eager to help Gallifrey and its people. He likes the boy. He prefers to believe it's the latter.
Etaipos continues, "Of course with my grades, I have the luxury of selecting any career of my choosing. The instructors were most helpful with their advice, all except for one." He can barely speak the next words for his laughter. "He actually had the audacity to suggest that I become a traffic controller. That's the worst job ever! I'm much too good for that."
The Outsider's leader watches Rodan's reaction to this statement out of the corner of his eye as he murmurs, "I see." He pulls Loviisa's beau away from the archery site as Jasko tries to stop Rodan from shooting the arrow straight at Etaipos.
Nesbin's hurrying Etaipos along as he hears Rodan growl out, "The nerve of that…that…moronic, imbecilic…student! That bean tin!"
The last strains of Jasko and Rodan's conversation reach Nesbin's ears before they're completely out of earshot. "What's a bean tin?" asks Jasko in confusion.
Rodan quits struggling as Jasko finally wrestles the bow and arrow away from her. "I don't know," she says in exasperation. "It's an expression that the Doctor taught me."
Nesbin glances over at Etaipos and then looks straight ahead as he says, "Andred and Andrain are joining us for the hunt today. I was thinking that you might want to come along."
Etaipos stops dead in his tracks with an incredulous look and a smile shining so brightly, that it could rival Gallifrey's twin suns. "Really?" he asks hopefully. "Are you sure that I won't be in the way?"
"I'm sure. And don't worry about anything attacking you. We'll watch out for you." He places a hand on Etaipos' shoulder and gives it a firm squeeze. "We always take care of our own."
For once, Etaipos is speechless and he's unable to do anything more than nod as they walk over to join the others.
Three hours later….
Loviisa walks over to her mother and Presta asking, "Have either of you seen Etaipos? I can't find him anywhere."
Presta answers, "He went out with Nesbin and the others to hunt for food."
Loviisa becomes panic stricken. "What?"
Leela replies, "Relax, Loviisa. He'll be fine. As long as it's only food that they're hunting for."
Presta breaks out in a laugh while Loviisa shoots her a disgruntled look. "What?" she inquires. "It was funny."
Leela looks past Loviisa and sees the hunting party approaching the grounds. She tells her daughter, "Leave Presta alone. They've just returned and Etaipos is fine."
Loviisa runs over to the men with her arms outstretched and both Andred and Nesbin return her gesture. She throws her arms around Etaipos's neck and gives him a kiss on the cheek declaring, "Etaipos! I'm so glad you're back! I was so worried!"
Both Andred and Nesbin turn to each other with sad faces that seem to say, "That used to be me."
Loviisa soon notices that Etaipos's hand is wrapped in a bandage and exclaims, "Oh, no! You're injured! Are you alright?"
Etaipos beams with masculine pride and declares, "Yes, I am." He holds his arm up high in the air and loudly proclaims, "I have a scratch!"
The majority of the Outsiders bite the inside of their cheek so they won't laugh at the boy as nobody wishes to hurt his feelings. The remaining members of the tribe simply vanish or handle their laughter more discreetly.
Still trying to assure herself of his well-being, Loviisa asks Etaipos, "How did it happen?"
"It happened during one of the kills. I was the bait," he replies innocently.
Loviisa, Presta and Leela seem to surround Andred and Nesbin all at once.
"What?" questions Nesbin in their defense. "He said he wanted to help. Besides, he enjoyed seeing a close up look at the wildlife."
Trying to aid their cause, Andred contributes, "Honestly, there was no need to worry. I had my staser trained on him the entire time."
"I just bet you did," Loviisa grits out between clenched teeth.
The men can't understand why their statements haven't appeased their women. Their eyes widen further as they watch an arrow fly past and narrowly miss Etaipos's head. Nesbin can hear Rodan muttering, "And you'd think with a target that big…"
Etaipos turns to Loviisa and whispers, "That woman is a menace, Loviisa. The target is way over there and still her arrows manage to seek me out. It seems that an afternoon's worth of practice hasn't done her a bit of good."
"I know," Loviisa whispers back. "And you would think that being a traffic controller would give her a better sense of direction."
"What?" squeaks Etaipos as he turns pale. He looks over at Rodan who is still clutching her bow and glaring daggers at him. He is very relieved when he notices Jasko and Nesbin hiding the remaining arrows. Thankfully, Rodan does not.
Desperate to break the tension, Etaipos tries to start up a conversation. "So, Loviisa," he begins agitatedly, "you told me that due to Sevateem tradition that you have two male and two female appointed guardians instead of just the one, as is the custom on Gallifrey."
"Yes, that's right," she replies as she nods her head. "The Sevateem appoint two guardians instead of one in case one of the guardians loses their life in a hunt or in a fight."
Etaipos says, "I know that Presta and Rodan are your female guardians and that Nesbin is one of the male guardians, but you never told me who is your other appointed male guardian."
A deep timbre interrupts the conversation and states, "That would be me."
To be continued….