Drexel says I'm the best crew he ever had, but that I've got a lot to learn.
He says that with alarming frequency. He doesn't seem to respect me, either, says "Crew" was a stupid name to choose for myself. I've never had the nerve to explain to him why I did. You see, the story of Ulysses inspired me. Until I heard of him, I'd never even known humans existed. I understand now that this was pretty common, when the legends first started to circulate.
On my world, we have a dearth of great stories. Yet I grew up in a home that gathered them like precious stone. I'm not even sure my parents understood what they had, but as a child I devoured these stories greedily, reading them over and over again. When I was young they were my best friends, and as I grew older, I didn't stop to think how peculiar this made me. Yet I suppose I've been peculiar, because of it, all my life.
So to hear Drexel talk to me like that isn't so strange. He's the best friend I've ever had, regardless.
As I grew, I came to realize just how few stories there really were on my world. I'm not talking good ones and bad ones, but the sum total of them. I don't know if it was a tradition that died too early, r was simply beyond the ken of my kind. When I began to learn the stories of other worlds, when I stowed away on my first alien freighter, I discovered there were such things as bad stories. I guess it was both blessing and curse that my people had grown so limited. The stories I'd known, for the record, remain among the best I've ever known.
The thing is, the legends of Ulysses were better. They were intoxicating. I learned them at the same time they were spreading throughout the galaxy, soon after the events themselves had unfolded, or so they say. I don't know, and frankly, I don't care. I will never meet Ulysses. I don't have that kind of luck, and as far as I know, he's dead now anyway. The newer legends are more fanciful, more refined. Which is to say, they have no basis in reality.
But they still led me onward. I learned all about Earth, and began feasting on its literary bounty immediately. I say, have you heard of the writer named Albert Drexel? Secretly, I think that's how Drexel got his name. But he'd never admit it.
The thing is, it wasn't just the literature that consumed me, but the culture. I learned to speak English without the benefit of a translator patch. Every word of it I speak drives Drexel crazy. I particularly liked the sound of "crew," and how it pertained to the skills I acquired over the years, so I adopted it as my new name. The old one, as they say, is mostly unpronounceable by outsiders.
Drexel is a fair captain, and it's an honor to serve alongside him on his salvage runs. The Republic is a decent ship, besides, but I'm not taking kindly to, well, that lunatic robot Drexel took aboard a few weeks back. These days I'm feeling uncomfortably superfluous. But I guess time will tell?
"But this is not the story," says Kindly.