She was only 40% lying about why she was leaving. Wren did want adventure and she did want to make a difference in the universe. Educating children on some backwater planet would certainly accomplish both. The other reason though, the one that had worry crinkling around her mother’s eyes, had to do with her radical past.
She’s not sure a student reading group from her University days could be considered radical but it seemed like someone was filling their quota. Two of her former cohort had already been arrested, Lira had been sent to Selene.
Which is how she found herself on a Dandelion Ship. Officially the pod-like structure was designed with safety in mind. Should they find themselves lost in deep space all the little hulls surrounding the main bridge would detach, like the seeds off a Dandelion, had enough fuel to get them to safety and then radio help for the others. However, she wasn’t so naďve not to know that they were the prime choice for smugglers and that she was brought on board to give them a veneer of respectability. The maiden school teacher with her long skirts, braided hair and nose in a book with a cup of tea. It was beyond the realm of possibility that she would be up to no good. It would take a month for them to reach her new permanent home. A month of them pushing her in front of any and all officials while they hid the loot.
In the end, they saved her life. The ship had been lured into the planets orbit by space age wreckers. By the time the Captain gets wise the only thing he can do is release the pods. Wren had been reading in her room when suddenly she was trajected towards the surface, her throat in her stomach for only a moment before the ship righted itself, auto pilot came on and she landed with little fuss.
That was only the beginning of her problems. The pod landed far away from the danger of the wreckers, but it also landed far away from everything else and suddenly Wren wished that she had taken dinner in her room or that she had stored bottles of water rather than tea bags and Christmas wine that the outer provinces were unlikely to have.
She spent two days sweltering in the desert, her belly cramping for want of water and shivering as the night sank into freezing temperatures.
As the sun rose on the third day and she scrambled to bask in it's first milky rays, she thinks that death has come for her. He certainly doesn't look like an angel, but he doesn't attack. Instead, he offers her water, shaking the canteen at her so she can hear the liquid sloshing instead. When she takes a step, he takes one back. After a few of these, she curses him but still follows and she realizes that he's leading her away like she's a stray dog. About ten steps and he gives her the canteen, before rifling through her things. The water tastes too good for her to bring up much of an objection and instead sucked down every drop. By the time he's finished he had two bags slung over his shoulder and his pockets bursting with her goods. For a moment Wren thinks that he may kill her, that he no longer has any use for her, or worse that he still does.
Instead, like he did with the water, he offered up a bit of what Wren hoped was food. Again when she took a step forward, he took a step back. This time he gave it to her when they were out of sight of her craft. Away from her shelter and her last chance of getting outside help. Instead, she followed a stranger into a wasteland. Perhaps, Wren mused on the long walk, that she had bumped her head on her crash landing. That could be the only reason she would do something so foolish.
The sun was making the desert bake, but the heat did little to banish the cold fear that rolled over her like waves. He still hadn't spoken, to give her any indication of what awaited her, still he hadn't made any aggressive moves towards her either. When she lagged behind, he would offer her water or food or let her rest for a few minutes at a time before clicking his tongue for her to follow.
Forty-five minutes into their journey Wren stumbles onto the fact that though he doesn't speak, he understands everything she says. Silence, especially in times of trouble, is something that Wren could not stand and rather than contemplating the various nasty fates that might be awaiting her she filled the emptiness with prattle. She told him of her home, of the movie she saw last week, of her family and friends. It was when she told him that she was a teacher however, that's when his eyebrows lifted and he rubbed his chin thoughtfully. An act that made her ever more uncertain of her future.
Of all the images that she conjured in her head, none of them looked like what she was greeted with. A crowd of children, similar in appearance to him, swarmed them at the edge of a beautiful oasis. The little boys and girls grabbed at her hands, tugged at her dress and tried to crawl up her side. At her panicked look he laughed and finally spoke.