Kid raised by aliens finally meets a colony of humans -- Gallifreya
Pepa was getting used to the routine of guarding the Lupid delegation on their trading mission. For the most part, it was boring. And she'd been at it long enough not to crave excitement.
Boring meant that she was successful at her work.
She had picked up a smattering of GalStand by sympathetic osmosis. Learned that there were others like her, somewhere out there. Wormholes distant. Pepa could not leave her family, the only home she'd ever known. The Lupids... her people... needed her.
But it was still a shock when humans came, anyway. Heruf Station was a Galactic Backwater. Pepa usually only saw traders from the local systems, but this group... stood out.
Like her, they were taller than most of the cogniscents on the station. Pepa never expected them to be taller than her. She went from obvious boggling to obvious boggling with a crick in her neck.
Their pelts... hair was cut short. Male and female alike. Pepa could understand that. In null-G, hair was wont to get in the way. She kept her long, red locks in a net for space travel. They were muscular, of course. Their armour spoke of some kind of military training.
And they spoke to her gently. "You are Pepa Yiriff?"
"Yeriff," Pepa corrected. Were all humans this tall? "That's me."
"Please give an epithelial sample for identity verification."
Pepa let the brushes of the scanner tickle her thumb. "Is there something you need from me?"
"We're location services only. Once we verify that you're satisfied with your situation, we notify your surviving relatives and allow communication to become an option."
"We also extend an invitation to your adopted home planet to become part of the UFTP Alliance."
And it was well understood that being allies with humans was a good thing. Pepa doubted the Lupids would turn it down. But, being a true democracy, the entire planet would have to vote. And as she explained this, her story came out. Her life with her adopted family on the farm. The trouble her people - her adopted people - went to to make certain she had what she needed. How she became a hero of sorts for them. Not that her planet of Geraul was ever in that much trouble.
"But it's not really mine," she said. "Is it? I really belong... somewhere else." Pepa tried to imagine going far away from pack and hearth. It almost tore her heart in two.
"You don't have to," said one of the humans. "A wise woman said, 'family is more than the people who made you'. I'm paraphrasing, but that's the general idea."
Sheer and utter relief. "I don't have to go."
"Not at all. We have methods of communication that can allow one side of the Galactic Alliance to talk to the other within minutes. Your relatives just wish to know that you're alive, well, and safe."
"Yes to all three. And happy."
They seemed satisfied with that much. They did their own investigation and were gone inside a week.
Da was right. Time provided, in the end. Lonely didn't have to be an obligation.