For as long as I can remember, the people from my planet have hated the inhabitants of the neighboring solar system. They are seen as “barbarians” and we do everything possible to avoid all contact with them. Out here in space, however, that can often become quite a challenge.
We were raised to abhor them from childhood, told wild stories about men that sprouted fur on their bodies to protect them from their harsh, icy environment, beings that could bewitch you if they came too close, or kill with a mere thought. True or not, I was not about to take my chances.
Then something happened that changed my life, and my thinking forever.
It began as just an ordinary day. I was out in my cargo ship, making a very important delivery, when a horde of vicious space pirates decided it was theirs. They stole all my cargo, my gold, and then disabled my ship leaving me to drift aimlessly. With my environmental control system damaged, I knew I was in trouble. Without the heaters, the temperature inside would plummet, and I would slowly freeze to death.
It seemed like days before another ship came by. When one finally did I was ecstatic to see that it was another ship just like mine. Surely they will stop. They did not. I was stunned. They could not help but know I was there. My emergency beacon was still functioning somehow, and it can be heard for miles. I shrugged it off. Someone else would find me.
A few hours later a huge luxury space-cruise ship headed directly towards me. I was so relieved. Surely they will help me. I was wrong. They sped right past me; the wake caused by their turbo-boosters sent my tiny ship spiraling out of control.
Panic gripped me. What am I going to do?
I had just about resigned myself to the fact that I was going to become a frozen block of debris, hurtling through space forever, when my ship came to an abrupt halt. After I managed to get myself up off of the floor, and my ability to stand returned, I chanced a peek out the front window.
A cold chill raced up my spine. A ship from “that” planet sat only a few yards away. It looked ominous. Is it waiting to blast me to ashes? I prepared myself for the worst.
Whatever I was expecting, it certainly was not what happened next. The ship locked onto mine with a tractor-beam, and slowly towed me back toward civilization. After a few minutes I realized that they were taking me back to my home, not theirs. I could not wrap my mind around why they would do that.
Nothing could prepare me for what I found out a few days later, though. The mechanic that was assigned to fix my ship informed me that before they left, they completely paid for all the repairs.
“But why would they do that?” I asked him.
“I don’t really know, but they even paid me extra to make sure yours got fixed first.”
I know I must have looked awfully silly standing there with my mouth hanging open. That was many years ago now. I still don’t know why they did it, and I wished I could have thanked them, but it was simply not possible. As a way of repayment, when I hear someone say something unkind about them, I gently sit that person down and tell them my story. I may not be able to change everyone’s minds, but I keep trying. For all the beauty and warmth of our world, in my time of need it was a bunch of “barbarians” from the coldest planet in the galaxy that showed me true compassion.
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