Not going out - part 1

Where: Bruno's ship. Flight deck 2
When: A while ago

Since parking his ship in the Blue Dwarf's flight deck, he'd pretty much kept himself to himself. Apart from when Jay came round to check his ship.
"So, an old class 43" He grinned, Jay knew his transport ships.
Bruno was nervous around people. Especially someone like Jay, who Bruno knew first-hand was the hero-type who would literally throw himself out of an airlock towards a speeding spacecraft to save his friends.
Bruno didn't reply initially, then got nervous as the silence extended. He just stood there on the landing gantry of his small ship, staring down at his grubby bare feet, with Jay looking up at him. After a while the pressure to respond was too great, Bruno glanced at his watch, seemed to panic, then invited Jay in. The sound of barry Manilow boomed around the bulkheads, and Bruno rushed straight to the cockpit, where the song was ending.

Bruno sat and started talking into the microphone "Today I'm joined by Mr Jay Chrysler, from the JMC Blue Dwarf. Would you... um... like to sit down Mr Chrysler?"
Bruno gestured to the co-pilot's seat, but first wafted the empty seat with his hand. "Get up, let him sit down." he said to nobody. Or nobody that Jay could see.

Jay was starting to wonder what was going on, but sat nervously.

"How do you feel about rabbits Mr Chrysler?"
Jay's face changed. "Hate them. Smegging hate them!"

Bruno turned to face thin air, and gestured away with his hand. But the invisible General Von Hare didn't budge. “He can't see me” said the giant rabbit.

“Bruno turned his eyes back to Jay. “Is this some sort of radio interview?” Jay asked, confused.
“Yes, I've got... 5 minutes until the next song.” Bruno said, checking his bogie-encrusted wristwatch, which seemed to make Jay cringe.

“So... yeah.” Said Jay, these old class 43's are quite tough.”
"It's... um... what we had as standard on the Oregon." Bruno said nervously.
“No bedroom though?” Jay asked.
“No...” Bruno looked at the bedsheets on the floor. This chair had been his bed for the last 5 years.
“No toilet either?”
Bruno sullenly looked down at his feet. “No.”
Jay changed the subject quickly. "So yeah, you were on the SS Oregon? That's the one with the rabbits right?" Jay shuddered.
“IT WASN'T MY FAULT!” Bruno shouted. Then realised he'd said it far louder than he meant to.

Bruno bit his lip. “Sorry.” I'm not used to being around people. “Sooooo... how long have you been on the Blue Dwarf?”
Jay's look of concern seemed to ease. “Ahh, well probably almost 15 years actually, although I did have a 600 year break to work for the STCP. Oh, by the way. I am Jesus.”

Bruno's eyes widened. Then he stood up quickly. “Okay thanks very much for getting to know you Mr Chrysler.” He shook his hand vigorously. “It's been great chatting with you, but I'll be off now.” he pushed Jay in the direction of the exit.
“Wait, hold on a minute. What? You're off where?”

“I'm um... leaving. This clearly isn't the place for me. I just can't do it.”

He practically pushed Jay out of the cockpit door, and slammed it shut. Then started activating his ship's engines.
“What are you doing?” Said General Von Hare, the giant invisible rabbit who had been stood there the whole time.
“It's too weird. I can't live with these people.”
“Of course you can!” Said the rabbit. “What are you going to do, go back to being a delivery man for two emotionless spacestation robots, and living on a diet of diarrhoea bars?”
“I just can't live with these people. It's just too... too... weird.”
“Weird? Says Mr OCD bogie-wristwatch?” Said the rabbit.
Bruno sank back in his chair. “No.” He said, but more calmly this time, his eyes filling with tears. “Because I'M too weird.” He picked his nose and wiped it on the strap of his wristwatch, then waited for the second-hand to reach the top.
“These people will never understand me. I'm a weirdo. I've got an imaginary friend who's a rabbit.”

General Von Hare frowned. “I'm not imaginary. I'm real.”
“Year right.” Bruno wrapped his arms around his knees and started rocking in his chair.
“It's the truth. And how do I know you're not MY imaginary friend?”

Bruno stopped rocking. “I'm your friend?”
The tall rabbit paused. “That's the part of that sentence you're choosing to focus on?”
Bruno grinned. “I have a friend!”

There was a knocking on the cockpit door. “Bruno?”
“He didn't leave.” Said Von Hare.
“Shhh!” Bruno said to the invisible rabbit.
Bruno opened the door. Jay was stood there. “Are you okay? You don't have to leave? Was it something I said? Are you religious? Sorry, the Jesus thing is a bit hard to believe, I know.”

Bruno gave him half a smile. “It's okay. I won't leave.”
“Good. Good!” Said Jay. “Because we'd like you to stay.” He gestured back to the door. “I've got to go though, but why don't you meet up with some of the other crew. It helps if everyone gets to know you.”

Bruno nodded, and watched Jay leave.
“Meet the other crew.” He said to himself.
“Meet the other crew.” General Von Hare repeated.
“Sounds terrifying.” Said Bruno.

<To be continued>

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