Roxy didn’t know what humans were for the longest time. She obviously knew she wasn’t a carapace. Roxy wasn’t dumb, she could see that, although she was pale, she wasn’t pure white or black, her skin was soft and she was injured so much easier, she couldn’t trill or chirp or make their noises. Roxy knew she wasn't one of them. She didn't know what she was, but it wasn’t a carapace.
She didn’t mind, of course, and neither did they, but she always felt a little lonely. Her caretakers seemed to revel in the fact that she was so different, and she ended up with the best of everything - food, robes, and house (the older carapaces told her that the big house belonged to her, but it was so big, and she was so small. Roxy couldn't see how a single little person could have such a big place all to herself). They pinched her skin, laughed when she tried to chirp, and they preened her hair like the sea-birds preened their feathers. None of them had hair, and her own, fine, almost white-blonde hair was a novelty to them. Often times she would sit in the public square, a Gameboy Color in her hands despite the fact that she couldn’t read, and after waiting for only a few minutes a carapace would move behind her and start to move their shelled hands through her hair. They were gentle, since the first few who tried figured out if they pulled or poked too hard Roxy would start crying, and that wasn’t something they could easily fix. This knowledge was quickly shared, and both black and white chess exiles alike would be extremely careful.
The games never helped her learn to read, but they were something to do to pass the time. Because the Gameboy fit so well in her hands, Roxy figured that it was made for her, and she wasn’t going to scoff at a gift. She loved her robes, and her preenings, and the chirps she got, and her electronic device, even if she couldn’t quite understand the last one. The worst game, she decided, was the one with the yellow animal in the pre-game screen. It had so many symbols and boxes and if you clicked this box then this happened, but this box was a bad box because it just made a little light shine around her animal, and that box made a box appear around the other animal, and this animal did well against this animal, who did nothing against this animal, and Roxy guessed she would be so much better at that game if she could understand what the symbols meant.
Her favorite game to play was the one that she had to make the boxes fall into rows, and Roxy got really good at it. So much so that her caretakers would pause what they’re doing to look over her small frame and watch her fingers and the blocks move.
When she could walk without (mostly) falling down, they started to speak around her, calling her ‘human’ and words that were so different from the chirps, cheeps, and trills that they normally spoke. She learned slowly, words dragging across her tongue, and although she was told the language they spoke, “English”, was a human language, and her own native speech, she felt frustrated by it. It was too heavy, too fast, and she tripped over some words and ignored parts of others. “Coming” became “Comin”, “You” to “Ya”, and “To be” into “T’be”. It was an awkward language, and Roxy learned it because it was what she was told humans did, and because she wouldn’t be able to talk to others otherwise.
She was also told that there were others. Honestly, she didn’t know how her caretakers knew this, but she believed them. They raised her, and there was no reason for them to lie or for her to distrust them.
Roxy wasn’t a carapace, but she was treated like one, and that was as much as she could ask for. And although she loved the carapacians, and she would protect them with her life, Roxy could only wait in anticipation for when she could talk to other “humans” like her.
Today it was cold, and she was only six, and she knew humans were still a lifetime away and it would be another few years before she could even try to talk fluently with them. Still, when she thought of others like her, with soft skin that wasn’t white or black, others with hair at the tops of their head, and others who spoke “English” with the same fluidity that carapaces chirped, Roxy found she could make herself be patient for only just a bit more, so that she knew she would be ready when she finally met them.