He felt his vision fade in and out briefly, but he shook it off and continued lethargically flipping through the Consortium archives.
Ever since the old judge had excused the councilors earlier in the cycle, Darrian had been holed up in his office. He'd considered returning home but something was eating away in him anytime he thought about the humans or the contradictory things that the old judge had said.
Now, instead of being home, he sat in his darkened office flipping through archives older than his grandparents.
His first attempts had been to start looking at information on the Guillae. It turned up unfruitful. The Guillae were the first race he'd ever encountered in the Consortium databases that simply didn't have information.
No tendencies. No home planet. Nothing.
So he started looking for anything related to the Guillae. Floramorphs. Spores. Plant people. ealliuG. By the time the double suns, Jurra and Nurra, had set on the horizon he was manually browsing through archive tags on a wild hunt to find anything that might lead him to more information.
He hadn't found it.
Now, deep into the evening of the cycle, he was still mindlessly scrolling through archive tags several hundred rotations old, but no longer with any vigor.
That was when a message flashed on the right side of his screen.
Meet us in the conference room.
"Us?" he asked out loud.
The message information was blank. It didn't show any sending or receiving information and Darrian had no clue as to who could be asking for him.
If not for pure curiosity, he might have stayed in his office.
When Darrian arrived at the conference room, he found the door shut and the display panel flashing a red "locked" symbol.
To his surprise, however, the door 'wooshed' open of its own accord after a moment or two of standing in front of it. The 'locked' status on the door panel never changed.
Inside, the room was dark, but he could make out a faint blue glow on the far end of the room.
"Hello?" he asked in utter confusion.
"In here." he heard A'alan't 32 say softly.
Darrian stepped inside only to have the door close very suddenly behind him. He glanced back in surprise, but turned his attention towards the far end of the darkened conference room.
There, seated at the table, were A'alan't 32, Ferris, and Illiquina.
A'alan't 32's blue, nearly holographic body was giving off the glow he had seen.
"Please. Sit down." Illiquina said softly.
It was at that moment that it struck him how rarely he heard Illiquina voice any opinion recently and Darrian was shocked for a brief moment to hear her voice. She had almost become a part of the furniture for the last cycles since everything started happening and it was odd to hear her speak.
Considering this, he settled down next to the rest of them, eyeing her suspiciously.
"Well this is...odd." Darrian observed.
"We knew you were in your office." A'alan't 32 offered.
"And I had a feeling you'd come if we were just cryptic enough." explained Ferris.
Darrian stared at them for a long moment, trying to decide if he was more annoyed or confused by this strange meeting.
"Fantastic." he said dryly. "But what's with the cloak and dagger routine?"
"Well..." began Illiquina.
"Something's going on." said Ferris with a look of tired annoyance that Darrian felt matched his own.
"Right." agreed Illiquina.
A'alan't 32 looked at them both before shaking her head.
"They mean with the old judge. And the Guillae." She offered. "Something's not quite right."
"Yea." Darrian agreed slowly. "Something did feel off. But...what are we supposed to do about it?"
"Lemme ask you this." prefaced A'alan't 32. "What have you been doing all day since you were dismissed?"
Darrian thought back to his endless scrolling and searching along with his failure to turn up anything of worth.
"I was looking for answers as to why the old judge seemed to care so much about the Guillae."
The others all nodded in agreement.
"Us too." confirmed Ferris.
"I didn't find anything though." said Darrian with a half hearted shrug.
"We didn't either." A'alan't 32 said. "But I think I know why."
"What would you say if I told you that the database for the Guillae and for the old judge had been altered?" asked Illiquina.
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