Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Xenophobia - Chapter 30
"Get out of that solar system." A'alan't 32 said with a mix of stern decisiveness and motherly concern. "Let events play out however they will. You're done there."
"Ma'am?" Harris asked with a lit of surprise.
"If the humans are gearing up, that's a third army that's mobilizing for battle in that same area. First the Tulgucks, then the Gorderians, and now them."
Darrian and the other councilors quietly regarded her for a moment before she said.
"It's not safe for you to stay there anymore."
Harris seemed to consider this for a moment.
"You're not wrong." He said after a thinking for a second. "But I'll have to decline."
A'alan't 32 gave him a quizzical look.
"Given your direction," Harris continued. "I'll offer those few individuals I have with me the opportunity to head home. But I, at the very least, will stay here until the conflict has resolved itself."
"But why?" Cagool demanded, sounding quite confused.
"Monstrous as the humans are in their design," he responded, "I've grown quite interested to see this played out until the end."
"No matter the outcome." Harris finished with a glance back towards A'alan't 32.
A'alan't gave him a small nod.
"Thank you." she said softly.
There were several other nods and murmured agreements from around the room.
Harris regarded the room for a moment before saying, "I'll send you a quick report of anyone who is staying and anyone who is going. That way you know which of the survey team to expect back home."
A'alan't 32 nodded once more before terminating the transmission. The holographic imager went dark and the room eerily quiet with it.
Despite the fact that there was no real survey data to review and that they had no mediator, the councilors spent the majority of the cycle in the conference room.
Some of it was spent reviewing the personnel list that Harris forwarded shortly after his transmission. However, the majority of it was spent discussing and pondering what this sudden preparation might spell for them and the impending armada.
"Not to mention the galactic community." Darrian had offered stoically.
The implication of what humans might infer from their first interactions with alien races being violent was not lost on any of the councilors. Given how war-like the humans tended to be, the thought of what might come from aliens being viewed as hostile was terrifying to consider. If these naturally violent creatures expected violence, they might enter the universe with the intent to do harm.
The one thing they could all agree on, however, was that whatever happened on the next cycle would determine the future for the species. The Tulgucks would reach Mars and, three cycles later, Earth.
"Do we know if the ships Harris mentioned will reach Mars by the next cycle?" Darrian asked.
"Ships?" responded Ferris.
"The ones that were en route to Mars."
"I think so." Illiquina confirmed. "Based on the speed, they should actually reach there by early to mid cycle."
"Just in time to meet the Tulgucks." A'alan't 32 said quietly.
The four of them sat quietly, the implication weighing heavily on them. While the other councilors had left, they had stayed by Illiquina's request.
"So you wanted us for something, Illiquina?" A'alan't 32 asked as she settled herself heavily at the conference table.
"I did." she confirmed and drew out her datapad.
It always bothered Darrian how she seemed to pull that thing from nowhere.
"Did you find something new out?" he asked her.
"I did actually." Illiquina repeated with a knowing smirk.
She quickly tapped out a few commands on her datapad. To their surprise, the holographic imager powered up a moment later.
"Oh wow." Ferris commented. "I didn't know you had access to the imager."
"I don't..." she said, her voice drifting off.
The imager hummed for a moment, glew, and, to the group's surprise, generated the image of a diminutive Gorderian.
"Jin'thun!" they exclaimed with surprise.
"I'm glad you're still in conference." he said growled out. "I was worried tha-"
Jin'thun took a moment to regard the empty room.
"It's just you?"
A'alan't 32 nodded.
"Correct. It's a long story."
"You can tell me later." he said quickly. "Get the judge."
"About that-" Ferris began.
The group proceeded to fill Jin'thun in on the details that he'd missed: the Judge, the malfunction, the disappearance, and how they seemingly weren't being provided a mediator by the Merrenian government. They got the impression that Jin'thun was in a rush and tried to make the details short and to the point.
"So who's mediating the meetings?" he demanded.
"Officially...no one." Darrian offered. "However A'alan't 32 has stepped up to help try and lead us."
"So what's the issue?" Ferris asked
"We've arrived." he growled. "We're in orbit over Mars and waiting for the Tulgucks to arrive."
Start at the Beginning
(Hello Lovelies. So, I just wanted to apologize for the delay and let you know that it is related to our previous discussion. At the moment, I'm still undecided as to how we will proceed. However, no matter our direction, I need to return to regular updates. I deeply appreciate all the recommendations and will be considering many of them. Thank you. That said, I hope you enjoy!)