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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Reaching Xiava - 1. Reaching Xiava

Xiava. It seemed like a life-changing opportunity. The culture had to be more subtle than Earth’s. A man can only handle so many socials and toxicity. Being a historian was Rohn Harghu’s dream. He accomplished it after numerous years of post-formal education, but the reward had yet to come. Promises of government and university jobs were never presented.

When Rohn saw the vague posting for a Galactic Union employment opportunity on Xiava, Rohn’s interest was piqued. The planet was the newest to join, and the native people were unique. The Xiaven were dense, purple gasses surrounded by a nearly impenetrable membrane. Rohn never thought much of them until the offer. Upon further research, the Xiaven fascinated him. They possessed no physical sensory organs. By causing their internal gas to knead within, they created minute energy waves to feel and see all that surrounded them. When in groups, their senses are magnified by bouncing off each other.

Their culture, from what Rohn understood, was completely tactical. They focused on survival, productivity, and making life seamless. Logic was their currency: either you provided something or you were going to be unsuccessful. Xiaven weren't ignorant; they accepted other species' skills and abilities and recognized when they were needed.

That is what confused Rohn. Why would they need humanity? Earth was recently accepted into the GU thirty years ago, and humanity's key resources were planet-side. Some valued their capability of debate, opinionated response, and evaluating possibilities. Add in the fact he was a historian, Rohn initially thought the career opportunity would lead to an educational job, which was preferred. He spent time as an adjunct for a few universities, then a semester substituting for elementary schools. It wasn't glamorous, but if the Xiaven were completely relocating and offering a free domicile for him, he'd take it.

The shuttleship bucked, snapping him from his trance. "Passengers," the artificial intelligence chimed, "Turbulence warning. Nearing planet Xiava. Return to rooms or utilize hall seats for landing procedures."

Rohn sighed and turned to the upholstered chair in his room. Sitting, he clicked and tightened the lap belt. Activating his palm-pad, he pressed a few holographic buttons, then held his hand to his ear.

The dial tone rang until his mother's voicemail message played. At the beep, Rohn said, "Hey, Mom. Ship's landing on Xiava. Just calling to let you know I made it. I'll vid you when I get to my new home so you can look at it."

Remembering how their last conversation ended, he hung up and muttered, "I'm sorry, but this can change my life for the better."

Being instructed for departure, Rohn slung the duffel bag over a shoulder, grabbed his briefcase, and walked down the hall. The two other passengers were in front, waiting for the shuttle’s bay doors to show them a new world. They talked briefly and discovered all three were here on a similar promise. Their reasons and professions differed, however. Afton, a slender woman with jet-black hair draping her pale shoulders, revealed she was a medical scientist. The other man, Sidwell, claimed to be an engineer. His dark complexion was glossy, and his piercing eyes could kill. All three humans were in their late twenties, quick to graduate from their respective colleges, and were anxious for their new lives.

Donning exosuits and helmets, they stood at the ship's entrance hatch. The rest of their lives were on the other side. The metal door slid up with a hiss, revealing a purple, translucent, floating blob. Rohn could barely see a misty air wavering within the entity's membrane. "No eyes," he thought, "no mouth." He activated his pad and turned on the translation application. Setting it to the right language, he asked, "Hello?"

His device vibrated. A hum came from the alien, and Rohn's translator spoke, "Greetings. Welcome to Xiava. Please attune your translators. Our people cannot communicate using humanity's many languages."

"Of course," Afton agreed. Her tone exhibited sincerity.

Once set, they followed the Xiavan off the shuttle. The gas named Noa, one of the three assigned to the Union settlements, led them through an unlit, metal hallway. Turning on their pad's lights, they were given a rundown of how the planet's environment would affect the three. Xiava's gravity was slightly lighter than Earth's, and the air was primarily sulphuric. It was breathable but required adaptability.

Due to their ability to use sound to sense, light was not required for Xiaven civilization. When asked, Noa said Xiaven were unaffected in any way. For the time being, the team would be living off artificial illumination. Temperatures were an issue. No sun was near, but the planet was warmed enough by the nearby multitude of stars. Their new homes would need heat. For now, their exosuits sufficed.

There was no natural water, but it could be artificially created with surrounding elements. It was Sidwell's first major mission to create and install the machines in the living areas. Until then, the humans would rely on a delivered supply provided by the Xiaven. Afton's task was to communicate and relay information with the Xiaven science and medical teams.

From Noa's explanation, the Xiaven operated similarly to humanity. While their race’s work was genetically assigned from birth, they maintained a scheduled life. Wake, work, rest, and repeat. Could this be the reason why the three humans were invited? To compare operations and results?

Approached by another two Xiaven, the group split. Rohn was now accompanied by a different one: Aeri. Compared to Noa, the being appeared remarkably similar. The hue of purple was deeper when he shone his headlamp on it. This Xiavan’s career path was reminiscent of Rohn’s: historical studies. It explained what they would be doing for the next few Earth hours: conversing and sharing information about the similarities and differences between their cultures.

Entering a tasteless room with what appeared to be holo-logs on wide bookcases, Rohn asked, “This is a co-existence research project, correct?”

“In essence, yes. Our governing body discovered similarities in your people. Humanity’s proficiency and dedication to labor rivals ours for knowledge. While we will conduct projects with other Union races, we primarily seek information and a worthy alliance."

"To begin with, I understand. May I ask why humanity first?"

"Certainly." Aeri floated toward an oddly shaped stand. Atop a long stem from the base, the rounded surface acted as a chair to the gas. "We received short dossier files from the Union, and your kind resonated with us. Our cycles are alike, albeit Xiava's rotation is slower. We work and rest longer than humanity, but your dedication is comparable.”

Rohn hummed, marveling in the moment. The idea of encountering and building a relationship on behalf of the Galactic excited him. He treasured the seconds spent.

“Your facial expressions,” the translator said. “It is a display of current emotion, yes?”

Recognizing he had furrowed his brow, Rohn smiled. “Yes, we can show how we feel through bodily actions. However, we, and other Union races, can hide them behind false expressions.”

The gas faintly glowed pink. “I am interested. Tell me more, if you will.”

The pair conversed for hours. Rohn made himself comfortable on another rounded pedestal. He found the seat large enough to sit cross-legged as he discussed how humans behave. The historian did not sugar-coat a topic. He discussed how every being from his home world was unique in their own way. Attitudes, personal agendas and goals, and how life was different. Aeri, despite Rohn’s translator sounding monotonous, was raptured. What baffled the gas was humanity’s fluctuating treatment for one another. There was a lengthy debate about capitalism and its importance on Earth. Both agreed it was the lesser form of the Xiaven adaptation.

“To develop a culture structure based on it,” Aeri commented, “it seems mundane and unfair. Some humans are destined for greatness while others dwell in a state of poverty.”

“It’s how we’ve lived for millennia. The value of a currency will always be subject to opinion. Even in your culture, there must be a differing value between pieces of intelligence.”

“Yes, but to forsake one’s ability to live comfortably. Our discoverers, the lowest-wage workers, still find meaning to continue onward.”

Rohn gripped his wrist, a nervous tendency for him. “Man has roamed and conquered for, what has been debated, hundreds of thousands of years. While we’re old, I still consider us a new race. We’re learning and will continue to do so.”

“That is what I admire about your kind.” Aeri floated off its chair. “Some instill negative outlooks, while ones, like yourself, counterbalance the proverbial scales. With us Xiaven, we are… How do you say it? Hardwired? We are a much younger race, but all evolve in due time. That is our reasoning for projects such as this. We yearn for knowledge, and should that benefit others in the process, it delights us. Now, I believe we have conversed for a while. I assume you are exhausted from the expedition?”

“I admit, I’m pretty tired.”

“Then I shall show you to your room. I am sure your counterparts have already resigned for the night.”

Rohn followed Aeri through the unlit corridor. He was curious about their architecture, and the gas explained. Decoration and design did not blend. There weren’t any sorts of labels for rooms or connecting hallways. Aeri stated Xiaven who became lost were not smart enough to find their way the first time. It promised the humans would be given digital maps to guide them, which eased Rohn.

“Here,” the Xiavan said, stopping in front of an entryway. “From Ylvi’s report, your engineer has been busy preparing the essentials. Your shuttleship and the machinery aboard have been unloaded. I suggest communicating to see what must be done to achieve a proper habitat. If there is something you require, inform me, and I shall acquire it.”

“Thank you.”

“I shall return in twenty-eight Earth hours, or one cycle, to continue our conversation. I admit, you are enjoyable to speak with.”

“Likewise. I’m looking forward to it.”

Parting from Aeri, Rohn found the door was to a communal room where both Afton and Sigmund, stripped of their suits, sat on a couple of boxes. In the path to them was a severing field; presumably for separating climates between the living quarters and the hall behind him. It was surprisingly warm when he crossed through the luminescent frame.

“Rohn!”

He waved to the engineer. “How’d everything go?”

“Well enough,” Sigmund said with a positive tone. “They’re technologically level with Union standards. Did you know they have a form of telekinesis? Ylvi tightened three or four bolts on the bed frames at a time. Securely, too.”

“I didn’t. Is this it? Looks cramped."

"Looks are deceiving, my friend. This is what Xiaven calls a connection space. It gives them opportune time to feel each other; their way of socially interacting. Past each of these doors is a model of a spacious Tier Three. Two standard rooms, living area, and bath. These gas balls did their research."

"Sig just set everything here for the time being," Afton claimed. "We weren't sure how much time we'd get to build furniture and appliances. So, we agreed to share one set until we're able to furnish all of our homes."

"Sounds fine to me," Rohn said, thankful they had a plan. "Is there anything that needs to be done?”

“Got the basics for now. Heat and temporary plumbing. I went ahead and set up the oxygen ventilation. As of now, that fourth room over there is the makeshift bath. I’ve also set up the portal frame on the core power source, so our climate is controlled. You’re free to dress down and stick a meal packet in the decompressor.”

“Excellent!” He released the latches on the helmet, causing a hiss. He shook his head and ruffled his cyan-dyed hair. “Do we know if the Xiaven are able to come in here?”

“Yes,” Afton answered, “their membranes can withstand extreme temperatures, hot or cold. I coordinated with Noa. Their medical professionals already received information packets on how to treat humans in case I get sick or whatever. How have you fared?”

Disappointed in himself, Rohn assumed his portion of the project was not as productive. “They’re an intelligence-based people. They’re genderless, younger than most of the Union’s membership, and are similar to us in work ethic.”

“You seem upset,” Sigmund pointed out.

“You two are more vital, from what I’m noticing.”

“Man, get out of here! I’m not the one who has to explain, literally, everything.” The engineer scooted another crate to prop up his feet. “I’m the one that has it easy.”

“Right,” Afton agreed. “We’re all important. The GU wouldn’t have selected you if you were inadequate.”

There was an awkward pause among the three. Rohn cleared his throat to break the tension. “So, we’re here. A new life?”

“It feels so strange.” The scientist leaned forward, resting her elbows on her knees. “It’s like a military mission of sorts.”

“I was thinking the same,” Sigmund admitted. “I suppose the next month or so will be like one. Get the layout of how things will operate, then build from there.”

Rohn sighed, silently agreeing with them. “I’ll get out of this suit and into some normal clothes. Need help unpacking all that?”

Sigmund patted the box he sat on. “Kitchen’s up first. How’s your electrical and diagram skills?”

“Dibs, electrical,” Afton called out.

“Great, fridge and stasis pantry are first.”

***

In the following days, Rohn learned more about his compatriots. Afton recently left her husband of three years. They argued day and night about whether to start a family, and she never understood his hesitation. After a month of insisting, she discovered the man was running unregulated drugs across the continent. Needless to say, she left him and moved to the opposite coast of Canada. Sigmund was an expert in his field. Constantly solicited by competitive companies, he grew tired of the attention. The engineer claimed nothing held him back from moving planets: no family, friends, or other acquaintances.

When he shared his life, Rohn found solace with his two roommates. They supported him, claiming all of the universities failed to see his brilliance. However, he left out his familial anguish. His parents made their disapproval clear when he informed them of his eventual departure from Earth. “Still,” he thought, “this is the most success I’ve found. There has to be more here.”

His conversations with Aeri proved insightful. He learned more of their culture and found them boorish at times. There was little fun to be had on Xiava. The race was dedicated to various studies, and that was their entertainment. Discovery and debate delighted them like hoverball entertained the Earth masses. Rohn relayed his findings to Afton and Sigmund, who became skeptical of whether they made the correct decision relocating to the planet. After a week, they made a hypothetical plan to find a way to bring entertainment to the gasses.

“But how?” filling the new sofa cushions with gel-laced stuffing, Rohn asked.

Sigmund grunted as he pulled himself from the open oven. “My offer to construct a wind-based roller coaster is still on the table.”

“I talked with Noa,” Afton added. She lay on the floor, screwing in bolts for the dining table set. “The Baxteri will be moving in down the corridor in a month’s time. At least they can handle the natural climate.”

“Sounds like we’ll have our own little community in no time,” joked Sigmund.

The three shared a laugh as they continued constructing their living spaces. They managed to complete Afton’s kitchen space, leaving the men to cook their meals in the communal space. An hour passed, and the hallway door slid open.

“Forgive the intrusion,” a voice from Rohn’s translator said. The recognition software on his palm-pad designated the speaker as Aeri. “My curiosity got the better of me. I wished to witness how you three are progressing.”

“Come in,” Afton offered. “We’re still setting up, but it’s coming together nicely.”

The gas ball entered the portal. “Ah, so this is ideal human climate? Interesting. The air is crisp. I venture Xiaven could visit Earth.”

“Yes,” Rohn agreed, “but Earth has a variety of environments. This is the most comfortable for us, but our planet has numerous deserts and snowy mountains that may not be the most pleasant. Your membrane should be able to handle either.”

“We have run simulations; you are correct. I am scheduled to report your living status to the Galactic council in several cycles.”

“Collecting data, then? I’d be more than happy to write an essay about how the experience has been from our perspective.”

“That would be excellent; please do.”

A brief discussion took place before Aeri left, and Sigmund instructed me to prioritize the report. Rohn listed several questions for both him and Afton to answer. For the most part, they agreed the project has had a positive outcome, but both listed their boredom. In closing, Rohn concluded it was a primary status report. Once other races came, there could be a greater sense of community.

***

He was correct. The Baxteri arrived shortly after Rohn submitted his findings. The trio of reptilians were as productive in their section of the building. The three humans eagerly assisted, sharing knowledge and building necessary machinery for the Baxteri’s survival. What struck Rohn was the similarity in occupations. He sat on the couch, exhausted from the day’s activity. “They’re just like us. Tyrk, the medic. Grym, the politician. Wyp, the mechanic.”

“Fine by me,” Sigmund replied, kicking his boots off. “At least I can talk shop with someone else. That, and I was smitten by their tools.”

“Perv,” Afton joked.

“Girl, not their junk! I’m talking their wrenches and stuff. I don’t even know what to call them. The handles just shifted to whatever they needed.”

“Metasyk,” Rohn answered. “It’s a natural metal from their icy sands. I’ve been meaning to research more about it. It’s kind of like a man’s bond with dog. The sand, once it’s been connected to the owner, will mold into the tool the user needs. Very few non-Baxteri can operate one.”

Sigmund scoffed and brandished a strange, crooked handle. “So, that’s why Wyp gave me one? She said the solution is inside.”

The historian whistled. “Baby that thing. From what I know, it’s all about connection and desire to build.”

“I believe in you, Sig,” Afton said. “I think I’m going to turn in early. Grym and I exchanged files, so I got biology homework to do in case I’m needed for first aid.”

“Did they provide the Xiaven with their surgical tools?” When she nodded, Rohn wagged a finger. “Remember to use their gloves. Your suits won’t be able to handle that cold of temperatures. The tools must be kept at liquid-nitrogen temperatures.”

“Yikes! Good looking out, Ro. I’ll make a note to get a pair for my personal medkit. Night, guys.”

Waving her off, Rohn detached his pad’s micro-projector and started typing. He had developed a nerdy bromance with Sigmund regarding technology. “See, the sand has a sentience. Not very well explained though. Baxteri take it pretty religiously.”

“Bro, this is wild! This can turn into anything. They use them in war, too?”

“The handle is their partner.”

Fascinated by Metasyk, they researched for hours. When Sigmund went to bed, Rohn contemplated doing the same. He took his studies into his domicile in case the videos’ sound would disturb his partners’ slumber. Within minutes, drowsiness conquered. He set an alarm and slid into bed.

***

Months passed by, and several more races joined the community: Payot, Veklon, and Antiam. Just as they had with the Baxteri, humanity’s trio assisted in their settlements. Over this time, Rohn discovered more about the project they had become a part of. During the course, the Xiaven had learned to respect and emulate the varying emotions that were exhibited. Their changes did not go unnoticed by the historian.

“It’s like the Xiaven haven’t noticed it,” he pointed out. He sat with Afton and Sigmund, who had started growing fond of each other.

“It’s not that noticeable, if I’m being honest.” Afton swung a leg over Sigmund’s lap. “If anything, I’d say they’re adapting to playing host. I don’t think they expected us to all get along.”

“I think I’ll include it in my next findings report.”

“You know,” Sigmund said, “I’ve noticed Aeri coming around more often. Here, versus the other groups.”

The observation was a surprise to Rohn. Recalling the previous few weeks, he agreed. A soft tone played from his palm-pad. “Well, I’ll be sure to point it out shortly. I’m out.”

He sealed himself into the suit and left. Recently, the three four-armed Payot females coordinated with the humans to add thin strips of light to the hallways. They were bright enough to illuminate the way and dim enough not to disturb the Antiam community. No longer needing his headlamp, Rohn was able to memorize the directions to several of the Xiaven wings. “Next cycle, we’ll be adding some directional decals,” he thought, reminding himself.

Approaching the library, he noticed Aeri coming. “Rohn, a pleasure to see you again.”

“Likewise.” Together, they took their familiar pedestals. “Your turn to choose the topic this week.”

The gas remained silent for a few seconds before humming. The translator spoke, “Ylvi has made a medical discovery, and I wish to discuss it.”

Interested, Rohn initiated his pad’s keyboard. The holographic monitor displayed before him. Once he set it off to the side, he looked at Aeri. “I’m all ears. I know how excited you get when—”

“We are compatible.”

“You…” Interrupted, he registered the Xiavan’s unnerved behavior. None of them had burst through conversation before. “I’m sorry, what?”

“Ylvi has run many simulations. They are flawless. Xiaven and humanity are compatible species regarding reproduction.”

Rohn was speechless. The discovery was massive! In the Galactic Union, only two other species were found to be capable of such with humans: Payot and Pollin. Both were of humanoid shape, so Aeri’s statement baffled him. They were a gaseous people, and from Afton’s teachings, had no organs.

“H-how? This should be impossible.”

“We thought as well, so we assumably skipped researching. In addition, Xiaven are also compatible with the Payot, but none of the others.”

An inkling ran across my mind. “Was this an intention for this project?”

Aeri rose. “No. If it were, we would have already had this discussion.”

“And why share with me? I’m not a medical expert, Afton is.”

“I…” The transmission paused as the gas floated ominously. “In the previous cycles, I have researched emotions. We do not possess them, or so I believed. Self-reflection indicates our information is incorrect. I have… What word fits? Treasured. I have treasured our conversations.”

The answer came out before Rohn could think. “You’re infatuated.”

“So it seems. Ylvi ran diagnostics. Nothing of my body has changed. It appears my intellect has been affected in some way.”

Feeling it necessary, Rohn closed his palm-pad’s operations. He could write notes later. “Human emotion has rubbed off on you. Has Noa or Ylvi been acting strangely?”

“No. They remain unattracted.”

“Unattract…” Rohn tried to decipher. “Who are you attracted to?”

“I believe that should be obvious.”

Startled by the gas’s admission, Rohn took a moment to breathe. After he composed himself, they discussed natural Xiaven reproduction. The race acted as cells, in a sense. Performing cell fusion and meiosis was the best relation he could make. Two Xiaven who shared knowledge of similar topics often merged to become more intelligent in that subject. Once together, the two shared a mind and body. Their thoughts blended, for better and for worse. Within a few cycles, the new being would be capable of utilizing their knowledge properly.

Meiosis came into play when they wished to expand their learning rate. Oftentimes, their offspring went on to make immense discoveries. Ultimately, they bred to further the race’s overall knowledge. What bothered Rohn was the concept. How would performing cell fusion work with a human? It seemed to be an impossible process. Would parts of the human body be separated in the meiosis stage?

“Would you prefer to review Ylvi’s findings?”

Rohn could barely nod. As they traveled to the medical wing, he felt uneasy next to Aeri. When it acknowledged his discomfort, he explained human emotion and how it played a key role in humanity’s mating reproduction.

The Xiavan hummed. “I see. Time is required. Your kind wants to learn about the person before engaging.”

“Scientifically speaking, yes.”

“Yet, you seem bothered.”

Sighing, the historian tried to articulate himself. “Throughout school and university, no one seemed interested in me. When I managed to find a date, they either ghosted me or made excuses to no longer see me.”

“Does the past matter to you?”

The odd question puzzled him. “Yes and no.”

“I do not see reasoning for why. You were chosen by your Galactic Union to represent your race. Out of billions, you were the most qualified for such an expedition. Does that pale in comparison to your memories?”

He halted. The inquiry weighed heavily on his shoulders. The words hit him like wisdom. Rohn, just then, registered that his time on the planet had been the most exciting of his life. Nothing compared.

"Thank you, Aeri. You're right, but also wrong. My past represents my growth. Who I've become, what I'm willing to do for myself. Without remembering my past, I can't find the courage to push forward."

Aeri floated in place, silent. It was obvious the gas was in deep thought. It drifted into the medical wing and toward a digital log. "Here, a complete record of all simulations, including average statistics. Study, if you wish."

"And for you?"

"I shall wait for your response."

Rohn picked up the log and stared at Aeri. "That's not how this will work. Humans, myself included, require time together. If this is your intention, to merge… I need to know you, Aeri."

***

Through discussion and planned dates, Rohn learned of Aeri's lineage. It specialized in ethics and history, a combination of its predecessors, Arwe and Yuli. The gas gave extensive tours of Xiava, far from the project settlement. Much like Rohn's assumptions, there was not much else to offer. The buildings were similar, each dedicated to different areas of study.

He found the botany greenhouses to be a delight. A multitude of trees, flora, and fungi grew from plots of varying planetary soils. When he suggested the other project inhabitants take a field trip there, Aeri made a note for Noa and Ylvi. Rohn was also impressed by the astronomy observatory. The technology to search deep space interested him. He moved the holographic map to Earth's space and pointed out many constellations to Aeri. It listened intently as he dictated their origins from my pad's database.

Occasionally, Rohn found their time together boring, but the treasured moments outshined. The gas was more than a conversation partner. He shared his familial problems, revealing how mother continued to disapprove of his relocation. Aeri's reaction calmed him. A mother who did not want her offspring to succeed was uncalled for, but conversation must be had.

The topic led them to make a trip to Earth, to which many wanted to join. Afton, Sigmund, and one of each race tagged along. While the others went on a sightseeing expedition across the States, Aeri joined Rohn on a trip to Pennsylvania. Despite preconceived notions, Rohn's mother welcomed him into open arms. She took kindly to Aeri, and after a wholesome talk, the historian knew she was more comfortable with his position on Xiava. The pair stayed until Rohn's father came home from work and updated him on the progress made. A familiar sense of belonging warmed him.

When they left and boarded the shuttleship, Rohn felt accomplished. He glanced at Aeri and smiled.

***

After a long, grueling cycle of studying, the historian sighed and closed the log. Much had happened in the five years they lived on the planet. Afton and Sigmund fell in love, and their relationship blossomed rapidly. With the Baxteri’s assistance, they deconstructed the wall separating their individual units, creating a luxurious family-sized home.

Many of the race settlements organized community events between themselves, truly making the best of their new lives. The Payot females had many of their traditional ingredients imported, then began requesting the other settlements bring their cuisines. Some of the fusion dishes were exquisite. When the Pollins landed, they volunteered as community leaders, coordinating between the Xiaven and Union representatives to enrich the cultures. After a year of their assistance, little else could be asked for.

“Remember,” Aeri mentioned as they walked to the unit, “it is your birthday. Expect a celebration.”

“I’m well aware,” Rohn replied. “I’ve heard Freyet and Selmi ordered some fietta grinds for a taco night, but that might be gossip.”

Stopping at home, they found Afton, Sigmund, or Avalon were not there. It indicated there was something going on in the neighborhood. A message came to the palm-pad.

You probably just got home. Get showered and head to the congregation hall. Don't take long.

"Let us hurry," Aeri suggested. "We don't want to keep them waiting."

Once ready, they made their way to the hall. The moment the door slid open, the dark room became illuminated. The historian noticed every member of each settlement was present, delighting them. Many arms raised and waved as a digital banner brightened the space. The historian noticed every member of each settlement was present, delighting them.

"Happy birthday, Aerohn!"

Copyright © 2023 astone2292; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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3 hours ago, raven1 said:

Wow! Aaron you have one very active imagination!  I had a lot of fun reading this bit of sci-fi fluff.  One question. What does Aerohn look like?

Oh. You know, I didn't really think about that. 

Huh. Aerohn, a combo of human and Xiavan. I imagined Rohn with his humanoid shape, still walking around and not floating. He could have a purple tint across his skin, or perhaps a thin membrane, resembling the Xiaven's. 

If this wasn't an anthology submission, I'd go back in and throw in a "look in the mirror" scene.

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3 hours ago, Story Reader said:

Wow Aaron, you did an excellent job on this story! Interesting topics in here. 

Thanks, SR!  Glad you liked my little Corporate Galactic continuation. 

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3 minutes ago, astone2292 said:

Aww, I'll take interesting! I'll also accept genius, intelligent, and/or stellar. 

What, you are not including intuitive, interesting, imaginative, incredible, inconceivable, inventive, irregular (in the sense of not ordinary), individualistic, and more.  Looking forward to more stories from you.

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1 hour ago, ReaderPaul said:

What, you are not including intuitive, interesting, imaginative, incredible, inconceivable, inventive, irregular (in the sense of not ordinary), individualistic, and more.  Looking forward to more stories from you.

I'll accept those too.

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As noted above, incredulous comes to mind, insipid you ain't....

Love the Corporate Galactic series and a new, fresh set of interesting settings and inhabitants.

Well done and thanks!!!!!

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7 hours ago, astone2292 said:

Oh. You know, I didn't really think about that. 

Huh. Aerohn, a combo of human and Xiavan. I imagined Rohn with his humanoid shape, still walking around and not floating. He could have a purple tint across his skin, or perhaps a thin membrane, resembling the Xiaven's. 

If this wasn't an anthology submission, I'd go back in and throw in a "look in the mirror" scene.

I have to admit it took me reading the last few comments, but I didn't connect this story to the first set of stories.  It's a brilliant addition, but you still owe me another set of stories.  If you forgot you owe me, check your comment in the review I left for Corporate Galactic.  I can wait, but get back to Cow-man and start typing.  That's the story I am really waiting for, so hurry up!

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4 hours ago, drsawzall said:

As noted above, incredulous comes to mind, insipid you ain't....

Love the Corporate Galactic series and a new, fresh set of interesting settings and inhabitants.

Well done and thanks!!!!!

It was a breath of fresh air returning to the universe! I'm happy everyone's enjoying it so far.

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3 hours ago, raven1 said:

I have to admit it took me reading the last few comments, but I didn't connect this story to the first set of stories.  It's a brilliant addition, but you still owe me another set of stories.  If you forgot you owe me, check your comment in the review I left for Corporate Galactic.  I can wait, but get back to Cow-man and start typing.  That's the story I am really waiting for, so hurry up!

Well, I'll be sure to double-down on Cow-man! He's been speakin' to me as of late, currently working on the fifteenth chapter. 

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3 hours ago, RainbowPhoenixWI said:

Such an adorable piece of art. An impressive sociological story. It never fails, I think you will never write anything better than your last piece but then you hit things out of the park. I'm beginning to think your creativity knows no bounds.

Oh, just you wait! I'm about to drop a comedic short in "Sticks & Stories." Don't you dare sip a drink...

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20 minutes ago, astone2292 said:

Oh, just you wait! I'm about to drop a comedic short in "Sticks & Stories." Don't you dare sip a drink...

Too late

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19 minutes ago, astone2292 said:

Well, I'll be sure to double-down on Cow-man! He's been speakin' to me as of late, currently working on the fifteenth chapter. 

Great news Aaron! Doing my happy dance.

 john travolta happy dance GIF ...well,...more like this Happy Birthday Dancing GIF by Storyful

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Just now, raven1 said:

Great news Aaron! Doing my happy dance.

 john travolta happy dance GIF ...well,...more like this Happy Birthday Dancing GIF by Storyful

Still a happy dance! 

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A truly fascinating story and you successfully brought all of the races to life.  The interaction between Rohm and Aeri reminded me of Andy Weir's book Project Hail Mary where he had a human interact with a totally different and unusual species.  A job well done. Kudos! 

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1 hour ago, Bill W said:

A truly fascinating story and you successfully brought all of the races to life.  The interaction between Rohm and Aeri reminded me of Andy Weir's book Project Hail Mary where he had a human interact with a totally different and unusual species.  A job well done. Kudos! 

Thanks, Bill! I'll add Project Hail Mary to my reading list. It sounds interesting!

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4 minutes ago, astone2292 said:

Thanks, Bill! I'll add Project Hail Mary to my reading list. It sounds interesting!

All of Andy Weir's books are interesting.  The Martian, Project Hail Mary, and Artemis.  Each one different, but each one is five-star plus two. 

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I noticed the similarity between your own name and Aerohn.  Is there something your not telling us?  Are you really of this world?  This could explain a lot!

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