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    Cia
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Ancalagon - 64. Chapter 64

The soldiers immediately took positions against the skimmer, handhelds away and weapons drawn. “Come out now!” one ordered.

“Hold on, calm down! I’m Essell Deray, and you’re here looking for me.” I waved one hand in the doorway, but didn’t come out.

“Show yourself. Hands out.” The leader of the soldiers harsh orders were not unexpected, but I also couldn’t follow them.

“Um, I have a cerops here, one of the lifeforms from the planet. He thinks you’re hostile to me, and I’m holding on to him because he has a poison in his claws that could seriously hurt you. I don’t want him harmed.”

“We can stun it.”

“You don’t know that. You don’t even know what a cerops is!” For all they knew, I could have given that name to any number of creatures native to the planet. “Your weapons might kill him. I refuse to allow you to harm an innocent animal!” I couldn’t believe they would rush the situation and risk that. Bouncer was much calmer than I intimated, but I would use whatever means necessary “I came here to study this planet’s wildlife, not hurt them.” I called him a number of names in my head. “Let’s just talk for a little bit, everyone calm down, and then I can come out.”

Get a few truths out in the open, and hopefully start engaging with the calmer, less likely to shoot before they think ones. The scientists had been swept behind the security team the moment I spoke and they were being corralled there now. I needed them in charge.

“There is much more to Ardra than anyone knew. I’ve learned amazing things, but I wanted to speak to the scientist in charge. They need to run point on this.” Look at me, picking up some of the security lingo I’d been subjected to being around Garjah and the others.

“Like what?” a voice called.

“The surveyors said Ardra was a heavy gravity, undeveloped planet with no indigenous population of intelligent life.”

“You made first contact with a new species here?” The excitement in the question was palpable. “Where? How? We’ve been here for multiple days in their rotations and haven’t seen anything on our scans but animals.”

“It can’t be true. He’s just trying to get out of being arrested,” said another scornful voice.

I could tell it was the scientists speaking, but I couldn’t tell which ones. The soldiers still weren’t standing down. Should I tell them I could hear the second guy? I probably shouldn’t be able to. My senses were far more sensitive now, but what would they do when they realized that?

Who was I kidding? If they could get away with it, I’d be locked in a lab the moment they saw the second pair of arms. Good thing we’d used the ship to fire off messages to the Institute and my parents; I’d be impossible to make disappear, if they tried that.

Who knew what the government was capable of? Garjah’s was suppressing their entire species’ development and they weren’t nearly as capable of change as ours. That meant they were less creative, less capable of envisioning the benefits of change.

Other species weren’t so incapable. I just had to get them to stay calm and listen to me first.

“I have a plan,” I whispered to Garjah. “Just stay out of sight for a little longer.” Crouching down so just my head and upper shoulders were visible, I inched toward the entry. “Don’t shoot, it’s just me coming to the opening so we can see each other and talk.”

Bouncer crawled next to me. I put a hand on him, using my other lower hand to help keep my balance as I awkwardly toddled out. “Stay put,” I pleaded with him. The gleam in his eyes glinted in the light coming in through the open door, and a fine tremble shook his body, but he was calm and not growling or whining.

Eager? I was eager for this all to be over. It was like the instructional courses all over again. Give me an unusual creature, and I was all over how to approach studying it. Give me people?

Not so great. We really should have thought this through more.

They’re not people. They’re anxious creatures that may attack at any moment. That’s all I had to tell myself. Defuse the attack. Reassure. Assess. Move forward. I could do that. The security team hadn’t moved, but I could see the scientists through the gaps between them.

Moving lower was a good start. Low indicated less threat. The door was above the level of the ground, but I wasn’t standing over them, so it was better than nothing. “My name is Essell. Can I ask who I’m talking to?” Time to see if the security or the scientists were ultimately in charge.

“I’m Dr. Vikrish from the Nautil. This is my team and our security staff.” Good, good.

“Thank you, Dr. Vikrish. I’m so glad someone came to find me, though I can assure you that I’ve been safe.” Ish. Safeish. “Ardra is an interesting planet, and there is much for the Galactic to learn here.”

An older man tilted his head, the hard glare of the suit helmet in the sun reflecting into my eyes. “Is there?”

“I did.”

“I’d like to learn why there’s two extra body signatures inside that skimmer,” one of the scientists said, holding up his handheld. It was the same waspish tone from before, though his helmet rendered his face blank.

The soldiers all bristled, weapons that had started to lower coming back up. “Hold on, calm down.” I raised my hands a little higher, the palms out and fingers spread. “No one is in danger here. I need you to lower your weapons so we can talk.”

“Who is we?” Dr. Vikrish demanded. “Is someone in there with you? What is it?” Murmurs began to spread across the group. “What? Scans… match…?”

Copyright © 2020 Cia; All Rights Reserved.
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Contact! I'm interested to see if Essell will use his last name, and if that will jog the team of scientists' minds. I think Essell better break out the peace talks before Bouncer or Garjah get angry...

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Essell is caught out by the scanners.  He needs to pull a little weight and ask for his mother.  That should get the scientist thinking.  Especially since there are two of them?  What are they reading on their scanners? DNA?

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