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    Cia
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Ancalagon - 66. Chapter 66

Garjah insisted on going out first, even though I was sure it was a bad idea. He was equally sure being faced with a human who didn’t look exactly human would bother them more.

“What are you waiting for? Come out! All four hands up, if you have four.”

“We are not a threat to you. Stay calm. We are coming out.” Garjah squeezed my shoulder. “Keep Bouncer calm. Maybe we should have sedated him.”

“No, it’s not good for him.” The cerops was leaning against my thigh, and I could practically feel him vibrate, but I felt shaky myself.

Not willing to argue further, or let the humans wait longer and get more nervous, I gestured for Garjah to lead the way. He squeezed past me, and I waited, my stomach in knots, for the soldiers to make the rash decision to fire.

They didn’t, but his size clearly made them nervous. They tightened ranks. I wasn’t sure if they saw me at first, but then I heard the whispers.

“I thought you said you were human.” Soldier One, as I’d taken to calling him in my head, was still looking for a confrontation.

“I am.” My helmet was off, so I knew they could see my face. “There are dangers on this planet. Our suits? Not as impervious as the Institute thinks. I touched a plant, and it ate a hole into the palm of my suit. It made me sick.” I gestured toward my second set of arms. “This is the most obvious sign of what their doctor had to do to save my life.”

“What plant? Are we in danger here?”

“No, it’s not on this continent.” Garjah waved a hand toward the plants that grew in a riotous abandon all around them, the fragrance of the thick blossoms on the vines growing between the trees heavy in th air. “These plants are not equipped with the chemicals that eat away at materials to get the soft flesh inside.”

“But I only had about two days before Garjah found me. I can’t guarantee there are not other dangers on this planet that could harm humans. There’s something about it that is different from anywhere I’ve ever been.”

“How different? The aliens?”

“No.” I shook my head. “They’re not natives. The planet is not inhabited, but they use it.”

“To do what?”

“Gather resources,” Garjah answered. “We have the ability to travel much farther than your ships, and we use many planets to harvest resources in a sustainable fashion on our journeys. It is the responsible thing to do.”

“We’re getting off the more important subject,” Soldier One objected in a loud, strident voice. “Where is his ship?”

We had to walk a fine line there. If we said it wasn’t there, the soldiers might think we were vulnerable and might attack. If we said it was nearby and the soldiers demanded to be taken to it, we’d be caught in a lie.

“The rest of my people are watching our interaction very closely to see how well this goes. My people have a policy of isolation from your many species, and yet some wish to change that. I am here, with Essell to begin that process.”

“Isolation? Even though you travel space? Most spacegoing species have long gotten over xenophobic tendencies.”

“We are a species with a… rigid society. It does not lend well to change. When I spoke with Essell he brought up many ways your Council decides laws and decrees to the rest of your planets in the Galactic, and how most of the time that is accepted. Making changes is something most of us cannot do, or are only capable of after many generations.”

I’d cautioned Garjah against mentioning their memories immediately, so he skirted that truth as well. Still, his words set off another flurry of hushed conversation.

“Stop,” the soldier said. He turned back to us. “Why are you here now?”

“We thought you’d come looking for me. Garjah’s people have sensors blanketing the planet, and after ensuring a peaceful contact was made, we wanted to make sure my family didn’t think I died here on Ardra, first and foremost. Then I thought it would be time to meet with council members, people from the Institute. Folks in charge.” As much as soldier man wanted to think he was in charge, he wasn’t. We both knew it would take one message from my skimmer to have a whole host of administrators down on top of the planet, and his entire team would be shunted to the side.

If not removed from the planet completely.

Territory in question as far as rights of use and settlement had strict laws. Ardra was a heavy planet; it had fascinating flora and fauna, but it wasn’t ideal for human settlement. The Institute wouldn’t be able to claim right of use either, if Garjah’s people could establish a prior claim.

If this team wanted to be a part of our introduction to the Galactic, they needed to work with us, not against us. I didn’t have to see their faces to watch their postures change and the subtle shifts happen as the soldiers began to ease their stiff backs and move their hands farther from their weapons. The scientists, lead by Dr. Vikrish, stood taller and nudged their way closer to the front of the group. One tiny scientist even stepped in front of the soldiers only to be caught by the shoulder.

Tiny, or a child? I squeezed Garjah’s hand. He glanced at the suited person and then away.

Was I looking at someone, much like me, brought along on missions despite their dangers? It would explain the hostility, including Soldier One’s continued interference. I was brought out of my questioning confusion by Dr. Vikrish removing his helmet. “I believe it’s time we heard a little bit more of this story and then helped you contact your family.” He raised one eyebrow. “And the Institute, of course.”

“Of course,” I echoed.

Copyright © 2020 Cia; All Rights Reserved.
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Still seems screwy to me. I'm thinking a trap maybe? Hope Bouncer behaves. These new people seem like they don't know what they are doing.

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With how this group is ignorant of Essell's missing status, it leads me to believe Sonez failed to report it. I'm sure when the Institute and Essell's parents learn of an unreported scientist, particularly their son, heads will roll! 

Also, progress! This Dr. Vikrish is finally taking charge of the second contact. 

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8 hours ago, scrubber6620 said:

 Maybe Bouncer can create a useful mood by wanting to play with the little kid.?

But is Bouncer's idea of "play" the same as the kid's?  I don't think there is any coming back from Bouncer eating the kid!

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