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    Cia
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Ancalagon - 73. Chapter 73

The tension rose inside me the closer we got to the meeting. I didn’t know exactly who would be there, but it was rare—very rare—to meet a race as technologically advanced as Garjah’s. I asked for more information about the ship we were traveling on, and it was good that it was smaller and less overtly threatening.

Overtly.

Garjah had tried to reassure me by showing me all the hidden defensive capabilities it had, the weapons shielded from scans that also protected their technology and settlements from space. No one was going to discover they could basically vaporize the entire city where we’d land unless we told them.

My lips were certainly sealed.

Bouncer was unusually subdued, his eyes watching me closely whenever I sat to talk strategy with Garjah. We were both in agreement; we didn’t want to threaten anyone, and the ship’s defenses were just that—defensive. They’d help us escape if something went terribly wrong.

My hope was there would be enough evidence to turn any hostility and fear to avarice. My changes had been necessary, but if this were possible, limb regrowth and genetic alterations to adapt to heavy planet gravity, then more exploration might be possible in human space sectors. As far as our technology had advanced, genetic manipulation on this level without rejection was beyond scientists.

Timok would be in demand as a mentor. He’d be thrilled. I smiled at the thought.

“What?” Garjah asked. He was seated in a chair behind me, wrapped around me to stare over my shoulder at the forward screen to watch as the planet’s clouds parted to reveal the city below. We’d left the ship in space in orbit above our locators and taken the skimmer again.

“Just thinking of ways to torture Timok. He deserves it.” Sanctimonious ass, and he liked to touch too much.”

“Uh-huh.” Garjah squinted. “Is all that shiny material normal? They aren’t trying to blind us, are they?”

I laughed. “No. It’s for power absorption since this planet doesn’t have a strong power supply system, they use solar.”

Garjah raised his eyebrows. “Really? How… old-fashioned.”

It wasn’t cutting edge, no, and perhaps the city could be upgraded to newer tech but that would be prohibitively expensive probably. “Those in power don’t like to waste money on changing things that work.”

Sighing, Garjah squeezed me around the waist. “I guess I shouldn’t mock. My people don’t change much either, we just focus on retaining our culture instead of technology.”

“Good and bad. Remember, all species have it.” I’d seen that in my observations and my experiences moving from place to place. I took a deep breath and rubbed my hands along his arms. “Are you ready?”

“I am.”

I’d vacillated between expecting pomp and ceremony and worrying about being greeted by an ominous number of guards. In reality, there was a small contingent of guards, my parents, the head of the Institute, and several colorfully dressed representatives from the various branches supporting the leaders of the Council. Their gauzy clothes were blown nearly to tatters by the speed of the skimmer before we came to a stop.

I took a bit of pleasure in that, though it resulted in more than a few scowls that smoothed away when we emerged from the skimmer. It was warm, if nothing on Ardra. Still, Bouncer paused and looked up and then rumbled in pleasure. His forelegs stretched out in a long bow and each toe flexed, releasing his curved claws as he elongated his armored back with his ass in the air and then ended with a big yawn—exposing his claws.

A pair of representatives starting murmuring to each other. I couldn’t decide if it made him seem more juvenile and non-threatening or if he was subtly exposing his very real weapons on purpose.

“Mother, Father. You look well.” I nodded to them once. I hadn’t seen them since I graduated, but we didn’t bother with more affectionate greetings. I leaned into the hand Garjah had against my back and kept one of my lower hands on Bouncer.

“Essell. And Garjah, if I remember correctly. Welcome.” Mother nodded once, a polite smile curving her lips. Of course she remembered.

Garjah tapped his chest under his suit and inclined his head. “Thank you for your welcome.”

My father just examined Bouncer, and me, like we were new exotic bugs to pin under a scope.

A Xuchux slid in front of the group, her mass of tentacles propelling it smoothly. It was only disturbing if I looked down. Since she stood a head taller than me, nearly eye to eye with Garjah, that wasn’t a problem. “Councilors Alae and Lipro await you inside.” Her deep voice echoed in the empty bag of her torso, emitting from a hidden valve under her robe.

Her head was dominated by five eyes that circled the crown, giving her a full 360 degree view. She waved a tentacle, her indigo and fire orange robe fluttering as she pointed toward the tall doors left wide open. Could she see them?

Alae and Lipro were both Aqnars and could not be exposed to sunlight. As one of the oldest known alien species on the Council, they were often the ones who greeted the newest.

“Please lead the way.” I ignored my parents, letting them take up the rear while we followed the handful representatives.

Inside the atrium ceiling was awash with rainbow lights glowing from the many rotating planet holograms floating. Garjah stared upward. “What’s that?”

“Those are the planets in the Galactic.” The Aqnar’s voice was bubbly, even far removed from their deep water aquatic origins. Their lungs held a liquid that let them breath atmospheric oxygen, but it was reflected in their voice. “Welcome, welcome. I am Councilor Alae, and this is my partner, Councilor Lipro. We greet you in the name of the Galactic, bidding you welcome in peace.”

“Thank you. I come in peace.”

Copyright © 2020 Cia; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

We have yet to meet GarJah's parents. 

I agree tech is a sought after source of power and change not to mention wealth. Honeyed platitudes often hide deceit. 

Thanks Cia.

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2 hours ago, Theo Wahls said:

We have yet to meet GarJah's parents. 

I agree tech is a sought after source of power and change not to mention wealth. Honeyed platitudes often hide deceit. 

Thanks Cia.

We know the mother is deceased, since Essell is wearing her armbands. I want to say Garjah's father was mentioned briefly, but I can't recall what was written.  

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