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    Cia
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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.

Ancalagon - 74. Chapter 74

Those words rippled in my brain. Peace. We all claimed to want it, to come in peace or welcome others in peace, but both Garjah and I were dressed in suits; that didn’t show a lot of trust in their peace. Then again, I saw armed guards in alcoves.

Standard practice, but would aliens unfamiliar with the Galactic Council or Institute know that? Probably not. There’s too much at stake to go off on an intellectual tangent about how capricious peace could be. It was why I was a biologist; animals generally didn’t mask their behaviors. You might not know a predator was stalking you, but they certainly didn’t hide their status as a predator when they revealed themselves.

No, they went for your throat openly.

I eyed the Aqnars as we were led into a Council chamber, a large one, that must take up the center of the building. Council seats ranged up the walls on three sides, partially full of members of the Council, and the gallery behind us was empty.

Then my parents sat down in the seats behind our table with two large chairs on a dais facing the Council. I hid my surprise and felt a strange surge of comfort and warmth toward them. It was good not be facing this group alone. Garjah pulled back my chair before he moved his own; they were large, geared for someone his size but he moved them easily. Despite my increased muscle mass and bone density, I would have struggled.

“Thank you.” My voice echoed through the room, and I winced. Bouncer rumbled, the sound a low thunder in the amazing acoustics of the room. “Shh,” I hushed him. I encouraged him to calm, stroking his head and chest until he settled.

That was better. There was room for me to move, farther from the table, and the excuse of Bouncer at our feet was a good one for moving the chairs. Garjah didn’t like to be hemmed in, and the back on the chair was already bothering him. He sat ramrod straight. Maybe the sound bothered him too? I stretched one arm across the small space between our chairs—he’d moved them closer together too—and wrapped one hand around his lower arm. I could only feel the suit, but the contact helped regardless.

Swallowing, I turned to study the group studying us. At least thirty Council members were staring down from their seats. The two Aqnars, several Humans, a contingent of Cheegre in their usual huddle around their matriarch, a lone Togoi with wings fluttering nervously, and an Olnux with a central horn curling around its head in a crown higher than any I’d ever seen before. And that was just the first two rows. I was so busy categorizing everyone I almost missed the opening statements.

Nerves kept me awake, that and experience with long-winded professors. These Councilors liked to hear their own voices—a lot. There’s be an acknowledgement of Garjah somehow, a long-winded rosy-colored picture of their people.

I’d whisper the reality to Garjah, making sure the acoustics didn’t pick up my quiet murmurs. Maybe my parents roving habits would come in handy. I recognized every single race in the chamber and could give some fairly solid advice on who was or wasn’t good ally material.

Case in point, the Togoi. “Seems harmless, right? Dust on their wings is toxic. That one is not gonna last long here; the rest will start to complain before long.” Sure enough, a tiff was breaking out between his guards and the Olnux.

My bet was on the Olnux. He could use that horn to inflict serious damage. They also had a caustic tongue to match. “There you go.” The Togoi bowed to the room, to us, and then to the room again before he swept out of the room.

“Does that happen a lot?”

I leaned in. “Making a representative leave? Not really. But no one wants to be poisoned just for showing up either. He couldn’t calm down, so he had to leave.”

“Make sense.” Garjah watched them all intently, as if he’d have to sit an exam afterward. “This is not how we have interacted with other species before.”

“Joining the Galactic is different from trading.”

“These people are all so young.”

“Uh oh.” I’d lost the thread of the conversation, and in the meantime, they’d moved on. “—discuss your planet’s claim on Ardra.”

“What would you like to know?”

“How long have your people used that planet?” one Council person asked.

“Roughly one thousand and seventy years.” Gajah tapped the fingers on one hand. “Yes, four generations, so that would be it.”

That generated another flurry of speech. Garjah squared his shoulders, his body tense. Bouncer came to his feet and pushed his head onto Garjah’s lap. Garjah stroked his head, relaxing minutely. “What?”

“Prior claim is very established.” His kind lived well over two hundred years? Natural human life had extended, now averaging one hundred forty-three years, barring averse conditions to healthy and safety. Would Garjah be left alone if I died?

How old was he? I frowned, then smoothed my expression when I saw several councilors looking at me.

A councilor from the top rows leaned forward. Human. Male. Ahh, Dr. Chabney was an instructor in biology. “This animal is from the planet in question, yes? He is your pet?”

My frown returned. “No, he’s not a pet. Bouncer imprinted on me after I helped him find food on Ardra, yes, and we are friends.”

Like he knew we were talking about him, Bouncer turned and sat, then brought up one paw and unsheathed his claws, licking between each one. He made sure to flash some fang as he did it.

I swear, if he were human, he’d be such a shit-stirrer.

Copyright © 2020 Cia; 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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19 hours ago, IBEX said:

I do love me some Bouncer....

Everyone needs friends…especially friends like you, Bouncer!the jungle book disney GIF

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raven1

Posted (edited)

Bouncer does give us some comic entertainment.  One major goal of the meeting has been met.  Ardra is definitely considered to belong to Garjah's people.  I am anxious to find out the other determinations from this meeting.

Edited by raven1
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