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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 - 79. Chapter 79

Sleep was not my exactly what I’d planned when we left the park, but by the time we got back to our quarters and Bouncer had found his spot in the corner of our room on the blanket he dragged off the bed, I was too tired to do anything else. The bed was soft, but I almost felt like I was going to float away laying on it. I appreciated the weight of one of Garjah’s arms and his legs tangled in mine. I hadn’t noticed the lower gravity while we were up and moving, but it was disturbing once I was prone. The room was insulated against the sound of the busy city right outside, and we closed the curtains tight against the early evening light.

When my bladder woke me, it was still dark outside. I padded out of the bathroom, stroking Bouncer’s head when he lifted it. He rumbled but lay back down. Nope, the lazy beast was not ready to get up yet, probably because he didn’t sense any food nearby. I leaned against the wall, pulling the curtain open farther. Lights shimmered around the city, lighting each towering building, the beautiful glow punctuated here and there by vehicles skimming between the buildings.

“What’s wrong?”

Garjah’s voice and his arms wrapping around me startled me out of my thoughts, and I jumped, smacking my forehead against the window. “Ow!” I grimaced, reaching up to rub at the spot. I didn’t need a mark before we went back into negotiations; who knew what they might take it for?

“Why’d you sneak up on me?” I hadn’t heard him get up.

“You were not in bed. I got cold.”

“It’s too light here.” I’d never had a problem with the gravity before when I lived and studied at the Institute, but I’d never had my DNA changed either.

“The city does go on forever.”

I glanced up at Garjah, and once again, he did not look impressed. I liked the glowing lights of the city, but I also liked the natural sky above his home and the plants that were growing everywhere. The tiny park hadn’t even come close, and I knew he didn’t consider the Galactic to be good stewards of their planets.

“I meant the gravity, actually. The bed was too soft and I felt like I was going to float right off it.”

“Ahh, yes, I’ve experienced this before. Some planets are so light that it can make us sick; this isn’t quite so bad, but I’ve noticed you’re moving differently. Stiff.”

“I think that has less to do with trying to stay on the surface of the planet and not bounce like an idiot and more to do with all the idiots we are being made to listen to in that chamber.” Well, if the room was audio equipped—which went against all conventions—they’d not get anything specific out of me, but I was too tired to mince words.

“There is an awful lot of talking.”

“Your people’s system is far more streamlined,” I pointed out.

“Yet not without flaws.” He opened his mouth, and I wasn’t sure if it was to say more about the Kardoval or the resistance group, but I didn’t want to risk it. I put a hand over his lips. Garjah raised both eyebrows.

“You’re right. Everything has a downside, I guess.” I rubbed my ear with a shoulder, lifting an eyebrow. He gave an imperceptible nod. I sighed. “We should try to sleep a little longer before the morning meal.”

“Bouncer certainly does not seem ready to be awake.” He was curled into a tight ball, his tough spine ridges facing out with his thickest skin exposed while he protected his tender underbelly. A defensive posture; he wasn’t exactly comfortable here either.

In bed, Garjah and I lay on our sides facing each other. “I think they’re going to ask for an official ambassador to come with us,” I said. “I don’t think they consider me good enough, especially since I’m not trained as a first contact specialist. My mother won’t support it.”

“Do you think she will come?” Garjah asked.

I shuddered. “I hope not.” I couldn’t imagine the scrutiny she’d put us under. My father would be worse, in his absentminded way, studying me and the bond I shared with Garjah and Bouncer alike. “But she will probably nominate one of her staff. We’ll have to see who she brings to the meeting.”

“Will only your scientist types be considered for an ambassador position? I would think it’d be political.” Garjah twined one arm under my neck and pulled me close. I pillowed my head on his shoulder and breathed in his spicy musk.

So much better than the recycled air!

I stroked the hard muscles of his chest, trying to frame my response. “Yes, and no. It’s definitely a political post, and whoever is chosen will gain power both personally due to their influence, and for their backers. Those people would likely have greater status and access to your people.”

“But…?” He’d grown to know me well.

“I’m still in the picture. They can’t know if a stranger coming in will cause an issue or friction. You and I are bonded, and they will be the outsider. I can push them out. Then what do they have? A bad reputation as a failed ambassador. It’ll be interesting to see who applies, which species are desperate enough.”

“Why desperate?”

“Potential trade. Or they need allies. Unknown reasons, I guess. I’m not the best a politics, but I’ve been on a lot of stations and a lot of planets. What I have learned is that motives are hard to see, and what is presented is rarely the whole story.”

“Well, we will look beyond what is presented then.” Garjah sighed and drew me in close. “Now, sleep first.”

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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Essell's and Garjah's conversation reminds me of the perfidy of politics. I think the ambassador will need to be someone that is not in the usual political appointee to be successful.  They need to remember that Garjah's people are a superpower with vastly advanced technology and culturally very different.  The ambassador needs to have that understanding and a more balanced approach to successfully negotiate the pitfalls of an alliance.  I wonder who fits that situation?  I hope they also realise that there will be not alliance if Garjah does not approve.

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