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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 - 85. Chapter 85

“We need to tell him.” I mimicked Garjah’s pose with my legs spread and faced him head on. “We’re walking into a situation where the Kardoval were actively looking for us because they feared us doing exactly what we did. We revealed your species to the universe. We’re bringing back an ambassador who has no idea those in power want nothing to do with him.”

I cocked my head. “What would they have done to me if they caught us that day we were followed?”

Garjah sighed. “I don’t know. Separated us. Certainly separated you from Bouncer. Timok sent me a message just that morning that said under no circumstances should we let that happen, and he’d tell me why later.”

Narrowing my eyes, I sighed. “He enjoys being cryptic far too much.” I hesitated. “Do you believe him?”

“Always. Yes, he reports directly to the Kardoval as I do, but I was raised with him. We both knew our future.” Garjah sank down on the bunk. “For him to be so insistent, there was a reason we had to stay together, beyond the fact he knew that I would allow no one to take you from me.”

Caving, I abandoned my stance and moved to sit next to him. “I’m glad of that, since I don’t want to be separated from you either.” Mereval had spent the morning with me making cryptic comments about humans and our ability to do harm or avoid it as a species. She’d called them mistakes. The way she’d spoken tome made me seem more like a specimen to be studied than a person—a look reminiscent of my mother’s cold judgement at times.

But Garjah had power in their society; the security forces under him were trained to follow his orders, his command decisions. The Kardoval might set policy, but he was the voice that enforced it. His loyalty had always been to them, before me that is.

What might happen if he’d changed? Due to meeting me? To our bond? I inhaled noisily, then choked and started coughing. Garjah pounded on my back.

“What’s wrong?”

I shook my head, unable to answer while I fought for air. My brain was in overdrive though. Thinking back to when I’d first met Garjah, and how he’d changed. He was far less rigid and had easily taken on the role of negotiating with the Council, something that should have been outside of his abilities if he was still stuck in the mindset of his genetic memories.

And he’d been good at it.

“Stars above,” I croaked. “They saw it, didn’t they? The changes in you I missed because I didn’t know you before. Timok could see it happening, and he knew the bond was changing you. That’s why the Kardoval were studying me, and why they followed us that day. Not just because they didn’t want me to contact the Council or reveal your species to them, but because you’re a threat to their power.”

I stared at Garjah who was looking back with widened eyes. “You’ve changed,” I said in an awed voice.

He opened his mouth and then shut it. “You’re right.” His lower hands gripped his thighs, the skin paling to light green. “I-I didn’t realize….” He studied the floor, but the neutral tan metal had no answers to share.

“You wouldn’t.” I shook my head. “You were focused on the safety of all your people, and that made it seem like you were still the same. Security, safety, making the hard choices to ensure that any threats are eliminated.”

Like a supernova going off in my brain, another epiphany hit me. “And that’s what else they fear.” My voice dropped to a whisper. “That you’ll see them as a threat and eliminate them.”

Garjah whipped his head around to stare at me. “I would never do that. They are the combined wisdom of our people. They are the guides who are the only ones who can see the bigger picture.”

“Are they? Because it doesn’t seem to me that they’re looking at the big picture to recognize what generations of your people have been asking for, or how the universe is changing around them. They missed this.” I waved a hand between us. “And view our connection as only a threat to be eliminated.”

“I will never let anyone hurt you,” Garjah swore. He turned and cupped my face. “Even if we have to turn this ship and leave, find a new planet and make a home among aliens, I will keep you safe.”

“That’s not what you want to do.” I knew that with every fiber of my being. Garjah wanted to help his planet become a part of the wider universe, to take away the threat of an unexpected discovery or an attack that even his people’s more advanced weaponry couldn’t prevent if they were perceived as weak—alone with no allies. “The universe knows about you now. We have to see this through.” I smiled. “Then maybe we can think about a comfortable retirement spot. Somewhere Bouncer will enjoy.”

The cerops lifted his head when I said his name and chirped, then put it back down on his bed when I didn’t say anything else.

“We can sneak back on the planet, but that won’t exactly be a dignified return,” Garjah said. “I think we need to return in full view of the public.”

“Then we need to talk to Ases,” I said again, circling back to what had started us down this spiral. “He can be our reason for an overt return, and he has the power to broadcast it as well. At least, that’s what I’m pretty sure the tech said his mech could do, if it wasn’t shut down.”

“You want to record our landing? We could be arrested.” Garjah shook his head. “It won’t look very good for the treaty I’ve negotiated, if I’m placed in custody.”

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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Wow, can't believe I missed a week! 

I recognize Garjah changing, but I dismissed it as him adapting his security position for his people's sake. But when will our cast recognize that Essel's changed as well. He's certainly less snarky and selfish. Is there an unspoken clarity pairbonded receive after a certain time?

Is Bouncer the cause? I'm partially banking on him to stand on his hind-legs and speak English at the Kardoval meeting...

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