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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 - 92. Chapter 92

Garjah snorted. “Who do they think that will impress?”

“What are they projecting?” I asked, squinting. It looked like blurred faces.

“The images of their forebears. It’s a reminder that they are the descendants of those who began as the leaders of our people and the tradition continues. Generally they use projects only during ceremonial displays on Inaugural Day.”

They weren’t above political machinations, but for as subtle as Mereval could be, this felt clumsy. It was too overt, too arrogant. It explained why Sloval was in the lead, though, but I wasn’t going to be lulled into a false sense of security thinking this was their only play—or even their main play—to discredit Garjah or cut us off from his allies.

Too bad for them that respect for the past wasn’t what drove the rebels; they wanted to bring about changes to the status quo. And there were a lot more rebels than they thought. All we had to do was wait them out; they’d have to give in to the demands of the people if enough of them spoke up. Rulers only lasted as long as those who were being ruled consented.

Enough people turned and greeted them, exclaiming over their old-fashioned projects, but there was a large crowd around Ases and the table of food that were ignoring the Kardoval’s entrance into the room. Garjah and I stood between them. They’d have to go through us to get to him. Garjah planted his feet in that wide stance I’d grown familiar with and stood his ground.

“Good evening,” he said, saluting when they grew close. I gave them a nod, but Bouncer just sat, his tail lashing. His disinterest in them was a casual disrespect, and I had to work to curb my smirk. This was being cast across the planet and to the Galactic via Ases’ mech.

“Your successor has done well with the security while you have been absent, Garjah,” Sloval said.

He had no subtlety at all.

“Seedrah is young but very capable; he comes from a fine family. I’m sure he’ll continue to work well as the security liaison for the government while Essell and I work with the ambassador.”

“Are you sure that’s wise?”

“As you said, he’s done very well.” Garjah paused. “I’m sure I can make myself available to him for consultations, however, as he is still in training.”

“We wondered if you would neglect that duty.” Lenveval glanced around the room. The guards who were there were interspersed with the staff and were nearly indistinguishable. I never would have known if Garjah hadn’t pointed them out. The guests were never supposed to know.

I neglect none of my duties to our people,” Garjah said mildly. The rebuke looked like it stung, based on the sour expression on Sloval’s face. “As you speak of duty, I am sure you wish to start the dinner. We are here, after all, to celebrate the treaty and the Galactic’s ambassador, Ases.

“Of course we are,” Mereval said as she glided from the back. She tapped her body in two places and turned off the project. “We hope you will enjoy the meal.”

 

The food was good; everyone was served the exact same thing after all. Our seats were tucked away in a corner, at a small table for just the two of us, and I could barely see the main table. I trusted Ases to navigate the hidden dangers in the meal, however; the man was a thorough politician.

“Psst,” I hissed. I leaned forward to offer Garjah a bite from my knife. “How’s he doing?” I was sitting with my back to the high table.

“Fine. It looks like Mereval just laughed.” Garjah craned his neck, looking beyond me. “Yep, she looks happy and furious about it at the same time.”

I relaxed back in my seat, feeling like we might be able to pull this off for the first time. I’d said it a few times, but this was the first time I was actually feeling confident. We’d met the Kardoval on their terms and forced them to ours instead.

The Four Arms were about to have their fingers on a lot of different pieces of the pie. I could just hear Ases going on his spiel now. Not only did he have the experience and the shifter background to make him more comfortable around these people, he could bring valuable contacts to the Galactic if he was careful.

The windows on the far side of the room smashed open. Screams filled the room as glass sprayed the dining tables. Two silver orbs flew into the room, whirring as they spun.

Garjah stood and bellowed, “Target!”

The security staff flew into motion. Some rushed toward the tables and others pulled weapons and targeted the orbs which were flying erratically. They must be piloted. That was the last thing I saw before Garjah shoved me and Bouncer under the table.

“Everybody down!” he ordered.

The screaming was loud, and someone was whimpering and rocking under our table. I ignored them, trying to listen to what was happening while soothing Bouncer and keeping him with me. The others huddled away from us, but I hugged him, ignoring his constant growling. “We’re fine,” I whispered. “We’ll all be fine.”

“Ases, get down! Frisah, to him, now!”

“Wait,” Ases shouted. “Mech, protect. Target the silver flying objects and eliminate the threat.”

His mech could be nearly silent, so I couldn’t hear it, but I did hear sudden cheers. I peeked out from under the table. Garjah was pale, his markings standing out in stark relief. “Call for medics, and get me all the security footage from inside and outside of this room. Nobody leaves,” he barked when someone broke for the door who wasn’t security.

Assured whatever the silver orbs were, they were gone and Garjah wasn’t worried about more if he was calling for medics. I crawled out from under the table.

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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