The transport descended slowly through the predawn sky, making for a landing area on the water below. Powerful engines hummed as propellers stirred up the waters. With a loud splash, the vehicle bounced slightly on its pontoons before settling beside a wooden walkway.
Passengers began flowing out of the door, walking at various speeds down the jetty. A blue Egaro let the rush sweep him along, toward a building that stood three stories tall. A bag hung heavily on his back, a pan flute hanging in a silk case from his neck.
Galen's tail flicked nervously as he took in the port. Fifteen years old, just a year out of his cubhood, the Egaro had made a large move, travelling halfway around the globe to arrive here. He hoped this move would be good for him.
A large, red furred Egaro held up a hand as Galen entered the building.
"Geia Themis," Galen smiled, approaching the Egaro.
The two embraced warmly. This was a reunion Galen had been looking forward to for months, ever since he made the decision to move.
"I missed you," Themis smiled as they pulled away.
"I missed me too," Galen grinned.
Themis chuckled, smacking the other Egaro lightly.
"Let's get out of this place," she said. "Where are your bags?"
"I just have this. My dad was not as ecstatic about my move as I thought he'd be."
"Maybe you should have given him more than a single night to deal with the idea," Themis shook her head. "No matter. We can get some real clothes for you."
"Well what was I going to do? Spend three months with him criticizing my decision to go into films?"
"Well, whatever. It's done, right? Come on, I want to stop by the studio and introduce you. We can get you situated after."
Shrugging, Galen followed the Egaro, the two weaving through the crowded building.
"So, some bad news. You were supposed to room with Cassandra, but she went into heat, and the last thing we need is to be two Egaro down. Or worse. I really think management should rethink the whole roommate situation; this is not the first time this has happened," Themis sighed as they stepped outside.
She nearly dragged Galen toward a short dock, motioning for him to get into a small boat. A minute later, they were speeding through the water, Galen watching the islands around them pass by with interest. He had been raised on a large island, never visiting many others, and the idea of a city that spanned multiple islands was strange to him.
"I didn't look for a place to stay," he said nervously.
"Yeah, I know. Luckily, there's another newcomer who needs a place to stay, so you're getting the old starfarer's place. It's a little run down, but nothing a day of hard work can't fix."
"Old starfarer?" Galen echoed.
"Almost ancient," Themis nodded. "Supposedly haunted by a neko-"
"Artemis' old place?!"
"Um… I guess? You know me, I've never been one for remembering historical names. The one who found the cervidas."
"Yeah, that's Artemis. I can't believe I get to live in his house!"
Galen beamed, nearly bouncing in his seat.
"Don't celebrate just yet. You're sharing the place with a Faro most likely. Unless he's decided not to work at the porneo."
"Uh… can you repeat that?" Galen frowned. "Did you just say Faro and porneo in the same sentence?"
"I'm helping him out. There's a good chance he's going to say no," Themis sighed.
"You mean he's actually thinking about it?!"
The tigress shrugged.
"He's in a bad way. Lost his father, and his mother died when he was born."
"So you're saying I shouldn't start humping the air around him."
"You definitely should not hump the air around him. Also, he might need help. Some of the things in the house are a little large for him."
Galen shrugged staring out the window as they approached an island- an entire island for a single house! He was going to live here? It felt like a house kept for an Alliance general, not an amateur porn tiger.
The boat bumped against a pier, Themis leaping onto the wooden walkway. Galen followed quickly, taking a moment to look at the salty waters. He couldn't wait to explore their depths, though that would have to be a personal project, done on his own time.
"You coming?" Themis asked.
Tearing his gaze from the water, the tiger followed Themis up the hill toward the house.
Themis knocked loudly, the sound muffled by the weatherproof door.
"Who's there?" a voice yelled through the door.
Galen shook his head, frowning.
"Is he seriously that afraid of us?"
"Themis!" the tigress called back. "No, he's not scared of us. Just… scared," she added as a series of clicks followed. "I'm glad I installed the extra locks."
The door opened slightly, an orange brown furred head poking out at waist height.
The Faro cut off with a frown, staring at Galen.
"Geia," Themis said cheerfully. "This is Galen, he needs a place to stay."
"And your boss said to move me out, right? I'll get my things…"
Themis caught the door as it closed, frowning.
"No no, nothing of the sort. Though… did you give the job offer some thought?" she asked.
"This is probably going to ruin me… but I suppose I have no other choice," the Faro sighed.
"Don't say that. You always have a choice," Themis said.
Galen cleared his throat, feeling rather lost.
"Oh, Galen, this is Reinard. Reinard, Galen," Themis introduced. "As you've probably figured, Galen is working at the porneo."
"Well, not yet," Galen added.
"Okay, well… Reinard, you don't seem like you've made up your mind yet," Themis pointed out. "Galen and I were going to the studio, perhaps you'd like to join us?"
The fox nodded, his tail twitching in… nerves? Galen was going to say nerves.
"Great! We can have Galen fill out forms while we talk to Pasiphaë about filming," Themis beamed. "I was planning on showing you two around anyway; might as well do it together, right?"
Galen nodded, studying the Faro that barely came to his navel.
"Don't worry, from what I've seen, you're too small for most of us," he said.
"A short joke? Let's get one thing straight, I'm not short, you are all overly tall," Reinard almost growled.
Galen shrugged, not sure how exactly that had been a joke.
"Whatever keeps you happy," he said. "Should we get going before I manage to piss off my potential roommate?"
"Yeah, let's try to play nice. I know this is hardly ideal. But I promise, in a week, Galen can move in with Cassie and you two only have to see each other at work. Assuming you say yes, Reinard."
"Show me another option-"
"The Fleets," Galen said immediately.
"Not happening," Reinard shot down.
"Come on boys, don't start fighting," Themis sighed, shooing them both out of the house. "That's the last thing we need."