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#121

The remaining three were even more of a surprise. He walked over to the female who could have been mistaken as a blood-sister and gave her a little bit more of a head bump than he did his clan mates.

He said, “Kaysayra, Blood-cousin, are you telling me you came all the way to Henth to see me?”

She smiled back at him and answered, “Well, I have always wanted to visit Henth. Your return, after being away for four cycles, seemed like a good excuse. I hope you don’t mind I brought a couple clan mates.”

He laughed and greeted the two others as he did his friends. He knew both of them well. For several school break periods in cycles past, he and his younger sister, Tisohsho, stayed at their cousin’s clan lodge on the planet Krackershon. To Jahqu, his cousin and her clan mates were as close to him as his own clan. “Clan Night Fox always will welcome Clan Ice Bear to stay at our lodge. It is good to see you all.”

One clan-brother spoke up, “Let’s get off this platform and go somewhere we can talk freely. I want to hear all about your time with the Harkonsaur’s, clan-brother.” The female class mate chimed in with a need to eat. Everyone else quickly agreed. Jahqu made a hand gesture to get everyone’s attention, and pulled out a couple papers from his sack.

“Well, I impressed my commanders so much that they decided to give all of us a bit of a treat. Four cycles is a long time to be away from your clan, and two cycles with no Shraq nearby is a bit unheard of. These are full paid gift certificates for a meal at AquaConsiourDevo, enough for fifteen people.” The whole party gave mildly surprised expression, for that was indeed a generous gift.

Tisohsho instantly latched onto her blood-brother. Her eyes gained a determined gleam that matched most of the groups. She said in a conniving manner, “Well, let’s not be rude in delaying this reward. Come on blood-brother, let’s eat!” The whole gathering instantly started to move towards the spire. Jahqu leaned over to his younger sister still clasped to his arm.

“Blood father and brother couldn’t make it?” he asked quietly. She gave him a slightly disappointed look before answering in the same lowered voice, “Father is still busy with the third fleet. He tried to get some leave, but it didn’t work out. Brother was too far away to make it time. He should be back to Henth for a visit soon though.” She gave him a tight hug, and they followed the rest of the group in.


#122

The restaurant created the atmosphere of being inside an underwater cavern. The whole gathering sat around a large table that had slots cut into it for them to sit. Heavily filtered and warm water filled the entire room up to their chests. All of their clothing, for the ones that wore any, was placed in the lockers nearby. A banquet of many varieties of Henthshraq fair filled the table. Everyone feasted and talked, and to Jahqu, it felt as if he were in heaven.

Looking over everyone reminded him how different other species were to his. In the room, everyone looked close to the same age except for the clan-parents. Yet, they didn’t seem to be that much older. A human, for example, would think that his blood-sisters were only a few, of that species, years different in age. The truth would have shocked them. His older blood-sister was close to thirty cycles older than he. His younger one was about three cycles younger than him, which made her closer in age than most siblings of his race.

His clan-sister, who actually was near his age, came over to massage him a little. Her actions surprised him for a brief second, but then he realized just how long he had been away. Had he forgotten such common clan behavior? He let himself relax as she began on his first muscle knot. Her quick cry of, “By the gods and Maker, when was the last time you got massaged? Clan-brother, your muscles are as tense as steel.” The clan-father rose up and came over to assist after hearing that remark. Everyone joined in a bit of laughter as the two diligently worked out all of the knots they could sense.

The conversations ranged from various subjects as they ate, from current clan politics to popular new music. Eventually one of the Ice Bears, Grosbortan, noticed something and asked, “Jahqu, did you become a vegetarian? You are packing away all the plant material on this table.”

Jahqu laughed a little before answering, “The Harkonsaur’s are carnivores, Grosbortan. I have only eaten synthesized vegetables for the last two cycles. I intend to gorge myself a little and this delicious buffet of harvest from the ground.” His clan-brother turned to him, and Jahqu guessed what he was about to ask. He decided to beat him to the punch. “So, do you want to hear about them?”


#123

Everyone stopped eating as Jahqu told them about his last mission. As they all knew, Jahqu is a liaison officer for the Henthshraq High Clan. He is also an N.A.U. pilot. All of them could feel the intricate neural system placed in his body. For two cycles, Jahqu was stationed at one of the Henthshraq outposts monitoring the fold point system near the Harkonsaur territories. A rapid growth in pirate issues demanded more cooperation between the two people. Jahqu joined a squadron of Harkonsaur N.A.U. pilots and helped them and their ship hunt down and destroy the pirates. That mission lasted two cycles in itself.

“They are very similar in shape to the raptors we have here. But instead of having a large claw on their feet, it is on their hands. I had to be careful whenever I grasped one.” He continued to describe the pack he was placed with and the ship he was on. One of them asked him what they thought of him, he answered, “Well, they thought I smelled like a fish. Fortunately, they do not tend to eat fish, and they detected my toxins a little as well. I guess they truly accepted my presence when I defeated the pack leader in a duel. No, it was not to the death, clan-brother. They are not barbaric.”

He continued to tell about his experiences and the friends he eventually made. As different as the two species were, he found several things in common. Their pack living was very similar to Shraq clan living. Their values and ethics did not vary far in any extreme measure. “And it helps they are hollowed bone and we are so dense in nature. They always got a kick out me picking them up with our size differences.” Even though the Harkonsaurs stood over Jahqu and were longer then he was tall, he actually weighed the same amount as them. Henthshraq can lift nearly three times their body weight.

Kaysayra looked over the pendant that Jahqu sill wore around his neck. Two large claws, one black and the other white, were attached to a ring to form the pendant. “Blood-cousin, what does that stand for?” she asked while pointing at it.

He answered as everyone listened in, “This was made for me before I left them. The black claw came from the pirate leader,” the series of clicks and noises he made was a perfect pronunciation in the Harkonsaur language. He followed with, “Well, that was his name. I called him Blood Claw. I killed him in combat with my N.A.U. I think he died when I took out the bridge on his ship. My pact retrieved it from the debris for me. They considered it a sacred right to give me the claw of the one I bested. This white claw actually was shed from my pack leader. It marks that I am now considered an ‘honorary’ pack member.”


#124

Mahria, his older blood-sister, spoke first after he finished. Her voice had true concern, “You were in that much combat? Little b-brother, I now almost wish you had not said anything. To think you they actually placed you in front line combat for a liaison mission; it is unacceptable.” He moved his hand to calm her down. He spoke with an authority that none of the group heard before.

“I deemed it necessary. To shirk away from combat is viewed even more harshly by them than it is for us. We do approach battle differently, but in order to gain their trust and true understanding, I fought alongside with them. I am a well ranked in the warrior caste blood-sister. It was my duty.”

He could feel her thinking, preparing herself to argue. More than likely she would use the fact he was equally ranked in the diplomat and engineer castes as good reasons why he shouldn’t have thrown himself into battle. Also, he knew she was upset that he has now actually taken lives in combat. It was a step that he himself had trouble dealing with. He couldn’t blame her, but fortunately his clan-mother did a sudden change in subject.

“Well, my predon adult clan-son. How long are you going to stay with us? It will be three cycles before we will have to ask you to stay for awhile.” Her smile showed she slightly enjoyed causing everyone to stir on the subject she was broaching. Jahqu hadn’t thought about that particular subject in a long while, even with the female earlier calling him predon. Suddenly, he realized something. Kaysayra was close to four cycles older than him, which meant…

He turned to her, “Speaking of that, blood-cousin, is it safe for you to be here?” She gave him a very annoyed look. It was a touchy subject for his species, but everyone gathered here should be able to handle it.


#125

She calmed a little before answering, “It is. I haven’t shown any signs of blossoming any time soon. Though, if you weren’t a blood relative, you might have noticed that I am nearing that stage.”

His blood-sisters gave their cousin an odd look for the last remark. Jahqu was a bit confused too, for she did sound a little angry that he didn’t notice. But he was roughly three cycles away before that would even begin to concern him. And she was a blood relative. Kaysayra must have noticed their confusion, and continued in a formal voice, “My clan has been making a list of suitors. I did add one name to that list, purely as a formality. The gene tests showed no likely problems, but our age difference does make it a mute point. I added your name, Jahqu, in respect to our clan bonds.”

Henthshraq have a very quick thinking process, and one of the first to cross Jahqu’s mind was ‘when did she do a genetic test?’. Putting names onto to the suitor list as just formality was actually a common process. First cousins were not often put onto those lists, but when they were it was either just formality or special circumstances. However, Jahqu did have an odd feeling about this. Mahria spoke in an even tone, “Thank you Kaysayra, my dear blood-cousin. It does mean a great deal to the Clan Night Fox that you made that consideration. However, I am going to have to consult with my blood-father on this, just to make sure it is truly in our best wishes.” One thing Jahqu learned as a child, do not mess with Mahria. Ever since, that day, she became extremely protective of her younger siblings.

The other two Ice Bears seemed surprised by Kaysayra’s announcement as well. But before the subject could be discussed further, Jahqu’s clan-mother immediately said, “Well, Jahqu, it seems that you got some attention here already. How did the Harkonsaur females treat you?”


#126

Jahqu, glad of the change in subject, answered, “I only met a few of the pack females. Their race has a five to one ratio of male to female members. If a male wants a chance to fertilize the eggs the females lay, he has to impress them. Otherwise, the females would treat an unworthy male with harsh and extreme measures. They are very protective of their eggs.” He smiled in memory, “Fortunately for me, they did not know what to make of me as far as that role goes. Being so different, I was able to be with the female members and talk with them freely. The males of the pact bribed me well for me to tell them what the females liked.”

Everyone seemed to enjoy the stories he went into about the different pact members he met. Eventually, the food had disappeared from the table. As everyone was full and relaxed by the water, the party decided to head back to the clan lodge for the night. When everyone stood up, Jahqu announced, “Oh, I nearly forgot to mention, I brought many souvenirs back with me. They should be at the clan lodge now, so don’t let me forget to hand them out.”

He got a few surprised looks, but his younger blood-sister gave him a slight bite and said, “Stop being such an excellent brother.”

Before she could say another word, Jahqu said to her, “Okay, yours is a surprise and I am not telling.” Tisohsho immediately rushed everyone to get ready to leave.

Jahqu debated whether to put on his uniform again or just go with the simple undergarments when Mahria whispered, “Put the uniform on. The rest of the clan is anxious to see the famous Night Fox who stayed two cycles with the Harkonsaurs and defeated the dreaded pirates plaguing our two races. The uniform will help with that image.” She smiled as she helped him put the uniform back on. Together, everyone moved in a natural formation through the spire city to the transit train system that would take them home.


#127

It’s hard for me to describe exactly how the Henthshraq look like. Here a few pics on what their semblance kinda crosses

http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/stargate/images/thumb/5/53/Steve.jpg/250px-Steve.jpg

Add a shark fin hat like affect, but it starts from the top of the nose and doesn’t go as far as http://images.buycostumes.com/mgen/merchandiser/61339.jpg?zm=130,130,1,0,0

Their pupils are shaped like X, their iris’s have many colors. Their noses are broader and smooth like a sharks and come out a bit more and to a finer point.

http://www.frogprints.com/shark2003/shark%20nose.jpg

They do have some gills on their necks, but they are not as effective as they used to be. Maybe one more photo
http://images.allmoviephoto.com/1999_Galaxy_Quest/tn/aliens_galaxy_quest_001.jpg
Oh yeah, their teeth. Like ours, but their canines are a bit longer, and their lateral incisors are even longer canines. Basically, they have six pairs of canines. Also have killer molars and incisors, these guys need to eat a lot of food and have the means to do so.

Another photo http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_4MUf6T4VzPw/SLLlGH8-JHI/AAAAAAAADcU/2dUoh2w8Uyg/s320/zelda-zora-papercraft.jpg

They have stingers around their elbows, and they can retract like mantis rays. They have five fingers, and three toes that kinda form a point when put together, but spread when swimming making a natural fin. Sadly, I can’t draw worth a darn.


#128

The clan lodge resembled a large floating island on top of a stand. The base of the stand disappeared into a small lake. The disk rose just over the tree tops of the jungle and was wide enough to reach the shore on one side of the lake. The tracks for the train system were elevated to its level and met the island at the shore point. The large building in the middle of the island was where several families of the clan Night Fox lived. For Jahqu, it was home.

Many clan fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, and other relatives greeted him. He found all of his gear and cargo had been delivered. One large container held the some of the souvenirs. He passed out to nearly everyone small trinkets and ornaments of the Harkonsaurs. The more personal gifts were sent to his family’s rooms. The party split apart as they headed to their individual homes in the main building. Except for Kaysayra who was going to stay at Jahqu’s section, the Ice Bears went to the guest quarters.

Jahqu’s family held one section in the northern part of the main building. Currently his younger blood-sister lived there full time. Her job was in the spire city. His elder blood-sister lived in a different section with her mate, who was a non blood related Night Fox clan member. Before she parted with Jahqu for the evening, he gave his elder blood-sister a pendant similar to his. It was lined with rare feathers from a bird species native to the Harkonsaur home world. He told her only female pack leaders wore these, so she should wear it with pride. It was difficult to obtain. “And if my blood-niece and nephew give you trouble, tell them you can summon spirits with it to give them nightmares.” She gave him one quick hug before leaving.

Tisohsho remained eager to see what her blood-brother obtained for her. He smiled, for he could literally feel the excitement in her. She and Kaysayra, who was staying with them, entered his old room after he ran Mahria’s gift out to her. Noticing Tisohsho hanging over his shoulder, he said to her with a slight laugh, “Tisohsho, you are not that much younger than me. And I understand that you are topping the field of neural implants right now. Tell me, do I really want someone that gets as excited as a school child over a present playing with my head implant?” She gave him a sharp jab to the stomach before responding.


#129

“More like you do not want to annoy someone who might very well be taking care of that implant.” She faked a very angry look before going back to her previous expression of anticipation. “Besides, blood-brother, being with you brings back memories. I feel younger with you around.” Kaysayra laughed a little herself. She chimed in.

“I am becoming eager as well, blood-cousin. Did you think of me in getting more personal items?” He gave a sly look before making the hand motion of yes. He found what he was looking for in one container, and turned to his blood-sister. The dagger was about the same length of his forearm. The metallic skin covering the carved bone gave it the strength equal to most Henthshraq blades, but the look and feel seemed entirely alien. Tisohsho grasped it with a sense of awe before giving it a few practice swings and twists.

“You remembered I preferred daggers. And this, how did you know that this would suite me so well?” She turned to him with an expression hard to read.
He smiled and answered, “We are similar in build, remember? Even though I like the short spear better, this knife had the right feel for me. So, I knew it would work for you as well.” She gave him a tight hug.

“By the Maker, it is good to have you back home blood-brother.” She let go and stepped out of the way. Kaysayra started to give very strong signs of anticipation. Tisohsho stood next to her and started to share in the excitement. How close the three of them had gotten was something that Jahqu could never forget. After a quick search, he was able to hand over a small box to his blood-cousin.


#130

“Inside are a few things actually. One is a Harkonsaur made disc about their cultures, history, and languages. With you following your mother’s place in diplomacy, I thought you might like it. The rest are shed teeth from the Harkonsaur pack I was with. I had them metal covered, and I brought plans for how to make them into crest, ear, and neck jewelry. I will pay to have them made into what you wish.”

She gave him a slightly excited look. The disc she would find interesting, but she was one of the few Shraq Jahqu knew that enjoyed unique jewelry. Tisohsho congratulated her near blood-sister over the impressive gift with shared laugh and smile.

Jahqu made a faked annoyed voice when he said, “Now get out of my old room as I prepare for rest. I will catch up with both of you in bed.” They quickly left him to his memories.

His spear point would have been barely touching the skin at the throat of the figure. Yet nothing was there. Jahqu was momentarily puzzled at what just happened. He was asleep. Anyone approaching the bed he would have felt enter the sleeping room and walk towards them. Yet in his sleep, his senses alarmed him of a person standing right next to him that had not been there before. His reaction was instinctual and instant, and his spear’s thrust would have caught any intruder off guard. Yet no one else besides the bed’s other two occupants existed in the room. His senses couldn’t even find a trace of what was there before.

The sleeping room had a large bed in it for the whole family. It followed the shape of a rainbow and had a slight slant to it. Henthshraq did not prefer to sleep while laying flat. Jahqu was in the middle of the bed while his blood sister and cousin slept at the edges. The headboard had slots for some personal items, and that was where Jahqu had his spear. The two predon adult females woke up instantly to Jahqu’s sudden movement. In the darkened room, he could only see some of their heat signatures from their naked bodies, but his other senses told him they were now wide awake and confused.

His blood-sister was the first to speak. “What happened Jahqu? Was it a dream or a false sensation?” He paused for a second, trying to figure the answer out himself. He couldn’t remember what his dream was about. The sensation definitely came from his real senses.


#131

“I am sorry for waking you two. It had to be a false sensation, though I must say it was a strong one.” He put his spear back into its slot and rested back against the bed. His sister sighed, and then rested against the bed as well. Kaysayra shook her head to get a better feeling of the area, and then turned to Jahqu.

“What was it that you sensed? That was a nasty thrust you did to the air.” He explained to her exactly what he felt, and he could tell she seemed to react more to his story than he expected. She paused for a moment before saying, “Didn’t you use to get those sensations when you stayed at my lodge? When was the last time this has happened?”

Jahqu then recalled having false sensations back then, but none were this strong. “The last time was when I last stayed on Krackershon, but it wasn’t at your lodge, but a hotel. It wasn’t nearly this strong either.” She seemed to consider what he said, but instead of probing further, she rested against the bed again. He rested against it himself, trying to take the incident as a common senses fluke. A few moments later he could tell his blood relatives were once again asleep. As he was about to join them, a sudden feeling hit him. Though it was subtle, the wrongness of it woke him up fully once again. He was confused, for this sense was not coming from his electric, motion, scent, vision, touch, or any other sense he knew. He just could feel the wrongness. His cousin woke up again and he could tell she was looking at him, but he couldn’t tell what expression she had.


#132

Before she could say the expected ‘what now’, the sounds of several gongs echoed throughout the entire clan lodge. Light instantly flooded the room and all three quickly left it. Those gongs, the same sound he heard that night. That night nearly forty cycles ago, the one his blood-mother was taken from him. Now they rang again.

The two females went to watch a news feed to find out what the alarm was about. Jahqu went to a computer interface port and plugged himself in via the jack at the back of his crest fin. He connected to the High Clan Military system and reported in. He was acknowledged and told to wait. On the screen in front of him, a situation report was brought up. He couldn’t believe it. His feeling must have been quite evident for his blood cousin and sister asked what it was instantly.

“One of our systems in the outer regions is under attack. It is being attacked, by…by THEM.” Both gasped in shock. THEY hadn’t attacked in his life time. Last time THEY attacked, close to 750 million Triadial were killed. Now THEY posed to strike a system that held close to two billion Henthshraq. Orders started to come over the military network. “The Fourth fleet is going to intercept, with Gamma fleet close behind. Third fleet is assembling to help, but they will not make it in the estimated time needed for THEM to make their full attack. All Henthshraq forces are going to full alert.” Concern for his fellow warriors struck him, but more so for the clans members he saw ordered to assemble. “A few Night Foxes in our lodge have been ordered to report to their base immediately.” Then, he received a personal signal from the system. “I have been ordered to…” He was surprised. Something of this magnitude required a full response, yet, “to remain where I am. My leave is mandatory after my last assignment, but I am to be ready at a moment’s notice to rejoin the fleet.”

Not sure whether it was instinct to repel the enemy or his own concern for his fellow Shraq, Jahqu could not determine why the ordered made him feel guilty the way it did. Only when his blood relatives hugged him, glad that he did not have to go and concerned on what was going on, did he realize that he was glad that he could stay. It did not help his guilt, but he understood it better. He had been away for a long time and spent a lot of that time fighting. He is not at his best at the moment, and he prayed for his fellow warriors going into battle against such an unknown foe.


#133

Three days later, President Georf sat at his desk and hit the intercom button one more time. He said into it, “Ms. Trace, could you get someone to bring me an aspirin?” His headache had not improved. Two days earlier every detectable Henthshraq warship in the known universe went into a battle ready status. They charged their weapons and raised shields. All species reacted in a panicked pace, moving their war fleets to protect their borders and calling upon their alliances to help them secure their space. The Terran Federation was a rare exception, for Georf simply ordered the fleet to scan the border and monitor exactly what the Henthshraq were doing. The reports indicated that the Henthshraq were on pure defensive maneuvers, as if they had been just attacked. But none of the other species wanted to hear that.

The other man in the President’s office appeared to have come from an old western movie, with grey hair showing the constant wearing of a hat, rough visage, and eyes that seemed as sharp as eagles. The suit he wore looked greatly out of place. He looked at Georf and said, “I know you know why the damn alliance groups are not listening. It is as clear as moonshine. They are not defending their borders from the Henthshraq, but from each other.” He tossed the reports he was holding onto the floor. Former President Kelson Draven no longer had to fear about losing his temper. Georf was glad that his friend saw the situation the same way he did.

“It is truly sad,” Georf said, “that so many species tried to use this incident as a measure to gauge each others defenses. What makes it worse, since everyone tried to do the same thing, they all caught each other in the act.” War seemed likely if the situation did not resolve itself soon. The excuse that everyone is defending their borders from the Henthshraq will not last much longer. In the meantime, Georf has been using every resource he has to help calm the situation, but few of the alliance groups listen to the President of what is considered a minor race.


#134

“If these fools actually go to war,” Draven said, “I really hate to see what happens when one group decides the Terrans would make a great asset for them. I am very glad you continued my new fleet program; let’s just hope the changes you made to it have a hell’s chance to even try what you planned for it.” Draven was the first President to push for the new fleet that is currently being built. However, his was more militant in motivation, which is what cost him in the last election. Still, even after that bitter campaign, Georf found the Draven’s view provided enough of a different perspective that he can truly gauge a situation with his help. Between the two of them, they often got to the truth of the matter.

This is why Draven was invited to the Executive Office of the President’s Building in the Capital Sphere. The Terran Federation capital was moved from Earth after the fall of the CIENS government. The Capital Sphere orbiting Jupiter now was the political center for over three dozen solar systems. Several benefits came with the move, including far easier means to make accommodations for alien ambassadors. Georf had been talking with all the ones living in the sphere, but few gave him anything more than scripted replies.

Georf sighed, “Well, you just confirmed my view on the matter. Damn. The only person right I really want to talk too hasn’t answered a single message since this situation started. Sometimes, that race is…is… rather frustrating.”

Draven laughed a little, “Just say it, Mr. President. That crazy lady and her entire race can be a major pain in the butt! Their, ‘we keep to ourselves’, crap is going to cost them some day. I am surprised no has made a move on them, but it would be difficult since they seem to be on full battle alert.” He picked up one report off the floor and gave it another look over, “That’s odd. Does it seem like to you that they are pulling their ships back into their territory? If that’s true, then it might be…”

The intercom broke Draven off as a voice came over the speaker, “Mr. President, Ambassador Mora’han has requested a meeting with you and any military advisors you deem necessary. She states that the Henthshraq government has decided to fully explain their actions for the last few days and provide warning against possible attack from a hostile species.”

Draven looked over to Georf before saying, “Speak of the devil. I thought they were anti telepatchic.”


#135

A few hours later Georf and the Federal Force Command staff were sitting in one of the meeting rooms of the Executive Building. Mora’han was with them, wearing a simple outfit, and looking very tired. To Georf, it seemed as if she had been worn out with worry. Once everyone was settled, she began her speech.

“Every species is being given the same information you are now. What is being downloaded into your pads are details on what I am going to tell you. Three days ago, one of my species outer colonies in our galaxy was attacked by the species simply known as, THEM.” Everyone in the room looked up to her immediately. The one Triadial officer seemed to be more interested than everyone else in the room. The last time THEY attack, it happened to fall upon the Triadial invasion fleet heading towards Earth.

Almost as if proving she actually was telepathic, though Georf knew she wasn’t, Mora’han turned to the Triadial and said, “Yes, it is the same race that killed 250 million Triadial and 500 million of their clone/cyber troopers, Admiral.” She activated the holo viewer, and the site that came up stunned the whole room. What could only be described as a tornado in space, a vortex of space and gravity distortion, loomed over a fleet of Henthshraq vessels. Several other distortions moved with the larger one, and they ranged in shapes from discs to spheres of various sizes. Oddly, the Henthshraq vessels seemed to have been censored, for there was little detail on them.

“The main ship of THEIR’s is this vortex one here. Its height is close to eighteen of your kilometers. The disc’s range from four to twelve kilometers, the spheres tend to be about one kilometer. There are other vessels of various portions intermingled with them. Their shields disrupt the space and gravity around their ships, making any conventional attack cease to exist when it hits. Their primary weapons are beams of pure space/time/gravity distortion. In other words, THEY are far beyond any non ancients’ technology, and probably beyond the ancients as well. All the information we gathered on THEM should have been downloaded into your databanks.”


#136

All of his commanders immediately began pouring over the data they had just received. Georf couldn’t believe the image being shown, and asked a question that he knew only a couple of his commanders would have thought of, “Mora’han, what system did THEY attack? How badly were your people hurt?”

Mora’han’s expression was hard to read. She turned to him and answered, “Well, to say one thing first, this attack against us is obviously the reason why all of our fleets went to battle ready status. On behalf of my government, I apologize for any inconvenience our actions caused you. You will now find our fleets returning to normal status. To answer your questions, the system I am not allowed to name, but the two billion Henthshraq that live there are safe. We did suffer causalities, and I am only allowed to say we took twenty to eighty thousand fatalities. But there is one main reason why we have decided to share everything we know about THEM to you now.” She paused for a moment, apparently trying to find a good way to say what was coming next, “We may have started something unintentionally. We forced THEM to turn away from their attack.”

It took a moment for the remark to sink in. Georf felt his commanders realize what he just did at the same moment. The reason the information being provided is so important is that there was never any information gathered on THEM before. THEY have been attacking the universe beyond anyone’s memory, usually in intervals from 60 to 200 years. Every story about the attacks is the same; THEY appear and destroy everything near them. Yet, for the first time, THEY were forced to turn back. All of his commanders were staring at Mora’han and thinking about just how strong her race’s military truly was.

“Don’t get the wrong impression. In short, it was a miracle, but I am not allowed to discuss it. For the most part, they completely overpowered us. But by forcing them to turn back, and reenter the, what appears to be a dimensional gate, we fear they might change their methods. Now is not the time for all the races to be fighting with each other, but the time for everyone to join in peace and protection. For that purpose, the Henthshraq High Clan has fully approved your Exhibition Fleet, with two conditions.”


#137

Still trying to take in everything that was going on, Georf still managed to figure out why Mora’han looked as ragged as she did. She must have been arguing with the High Clan this whole time, for this incident has proven just how dangerous it was for her race to be so secluded. Very few species would have thought that the Henthshraq had just been attacked, and none, sadly Georf realized that included his own, offered any help. All just assumed the Henthshraq were up to something. Still, Mora’han was not one to let things happen in vain, and she somehow gotten the Exhibition Fleet its approval. He asked, “What are the conditions?”

Mora’han answered, “The High Clan has decided that is time we open ourselves up more to the rest of the galaxy. Your database now has some basic information about our species. Hopefully this information will help, for the first condition is that your fleet escort a long range supply and tender ship of ours that we wish to assign to it. The second condition is that my race is allowed to assign a liaison officer to each of the sixteen battle cruisers of the fleet. My race wishes to have more of a visual role in your fleet than just allowing it to use our fold point system. These conditions will guarantee your rights to use our system, and provide us with a way to present ourselves less threateningly than a fleet of our own warships.”

Georf had to stop and think. This could be a cause for another headache, for only eight other species have been allowed to have a single liaison officer, and those were being put on the lead ships of the fleet. No other species will be happy with the Henthshraq seem now getting sixteen liaison officers. Yet, this arrangement guarantees passage through their system in an undisputable manner, and it offered more protection by the fact that an attack against the Terran Fleet would be an attack against a group of Henthshraq delegates as well. He answered.

“I am going to have to discuss this with my people, Ambassador. But, from what I can tell, there will only have to be one guarantee added to this arrangement. This is a Terran Federation Fleet, not a Henthshraq one. Your people will be along for the ride, not steering at the wheel, so to speak.”

Mora’han smiled at last, “Dear President, I thought you understood us better than that. If I follow your metaphor correctly, you should know my people would never want to drive for others.” Georf somehow knew she was being extremely honest. As sad and frightening as it was, the loss of so many Henthshraq warriors has given new life to his dream.


#138

Having been posting much have I?


#139

Di’zalna’trastesal of the clan Silver Dragon exited the transport onto the docking platform. Around her the spires of Rospri’var’ean reached to the sky in a show of majesty and strength. Statues of the local guardian deities stood on eternal watch in front of the spires entrance. A group of people near the stone figures sang a song of welcome. Various flags flew from the windows and juts, conveying several messages. Some of them were for mourning over the lost warriors from the recent battle. Although some of the sights, smells, sounds, and feelings were nothing she had perceived before, Di’zalna instantly knew that this was her homeworld. She found the sensation interesting and began to smile. She knew she was going to enjoy her current mission.

After securing a few of her belongings at the local hotel, she moved towards the transit system. Her appearance and mannerism did draw a number of looks and shakes in her direction. The High Clan uniform and coral/metal one hand axe she had on her signified a warrior in the High Clan military. Her coloring of grey with mixed white and light green was unusual in this area, but few of the other Shraq noticed that. Her hair was long and put into a pony tail creating a spiral of mixed light green and dark violet.

Two things mostly drew others attention to her. First, she was singing a popular song as she walked. The new song was a favorite of the younger adults, and her voice nearly matched that of the song’s artist. Few would have realized she was the actual backup singer for that particular song. Secondly, she moved with great confidence and seemed a bit overly happy. The aura she had was of a Shraq that had just finished the blossoming, and it was an accurate one. Postdon adult males in particular noticed her walking by.

She took the transit to one of the clan lodges on the continents side. The huge disc hovering over the jungle provided protection from the natural predators that flourished on the homeworld. She wasn’t surprised that the first thing to great her after leaving the train was a wall with a gate. Over the gate flew a few flags of mourning for the warriors fallen in the recent battle. The flags will remain there for a few more days, but the official days of mourning were over. She walked over to the intercom while briefly glancing over the guardian statues of the clan Night Fox. A hologram of a young predon adult instantly came forth.


#140

“Welcome to our lodge. Is there anything I can help you with?” The young male guard seemed quite bored, but still alert. Shraq living on the homeworld did not fear crime so much, but the local wild life still needed to be watched out for. Often young clan members started some of their warrior training by performing guard duty for their clans.

“Official High Clan business. I am here to see Jahqu’kortanshow.” The young male looked into his viewer and saw her uniform. He gave the hand sign of acknowledgment and the gate opened. She proceeded through and saw a magnificent garden surrounding the clan lodge that belonged to her mission’s target. The disc seemed far more expansive in the inside. The young male came out from behind a door nearby and walked to her.

“Again, welcome to our lodge. I will try to summon Jahqu for you, but if you want to…” His eyes widened with surprise. She laughed to herself, for now he noticed what clan she was with. He looked up from her sash and said with a confused look, “I am sorry, but you might actually have to wait outside. I will make sure Jahqu is brought…”

She raised her hand up and gave a nasty growl. They young male now felt a little scared, but he was not foolish for feeling it. He saw by her uniform she was a marine of the Henthshraq military, and he could feel that she was an extremely capable fighter. The difference in age was quite noticeable as well, and her experience greatly outweighed his. If a fight broke out, there would be no contest. She simply said to him, “This is High Clan business. I will not wait outside, nor will I now wait for Jahqu to come to me. Take me to him.” Perhaps she was being too rough on the poor lad, but she did not like rudeness.

The young guard made a quick whistle to another clan member. He made the hand signals for that one to take over the gate watch. He then talked onto his radio to find where Jahqu was. “If you come with me I will take you to him,” he said right after. She followed him around the circumference of the garden. Before she concluded he was just stalling, a few familiar smells reached her. She smiled and rushed ahead of the guard.

Before her in a large clearing she saw several Shraq dueling. The one in the middle of a large number was the target himself, Jahqu. She also saw Tisohsho and Kaysayra nearby. Both looked a little upset, and judging by the small bruises, Jahqu must not have gone to easy on them. The ones he was dueling with now were fellow warriors of various ages, and she waited to see the outcome.