They are Smol: Chapter 14

What Happen in last episode:

  • The Truth(tm) came out
  • Caroline can aggressively nap
  • Admiral Var’Shrak can’t move or else he’ll wake her up and then his day will be ruined

This episode:

  • We compare notes
  • The adults need an adult
  • I am the senate

————————————————————————————————————

The problem with transporting [Human]s are, fundamentally, that they’re somewhat fragile. This means as a host species you’ve got to figure out ways of transporting a [Human] from point A to point B with minimal – and preferably no damage whatsoever.

Having them move under their own power is absolutely option #1. A significant amount of stations have begun adopting the moving [sidewalk] method over their longer stretches of corridor, and as long as there’s enough notification signage, forewarning, installed railing, grip-modified flooring and it isn’t moving too fast, they’ve been met with great success.

However, the safety-nets at the end of each platform were a bit too much, most non-Karnakian species agreed.

When [Humans] are unable to move under their own power (or are just too slow), option #2 is to have a [Human]-created mobility device installed or manufactured on station/ship. This could be anything from a wheel-chair, which is a very sturdy seat on wheels, to “roller blades”, which are a very concerning type of boot, to [golf]-carts – which not only are safer, but even come with added carrying capacity!

Due to the inherently physically unstable nature of [Humans], wheeled hoverboards are, of course, universally banned.

Option #3 is usually almost completely filled with emergency options, or options of last-resort; a [Human]-calibrated escape pod, for instance, a heavily-modified shuttlecraft or empty construction drone will do in a pinch. Although a [Human] can definitely use one, it’s…it’s going to be difficult for everyone involved, there will be injuries and there willbe paperwork afterwards.

So imagine everyone’s surprise, then, when Option #4 was unanimously selected by [Bill]’s denmate-ball: They would have to carry him to safety. As a unit [Bill]’s denmates stood up, making sure not to crush, twist, or rend their smaller crewmate.

“[Holy shit please let me out I didn’-]”

Arms bent at weird angles, wrists twisted in odd configurations, claws sheathed, about a half-dozen paws began to pat [Bill] on whatever body part was in reach. He squirmed in surprise for a few moments before staying still.

The patting stopped, and the murderball moved forward.

“[…C-can you at least tell me where we’re going?! Look, It’s not – the [memes] aren’t-]”

The patting resumed. [Bill] stopped complaining, and after a few more minutes of being gently batted around the ball stopped petting him, picked itself up and began shuffling out of the hangar. [Bill] watched with growing curiosity as they moved, slowly, from hallway to hallway until he eventually recognized his off-duty wing.

The ball never stopped being a ‘ball’; not when it walked through the dormitory halls, not when it finally found [Bill]’s room, and – somehow – not even when it squeezed through a doorway far too small for it’s bulk. The only time the ball started to lose cohesion was ontop of [Bill]’s bed, and even then, it more or less just formed a lump.

A comfortable, fluffy lump.

The reason why was apparent to any Dorarizin there – Sgt. Rauleh-of-Ngraren was following the murderball the entire time, growling soft responses to questions only she could hear. Although the danger of the station rending the [Human] limb-from-limb had since passed, she was still a female, and [Bill] was still mostly scentless. The murderball agreed: it was better safe than sorry.

“[…are – are we done now? I – I’m only feeling one pat, so I’m assuming that’s a yes.]” [Bill], the juicy center of the murderball said. “[Look-]”

“{We’re – you’re not in trouble, [Bill]. We just…noticed some irregularities, and, ah.}” Rauleh mouthed a few words silently, listening to silent instructions. “{…want to understand the significant cultural and social applications of [Human] edited-}”

“[Hi Rauleh’s handler~]” [Bill] cooed playfully.

Rauleh’s face soured a bit before her ears flicked back in irritation. “{T’ch. Fine. I’ll claw directly at yo-}”

The murderball tensed up, and only after a few minutes of patting did Rauleh continue. “{Sorry… it’s a phrase. I’ll be direct? Direct with you. A [Jornissian] ship discovered [memes] from their resident [Human]-}”

“[Hah! I’m not gonna be court marshaled~]”

“{So it’s a military secret? Cultural?}”

“[What? No. It’s…look, whoever that is I really appreciate the enthusiasm but that’s an erogenous zone-]”

There was a slight pause, and a shift in the lump.

“[…I didn’t say stop.]”

There was another longer pause, and then a second reluctant shift in the lump.

“[So… as I was saying…]” [Bill] murmured, “[If someone can get me the remote to my terminal?]”

Over the course of the next few hours, [Bill], The murderball, Rauleh-of-Ngraren and Zgren-Ngraren-of-Arzerghr all learned a little bit more about themselves, and the universe at large.

————————————————————————————————————

There was an orange pip in his eye.

Without moving a single muscle – really, just using his thoughts, Admiral Var’Shrak parsed exactly who was calling him, hesitated for only a moment, and then answered the call. On the screen in the lounge a graying Dorarizin sprung to life, and before he realized the call went through Var’Shrak muted the audio and routed it to his implant.

“[Admiral Var’Shrak. May your coils never slip.]” Zgren-Ngraren-of-Arzerghr said, an odd emotion plastered on his face. “[I have…news.]”

“<As do I.>” Var’Shrak subvocalized, barely forming an audible whisper. “<They’re scared of us.>”

The Dorarizin clicked his teeth. “[That’s the long and short of it, yes. It reminds me of pups barking at the dark – false bravado and all that. It can be overcome, apparently, with training and support.]”

“<But do we want to put them in that position? Forever? Always being afraid – is that any way to live?>”

“[Well that’s a very dark thought. Speaking of, why are the lights dimmed? I hope I didn’t wake you-]”

“<Our, ah. [Human], [Caroline], got so angry she had to take a nap.>” Var’Shrak said, matter-of-factly.

He really did enjoy the range of emotions that played across the Dorarizin’s face: surprise, disbelief, a fleeting explosion of uncontrollable glee before a quick half-assed tamp-down back to stoic professionalism. “[I uh. I see. I did not know their species… did that.]”

“<It seems today is a day of learning for us all.>”

There was a short pause, before the Dorarizin leaned in conspiratorially. “[You…did record it, right?]”

“<By Sotek yes I did. And maybe.>” Var’Shrak replied, staying perfectly still.

“[Hmph. Well, this answers your question from earlier. No. We’re not going to abandon them; we can’t. Eventually they’ll come after us, anyway.]”

“<It’s not right.>”

“[It’s unprecedented, yes.]”

“<It’s not right to live in fear.>”

“[No… but. Well. I think this will fade with time – or with, uh. Proper intervention.]”

There was a pregnant pause, and [Caroline] took this time to roll over, murmuring a nonsensical complaint.

“[Oh, oh! She’s-]”

“<No notice, just dropped in.>”

“[How long-]”

“<About 6 of her hours. I think we’re almost through an entire night cycle.>”

“[Hah. I both do and don’t envy you.]”

There was another still pause as the two aliens looked down at the sleeping [Human]. “<You’re going to go to the Senate with this, aren’t you?>” Var’Shrak finally said, looking up at his counterpart. The Dorarizin sighed and agreed. “[This is something that the Senate could use as leverage to-]”

“<LEV->” Var’Shrak roared, but quickly remembered himself, going from a yell to a frantic whisper. “<Leverage?! What do they have that we would – Zgren-Ngraren-of-Arzerghr what in the frozen Hell->”

“[Calm yourself, friend. I simply wish to help them-]”

“<And putting their scales against the mountain does this how?>”

“[The [Humans] have a phrase that I like, if you understand the context. I think it’s very apt to use it here.]”

“<That phrase being?>”

[Baptism by Fire].”

Var’Shrak didn’t move, and didn’t blink. His face soured as Zgren-Ngraren-of-Arzerghr began to explain his idea, and with bitter thoughts an inevitable realization hit him: He was right.

Zgren was right, and damn each and every one of his scales, Var’Shrak was going to support him.

————————————————————————————————————

For all that’s been said about it, both good and bad, nobody could disagree that the Galactic Senate held the largest and most complete stranglehold of power in the Galaxy.

This was achieved by ancient and dark rites such as trade negotiations, byzantine paperwork, proper and equal representation of species, a very good marketing team and the very small fact that the largest central governments of each species were all members of the Senate and would happily curbstomp any little upstart who dared disturb the status quo.

Representation in the Senate was surprisingly streamlined and straightforward. Each species had their own ways of electing a Senator, and each species had their own amounts of Senators, but each species also had only one vote. You could be elected, ordained, voluntold – however you got there, you ended up in the melting pot, the nexus of interstellar commerce, culture and might. Whatever you brought to the table would be incorporated into the team you were put on, and through the power of bureaucracy your contributions would end up as nameless attributions to part of a trade deal that outlawed the Zerblum, but only if you didn’t claim that the insect was part of a religious ritual, and only around certain non-yellow stars. As long as a simple majority (2/3 before [Humanity], now 3/4) voted in favor of your particular proposal it was put into law and enacted. Repealing worked exactly the same way, and revisions – well.

That just took forever.

The average citizen rarely interacted with the Senate; it was a nebulous thing that did stuff and then somehow your life was impacted. As long as the trade lanes stayed open, war stayed on the fringes as a distant memory and there was enough space to grow, people were content.

So given the Senate’s size and complexity it was a minor miracle that Zgren-Ngraren-of-Arzerghr was able to compile and submit a joint report to the Senate in only 3 months. The delay was unavoidable; although both Admiral Var’Shrak and Zgren-Ngraren-of-Arzerghr were in very high positions and normally could get a Senator’s ear, they had to deal with federal and imperial inquisitions respectively, safety checks and inspections(both species-specific and senate-ordained), a human-Dorarizin den request (which raised a few eyebrows) and creating a new safety course for Jorissians on ‘how not to be suplexed repeatedly by a [Human]: a 12 step guide.’ (which raised even more eyebrows).

The Report, as it would come to be known, was a stand-alone binder filled with files, documentation, stamped paperwork, audio and visual interviews and various biometric data, eventually made its way to three species, and more specifically, to their respective Directors of [Human] Interaction. As each package was opened up, a simple plea unfolded; it both gave context to what the Senators would soon learn, but it also planted a small seed. A seed that, if the assembled races worked together, would give them something that they’ve been craving for years.

IF they played their cards right, and IF the [Humans] would react as their data models showed, and IF the idea could be positioned properly, then maybe, for the first time as allies, the Galactic community would be allowed to walk unfettered on the Earth.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.