E5 contacts the Essuru
The Essuru sped towards the Perseus Arm. Captain Hurin looked through the window realizing she had never traveled so far. Even though she had no need to rely on constellations as a guide, she felt lost in strange configurations. From this vantage, the Galactic bulge shone brightly, casting shadows inside the vessel.
The helm sent automatic revisions to navigation systems badly out of date. Sensors silently updated maps representing groupings that had shifted over eons. The center, the stable focus of these new maps, one might say, True North, remained the same; The Kataru, the cultural and political heart of the Orion Spur.
The Amelu home world was situated far enough away from the Perseus Arm to avoid detection from conquering races. On the Perseus Spiral Arm empires came and went. Alliances grew strong and vanished. The Amelu, however, had been able to maintain the Alliance for over 200,000 years, since the Tayamni first arrived at Terra.
The Essuru journeyed to the halfway point and stopped. They would drift here while the ship’s maintenance array delicately installed fresh canisters of suspended anti-matter. Captain Hurin supervised the installation of organic components sent as gifts from the Amelu, but she did not detect any improvements. In fact, the ship performed with less efficiency. The automated process of changing canisters was negatively affected. They would be here for a week.
Kirashi communicated twice with the Tiamatu since leaving Anuria. They reported the Anurians had been defeated in a war with them, a millennium earlier. The Anurian images of devastation were recorded during that war. The Tiamatu expressed shame at the aggression they committed against their amphibian neighbor. By introducing quanitities of salt into Anurian oceans, they unintentionally created an extinction level event. The salt entered water supplies and polluted farms. Millions died from salt poisoning. The contamination is why there was so little life. The Anurians would have starved if not for the intervention of the Amelu. In intervening millennia, the Anurians grew paranoid of other races and focused on defensive technology.
“Ambassador,” Captain Hurin called.
Kirashi turned away from the display.
“Communications from an unidentified source,” the Captain continued.
“You may acknowledge,” Kirashi responded.
“Hmmm,” the Captain said. “There is accompanying visual.”
“On screen,” Kirashi ordered.
An image of a man’s face appeared, square chin, dark complexion, black eyes, the face set within a metal cranium. Where ears should be, blue disks glowed. A coiled tube was visible within transparent sheathing covering his neck. The view pulled back, and she could see more. Synthetic sheaths covering his body gave him a masculine appearance, broad shoulders, pectoral muscles and biceps. Coverings flexed and relaxed with human regularity. He turned his palms upwards in greeting.
Kirashi sensed confidence, strength, and simple goodness. She was caught off guard.
“Welcome to Kataru,” he began. “I am E5-273”
His voice was low, gentle and soothing.
Kirashi found herself responding like a girl, “Greetings.” She could not refrain from smiling. Sexual attraction overwhelmed her desire to be aloof. “Thank you, E5-273, I assume you are Amelu?” she continued.
Responding as a well-educated Tayamni, he added, “Indeed I am, m’Lady. Please call me E5.”
Trying to concentrate, she responded, “We don’t detect your vessel.”
“Please forgive us, we are contacting you from Tiamat,” he responded.
“That is quite a distance. I am surprised we can receive your signal from so far away,” Kirashi responded.
He smiled flirtatiously. She felt something from him, something like telepathy. “The organic enhancements, M’Lady. They increase our abilities.”
Kirashi looked at Captain Hurin. The Captain said nothing but she noticed the sexual tension between Kirashi and the cyborg male.
“Unfortunately, we have not had much luck with organic enhancements,” Kirashi said.
“You must permit me to help with configurations,” he responded. “They are not aware, but they can be touchy about how they receive and send data.”
“Of course,” Kirashi responded.
“May I request to board your vessel?” he added.
Erish, not as enamored as Kirashi with their new friend, looked at the Ambassador with caution. She wished Namazu were with them. At least Namazu was immune to masculine charms.
“I will depart for your ship directly. We should arrive within three Terran days.”
“Your ships travel fast,” she answered.
“I am confident the organic enhancements we provided will increase the speed of your vessel. Please forgive us for not furnishing you with better instructions.”
Kirashi noted he was the perfect Tayamni male, strong and confident, but also respectful of the equal position of females. “We look forward to receiving you,” she responded, intending a degree of suggestion. “You have studied our culture.”
“I hope my studies have added to your comfort,” he added.
She smiled, affirming a positive response.
“Good day, Ambassador,” he added.
“Good day, E5.”