From the 1st book, Kirashi sends a message

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Kirashi sends initial greetings to the Amelu

Kirashi leaned back in her chair, rubbing her eyes with frustration. She viewed and reviewed recorded images of herself. Why did she keep crinkling her forehead? She should convey serenity, not desperation, project an air of confidence. She could not seem frantic. Looking down at the console, she sighed with frustration. Like all diplomatic work, she had to walk a fine line between seeming not to need allies, while urgently requesting them. This would be the first impression. Every detail must be perfect.

She explained their history at Terra, their reliance on the Moral Code, and their limited resources. She gathered ancient images of the Tlaloc wars at Terra. Since breaking the Tlaloc codes, she had access to footage and plans detailing their enemy’s plans to colonize the system. She explained the Tayamni were not prepared for war.  

She pressed a control to review, for the fifth time, a communications sent from the Kataru. She would tailor her message. In the footage, an Amelu diplomat, calling herself M5-3625, explained that she was part of the team assigned to work with her. She explained they were hopeful the Tayamni would become full participants. She sent a data pack explaining further.

M5, as she preferred to be called, responded to an initial request, by asking why the Potacas and Tlalocs had not already undergone Genetic Compatibility. In her response Kirashi explained the Potacas were mercenaries and operated in small, independent groups. Until recently, they had only a small presence at Earth. And, after the initial, aggressive appearance of the Tlalocs, they mysteriously disappeared 9,000 years ago. She explained the Tayamni were painfully short of resources. 

Erish and Alhalsu walked over to stand behind Kirashi, to see the message again. An image of a female cyborg stood in front of a display of the Orion Spur. M5 sent recorded instructions on how to apply information packs. Turning around, she gave them both, a small, jeweled, tiara-like headdress. Kirashi reached down, and fitted it onto her own forehead. Erish and Alhalsu went back to their stations, applying the devices as well. Kirashi spoke aloud, “Download information from The Kataru.”

The devices they wore applied less information than they were accustomed to. After hearing an internal metallic click, Kirashi closed her eyes to concentrate on images, words, and sounds that formed memories on her cortex. She saw a city on a planet bathed in what seemed to be the early evening light of a yellow sun.  Gleaming spires rose high into the sky. Decks and terraces were attached to structures. Trees, bushes, and grasses were abundant. Vines hung from one structure to another. Waterfalls fed pools beneath them. She could not see the surface of the planet, but instead, clouds beneath the city. The cities were linked and orbited the planet at equal distances from each other. Extreme differences in temperatures on each side of the planet, created monumental storms, storms that raged on the surface below. Tempests created what appeared to be cyclones of lightning on the surface, while sending sprites high into the atmosphere. Kirashi saw inhabitants lounging on terraces, watching discharges into the air above them. Airships brought residents from one city to another. There was no poverty, no money, no person lived with a higher standard of living than another. The cities were populated by ambassadorial delegations from the far-flung alliance. Arts flourished, everywhere were colorful images, some static, others moving, changing shape, textures, and colors.

The Kataru had no military defenses. Instead, each member race exchanged responsibility for a designated length of time, to protect the planet. Some races brought military ships, encircling the planet with protective weapons. Other races projected protective shielding. Still others relied on spiritual abilities to sense approaching danger.

The visual images sent into Kirashi’s mind showed representatives from thousands of different worlds, entering into agreements, making decisions and delivering presentations. There were races that resembled the Tayamni, others were human / animal chimeras, there were even more cyborg races, like M5. Aquatic creatures were present in spheres of liquid, while other races were pure energy.

This was The Kataru, the planet, the cities, and the alliance of races who reached Genetic Compatibility.

Kirashi opened her eyes. Alhalsu nodded, sending positive feelings he had towards such an alliance.

Erish agreed, but urged caution. Not so eager to approve their membership, she explained that great trust created an excessively insecure environment. She urged it could be difficult to detect vulnerabilities. She urged them to carry weapons and shields. She cautioned that there may be those who were not what they appeared to be.  

Tayamni propulsion systems used hydrogen for short distances. But, for longer ones, they employed minuscule, controlled, anti-matter bursts. The tremendous amounts of energy released by these collisions manipulated gravitational fields to shrink the space in front of their ships, while expanding the space behind them. The vessels traveled inside a kind of warped-space bubble. Anti-matter collisions were so unpredictable and difficult to control, that Tayamni engineers used exceedingly small amounts of fuel. Long trips were organized into small, manageable stretches. Longer trips, like the one to The Kataru, could take weeks.

The captain of the vessel, Hurin, planned to divide the voyage into halves. The first leg would take them to Anuria, a water-world, with small islands scattered across the surface. Like Terra’s amphibians, Anurians spent much of their time under water. They had not undergone Genetic Compatibility, but were peaceful, last engaging in war a millennium ago.  Kirashi hoped to make use of this stop to establish diplomatic relations.   

Kirashi’s small team had already received messages from Anuria that dripped of false compliments. The complex and formal messages contained reminders of prior agreements not to introduce genetic modifications. At Anuria they would have no direct contact. They would be asked to remain behind protective barriers during negotiations.

The Anurians were wary.

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