A holographic representation of the Vox, Gris of Hatch Vril, appears in mid-air. She’s surrounded by orbs representing the worlds of the Parallax – Nalhom, Lebal, Vollista, Ist’thol’mek, Grimlahd.
“Our goddess is pleased with what we have accomplished so far,” the Vox intones. “But she knows we can do more. We must do more. NOW is the time.”
She goes on: “The children of Nalia must make their mark in the unclaimed stars beyond our homeworlds and beyond the meddlesome interlopers of the Stellar Consortium. YOU must step forward to serve. YOU must give all in the name of the goddess to carry our people forward into the future that awaits us under these alien stars.” The message ends.
A Mekke stands head and shoulders above your average Nall, which is not difficult to do, and this particular insectoid is doing his best to get through the spaceport without getting in anyone’s way or attracting negative attention. Acran finally arrives at the deep-space recon vessel, unarmed and wearing nothing on his carapace other than a small bag of belongings and an insignia representing his status as Interrogator. He arrives at the airlock and taps the call button.
A Nall voice replies via the Brazen Star’s intercom: “State identification and assignment.”
“I am Acran, ID# 487902-33758,” the Mekke clacks into a translator device from his bag, “Assigned as replacement interrogator for Voltissa.”
“Ah, yes,” comes the reply over speakers. “That was quite a mess. Perhaps you will survive longer. Report to Ur’Huluth Tyalavikil on the bridge.” The airlock hatch thunks open.
“My thanks,” the Mekke replies as he skuttles aboard. He makes his way to the bridge and approaches the command chair. /Greetings, Ur’Huluth,/ he sends, /Interrogator Acran, reporting in./
The scar-faced Nall commander of the Brazen Star swivels his goggled gaze toward the Mekke. Both eyes, presumably lost in battle, are covered by blood-red glowing lenses. He replies: “Speak aloud to me at all times unless otherwise ordered. That is to be your default. Intrude into my mind again without permission and I will have your head.”
The Mekke bows, spreading wings as he retrieves his translator again. “My apologies, Ur’Huluth,” he clacks into it, “And I appreciate your forbearance this time. It will not happen again.”
“Good,” Tyalavikil replies. “The goddess expects greatness from you during your service aboard the Brazen Star. Once you get settled in your bunk, report to the ship’s information minister for further briefings. Huth Zohikavir. She will keep you apprised of any mission-vital data.”
“Understood, Ur’Huluth, it is my pleasure to serve,” the translator replies as Acran bows once again before heading below to stow his few belongings. This takes little enough time, and Acran is soon approaching the information minister’s office.
Crouched in a swing suspended on chains within a domed chamber, Zohikavir regards the newly arrived Mekke with gnashed fangs. Her tail lashes back and forth. “Interrogator,” she says, bowing her snout in deference to the Mekke. She raises a tattooed palm in salute. Lifting her beady black eyes to stare at Acran, she adds: “Departure is within the hour. I feared you might miss this opportunity.”
/Huth,/ the Mekke sends, also bowing in response, /I am glad I received the orders in time. The Ur’Huluth sent me to you for briefing on the mission./
“Our primary mission is to observe the activities of this vessel.” She waves a clawed hand in the air, bringing up an image of a Consortium vessel. “The Zheng Fe.” She swivels her snout to regard Acran. “Our secondary mission is to gather evidence that the Ur’Huluth is conspiring against the Vox and the interests of the Parallax.”
/That explains his reticence to allow telepathic communication,/ Acran sends, while reaching out very gently to the officer’s mind. Just a touch to confirm the truth of the information, with the telepathic message used as cover.
“No, that is just his usual professional paranoia,” Zohi of Hatch Kavir responds. Her comments seem truthful. “But we should be wary of any efforts on his part to undermine Parallax interests in the exploration region.”
/I see/ the Mekke replies, clacking his mandibles, /Do let me know if there is anything specific I can do to serve the Vox./
“For now, feel free to roam the ship and observe the crew,” she says. “Report any anomalous or aberrant behavior.”
/Of course,/ Acran replies, offering slight bow before scuttling out into the corridor.
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