Acran, after pressing the call button to Huth Zorikavir’s office, scuttles in. /We may have a problem,/ he sends quickly, though he still takes the time to bow.

“Oh?” Zohi of Hatch Kavir responds. Her head tilts to the right as she considers the Mekke. “At ease. Tell me what you know.”

/Not a great deal,/ the Mekke sends back, /But … something from our commander. His mind … reaching out towards the Vanguard ship. I only sense such an intentional grasping in cases where the subject is actually attempting to make contact. Not with the mind, of course, but an attempt at communication always carries a trace of a telepathic push./

“We need more than that before we can act,” she says with a disappointed hiss.

/Yes,/ Acran replies, his mandibles clicking together, /Sadly, I have no access to sensor or communication logs that might give you more concrete proof./

The Nall gives a rough chortle. “Such trust must be earned. But I have access. Your intelligence may lead to actionable evidence. If it does, this may result in a clearance promotion.”

/Such access is not necessary in the scope of my function,/ Acran replies, dipping his head, /My people are not known for their ambitions. I do hope that you are able to acquire the information you need. Is there anything else I can do for you?/

She regards him with a cold, black stare. “You can tell me what you *do* want. I am less concerned about your *people*. More about *you* as an individual. Surely, you must strive for something.”

/I serve at the pleasure of the Vox,/ the insectoid replies, /If I and others of my race provide enough value to the Parallax, we survive. I want to survive./ His eyes are similarly cold, but expressionless.

“Survival without purpose?” Zohikavir opens her snout in amusement. “Even the smallest insect on Nalhom scurries about its existence with some sort of purpose beyond simple survival, even if that purpose is building shelter, caring for offspring, or protecting their queen.” Her head tilts. “You serve the Vox, then? You desire nothing beyond servitude?”

/Servitude is no novelty for the Mekke,/ the interrogator explains, /We each know from birth we must serve and protect the queen. If we do not serve the Nall, the Queen dies. We die./

The Nall officer dips her snout in concession of the point. “Very well. I will make note of your unflinching loyalty to the Vox in my next report to the homeworld. That is all for now, Acran.”

By Brody

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