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Shepherd Moon, Chapter 20: Homecoming

 

Earthfall –

The three Elyran and two Dixx cruisers continuously went around the moon on constant deceleration, continuing to bleed off their velocity.

As for Seeker, Hermes and Constellation, they, as well as several other ships, were parked in orbit just above the three crashed cruisers, with the Legacy ships doing occasional re-orbits to maintain position. They patiently waited for their Federation friends to bleed off enough velocity so that they could join them.

Mia had deliberately selected different ships - a couple more Type-Twos and a dozen different kinds of Legacy ships. The purpose was to impress the Federation envoys and show that Earth’s fleet was made up of many different ship types.

When the Dixx and Elyran ships were slow enough, they started to maneuver so that they copied the Earth Ships’ orbits, and came to relative rest near the Earthers.

From the Federation ships’ vantage point, they could see several tractors and crawlers moving around the beached ships below. Earth scientists and engineers were making the most of the opportunity, and were studying everything that they could get their hands on. Marta Running-Stream herself had even come over to do some hands-on. For Tasha, Ren and Daxx, they weren’t too impressed - they’d already seen Detterex and Tiros ships before. They were more impressed by the orbiting Earther ships.

As soon as they were ready, the five Federation ships and seventeen Earther ships changed their delta-v’s and accelerated for Earth.

This close to Earth, none of the aliens activated their FTL systems and used more conventional propulsion. Earth was about four hundred thousand kilometers away so they knew they would take several hours to get to the planet. As soon as they were on their way, Kennedy Spaceport started relocating all air and spacecraft on its landing tarmacs and put into action long-laid plans for the arrival of extraterrestrial VIPs.

The Fifth Fleet crews knew there was going to be a ceremony, but more than anything, the Secretary-General would be there. Seeker’s crew, without exception, would have to be in dress blues, and be prepared for an inspection, which the First Ambassador had warned was something the Princess might ask for. Everyone was pressed into service and, in a few hours, the Seeker was as clean and organized as it had never been before.

Beth quipped to the Chief that they should have inspections by extraterrestrials more often.

Seeker’s sister ships were safe, however, much to Beth’s annoyance. As soon as the Federation ships landed, Constellation and Hermes were to make for New Copernicus for their upgrades, so, except for a couple of Cobra shuttles, their captains and a small party, their crews were exempted.

A few hours before planetfall however, Mia had unexpectedly called for an emergency meeting.

It was old hat by now. Everyone knew their routines and logged on to the Channel “A” frequency.

All of Seeker’s people were in formal uniform, and Mia nodded in satisfaction. They all wore the double-breasted navy-blue jacket with the two rows of brass buttons and the gold trim at the edges, Napoleon-style gold-trimmed high collar and Napoleonic gold-tasseled epaulettes went well the skin-tight white legging-like pants and the shiny, black riding-style knee-high boots.

As before, Mia had her high-tech sword (the light turned on, of course, and running on its internal battery this time), her modified sidearm and holster clipped to her jacket’s belt, and over the belt was tied a red sash. On her jacket’s lower sleeves were more gold stripes than before, and on her jacket’s left breast were the miniatures of her decorations. On the right was a silver nameplate, and the old Seeker miniature had been replaced with the new Fifth Fleet miniature.

She looked at Nick by her side.

“Suits you,” she smirked, referring to the gold-and-blue braided aiguillette that was strung on top of his jacket’s left shoulder and then under his arm. His chest was bare of decorations, though.

Nick couldn’t respond in kind so he just grumbled. At least grumbling wasn’t insubordination.

Mia noted the clothes that the Elyrans wore - the same type as the clothes that they wore during their meal on Talon. They looked like refugees from a Shakespeare play. However, there were a few who wore ceremonial armor instead. Mia noted this, and she motioned for Nick. She whispered something in his ear. Nick nodded and rushed out to call Sahsha.

The Arachnians took their accustomed places. They were wearing their formal “attire” - bright colored torcs around their necks and what looked like vests over their thoraxes. Each vest was in one solid color - either red, green, blue, yellow, magenta or cyan. Based on the lecture that the Ambassador gave, the Earthers knew that the colors represented the major guilds in Arachnian industry and society: There were three major guilds - the Warriors in green vests, the Philosophers (what some might think of as priests) in blue and the Builders in red. There were three other guilds, the so-called “allied” guilds - the Scientists in magenta since their members were specialists from the Warriors and the Builders, the Doctors in yellow because they were from the Philosophers and the Builders, and the Engineers in cyan because they were from the Warriors and the Philosophers. The colors that they used to represent each made humans think that the way Arachnian vision worked was similar to humans. The fact that they used what humans called the three “primary” and three “secondary” colors indicated that Arachnian vision may be trichromatic as well, and sensitive to red, green and blue. Maybe the Arachnian eye wasn’t really a compound eye.

As for Admiral Daxx, she and her people were wearing what looked like a kind of flowing cream-colored robe that left their arms bare from the shoulders down. They had only ever seen the Admiral in what were like long-sleeved high-collared shirts, and it was a revelation to find her arms covered in what appeared to be thick, large and luxurious white feathers.

It made Mia wonder and think back to the words of the first-ever recorded Federation message.

Mia stood and bowed to everyone in the formal Elyran manner.

“Well,” she said, “doesn’t everyone look wonderful.” And laughter drowned out everything. Mia smiled. “Good afternoon, friends. We are finally here. So much sacrifice. Nothing more need be said about that, except that it is up to us to see that their sacrifice was not in vain.”

There was a short period of appreciative silence.

Mia clapped her hands. “Anyway. Let us push on. In a short while, we will be landing in Kennedy Spaceport, and from there, we will take a short ride to the United Nations, where a few of us will be given a chance to speak before the U.N. Assembly. Everything is moving forward as planned.

“However, I would like to report a new development.”

The Earthers and Elyrans groaned, and if the Dixx and the Arachnians knew how to, they would have groaned as well.

“Yes. Again. Something has happened again. But this time, it’s not as bad as before.”

She gestured at the screen behind her, which had switched on with a video running on it.

“What you see is the crashed Detterex flagship, the Defiant. We had moved all Detterex survivors. She cannot fly again - she had sustained too much damage in its crash.

“Yes indeed, she did contain the ‘Curtain of Light’ generator, and we were able to capture it intact and switched it off. But, checking through all the crew and survivors, and checking the entire ship itself, we were unable to find Lord Norga and Princess Arvan. What we did find inside the ship was this...”

On the screen was a picture of a large empty hold as seen from a height. Based on the tiny size of the Earther standing in the middle of the empty space, it was indeed a very large, empty space.

“Furthermore, there was this...”

A new video was displayed, this time, a grainy long-distance video taken off Seeker’s on-board cameras. In it was a picture of Defiant flying through space as it was gaining on Seeker. After a moment, some kind of movement was seen happening underneath it. It was just for a moment so it was easy to miss it. The video was run back and was put in slow motion. The movement turned out to be a small ship the size of the Yamato being ejected from underneath the bigger ship.

“And here is the final piece...”

On the screen was a tactical display. The aliens wouldn’t have understood the English labels and symbols, but the image itself was self-explanatory: it was a spacecraft leaving the Sol system at high hyperspace speed.

“Unfortunately, this ship was found after the EM field was switched off, and was already flying at speed before anyone noticed it. This spacecraft is now already too far away for anyone to be able to do anything.”

“Lady Amelia,” the Princess said, “are you saying that the Detterex Princess has been able to escape?”

“That’s correct, Your Highness,” Mia responded. “It is our conclusion that, while the remaining three Empire ships were pursuing us, she launched her escape craft under the cloak of the EM suppression field. Analysis of its trajectory indicates that it is on its way to Detterex, where Princess Arvan will undoubtedly raise the alarm.”

“What are the turnover times, My Lady?” Ren asked.

Mia shrugged. “I apologize, Your Highness. We don’t have precise numbers yet, but we believe Princess Arvan should be arriving in Detterex in approximately twelve Earth months.”

“Well...”

Mia nodded. “I know, Your Highness, and you are right. Our problem is clear-cut, but there is still time. For the moment, though, there is nothing to be done. Let us therefore concentrate on something happier: our homecoming.”

Ren nodded. “Well spoken, My Lady. You are quite correct.”

-----

The twenty-two ships, made up of three Elyran Cruisers, two massive Dixx cruisers, Earth’s DSC Seeker, four Type-Twos which included Hermes and Constellation, and a dozen Legacy ships - three Orions, a Daedalus, four super-massive, eighty-year-old Dreadnoughts, a pair of re-engineered Enterprise-class fusion cruisers and a pair of Jovian-class Corvettes.

The Legacy ships were easily the same size as the Elyrans’ ships, except for the four deuterium-fueled Dreadnoughts. which were even larger than the Dixx ships. It was all part of Mia’s plan - to impress, even intimidate, the aliens with the sheer number and types of ships they had at their disposal.

As they neared the Karman Line, the Federation and Legacy ships switched to atmosphere-friendly propulsion. Seeker and the Type-Twos didn’t need to.

Seeker led them in at the appropriate speeds. Beth made the decision to turn off her deflectors and just rely on her structural integrity field. It had been a long time since Seeker had entered atmosphere but her largely-unchanged lines kept her aerodynamic.

Beth knew all eyes in the world, indeed in the system, were focused on them so she put on a show. “With appropriate clearance, why the hell shouldn’t we put on a show,” she thought.

As prearranged with Hermes and Constellation, Seeker broke formation and burst forward, leaving the other ships for a moment. This gave her some room to showboat.

When she neared the surface of the water, she reduced her speed to barely fifty kilometers an hour and flew around the island of Manhattan. She then flew unusually low and slow, and buzzed the head of the Statue of Liberty as closely as her pilot dared. When she was clear, Beth checked if there was any air or water traffic ahead. Seeker then switched on her long-unused retros. They weren’t needed, but with the air turbulence and heat generated, Seeker threw up a big spume of water. She dipped and then pulled up sharply, creating a spray of water and steam. It was like she was climbing up on a pillar of fire and clouds, like the Saturn moon-rockets of old.

From there, she switched off her retros and climbed back up to formation. She left a slowly dissipating steam cloud, but before it was completely gone, a rainbow shined in the New York sun.

-----

All air traffic had been cleared above New York, so the twenty-two ships didn’t have any trouble going to Kennedy and landing on the prepared landing fields.

All five Federation ships landed first on the marked field, and once they were secured, Seeker and her sister Type-Two ships then landed. When the Earth ships were secured, the four giant Dreadnoughts started their descent.

Never before had Kennedy had so many spaceships there at the same time, and it barely had room to accommodate all twenty-two. But the Flight Manager was able to manage. Though he was told he couldn’t give instructions to the five alien ships, he was ruthless with the Earth cruisers. He was sure he wasn’t making friends, but either that or he’d have to turn away some of them. He gave instructions to how they parked and the power settings they were allowed to use. He used a lot of... creative language and he thanked the stars he was on an open frequency so they didn’t give too much backtalk. He had some trouble with the Dreadnoughts, however, especially since they landed on their tails and needed a relatively flat landing tarmac. The Dixx and Elyran cruisers hadn’t bunched up much, so the landing space left was at a premium. Seeker, the Type-Twos and the Orions and Enterprise-class ships had anti-gravs so he pushed them together and as close to the aliens as possible. The Daedalus and three of the Dreadnoughts had just enough flat ground to land, and touched down safely under a large cloud of smoke and dust. As for the fourth Dreadnought, the spaceport only had one last piece of empty space, but it wasn’t finished yet. Bulldozers, graders and tractors were still in evidence.

But there was no choice. At least it was flat already, though still rough.

After the equipment had been moved, the pilot maneuvered the last Dreadnought precisely over the semi-finished landing pad, and had her come down slowly. He knew that she’d use up a significant portion of her fuel, but it did provide a great show.

The giant ship came down on a column of fire and smoke and as it got nearer and nearer, the roar of her rockets became louder and louder.

Sound suppression fields kicked on, much to the relief of the spaceport staff.

About fifty meters from the ground, the ship stopped its descent, and, incredibly, it hovered. Great clouds of smoke and dust grew. And as it stayed balanced on its tail of fire, it slowly transcribed a circle, creating a large area of blasted and burned flat ground.

-----

On the Talon, Tasha and Ren had been watching video feeds from an Earther satellite, and feeds from Earth news outlets, relayed to them via the Earthers’ New York Weather Station. Ren wondered why a Weather Station, but he suspected it was because their weather sensing systems were the only large radio-based systems they still had.

They watched on “TV” as Seeker showboated for everyone. In the back of her mind, Tasha thought of how expert Seeker’s pilot and crew were, and how wonderful the ship looked. The cloud of steam that enveloped her before shooting back up into the sky was so beautiful. And the rainbow that remained was wonderful.

But for her, the most amazing was what this gigantic ship was doing now.

“What is it doing!” Ren exclaimed.

“It’s burning the ground,” Reena said. “It’s flattening it.”

“But why?”

“So it can land,” Tasha said. “That’s brilliant.”

And after a last circuit, the huge spacecraft slowly settled down onto the ground.

“Your Highness,” one of her people said.

“Yes, warrior?”

“We are getting a message.”

-----

After the last Dreadnought had landed, the Flight Manager breathed a sigh of relief. He reached for his CC again and tuned it to the Flight Control frequency. He was told the Federation crews wouldn’t have Phase-Wave nor would they understand English, but he was assured that Seeker would translate and relay his message for him.

“T’Chahn, honored visitors from the Galactic Federation, and members of the United Earth Defense Force. In behalf of the Secretary-General and the people of Sol System, welcome to Earth, and to the John F. Kennedy International Spaceport.

“May we invite representatives of your respective parties to disembark. A reception committee shall be on hand to meet you at your ships and bring you to our United Nations.”

-----

Tasha reached out for Ren’s hand.

“It’s been more than two years, my love,” Tasha said, “but we’re finally here.”

“The price has been high, Tasha...”

“We all knew the risks...”

Ren went to her, and laid a finger on her lips.

“Hush, My Lady. I’m sorry to have brought it up. I know you would have been ready to die in their...”

Tasha hugged him tightly to her to quiet him.

“Your Highness,” one of their people came up. “A message from the Earthers. Your ‘ride’ will be outside in seventeen minutes.” Her face made a little moue of displeasure.

“They do have an odd turn of phrase, don’t they, Warrior?” she laughed.

-----

Mia and Beth, with Nick following, led Seeker’s contingent down her seldom-used ventral ramp. As they stepped down, Beth snuck a look at the ship’s hull and felt dismay at her somewhat dented and scratched hull. Mia hip-bumped her.

“The boss is looking, Beth,” Mia said sotto voce. An official delegation from the U.N. was approaching, and in the lead was the Secretary-General.

Beth snapped her head forward, and continued marching.

“Don’t worry, we’ll get her looking pretty again before we take her out.”

“Thanks, Boss.”

They stopped and formed in parade formation, and waited for inspection.

“Here she comes,” Mia said as the Secretary-General approached them.

“Look who’s with her,” Beth whispered. “Oh, no...”

Mia groaned.

Walking beside the Secretary-General was Queen Margaret the Second - Queen of All England and the Commonwealth. Behind the Secretary-General, acting like her adjutant, was Admiral Silverman, and by his side, acting as the Queen’s adjutant was Prince Stephen, Lord of the Realm, Knight of the Royal Order of the Seraphim, Commander Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Sword, and who also happened to be the husband of the queen.

No other VIPs followed who were of the same level of importance to the system as these four. The real VIPs couldn’t make it since everything was all hurried, and few could adjust their schedules to make it to New York with their earlier-than-expected arrival, and the arrival ceremonies. Instead, various ambassadors and other lower-ranked government officials substituted for them.

As the queen approached, Mia struggled to remember the protocol for greeting her. Beth noticed her agitation.

“What’s wrong?” Beth asked.

“I can’t remember what to do,” Mia said in an uncharacteristically panicked voice, referring to the accepted protocols for greeting royalty. It had only changed a little bit over the years, of course, even after the war, but Mia couldn’t remember any of it.

Beth giggled and whispered to Mia the procedures.

“When the queen comes to you and you’re a subject, which you are now, you bow or curtsey. Since you’re in uniform, you bow. The phrase you use is ‘Your Majesty’ or ‘Your Royal Highness.’ If she has her hand out, accept it with a light touch and then let go. After that, you are to address her as ‘Ma’am.’”

Mia nodded. “Thanks, Beth,” she said. “You’re a lifesaver. Wups, watch it. Here she comes!”

The queen stepped close, Romarkin beside her.

“It is wonderful to see you again, Lady Amelia,” she said in that voice that was so well known to almost all Earthers. “I have heard you have had a very... eventful trip?” She held out her hand, grinning like the proverbial Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland.

Mia bowed and shook her hand lightly, as protocol required. It was all she could do to return Her Queen’s grin. As it was, all she could manage was a small, nervous smile. “My Queen... That’s amazing,” she thought.

“It was a pleasant enough trip, Your Majesty. Thank you for asking.”

“I trust you will tell me all about it later?”

Mia bowed. “At your convenience, Ma’am.”

The queen nodded at that, and walked down the front row of Mia’s assembled crew, apparently starting her inspection. Mia was pleased that her crew was behaving appropriately, saluting in the required manner when she stopped. Some bowed, and a few of her female crew who were in the uniform skirt actually curtseyed. This reminded her that some of her people were British subjects. She reminded herself to check out who were British later. Her new, embarrassing title might make it more awkward to deal with these particular people. It was best to be prepared.

When Romarkin and Silverman passed in front of her, they both grinned widely. Silverman actually winked. Prince Stephen, obviously in on it as well, waggled his brows. Mia seethed with both embarrassment as well as frustration at not being able to tell them off.

They trailed behind the queen, and when the queen was done, she and her “entourage” went back down the ramp and back into their limousine. It was a sign of the times that they didn’t have any bodyguards with them. In previous decades, bodyguards would surround VIPs like them.

As soon as the big black car started moving away, Mia nodded to O’Connell and she got them moving to a waiting bus.

As they were getting on the bus, a uniformed Royal Guard came up and bowed.

“My Lady,” he said, “Her Royal Highness has brought a vehicle for you, Captain O’Connell and your staff.” He gestured at a humongous, shiny black stretch limousine.

“Thank you,” Mia said. “Staff,” she thought. She turned to Nick.

“Nick,” she said, “get us four Marines and find Commander Kajima. We’re going to the U.N.”

“Marines, sir?”

“Yes. Make sure they are in class fives, and with their sidearms.”

“Aye.” He pulled out his CC and started making calls. It was difficult to round up the necessary Marines since those off duty had already departed, but he was able to get four soldiers and Kajima.

“Sir,” Kajima saluted. “Sorry, we just got the Lieutenant’s call. Reporting as ordered.”

The four Marines with Kajima were female, and were even taller than Mia. From their accoutrements, she saw that they were from the Second Marine/Infantry Squad. “Guess Nick figured out what I wanted,” she thought.

“Thanks, Commander,” Mia said and turned to the lead Marine. “We’re going to the U.N. I’m afraid we need to put on another show. If you know what I mean.”

The Marine nodded. “I thought as much,” she grinned. “You can count on us, Skipper.”

“Thank you, Sergeant,” Mia said.

The four Marines went to the front part of the limo and occupied the front two cabins and Mia, Nick, O’Connell and Kajima sat in the rear-most cabin. And as soon as they got settled in, the long vehicle started moving.

-----

As the long procession of cars slowly made its way through New York, the First Ambassador looked through his limousine’s windows and saw the crush of Earthers that lined the boulevard they were traveling on.

“A parade,” he thought. Many races had the same kind of thing - the Arachnians, too, though they varied widely in detail. Still, he felt this very familiar, and was delighted. It boded well for their future plans.

“They are so many,” one of his colleagues marveled. They were the third car in the procession, the Princess and Prince’s car in the lead followed by the Admiral’s, followed by theirs.

“What are they doing?” another asked.

“They’re waving around miniature flags, and screaming and waving at us.”

“I can see that!” he said. “Stop being literal. I mean, why are they doing that? Are they angry?”

The First Ambassador sighed, or did their equivalent of a sigh.

“They’re cheering us,” he said.

“They are?”

“Yes. Obviously.” He then suddenly leaned forward and, using his Elyran-to-Earther translator, talked to their car’s driver.

He then leaned back.

One of the others tapped him on his upper left arm’s shoulder.

“What did you tell the driver,” he asked the First Ambassador.

“I asked him to open our cabin roof.”

“What?”

At that moment, their roof started folding towards the back of the car like an accordion, and the glass windows started sliding down and disappearing into the doors.

Being out in the open, they could now hear the crowd. It was very visceral how the cheering of the Earthers felt. “Yes,” he thought, “this is how a parade’s supposed to be.”

The First Ambassador stood on his hind limbs, surprising his fellow Arachnians, stuck his upper body through the roof, and waved his two upper right limbs at the Earthers, doing his best to emulate the people he saw on “TV.”

It must have worked because the cheering of the crowd doubled. The First Ambassador bowed in the Elyran manner, and, judging by the response, he did right.

-----

“What happened?” Ren asked Tasha. “Why are they cheering like that?” He looked through the windows of their limousine but didn’t see anything. He craned his neck and looked back through their rear window and saw, in the rearmost car, the First Ambassador standing up on his back limbs in his now-roofless limousine and waving to the spectators.

“That showoff,” he said, grinning. “That damned lovable showoff. Tasha!”

Tasha turned and looked through the window. She laughed.

What’s more, they saw the roof of the car in between them fold open as well, and Admiral Daxx, in her snowy-white formal uniform, stood as well.

The loose sleeves of her robe fell away as she waved. Her slim arms were uncovered, showing the very fine, snowy white feathers almost like fur in their extravagant thickness and fineness covering them. On her face was a simple, uncomplicated smile as she acknowledged the cheering of the Earthers. She looked towards their car and gestured for them to come out as well.

“Come on!” Daxx mouthed, and waved for them to come out. “Come on!” she repeated.

Ren and Tasha looked at each other. They giggled.

Tasha shrugged. “Why not,” she said, and tapped on the partition between them and the driver compartment, explaining they wanted out, too. Either the driver knew Elyran, or he had a translator, because he understood her straight away.

In a moment, their cabin also opened and both of them stood.

The air was a little cool but the sunlight was warm and wonderful, and the atmosphere was just moist enough to feel pleasant. Their noses were assailed by scents and smells that were mostly familiar but wonderfully exotic as well. Ren looked at his life signs detector and was relieved that the atmosphere was safe.

The already-raucous crowd even went wilder. Tasha laughed and waved.

Ren put his arm around her and gave her a hug, and waved to the crowd as well.

“Never in a million years would I have imagined we’d be here, and in a parade,” Ren said into her ear, laughing.

Tasha pulled him close. “I as well, my love,” she answered, and kissed him happily. “I as well.”

As they kissed, the people went even wilder, if that was even possible.

The crowd surged forward. Hands reached out to her and Ren, and they touched hands with the Earther citizens.

Young and old, male and female, it felt like every kind of Earther they’d ever seen was there, and they pressed forward wanting to meet the two of them.

The caravan had to slow down, and even more people took that opportunity to get closer. Some of the braver ones actually snuck forward and shook their hands or gave them kisses on the cheek.

Ren couldn’t stop himself and, though he didn’t kiss them back (Tasha was watching, after all), he shook hands with them or hugged them back instead.

Ren looked back at the other two cars and it appeared that he and Tasha had the larger group of “fans” (he had learned the word from the Earther Sahsha). Still, other Earthers also crowded around the others. He was surprised to note that it was mostly children that congregated around the Arachnian limo. The First Ambassador was probably having the time of his life meeting the Earther children.

In a few minutes, however, a group of uniformed Earthers came over blowing whistles and politely, but firmly, held the throng back, allowing the vehicles to continue on their way to the U.N.

“N.Y.P.D,” their driver explained. Ren wondered what “En-Why-Pee-Dee” meant until the translator gave him the meaning of the acronym.

-----

When they reached the U.N., security people approached their car and opened the doors. They stood at attention and saluted in the Earther manner as the extraterrestrials stepped down from their cars. Several of the Elyran bodyguards who were in the rear compartment of their limo got out and surrounded the Princess and Prince.

Ren spotted the Secretary-General and the queen, and they went over and climbed up the stage they were standing on. The cheering crowds tried to surround the stage but were held back by Earthers in the same uniforms as before. “En-Why-Pee-Dee meant Police,” Ren remembered.

He actually wondered why they allowed these people to get so close. Didn’t they worry about security? But then, he didn’t understand the dynamics of the situation so he just decided to trust them and his small, handpicked Elyran security contingent to keep him and Tasha safe.

He and Tasha bowed to the queen and the Secretary-General deeply as Elyran royalty would with peers, and followed that with handshakes in the Earther manner. They noticed the little Earther female they'd met before via Phase-Wave, Ren’s little friend Sahsha, and waved to her.

Soon Admiral Daxx, the First Ambassador and their parties joined them. Prince Stephen talked with them via a translator unobtrusively pinned underneath his collar, and sorted out their large group onstage. In a while, Ren’s and Tasha’s, the Admiral’s and the First Ambassador’s people were escorted down to seats at the rear of the stage. That left the queen, the Secretary-General, Admiral Daxx, the First Ambassador, and Ren and Tasha.

The aliens and Earth dignitaries found seats at the left side of the stage, and after they had settled down, the Secretary-General stepped up to the podium. As soon as the gathered spectators had quieted down, she began her short prepared speech.

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About the author

Bobbi-C

  • Washington DC
  • Mistress of Confusion

Bio: Bobbi Cabot is a transgender girl in her thirties (35 y.o. as of 2016), who transitioned in 2005. She is known as "Roberta J. Cabot," "Bobbie-C," "Bobbie," "Bobbi" and "Bobbi-C" in the sites where she posts her stories.

Though not a professional writer, Bobbi is under the delusion that she writes passably well and indulges this delusion by sometimes posting stories, which is, thankfully, very seldom.

Bobbi's day job (the phrase "day job" is hereby stressed) involves being the big cheese of the overseas BPO practice of a Top 100 computer technology corporation.

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