Age 40 T-T / 20 I / 80 E-E
(Tonglok Lurris stands behind the bar and pours himself a dark drink in a mug.)
TL: Tonglok Lurris.
TL: Bartender and manager-elect of The Gutter Liquid Bar.
CN: Preferred pronouns?
TL: He, him.
CN: Age and by which planetary standards?
TL: Forty years by Tir-Torzor, twenty years by Irrdnis, eighty years by Eas-Enerang.
CN: I want to thank you for going this far in aiding me in my research.
TL: No problem. Did the legacy journal help you out as much as you thought it would? You have any questions you need further elaboration on?
CN: Yes, there are a few things that I felt weren’t answered in your journal’s entries.
TL: Alright, ask away.
CN: Okay. After the first entry you wrote, later entries discussed your experiences in urban areas on Irrdnis, Tir-Torzor, and Eas-Enerang. You wrote about how humans and minare were not inviting – which you already expected would be the case – but you were totally caught off guard when a bunch of other huwaty were not friendly towards you either. Did you ever get to find out why?
CN: What was the reason?
TL: How I and my brother were raised.
CN: Why would that effect how they would treat you?
(Tonglok looks away while rubbing the back of his head.)
TL: Oh boy…I’m gonna get into some uncomfortable detail here to let you fully understand, just give me a moment.
(Tonglok drinks from the mug before looking at me.)
TL: I like you. You don’t ask the typical questions I usually get, which is why I found speaking with you easy and quite enjoyable. There is one question I usually get asked when people find out I’m part human and part minare.
CN: Which is what?
TL: How…You know…
(Tonglok repeatedly jabs a finger in a circle made from his first finger and thumb, then moves his hands in a sweeping motion over has body.)
CN: I don’t quite follow the gestures…
TL: The actual… “steps” on how I came to be…since merely realizing my parents’ size differences would bring images of a hot dog being thrown down a hallway to those not familiar with their anatomies. It’s understandable.
TL: There’s a little more to it than that from what I was told. What my old friend Yusef called, a “compatible coincidence in anatomy.” Minare females have a feathery tendril that seeks out male gamete. When the minare breed, the tendril works almost like it has a mind of its own, as it rummages for what it needs to fertilize the egg in the womb. The tendril is very strong and a wrong move on part of the minare male could cause discomfort, so once he penetrates there are no vigorous movements until after the deed is done. Now, imagine how dangerous it would be if the male is much, much smaller. To the tendril, the whole body would just be a dick, and it doesn’t stop searching until it finds paydirt. Male ordies or gene-spliced must go in crouch first and erect if they hope for any chance make it out alive. Any other way and that tendril turns you into pulp.
In fact, I learned from the huwaty community of one big factor behind ordies back on Irrdnis detesting us, is due to this one nightmarish incident known as the Defiling of Beican Village. The place was home to a mixed community of ordies and gene-spliced, who worked and lived together. There were even instances where the gene-spliced bred with female ordies, creating offspring containing recessive minare genes. The female offspring would be the closest you’d find to a gene-spliced female since all actual gene-spliced huwaty are male.
CN: This was due to the drug manufacturing process back on Irrdnis requiring certain quantities and types of hormones found in male humans, correct?
TL: Yep, that’s it. Sounds like you’ve been cross-checking with your colleagues recently. How’s are they and their work going?
CN: They are all doing well. They have been of good help in filling in some gaps I had of the data I gathered. You were saying?
TL: Yeah. Anyway, one night, a group of minare suffering through juggurog withdrawal raided Beican. The thing about juggurog withdrawal is that it makes the Minare highly aggressive. Most become destructive and very violent, but fertile females go into heat, and they’ll try to have their way with anything resembling something that remotely appeals to them sexually. Not many of the village folk were left alive by morning. Those who were, carried scars and horror stories as proof of what happened. Ordies on Irrdnis used it to claim the Huwaty were magnets for minare raids or being the Minare’s spies. It’s so infamous – especially in the perceived emasculation of human males on that planet – telling any male human to, “go stick yourself in,” had effectively becomes a major slur, since it suggests they would offer sexual favors to minare females to save their own lives.
CN: Oh my. So…how does this relate to others’ dislike of you?
TL: You remember reading how both of my parents got together?
CN: Yes. It was, uhhh…
TL: Fucked? Yeah, it’s kinda fucked. If there’s anything positive I can say about it, is that at least they both came to love each other, and my brother and I came out from it. Many other similar huwaty can’t say the same. It took time for people to catch on that gene-spliced were reproductively compatible with minare, so a lot of natural-born were the by-products of forced intercourse. Those who weren’t killed were either abandoned, given away to Minare scientists, or kept but faced neglect and abuse. Didn’t help that ordies and some gene-spliced saw our mere existence as a traitorous act against all humankind. So, when my happy ass came along talking about my loving family, many of my own kind thought that I felt I was better than them. Lucky me, resentment within the huwaty community subsided during the Grand Pushback.
CN: Ah yes, that leads to another one of my questions. What made you decide to join the pro-human independence movement against the Apiary?
TL: A few reasons. The most obvious would be the attempted acts of mass violence against us by the loyalist mobs, which I’m sure you’ve read about in my journal.
CN: Yes, I remembered. The colonial administration really was not happy with so many huwaty defying the order of conscription.
TL: No, they weren’t, and they didn’t like that we weren’t easily pushed around by their irregulars either. We came to Tir-Torzor to live a better life, not to fight and die for issues we were not all too familiar with at the time, since we were getting conflicting information from different sides up until then. When the pro-human rebels warned us about cetaceans being sent in to subdue us, we knew then who our allies were. To tell the truth, I was working up the courage to side with them anyway.
CN: So then, what was your personal driving force?
TL: It goes back to when I was making my way through Uodun for immigration. I was at first enamoured by all the architecture and well-dressed minare going about their daily routines, passing me by. However, it didn’t take long for me to look pass them and see the humans. Those who weren’t sold off or forced to entertain, were in the shadow of the Minare’s periphery, scrounging for scraps, scuffling over what they could grab, and dying only to be cleaned up with trash. I heard about stuff like this from Yusef, so it was heartbreaking but not unexpected.
When we landed on Tir-Torzor, I was thrown off by how different the planet was from how I originally imagined. I wasn’t sure how far off I were about the inhabitants, but I imagined that humans on that planet would’ve been living under better conditions somehow. I would eventually visit one of the reservations and see that their residents were essentially living the same woeful lives as their kind in the Minare kingdoms back on Irrdnis.
My birth world has its share of slavers, bandits, and despots, but not once before Uodun or the reservation, did I ever see the addition of any human live and die out of wanton cruelty by – what I can only describe as – avoidable wretchedness. It was uncanny how almost identical the ambience of both places were to each other, to the point that ever-present giants lorded over and neglected the desperation; except you could say the giants of Tir-Torzor were illuminated on billboards, spoke at the masses via broadcasts, or could easily fit in the palms of human hands. I didn’t like seeing that existed on Irrdnis, and I didn’t like seeing that it was there in my new home either. When the opportunity arrived to help be rid of it, I had no qualms.
CN: This same ambience you speak of, is it not the same case here in this enclave?
TL: Unfortunately. We fought to get out from under that system, only to find ourselves back at its mercy, thanks to that war going on back on Tir-Torzor.
CN: Were there any other antecedents for joining the pro-human movement?
TL: Despite the fact they call themselves pro-human – PROHU as the younger generation calls it now – there’s more to it than just fighting for humankind’s equity amongst themselves and alien races. It’s pro-Earth in terms of home, its old name before being conquered, and environment because a healthier environment would mean a healthier people. Tir-Torzor’s environment was disgusting and uncomfortably warm when I arrived, so I can see why they’d want to fix that.
PROHU is likewise pro-huwaty as my people are both, part human, and were being taken advantage of too. I remember when the local movement’s elected ambassadors first reached out to our community. They were wary and trying to figure out what our business was being on Tir-Torzor. Remembered they even offered us a partnership in mutual aid to build intercommunal relations. They weren’t rude or belligerent, but they made it clear they didn’t want us working with the Apiary. The interactions were way more honest than anything we had between the colonial authorities.
CN: They gave the Huwaty automatic status of ‘assimilated domestic foreigns,’ which added more friction between your kind and the humans considered to be unassimilated, yes?
TL: Oh, most definitely. There was always this feeling of disingenuousness beneath all the Apiary’s sweet talk, the restraint of the Cetacean patrols, the privileges we were granted, and our marginally better living conditions. One thing they did that really got to me, was whenever they used the Huwaty as the “model minority.” Not only did it encourage ordie resentment towards us, but it placed undue pressure on us fulfilling near-impractical workload quotas, by people who never had the experience of doing similar work. Once we defied the conscription however, they dropped the phoniness and knocked many of our statuses down to ‘domestic foreigns’ out of retaliation. That was before getting it bumped back up to ‘assimilated domestic foreign’ when I sought asylum. When I emigrated here, I had to get my alien allowance docugram just like all the other ordie asylum seekers, and you know I’m not that upset about it. At least now I know what they think about us.
CN: You wrote about the positives and negatives of your quality of life here on Eas-Enerang. Positives like procurable healthcare and a more adequate infrastructure, and negatives like the Va’ists and the looming chlithes-nok rut. Are there any others you didn’t mention in your journal?
TL: Yeah. There’s been over-patrolling here by cetaceans, and an overrepresentation of members from our community in their crime reports because of it. Apiary subjects on the other hand have also been committing crimes, but they haven’t been under the same amount of scrutiny as we have.
CN: How do you know for sure?
TL: We have defense groups like the ones during the Great Troubles, but the Apiary has been trying to make it tougher for them to function effectively. There are no official records because of that, so the data usually floats around locally by word of mouth mostly. I know a few who are members. I listen to them because I would trust my life with them, which is one of the positives I didn’t write about.
CN: These people happen to be the same ones who survived fighting alongside you in the Grand Pushback, and the evacuations during the Surts’ emergence?
TL: Yes. Some of them, yes.
CN: Which ones are still alive again? The Dondrey Twins, Rodriguez-Cabello, and Nolan?
TL: The Nondrey Twins – Grellit and Megrellit – Eli Rodriguez-Cabello, Macklin D. Dolan, Hao Amohanga, and Kelaoqe Iccera.
CN: Ah, right! Iccera was one of your comrades-in-arms before getting together with you as love partners. Any good progress on the adoption plans you told me about last time?
TL: We were denied because we aren’t classified as the Apiary’s subjects. Iccera even doublechecked my part of the work in the process to make sure we both did exactly what was asked of us. Didn’t matter.
CN: I am sorry that they would do that to you both.
TL: It’s not like they wouldn’t have some other reason to bar us from adopting anyway, but it was worth the try and others can’t say we didn’t.
CN: Your rationale for thinking that way?
TL: I can tell you of a few that come to mind that I know usually disqualifies folks from certain services offered by the Apiary: Human DNA, if you make income below a specific bracket, if you we ever incarcerated during the Great Troubles, if you ever were a resident of a reservation. I can go on if you want.
CN: Basically, anything that pertains to what is associated with humans.
CN: This is despite the knowledge that all natural-born huwaty are born sterile?
(Tonglok sips from the mug and then stares off pensively.)
CN: What are you thinking about?
TL: Just my family back home. It’s not like I want to move back if I had the chance, but I find myself occasionally wondering about how they’re doing. If anything had improved since I left. What they’d think about how my life has turned out so far. How Iccera and them would interact with one other.
(Tonglok sighs and then sips from the mug.)
TL: I miss them.
(Tonglok says nothing for a moment.)
TL: Is there anything else you want to know?
CN: No, I believe you told me enough of what you could. Thank you for contributing.
TL: You’re welcome, it was nothing. Thanks for listening. It’s not like Iccera doesn’t, but sometimes there’s just some things you must talk about with strangers.
CN: My pleasure.
- End of Recorded Interview -