Talia looked around the room where she waited while Goodla checked the other rooms for dangers and traps. She wandered, looking at the furnishings – so unlike anything she was used to. The multi-legged ogalla rarely bothered with furniture anything like this. As Goodla checked each room he checked in with her, Safe. Clear. Weird but not dangerous.
Of course it’s weird. It’s alien.
Once Goodla cleared the rooms and rejoined her she lifted a hand. He held it against his head and she closed her eyes, an old concentration trick as he connected to the ogalla commander on the ship. There was the instantaneous bonding between the two ogalla and then Talia was allowed in, but she could not reach the depth they did. Emotions seeped in, but to be clear she had to use the language, We are in a safe room. We have been welcomed.
Could you establish any contact with another like you? the question wasn’t entirely words, there was depth of hope and fear and disgust that the commander could never quite remove when he spoke to her. Talia sent a negative and for a moment the depth between Goodla and the commander was out of her reach.
Disgust. You are only acceptable for this mission to find a suitable alternative.
Talia felt water against her eyelashes, an instinctive reaction she hated. Goodla was so intertwined with the commander that Talia sensed their sparks of disagreement – even if she couldn’t follow the “conversation” that had in the instant.
I shall send along to the princess. the commander cut Goodla off sharply, sending twinges of pain across the ogalla’s sensative nerve cluster. Talia was shielded from that abrupt departure.
Don’t let him discourage you. The king and the princess ordered this mission for a peace treaty.
But if I can’t prove others are capabable of intelligence…
Goodla smacked his minor arms down to become a six-footed ogalla and made a noise through the cavaties along his spine. It was a rude gesture and noise, but made Talia smile. Yes, Goodla was right. There was a change since the science teams had learned that the noises Talia made watching human vids correlated to her thoughts. It took a long time to figure out the language in a way that was natural, and the ogalla were still trying to figure out ways to communicate without Talia’s talent for hearing them.
You will be fine.
Talia nodded with false confidence. She knew she was leaking her doubts all over the cabin, but she still did not have the individualism that an orgalla child could manage. Goodla settled on the floor in the main room on several cushions and soon his thoughts faded into dream mutters.
In the room clearly designated for her own sleep, Talia looked around curiously. She had been able to see some things like this in the vids the orgalla had on humans, but this was her first time exploring them herself. Slowly she explored the drawers, pulling them out and watching them slide back and click closed. It took her a few tries to figure out how to use the waste disposal, and it wasn’t worse than what the orgalla had figured out based on the few vids they found where it was referenced.
The desk was plain and simple. Talia tapped its top like she watched humans in vids and it sprang to life. Even knowing that was supposed to happen, she jumped back from it. So many human vids were false, she had wondered which of these things might be real and which were the falsehoods. The orgalla were fascinated and horrified by the human ability to tell lies. Apparently, when she was very, very small Talia had tried it, but her thought process always gave her away. She didn’t remember it, but her mother loved to tell the story to new acquaintences.
The rotating image was speaking aloud, “Welcome to the galaxy starship Sunburst’s entertainment and studies library. As an ambassadorial guest you will have limited information on the layout or operations of the ship at this time. We certainly hope as our friendship grows, we will be permitted to grant you greater access. Please input or speak for preferences. Welcome to the galaxy starship….”
When it had repeated twice, Talia tapped the top of the desk twice and it vanished. She looked around with a surprising guilt at the curiosity she felt to learn more about human culture. The orgalla had given her access the thousands of educational, ambassadorial, and even military classified documents, vids, and programs to help her learn more about her own species. As she had learned more about the audible language, the orgalla had been fascinated. As a child she had sometimes been seated in front of vids and as she watched and listened, the orgalla rode intrusively on her mind. The benefit was that when she grew petulant and wanted something fun her mother knew instantly and could demand they allow her one of the recreational vids instead of military.
Sitting down in front of the desk, Talia tentatively tapped it’s surface again. It sprang up and she asked her first question for humanity, “Who are my parents?”