First Draft Excerpt: A New Embassy

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This is a side project, a new story idea that wouldn't let go until I wrote some of it. Set in the Empire of Humanity, roughly thirty-five Earth years after the events of Empire and Earth. To give you a time-line comparison, Grace is less than halfway through her time in the Planetary Surface Forces prior to the beginning of The Invention Of Motherhood, Joe and Asina are about two years into building Windhome Bay in Building The People

UPDATE: The next piece is now posted here

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The ship was poised, ready for the final transition into the Morelli system. Ambassador DeelKonosh cautioned Sergeant Mitrisa over the com, "This is a unrequested embassy, not an assault. Put us on the outskirts of their system, well off the plane of the ecliptic. I want to talk to them."

"Yes, ang." The viewscreen returned to the exterior star field.

"Excited?" Tess asked her charge.

The datalink translated. Motafo tossed his head, the dominant culture's code for yes. "It will be good to feel the earth of home," he said in his own language. Tamana, the embassy's xenologist and Tess's superior and instructor, said nothing.

Tess listened to the translation in her datalink. It would have been nice to be operant, like the Ambassador or ship's commander, but the datalink served well enough. Motavo's species had evolved from hexapedal porcinoids, live-bearing burrowing omnivores. Endothermic, tusked, hairy, mammaloids, but not mammals. They lacked mammary glands to nurse; instead the young were fed pre-chewed roots, tubers, grubs, and small prey.

"It was generous of your people to rescue us and return us home."

"Not generous. Self-interest." If there was one thing the Ambassador had been definite about, it was not to allow any illusions about altruism of the Empire. "Our Ambassador says we'd rather talk than shoot, next time our vessels encounter one another."

"Nonetheless, it was our commander who shot first. Your people found our survivors and rescued us, and now we are almost home."

It had been a wild week since the Empire had come seeking a contract at the University of St. Petersburg, the only accredited program on Earth or anywhere in the Instance. First, she'd been introduced to Howwiise, who'd been part of the crew of the Patrol Cruiser Grunthus Mountain. Howwise had been a Squad Private who'd happened to be a Guardian, therefore capable of telepathy and generating a translation program but not a trained xenologist. After giving Tess access to the translation program, Howwise had simply been ordered to return to her ship, leaving Tess in sole charge of Motafo and three other survivors of the Morelli vessel Grunthus Mountain had destroyed. Then this morning, she'd been ordered onto Hamthar Four, a size three embassy vessel, based upon the military Giant-class. She'd balked until directed to a clause of the contract she hadn't really read in the excitement as it represented a chance she'd never expected to have until much later, wherein she'd agreed to accompany an Embassy vessel to the homeworld of her contracted aliens.

Earth's University of St. Petersburg, where she'd been a graduate student, was a wild hybrid compromise between Earth universities and Imperial methods of instruction. Some subjects Earth theories had been so at variance with the Empire's hard experience that assimilating the knowledge required more than an instructional program - it required interaction with a human instructor who had experience dealing with aliens to drive out Earth's pious ignorance. Tessa understood that such experience was rare enough in the Empire as a whole that she was assured of a job in the Empire upon achieving a six rating. She'd earned her four rating already, and of those Professor Tamana had recommended, she'd been the first to accept the offer of a Xenological Liason job. Meanwhile Professor Tamana herself and her Imperial colleagues had been studying Earth's history and culture and how they'd been manipulated for a couple Earth centuries by a group of failed Imperial rebels they called stons.

Professor Tamana was along for the first year of the embassy; an experienced xenologist to provide the bones by which the Empire could deal with the Morelli. Tess was under no illusions she'd be promoted when the Professor returned to Earth; the year simply gave the Empire more time to find a qualified replacement. Earth was still the far fringe of the Empire, thirty-five years after becoming part of it, and Imperial Viceroys had many demands upon their time. Tess also understood Ambassador DeelKonosh himself was not completely unqualified, and he was also a Guardian. But she was the Liason, charged with direct interaction with the rescued group, would be a focal point for cultural and personal experience with the Morelli, and would have more than sufficient chance to burnish her credentials towards being the xenologist on a future contact.

Blink! The starfield changed. There was now one orangish star brighter than all the others. According to the datalink, they were now on the fringes of the Morelli home system, an hour thirty out from the star at its center. Converting that to Earth measure, the result came back 2 billion, 754 million Earth kilometers.

"Send the pulse," Ambassador DeelKonosh ordered, before turning to Tess, "Inform our guest it's time for his script," the Ambassador prompted. It was Tess' understanding that the pulse described was a powerful radio pulse, designed for getting attention but not to do damage.

There was a pre-arranged text Motafo was to read for his people. Tess pointed to the copy Motavo had written himself longhand in his own people's script, and tossed her head in the 'yes' gesture.

Motavo understood. "Greetings from the Empire of Humanity to the Community of the Morelli. This is Tenfo Motafo, late of the Starship Dominion on a mission to the star Costamo. We discovered another species there before us. Our commander attacked the aliens, and our ship was destroyed in response. I and three others are the survivors of Dominion's crew, and the Empire of Humanity has offered to return us to Morelli as a good faith gesture that there need be no war between us. This ship also bears an ambassador from the Empire in the hopes of avoiding future conflict. The Empire hopes you will receive this embassy in the spirit in which it is offered. I have been tasked to tell you that the ship will follow instructions to return we who survived and depart or remain, as you decide. Respond on this frequency. Tenfo Motafo out."

"Put it on loop," Ambassador DeelKonosh ordered, "Let me know when there's a response." Radio might be slow, but it was what the Morelli had, and the Empire understood the technology.

Copyright 2023 Dan Melson. All Rights Reserved.

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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on June 5, 2023 7:00 AM.

Excerpt from A Guardian From Earth was the previous entry in this blog.

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