First Draft Excerpt from A New Embassy (Number Three)

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This is set in the Empire of Humanity, about 35 Earth years after Imperial contact. The first excerpt is here, and the second excerpt is here. It's currently a novelette, but I'll probably re-work it at some point into a longer story. For time-line comparisons, Joe and Asina are towards the end of their Windhome Bay assignment (See Building The People), while Grace and Asto are in the military/Merlon's Eyes (between Working The Trenches and The Invention Of Motherhood)


"The rest of you could try to disappear," Motafo suggested, "If they do what they said, you can always step forward later."

Tessa noted that none of them were pleading family, mates, or children. The Morelli were a matriarchal society; males such as these four owed taxes and labor to the Community, not to any specific female. Matings were transient, the young were raised by females alone. Males were the workers and laborers, females were administrators and executives, networking their relatives for advantage. Only in the military and a few other 'dangerous' professions was there any path for a male into positions of authority, and even there, oversight from females was pervasive. Hashot had been a ship's commander - but it had been female Councilors who gave him that rank and command of Dominion, not Warleader Jafinto.

"If you're certain about that, we'll do our best to insure your survival." The Ambassador spoke their dominant language at least as well as Tess. None of the Morelli had learned more than a few words of Traditional. To be fair, none of them had the advantages of being operant, either.

"That would be appreciated, sir."

"I'll ask the ship's commander to see to it." The Ambassador left.

"Any ideas how they're going to keep him alive, miss?" Cosur was nothing if not practical.

"Nothing detailed, no. My planet has only been a part of the Empire for a few years. You're our first non-human close neighbor - I understand the bright star system you call Mamoshin is known to us as 'Capella'"

"You think they're going to try and conquer us?" That was Sajopil.

"Understand I'm just a grad student, hired to learn about you. But according to what the Ambassador told me, his job is to prevent having to conquer you."

"You think we're just bugs beneath your feet?" Motafo reacted.

"Your Community is more advanced than my own people were, before the arrival of the Empire. We hadn't even a colony on our own Moon. But according to what we're told, the Empire is enormous. I don't really understand it, but those Earth people who do find the claim credible. Some have visited Imperial worlds. Others have joined the Imperial military. What disputes have arisen about Imperial truthfulness appear to be matters of opinion. They act as if they've plenty of experience contacting new civilizations."

"Why did they want you, but not us?" Motafo demanded.

"I don't know. They told us we're the same species, that we're a lost colony, result of a ship that got lost. They even claim to have found the remains of the ship."

"So they want you because you're the same species, but not us because we aren't?"

"That's my understanding."

"So they're species supremacists?"

"Could be," Tess admitted, "But it doesn't seem right. According to them, there are large numbers of non-human neighbors they coexist with. But they did have to fight an immense war to conquer First Galaxy." There was no word for 'galaxy' yet in the translator, so it rendered the word in the Empire's Traditional in which she'd spoken. "Supposedly took thousands of years. That's what they claim anyway."

"What's that word? The one you used after 'first'"

"Galaxy. A large mass of several sixths of stars. This one is shaped like a spiral with several arms."

"Galaxy," Motafo supplied the missing word. Tess duly added the word and its translation to the database. "Wait one heartbeat. Do you mean to tell us The Empire is in more than one galaxy?"

"Sixty-four galaxies in their Home Instance is what they claim. Only this one in ours so far."

"You're using 'instance' in a way I'm not familiar with. What did you mean, 'instance'?"

"I'm not certain," Tess began, accessing her datalink for a definition, "I've been told it's from a metaphor of some sort. Give me a few moments." Unfortunately, the explanation left her more at sea than before. "The best I can do seems to be 'a unique three dimensional experiential universe embedded within the eleven primary dimensions of reality,'" she parroted, "But don't ask me what that means. I'm a linguist, not a physicist, and I'm not sure how much I'm supposed to be telling you. I do know there are potential penalties for sharing Imperial technology."


That was an answer she knew, "Because it can do tremendous damage. They are crystal clear about responsibility for actions."

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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on October 30, 2023 7:00 AM.

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