What if there is intelligent life in the universe besides humans? Let’s say multiple space going races and they’ve met. How could they communicate?
I look at our diverse world. Humans have so many cultures and languages. We need ambassadors to assist in productive communication just among ourselves. A hand gesture may mean something good in one country but an insult in another.
How can aliens learn to live with one another? There would be too many languages, let alone dialects and cultural taboos, for someone to learn. New technologies would need to be developed to assist these new types of ambassadors, these Liaisons of culture, diplomacy, and language.
Assigned as an interpreter to the Cyngi, Liaison Sadie Beckit is left in the dark. Knowledge is power when dealing with multiple races of aliens but this mysterious species has chosen to withhold most of their culture and language information.
Crossing multiple star systems to the remote Cyngi world on an old space freighter, she has come to accompany Ambassador Nual back to Central Station. On their return journey the crew and passengers end up fighting for their lives.
Sadie is forced to confront her past. Difficult choices must be made and the survival of a whole race depends on her decisions. Can she abandon her heart and sacrifice the Red Dawn?
The butterflies in Sadie’s stomach turned to lead and slammed into her gut. Glitch, her data processing POD, descended from the ceiling and floated in front of her. Various glyphs appeared then disappeared on its silver surface, much like a mirrored bubble.
The space station caught it hacking into their computer system. “Frik.” The POD stored the majority of her data and ran her more complex programs when she needed it to, like trying to break into the Cyngi database through the firewall.
“You never get snagged.” A wave of nausea crashed over her. She shouldn't have skipped breakfast. If the Red Dawn was docked at any other space station, she'd just get a slap on the wrist for the intrusion. It didn’t hurt that she was protected by her status as a Liaison. She could get away with small injunctions most other places.
Working with government officials as a translator and a cultural expert had its perks. With so many different aliens involved in the Central Worlds government, the Liaison’s office was developed to smooth over any confusion between races and to avoid misunderstandings that could lead to conflict. Every dignitary received a Liaison, so when an ambassador for the Cyngi had requested an audience with the political Assembly at Center Station—the main hub of trade and politics—she jumped at the opportunity.
Since the Cyngi guarded their privacy with intense fervor, she didn’t know how they would react to her and Glitch’s transgression. The proof was in the file they sent to acquaint her on their own customs and behaviors. Minimal information. A few language files she could use to barely get by, a child’s version of their history, basic cultural faux pas.
She had to admit she got more from her own research through rare vid files provided by the Liaison office. The media streams showed her things, like the desire to touch. They leaned against one another or held hands, didn’t matter what sex or age. So she expected her new assignment, Xau, to need physical contact; but she’d need to have a little talk with her about restraining those urges around other races. That’s if she didn’t get fired for hacking their computer. It worried her a bit and butterflies fluttered around her insides.
A bang echoed from the cargo bay below her as the crew unloaded the ship of goods for the space station that orbited the Cyngi home world on the outer reaches of the galaxy. If they took legal action for her unauthorized information hunt, it would be a long time before the Liaison office rallied to her defense.
“Liaison, the ambassador is at the airlock requesting permission to board the ship.” The captain’s voice interrupted her dread. He and his
family crewed the freighter. They were Denobola, a bipedal, panther-like race.
“Oh my cotton joy, she's early.” Sadie dropped the wet towel from her head into the laundry reciprocal.
“I can stall if you need more time, Liaison.”
“I'd appreciate that, but don't let her get upset. If she does, just let
her in.” She yanked open the drawer under the cot and grabbed a clean red jumper.
Most of the freighter comprised of cargo and little living space so their room consisted of two fold-up bunks, a bathroom, and a wall-bench.
No passenger liners came to this remote part of the galaxy so both she and the ambassador needed to make do with the sparse dull surroundings.
“The Cyngi do not upset easily. He'll wait.” The captain cut the connection.
She stopped dressing, only a leg in the one-piece suit. “He?”
More symbols flashed in rapid succession over Glitch’s surface. She didn't need to read them. It had a link to her internal processor and communicated directly with her brain. She suspected it did symbol gyrations to express its emotions, which she knew it contained. They shared this odd habit. She did a similar thing by talking out loud to get her message across.
“I refuse to review the file again Glitch. It’s flawed. According to the information provided, the ambassador is supposed to be female.” She pulled her jumper on, over the thin underwear and camisole she already wore, and zipped it up.
Not the most flattering outfit, but the Cyngi wore minimal clothes. Why would he care about fashion? Why did they switch ambassadors? Why didn’t someone send her a message about them doing this?
She ran her fingers through her tight black curls to knock loose any beads of water and forced a deep, slow breath.
“By the Dark Void, I wish they’d sent me more info on their race. I’m working blind.” She slipped on her heavy boots.
The room's door disappeared into the wall when she activated it. Outside, the bare narrow hallway led to an elevator. Pipes and tubes ran along the ceiling; and she passed a steep metallic emergency stairwell, which she’d hate to have to climb.
Glitch floated above her head. “Let's go meet our new employer. Maybe he can keep us out of prison.” She made the statement as light and humorous as possible for Glitch's sake but wiped her sweaty palms on her jump suit. No point in both of them worrying.
A bell announced the lift’s arrival on her floor. Once the doors slid open, a set of pale green eyes met hers. She restrained the gut reaction to jump back. Thousands of years of instincts bred into human DNA cried out predator. Ten years as a Liaison taught her to repress those impulses.
Kaille, one of the captain's wives, stared at her eye-to-eye. “Are you ready, Liaison?”
What do you think our future holds?
Annie Nicholas hibernates in the rural, green mountains of Vermont where she dreams of different worlds, heroes, and heroines. When spring arrives the stories pour from her, in hopes to share them with the masses one day.
Mother, daughter, wife are some of the hats she happily wears while trudging after her cubs through the hills and dales. The four seasons an inspiration and muse.
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