Storm called Promise as soon as they agreed with her. Amanpreet was very glad Niobe was with her because they talked in Storm and Umi’s language and she needed her friend to interpret.
â€œThat would explain his secrecy about how he knows what he knows,â€ Whisper said after Storm called him and explained what they discovered. â€œBut if he wants to keep it private should you not respect his wishes.â€
â€œMy immediate inclination is to say yes,â€ Storm said. â€œBut Umi is also correct that he may have knowledge that is important in our current situation. There’s a lot of what we did that we chose to forget so we could never use it.â€
â€œThat is true,â€ Promise said. â€œLet me talk to him but if he doesn’t want to talk about it you let him be.â€
â€œOf course!â€ Umi said. â€œIt’s his decision. If he wants it to remain secret it will remain secret.â€
â€œWe know how our people sometimes treat those descended from slave lines,â€ Storm said. â€œAnd so did whoever did his medical before he entered the contact team because they locked his file.â€ She hesitated. â€œHe probably knows it’s been accessed as well even if he gave no sign in the meeting.â€
â€œIn that case I’ll talk to him immediately,â€ Promise said. â€œNo point in being tactful if he already knows. I’ll tell you what he says as soon as he tells me.â€
â€œThank you,â€ Storm said. â€œWe’ll wait here then.â€ She closed the connection then visibly squirmed around in her environment suit. â€œI hope it doesn’t take long. I can’t wait to get back to the Mez section and get out of this thing.â€
Midori made a sympathetic noise. â€œYeah, I hate environment suits as well. We could go to the hub and use Umi’s office if you want.â€
Storm twisted negatively. â€œNo, someone might hear us there and we want to preserve Summer’s privacy.â€
They had been waiting for Promise to get back to them for several minutes when the door chime indicated someone was requesting entry. Midori checked her console and her eyebrows shot up.
â€œWell that’s interesting,â€ she said. â€œSummer is outside and from what I know of Mez body language he looks nervous.â€ She walked over to the door and admitted him.
He really did look nervous. Amanpreet could see him twisting his tentacles into knots inside his suit. He turned to Umi but instead of speaking in a Mez language he used his synthesizer.
â€œI thought it must be you who broke the seal on my records, adminstrator,â€ he said. â€œNo one else here has the clearance. Then Promise called and told me for certain and said you wanted to speak with me.â€
Umi translated quickly for her sister before responding. â€œYes, we were wondering if your family had any more knowledge that might be useful in the current situation.â€
â€œAlmost certainly,â€ he said. â€œBut I’d have to sort through the records. I’ll ask my kin to help.â€ He hesitated. â€œBut you don’t care about my ancestry?â€
Storm squeaked angrily at that.
â€œShe’s telling him of course not,â€ Niobe said.
â€œMy sister is right,â€ Umi said. â€œWe don’t care and we’re sorry so many people still do. Your secret doesn’t leave this room unless you want it to.â€
â€œThank you,â€ he said. â€œI am from Taiid and it still gets pretty bad there at times.â€
Umi made a loud clicking noise that Amanpreet thought was irritation.
â€œTalid has a bit of a reputation,â€ Niobe said. â€œThey don’t even have a representative on the council because they don’t like aliens. If you meet someone from Talid offworld on a non-Talid ship they will have renounced their citizenship.â€
â€œEspecially when they are involved with a contact team,â€ Summer agreed.
â€œYour former home doesn’t sound like a good place,â€ Prima said from where she was standing near Amanpreet. â€œWhy don’t you do something about it?â€
Summer made a whistle that was the Mez euivalent of a sigh. â€œBecause, little queen, while Talid is insular they are careful not break any laws. It’s not always a good place but the Song Shaper knows it’s not Vaia. The people there would not even want to be. They just want to be left alone.â€
â€œBut they were mean to you!â€ she protested. â€œPeople shouldn’t be mean!â€
Another whistle. â€œYou’re very sweet but it doesn’t work that way. And things weren’t that bad,â€ he said. â€œAdmittedly only because no one knew my family’s secret but they weren’t.â€ He twisted his tentacles anxiously. â€œTalid will change in time. It’s already relaxing the restrictions because so many young people are leaving as soon as they emerge from their second chrysalis because they don’t share their parents insularity. It will take time and be messy, such things always are, but it will change or become irrelevant.â€
â€œThey are the last holders on to the old ways,â€ Umi said. â€œAnd like all the rest they will change.â€
Storm interrupted then and both the other Mez turned to look at her.
â€œShe said more people yearn for the old days than they realise,â€ Niobe said. â€œStorm is something of an activist I think.â€
â€œShe is,â€ Umi said. â€œAnd I have a feeling that she is right about that as well. She put up with a lot of abuse when she decided to become a navigator. She even gets abuse for wearing those patterns from real traditionalists.â€ She turned back to Summer. â€œBut will you find out from your kin if they mind you sharing your knowledge with us?â€
â€œI will,â€ he said. â€œAnd there is at least one thing I can do for you without asking. I can likely help the scout fish that goes on the observation mission.â€