A/N: Sorry for posting this late.
The rest of the journey to Talis went without incident as well and they docked at the station a couple of days later. It was clear that the engineers had been worked overtime to make a section habitable for the Coronans and Promise docked there to allow them to disembark before gliding around the station and stopping at each section to allow other passengers off before finally docking by the Whisper. Amanpreet watched him dock with a frown.
“That’s odd,” Amanpreet said. “They made a section for the Coronans but not for the Talis people. Surely they aren’t making the Queen wait for us in an environment suit?”
“It is a bit strange,” Niobe said. “Let’s ask Administrator Midori. She’s waiting for us.”
“She probably doesn’t need one,” Sangat said simultaneously. “There are some differences but there’s a decent overlap between human and Talisi tolerances. Since there’s no biological cross-contamination risk she should be able to stay in the human environment without any stress.”
“Oh!” Amanpreet said. “I suppose that makes sense given that Talis was earmarked for human bioforming.” She paused before opening the airlock. “But wouldn’t that be a security risk?”
Sangat just shrugged so she opened the doors and went out to greet Midori.She’d barely got to the bottom of the ramp when something slammed into her thigh level knocking her off-balance. She would have fallen but Niobe steadied her.
“What the…” Amanpreet looked down and found a small Talisian who she assumed was the Queen with two of her long arms wrapped around her leg in what seemed to be a hug. She was manipulating a voice synthesizer with her other two arms.
“It’s you!” the Queen said. “I know you! You’re the one the protector showed our eggs to. Thank you for helping us!”
“You’re welcome,” Amanpreet said. “Could I have my leg back please.”
“Oh sorry!” The Queen let go abruptly. “Midori told me that I shouldn’t touch humans without permission. I forgot.”
“Well, it’s not polite.” Amanpreet offered her hand to the Queen. “So you should try to remember. Shall we go and talk with Midori?”
“Yes!” The Queen reached up took Amanpreet’s hand. “I like Midori! She’s been kind to us”
Amanpreet smiled down at her the hatchling might have been given the memories of her ancestors but she was clearly still a child. She walked to where Midori was waiting, the Queen still clinging to her hand.
“I’m sorry about that, Captain Amanpreet,” Midori said. “When she heard you were coming she got over-excited and I couldn’t grab her in time.”
â€œThat’s okay,â€ Amanpreet said. â€œYou’ve been busy.â€
â€œWe’ve had to be,â€ Midori said. â€œLet’s go to the central hub and I’ll explain what’s been happening.â€
When they reached the hub Umi was waiting for them.
â€œOur guests are settled into the temporary quarters,â€ Umi said. â€œThey’re very polite, aren’t they?â€
â€œThey certainly seem to be,â€ Amanpreet said. â€œYou said you had something to explain to us.â€
â€œYes,â€ Midori said. â€œAletheia is currently under attack by the Kiath. We’re pretty much kicking their butts but it’s not safe to jump in or out at the moment, so you need to stay here for a couple of days until the combined forces finish pushing them back.â€
â€œYes, they may have hyperspace weapons but their normal space weapons are nothing compared to the ones humans make,â€ Umi said. â€œAnd their armor is pathetic.â€ She twisted her tentacles inside her environment suit thoughtfully. â€œWere on high alert because we suspect they may try to attack elsewhere as well.â€
â€œI see.â€ Amanpreet chewed on her lip. â€œNo helping it then. Are there any casualties?â€
â€œNot among humans but we’ve had a few problems,â€ Umi said. â€œNothing too serious though. I just don’t know how we’re going to deal with them. We really don’t want to occupy them but we can’t let them keep attacking us.â€
â€œI don’t like war,â€ the Queen said where she was still clutching Amanpreet’s hand. â€œI’m sad we came back to this. But at least if we’re staying I can introduce you to the others in my hive.â€
â€œI’d be honoured,â€ Amanpreet said. â€œDo you have a name?â€
â€œNoooo,â€ she replied. â€œWe identify each other by pheromone signatures. I’m probably going to need one for your people to use, though. What should I pick?â€
Amanpreet considered the question. â€œWhat about Prima? It means first, to represent you are the first of your resurrected species.â€
â€œI like that!â€ she replied. â€œYes, you can call me Prima.â€