A/N: Not sure what day I’ll update next week. May even be Friday. Please put your prompts in the comments.
The ship bearing the contact team was a multi-environment Fish, one of the largest Amanpreet had ever seen. Oni and his team headed over to speak with them and Amanpreet accompanied them.
The leader of the human section of thee contact team was a statuesque black woman with hair cropped close to her skull. She introduced herself as Alice as she shook hands with the team but not Amanpreet, clearly dismissing her as unimportant because she was only captain of the science team’s transport and not a scientist herself. Amanpreet hissed to herself at the slight and clenched her fists but didn’t comment only because Sangat put his hand on her arm and shook his head. She hung back a little and looked at him.
“I know her type,” he whispered. “She had no idea how much brains running a transport company takes and think you’re doing it because you aren’t intelligent enough to be a scientist or academic. Snarling at her would just cement that opinion.”
“She’s from Malat isn’t she?” Amanpreet said. “Probably the Northern Province. They have developed a reputation for intellectual arrogance.”
“Yes,” he said. “A deserved one, and they won’t get over it until it’s bitten them, which it will. Intellectual arrogance is the enemy of rigor.”
Amanpreet gave him a half smile and they followed the others into a large partitioned chamber where the Mez and Ishtari members of the team were waiting for them in their own sealed sections. After introductions and greetings had been exchanged they got down to business.
â€œThis is a very unusual situation,â€ the leader of the Mez delegation who had said humans called him Summer said through its synthesizer. â€œAnd will need to handled with extreme care. These people are not yet at the technological level where we would normally be comfortable that contacting them would not do them harm. However in the circumstances we cannot avoid it so we must proceed carefully.â€
â€œI think most of the damage has been done by the computer the first Coronans left behind,â€ Alice said shortly. â€œNothing we can do will do as much damage as that thing. Were they stupid?â€
â€œI suspect they wanted the best for their successors.,â€ Summer said. â€œWe can argue about if they went about it the right way but that doesn;t excuse us from being careful.â€
Alice glared at Summer through the environmental partition not noticing her second in command â€“ a young white man – covering his eyes with his hand and shaking his head. He noticed Amanpreet watching him and winked at her.
â€œSummer’s right, boss,â€ he said. â€œWe have a moral obligation not to impose ourselves on the Coronans.â€
Alice whipped around and glared at him instead. â€œI didn’t ask for your opinion, Rick,â€ she said. â€œWe need the information that Computer has. We can’t afford to pussyfoot around.â€
â€œFortunately you aren’t in charge here, Alice,â€ the Tkin head of the Ishtari delagation finally spoke. â€œI am and I say we handle this carefully.â€ It exchanged a look with Rick. â€œThis is why you people are so cautious about contact. Attitudes like that?â€
Rick nodded sheepishly.
â€œAh, I don’t blame you then.â€
Alice sank down into a seat clearly sulking and Amanpreet hoped the others realised that she needed an eye keeping on her. She was about to mention it when she smelled a pleasant spicy odour. She clearly wasn’t the only one because several of the other humans were sniffing the air and looking around.
â€œWhat is that smell?â€ Oni asked.
â€œTea,â€ Rick said as a young golden skinned woman in a jumpsuit with a linguists logo on it entered the room with a tray. The smell must have proceeded her. â€œLin always insists on making tea for our meetings. Let’s pour it and then get on with our discussions.â€