A tall pale man pulled a rickety cart filled with scrap metal. His hand pushed hair out of his gray eyes. A puckered red scar marred his face. Around them was blacken metal beams, crushed stone, and shattered glass shards. His feet crunched on the ground. Another man with an equally full car pulled up beside him. “Do you think it is enough for the Ga’more?”
Pale man gave a half nod. “It is the weight they asked for.”
“Milin, they are aliens.” The man swung his arms to the desolation around them. “Aliens did this to us. Why help us?”
“Tiyl.” Milin spoke in a soft tone. “Only one alien race bombed us, the Delirr. The other races don’t care about us either way. They are traders, nothing more.”
The cart behind Tiyl came to a stop. “And, why would this useless crap matter to anyone, then?”
Milin waved his fingers forward. “We can walk, and talk, Tiyl.” Both carts began to roll, again. “What we are trading for has little to no value to the Ga’more. It is old technology. No one uses environmental domes anymore.”
“How can they help us, Milin? Won’t they prolong the inevitable, our people are doomed.” Tiyl whole posture fell.
Milin whole body stiffened, his face hardened. “No. We are not doomed. I will not allow us to die. Einlari will survive, Tiyl. We will.” He stared at Tiyl. Tears ran down his cheeks.
“I’m sorry, Milin. It is so hard to hope.”
They travelled as the orange sun made steady progress across the sky. The carts jumped up, and down from debris. At a distance a shining silver cylinder landed. “Let’s hurry,” Milin broke into a long stride.
Tiyl took a quick look around him, and followed moving as fast.
In a few moments, Milin made it up to the ship. A wide ramp flanked by four tall, massive, creatures with lavender skin, cerulean dyes, and shaved heads. Heavy metal plates molded to their bulging muscles. Milin dropped to his knees, pieces of glass grinding into his pants.
When Tiyl caught up, he copied the gesture.
Time ticked by, as they both waited, and waited. Finally, another tall creature came out, wearing a flowing black dress. It had black hair stylized in a tall twirled spire. “Greetings Einlari.” The dulcet feminine voice had a touch of scorn.
Milin raised his head. “Greetings Ga’more.” He replied in a steady voice.
“Oh, oh, so rude, when you are begging me for favors.” Her lips tugged into a smile, which did not reach her eyes. “But, I forgive you, because I’m generous soul.”
A quick tilt of Milin’s head, he stood up. “Of course, Veronil, it has always been your best quality.”
She sashayed past him, running a square metal block over the carts. A quiet ding and the block turned blue. She twisted around to look at him. “It seems it is sufficient. And, what did you want to trade, again, I forget.”
Tension flooded Milin’s face. “You know exactly what I wanted, Veronil. Don’t be coy.”
She let out a brittle laugh. “Touchy.”
Her fingers snapped twice. “Bring the environmental dome units, as well the data pad with the technical data.” Two of the burly guards went up the ramp.
An elegant twist of her leg, and she faced Milin. “I was wondering if you would be interested in a further trade.”
“Of what?” His words were clipped.
Without warning Tiyl broke in. “Look you vin, stop jerking our chain.”
Both Milin and Veronil glared at him. He shrunk back, and stared at his feet.
“He is right, though. I do not want to be played with Veronil. I have dealt with you fairly. I have not tried to barter with you more than is polite, manipulate you, or lie to you. Tell me what you want.” His spine straightened, and his chest puffed out.
She pursed her lips. “Oh, fine. You young races are no fun. Your planet is dying. Your ozone is fading. I want to offer you technology to artificially stabilize your ozone. However, the cost is high.”
Milin stared ahead, as thoughts ran back and forth in his mind. He nodded twice to himself. “Alright, what is it?”
“Do you know long ago, Ga’more lost the ability to think intuitively, except for less than one percent of our population? And due to our reputation, we cannot get any races to volunteer for our research. We want Mentals, to research on.” Her gaze stared past both of the Einlari before her.
Milin nostrils flared. “You want to take the most powerful of our people for tests? And, I can’t imagine why people would hesitate to volunteer with a race so brutal, the Intergalactic Council had to be formed to stop its campaigning.”
“True.” Veronil looked Milin in the eye. “Do you think your people will survive, without it? And, I will not take them forever. Perhaps, five years, and we’ll pay a fee for any loss of life. We can negotiate, favorable terms.”
Milin looked at Tiyl. “Fine, I’ll go to negotiate the terms with Ga’more General-Leader.”
Veronil narrowed her eyes. “You lead the Einlari, Milin?”
“Yes, I the surviving First Chair, and I will not let you take the Queen of Amon, from my people.”
“Then, come aboard little Einlari.” She pointed up the ramp.
Milin still looking at Tiyl sighed. “Take the environmental domes with you. Tell them I had to go, it is important. We won’t survive without them. I’ll send more information when I can to Niveri, let the Queen know, I won’t let her down.”
“Sure.” Tiyl responded his eyes red. “I’ll miss you Milin.”
Milin nodded, for the last time, before walking up the ramp.