The next three weeks were strange, and wonderful. At would ask me bizarre questions such as, “If there are fourteen stars in the sky, what is the meaning of the fifteen?” I would stumble around them at first, but over time they became easy to answer. I had machines hooked up to me, as I ate different foods, looked at pictures, and listened to music. I couldn’t tell you why we did any of it, but I felt a hidden place in my mind open up.
The first thing I noticed, the Jirth hated it. Priest of Jirth, the one who I had first met, would flush various colors showing its level of distress. Priest of Jirth did not like how I even enjoyed At’s company. It would linger after our testing sessions, if he stayed more than an hour, there would be always be a reason for me to leave. It even mocked tests, and how unusual they were. One day, I confronted it about it.
“The questions make no sense. How many grains of sand are in a mountain? There is no purpose to it, Teacher of Einlari.” Priest of Jirth grown swished back and forth as it paced. The skin around it’s spots deepening a soft brown.
I grinned. “Maybe. The questions don’t really matter. It is a way to of thinking.” My mind raced to find the right word. “Reaching for answers outside anything you would usually think about.”
Priest of Jirth skin flushed pink over the brown. The right eye blinked at me. Still, a race with such a flat, two sided head confused me at times. “Teacher of Einlari, you do not need to understand such things. You will teach Einlari, Go On Don is a distraction from your duties.”
A few minutes ticked by before I could get my temper under control. My duties, as far as I could tell, was to help peacefully enslave my own people. The worst part was there was no way for it not to happen. There was no law anywhere against a more advanced race taking over a primitive one. By the standards of the galaxy, the Einlari, Gelinil, or any of the people on our planet were primitive in the extreme. “Explain to me your problem with At?”
Priest of Jirth clamped the three finger hands together. “Ambassador of Go On Don only interferes with your duties. Your anger at the situation is fine, but if you do not help Jirth things will be much worse for Einlari.”
“I know.” As much as it angered me, I knew it to be true. “But, being a Mental isn’t in competition with my desire to help my people. At insists it is why I am able to understand, and deal with such huge leaps in knowledge. The more I can learn about being Mental, the better I will be able to cope with it the future. To that end it serves both our goals.”
“I desire to forbid At from Jirina.” Jirina is what they called their planet.
“Do it if you feel you must, I cannot stop you. But, then I will contact the Intergalactic Council, and announce we do not bow to Jirth.” Priest of Jirth’s complexion faded to a gray. “If other races wish our planet, I don’t see why I should let you have it. Being Mental will let me help my people, if you will not allow me, I’ll give them every chance to find a better race.”
“Other races may not be better, Teacher of Einlari.” It fidgeted the distress showing in the jerking motions of its hands.
“If you will not allow me to take care of them, then I will risk it. That’s all I ask.” I feared for our future. Our whole planet was about to be subjugated underneath the Jirth. They had restricted what I could learn on their network. I needed unbiased data, and powers beyond what I already had.
A hooting laugh broke the tension. At stood in the doorway. “Come now, Priest of Jirth. You see she must go to Go On Don enclave nearby, and start her training. She indeed, a very powerful mental. Agree to it, and agree you will allow us to look for more Mentals, whenever we wish, among her people, and we will not oppose you.”
“How do you know our conversation?” Priest of Jirth words came in a rush.
“I’m a Runnil, I hear everything, always. Agree or no?” At spoke his eyes gleaming in the light.
“Take the Teacher of Einlari, Leader of Jirth must discuss the rest of your proposal.” Priest of Jirth seemed to collapse in on itself.
At sent me a smile. “The ship will be ready in a few hours, and I need to brief you on who you’ll meet.”