I slipped into a loose pair of pajamas. My skin still tingled from very powerful shower. Showers were one thing that I appreciated, which I had no mixed feelings about. I felt quite hungry. I headed out to find the kitchen.
Down the hallway the slug-lizard creature called a Tarvin met me. The short little arms waved at me, as colored lights flashed up, and down his body. There was a stutter in the translator before words came to mind. “Greetings, Administer Rilas of Einlari, Jirth Teacher. I am Kall en Drein of Tarvin, as it circles Tar.” The lights faded as his huge eyes flicked around the area.
“I greet you as well.” I blushed. “Sorry, I don’t know to respond formally to your greeting.”
A few seconds passed a few more lights flashed as he responded. “Do not worry. I am not as formal as other as Tarvin. I wonder about you, Einlari. I hear your people are primitives. You seem very civilized and At has nothing, but praise for you.”
For some reason the statement seemed ridiculous and I laughed. “Maybe so. Can you show me where the kitchen is? My stomach is rumbling.”
A few lights flashed, as he slithered past. “This way, Rilas.”
The rest of way neither of us spoke or flashed lights at one another. The hallway opened up into a large room filled with chairs, and tables. A long metal counter filled with glossy silver packets. “Rilas, pick up a pack labelled Einlari, and take it around the corner. One of the Runnil here will cook it for you.”
The words on each packet were confusing. I ran my fingers over several before picking one up, and going around the corner. A Runnil took the packet, and waved me back to the room. I sat next to Kall, who seemed to be resting on a cushion rather than sitting on a chair. “Are you not hungry?”
A fast flicker of lights, green, and pink it translated to a hearty chuckle. “Tarvin only eats once a week. Our metabolisms are quite slow, I wear an environmental suit always, to maintain temperate, and other factors.”
“You are wearing a suit? I do not see one.” To be clear, I wasn’t sure what an environmental suit was.
One of the small hands, pulled on his skin, a clear layer pulled up. “Our people developed suits long ago, skin tight. Without them, we could not leave our home moon.”
“Home moon?” The concept confused me, though an inkling of understanding stirred.
A quick flashes of light for a laugh. “My people did not evolve on a planet, but a moon of a gas giant. Along with the Tarvey. Knowing other life existed in the universe changed the course of technology for my people.” A sadness conveyed in pale purple. “It will be same for your people I suspect, but not nearly as enlightening.”
I thought of the statement. The food arrived. I started to thank the Runnil, but it waved its fingers before trotting off. I lifted a short, squat spoon from inside the bowl, and tasted. Bright, warm, and comforting. I ate a few more bites. “Why?”
Kall acted as if there had been no pause. “Jirth are not accepting of the ways beside their own. You already know them taking over your homeworld.”
My lips pulled up as anger flooded my thoughts. “Yes. They informed me of my duties, to make sure my people are pliable.”
“Ah.” He paused. “They didn’t tell you the rest?”
Kall lights glowed a pastel for a few seconds. He shifted uncomfortably. “It is not my place to say, I think.”
Even as a small child, I detested when people would say something, and then back off. “Are you honestly not going to tell me?”
“I should have not spoken. Perhaps, if your testing goes well. Go On Don must be careful about getting too involved in politics.” His face shifted as his silted eyes widened, and shifted color to a pale orange. “I will say, the Jirth are not to be trusted. They care too much about what they call ‘greater good’.”
I swirled my spoon around in my food. My spoon clattered against the bowl. Finger’s pressed against my temple as I rubbed them. “Fine. When will the testing begin will you at least tell me that?”
The strange bobbing motion as his body flickered many colors in rapid succession. “I am not certain. You need to have your mind at ease. Once, your mind is calm the testing will begin. You are new to lots of information. One can only absorb so much information at one time. If we push too fast it will harm you. We do not desire that.” Another flash of warm light indicated a smile. “I do not think you want that either.”
“What I want is to stop being dragged around, kept in the dark, and told everything is for my benefit.” My people may be savages who lack any technology or sosphication, but I wasn’t an idiot. I resented the fact they seemed to think I was.
He lifted his hands, and bowed. “I am sorry. I have nothing to ease your annoyance.”
I grunted. The spoon dipped, and lifted as I finished off my meal. The silence didn’t seem to upset Kall. Then again, it is not like I knew enough about him or his people. The last bite tasted delicious. “I’ll be in my quarters. Trying to calm myself.” A snap to my voice. Part of me felt guilty Kall and At had only been kind to me.
No response from Kall as I headed back to the room.