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001 - Thin Tables and First Impressions

Publish date: 20th Oct 2019

Perspective: Lllarkerh

The past few months had been particularly fruitful. Not one but two new species had been discovered (by my own species no less), and whilst I had prepared raiding fleets for "Human" colonies given their small demeanour, lack of claws, and only two arms, the "Oba" colonies proved to be a better target given that their slug-like bodies make it particularly difficult to field weaponry.

With those raids done with a few days prior, I'm relaxing in my ambassador suite enjoying some recent spoils.
As it turns out, they're pretty good at making alcoholic beverages, possibly due to their biology.
A notice appears on my desk.


It's a message from the Human ambassador, Tom Alberto.

[PERIOD 8 - MOMENT 343] Personal message from Human ambassador Tom Alberto to Gerno ambassador Lllarkerh Krando

I would like to have a discussion before the coalition session you organised today.
I have a feeling these two events are related.
Meet me in my quarters at period 9.

- Tom

Seems like news travels fast, he must already know that I'm responsible for those raids. I suppose he wants to try and talk his way out of being next on the list, not that it will help of course.
May as well entertain the notion at least, see if I can't avoid losing a few troops if I can help it.

Eager to put Humanity in their place I set out for his quarters, bringing my portable computer with me. Portability was just about the only thing they've managed to bring to the coalition, I'm sure it'll help demonstrate that they will only serve to improve our own species, plus it's a long walk and I could do with a distraction.

After filling myself in on the news and speculation surrounding the raids I've conducted, I've found myself arriving a few moments early at the Human ambassador quarters.
Curiously enough, there's a chair opposite the door that seems designed just for me, considering that I'm twice their size.
There's also a variety of other chairs for the other species, one of which lacks a backrest, which I've decided to use as a footrest.

Across the hall I can see a couple Humans talking to each other, with the occasional glance in my direction.
Not content to let myself be the target of some joke, I get up and head in their direction.

Human 1:-it's crazy, do they not look in the mirror or something?

Human 2:They look like- oh, here he comes...

What is it? Spit it out!I demand, approaching a half-shout.

Human 2:Well,

Human 1:You look like, uh, a bear with scales.

A bear with scales? Pulling up my portable computer, I investigate what this bear is, only to find it remarkably similar to myself except with fur and not scales.

I suppose I do, and are bears ferocious predators?

Human 1:You could say that.


Seems like I might have the upper hand in our discussion.

As I'm heading back to my chair, Tom exits from his quarters looking at a device on his wrist.

Tom:Ah, right on time. Come in.

His quarters seem to be laid out for our discussion. Two chairs opposite one another, one for each of us, around a large table about 5 metres in diameter, with a lot of chairs set out to the side, he must have larger discussions frequently.
The table itself is rather strange, it's a particularly thin table and appears to be made of polished iron.
There's also about 20 notepads laid out around the table, seems like they're still quite primitive in some ways.

Tom:I see you're a fan of our tables. They're not really my type but they make quite the impression, I'm sure you'll agree.

Pulling out my computer, a quick scan confirms my assumption. Iron, plus Chromium, and a little Carbon.
Steel, not iron, which explains the thinness.

As we're both taking our seats, I try to cut to the chase.

Could we get to the point? The session is in a few cycles.

Tom:Of course. I wish to avoid an unnecessary way.

War? Raids are commonplace, surely he can't see this as declaration of war.

We have no intention of going to war with the Oda.

Tom:I wish to avoid Humans going to an unnecessary war in defence of the Oda.

Ah, pack mentality. I've seen it before, weak species banding together protecting one-another from predators.
He's also quite blunt when he needs to be, I appreciate that. Too many ambassadors try to sneak out of subjects with words that lack real meaning. Reminds me of politicians.

Perhaps you should concentrate on your own outposts before looking at those of another species? As I recall, you have yet to receive our...formal greeting.

Tom:Are you planning on attacking our colonies?

Now's my chance, with an attack on his mind and the recent devastation of Oda outposts, maybe I can get a tribute instead of resorting to bloodshed.

Tom:I would advise-

As he continues, I stand and slam both hands into his table. It makes a satisfying thunk that echoes in his quarters, taking several seconds to die out completely.
However, Tom seems...unimpressed? Almost like I'm a child throwing a tantrum.

Rising to a shout, I set about breaking my foe verbally.

Listen, and listen well. Once we've processed our 'donation' from Oda, you're next!

Tom slowly stands, not content to let it be a one-sided shouting contest.

You'll be fortunate to get off with just one outpost in the attack!

Is he...rubbing the table?

Tom:You pride yourself on physical strength, yes?

He's strangely calm, almost too calm...

We are the strongest species in the galaxy!

I boast with pride.

He lets out a sigh, knowing his defeat.

Tom:That's a shame, I quite like this table.

I do not care for your meaningless objects! You will pay tribute in one month or you will find-

Lifting one arm to near head level, he brings it down on his table with a shattering boom far outmatching my own.
The table is visibly warped from the impact, and there's a distinct hand-shaped dent a couple centimetres deep where he struck it.

Tom:You are the second strongest species in the galaxy. You will return what you stole from the Oda."

Calm, as always, despite the strike.

Like hell we will! You can't make demands of-

He strikes the table again, the table buckles further and the notepads laid out start sliding into the groove.
A second hand-shaped dent remains in the table.

I can't back down.
I won't back down.
This has to be a trick, he must have laid out the table specifically to have a weakened section in front of him, with the notepads added for effect. No advanced species would use such primitive tools in a place like this.
Extending my claws, I set about scraping my side of the table, producing a satisfying screech as Tom recoils from the sound.

Seeing how sheer strength and volume isn't cutting it, I'll have to go back to a more...diplomatic voice.

You will pay tribute in one month. 3 million tonnes of iron, 1 mill-

A third strike, this time with both hands, and the table breaks in two.
Looking across the newly formed edge, it's clear the table wasn't tampered with, if anything the table looks thicker on his side.

A sickly feeling creeps in as I realise I'm not the predator in this room, and for the first time my eyes catch his. I wish they never did.

Tom:I will repeat my demands at the session.

His eyes bore into me, searching, probing, looking for more weakness.
He has me, he knows he has me, and he knows I know.

Tom:If you have any objections, feel free to voice them then. Get out.

I try to think of a response, but nothing comes. He's started to walk to my side of the table, running his fingers against the polished surface of this half of the table, producing an unsettling rubbing sound.
He stops a couple metres away, staring straight at me, eyes full of fury despite the calm demeanour.

I can barely maintain composure at this point.

Very well.

I need to get back to my quarters, a ground invasion probably isn't the best course of action right now.

I also need more alcohol.

[PERIOD 9 - MOMENT 11] Message from Human ambassador Tom Alberto to Human engineering

I could do with another table.

- Tom

[PERIOD 9 - MOMENT 15] Message from Human engineering to Human ambassador Tom Alberto

Again? This is the 3rd time this week.
What are you even doing to them?

[PERIOD 9 - MOMENT 16] Message from Human ambassador Tom Alberto to Human engineering

They make a good first impression.

- Tom