Into Silence: The Silver Talon

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Into Silence: The Silver Talon

Post#1 » Feb 06 2016 05:10

INTO SILENCE: The Silver Talon


PROLOGUE:

Path Resurgence, Au'taal Command Centre 01:03:16 The first rotaa of Ran'ui
O'Vejel'tuya stood silently his hands clasped behind his back reading the circle of holographic projections. The tall firewarrior regarded each readout carefully, taking his time to fully absorb the displayed information. Before him floated four large icons of the expedition's antagonists, three from recent days, and one from long, long ago. The four images hovered before him like disembodied spirits of H'kek'an the ancient tau underworld. The first ghostly thing was a Be'gel warlord, huge, green, and hulking in its' clanking metal armour. The next was an unclean spirit of a Mont'gue'la cultist, sporting the mark of Khorne upon its' mutilated face. The third floating apparition was encased in the glossy black and red bladed armour of a Var'sin'da pirate. But the last ghost of violence was the original devourer, the destroyer of Sha'draig, a monstrous and grotesque Y'he Hive Tyrant.

Encircled within the hologram's multi-hued spectrum, Vejel'tuya's deeply scarred blue face glowed with intensity. The commander's prosthetic left hand stroked his long silver moustache, as his black-jade eyes quickly scanned from one display to the next. Moving about the command dais Vejel'tuya's long silver queue swung ever so gently, sheathed as it was in five emerald gem-stone rings.

Around, above, and below the larger icons were smaller widows displaying the text of reports, side-by-side video and text displays of interviews with survivors, internal video of ships being boarded, the gun camera footage from fighter and crisis suit pilots, external video of ship-to-ship actions. There was more and more of everything: more footage, more data, more reports, more interviews, more death—more horror.

Shas'O'Au'taal'Vejel'tuya did not flinch or turn away, but kept to his vigil for a full dec. Then taking a glass of lavender wine to fortify himself, he stood vigil for another dec. And during that time only one thought crossed his mind: “They are so many of them, and so few of us! I told you Por'El'Noh'luun there wouldn't be enough of us, and now we are even fewer…

*******

Dear tau'fann of the A.T.T. Orbital, I am again joining the Into Silence group story with my own contribution. Previously this was posted as The Quintessence of Starlight, which I pulled and now have reworked, condensed, and rewrote. Too many characters and too many plot lines spoil the nem'ko'nai as they say on T'au. Hope this meets the standards of the other fine Into Silence stories. - TauMan
Last edited by TauMan on Jan 26 2017 09:02, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Into Silence: The Silver Talon

Post#2 » Feb 06 2016 05:35

SLEEP DEPRIVATION

Au'taal Command Centre 03:45:70, The first rotaa of Ran'ui

It was mid-day on the first of Ran'ui and Shas'O'Vejel'tuya–Silver Talon, was still looking at his holographic reports; when his third adjutant, Shas'Vre'Xux'suam, stepped onto the raised central dais. Giving a sharp bow he addressed his commander, “Shas'o, asking permission to approach sir.”

“Granted,” replied the commander without turning around.

“Sir, earlier I sent you the reports from the Regulant Auspice, the Selim, as well as the survivors' report from the He'pha'n colony. And there was also a report on our action in support of our Okeni allies against the Bel'gel. And I just received in the last dec this compilation of after action reports from the Ea'Qim'Shan'al'ar'tol – The Silence Coalition High Command…” The black queued Xux'suam handed his commander his translucent crystal tablet.

The commander took the tablet in his chromium turquoise left hand, and glancing at it for a moment, let his good right hand sweep over it with small fast motions. The additional reports then materialized as holograms in front of the two tau men. Vejel'tuya handed back the tablet to his adjutant. “Has Por'El'Noh'luun or his staffed released any information concerning the captured Var'sin'da…preliminary or otherwise? And are the finalized casualty reports available?” said Vejel'tuya again stoking his moustache.

“Sir that should have been in the unclassified reports I sent you last night…” Xux'suam's voice dropped to a whisper as he fussed with the tablet, “...and the classified ones where unscrambled this morning, and I believe you have them already?” replied the third adjutant pointing to a holographic projection to his left.

“T'oh, yes Vre'Xux'suam and it seems I've already read them…”

“And the finalized casualty reports sir…you did receive them?”

“Xhmm, yes, I did. So those were the final reports then?”

“Yes, commander those were the final reports.”

The commander touched his forefinger and thumb together as a sign of understanding. Xux'suam seeing this asked, “Was there anything else you needed from me sir?”

“T'ahh, yes one more thing my young friend…When did you sleep last?” said Vejel'tuya turning around.

“Come again sir?” asked Xux'suam looking up from the tablet.

“It's a simple question my boy. When-did-you-sleep-last?” said the commander taking the tablet from the adjutant. The younger tau officer looked at his hands confused, as if somehow the tablet had just vanished into thin air.

“When I left for supper last night you were here at the command centre. Then last night, after you sent the initial reports, I happened to stop by the command centre and to my wonderment…you were still here! Before retiring to bed, I contacted as the officer-of-the-watch, and no surprise…you-were-still-here!”

O’Vejel'tuya stepped up close to Shas'Vre'Xux'suam–Blue Flame and looking down at his adjutant said quietly, “Then this morning you missed required physical training. Yet at the early morning staff meeting you were somehow first to arrive? Easy enough, as you had not left the command centre at all; but subsequent to that, you were seen to fall asleep during the meeting!”

“With respect shas’o, I cannot recall ‘falling asleep’ during this morning’s staff meeting,” said Xux'suam dropping his hands and standing at attention. “Perhaps I…perhaps I nodded off once…or twice, but I never fell asleep.” He added with an embarrassed look in his dark sapphire eyes.

At ease firewarrior!” said the commander. “You were nodding your head, which meant a lapse of concentration, and that is the same as being asleep! Or don't you remember your drill instructor's lessons on sleep deprivation at the academy?” Xux'suam looked up at his commander and shook his head in agreement.

“Thank you shas'o! We can't ever get him to leave, but now if he had a…girlfriend?” piped in second adjutant Vre'Gun'shi from outside of the command dais.

“Xhmm, now if he did have a girlfriend, well then he would have a reason to get horizontal then wouldn't he? Though I don't know how much sleep he would get?” said Au'taal's second in command Shas'El'Mon'lhas'nan–Black Jade Sword, stepping through the multi-coloured holograms onto the dais. “Vre'Xux'suam has the most divine looks, with his onyx black hair and flashing blue eyes! I'll wager no woman will let him sleep!”

There was soft laughter from around the command centre. Xux'suam's cheeks turned a shade darker of blue.

With a wave of his hand his Vejel'tuya, dismissed the holographic display. He looked at his adjutant Xux'suam and handing him back the tablet saying, “The Tau'Va requires we put the needs of others first, but not to our own detriment!” The commander then offered two open palms to his adjutant saying, “If we don't take of ourselves, then how we to serve others or serve the Tau'Va? Do you not agree Shas'vre?”

“Yes, commander” answered the adjutant bowing sharply.

Mon'lhas'nan walked up and stood next to Vejel'tuya and looking the third adjutant in the eye asked, “Vre'Xux'suam you do know how many of the available Au'taal shas'fann females, from just the command centre, have asked to be your companion?”

“No, idea ma'am,” he said, his sapphire eyes sparkling innocently.

“All of them.”

“T'oh.”

“Look here!” said the executive officer pointing to the list of names on her crystal data tablet.

The first and second adjutants, Shas'Vre'K'tadie and Shas'Vre'Gun'shi, now stepped up onto the dais, and seeing this, O’Vejel'tuya waved them over. “Vre'Gun'shi does he really not know how attractive he is to women?”

“No. Absolutely no idea!” replied the red haired male officer Gun'shi.

“None whatsoever,” offered the female officer K'tadie.

The handsome Vre'Xux'suam looked over at the trio with a look of genuine confusion.

“T'oh-h, do know what you look like Xux'suam? You look like a third year cadet when he hears girls are starting to fight over him, and wondering what's going on!” laughed the powerfully built Shas'Vre'K'tadie. “Did you ever wonder why your acceptance interview with me went on for a full dec, and not the perfunctory fifteen raik'or?”

“I did wonder about that, but all your questions required such involved answers. So I thought a long interview must be required of everyone asked to join the Au'taal'ar'tol,” said the adjutant with an absent minded, but suggestive flick of his queue.

“Mi'yo'ea, brother! I didn't even get a thirteen raik'or long interview with her!” threw in a frustrated Gun'shi.

El'Mon'lhas'nan now stepped up next to the first adjutant K’tadie and both tau women nodded their heads in disappointment at Xux'suam. K'tadie rolled her shoulders and leaning in close to him said breathlessly, “Vre'Xux'suam I asked those questions, just so I could look as long as possible into your stunningly beautiful dark azure eyes, and listen to the wonderful music of your voice!”

Though still tall and heroic as ever, Xux'suam now blushed more than ever.

“And, I was going to take you to luncheon, until someone else pulled…”

“Pulled rank on her!, and of course that someone of course was me shas'vre!” said the executive commander El’Mon'lhas'nan. “Aright so I'm old enough to be your birth mother, but really what could I do with such a…such a…cute guy joining the command team?” she added wistfully. And as it turned out you were more than gracious enough to accompany me for luncheon, a tour of the installation, then dinner, and finally an evening cordial at the Commander's mess with introductions all around. If don’t you remember Vre'Xux’suamx?"

The younger Xux'suam blushed even more terribly and shook his head 'yes'.

“I can't tell you how many of the other female shas'el and shas'o were jealous of me! They all thought you were my dashingly handsome younger lover.” Mon'lhas'nan got a faraway look in her gold prosthetic eyes and smiled, “Well at least I didn't try to dissuade them of the idea…not for a kai'rotaa or so any ways.”

The tall and arresting Xux'suam flashed his two sapphire eyes and tried to smile.

“Well, back to business. I've selected five candidates for you choose from. If you scroll down the list on my data tablet you'll see the five names there at the bottom. I'll give you a raik'orex – half-a-month to come up with a finalist. You can ask for an extension, but if by the end of the kai'rotaa you have not selected a companion…I will select one for you!”

Stunned, the third adjutant looked as if he had suddenly found himself surrounded by a mob of orks.

“Shas'El'Mon'lhas'nan, I will pledge to keep to a regular work, sleep, exercise, and meal schedule. As well an appropriate work load. I also pledge to maintain a healthy life style to include… the occasional, t'ah…female companion. But, I must point out neither my brother nor my sister in the command team…has a…has a…permanent companion!”

“Don't go there firewarrior! Neither one of your team mates has your issues, now do they? Also both of them display appropriate social interactions to include a normative sex life. Such that neither excludes him or herself from the companionship of a member of the opposite sex, xhmm?” said Mon'lhas'nan reclaiming her data tablet.

A young female firewarrior walked by the command dais and holding out her right arm, palm facing out, rotated or wiggled her thumb at Gun'shi. He in turn returned the gesture, and looking back at Xux'suam sliding a forefinger down his queue as if to say, “She helps me sleep brother!”

“No ma'am, they do not,” replied Xux'suam looking back at the executive commander.

El’Mon'lhas'nan now turned around and scanning the entire command deck said, “First of all sorry to all the women who didn't make the list, but remember it's for all the Tau'va – The Greater Good!” Then looking down at her data tablet she said, “So Now as I call of your name please approach the command dais…Shas'Vre'Tai'shash…Shas'Vre'Vi'ka…Shas'Ui'So'rhen…Shas'Ui'Myr't'suam …and Shas'Ui'Lhas. Please stand next to me here… ”

Around the Au'taal command deck could be heard happy exclamations, laughter, and excited hoof tapping, as the five fire caste women made their way to the command dais. Those who did not make the cut were heard making sighs, gasps, and not more than a little stifled crying. As the five passed by Shas'Vre'Xux'suam on their way to the executive commander, each of the tau women smiled and did a formal military bow; but then each also did a delicate Au'taal curtsy, before continuing on.

Xux'suam put his hands on his face, and looking tired for the first time that rotaa asked O'Vejel'tuya, “Sir, may I be relieved of duty for the rest of the day?”

“I will make the suggestion to El'Mon'lhas'nan. I think I'll try to get you a least ten rotaa off, but I won't promise anything until I talk to her,” replied the commander.

“Yes, sir.”

“Would you like a perchcaf to wake you up?” asked Vejel'tuya turning towards a hovering refreshment and condiments drone.

“No sir! None of that children's beverage for me, but I will take a ka'faeon with a tetrahedron of sucrose.”

“Ka'faeon? Are you sure?” asked the commander.

Xux'suam vigorously shook his head 'yes'.

“Aright then…” The drone produced a small demitasse bowl and saucer with a small white tetrahedron, and handing the cup to the adjutant Vejel'tuya asked, “Ka'faeon, why you must be from The Isles then aren't you?”

“Tschu, you knew that already sir!” answered Xux'suam, as he dropped the tetrahedron into the ka'faeon.

The Au’taal commander stared hard at his adjutant as he watched him sip from his ka’faeon. “You do know this wasn’t about whether you have a girlfriend or not don’t you?”

“Yes sir, I do.”

“Social isolation is considered a sign of mental illness, and not participating in a healthy social life is going to affect both your mental and physical health. Shas’vre I need you. Au’taal needs you, and the Expedition needs you,” said the Vejel’tuya picking up his own bowl of ka’faeon. Then lifting the bowl to his lips he said, “O'pa!”

“O'pa!” answered the adjutant.

*******
Last edited by TauMan on Mar 04 2016 03:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Into Silence: The Silver Talon

Post#3 » Feb 11 2016 02:29

And now just in time for St. Valentine's Day...


ALONE BENEATH THE STARLIGHT


Orbital Observation Deck 12:72:03 The fourth rotaa of Ran'ui
Xux'suam peered up from one of the many form fitting couches that encircled the observation deck, and out to the stars beyond the ceiling's crystal dome. His mind wandered out among the brilliant white light, lost amidst the dense swath of stars his peopled called the T'ten'grii'koreth – The Celestial Stampede of Heaven; but which the gue'la called the Milky Way Galaxy. Xux'suam's soul was lost out in the vastness of the space, but his mind was tied to the present. He wondered, "Where had it all gone wrong? Where did I slip from The Path into the darkness? When? Where?"

Xux'suam had lain in his couch long after the usual viewing times were over; which meant he was now alone, but then again he was always alone. He recalled how each rotaa was the same: eat, train, work, and sleep. It had been that way the rotaa after rotaa for the better part of a tau'cyr. But up until now he had never given it much thought, since it was his duty after all, his vocation, his life in the service to the Tau'va. However dedicated his life had been, still it was a life devoid of life; it was a life desiccated, empty, and dry. A life merely of survival, lived without intention. He had become a grey shade, a hungry ghost not seen, but felt only in the hollow edges between light and darkness.

He had become one of the forgotten dead.

"When did I pass from the land of the living? When did I cease to be alive, cease to live?” he thought to himself. "That's why they had called me out, because my life has become a mockery of the Tau'va. I am only the husk of a fruit sucked dry, good only for recycling into compost.” To Xux’suam he no longer had a life to sacrifice for his people, his Sept, or for the Tau'va. What life he had had, he had wasted, and having at once thrown it all away, it was for naught.

His was a life of shame.

Social Isolation Disorder is what the Por'vre psychiatrist had called it, ‘A condition characterized by withdraw from most forms of social life, often seeking extreme degrees of isolation by self-confinement, or by an excessive commitment to work or study.’ To a tau withdrawal from social life was a withdrawal from life itself, and so he was dead in all but name only.

There was some chatter on the observation deck, probably a mixed group younger tau by the noise they made. No matter Xux’suam was dead, and ‘lost to the outer void’, so the group’s talk and laughter didn’t bother him. And besides that, the outer void called to him, out there where the galaxies, nebulae, stars, and ancient exploding suns were. Out there was where he could lose himself forever.

“Are you alright sir?” asked a voice.

Xux’suam was awakened from his star-wanderings.

“You don’t look too well sir,” said the voice again.

Xux’suam looked over the edge of his couch, but couldn’t see anyone to either his right or his left. Then lying back down, he suddenly felt something soft brush against his cheek. So looking up he saw the upside down face of a young fire caste woman. Even upside down he could see she was a cute young thing, her face covered in dark blue freckles and an adorable arrow shaped nasal slit. It turned out, that it had been her queue of golden-brown hair that had brushed against his face. Her hair smelled lovely too, though the scent was from the same regulation shampoo issued to everyone. However, like all Au'taal women, she had made it thoroughly her own by adding scented oil; which made it smell ever so delightful. But best of all were her two pastel sea-green eyes twinkling down at him.

“T’ahh…hello?” he said looking up.

“Hello I am Shas’La Fir'e'tae. Are you well sir?”

“I am…now,” he replied quietly.

“I was worried,” she said, her dimpled mouth making an attractive smile. “And your name sir?”

“Xhmm…my name? My name is…Shas’Vre Xux’suam…” he replied slowly.

“T'oh good, at least now I have a name to give the emergency services…that is if I have to call them,” said Fir'e'tae leaping into the couch on his right and disappearing. Her disembodied voice rose up from behind the lip of the couch.

“I was so worried that you were seriously ill. Did you know I was standing there watching you for a long time? I kept thinking to myself, ‘What is a beautiful firewarrior like him doing here all by himself? He must be suffering terribly to be here all alone? Did a friend die? Did his woman leave him? Does he miss his ta’lissera?’ And I just couldn’t think of a reason why…why such a cute guy like you…would ever be here all by himself. But then you weren’t talking, so I wondered if you weren't experiencing some kind of seizure? Which would explain why you didn't speak, but then I was sure it had to be a seizure; because…as I stood there looking down at you…you didn’t seem to see me! So I just stood there waiting for you to say something, but ended up looking for the longest time into your deep indigo blue eyes, so that I totally forgot that I was waiting for you to talk...But then I remembered, so I started to wait again, and I waited, and I waited...until I just couldn’t stand it any longer and I had to say something! So that's when I said, ‘Are you alright sir?’.”

Suddenly sitting bolt upright she looked over at him and asked, “You ARE alright Sha’vre aren’t you?”

“No, I’m not.”

“But you just said you were alright a little while ago?”

“Well I am better…”

“Why is that sir?”

“You’re here.”

“T’oh,” she answered sinking slowly back into her couch.

There was nothing but silence coming from the young firewarrior for several raik’ors.

“Are you still there Shas’La’Fir'e'tae?”

“Yes sir...I mean Shas'vre. I'm still here,” she said softly. Then over the edge of the couch there appeared her two sea-green eyes staring down at him.

“Did you mean that…what you said…about feeling better because I’m here?”

“Yes.”

"Really?'

"Yes."

"By-the-Path!, I thought you were slipping away again!" said Fir'e'tae letting herself fall back onto the couch.

Now both of them were quiet.

"Thank you Shas'la," said Xux'suam from inside his couch.

"Why, what did I do?" she asked from inside hers.

"I miss my ta'lissera, but I didn't know that, until you mentioned it a moment ago."

"You were part of a bonded team Shas'vre?"

"A bonded cadre. I commanded an armoured interdiction cadre and we were all bonded in ta'lissera," he said giving out one long sigh. Xux'suam was silent for a time before speaking again.

"My entire career has been spent in one kind of vehicle or another. My first four tau'cyrs as a firewarrior were spent in light TX-2 and TX-4 skimmers. My next ten tau'cyrs were spent in TX-76 ion cannon and TX-78 railgun tanks. I was lucky to have found what I was good from early on, and what I excelled at most was armoured warfare. My tank crew and I alone had over fifty kills. And our cadre scored more destroyed enemy vehicles than any armoured cadre in Au'taal's history. The High Command called me 'The Shas'O'R'ka of Au'taal'; but then…but then they took away our tanks."

"Why?"

"They said tanks were redundant. That in an era of 'Big Suits' tanks were obsolete and couldn't be justified. They wanted to put most of our cadre into KV-128s; but they still wanted to keep my tank crew and I together. The plan was to give each of us our own individual XV-104, XV-107 or XV-109; and then make us a XV-104 wing, but it didn't happen."

"Why is that?"

"We refused."

"Why would you do that?!"

"La'Fir'et'ae, we were all bonded in ta'lissera, and that would have meant breaking up the cadre to spread us around the ground forces."

"Tee-yah, ta'lissera units aren't meant to be broken up...they're supposed to be kept together. A ta'lissera is a family with after all!"

"Not where it concerns the Tau'va. If The Greater Good requires for a bonded firewarrior go to one place, and his bonded brother to a second, and his sister to yet another. Then all three go where they are needed, regardless of their ta'lissera. It is The Path and so...we must obey."

"But you didn't?"

"Well...not exactly. You see we couldn't stop the cadre from being broken up, but we really wanted nothing to do with the 'Big Suits'. So because of our refusal, they got angry and denied us any access to XV-08 crisis battlesuits. The best they would offer us were railgun or missile XV-88 suits. And when we refused the XV-88s, that's when they broke us all up, and sent us out individually to different infantry units."

"Your ta'lissera...were you all brothers and sisters? Or were you..."

"We were all brother-husbands and sister-wives."

"You were all married and they still broke up your ta'lissera?"

"Yes," replied Xux'suam. He waited for another question, but he only heard something that sounded like sniffling. "La'Fir'et'ae...are you crying?"

"Maybe..." she said.

Then suddenly jumping up she leaned over the couch and shouted, "That's not right what they did to you! You were all family! All those tau women were your sisters...and all those tau men were your brothers, and...and...all of you together...were married as husbands and wives! That is not just! That is not righteous! That is not the Tau'va!" Fir'e'tae dropped back into her couch and began sobbing.

Xux'suam was in panic, and not knowing what else to do or say asked, "Do you know why I come here La'Fir'et'ae?"

"No, Vre'Xux'suam?" she said sobbing.

"Because sitting in these couches reminds me of my TX-78. I can lay here feel like I'm back in the turret."

The sobbing seemed to lessen.

"When you're in a bonded tank crew, and even when you're not...the crew always says there is a fourth member of the team.

"Fourth member?"

"Yes the tank. I don't just mean the A.I unit of the tank, but the vehicle itself. Like an animal it has it own personality. The way it moves, the way it handles, the sounds it makes...all its little quirks and idiosyncrasies... gives it a kind of life. You know Fir'e'tae, I very much miss my TX-78." Then waiting a moment he asked, "Are you still crying?"

"A little..."

Xux'suam looked up to see that Fir'e'tae was leaning far over the side of his couch; which brought her tear stained face very close to his. And while looking deeply into her sea green eyes, Xux'suam took the end of his long black queue and reaching up, gently brushed away her tears. Then as he slowly traced the outline of her face with his hair, she closed her eyes and sighed softly.

"Vre'Xux'suam my given name is Sebke’jird – Spotted Gerbil," she said opening her eyes and smiling at him.

"La'Fir'e'tae my given name is Kur’gala – Dark-orange Sparrow Hawk," he answered smiling.

"Hey-aah, kur'gala's catch and eat sebke'jirds! You're not going to catch and eat me are you?" she said wide eyed.

But before he could answer someone yelled, "La'Fir'e'tae! La'Kel'myr! Both of you get over here, we're going now! Why are the two of you way over there anyway?"

The out of nowhere jumped up a young male firewarrior with a thin moustache, he smiled at Xux'suam and bowing said, "Glad to have to met you Shas'vre," but then to Fir'e'tae he said, "C'mon we've got to be going!"

"Sorry Shas'vre, I have got to go now!"

"Alright..." answered Xux'suam as he watched Fir'e'tae and her fellow squadie take off down the curved corridor to join their team.

"Will I catch and eat you?...I certainly hope so."

*****
Last edited by TauMan on May 21 2016 02:23, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Into Silence: The Silver Talon

Post#4 » Feb 12 2016 02:27

Nicely done sir.

I'm the grim darkness of the far future there is only romance ;)
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Re: Into Silence: The Silver Talon

Post#5 » Feb 13 2016 02:06

Mon ami how true! :D

Viva la vida!
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Re: Into Silence: The Silver Talon

Post#6 » Feb 13 2016 02:09

To the Moderators: I don't know what happened here? I have a new laptop that has too many whistles and bells and a built in mouse that is 'upside down', but somehow or another this was a 'duplicate post' of what I posted above?

Please delete this specific post if it is possible.

Thanks TauMan
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Re: Into Silence: The Silver Talon

Post#7 » Feb 16 2016 06:22

The Tox’o Pearl

Personal Quarters of O'Vejel'tuya 06:27:30 The tenth rotaa of Ran'ui
Adjutant Shas'Vre’Xux'suam made his way towards the great Tox'o pearl that was the command bridge, and which lay at the centre of the Path Resurgence. He took the crystal escalator down to the fifth level the gantry, and then waited as the Security Shas’ui checked his credentials, and verified his eye, palm, and DNA biometrics. Xux'suam stood looking up at the magnificent piece of fio'sorral art, thinking that no matter how many times he saw 'The Pearl', it still filled him with both awe. To Xux'suam the bridge's silver swirls with their subtle iridescent streams of colour, illuminated the very heart of the Path Resurgence. Xux'suam fought back his emotions, so filled was he with pride in work of Au'taals earth caste artisans. Then his eyes fell on the sept command centres situated below the air caste bridge. The exterior veneer of each of the three centres was made from material excavated from the great pearl. The first command centre Ke'lshan's matched the width of the air cast bridge, but each of the subsequent centre was reduced in size, with Vash'ya being one width smaller, and Au'taal's being one width smaller after that. Thus the addition of the command centres, together with the bridge, gave the immense structure an overall 'tear drop' shape. Each command centre's exterior was coloured to match its respective sept: for Ke'lshan it was a pale golden yellow colour; for Vash'ya it was a striking lavender colour; and for Au'taal it was a pastel sea-green colour.

The anti-grav gantry now extended itself from the bottom of the pearl and docked with the fifth level station. The chime sounded indicating it was now safe to cross; however Xux'suam, was still distracted to hear it. The Fo'tan Shas'ui leaned forward and whispering said, "Shas'vre you can cross now."

"Pardon me Shas'ui, but even after all these kai'rotaa, The Pearl's fio'sorral art work still affects me," he said blushing.

"Aye, and spoken like one with the heart of a poet! Pardon me for askn' Shas'vre, but dae ye hae wee bit'o time this otexi?" said the auburn haired Shas'ui. Then looking into his sapphire blue eyes whispered, "By-The-Sands! You're a mighty bonnie lad, and I wouldn't mind a roll with ye in the tall grass?"

Xux'suam took her data tablet from her hands and typed in his personal access code. Then handed it back saying, "I can't promise when that might be Shas'ui...you see where I labour for the Tau'va? Send me your personal code and I’ll work on clearing my schedule."

"That's a 'yes' then Shas'vre?"

"Yes," he said smiling, but then added in his best Fo'tan brogue said, "Aye, it is!"

Xux'suam then bowed once more to the Shas'ui and turned to cross the gantry, when she shouted after him, "Shas'Ui'Fio'tan'Be'yr'nan, that's my caste rank name!"

"Aye, I knae that!"

Crossing the bridge he entered the Shas'Au'taal'ar'tol, but then checked in with the officer-of-the-deck; before finally making his way to the lift. Upon entering, he waited as the lift’s Security A.I. again verified his biometrics. He then entered the security code and the lift descended one floor to the commander's personal residence.

Xux'suam stepped out into circular apartment, done in the style of an Au'taal alpine chateau. The apartment featured only the finest Au'taal woods and stone. The floor was rough cut old growth timber, mostly green fir with moulding and framing done in blue pine. To the right was the stone and iron fireplace, and immediately ahead was a single great curved window that matched the inward sloping walls. In front and to the left of the window was a small dining area. To the left of that was the bedroom, and then behind the lift was the food preparation area. The apartment was mostly dark except for a single light shining above the dining area, and the light coming from the fireplace.

The commander's valet drone approached Xux'suam and asked, "Would you like me to bring up the lights sir?"

"No thank you THX1138. Please keep it dim, I'd just like to sit here and look out the window until the commander arrives.”

"Very well sir. May I ask if you would like to join the commander for breakfast?"

"No thank you, but I will take a plain ka'faeon.”

"Very well sir," and with that the drone spun on its axis and sped off silently to the kitchen. It returned a moment later with a demitasse bowl of ka'faeon for the third adjutant.

"Thank you THX1138."

The Xux'suam stood sipping his ka'faeon and looking out on the window. Outside it was still dark with the largest moon of Au'taal still hanging low in the night sky, illuminating the tiny snowflakes as they fell silently across the winter landscape. The snow was of the sharp crystalline kind that sparkled in the moonlight like the dust of diamonds. Everything was covered in snow, even the trunks of the great blue Au'taal pines. The soaring trees stood some hundreds of tor'lek high, with massive trunks some up to twenty tor'leks wide. And all were covered in the snowy diamonds that seemed to sparkle with rainbow hues every raik'an. Far across the clearing Xux'suam could see a small herd of the mountain tsa’buga, the woodland ungulates moved slowly in and out along the wood line, the same white diamond dust on their antlers and fur. But most impressive, and something Xux'suam had never seen before, were the northern lights dancing in multi-hued splendour far above the tree tops. He shivered at the thought of being outside in that amazing scene, and was glad for the quiet fire that crackled and popped in the commander's fireplace. Then Xux'suam sighed for it was not possible to go out in the snow and feel diamond snowflakes falling, nor hear the last sounds of the tsa’buga as they moved off deeper into the woods.

It was after all only a hologram.


Xux'suam heard movement to his left and turning around said, "By-the-Path, a good morning to you sir! May your ran be strong!..."

"A good morning to you too shas'fann," answered a water caste woman with an amused look on her face.

It stopped Xux'suam cold.

The woman stood beneath the dining area light as she gathered up her long black hair into a queue. She wore fine silk robes of a sea-green colour, with matching jewellery of green chrysopase set in silver.

"T'ahh pardon me madam...I apologize for barging in on you like this. I didn't see you when I entered," he replied bowing.

"You weren't being rude shas'fann, I only just arrived," she said winding up her completed queue, and fixing it into place with a black hair pin embellished with glittering platinum.

"T'oh, then pardon me madam for being too distracted to notice you exiting the lift."

"I didn't exit the lift."

"T'ah, then where did you come from madam?"

"The bedroom."

"I see."

There was silence.

Xux'suam found so much about this unknown por'fann woman striking, but he was too stunned to say anything. Firstly she appeared to be about the same age as himself, even a little younger. Furthermore each of her movements, even the smallest turn of the hand, where performed with an elegant precision and a graceful smoothness. Her face had that perfect egg shape, so prized by the artists of classical tau antiquity; which was accentuated by her small 't' shaped nasal slit. Her eyes were what they called black obsidian, or sometimes rainbow obsidian. Like two black pearls they shone brightly, but with the occasional flashes of red, green, gold, or blue. Xux'suam also noticed she wore cosmetics done in the most professional manner; which gave her face that exquisite cerulean colour, so favoured by water caste geisha.

Finally he said awkwardly, "Por’fann, I am third adjutant Shas'Vre..."

"...Au'taal'Xux'suam. Yes I know, the commander has told me about you," she said. Then with the utmost delicate poise, she put on her sea green pol hat and looked Xux'suam in the eye.

He returned her gaze willingly.

Whoever this water caste woman was, she looked into his eyes with a calm and focused energy. Yet at the same time, her gaze was intense and powerful. Xux'suam felt as if her eyes had the power to push him straight through the bulkhead and out into space. But he wasn't overwhelmed by this radiant power in her eyes, rather he was energized by it. Like a nova reactor powering up energy cells, her eyes seemed to fill him up, taking him all the way to full capacity. So filled was he with this crazy energy that he didn't want to break eye contact with her for a single raik'an.

The door to the bedroom now slid open and the lights came up to half illumination. Then Shas’O'Vejel'tuya entered wearing a dark blue patterned suit, with the jacket thrown over his arm. "T'ah Xux'suam I see you've met Por'Au'taal'El'Lub'caor'h'sia – Elegant Weaver of Language," he said cheerfully.

"Thank you for the introduction commander, we actually haven't been introduced yet," replied Xux'suam.

"Then El'Lub'caor'h'sia may I introduce to you my third adjutant Shas'Vre'Xux'suam."

"My dear Adjutant – Shas'vre, I must say that you are the most enjoyable sight, any tau woman could want this early in the morning," said El'Lub'caor'hi'sia her eyes flashing gold.

"Thank you Por'el, you are quiet gracious with your compliments," answered Xux'suam blushing in spite of himself.

"Por'el Xux'suam is far more than a ‘bit of silk decoration for Lady Fox’. He is also an accomplished musician. He plays the traditional zambo'dina, and often accompanies my first adjutant Shas'Vre'Gun'shi when he sings from his repertoire of classical opera!"

"Teeyah Shas'vre! You're a famed tank commander, a former cadre leader, an expedition adjutant, and a classical musician? You are the most accomplished firewarrior I have met in a long time! Well except for Shas'O'Vejel'tuya that is," said the Por'el making a slow and formal water caste bow.

"Your reputation precedes you my boy!" said O'Vejel'tuya letting out a joyful laugh.

The Por'el now stepped close to Xux'suam, her eyes again trained on him with their serene and intense energy. "So you're wood caste then are you Shas'vre? I believe any firewarrior who is also a man of the arts, brings a special gift to his people and his sept. Do you not agree Shas'o?"

O'Vejel'tuya shook his head in agreement.

"Well madam I couldn’t agree with you more! But I would go further, and say that as the promise of the Tau'Va is Unity and Progressthe gift of the Tau'Va is the Arts. And it is this gift that gives us all, the opportunity to participate in, and the direct experience of the Greater Good. Even more than the practical aspects like, peaceful co-existence, scientific co-operation, or even the exchange in goods and services. The Tau’va’s gift of the arts allows the elevation and expansion of one’s soul, both in society and in one’s own person. A gift of richness and beauty experienced in everyday life, but which grows exponentially… And that experience is for all castes, septs, and sentient races of the Empire. To me the arts are the greatest gift of the Tau'va!”

Xux’suam stopped suddenly and looking at both the commander and the Por’el and said, “I apologize…I raised my voice and was got…quite emotional. Please accept my apology for such a rash display,” he said blue faced and bowing. The Third Adjutant then bowed to the commander and his guest.

The El'Lub'caor'hi'sia then turned to O'Vejel'tuya with graceful sweep of her robes and said, "Shas'o this doesn't sound like a man who has withdrawn from society? A man isolated and alienated from his fellow firewarriors. There is no awkwardness or hesitation in his speech. No avoidance of eye contact. No monotone or monosyllabic speech. No apparent disassociation or lack of focus. And certainly no reduction in his mental faculties."

She turned back around and looking at Xux’suam said, "In fact his speech is coherent and reasoned. He has very good eye contact, and he can speak with considerable passion and energy on a subject dear to his heart." El'Lub'caor'hi'sia then bowed her good-bye to O'Vejel'tuya, and moving towards the lift stopped to look Xux'suam's once more in the eye, "One might even get the impression that Shas'Vre'Xux'suam..." The lift door opened and stepping in she paused to say softly,"...Is in love?"


*****
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Re: Into Silence: The Silver Talon

Post#8 » Mar 19 2016 04:10

GENTLEMEN AND GEISHAS


Personal Quarters of O'Vejel'tuya 07:00:20 The tenth rotaa of Ran'ui
The firewarriors watched as Por'El'Lub'caor'h'sia disappeared behind the lift door. Then the commander turned and motioned for Xux'suam to have a seat at the table. "Well my boy what happened to change you? Are you in love?" he asked as the valet drone THX1138 poured him a bowl of hot red tisan.

"THX1138 I've finished my ka'feon so I'll have a bowl of tisan as well," said Xux'suam before answering his commander. Then said looking down at the table and smiling he said, "Yes, I think I am."

"How did this happen?"

Xux'suam held his answer as THX1138 laid out O'Vejel'tuya breakfast, and the commander offered the meal's traditional 'first bread'.

"I was at the observation deck star lying in one of the meditation couches. Not meditating mind you, just sort of star-gazing, while being disconnected from everything. And this squad of firewarrior enters laughing and talking; which I didn't think anything of, but suddenly I heard someone's voice. I looked up and there was this young firewarrior staring down at me standing with a face full of freckles and sea-green eyes..."

"Xhmm..."

"She had been talking to me for I don't know how long, but I didn't notice her until her queue brushed against my face. The moment I looked up into those pale green eyes of hers..." Xux'suam paused, his sapphire eyes flashing in amazement. "...I was suddenly back in the land of the living!"

"Indeed my boy, it does sounds like you're in love! You seem more energized and look you better than you have in ages," said the commander. Then pointing with his quick sticks at his bowl he asked, "Are you certain you won't have a piece of ge'ta bread and some kootai eggs?"

"T'ahh...on second thought maybe I'll have a few slices of kootai, and a piece of ge'ta," replied Xux'suam smiling.

The two firewarrior sat eating and looking out the window, now brightly lit by the light of early morning. Outside the snow glittered as if a million shards of diamond had been scattered all about. Far above, the morning breeze blew the snow from the tree branches, making it appear as if it were snowing from a cloudless blue sky.

Xux'suam was regarding his tisan bowl when O'Vejel'tuya asked, "You know you have my permission to ask me about her don't? You must be dying to ask?"

"A bentu'cea'la - gentlemen never pries into the affairs of another. And he certainly doesn't pry into the affairs of a superior," answered Xux'suam smiling and bowing his head at the same time.

"T'ahh then stop being such a bentu'cea'la, and go ahead and ask me?" said O'Vejel'tuya laughing.

"Alright shas'o, who was the mysterious water kin woman in green?"

"Por'El'Lub'caor'h'sia is the head of protocol for Por'El'Noh'luun, and therefore is responsible for arranging all his official social functions, as well controlling his daily schedule of meetings and appointments. She is responsible for everything from the colour of the table cloths used for the official dinners, to what style of pol hat El'No'luun has to wear on what occasion."

"Xhmm, but there's more to her than that commander? I mean when she looked at me with such focus and intensity...it like looking into the eyes of a martial arts master!" asked Xux'suam said excitedly.

"Correct, there is more to her. What if I told you she was as Master of the Tisan Ceremony?"

"Tee-yah, then she would be just like a martial arts master!"

"There's even more to El'Lub'caor'h'sia then that my boy!" said the commander picking up some hot blue cabbage and dropping it onto the sliced kootai already on his ge'ta. "She's a por'yi!"

"Hiiya-te, well that explains a lot!" said Xux'suam letting taking a deep breath. "So she's a por'yi - geisha then? I've heard say that in all of the Tau Empire, there are none like our Au'taal geisha. Though honestly I've only seen geisha from one other sept world - Vior'la. Hoi, they were so beautiful, they were downright intimidating!"

"Xhmm, but Au'taal geisha have all the sass don't they?" laughed the commander.

"Well sir, El'Lub'caor'h'sia is the first geisha I've ever actually spoken to. Sad to say, but one doesn't get all the refined pleasures of civilized society, when one's life is spent on campaign."

"I suppose you're right my boy...You do know she fancies you?" said the commander with a twinkle in his dark emerald eyes.

"Hoi-hoi-hoi!" answered Xux'suam waving his hand. "She may have called me 'wood caste' without having ever heard me play a single note on the zambo'dina, but I hardly think that counts as her fancying me?"

"No, it's not because of your musical talent that she fancies you shas'vre, and it's not because of your sapphire eyes and good looks either!" The commander motioned for the valet drone to clear the table. "No, it's because of your impassioned defense of the arts; however strident and emotional you think you may have been. Vre'Xux'suam I've known her for quite a long time, so believe me when I say she fancies you my boy."

"So when did you meet El'Lub'caor'h'sia sir?" asked the adjutant nodding his head in disbelief.

"Several tau'cyr ago back on Au'taal, when the first discussions about an expedition into Ea'Qim were being held. At one of those early conferences Por'El'Noh'luun hired her to perform traditional dancing and music for the attendees of which I was one. I've been a client ever since."

The commander got up from the table and sat down in a form fitting chair that rose up from the floor by the fireplace. The valet drone then swung around behind the commander and draped a coverlet around his neck. A smaller rectangular container drone rolled up, stopped, and then locked itself into position next to the chair. The valet drone reclined the chair, and then prepared a soap-lubricant product offered up by the service drone.

"Client sir? You said El'Lub'caor'h'sia was a por'yi? Or is she a j'hal'yi - courtesan?" asked Xux'suam now standing by the fireplace.

"Oh no my boy, she's a geisha not a courtesan. However it is not uncommon for a geisha, male or female, to have a small number of clients or patrons. Right now El'Lub'caor'h'sia has three clients."

While the commander received a shave and shampoo from his valet drone, Xux'suam stood sipping a cup of red tisan and staring into the fire. The commander spoke as the drone finished drying his hair, "You've been quiet for a while Shas'vre, what's going in your head right now?"

"Pardon me sir, but I was remembering how earlier, when I first came down, that your room was lit only by the light from the fireplace..."

"And you're thinking how wonderful it would be to lie there in front of the fire with your young shas'la in your arms aren't you?"

"Well, yes and...no sir," said Xux'suam turning around and looking at his commander.

"T'eh, come again shas'vre?"

"Actually I was thinking of something Shas’La Fir'et’ae said to me...that's her name by the way, Fir'et’ae – Verity. She asked me if I missed my ta'lissera...and the question struck me like a tsunami; it completely overwhelmed me! I knew of course that I missed my ta'lissera, but I hadn't ever given it much thought until...until she asked me about it." Xux'suam turned back to look at the crackling fire. "I think I've been suffering from the loss of my ta'lissera for a long time, but I've never dealt with it..."

O'Vejel'tuya's face turned a pale grey and he waved his hand to stop the valet drone combing his hair. "So you'd you been grieving then...all this time?"

"Yes, I believe I have. Sir, it's been non-stop activity since the breakup of my cadre. First there was the reassignment to an infantry cadre....Then came my decision to pass on the Trial-By-Fire, and the whole mess which followed. Afterwards I was being contacted by you and...all the interviews and examinations for joining the Shas'Au'taal'ar'tol – Au'taal High Command....Then I actually joined the High Command and we began preparing for the Ea'Qim expedition...And there was all the work around the launching of the expedition. What it's been more than two whole tau'cyr since I last saw any of my ta'lissera." Xux'suam let out a deep breath before continuing. "I truly believe I've never take a single raik'an to mourn the loss of my brothers and sisters." Xux'suam stopped and looked longingly into the flames of the fire.

"Come here my boy," said the commander. Vre'Xux'suam came alongside the commander's the chair, who then took the younger tau's hand in both of his, and looking him in the eye said, "If you'd like to bring La Fir'et’ae here some night, I'm sure El'Lub'caor'h'sia wouldn't mind putting me up for an evening...or two, my boy."

"Nuni, sir," he replied softly.

"Good, that's good. So to again answer your unspoken question, El'Lub'caor'h'sia and I have indeed made love many a time in front this fireplace!"

"Sir did you ever notice your tisan bowls have this sea-green colour on the bottom?" said the third adjutant blushing as he looked at the bottom of his tisan bowl.

"Of course shas'vre! I picked the colour out myself...T'eh your shas'la has sea-green eyes doesn’t she?"

"Yes sir La Fir'et’ae does have the most lovely sea-green eyes. And today I seem to see that colour everywhere... your tisan bowls...El'Lub'caor'h'sia's robes...the pastel green exterior of the Au'taal High Command centre." Xux'suam went silent for moment, then excitedly said, "T'oh, I almost forgot to tell you, I was propositioned by one of the Fo'tan shas'ui at the fifth level crossing!"

"Which one the pink-blonde Shas'Ui Ned'keli, or the auburn haired Shas'Ui Be'yr'nan?" said the commander sitting up. "And did you shake your head 'yes', or nod your head 'no'?"

"'T'was herself the auburn haired Ui'Be'yr'nan! Aye didn't I shake me head 'yes'!" laughed Xux'suam doing again his faux Fo'tan brogue. "But I think I only said yes because she has the same sea-green eyes as La'Fir'et’ae..." Xux'suam turned around and looking at the commander shouted in horror, "SIR WHAT IS THAT DRONE DOING TO YOUR FACE?!"

*****
Last edited by TauMan on May 21 2016 02:21, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Into Silence: The Silver Talon

Post#9 » Mar 20 2016 06:29

Ah young love, with it being the Tau there's actually a chance of a happy ending which is rarely seen in the other races lol.

A good post mate
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Re: Into Silence: The Silver Talon

Post#10 » Apr 29 2016 02:24

COMIC OPERA

13:30:45 The first of Ran'ui: 114th Mobile Assault Cadre Dormitory Facility, 3rd Squad Sleeping Bays

Shas’La’Fir'et’ae stopped just inside the foyer of Third Squad dormitory to look at the three dimensional fio'sorral sculpture called: Tenxer'se'fal - The Sapphire Fruit Tree. Such gifts of artwork from the earth caste of Au'taal were given to those leaving on the Ea'Qim expedition. Before tonight Fir'et'ae had never paid much attention it, or even bothered to look at it that closely. Now she marvelled at how the bronze sculpture’s depiction of the teardrop shaped fruit. Fir'et'ae noted how the gemstone fruit were of the same intense blue colour as Xux'suam's eyes. She ran her hands over the delicately wrought jewels and imaged she was touching his face, the beautiful face of Vre'Xux'suam.


Inside the sleeping bays the rest of Fir'et'ae fellow firewarriors were beginning to wind down for the evening. Third Squad's no-nonsense commander, Shas'Ui Vash'nan, stood in the common area waiting until she spied a certain firewarrior with a black queue and a thin moustache. "Shas'La Kell'myr would explain to me what you and Shas'La Fir'et'ae were doing on the far end of the Observation Deck?"

"T'ah, don't you mean what La'Fir'et'ae was doing at the far end of the Observation Deck don't you?" replied Kell'myr.

"La'Kell'myr, none of your wannabe water caste double tongue! I want to know what both of you were doing?" said Vash'nan staring at him with her arms behind her back and her feet apart. This posture was her way of saying: 'You'd-better-tell-me-what-I-want-to-know'. By now three other squad members had gathered around to listen. Soon others would join in.

"Well Ui'Vash'nan, while she was interacting with someone, I was listening," answered Kell'myr looking around to see who was now listening.

"La'Kell'myr perchance are you from the water caste?'

"No, ma'am.'

"Then answer my question. La'Fir'et'ae was interacting with whom that you had to be listening? Wait wasn't she laying in one of the meditation couches?"

"Yes she was in one of the meditation couches, but she was also speaking to a particular fire caste officer - Shas'Vre Xux'suam."

"Vre'Xux'suam from the Shas'Au'taal'ar'tol? She was talking to one of the command staff?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Wait did you say La'Fir'et'ae was speaking to Shas'Vre'Xux'suam? The famous tank commander and armoured warfare expert?" asked the male with the pink-blonde goatee Shas'La Saor.

"None other!" smiled Kell'myr.

"La'Saor I am asking the questions here. Go ahead La'Kell'myr and tell me why you chose to violate your sister's privacy, and that of Vre'Xux'suam for that matter?"

"The Shas'VreXux'suam?" asked the tall female firewarrior Shas'La Xiu.

"The very same!"

"I doubt Vre'Xux'suam would be there all by himself on the Observation Deck; let alone that he would be speaking with La'Fir'et'ae!" said the red haired female Shas'La D'onei.

"But the fact is, he was there...and he did speak with La'Fir'et'ae," quipped Kell'myr.

"Enough! Everyone stop asking questions!" said Ui'Vash'nan glaring hard at her firewarriors. "Please proceed La'Kell'myr to tell me why you felt it necessary to listen in on your sister's conversation,"

All the firewarriors in the squad expressed their embarrassment with small and subtle facial gestures, except for Kell'myr, whose face beamed with the excitement at having an audience.

"T'ah then let me demonstrate!" said Kell'myr.

"NO, none of your storytelling tonight Shas'la! Save the water caste performance art for another rotaa, I want to go to bed," said Ui'Vash'nan defiantly crossing her arms.

"Sorry Shas'ui, if didn't you want to see a performance..." said the emerald eyed Shas'La Na'ivo, "...You shouldn't have asked him to tell you."

"Hai-YAHH, go ahead La'Kell'myr!" said the exasperated Ui'Vash'nan throwing her hands up into the air.

Shas'La Kell'myr first looks down the hall to see if Fir'et'ae is still outside, and then pushed back the common area table. Now he brings forward two lounge chair to centre stage, and standing before the chairs begins his narration.

"Dear tau'fann! Esteemed members of Third Squad of the 114th Mobile Assualt Cadre! Let me now set the scene for you. It is evening of the rotaa of Ran'ui on the Observation Deck of the Ea'Qim Orbital. At stage centre right, lying in a meditation couch is our despondent hero, the venerable tank commander Shas'Vre'Xux'suam, champion of Au'taal!"

Kell'myr then lies down in a chair on the right throws one hand over his face.

"He speaks: 'Woe, woe is me! For my life is despondent and I have failed the Path of the Tau'Va.'"

Kell'myr now jumps up and runs off out of the common area stage right.

"Now from stage right enters our heroine, the maiden pure-of-heart Shas'La Fir'et'ae!"

Kell'myr comes in from stage right doing a fine imitation of the bright eyed and innocent Fir'et'ae, which includes a few 'blue freckles' hastily applied to his face with a equipment marker pen. He (as Fir'et'ae) looks around with much amazement and wonder.

There is much laughter.

"La'Fir'et'ae is enjoying the view of stars, galaxies and nebulae, when she turns around and sees our despondent hero – all alone...by himself...laying there despondent in the couch...with no one else around him...Excuse me did I say he was all alone?

"She says, 'Why who is this handsome and beautiful officer that is all alone by himself?...Who is this handsome officer with the most exquisite sapphire eyes? Who could this cute guy be?' Kell'myr imitates Fir'et'ae's higher pitched feminine voice, but also does a fine replica of her intonation and inflection.

There is more laughter.

Kell'myr (as Fir'et'ae) moves behind the lounge chair and says, "She now stands behind his couch, and stares down into his intoxicating indigo blue eyes."

Kell'myr does a sweet and goofy impression of the opened mouth Fir'et'ae staring down at the couch with 'Xux'suam'.

Again there is laughter.

"Fir'et'ae finds herself gobsmacked with LOVE!" Kell'myr now strikes his chest with hand making a loud, 'WHAP' sound.

Everyone in the room laughs, but also jumps back a few tor'ils.

"And how do you know all of this Kell'myr?" shouts the firewarrior Shas'La Ta'tev with red jaspar eyes like those of the famous Shas'O'Shas'erra.

"Tshcu, brother La'Ta'tev I was just coming to that!" replys Kell'myr in mock exasperation; and then dropping his hands he runs off stage right. Kell'myr then comes in from stage right doing a caricature of himself. He strides in (as La'Kell'myr) with a jaunty step and a much too broad a curl to his smile.

There is even more laughter when Shas'La'Haido yells: "Hoi, you look just like that snae'ta son-of-ui't Shas'La'Kell'myr!"

"Why the very likeness!" Kell'myr begins doing a third person narration about himself, "Shas'La'Kell'myr enters the Observation Deck and looks around, only to see that La'Fir'et'ae is standing over the supine body of a fire caste officer from Au'taal. And he thinks to myself, 'Xhmm, who is he? And what is she up to?' So he decides he must investigate."

"As with all comic operas there needs to be the some comic relief! Thus I, Shas'La'Kell'myr enter from stage right as Winged Rabbit!" Kell'myr now moves behind the first and second couches; and squatting down on his hunches, then puts two hands palms on either side of his head like rabbit ears.

"Winged Rabbit is of course is the Interlocutor of Love, the Minion of Romance, and the Eternal Matchmaker; except that he never gets it right the first time, or the second time or even the third time!" Kell'myr now starts looking about like a small mammal trying to avoid detection and then disappears, only to then ‘pops up’ from behind the couches as Winged Rabbit."And so now in position like that infamous Trouble Maker of Love, I wait to eavesdrop."

When either the 'Xux'suam' or 'Fir'et'ae' speaks Kell'myr moves his eyes and 'ears' either to the left or to the right.

"'Are you alright sir?' askes our intrepid heroine Fir'et'ae, but there is no answer! So she says, 'You don't look well?'

"Startled by the voice of his beloved calling him back from H'kek'an, our despondent hero stirs! First he looks to the right, and then he looks left, but seeing no one there, he lies back down."

Kell'myr now jumps up and stands behind the couch like the ever-so-innocent Fir'et'ae. And with his head facing the audience, he leans forward, and lets his queue 'brush' the face of the imaginary Xux'suam.

"Our despondent hero now awakens, and looking up sees the face of his beloved is...SAVED! As with all fairy tales once the hair of the beloved touches the hero's face, he is instantly brought back to life!

There is an audible gasp from the audience. A female firewarrior La'Seri exclaims out loud, "She gave him hair – in public?"

"Indeed she did!" answers Kell'myr breaking the fourth wall to address his audience. He then squats down between the lounge chairs to resume his role as Winged Rabbit.

"Xux'saum then says, 'T'ahh...hello?'

"To which Fir'et'ae replies, 'Hello I am Shas’La Fir'et’ae. Are you well sir?'

"To which he replies, 'I am…now.'

There is much sighing from the audience especially from the female firewarriors.

"Then she says, 'I was worried.' But then adds, 'Your name sir?'

"He pauses and then replies, 'Xhmm, my name? My name is Shas’Vre Xux’suam.'

"La'Fir'et'ae then leaps into the couch on the left and there follows much joyful talk, as Vre'Xux'suam explains how much better he is because of the arrival of our heroine. Our hero then tells her the cause of his despondency, the sad story of how his ta'lissera bound cadre was been ripped apart. All for the sake of the Tau'Va."

"'Why?' asks Fir'et'ae crying copious tears."

"'Because we refused to give up our beloved TX-76 tanks for the dreaded 'Big Suits' like the KV-128.'"

"Yes, like those cavalrymen of yesteryear who refused to give up their horses and sabres, for clanking, armoured vehicles; our hero's ta'lissera refused to give up their much loved TX-76 gunships! There is more crying from our heroine, as she sympathizes with her beloved's loss of his sister-wives and brother-husbands! Our hero Xux'suam, in the most chivalrous manner, then comforts the distraught Fir'et'ae. He reaches up and with the end of his queue and softly wipes the tears from the face of La'Fir'et'ae! Only he goes one step further and traces her face with his hair!"

Kell'myr now lays back down on the chair and pantomimes Xux'suam wiping the tears and tracing Fir'et'ae's face with the end of his queue.

Once more there is much sighing from the audience, but this time from the male firewarriors.

"Then looking longingly into each other's eyes and exchange Given Names..."

Then suddenly there is a loud 'WHAM-WHAM' sound, and everyone in the room jumps a few tor'ils off the deck. Looking around they see Shas'La Fir'et'ae standing in the corridor with tears streaming down her blue face.

There is silence.

'WHAM-WHAM' Fir'et'ae slammed her hoof once more before attempting to 'run-the-gauntlet' of her fellow firewarriors. Everyone steps aside except for Shas'Ui'Vash'nan, who stepping in front of her, then bows deeply.

"Shas'La Fir'et'ae as squad leader of Third Squad I take full responsibility for this derogatory and salacious display. I apologize for our carelessness, cruelty, and thoughtlessness. On behalf all of Third Squad, I humbly ask for your forgiveness!" As Vash'nan held her bow, all of the Third Squad now joined in bowing with her, even Kell'myr.

"I...accept...Ui'Vash'nan," replied Fir'et'ae through her tears and bowing in acceptance.

The squad now gathered in close about her. Xiu and Seri stand on either side of her, as D'onei puts her arms around Fir'et'ae from behind. The rest of the squad reached out to place a hand on her shoulder. Only Kell'myr stood outside the scrum of firewarriors that was until Vash'nan, reached over and pulled him in. She took his right hand and placed it on Fir'et'ae's shoulder; but Kell'myr avoided looking her in the eyes.

They were silent as Fir'et'ae wept.

Vash'nan gave Fir'et'ae some disposable tissues and waited until she seemed to be finished crying; then taking Fir'et'ae's hands in hers she said, "La'Fir'et'ae, did you really meet Shas'Vre'Xux'suam?"

"Yes," replied Fir'et'ae shaking her head 'yes' in the tau manner.

'Did you give him 'hair'?"

"Yes, but that was an accident! It happened when I leaned over to check on him. I didn't mean to do anything provocative...or unseemly!" protested Fir'et'ae.

"T'oh, the 'accidental brush of the hair', that always works for me when I want to get a boy's attention!' said female Na'ivo, "Isn't that right La'Rak'e?"

"Ugnt!" snorted the tall male Rak'e looking at Na'ivo with a sullen expression.

"We're not talking about you La'Na'ivo. Now Fir'et'ae, did Shas'Vre'Xux'suam give you...xhmm...Did he give you...you know...Did he give you 'hair'?

"Yes."

"TEEE-ah!" exclaimed everyone in the squad.

"Tschu all of you! Now Fir'et'ae did Vre'Xus'suam and you really exchange given names?" asked the squad leader looking Fir'et'ae in the eye.

Fir'et'ae innocently shook her head 'yes'.

"Shas'La'Fir'et'ae my sister, you hardly know Vre'Xux'suam, and what's more you've not been properly introduced! He must be what...twice your age? And he is two levels above your caste rank. Did you ever think of that?"

"No."

"That means Fir'et'ae that the two of you shouldn't be having...such...be having such intimate social intercourse. And regardless of our caste rank, we are all called on to behave with propriety and decorum." Vash'nan then turned and cast a sideways glance at Kell'myr. "Well most of us anyways."

Kell'myr rubbed his moustache nervously.

Vash'nan turned back to Fir'et'ae and said, "The two of you shouldn't be sharing any kind of intimacies in private, or public for that matter."

"Shas'Ui'Vash'nan I know what is proper and acceptable behaviour, but you should have seen Vre'Xux'suam. He was just Kell'myr said he was...like kind of like a dead person...not seeing or hearing anything. I thought he might be suicidal!"

"If that were the case La'Fir'et'ae you should've called the emergency services. If you meet someone who may be suicidal, you certainly don't go and try to start a relationship with him? How is getting emotionally and sexually involved with someone, supposed to help then?"

"Shas'ui?! I didn't start having any kind of relationship with Vre'Xux'suam?" said a frustrated Fir'et'ae. "I just met him after all."

"Sebke’jird then why would you and he be exchanging given names?" asked Vash'nan addressing Fir'et'ae's by her given name. "That seems to me to be quite intimate."

Fir'et'ae looked at her squad leader, and her face turned such a dark blue that her normally dark freckles now appeared pale against the colour of her face, but she said nothing.

"When I share my given name Shu'vuu to another firewarrior it is because he or she is a squad mate, or because they are someone to whom I am already close. If I offer my given name to a male firewarrior whom I don't already know, then it means I want to be intimate with him. It's an invitation to have sex Sebke’jird. Don't you see?"

"TEEE-ah!" gasped the entire squad.

"Now wha..." said Vash'nan spinning around.

Directly behind the squad leader there floated a holographic portrait of Shas'Vre'Xux'suam, projected from a small device held by Kell'myr.

"Is...is that...him La'Fir'et'ae?" asked Vash'nan pointing at the hologram.

"Xa-xhmm," answered Fir'et'ae shaking her head with both hands over her mouth.

"Did you see those sapphire blue eyes of his?" blurted out the female firewarrior Seri.

"Hiiya-te, Shas'ui you're going to have to excuse La'Fir'et'ae this time!" exclaimed the female firewarrior Xiu.

"Xux'suam is so beautiful Shas'ui! I'm afraid I would have given him more than my name!" sighed dreamily the female D'onei.

"Where did you get the holopic from La'Kell'myr?" asked the male firewarrior Haido.

"Downloaded it from the Shas'Au'taal'ar'tol public netmatrix site," replied Kell'myr.

"Why he's looks like a demi-god! You can't fault La'Fir'et'ae for that can you?" said the energetic male Saro.

"La'Ylos doesn't it appear that our squad sister La'Fir'et'ae is the master of Kauyon – Patient Hunter?" asked the tall male firewarrior of his shorter companion who wore a pink-blonde goatee.

"Xhmm, I must agree La'Rak'e. We should be proud of our squad sister!" replied Ylos tapping tapped one closed fist over the other.

"Congratulations on your victory La'Fir'et'ae!" said Rak'e loudly as he also tapped together his closed fists.

"T'ahh, my clothes would have definitely fallen off, whether Xux'suam wanted them to or not!" said Na'ivo with a flash her emerald green eyes.

The squad now gathered all around the device, and stared intently at the slowly rotating portrait of Xux'suam.

"Xux'suam is so...so...gorgeous," said Vash'nan finally taking the device from Kell'myr.


Kell'myr caught Fir'et'ae by the arm, and pulling her with him, took a step backwards from the crowd of firewarriors. "Sebke'jird I am sorry I revealed your meeting with Vre'Xux'suam; but..." he said starting to bow to Fir'et'ae; but stopped when he realized she was staring coldly at him.

'T'eh...at least I saved you...xhmm...from a long lecture..."

She was still staring.

"...On propriety and improper behaviour!"

She continued to stare.

"Well, I did...didn't I?"

She kept staring

"And...t'ahh....and I am sorry I made everyone laugh..."

She was still staring.

"...at your expense."

She was still staring at him.

"T'oh please! You have to admit...it was a little funny?"

She was still staring at him when she suddenly said, "How could you Yow'la?"

To this Kell'myr could only roll his eyes in random directions, drag a hoof across the floor, and scratch his moustache nervously.

"You know you're like a crèche brother to me Kell'myr!" said Fir'et'ae with obvious pain on her face.

"I am sorry Sebke'jird...maybe it's because you remind me so much of...my younger sister?"

"T'oh shut-up Yow'la! I have already accepted your apology anyway," snorted Fir'et'ae. Then bowing to her squad brother she added, "However, nuni – thanks, for helping me escape another severe lecture."

"Nunco't'qy – you're welcome," he replied.

The two of them now stood side-by-side and watched as their squad mates gawked at the rotating hologram of Xux'suam. The females sighing deeply while looking at the hologram, as the males shook their heads approvingly.

"You know Sebke'jird, you're not the wide-eyed innocent you want everyone to think you are?" said Kell'myr.

"T'eh, how so Yow'la?" asked Fir'et'ae rolling her eyes at him.

"You know damn well what it means to share your given name with a male. You're more coquette than you let on!" replied Kell'myr narrowing his eyes at her.

"Xhmm..." said Fir'et'ae, who then turned and gave her squad brother a good hard kick to the shins.

"Snae'ta!" he shouted and dropped to the floor.


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Last edited by TauMan on May 21 2016 02:21, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Into Silence: The Silver Talon

Post#11 » May 14 2016 02:47

PERSONA INCOGONITO

07:27:54 The tenth rotaa of Ran'ui: Personal Quarters of O'Vejel'tuya

"SIR WHAT IS THAT DRONE DOING TO YOUR FACE?!"

"Nothing more than the application of theatrical appliances adjutant. The kind that are used in holovideo productions...or by the intelligence servce uses on missions!" replied the commander as two of the drone's crab like appendages applied a grey coloured putty to his scars; while the other two laid down soft rubber-like appliances over his eye ridge, along his nasal slit and around his chin.

"There is so much work to do we are to be ready for a possible attack on the orbital. We have interviews with survivors of the attacks on the Regulant Auspice and the Selim. The review of Ke'lshan's plans for the oribital's defense, done surreptitiously of course. Inspection of all service corridors: air, water, waste, and power conduits, in other words, all points of [entrance] and [egress] which are not commonly known. There is the inspection of all habitat quarters, both tau and auxiliary. Let's see what else...Determinations for the best places to forward deploy store weapons, munitions and supplies. T'ah and the best hidden routes to move firewarriors in and out of a given area, after an attacker that has boarded the orbital. There is so very much work to do!"

Xux'suam moved to the foot of the commander's chair and looking down at his commander spoke forcefully, "Sir I don't need to remind you that you are not permitted to be seen anywhere on the orbital station! All of us in the Shas'Au'taal'ar'tol know that you have a number of 'alter-egos', with which you use to make regular forays into the orbital. But It sounds like now you're planning daily expeditions through the very bowels of the station.

"You yourself, when you brought me on to the Au'taal command team, explained in the great detail how you can never be discovered to be on-board the orbital. That no one could ever know that who were a part of the Ea'Qim expedition. Now you're purposely putting yourself at risk of being discovered. Why do you have to do this? Can't others being do it for you?"

"The situation has changed Vre'Xux'suam and I have to be able to get around the station unnoticed. It is not enough to use virtual reality simulations or the reports of others."

"Shas'O'Vejel'tuya, do you not believe in the mission of Por'El'Noh'luun?" asked Xux'suam.

"Shas'Vre'Xux'suam I do believe in the Ea'Qim mission and its leader Por'El'Noh'luun. Need I remind you, that I was one of the earliest supporter of this mission. I signed on to it may tau'cyrs ago when I heard El'Noh'luun, as a young por'ui, speak about his vision for reclaiming our lost sept of Sha'draig. His passion and eloquence stirred my like nothing ever has; and I have been a committed supporter ever since," said the commander looking up at his adjutant.

The drone began its' finishing touches, airbrushing a light grey base coat over the appliances. Then after the initial blue skin paint had dried; it applied several more layers of skin paint of various blue hues. When the drone was finished, it had created a good approximation of the commander's actual skin colour. As a finishing touch the then drone gave the commander's face a few dark blue aging spots.

"Commander, as you have explained more than once, in fact as you have explained on several occasions to the entire Au'taal command team; as shas'o you automatically outrank Por'El'Noh'luun. And although you have no desire to be the expedition leader, the revelation of your presence on the orbital, would in effect make you the de facto expedition leader! And here I quote: 'It would also embarrass the Ta'ro'cha with the kind of shenanigans and hijinks for which Au'taal has always been known for..."

“'...And would effectively undercut Por'El'Au'taal'Noh'luu's authority in a most unseemly and provocative manner. Thus Au'taal would be living up to that very reputation that we are so desperately trying to live down!' Yes, shas'vre I do believe you heard me, since you are able to quote me almost word for word!" said O'Vejel'tuya not moving in his chair.

There was a tense silence in the room as neither man spoke.

"Like you, I believe wholeheartedly in this mission and that's why I need you with me on this Vre'Xux'suam. If I am to get around unnoticed by the greater population of the orbital; then I'll need your help." said the commander finally, but then reaching out a hand to Xux'suam.

The young firewarrior looked at the offered hand and took it. The older firewarrior clasped it with both hands.

THX1138 tapped the commander's should to get him to sit back down. The drone now applied a liquid to each side of the commander's moustache, and with several lighting quick strokes of the silver hairs, the moustache became stiff, and shot straight out on each side of the commander's face. Then when a quick smooth motion, the drone bent the ends of the moustache at the end of the mouth, so as to make gentle silver curves that reached up well past the eyes. Finally, the drone applied a dab of adhesive on the area below the chin, and then placed a strip of silver chin hair.

"There it is sir!" said the drone holding up an antique j'kaara so the commander could see his face.

"Fine job THX1138!"

The commander now got up and put on his jacket, but then picked up a large hat made from the same blue fio'tek material as his suit and put it on his head. Actually it was more like he draped it on, as the large flat hat lay down like a cowl all around his head.

"What do you think Shas'vre?" he asked.

You look like one of our Au'taal surrealist painters. You know the one that paints the melting timepieces on a desert landscape. Sorry but I can't think of his name. No, wait maybe it's that other guy who paints the grav trains coming out of a fireplace. Kisune'shas – Bloodfire if I can't remember his name either?!"

"T'ah-ah! That's exactly the look I was going for!"

"Sir, do I have to remind you that you happen to be one of the tallest firewarriors in the Au'taal fire caste? Maybe even in the Tau Empire? You almost qualify as one of the air caste you're so tall...alright maybe a short member of the air caste, but still sir. Your height alone would tip people off as to who you are!"

"All the more reason for the costume and the theatrical make-up, but to finish one must add...acting!"

The commander the did a bow flourishes and said, "May I present to you Shas'Vre'Xux'suam, the retired firewarrior and military consultant Shas'El'Au'taal'Bentu'qazdan – Wise Dragon, also-know-as Bentu Haha – Wise Grandpa!"

"Sir, you do know you've used your actual caste rank name Bentu'qazdan?" said Xux'suam putting his face in his hands. "If anyone does a search of the public records for the Au'taal fire caste, your holographic image and all your caste rank names will come up. It takes all of what...sixty raik'ans to do a search?"

"When was the last time you did a search of a random person you've encountered on the orbital Shas'vre?"

"I don't know let's see? Xhmm...t'oh I remember about three-quarters of a dec ago! I used facial recognition to look up a certain auburn haired Shas'ui' from Fo'tan. A female firewarrrior who I discovered, goes my the caste rank name of Be'yr'nan. Took me what...all of fifteen raik'an, to get her public information?"

"Point taken Shas'vre, it only goes to show how dangerous our mission will be; and to what extraordinary lengths we'll have to go to prevent detection!"

"THX1138 could you raise one of the fireplace chairs for me?" asked Xux'suam.

"Yes sir, right away!"

A form fitting chair rose up from the floor, and the Third Adjutant dropped himself into it. Staring up at the ceiling he said, "Shas'O'Vejel'tuya, you sir are not only a hero of the Au'taal fire caste, you're also a full on snae'ta crazy!"

"Xhmm..."

"Just give me a raik'or to contemplate the horror of your eminent discovery, the scandalous undermining of Por'El'Noh'luunn and everything he has worked for all these tau'cyrs! Then let me imagine your subsequent acquiescence to command of Ea'Qim expedition; while most of the allied septs commanders demand an immediate withdrawal back to Tau controlled space. Or at least a temporary halt to any further advance, stopping just long enough, so they can shoot you into space inside a communications torpedo. Not that anyone will give a snae'ta if you ever make it back safely!"

"Vre'Xux'suam as I have said before, I did not choose to be on this expedition; but I was ordered to come against my will by the Aun council of Au'taal. It was they who ordered me on this expedition."

"Yes sir, I well aware that you did come on this expedition of your own volition."

Xux'suam turned and walked over to the holographic widow. Looking out on the winter landscape, he seemed weary and face was pale and drawn. 'The expedition could be so easily be sabotaged if your presence was revealed. There is just too much at stake..." the adjutant turned his head and spoke over his shoulder, "...But there is also Au'taal's reputation to think of.

"Sir, I have seen the dead bodies of Au'taal firewarriors, all of whom fell facing the enemy, treated with the utmost disrespect. Their bodies were left were they fell, while the corpses from other septs were removed first. I can still hear the firewarriors from those other septs saying: 'Probably died when they mistook their wine rations for their photon grenades!'; 'Or they forgot which end of the pulse rifle to point at the enemy?'; 'Au'taal the surrender-sheep of the Empire!'

"I have heard the earth caste mortuary workers, even as they cremated the remains of our Au'taal firewarriors, laugh and say: 'No loss here, they're from Au'taal after all!'; 'Those cheese-and-wine-drinking, pleasure-seeking-Au'taal, why did they even bother coming?' The disgrace shown my brothers and sisters will forever be seared into my heart..."

Now it was O'Vejel'tuya's turn to blush, moving to stand next to the younger tau officer, he looked with him out the holographic window. Then turning and bowing formerly to his adjutant he said, "Shas'Vre'Xux'suam I know of what speak, and I too have heard the slander of our caste and the shaming of our sept.

"I would not ask you to help me, if did not believe it was important. Furthermore Vre'Xux'suam I promise to make every effort to hide my identity, and not reveal it to anyone who is outside the Au'taal'Shas'ar'tol. Brother I need you to help me with this!"

"Shas'O'Vejel'tuya, you command and I will follow..." said Xux'suam turning his wane face towards his commander. "...But I am 'not out of the desert' as they say. My illness...this is hard for me to say commander...but it has left me weak, frazzled, and not at my full strength. I don't know how much use to you I would be?"

"No worries Vre'Xux'suam, whatever you can give will be sufficient..."

"Thank you O'Vejel'tuya, and again if you command I will follow. For the Tau'va, for Au'taal, and for the Fire caste!" he said bowing.

"For the Tau'va, for Au'taal, and for the Fire caste!" replied O'Vejel'tuya returning the bow.

The two firewarriors then touched foreheads, their right hands placed over each other's hearts. They stood for a short while until O'Vejel'tuya broke the silence.

"I wouldn't worry too much adjutant, your teammates Vre'K'tadie and Vre'Gun'shi are going to be leading their own 'exploration teams' around the orbital. Along with El'Mon'lhas'nan and myself, they'll also be doing the bulk of the interviews. What I need for you to do is be a distraction...be a diversion if you will! Like today while I am doing my own expedition through the orbital!" said the commander motioning towards the lift.

"Distraction Commander? How I can I possibly be a 'diversion' or a 'distraction' with that iridescent blue suit and insane moustache of yours?" said Xux'suam stepping into the lift.

"You so seriously underestimate the effect you have on women my boy! Women, of whatever caste, will be focusing their eyes on you and not me. Besides even the men will be watching you, wondering who is this fire caste man, that he has so much effect on the ladies?" said the commander getting into the lift.

"Hiya-te!' exclaimed Xux'suam nodding his head in disagreement.

"T'oh, I forgot to tell you that I'm doing a bit of charitable work. I am spending time with that gue'la officer Aeryn Tailor. You know the one who got in a small bit of trouble and had to be isolated. Well I'm taking her out on little excursions around the orbital, while I teach her a about the Tau'va and such," said O'Vejel'tuya with an casual wave of his hand.

"Mi'yio'ea – What did I just hear you say? Are you talking about that kisune'shas crazy gue'la woman who sliced up a couple of Talleran warriors awhile back? The one who hates every species but her own? What are you that snae'ta crazy yourself?"

Then as the doors of the lift closed O'Vejel'tuya answered by rolling his eyes and stroking one end of his moustache and saying, "Well perhaps I am adjutant...perhaps I am!"


****
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