“Here they come,” Tom said.
A large opening about 20 meters from them opened slowly, and two creatures entered the bay, stood by the hatch for a moment then walked across the open area towards them.
As they walked, both species looked over the other. The two aliens approaching were larger than normal humans, they appeared to be male and stood slightly over 2 meters. They weren’t large boned, but the one striking characteristic was, their faces and hands were covered with fur or long hair. Their facial structure was distinctly different from humans but not bizarre. They wore one-piece light green uniforms that resembled the flight suits that pilots wore.
Each of them had insignias on their sleeves, and they had strange broad boots. It was hard to tell if they had feet or paws.
As they approached, they appeared as if they were trying to be formal. They were in step and seemed to carry themselves in a military manner. Their eyes darted between Joan and Tom, and SIMPOC, who was standing behind them. The focus of their attention made it clear that SIMPOC who was a foot taller than they was a major unknown to them and needed to be watched. Joan and Tom were smaller than they were so they must have been perceived as a lesser threat. When they reached the group from Earth, they stopped parted a little then turned so they were facing each other.
“If I didn’t know better, I’d say we have an escort,” Tom said.
“Appears so,” responded Joan.
They took a hesitant step between them and continued slowly towards the open hatch with SIMPOC behind them. When they reached the hatch and stepped over the threshold, it appeared they were in a changing area or suit storage. On their left were storage areas for suits and it appeared they were to take theirs off and put them there.
“I’ll take the one on the left,” Tom said as he began to take off his suit. Joan followed and within a short time they were back to their normal clothing. “When we get back to Earth, we’ve got to get some kind of uniforms,” he said.
“If we get back to Earth,” Joan added.
Their two escorts had waited while they took off their space suits and when they were done, they turned and walked to another hatch on the far end of the room which opened as they approached.
Joan and Tom looked at each other as they approached the opening, knowing that their world was going to change again.
They walked into the room and found a pleasant room with chairs and a table in the middle. Along the left wall was an assortment of foods and beverages. In the middle of the room, behind the table, were two aliens standing with a military bearing and between them were two others. The two in the middle were formal, yet they appeared to be non-military. The two that appeared military wore the same type suits as their escorts, and they had similar insignias. From the direction that Joan and Tom entered, they couldn’t tell if they had the same style covering on their feet or paws. There was no reasoning, but there was something about how they stood and looked around, that separated a military type from a civilian.
The two creatures that appeared non-military were smaller than the others, and they looked less rigid in their stance. Their clothing was different from the military and also different from each other. There were different patterns, and the coverings were loose fitting. It looked like a mix between a long shirt and pants.
“Now what do we do,” Joan asked under her breath. On their side of the table were three seats, Tom indicated to Joan to take one of them, and he took the other. SIMPOC stood behind them. The hosts on the other side of the table took seats also.
“I guess we’re lucky that chairs are common in the alien world,” Tom said.
On the table in front of them, were what looked like blank pieces of paper and sticks that looked like crayons. Tom picked up a piece of paper and a crayon and wrote his name. Then he pointed at the markings on the paper then to himself. He slid another piece of paper to Joan, and she did the same.
To their relief the two aliens in the center opposite to them on the other side of the table took two pieces of paper and did the same, ending by pointing to themselves. Tom looked at the scratching on the papers and shrugged to Joan. “I suspect our names look just as strange to them,” he said.
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