An hour later, with rush results on Liser diet, Karen received Hach, Gish, and a third, Croz, who had freshly woken. Croz was still a forest green of confusion. Hach and Gish were just mellow yellow hungry.
“Have a seat,” the Ambassador invited.
The three Lisers looked at the set table in puzzlement, their skin tones all synchronised at pale green. Hach spoke. “You want us to all sit around a table to eat?”
“That’s what we humans often do, but I’m open to your suggestions.”
“Oh, no, you’re the host, we’ll eat here. We just need some suits.”
“Of course,” Karen said, looking a bit embarrassed. “I should have offered you a selection of fresh clothes. I shouldn’t have rushed you down here in your hospital gowns” She got on her Pocod and ordered up a selection to be brought. After ten minutes of somewhat awkward chatting in which the guests refused to nibble appetisers, a drone arrived with a floating tray of clothes. Karen ushered them into her large walk-in closet with benches and mirrors to change, and left them with the collection of traditional human suites, ties, dress shirts, sweaters, and accessories.
Ten minutes later, Karen was shocked when they came out wearing sweat suits rolled up at the ankles, and fuzzy slippers from her personal clothing shelves. After getting her expression under control, she removed her hand from her mouth and smiled pleasantly. The most bizarre thing about their outfits was the stockings wrapped around each of their necks, with the foot form dangling across their bodies. Instead of choosing the matching colours for the wite, pale pink, and light blue sweats, they had all chosen black, and wrapped them around their necks multiple times to go as far up their chins as they could.
“Now that we have good suits, I can’t wait to get into that food,” Gish said.
One of the duty Sixers gave a little laugh, quickly stifled by a look from the Ambassador.
“The fragrance has been tantalising me for a while,” Karen said. “Let’s eat!”
“I’m sorry, fragrance doesn’t translate,” Croz said, sitting down eagerly and picking up food.
“Ah,” Karen said. “Fragrance is a sensation that comes in through the nose…do you have noses?” They had irregular lumps on their faces that looked a fair bit like noses.
“I don’t think we do, unless your language software isn’t up to scratch yet.”
“All right, I hope you enjoy the taste.”
The Lisers ate ravenously and talked little for ten minutes. The computer had said baked beans were a hundred percent safe, along with sauteed onions. There hadn’t been time to alter corn bread, a wheat loaf, or rice for their easy digestion, so they had some reportedly safe Acadian buckwheat cakes called ploye on the side.
After the initial gluttony, they slowed down and got chattier. They told of their families, born out of a large chamber in the abdominal region through a one-way valve. Hach and Croz had two and one child respectively. They didn’t mind speaking of how gametes transferred through skin pores from any individual into another as they lay on top of each other. Either or each member of the pair could end up pregnant.
Karen shared images of human children and reproductive process. She was really enjoying getting to know these beings until, about twenty minutes after they’d started eating, a horrible stench filled the air. Similar to sulphurous flatulence but worse, and getting stronger by the minute. The Lisers didn’t react to it all, happily munching and chatting. She was starting to feel a little nauseated. No sense of smell, she thought. It took all her control to look at Hach with interest as he spoke.
Suddenly Karen noticed their faces had gone from the pale blue of happy conversation to brown and slimy. Their faces were oozing brown, stinky thick liquid. Her eyes widened in horror as she became fixated on watching it ooze, trickle a bit, then evaporate.
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