A circular spec on screen expanded into a sphere of green and orange bands blended with gold patches. Two moons glowing with faint gold, and a swirling nebula of blues and reds completed the human’s first ever look at this mesmerising starscape.
The Ambassador had agreed to let Captain Walsh pilot her, the ten living Lisers, Cultural Liaison Dr. Dana Walsh, Linguist Dr. Blake Panther, and two S6 officers down to the planet. As soon as they touched down softly near Hach’s house, the Lisers hurried disembark.
Hach breathed in deeply, and Gish raised his hands to the sky. Croz stood quietly with dazed eyes for a moment. All three turned a euphoric cyan that faded gently to a happy pale blue as they stood.
“We’re actually back home,” Croz said.
“Thankyou!” Gish said.
“Indeed!” Hach said.
The Lisers who had woken after the other three were a little wobbly, and with a final thanks, dispersed to get home or to the nearest med center. To the others, Hach said, “Follow me, we’ll go inside. Are you coming, Gish? Croz?” They indicated yes.
There was a neat row of houses in front of them, not surprisingly to Dana, asymmetric.
“Irregular shapes would look natural and pleasing to the Lisers,” the cultural analyst commented to Karen. The buildings appeared to be formed out of cob, but when Dana reached out to touch the surface, she found it was rock hard. She recorded everything, photographing the architecture and colourful boxed plantings from all angles.
One sixer stayed outside near the door, and the other followed them in and stood just inside. There was a beautiful marbled rock floor, and textured white walls with integrated portraits. The proud poses and grand backgrounds looked incongruous to O’Bien with the ugly, crooked subjects, but she reminded herself it was a matter of personal taste and lack of familiarity with the beings. Dana was continuing to make copious records inside, with permission. The next thing that struck Karen was the view out the window. A gently frothing stream wended through backyards. Everyone had easy access to it, and the reason why was clear. They usually ate while standing in the stream! It made so much sense. There was a row of lisers doing it now, standing or sitting on stools in a row and chatting while eating off tables rising out of the water.
Hach was busy clearing objects off a table. Cooking utensils, electronics, and what looked like crafts or maybe decorative plant arrangement materials.
“You will stay for dinner?” Hach asked
A shock of dread shot through the Ambassador. She could hardly refuse, though. “Yes, please. I’m excited to try eating in your stream.” No way was she eating inside at the table, if she could help it. Not with people who pooed through their pores.
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