Obsidian Command

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Refuge: Guest Passes

Posted on 23 Mar 2022 @ 1:10pm by Commander Calliope Zahn & Lieutenant Theodore Winslow & Lieutenant Noah Khoroushi
Edited on on 30 Jun 2022 @ 10:37pm

Mission: M2 - Sanctuary
Location: Planet Obsidian, Kalara City
Timeline: MD04 afternoon - following "Refuge: Point of View"
1854 words - 3.7 OF Standard Post Measure

Ayalou marveled at the huge home set in what looked to her like a forest, but was in fact a well watered and maintained desert garden, kept at great effort and expense. Just the smell of the air around the pathway leading up to the huge doors felt less arid and filled with the aromas of plants and flowers. Little sprinklers dripped water over the plants and pollinators hovered through the dew like tiny floating jewels. The building was ornate on the facade, and gilded with something shiny. It had rows and rows of colorful glass, open-shuttered windows, at least five stories high, and slender turret towers set in the corners. There were banners everywhere with some kind of pretty script on them in red and gold. It looked to her child eyes like something out of a fairy tale.

"Wow..." She said as she absentmindedly wiped her sticky fingers on Mr. Noah's pant leg.

“Quite,” Noah mused, the arched a brow down at the now-smudged fabric. He shook his head, and then patted Ayalou’s own as he turned to Winslow. “Any wager as to whether they’ll actually help or not?” He didn’t hold out a lot of hope from Cyrus and Shirin’s observations; however, in diplomacy 'no' was more often than not the beginning of the negotiations as opposed to the closing remarks.

Theo looked around not at all sure about the chances of it all working. He was trying to maintain some aspect of being positive but it was hard when they were jumping from one person to another. "Not a clue. But I am trying to stay positive." He said pointedly looking down at the child with them. He was fully aware that children were like sponges that picked up everything. "Um... how do we let them know we are... ah... how quaint." He said and reached up to pull a tassel to ring an actual bell.

The gong like resonance sommoned a very animated looking fellow, who slid open a square window in the heavy door and gave a full smile on his dark triangle face. His cheeks were a little more rounded which made him less severe looking than most of his kind and he had a pointed mustache which Ayalou found very funny and giggled. The porter smiled back at the child and then looked between the two officers with an easy, pleasant nature. "Salutations, friends. You are with The Fleet of the Stars, no? What business brings you to my master's doorstep?"

"We are with the Fleet of the Stars." Theo agreed quickly. "We have been told he might be able to help us with a settlement issue that has arisen for my friend's family?" The security chief explained glancing down at the little girl.

The man looked on and followed Theo's motion to the little alien girl. He nodded, knowingly. The council had made things more difficult for off worlders of late, and that was no secret to the porter. He closed the little window and went around to a side door which he un-barred and opened, then motioned the guests through. "I cannot open the gate without the guards. Much too heavy for one man," he explained as the guests entered. "I will show you to my master's courtyard. He may be willing to hear your little friend's story. It is well that you come to him. Many council members will not now entertain off worlders. But Jiran is of great discernment and does not exclude the star people. He wishes to be known as a friend to the Fleet of the Stars."

As the porter talked, he latched the side door behind them and led them through the gate house into the courtyard. It was even more exquisite a garden than the exterior hedges and trees, with a menagerie of strange birds and ponds teaming with creatures. The wealth was displayed in copious uses of water which formed fountains and pools that children dashed through and servants of the household crossed between on their various daily errands.

Theo was struck by the elaborate display of wealth with the colour and water on display. It made sense to displays it to remind people who they would dealing with and it was a good reminder to him of how things worked down on the planet.

Keeping a secure grasp on the child, Noah followed them in and was greeted by a relaxing scene. He smiled down at Aayalou and released her hand. "Why don't you go play with them? We'll be talking and it may get boring." He gave her back an encouraging pat, and moved aside as she made her way over to the younger gathering.

Ayalou was enthralled with the other children- miniatures of the triangle faced people with whom she could look eye to eye. Another little girl wearing a head scarf handed her a hoop and showed Ayalou how to roll it and chase and just like that she was caught up in their game in the sun.

Theo smiled as he watched her playing with the other children for a second with a word of reminder to come and get them if anything went wrong. It was unlikely to but he was her guardian for the day and would hate for anything to go wrong.

Further along on the path, the porter led the two adult guests into a shaded portico, richly furnished and decoarted in expensive textiles. A low table was set with Jiran and two of his wives where they seemed to be enjoying a meal.

"Master Jiran, these men have come from the Fleet of the Stars to speak with you," the porter introduced them.

Jiran's shining face bloomed with toothy grin. "With whom do I have the pleasure of sharing this meal?" He motioned for them to come forward and sit as another servant prepared bowls for the new guests to wash their hands. "You look familiar..." he pointed to Theo who had come with his captain once just a few weeks prior.

Theo smiled back at the man and nodded politely to the women in the portico. “Lieutenant Theodore Winslow Sir.” The security officer told him as he set about washing his hands with a whispered thanks to the servant.

"Lieutenant Noah Khoroushi," Noah added, finishing his own ablutions. "Our associate with the Kalaran delegation - Cyrus - spoke very highly of you and your generosity."

"Cyrus!" Jiran looked very fondly into the middle distance. "We have hunted desert boar together. He is quite sporting and a good companion. He promises me a guest hall in his new home when it is complete in his 'Itonian Bajada'. I have done what I can to ensure the council keeps our promises for his land grant, though the council rescinds all the rest." He said the last proudly, as he had negotiated the impossible, one man against the entirety of the rest of his fellows.

Noah smiled encouragingly. "Perhaps, then, you could lend your voice to the cause of our little companion's people? As you can see," he motioned to Aayalou playing effortlessly among the Obsidianite children. "They are a peaceful people and - other than appearance - not that different from your own? It would be a small matter to secure them a section of land to settle."

"I am not sure there is any sense in arguing the matter. Itonian Bajada was already underway. These other settlements had not yet begun, and so the council agreed that the contracts were unfounded because no foundations had been laid." Jiran looked doubtful while picking a tooth with a bone. The older of his wives motioned to him and he leaned for her to speak lowly.

As Cyrus had promised ... no guarantees. Still, it wasn't entirely a wasted effort in Noah's opinion. He had picked up on the slight hesitation in Jiran's voice. He glanced at Theo, curious what the Security officer was thinking.

Theo looked back and indicated his head in an almost shrug gesture. It had not been promised so he could not be too disappointed.

Jiran finished his sidebar with his wife, considering the wisdom of her suggestion and motioned for his porter. "When they leave, issue these men casts of my seal." The porter nodded and stepped away. "When you depart my home, take with you the leather embossment my servant will give you. Tie it on your upper left arm. Go into the City center, to the Great Hall of the Sun. You will find them holding court. If you bear my seal, they will let you speak your grievance for yourself."

Theo bowed his head first to the man and then his wife. "We appreciate your offer and casts to help with this matter," Theo said thankfully. It was what they needed half a chance to air the grievance and a slight chance of being able to fix the situation.

Checking the time, Noah glanced at Winslow. "If we headed out now, we could have a chance to speak with the council before they close shop for the day. Thank you," he added to Jiran. "I do hope you will forgive us passing on your offer of a meal this time in exchange for another later?"

"Blessings of the Divine be on your cause." Jiran said with a triple dip of his head, tossing the bones to a dog-like pet that ran off with the scrap.

As they passed back through the menagerie, Theo called out for Ayalou to come along.

She appeared, reluctantly and responded with over acted drama. "But we just got here!"

The other girls looked wide eyed and seemed to melt back at their playmate's behavior. They fixed their dark eyes on the off world men, not sure what to expect.

Noah sighed. "I know, but -"

"No!" Ayalou crossed her arms, one hand still holding the play hoop. She'd only just learned the game and made new friends. "I want to stay longer!"

Theo could see how cross she was and smiled softly. He could remember his nieces acting the same. "We can't I am afraid kiddo," Theo said crouching down to her. "It is getting late and we still have to see other people to see if we can get you your own house." He reminded her why they had come down.

She threw the hoop on the ground and it made a satisfyingly defiant slap.

Theo did not hesitate and picked the girl up off her feed holding her close. "We will come back another time. We have a mission remember." He reminded her gently hopeful that they would be able to come back another time to play another game.

Her innards knotted into a ball of contradicting feelings, Ayalou wrapped her defiant arms around his neck, and watched over Theo's shoulder as her new friends picked up the hoop and carried on playing without her.

"When we come back, I promise you can come with us," Noah assured the girl, only hoping that circumstances would allow for a favorable return visit.

 

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