“Well?” Honora asked impatiently.“I know one person who might be able to help us. He’s in the right position, but I’m not sure how much I trust him. His name is Admiral Steven Falum and he’s always struck me as being pretty honest and straightforward. He’s in charge of the Exploration and Expansion section of the Armed Forces.” Hans thought back through all his interactions with the Admiral and one moment came to mind in particular. “I think he’d be our best bet.”
“E&E? That’s not exactly the most prestigious section in the Armed Forces.” Duke’s voice was calmer now.“Maybe not, but they are the ones who are actually trained in first contact.” Hans hesitated and then decided to share the story. “He actually came to me when I was recovering from my accident. I had already decided to retire and he wanted to convince me not to retire, but to switch over to his department. He said that my unique knowledge from my time with Special Forces would be indispensable to him.”
“And?” Duke asked.“It was the way he said it.” Hans said. “It was like he was hinting at something more. That I may have had special knowledge that he didn’t. Except at that time, I didn’t know anything special, but I do now and I think that was what he wanted to know about.”
“And I think you’re stretching, but if you two both agree on this course of action then I will go along with it, but I will say ‘I told you so’ if it all goes horribly wrong.” Duke stretched and stood up. “How much longer till it wakes up?”Hans checked his watch. “I’d guess another hour or so, how do you guys want to do this? As you said we can’t go back to that mining town with an alien in tow and we don’t have enough supplies to stay here and call someone in.”
“Well, you’re the one that knows this Admiral Falum so you’d have to be the one to contact him about this.” Honora said and then glanced around the room and at the tunnel they came in through. “I think, though, we’re forgetting something very important.”Hans and Duke both glanced up at the tunnel, around the room and then their gaze rested upon the alien in his glass case. It was the most basic of problems that none of them had even thought about until this moment. They had all come in through a tunnel too small for the alien to fit through and they could see no other entrance of exit.
“Maybe they’re extremely flexible?” Duke frowned and took another glance around. “I mean, they had to get in here to build it and lock up that guy. It’s not like the whole installation could have just appeared out of the blue. Laws of physics would apply here too.”“Or we can ask when he wakes up. Maybe there’s a hidden entrance or some sort of transportation device.” Hans shrugged. “Not much we can do until he wakes up anyway.”
“How are we going to ask him? We don’t even speak the same language.” Honora asked.“Oh, I forgot to mention that they used me as a language template. Our language is being downloaded into him right now. When he wakes up he ought to be able to speak as well as any of us.” Hans smirked. “Hopefully he won’t sound too much like me.”
“I think we’re about to find out really soon.” Duke nodded in the direction of the alien and they all looked over to see his tentacles twitching behind the glass. It was the first movement they had seen of Ohaehim since the waking process had started.“Yeah, it’s time alright.” Hans said as he glanced at his watch. “We should probably give him some space.”
They all backed up to the other side of the room from the glass case and waited for Ohaehim to wake up. It wasn’t long before his the thick white membrane that covered his eyes slid aside and he was looking at them from behind the glass. Slowly, one tentacle reached up and stroked something on the inside of the case and, with a hiss, the glass dissipated.Ohaehim stepped out of his case and stretched to his full nine meter height. His gaze travelled around the room and finally rested on the three humans standing together on the other side. “Cuu’huye. Hello.”
“Hi, my name is Hans. My friends are Duke and Honora.” Hans stepped forward to speak for the group, pointing at each of his friends as he said their name.“I am Ohaehim of the Shai Halad. I have been brought up-to-date on the current situation by the computer. It is imperative that I speak to someone in a position of authority immediately. There is little time to prepare for the coming of the Afoixox.” As Ohaehim spoke, his tentacles made patterns in the air.
“We understand, but there’s a small problem.” Hans looked back at Duke and Honora, unsure of how to explain their situation to the alien.“Problem?” Ohaehim stood still and waited for an explanation.
“I’m not sure how to explain this, but you’re the first alien species our race has ever encountered before. We can’t just take you to the nearest government representative to explain the situation, people would panic. Things need to be done in a way that may take more time, but will get better results.” Hans bit his lip and prayed that he had done a decent enough job of explaining the situation without upsetting the alien.“Proper channels must be gone through. The hierarchy must always be respected, that is as it should be. I will wait here.” Ohaehim turned his attention to a console that was at eye height for him.
“Did you need anything if you’re staying here? Food, water, anything?” Honora spoke, her voice quavering slightly.“I am fine. Things must progress quickly. They are coming.” Ohaehim turned one eye towards the humans for a moment before focusing both oculars on the console again. “I will monitor the information available and I will attempt to learn more about your culture and protocols.”
“Is there a way we can keep in touch with you?” Hans asked.“That is not necessary. Just return as soon as possible with someone that in a position of leadership.” Ohaehim didn’t even bother looking at them this time; his full attention was on manipulating the console in front of him.