The alien was indeed different. An extremely high forehead, twice as high as most humans, and a sharply sloping bald skull made the alien look almost like a billboard than an actual face. It had no real nose to speak of; instead, it had a small bump on the front of its face with two small orifices which Rafeson could only assume were used for smell. He couldn’t even figure out for certain if the alien actually breathed, as its torso didn’t expand, or contract. Instead, it appeared to be steady as stone.
President Paul Balfour, a tall, slender man in his fifties sported a goatee, salty black hair and strong square jawline. He gestured to Senator Rafeson to sit. Next to to the senator was another alien, this one in some sort of strange suit that looked like reverse scuba gear. General Colby March of the U.S. Army and Rear Admiral Patricia Calvert of the Navy stood alongside the President. Both career military, March and Calvert were the models of discipline, both standing at attention in their dress uniforms. Calvert, in particular, was a relative newcomer. While the United States Consolidated Forces were gender equal since the 2040s and the Great War of Nations, Calvert’s meteoric rise, from a lowly Executive Officer aboard the U.S.S. St. Paul to Rear Admiral of the U.S. 3rd Fleet, was thanks in part to the entire command staff of the fleet being killed by a nuclear blast aboard the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan during a what was considered a signing ceremony, but instead turned a terrorist decapitation attack which killed just about all the United States Executive Branch, except for the Secretary of the Interior, who was now President. Calvert was with Balfour at the time, and for that reason they managed to inherit their current positions.
“Senator,” he smiled. “Have a seat. We have a lot to talk about.”
Rafeson sat down next to tall alien. It was a curious lesson in fear-based study for the senator. The alien, to its credit, simply smiled, or appeared to smile. To Rafeson, it could have been a mating ritual, or an indication it was about to feed. In the world of alien life, who knew? “Who’s our friend?”
“This,” President Balfour began. “Is Primacy Algon. He is the supreme ruler of the Soverlitem.”
Rafeson was visibly confused. “Sover-whatum?”
Primary Algon suddenly spoke with a soft, gentle voice with reminded Rafeson of an elderly man. “Soverlitum.”
“Which is?” Rafeson’s confusion began to ebb, if only because the alien actually understood English which, at least to Rafeson’s way of thinking, should have rendered everyone in the room baffled.
“The Soverlitum is a galactic government of over 10,000 worlds,” Algon stated. “Earth is not currently a member.”
“Of course not,” Rafeson said, shaking his head. “Why would we be? We’re probably savages to you, right?”
“Not exactly,” Algon continued, even more relaxed in his tone. “Your situation falls more under the category of ‘quarantined.’”
The alien in what looked like the reverse wetsuit suddenly spoke up. It had the face of a humanoid female, but the features of a dolphin, only with stunning violet eyes. It appeared to have some sort of sonar-to-speech device in front of its mouth, and the voice was most definitely female. “Quarantined, meaning that member worlds have not been permitted to make first contact with Earth, or any inhabitants of this system.”
This had both Calvert and March interested. March piped up first. “Why?”
“Humanity,” Algon began, apparently attempting to avoid offense. “Is an inherently violent race. That said, the Soverlitum has dozens of similar species. However, they do not possess the weapons yours does.”
Balfour understood what this meant instantly. “As in, nuclear weapons.”
“In a word, yes.” Algon stated. “We prefer not to associate with species which are not only violent, but have the capacity to destroy themselves.”
Rafeson’s curiosity was quite piqued with that comment. “Why now? Why all of a sudden the interest in Earth?”
“That,” Algon stated. “Has to do with a prophecy from our ancient days.”
Primacy Algon produced a device from his pocket, waved his hand over it, and a video appear in front of everyone. It was holographic, and remarkably detailed, showing several thousand starships engaged in pitched battle. In addition, hundreds of thousands of individuals in what appeared to be extra vehicular suits were fighting one another. Everything from energy beams to what appeared to be atomic weapons were in use. This was a war of some sort, but what it had to do with the current situation was anyone’s guess. Algon sighed, then began his explaination. “Twenty thousand years ago, a great war was fought between my people, the Dranakans, and a splinter race, the Uelerin, Both sides battled with a savagery reminiscent of human history, only our battles were in the darkness of space. We had been stellar for over five thousand years, and so our war was not planetary. In fact, the Uelerin left Dranaka shortly after we took to the stars.”
“Which raises a very good question,” Calvert offered. “Where, exactly, is Dranaka?”
“This will require what humans call a ‘leap of faith’,” Algon said. “Ambassador L’Quanti?”
The aquatic looking ambassador pulled out a device of her own, and another image appeared alongside the video. It appeared to be some sort of map of the galaxy, with a variety of worlds being highlighted. Earth was circled in red with a flashing notation of some sort, likely a quarantine notice. It was the only such world with such a demarcation. A large blue dot was in the center of the galaxy, and the ambassador manipulated the device to zoom in on it. Through the vast number of stars and spatial anomalies, a single bright object began to appear. It wasn’t quite at the dead center of the galaxy; everyone knew that to be a black hole. Instead, it was slightly off center, but the object showed thousands of moving objects in orbit around it.
“This,” she said. “Is Dranaka. Located near the center of the galaxy, it is the homeworld of the Dranakan people, and where the Soverlitum is based.”
“It’s almost a star,” Rafeson marveled. “A gas giant. How does a government operate in such an environment.”
“Our technology is extremely advanced,” Algon offered. Noticing a short answer was obviously not what Rafeson was looking for, he expounded. “We can manipulate our world to create matter. Our starships are merely shells in which we manipulate energy to create matter such as walls, floors and interfaces. Our bodies are merely shells we manufacture using our thought processes to create things you are able to recognize and process.”
“So you can create something simply from thought?” President Balfour asked.
“Yes,” Algon stated. “We create all our government structures and hardware from our collective consciousness. There are groups of Dranakans whose only job is to transmute energy to matter.”
“It’s a very complicated system,” L’Quanti offered. “The Soverlitum was formed as a way for other races to bring their best ‘to the table’ to quote the human phrase.”
“And please,” L’Quanti interjected. “We’ve learned enough Earth culture to know that the Soverlitum is nothing like you’re fictional federations and alliances. The Soverlitum is not a military structure. It is political and economic, nothing more.”
“Indeed,” Algon mentioned. “We do not have a military in such a fashion. Each member world is responsible to protect their own borders. In fact, we have not fought a war in over 8,000 years.”
Every human in the room was now visibily confused. “What about the Uelerin?”
“That is an internal security matter stricly for Dranaka.” Algon waved it off. “We have our own defense systems. That fact that our homeworld is shrouded in gas clouds makes it impossible for Uelerin ships to launch an attack. Their weaponry and ships are not yet advanced enough to penetrate our perimeter.”
“Very well,” President Balfour said, looking at Rafeson. “Senator, the reason you are here is because I have decided to name you the Earth Ambassador to the Soverlitum. A vote on our planetary membership will be taking place tomorrow, and we need you there to represent humanity.”
“Excuse me,” Rafeson was more than surprised. Stunned was a very accurate way to describe it. “With all due respect, Mr. President, I am not even close to equipped to handle this. Maybe one of our experts from NASA.”
“We need someone with diplomatic experience,” Balfour countered. “And as you have a both Doctorate in Astrophysics from the University of Central Florida and a Masters in International Relations from Emory, you are perfect for the position.”
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