1.59 - Mission Briefing II

1.59 - Mission Briefing II

I take a seat next to Edan in the conference and communications area of the ship. Janet gives me a perverted look as we wait. I catch a glimpse of a team member that Edan hadn’t mentioned. I get the feeling she isn’t the Nastas that everyone considers long winded as she’s sitting in a corner by herself. She’s unmistakably Naengi. Her skin is a dark black, almost void of light except for the slight glisten it gives off. Each Naengi has a unique set of birth marks that cover their body. Spots, stripes, geometric shapes and anything else. Hers are similar to the stripes of tiger. The ones on her face are a beautiful metallic gold, fading in color as they go down her arms. The ones visible on her exposed legs are almost the same color as her flesh, more feint gold outlines of where the stripes should be. Naengi have spikes made of bone they use as weapon on their knees and elbows but she seems to be missing those, or maybe doesn’t allow hers to poke out as far. I don’t know much about Naengi biology, so they could just be in a relaxed state at the moment. The spikes along her skull are also unique, each Naengi has a unique pattern from what I know, but it can be genetic. She’s got one horn extending on the left and another on the right about two inches, in the center a slightly larger horn. The thing that makes hers unique is they seem to be made of actual gold. I haven’t met many Naengi before, but she’s the most memorable of them for sure. It’s not just because she’s beautiful but everything about her is, special.

“Who is she,” I ask Edan.

“Oh, that’s Enyolo. Well, that’s the name she gave us. When we met her, she had robbed some folks that robbed us. We gave her a ride out of there and she’s kind of just stuck with us for the last three months,” he shrugs.

“What’s her role on the ship?”

“She’s good at sneaking around, scouting and really good at beating people up.”

“Where did you pick her up?”

“Do you want me to just introduce you? Then you can ask her yourself.”

“You introduced me to everyone else.”

“Yeah, but you’ve got a special interest in her,” Edan laughs. “I can see it in your eyes. You were looking at her for almost ten minutes. I’m surprised you weren’t drooling.”

“It wasn’t ten minutes, we haven’t been in here for ten minutes.”

“It was long enough.”

I don’t have anything to say, maybe I was staring. I don’t think I was but if I was, he would have seen it. Edan reads people and that includes me. In fact, he’s probably got more experience reading me than anyone else. I just keep quiet and enjoy the snacks until this Nastas guy shows up.

When he does come in, I’ve got no clue what species he is. I’ve never seen anyone like him before. His flesh is somewhere between brown flesh and a cracking reddish orange clay dotted with small craters. The back portion of his skull actually looks to be cracking and peeling away sprouting dreadlocks with various gold and silver beads throughout. He’s wearing a hoop ring piercing his lip, a large silver hoop hanging from each ear and large solid gold gages in each ear. There’s a golden sun shaped tattoo in the center of his head, although it could be a birthmark for all I know. It takes a few seconds but I realize this is the person I saw with Edan in the market.

“He must be the Meteorian,” I whisper to Edan.

“Why yes, I am the Meteorian Edan has informed you of,” Nastas answers. “Edan said that you were not familiar with the world beyond your own planetary system but I had never considered you lacked the knowledge of alien races that do not typically reach your system and do not belong to The Galactic Federation. Us Meteorians have a complicated history and were once on the verge of being extinct, but that is a story I will tell you later. For now, as second in command of The Pariah, I welcome you to our ship.”

“Will you get on with it already,” Enyolo interrupts his introduction to a few stifled laughs.

The mission is simple. Edan and Nastas will be making an exchange with a gang they don’t really trust. Velphi will cover the East exit, Enyolo will cover the West exit and somehow it has already been decided I’ll be watching from above with a sniper rifle. I’m starting to wonder if Edan abducted me for my own good or because Nastas felt I would be a good fit for this mission.

I’ve never met a Meteorian, but I’ve met plenty of people like Nastas before. They aren’t naturally long winded. They do it because they’re attempting to have you lost in their words, fall victim to whatever trap they’re setting. Usually they’ll fill their diatribes with some words from philosophers long dead or quotes from cultures you’re unfamiliar with. Sometimes, there’s a reason but I’ve found they’re mostly doing it just to manipulate people. I only met this man a few minutes ago and he’s already decided I’m the expert sniper that he needs. He spent forty-five minutes talking and nobody realized he essentially asked me to kill someone because they had gotten lost in his words.

When the briefing is over Enyolo exits quickly. I follow behind her, only noticing now that she’s barefoot. “Why are you following me,” she quickly turns and catches me off guard causing me to slam into her.

“Sorry,” I back up, really glad her horn didn’t pierce my throat. “I was just trying to introduce myself, and meet you. I’ve met everyone else on the ship.” Enyolo just stares at me with a combination of annoyance and confusion. “I’m sorry this has gotten really weird. I got kidnapped, and I’m trying to be social because everyone on this ship is social but I don’t know what I’m doing. I usually keep quiet and let other people talk to me first.”

“Then allow me to give you some advice. Just keep quiet and do your own thing,” Enyolo leans in on the tips of her toes, I bend down so she can whisper in my ear. “I know how you feel about Nastas. Your face betrays your thoughts. Keep your eye on him and you’ll be fine.” She smiles and takes off as Nastas arrives.

“Good to see you’ve gotten on Enyolo’s good side, not many people seem to do that. Please come with me, I’d like to discuss your resume and determine what equipment you’ll be needing for our upcoming mission. I need an understanding of how you work and what tools you’re familiar with. While Edan has provided information for me a first-hand recap would be much more favorable,” Nastas begins to talk my ear off.

“I would love to, but Velphi was going to show me his room,” I take off with no real destination in place, but it isn’t like I can go far on a ship. He’ll find me eventually.


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