[[ From Bones of Starlight: The Enfolding Abyss – Prologue ]]
After gaining a sense of what they were and believing that they did, in fact, exist – couldn’t deny it with them speaking at her from all angles amid the singular effect they created in her virtual environment – the Princess asked if they’d ever encountered people of the Pan-Galactic Imperium.
A silence fell that was larger than the space they were in and longer than the time it took. When it was broken, the speakers remained at low positions in front of Soleil. “Again and again, those that would see us, did.”
“Even hear us.”
“But we were never… important enough.”
“When they were to understand us more, it was generally to destroy us, or drive us out.”
“Yet we exist.”
“We want that to be clear.”
“Especially to those who deny it.”
This time the silence came from Soleil. “Is that why you found me?”
The points of emanation released their low positions. “No, it was you-”
“It was you.”
“-who saw us.” Another silence marked that this had been unexpected. “So we are treating you as though you exist.”
“As though you have importance.”
“And we attend you now as one who does.” It was then she recalled a memory from that dream-sending, of people (not creatures, really) who didn’t appear as any one thing in particular, but perhaps a number of related things, or the relation between things themselves. These weren’t glitches in the system, or Vedani kids playing a prank. This wasn’t exactly a courtly introduction, but Princess Soleil could recognize an emissarial encounter. Maybe this was indeed their policy of introductory etiquette. Maybe it was a unique situation. Maybe both.
“You may speak with us.”
“We will treat with you.”
“We will show you the nature of our characters as though-”
“-we were not at war.” The Princess knew they were on opposing sides of a conflict, and that it was yet nothing between any of them. She accepted this precarious position.
“You may visit or call us, it’s a same difference. This is ‘may’ not as in permission, but as acknowledgment of possibility. To be with us is to be with us, it’s a matter of creating a way from you to us, or us to you.”
“We have our own homes next door to yours.” Soleil could only think this was an error of translation, because she could sense that homes, and next, and door, all meant something else. She felt sure.
“There may be a way to make a way.”
“You must recognize when it may be there.”
“Only then would it be.”
“This way leads to us three, and that may never be true again.”
“There has to be a key, to a door, to a path. These are human things that you can remember, right?”
Soleil blinked and thought. “Anytime.”
“Anytime, she says! Well, I say anytime too.”
“Let’s have a round of names. Beginning with the human.”