82.2 \ 274

The emissary would be arriving soon here where they were gathered, in sight of the baby beach. This group of littlest ones were sleeping here in the round shells they yet inhabited, dreams coloring the tinkling air around them, waves lapping gently around their downturned rims inside the protected pool. Bright Wave let her gaze linger on the littles, looking away from their group; she let her thoughts slip into a swirl of green that billowed like a deep sea vent. After that drifting moment, she turned her attention back to the serious discussion reminding themselves of their motivations.

“We’re helping people with something that doesn’t affect us,” said one resolute stalwart, voicing the stone at the bottom of the cup.

“There’s a lot about this that makes all the difference for us,” replied Sharp Talon, one of Bright Wave’s closest. “These are the mekas, and their human pilots, who can replant our relatives. We need to protect them, and we need the people who will return our maturation.”

“Do you think their remorse is sufficient, for the hurt they did to our people?”

“They are making it better, and connecting with us through our wise teachers. There was so much more in what happened, other people, other changes, not only their burden of responsibility. Our disaster and grief was real, but the Symbias are more real. They’re going to heal us, and they want us to heal this.” Soft Sand said this from within deep contemplation.

“The humans… they’re not working for the Imperium.”

“No, they’re taking a risk making a hard choice. The Vedani are sure of their own information on the matter, and so are the Humans of Hirylien, who have had a long, complicated, and bloody fight for their justice. This wasn’t easy or simple.”

“It’s simple enough for us now,” Sharp Talon summed up bluntly. “Those mekani hold our trowels.”

“The pilots, they’re children, they should not be hurt.”

“If the mekani hold the trowels, and the children control the mekani, we must consider them equally irreplaceable – more so, of course.”

“We also do not want them hurting people that they need not, considering the power that they wield.”

“We are citizens of the Pan-Galactic Imperium. Will this cause them to take action against Aquarii?”

“We in our places in fact uphold the Pan-Galactic Imperium; but that’s also why we, as Aquarii, are going into this to mitigate damage in every direction. Lines are blurring and changing, sides are ceasing to exist in stark polarization, you know the Teachers are like that, you know we all had to learn these things by our third molting, it’s where we find our music and our love, it’s where beauty exists.” Tendrils waved slowly in whispering acknowledgment as Bright Wave’s clear voice rounded off her impassioned insight.

“The protected should remain safe from protectors and aggressors. The protectors should remain safe from the protected and aggressors. The aggressors should remain safe from the protected, and from themselves. Us between all.”

“Us,” said one, looking around at their moderate number.

“Us. In our power.” Bright Wave brought a great pendant medallion out from its pouch, bright with crystals in sparkling array. She fastened it upon herself to rest against her thorax. “With our trees strengthening our hearts. With deep starsong.”

One by one, the others lifted their great pendant from its pouch and placed it upon themselves, becoming the bearer of its magnificence. Their color auras brightened in degree and precision. They examined each other, aligning. In silent agreement, they again put the pendants away.

They murmured and milled, some going to sing to the littles with the attendant lovegivers. Then, where the Symbias arranged that they should wait, a blue spark swirled open into a sphere. The sphere sparked again, and from it a glowing wireform emerged, humanish but long and different. It noticed and took a moment to behold the baby dreams flowing around the cluster of round shells. Then it offered a five-fingered hand, and Bright Wave laid her suede-smooth tentacle upon it. She offered her other tentacle to a fellow, and each of these twined to a neighbor. Once they were all connected, they agreed, and the wireform Vedani projection touched the sphere and took them into the throughport.

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