Kaellum's Friendly Encounter
Inside the Magical Orange Sphere...
“Welcome, welcome! We have plenty of firewood ready. We will start with our first storyteller, Gee’Anine, in just under 10 minutes. Get your snacks and drinks from one of the vendor’s at the back edge of the platform and find a seat on one of the benches in the inner circle. Don’t forget to visit the bathrooms before you sit down because once the story begins, there is no getting up until it ends.”
Inside the hub was borderline magical. The omni-directional gravity tech allowed for easy orientation from just about any direction. Whatever side, whatever spot your ship was docked, didn’t seem to matter. Beings crossed paths from every direction in all manner of orientations but it really didn’t seem to matter to anyone.
They all seemed at home as vendors passed upside down plates of abstract snacks to customers upside down without losing a single topping. Or maybe rightside up. Kaellum wasn’t sure exactly which way was up or down. All he could do was take in the sights and sounds around him.
There were conversations and noise coming from every direction in every tongue. Kaellum recognized most of them from traveling the cosmos even if he didn’t know the actual words, but there were plenty that didn’t sound familiar to him at all. He reached up and touched the small orange communicator in his right ear.
“You there, Adi?”
‘Of course, Captain. What can I do for you?’
“Are you seeing this? This place is amazing.”
‘Remember the part where you didn’t want me to activate external sensors to limit your exposure?’
“You remember too much, Adi. What are we going to do if the Hoomta ever catch you and try to crack into your database?”
‘Memory is one of my core functions. Don’t worry though, by not having access to your external sensors, this — tangent — won’t be hackable by any would-be thieves.’
“Fine, you convinced me. Activate the sensors.”
A sarcastic cheer goes off in Kaellum’s ear.
‘Yay. I won an argument I wasn’t making. Activating sensors, Captain.’
As Kaellum continues to move through the crowds and take in the culture around him and read the room, his eye flickers orange for a moment as his right pupil becomes traced by a thin, orange line.
‘Sensors show there’s someone in your pocket, Captain.’
“What do you m—”
Kaellum turns around just in time to stare face to face with a soft featured feline creature of smoky purple complexion. One of the creature's limbs is wrapped around Kaellum’s waist as the creature tries to remove its grubby paws from the pocket of the Captain’s breeches.
“What are you doing?!” Kaellum yells at the creature as he wraps his arm tight around the creature’s limb and rotates his body, effectively dragging the creature in a circle and to the ground.
The creature rolls across the floor and pounces back up to its feet in one smooth motion as it hisses back at Kaellum in an unrecognizable dialect.
‘Its speaking in Felidae, a dialect spoken in sector 764 of the Feliformia galaxy. Would you like to activate Ipsa Hora transcriptions?’
“Of course! You know I’m not a fighter.”
A recording plays into his ear as he dodges a claw in front of his face.
“Sold by copia.glxy Services LLC.
Would you like to start your 37 second free trial?”
Kaellum barely dodged another swipe of the violet furred paw of his assailant.
“Yes! Start the trial!”
“Thank you for initiating your trial. You now have 32 seconds left before we collect the first payment.”
At that moment, the robotic voice in his ear starts to speak the Felidae words of his assailant in a dialect he can understand.
“LET ME GO! I DID NOT MEAN ANYTHING BY IT! YOU CAN KEEP YOUR πÑ!”
“You're free to go. I didn’t want anything from you in the first place. You tried to steal from me!”
The creature stares back at Kaellum from their position pinned to the floor. They seem confused by his words.
‘Captain, the translations only work in one direction. They can’t understand you.’
Before Kaellum can finish his statement he is cut off by a recording playing in his ear.
“Thank you for completing your trial. Your payment source will now be charged. In event of failure your backup source will be charged. In the event of that failure your life will be terminated until Copia Service LLC can collect payment at which point your life will be reinstated, with conditions based on your original user agreement signed on 22.06.04”
Kaellum’s attention comes back to reality by the stinging pain of the flesh on his arm being ripped open by the razor’s edge of Felidae claws. He quickly launches himself back from the creature and up to his feet as he pulls his arm toward his body and puts pressure on the wound with his other hand.
“Why’d you have to go and do that?! Now I’m getting annoyed.” says Kaellum through gritted teeth.
‘They still can’t understand you, Captain.’
Kaellum threw his hands up into the air over his head, waving his hands away from his body. “Shoo...Shoo!”
‘Captain, Felidae are not actual cats. That probably won’t work.’
Suddenly the violet colored creature lunges away from Kaellum and takes off through the crowds of beings walking the platforms around the massive campfire in the center of the structure.
‘Um, Captain. You may want to turn around.’
“Again?” replies Kaellum as he slowly starts to turn to face the opposite direction.
Standing behind him are two of the biggest, broodish cat looking creatures he has ever seen. There they stand, staring him down from their massive postures as he takes in the full view of the side by side wall they have created to prevent him from running around, through, or under them.
“I take it that was your buddy?”