The Omicron Matter – At the Tau Ceti Station – Customs Clearance 2

A new entry in the Omicron Matter – At the Tau Ceti Station.  The crews are off the ships and awaiting clearance to enter the station. As with any port, customs must be passed. They encounter their first truly alien being – the language is strange and the looks are odd.  Millicent chides them to be quiet but it is difficult not to stare.

For those who are new to the Omicron Matter, the book home page is a good place to start.

Author’s Note

My long suffering editor has been enjoying my writing to this point. It is at this chapter, that she finally earned the “suffering” moniker. She is not a science fiction fan, but she has enjoyed my story because it has all been very “science” and less “fiction”. The arrival at the space station meant my group should start seeing and interacting with aliens.  She did not much care for my alien cultures and species. I am finding that along with character encyclopedia, I am now having to add a species encyclopedia to my reference list to keep things straight. Next time I will write a romance novel…set on a deserted island…with plenty of resources.

Look for more on Friday

Customs Clearance

Millicent and John Smith led the group through the large door into the hallway. Like anything in a port, everything was oversized. The doorway had to be twenty feet high. The hallway they entered was at least 60 feet wide. The tall ceiling had tracks that must have held equipment such as hoists.  Waiting in the hallway was a short man. He was wearing a suit like the crews, but a light grey and a looser cut. The similarities stopped there.  He was at least a foot shorter than Simone which made him no more than 4 feet tall.  He had a slim build. He had a large hook like nose. Those features alone would have made him stand out in London. He had long bright blue and purple hair that was pulled into a pony tail. And his ears came up to tall points that went far up his head.

Liam exclaimed, “Cor, he looks one of the wee fae folk.”

Millicent turned to Liam glared at him saying, “You might not understand him, but he understands you. Quiet!” She then began to gesture to the crowd and point to the door. The short man puffed out his chest and pointed to a notebook.

Redman leaned and said in a low tone, “The man is a bit officious.” The purple crowned head turned in their direction and huffed. Redman turned away and whispered very quietly, “And has remarkably good hearing.” Redman faced away and continued a running commentary. Liam could see that Neville was doing the same for Rachael and John. Others were moving closer to hear.  Redman narrated, “There is some discussion about documentation…it seems we have none. He is none too happy about the paperwork involved.”  Smith started speaking forcefully and glaring at the small man. The official fussed a bit and then left.  Liam looked at Redman who shrugged and said, “Smith pointed out strange foreigners arriving is a regular occurrence.  He then mentioned it would be a shame if we were delayed in our meeting with Adu Silverbeam.  Smith then asked for the man’s name and badge so the delay could be properly explained to Silverbeam. It seems he would bring the documentation for us to file when we come back.” Redman paused and said, “It’s an old technique. Winifred’s father was a master of it.”

Liam muttered, “Damn entitled aristocracy.”

Redman pursed his lips and said, “True, but they are handy at times. Like now. “

Millicent and Smith followed the small man and waved the group to follow. Customs  had been handled.

The group entered what seemed to be a main thorough fair. Fortunately Millicent and Smith paused because the group had come to a standstill. The scene on the street made the brightly coiffed customs official seem sedate. Bright colors were everywhere. The single suits that everyone favored were all the colors of the rainbow and many were the entire rainbow.  The purple hair and fairy ears were only the beginning of the strange shapes.  The street was full and the variety life was overwhelming.  Some beings were taller than Millicent and Smith and some well shorter than Simone. They were thin and broad. There was one whose torso was a cylinder covered in hair. Most of the beings seemed to have two legs although that was far from universal. Many had extra joints and at least one couple had no legs that were visible. The coloration of individuals was equally varied. Again most had a skin tone similar enough to their group as to seem normal.  Others were grey looking as if they were near death but there movements indicated quite the opposite. There was a group of smaller individuals whose skin was a shade of green. They were led by a taller individual.  Who was waving and pointing at the building they just came out.  There was a couple who seemed oddly blue and another who were deathly white.

The sound was deafening.  Like London or Prague only the variety of sounds was not human tongues but  squeaks, honks, grunts, hisses and many other sounds. Millicent’s group huddled close together as if clumping might hide the sights and sounds. For once, Neville Carter-Frasier looked at ease by comparison to the rest. Redman periodically checked his screen for information but otherwise had his usual non-committal expression.

Liam came up and said, “How the bloody hell are you so calm?”

Redman pointed to the back of his head and said, “Smith installed devices to help us follow conversation or I dare say we would be equally upset.”  He looked around and said, “Knowing what the crowd is saying isn’t as comforting as one might expect.”

Millicent said, “We are heading to a doctor now. Right now the best thing you can do now is be quiet …and please avoid remarking about other people.”

Liam heard Rachael shout from in the huddle of people, “Can we get a move on? For once, there a city I can move in without help or a sore back.  I don’t give a rat’s ass if I can’t understand a damn thing. Get out of my way so I can enjoy all this lovely smoothness.”

Millicent clapped sharply and said, “Well said, Miss Weiz. Move along now.”

Redman bowed slightly to Liam and said, “Apparently we will be making an early meet with some customer. “ Redman touched the back of head and said, “Don’t worry too much getting the device…I hardly noticed the drilling.” Smith called Carter-Frasier and Redman to the front. The three of them left and there was an easing in the group with the other crew on its way. Liam followed Millicent and muttered, “Bastard.”


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