THE ROGSAAR RECEPTION

“OK, who’s riding with me and who’s riding with Zri?” Lelelu asked the group.

“Well who has the faster ship?” Emperor Bartala asked. “They are both as fast as lightning compared to your

barges.” The Muse of Mischief teased.

“Lightning, what has lightning got to do with this?” Bartala asked, clearly confused.

Everyone    but   Bartala    laughed,    “My   dear    Bartala, sometimes you miss the point.” Empress Nalau said.

“I think the two of you should travel with me.” Zri said. “The ships are of equal speed, but my ship is larger. Your cargo is already loaded and I can accommodate your staff. My ship also has more advanced defenses”

“There are only two Rogsaars that want to travel to Myaad for the reception, Rogsaar of Xinood 5, and a Rogsaar that was somewhere in the Glion Galaxy. Lelelu, are you OK with transporting them?” Brzko asked.

“Yes, of course. It will take less than a day to get there.” “Were you able to locate G’ist?”

“Yes, he’s on board now. Rogsaar is going to be very surprised.”

“If you want to arrive before Kiik does you’d better leave now.” M said.

“Agreed.” Zri said. “Emperor, Empress, are you comfortable with a transport or would you like me to have a shuttle land to take you up to my ship?”

With the animation of a child, Bartala answered for both of them, “Ooooh transport, transport! Yes, that will be fine.” “Excellent, if you’re ready then.” Zri took a step closer to Bartala and Nalau, working the controls built into the sleeve of his flight suit. The trio disappeared.

“I’ll take Lelelu back to her ship if you want to round up the Rogsaars.” M said to Brzko. “Deal.”

The Muse of Mischief took Lelelu’s arm and they also disappeared from the palace, arriving instantly aboard Lelelu’s ship.

“Thanks M.” Lelelu said once on the ship, “Have you met G’ist?” She gestured toward him.

“No, I haven’t had the pleasure yet.” She stepped toward him with her hand out “I’m the Muse of Mischief; I’m so pleased you could come. I know Rogsaar will be excited to see you, the separation has been difficult.”

G’ist was taller than M, He reached out and took her hand. When he spoke, she was surprised at how gentle his voice was, not feminine, but gentle. “It is my pleasure to make your acquaintance Ms. Muse of Mischief. What can I possibly do to thank you for this opportunity? Rogsaar and I did not think we would have the funding or the available free time for me to visit Myaad in the near future.  But when you called upon my employer and asked for my assistance on a mission? Well… how could they deny a request from the Muse of Mischief?”

“That was Lelelu’s idea. Brilliant, isn’t she?” M and G’ist turned toward Lelelu; she looked up and smiled but continued to prepare for departure. “I know it’s been difficult for Rogsaar to be away from you, to be away from home.”

Brzko arrived with the Rogsaar they were speaking of, the partner of G’ist.

“Ahhh, oh. We’re here. Oh, that’s….” Rogsaar trailed off. “It startles everyone the first time Rogsaar.”  Brzko reassured him. “I’ll be back in a minute.” He left to escort the final Rogsaar that would be traveling with Lelelu.

Rogsaar was facing M, he hadn’t seen G’ist yet. He jumped when a familiar voice spoke from behind him.

“Rogs, I have missed you.” G’ist said.

Rogsaar turned and couldn’t believe eyes. Lelelu stopped pre departure to watch the reunion. “G’ist!” Rogsaar rushed toward him, “how did you get here? It is comforting to see you!” he said as they embraced. They stood holding each other, as a couple they were striking – Rogsaar with pale skin and white hair, and G’ist completely black with bright green eyes.

“Lelelu contacted me and offered to provide me with transportation to attend this reception with you. I asked Lelelu not to tell you, I wanted to surprise you, to be with you for this momentous event. How I have missed you….” he stepped back and took a long look at his partner, Rogs, as he called him.

Rogsaar turned to M and Lelelu, “Thank you, thank you so much. This is unbelievable, I…. I…” “You’re welcome Rogsaar.” M said.

Brzko returned from Ploosnar with Rogsaar from the Glion Galaxy.

“We are ready to depart. Do you require anything prior to us leaving?” Lelelu asked.

“No, thank you” they responded in unison.

“You may sit here on the flight bridge.” she gestured to an out of the way seating area. “Or, you may ascend those stairs and enjoy the scenery from the observation deck above.” She pointed to spiral staircase in the wall.

The trio exchanged looks and headed for the stairs. The offer of an observation deck was just too tempting to pass up.

“OK, Lelelu, we’ll see you there.” M said. “And you were absolutely right about those new flight suits!”

This made Lelelu grin. Blue, bald, grinning, and donning a fantastic greenish brown flight suit, she was absolutely stunning. “Thanks M, see you in a few hours.”

The Muse of Mischief and Agent Brzko arrived outside of the administration building on Myaad. Instantly they were approached by Bivoor.

“Oh, Muse of Mischief and Agent Brzko I am thankful that you are here. The Rogsaars are to arrive tomorrow and we are not ready.” Bivoor said sounding almost frantic.

“Hi Bivoor, don’t worry. We’re here to help! And more help and supplies will be arriving in a few hours.” M said.

As usual, it was Brzko that had the biggest calming effect, “Hey Bivoor, I’m sure you’ve got a plan, a timeline of sorts? Let’s go sit down and take a look at it and see where we can fit in to help.”

That did it, Bivoor was instantly calmed! The trio went inside and sat down at the meeting table in Bivoor’s office. Bivoor handed Brzko something that looked like a clipboard.

“Hey before we get started Bivoor, how are the eggs developing? Is development going as planned?” M asked.

“Oh yes, thank you for asking. There are no signs of aberidus and the Caretaker’s seem to be doing fine.” Bivoor answered.

“OK, let’s run down the list.” Brzko said.

“Housing for the returning Rogsaars, is it ready?”

“Yes, the Dumeers have been very busy. We have a separate dwelling for each Rogsaar, as well as a few extras.”

“Food supplies?”

“Yes, but I am not sure what we will need to provide for the reception.”

M jumped in, “Don’t worry about that. Ploosnar is providing   more   than   enough   food   and   beverage   for   the reception.”

“What have the Bivoors planned for the reception? Will there be a speech or any type of ceremony?” Brzko asked.

“A speech to welcome them home, then we would just like to enjoy their company, hear the tales of their survival, and allow them to renew their appreciation of home, of Myaad.”

“OK then it sounds like you are as ready as you can be.

Don’t worry about the setup. The Empress is an amazing planner and hostess. She is bringing a small army that will take care of all the details so that you and the other Bivoors can enjoy the reception.” Brzko said.

“The generosity of you and your friends is…” there was a knock at the door.

Another Bivoor opened the door just enough to lean in, “Apologies for the intrusion Bivoor. We have just been notified that a Suus ship has arrived in orbit. It carries someone named Ciic. They have been cleared to land their transport shuttle; it will be here in moments.”

M instantly felt butterflies in her stomach.  She was excited to see Ciic again, it had been several years. Brzko and M last saw her at her wedding on Suus, after rescuing her from Mahb in ancient Ireland.

The trio stood and headed toward the door. But instead of turning right to head out the front door, they turned left out of Bivoor’s office. There is a clearing behind the Myaad administration building. The shuttle was touching down just as they stepped out of the building.

~~~

The Muse of Mischief and Agent Brzko stood in the front of the group, there were five or six Bivoors and at least that many Dumeers standing behind them. None of the Myaads had ever received dignitaries from another planet before.  Today they would meet several. You didn’t have to be telepathic to feel the excitement of the group.

The Suus shuttle was the same shape as their standard transport ship, just smaller. The oblong ship had landed; the large door on the long side opened and the ramp extended. First to exit were two Suus carrying tall red banners that billowed in the breeze. After descending the ramp they stepped to the side and Ciic walked down the ramp with Muum just a step behind her. M and Brzko began to walk forward, they paused, about to offer a curtsy to the leader of the Suus when they received a telepathic message from Ciic, “Please do not bow to me, we are equals, we are friends.”

Neither of them gave any outward indication of the communication.  Instead, they stood in place and let Ciic approach, she eagerly embraced M.

“Hello friend,” M projected to Ciic, knowing that she would be open to hearing her thoughts, “it has been too long and

I am pleased to see you are well.”

Ciic continued the embrace, “The honor is mine Muse of Mischief, the honor is mine. Without you and Agent Brzko, I would not have lived long enough to ascend to the throne of Suus. I will always be grateful and indebted to you.”

Finally released from the awesome embrace of this tall four armed being M responded verbally as was the custom when in mixed telepathic company, “There is no debt between friends! Welcome to Myaad.”

Ciic stepped to the side of M and embraced Brzko, M greeted Muum. Once the old friends had enjoyed their private reunion a small army of Suus began to disembark the shuttle, each was carrying a tall vessel overflowing with Leel vines, heavily laden with flowers. The smell immediately permeated the entire area.

Brzko and the Muse of Mischief escorted Ciic to the waiting group. M made the introduction, “I present Ciic from the house of Naan, Ruler of planet Suus. Ciic welcome to Myaad, this group has gathered to receive you with honor.” The entire white-haired group bowed in unison; the choreography was perfect.

The Bivoor selected to speak for the group stepped forward, bowed again, “Welcome to Myaad Your Majesty, I am Bivoor. It is a great honor to have you here. Should you need anything while you are here, please let me know.”

“Thank you Bivoor, we are honored to be included in this grand event. It is a privilege for us to attend. We have brought Leel flowers for your reception. The center of each flower contains a unique nebula, and the smell is pleasing to most species. It is our hope that this gift from Suus pleases you.” Ciic projected to the entire group.

“It does, it does very much Ciic. Thank you. But you have already done so much for us. Without Kiik and your research team we would not have recovered from aberidus. We do not know how to repay your kindness and generosity.” Bivoor said.

“There is no need to repay the Suus.” Ciic projected, “It is our pleasure to help when and where we are needed. In the future Myaad may be called upon by the Muse of Mischief and Agent Brzko to offer assistant, it is in that way that you can repay the Universe. If you would like to show my crew to the area of the reception, they can begin to place the Leel flowers.”

“Of course, yes. I will take them to the Theatre myself.” Bivoor and the other Myaads joined the Suus that carried the Leel flowers, forming a large group – half of them with stark white hair and black eyes and the other half tall green four-armed beings carrying vessels filled with Leel flowers. They set out down the walkway on the north side of the administration building with Bivoor in the lead. This left the Muse of Mischief, Agent Brzko, Ciic and Muum alone.

“Lelelu and Zri should both arrive within a few hours. As you know Kiik will arrive tomorrow. Is there anything the two of you would like to do prior to their arrivals?” M asked looking up at Ciic.

“Yes” Ciic projected. “I have a personal favor to ask of you.”

“Please, ask Ciic.” M said.

“When you helped me escape from Mahb you took me to your home, your island, I think you called it. I will never forget the beauty of the ocean. There is no place on Suus such as this. I have attempted to describe it to Muum but….”

Brzko jumped in, trying to make this easy for Ciic, “But describing it just doesn’t do it justice. You’d like us to take you there so Muum can see the ocean?”

A feeling of relief came from Ciic, “Yes” she projected. “But I understand that this is your personal space and I do not want to intrude on your privacy. But when I was previously there, I had a cloaked appearance, cloaked to look like a human child. We cannot hide that we are Suus.”

“I don’t think that will be a problem.” M said.  “We should be able to get in and out without having any contact with Earthlings, you won’t be able to walk on the beach but you will be able to see the views from the windows. We just need to tell Bivoor that we will be gone for a while, we wouldn’t want to cause any concern.”

“We can have our crew share the information. They have been told that we will be away from Myaad for a short time.” Ciic projected.

Brzko stepped forward toward Muum, “Right telepathy. That must come in handy! Well, Muum have you ever traveled through an aperture?”

“No, what do I need to do?” Muum projected.

“Nothing really, I’ll take your arm,” Brzko said as he took hold of Muum’s lower arm, “and…”

They were gone. M knew that Ciic already knew what to expect from aperture travel, there was no need to explain. She placed a firm grip on Ciic’s lower arm, and went home.

~~~

“… then just relax.” Brzko finished the sentence he had started on Myaad. But before he could explain to Muum why they had left mid-sentence he had to attend to their security system.

“ENTER AUTHORIZATION CODE NOW  30…  29…

28…” Brzko was already at the panel near the front door that was rarely used. He entered the code to disarm the system.

“ADDITIONAL LIFE FORM DETECTED, ENTER SECONDARY CODE  30…  29…  28…”  Brzko entered the second code.

The Muse of Mischief and Ciic had arrived while he was disarming the system. Brzko turned and address Muum. “I hope that sudden departure didn’t startle you too badly Muum. We’ve found that most beings are quite apprehensive the first time and because we can only travel with willing participants, it’s better if we don’t let the tension build.”

There was no response from Muum. Brzko figured it was just an issue with telepathy, maybe Muum had forgotten to project for the non-telepaths.

“Muum” Ciic projected to them all, “what is wrong are you, ok?”

Muum pulled his gaze from the front windows of the house, “It is better than you described Ciic. I have never seen a place like this, the water…. the water is mesmerizing.” He turned back to the windows.

They could all feel Ciic’s satisfaction, gratitude and deep love as she stood beside Muum and they embraced with their lower arms around the back of the other and their upper arms embracing in front of them.

M and Brzko just let them stand and take in the view. It was early evening in Lincoln City so the setting sun was reflecting off of the Pacific Ocean, creating an intense golden glow.  After a few minutes they stirred and M took the opportunity to further their experience.

She walked over to one of the sliding glass doors and opened it. Knowing that Suus have a superior sense of smell, she figured they would enjoy the smell of the ocean breeze.  M stepped back and let them soak it up.

The telepathic feelings that emanated from Ciic and Muum were amazing. M and Brzko could feel what they were feeling. It occurred to Me that this was similar to Brzko’s ability to calm others. She wondered if he had some sort of telepathic ability, at least where conveying calm was concerned. The four friends just stood and looked out at the ocean for quite some time.

After a while Ciic broke her gaze and turned toward M and Brzko, “We cannot thank you enough for sharing this with us. You are lucky to have a home like this.”

“Yes we are.” Brzko said. “We could live anywhere in the Universe but this is home. We know we are not human but we don’t know where we’re from, but there has to be a reason we were both hidden here on Earth as children. Until we discover our origins it seems logical to keep this as our home base.”

“You two are amazing beings, no matter what you are.” Muum projected. “Thank you for sharing this with me, Ciic has described it many times but I now I understand why it had such an impact on her as a child.”

Ciic was taking notice of the artwork on their walls while Muum was projecting. When he finished she commented, “Your decor has changed since I was here, it is beautiful, it fits you. Is this a Burdohnirc? I have read about them but not seen them in person. I find the water intimidating.”

“Yes, that is one of Brzko’s paintings.” M said.

Muum walked over and took a close look at the painting that had caught Ciic’s eye.

“This is remarkable, such fine detail. Brzko you are quite talented.” Ciic projected, Muum concurred.

Brzko walked over to where they were standing, “Thank you, I appreciate you compliments. These creatures fascinate me and I enjoy creating artistic representations of them.” He continued on down the hall with Ciic and Muum, showing a few more of his Burdohnirc paintings.

M went into the kitchen and made two cups of jasmine tea. There was no need to offer tea to their guests, or so she though. She sat the brewed tea on the counter and even though Ciic and Muum were around the corner and out of earshot, very clear communication echoed in her brain.

“What is that intoxicating smell?” It was Muum.

She answered out loud, “This is green tea with jasmine flowers.”  Muum and Ciic were already standing next to her, Brzko followed looking slightly bewildered.

Ciic stepped right up to the counter and projected “May I?”

“Of course,” M answered.

Muum took that to be permission for him as well. Each picked up a cup, bent over it, and inhaled deeply through their nostrils.  They both radiated glee.  M and Brzko watched in silence, they were watching Suus consume for the very first time. Once the tea had cooled the steam (or vapor) ceased to rise from the cups.

They sat the cups down.  Ciic addressed M, “This is something you would consume as a beverage?”

“Yes.”

“The flower in this is quite delicious, and there is slight stimulation from the vapor.”

“We call that caffeine. It comes from green tea, the dried leaves of the camellia sinensis plant.”

“And the flower?”

“Jasmine, or jasminum flowers.”

“Is it possible for us to procure this product? We would like to take some back to Suus.”

“Of course, you can take what we have here back to Myaad and after the reception we can track down live specimens of the plants so you can cultivate them on Suus.”

“Thank you Muse of Mischief. How much time do we have before we need to return to Myaad?” Ciic projected. Muum had already returned to the window gazing at the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean.

“We have about 30 minutes before we need to return.” M answered.

Ciic projected her acknowledgement of this information and returned Muum’s side, gazing out the window.

M and Brzko took the opportunity to freshen up. M donned the new purple outfit she had recently obtained on Ploosnar.

Brzko hadn’t previously seen the outfit. “Damn girl! You look good! Is that what you had made at Schatorren?”

“Yes, do you like it?”

“Oh hell yes. I think I’ll change the hat band on my derby to match your purple, and then I’ll be ready to go.”

“All right, I’ll go see if the big green lovebirds are ready.”

~~~

The Muse of Mischief and Agent Brzko returned Ciic and Muum to Myaad after an enjoyable excursion to their home on Earth. A few minutes after their arrival their earcom links came to life.

“I’ve established orbit around Myaad and have been cleared to land the shuttle. I will be there shortly with two Rogsaars and G’ist.” Lelelu broadcast over the earcom link.

Before either M or Brzko could answer, Zri announced his arrival, “We have also established orbit. We’ve been cleared to land but without a sentry ship in orbit Gaznzulian protocol prevents us from landing. We will begin transporting our guests, and the supplies, to the landing zone as soon as you have landed your shuttle Lelelu.”

“OK, we are on the way.” Lelelu answered.

“So how did your guests behave Zri?” M teased, knowing that Bartala could at times be a chatterbox.

“There were no problems Muse of Mischief, I had many duties to attend to in the control room.” Zri answered. That meant he hid from Bartala and left his crew do deal with the chatter.

M, Brzko, Bivoor, Ciic, and Muum gathered at the landing site near the administration building just as Lelelu’s shuttle landed. The doors opened and she stepped out. She had changed on the way, wearing one of the new outfits she obtained on Ploosnar, she was absolutely stunning. She was wearing a long green skirt with a slit up one side and a cropped top of the same color. She was also donning a fantastic hat with interesting angles.

The two Rogsaars that traveled with her stepped out; one was arm in arm with G’ist. He was as black as night but his bright green eyes could be seen from far away.

Ciic commented and since no one else reacted, M had the feeling that the communication was projected only to her. “A Xinood! I have not had the pleasure of meeting a Xinood in person. Are they partners?”

M answered with her mind, knowing that Ciic would be listening for her thoughts. “Yes, Rogsaar of Xinood 5 created a life on the planet, finding work and entering a partnership. They are even trying to find a way to combine their DNA for the purpose of procreation.”

That surprised Ciic so much that she turned and looked at M. “Fantastic, I wish them the best of luck.” She projected to M.

The small group was upon them. Lelelu at the head of the group bowed deeply toward Ciic and Muum, demonstrating the proper protocol for greeting such dignitaries. Both Rogsaars and G’ist followed her lead. “Your majesties, it is my honor to see you again.” She straightened up, “May I present Rogsaar and G’ist of Xinood 5 and Rogsaar of Glion Galaxy.” She stepped to the side and allowed the others to approach.

The Rogsaars and G’ist looked a little uncomfortable with Ciic. No doubt they were intimidated by her station as ruler of Suus. Muum came to their rescue by projecting a calming welcome. “We are honored to meet you all, we do not often get to travel and meet well-traveled individuals such as yourselves.”

That seemed to relax them. Bivoor could hardly wait for the   pleasantries   to   be   exchanged   before   approaching   the Rogsaars. After a quick introduction of G’ist, they were off to mingle with other Myaads.

Zri and five of his team arrived on the landing pad near Lelelu’s ship. After a quick survey of the area, four of his team stationed themselves at even intervals around the landing pad. The fifth stayed near the arrival point, ready to begin receiving passengers and supplies.

Zri approached Ciic and bowed, “Ciic, Muum, it is a pleasure to see you again. I am thankful it is for an event such as this.”

They had hardly finished exchanging pleasantries when there was a commotion on the landing pad. M knew before she looked that direction, it had to be Bartala.

“Ahhhhhhhh I just LOVE instant transports, they don’t even mess up my hair.” Bartala said smoothing his hand over his tall Londo style hair. “I have to get one! My darling, what do you think? Do you like moving this way?” He asked Nalau.

“This way please Emperor.” The Gaznzulian stationed at the arrival point attempted to push Bartala along, there were several others and many supplies, waiting to come down to Myaad.

M watched her dearest friend approach. As the Emperor of  a  planet  himself,  she  knew  that  Bartala  could  always  be counted on the follow the customs of any official introductions. By the time they arrived at the group Bartala had completely recovered from his excitement. They were looking especially fine today. Nalau wore a maroon gown trimmed in black. It had many layers that fluttered in the breeze. Her jewels were modest today, a simple pendant of blue crystal hung on a piece of black silk around her neck. Bartala was of course wearing a long formal coat, also maroon, heavily embroidered with black trim. His broach was of the same crystal as Nalau’s pendant. He and Nalau came to a stop and as they were about to bow before the leader of the Suus, Ciic projected a message to them, “Please do not bow to me. We are equals, and it is my hope that we will become friends.”

The telepathic message was only intended for Bartala and Nalau, but M and Brzko could tell by the looks on their faces that it had been received. M stepped up to make the introduction.

“Ciic, Muum, it is with great pleasure that I present to you Emperor Bartala and Empress Nalau of Ploosnar.” she said as she stepped back.

Ciic stepped forward and grasped Bartala’s hand, and held it close to her chest in the traditional Ploosnarian greeting. She had been studying their customs. This simple action, by the leader of a planet, showed great respect to Bartala and Nalau. He would not forget such an action. She had won his respect.

While the group chatted about the trip from Ploosnar to Myaad, palace staff continued to arrive. There were  around twenty of them standing near the arrival point. The supplies were arriving in large black cargo containers. It looked like Nalau had thought of everything.

Empress Nalau broke from the small group and caught M’s eye, they stepped off the side. Lelelu instinctively followed. “I think it’s time to get started on the set up. How soon are we expecting Kiik to arrive with the Rogsaars?”

Lelelu took the tablet from the pocket in her skirt, consulted the tracking application and answered, “Maybe about an hour, Empress.”

“Oh we have no time to waste then!”

“The  reception  is  going  to  be  in  what  they  call  the Theatre, it’s a large outdoor stadium. It’s not far from here, just a short walk over that hill.” M said. “Lelelu, will you please show Empress Nalau and her staff the way to the theatre?”

“Of course M, my pleasure.” The two of them walked away, toward the waiting palace staff and supplies. The cargo containers were stacked in threes; each stack was loaded on a hover lift, ready for transport.

M returned to the small group, while Lelelu, Nalau and her staff left for the Theatre with the cargo.

“It is time for final preparations, is there something we can do to help?” Ciic projected to the group.

“Oh don’t worry, when my beloved gets going, if you are anywhere near her she will put you to work!” Bartala said. “I am going to the Theatre now; will the rest of you be joining me?”

Everyone offered affirmation and followed Bartala toward the hill behind Lelelu’s shuttle.

Nalau was only a few minutes ahead of them but when the group rounded the corner, and looked down on the theatre, it already looked ready to receive the returning Rogsaars. The theatre has a half circle of stadium style seating on one side, the other side is wide open with a low platform. There is a large, open field behind the platform. The plan was to have Kiik land in the field, have the Rogsaars enter the Theatre via the platform and then disperse and mingle on the seating side of the theatre.

Each of the vessels used to transport the Leel vines had a telescoping rod that was extended from the center. They were all extended and the vines loosely wound around the rods. There was a long red ribbon attached to the top of each rod, they billowed in the breeze. The vessels lined the platform and went half way down each side of the seating area. The smell was intoxicating! There were tables set up at the back of the open area; they were modular setups that literally folded out of those black cargo containers. Nalau’s staff only had to extend them and then lift the food and beverage from under the table and place it on top. They

were genius inventions. They even had linens that draped the tables to hide the containers. It was a little too soon to place the food and beverage on the tables. There was a Ploosnarians stationed next to each table, ready to attend to the guests.

Nalau saw the group approach and eagerly came to them, “OK, we are ready, doesn’t this look fabulous?”

“My  darling,  once  again  you  have  outdone  yourself.

Thank you!” Bartala said.

“Well it wasn’t only me, Ciic, these Leel vines are amazing! I have never seen flowers with nebula centers. They are stunning! A wonderful finishing touch.” Nalau said.

“It is our pleasure to provide them for this momentous event.” Ciic projected.

Lelelu approached with three Bivoors, “OK, it looks like we’re all set. Which is good because we just got word that they arrived early! Kiik is in orbit, waiting to land.”

“Oh stars! We need a few more minutes.” Nalau said with just a hint of panic.

Brzko easily took care of that. Placing his hand on her forearm he said, “Just tell us what you need Empress.”

Her demeanor instantly changed, she was once again calm. “I need you all in a receiving line. Here is the order in which you should stand, first Muse of Mischief, second Agent Brzko.”

M almost spoke.

“No, I know what you are going to say. I’ve already discussed this with Bivoors and we all agree. Without the two of you the Rogsaars would never have been found and returned.” There was clearly no point in arguing with Nalau, she was in charge. “The order will be Muse of Mischief, Agent Brzko, Rogsaar of Earth, Emperor Bartala, Ciic, three of the Bivoor,

Lelelu, me, and Muum. The remaining Bivoors, the Rogsaars that came with Lelelu, the Dumeer, and the remaining Suus, will mingle in the open area. Zri will of course be lurking wherever he is needed.”

The entire group turned and looked at Zri, he smiled and shrugged. Lurking was what he did. It was how he kept everyone safe. They all chuckled.

“OK, places!” Nalau said and clapped for emphasis, she nodded to her food staff and within a minute the food and beverage  displays  were  on  the  tables,  complete  with  little enclosed waterfall centerpieces. That was a brilliant choice for a planet that had no surface water!

Everyone hurried to where they were supposed to be. Nalau walked up and down the receiving line, making sure everyone met with her approval. She fussed over the broach on Bartala’s coat. Making sure it was perfectly straight. She took her place in line just as the ship set down.

The large center door opened, four Suus stepped out, two carrying the tall red banners that were customary. They flanked the walkway. Kiik exited the ship and began walking toward the platform. A long, single file line of Rogsaars followed behind her.

She stopped in front of M, “Kiik, welcome back to Myaad, thank you for all you’ve done.”

“My pleasure Muse of Mischief, I would love to stay and chat but…..” They shared a moment of humor before Kiik moved on. To stall the returning Rogsaars at this point would throw several of the attendees into a tailspin.

Because the Rogsaars were most interested in seeing the Bivoors and the Dumeers, the line moved quickly. Besides, they had all been on Ploosnar together a few days ago. After the last of the Rogsaars passed through the line, Kiik’s crew came and joined the reception.

M and Brzko stood back and watched the group. With the returning Rogsaars and the others that had survived on Myaad, there were now hundreds of identical beings in one place. The only Myaads that could not attend were those filling the positions of hive Caretakers. With all they had been through, it was just too risky to have them leave the hives, even for something as joyous as the reception.

Bartala  approached  M  and  Brzko,  “Ahhhh again the misfits gather and watch. Why do the three of us dislike crowds?”

“Four of us.” Lelelu said as she joined them. “Five of us.” Zri said as he joined them.

The misfits as Bartala called them, stood in a group watching  the  festivities.  Empress  Nalau  and  all  of  the  Suus seemed to be having a grand time mingling with Bivoors, Rogsaars, and Dumeers.

“It’s not that I dislike crowds…” M said searching for the right words, “it’s just that I’d prefer to be doing something specific.

“Like planning a trip to Trella?” Zri asked. “It will be the five of us that go right?”

“Oh yes, oh yes, let’s go very soon!” Bartala said. “Once my son is born I will have less freedom. And maybe we will find clues to your origins.” he said nodding toward M and Brzko.

“I don’t think Brzko and I have anything pressing after this reception. Do we Lelelu?” M asked.

“No, not really. The dignitaries of Drolla O0 have asked for you or Brzko to attend a ceremony of sorts, but I’ve given the proper excuses to get you out of it. I know how much you two love attending ceremonies.” Lelelu jabbed.

“How long do you need to prepare Zri?” Bartala asked. “I can be ready within two days.” he answered.

“OK then we…” Bartala was interrupted.

The group was so engrossed in planning for their next expedition that they didn’t notice the Theatre platform had been cleared and turned into a stage of sorts. There were three Bivoor, one standing front and center had a wireless earpiece microphone unit, ready to address the crowd.

“May I have your attention please, attention please.” The Theatre went silent, all eyes were on Bivoor.

“Not long ago we thought Myaad would die. After aberidus took so many of us and prevented us from repopulating, we truly thought we were lost. But thanks to tenacity of one Rogsaar we are here today, with eggs developing in the hives and our long lost travelers returned home. We still have so much work to do, but before we begin I want to thank Rogsaar of Earth. Rogsaar please come forward.”

The crowd scanned, looking for Rogsaar; once spotted the crowd gladly parted for Rogsaar to pass. This was a different Rogsaar  than  M  and  Brzko  had  first  encountered  in Scorchbrooke, there was no more loneliness and despair.

“We owe it all to this Rogsaar constantly tinkering with a flashport. For those of you unaware of how this all came to be, let me explain. Rogsaar continued trying to contact home by sending various items through the flashport, but they did not arrive on Myaad, they were sent to Ploosnar. This attracted the attention of Emperor Bartala, through the hard work of the Muse of Mischief and Agent Brzko, the mystery was solved. The Suus then came to our rescue by sending Kiik to help eradicate aberidus and restore the hives. Muse of Mischief, Agent Brzko, Emperor Bartala, and Kiik, please join us on stage.” The entire crowd turned their eyes toward the group that preferred to stay out of the spotlight.

“Oh yea! This is the part we all love.” M mumbled sarcastically to the small group.

“Ha! How do you think I feel? I have to take the stage next to you in those purple shoes and that ridiculous derby!” Bartala jabbed.

“Yeah but at least my hair doesn’t stick straight up!” she jabbed back.

His hands instantly went to his hair, smoothing it.

The trio slowly walked toward the stage, meeting up with

Kiik at the steps. They stood in a line next to Rogsaar of Earth. “Please join me in thanking the  group responsible for

returning Rogsaars to Myaad and curing aberidus.” Bivoor said. The crowd went wild, they began stomping in unison. You could feel the vibration; luckily it didn’t last too long. And even better, Bivoor didn’t ask anyone from the group to speak.

Once the crowd quieted down Bivoor addressed them again. “As many of you know, not all Rogsaars chose to return to Myaad, we hope that one day, they will at least come to visit their home. But we understand that they have established new lives around the Universe and we wish them happiness. Emperor Bartala has offered to provide repairs to the Rogsaar ships that his team was able to salvage. Thank you Emperor, thank you. Many Rogsaars were forced to call these neglected ships home while they were stranded. It is my pleasure to announce that Bivoors have decided to make these ships the property of the Rogsaars. Once the ships are repaired they will be free to travel where and when they desire. It is our hope that this gift will inspire more Rogsaars to visit their homeland, and even better, to inspire Rogsaars to begin exploring again!”

This announcement was met with great enthusiasm from the crowd. Once the stomping subsided, Bivoor made the final statement, “Welcome home to all of the Rogsaars!”

They all left the stage, glad to be out of the spotlight, and accepted that mingling with the crowd was necessary.

G’ist and Rogs were standing near a table, snacking on the fresh fruits Empress Nalau had provided when the speech began. Afterward G’ist turned to his partner Rogs, “Did you hear that Rogs? We’ve just been provided an opportunity.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Your ship. Your ship now belongs to you. Once it is repaired we can travel. You can introduce me to some of the places you seen.”

“I cannot think of a better way to spend my life G’ist.”

M and Brzko were standing near a table snacking on lusimis when Ciic and Kiik approached. “Friends” Ciic projected, “we have come to say our goodbyes. We must return to Suus.”

“I  guess  things  here  are  winding  down.  We  will  be leaving soon  too.”  M  stepped forward and  took  Ciic’s lower hands in hers, “Ciic thank you for the help you have provided Myaad. We could not have saved them without help from the Suus.”

“Muse of Mischief it is always my pleasure to assist you and Agent Brzko, please call upon me anytime. If you ever slow down, I hope you will come to Suus just to visit.” Ciic projected.

M released Ciic’s hands and turned to Kiik, “Kiik, it has been a pleasure getting to know you. I look forward to our next adventure! The help you have provided the Myaads is invaluable. Ciic is lucky to have as the lead researcher. I hope you will lead the  team  that  returns  to  Myaad  when  the  eggs  are  fully incubated.”

M’s compliments rendered her silent for a second or too, gratitude emanated from her. “Thank you Muse of Mischief. I do not often get to work in the field, and working with you has been an honor.”

It was Brzko’s turn, he grasped one of Ciic’s lower hands, bent and kissed it, the same way he did with Empress Nalau, “Your Majesty, it is always a pleasure to see you. Safe travels my friend. Please give Muum our best.”

Ciic was taken aback, she did not know how to respond to an exchange such as this, he didn’t wait for a response. Instead he moved on to Kiik, “Kiik, it has been a pleasure. I wish you the best my friend.”

He had flustered them, joy and excitement emanated from them. They turned and began walking up the hill to return to the landing pad, all of the other Suus joined them at the bottom of the hill. The power of their minds joined together, projecting the same  message  as  they  looked  down  on  the  crowd  from  the hilltop, “Goodbye friends, we are better for knowing you.”

The  entire  crowd  turned  toward  them,  waving,  and wishing them well. With the Suus gone, the crowd began to disperse. The reception was over. The Rogsaars had finally made it home.

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