Suspended in the dark void of space, orbiting around a planet known as Isirdost, the vessel Shathor Four was undergoing resupply. Every docking-bay was in use, supply shuttles in route between the space station, and its numerous counterpart supply facilities on the surface of Isirdost. From the command deck of the Isirdostian supply vessel, the head of security watched over the repainting of the Shathor Four. The vessel was white with the words “Shathor Four” in black along both its bold sides. As the head of security radioed the maintenance workers, the small office door vanished into one wall and a reptilian humanoid walked into the room.
“I thought you’d be finished by now.” The reptilian man said softly.
Turning quickly, he faced the reptilian man with a half-hearted smile, one with which he greeted everyone; though, he found it difficult to hold his mask of calm around this individual. Doctor Ezeikeull Fash crossed the floor in a gliding walk, almost as if Isirdost’s gravity was barely strong enough to keep hold of him, and peered out through the office window to examine the progress made by the maintenance workers. Joseph turned toward the window to watch the progress along with the doctor, keenly aware of the space between the doctor and himself. Ordinarily, he would side-step twice to ensure that they were standing more than a stride apart out of respect, but the reptilian’s wings would necessitate that they stand so far apart that they would have to speak with raised voices and such would be insulting for a casual conversation. Should any Isirdostian happen to overhear the shouting, they would naturally assume that the two were making the transition between exchanging words and blows. Word would reach the surface within hours and by the time the sun set, he’d be getting calls from the High Seats to step down from his position. He’d be an embarrassment – an unemployable disgrace.
Doctor Fash stood five-feet tall with short gray hair, which was only beginning to thin at the top of his head. He stood just a foot away from the window, smiling at the Shathor Four through the window, and gave an approving grunt after examining the progress of the day for a few minutes. He was impressed with the speed at which the maintenance workers progressed, but he would never admit such a thing to anybody that he wasn’t on personal terms with. He had a good feeling about the week ahead and having his ship ready to depart was of highest importance to him at the time. Ezeikeull heard the shuffling of feet as the man at his side back-stepped three times and recognized the frown on the man’s face, before realizing that he had opened his wings a bit in joy at seeing his ship nearing readiness for departure. He immediately pulled his wings up close to himself, a bit uncomfortable and highly unnatural, but he had come to understand these people’s need for distance. He gave the man his best apologetic smile and a nod to indicate his respect. The nod, like the distance, was in contrast to his own people’s way: instead of raising his head up to show his neck, he lowered his head to the man. The man stepped closer again and the discomfort faded behind the man’s usual mask of calm. In truth, Ezeikeull knew that they could never be friends, but they were singularly dedicated to their positions, to a lasting peace between their people. For their own reasons, they forged on with pleasantries and politeness no matter how the other’s behaviors were alien and, at times, insulting by their own standards.
“It is great work.” The man said as he turned his eyes out upon the Shathor Four.
“Indeed.” Ezeikeull was certain they spoke of different things.
As the time allowed for this exploration ran down, Doctor Fash had become quite concerned that he would not find the legendary Des Lo Tomin Ath in time. Ordinarily, he would not have allowed the ship to have remained still for such length, but the ship was in need of repairs and resupply. Just two weeks before arriving, his ship had come upon a strange black ship stranded in dead space; it had been attacked and left without any means of self-propulsion. After establishing contact with the captain of the strange vessel, who turned out to be a member of an unknown people, they discovered that the ship had been attacked by pirates, pillaged, and the crew left to die. In exchange for a month’s supply of food, a great deal of money, minor repairs, and the installation of weaponry upon his ship, the captain of the strange ship admitted that he had nothing with which he could adequately repay Doctor Fash for the help. It was simply by chance, after days of peaceful talks, that Doctor Fash told the captain that he was on a search for the legendary Des Lo Tomin Ath. This comment made the strange captain extremely happy and he offered to repay Doctor Fash for the help by giving him directions that would take him directly to there – directly to the planet. Although the crew aboard Doctor Fash’s ship grew upset with him for it, Doctor Fash agreed to the trade. With the directions in provided and a ship fully restored, the strange captain departed happily and Doctor Fash ordered the ship into motion once again, bringing the ship to the space station in orbit of Isirdost. All that remained was to see if the planet really existed, as traveling merchants were highly superstitious and rarely to be trusted at their word alone. Despite the reputation, Doctor Fash was a trusting person and he was quick to explain that he had seen a relaxed kindness in the eyes of the man whom had offered him the directions, and had caught no scent of dishonesty, which was usually all he needed to trust a person.
“My name is Joreh, sir. I am sent to inform you that we are just about finished.” The man said, staring at doctor Fash’s scale-like skin.
Joseph had never seen a Kentourian in all his life, let alone one so old. He knew that most Kentourians had green, black, or red skin, but he never would have guessed that it would look so vibrant, so fluid. After having seen so many Kentourians on the space station, Joreh felt that it was safe to assume that the average Kentourian height was close to that of any other humanoid - between four and six feet. He also noticed that all of those upon the space station had small horns, claws, sharp teeth, and wings; however, he noticed that Doctor Fash had clipped claws and that the man’s wings did not appear flight-worthy. Joreh assumed that Doctor Fash had been a violent Kentourian in his youth, undoubtedly the cause of his clipped claws and violated wings. Doctor Fash handed an ancient looking, small chest that was filled with golden coins to Joreh and departed from the room to warn his crew that they should be prepared to leave at any time. He felt that there was never time to waist, especially now that Des Lo Tomin Ath might be waiting only a few days away.
Four days later, with the memory of their departure from the Isirdostian space station still fresh in their minds, the crewmembers of ‘The Shathor Four’ could often be overheard in their excited retellings of their experiences upon the space station. The Shathor Four had departed from the space station with a large gathering of cheering fans, many of whom had never met a Kentourian before that time. It had been a grand affair, with planet-side dignitaries and thousands of civilians travelling to the space station to give their blessings and farewells. Apparently, the crewmembers had given the Isirdostians a good impression of what their people were like, about which Doctor Fash was very pleased – if not outright surprised. Many people, from many planets, had been on the space station, as was made clear by their determination to question the entire crew about their progress in the search. Kentourian legends stated that it was a plentiful planet and its people, although not wise, were very good-natured. However, there were also legends, ones that Doctor Fash refused to believe were true, that explained that the people of Des Lo Tomin Ath were very greedy, loved war, and would not make good allies with any that attempted to make bonds of friendship with them. There were also stories that claimed Des Lo Tomin Ath had been created as the last act of Des Noveth in the end of the last great war, but these stories were heavily dismissed – yet Ezeikeull had it in the back of his mind just the same. After the hours-long departure celebration, the Shathor Four vanished into the empty blanket of space, in search once again, leaving behind a cheering crowd and, hopefully, a few good friends. The crew slowly got on with their daily lives, with the hope of discovery being only days ahead.
Kliv Gorlich was one of ten cooks aboard the Shathor Four and was the first person to greet Blain as he entered the cafeteria for breakfast. Blain waved back with a smile, thankful that he wouldn’t have to deal with the looks of fear he’d grown accustomed to on Isirdost. Just twenty years old; Blain stood six-feet tall, had jet-black skin, red eyes, and short black hair. Even to his own people, he appeared oddly dark and his eyes appeared to project anger. After fetching himself a plate and topping it high with food, Blain located Doctor Fash and took his place at the small table across from the man. Ezeikeull did not look up to acknowledge Blain’s arrival, as he was carefully examining a sizable stack of recent maintenance records and had a newspaper spread out over the top of the table.
“Ha!” Blain laughed.
“What’s that?” the doctor asked, lowering the paper he held upon the table.
“You are a workaholic.” Blain responded with a smile.
“I know…I haven’t even eaten my breakfast.” He smiled warmly.
At that moment, the ship’s historian, Jarsel, came running into the cafeteria with a great smile on his face. Jarsel ran directly up to the table and, slipping on the floor twice, came to an abrupt halt. Panting heavily, Jarsel tried to catch his breath with both hands pushing into either of his sides. Jarsel looked a bit odd wearing the red sweater and blue leggings made after the Isirdostian style, which made him appear rather thin and lanky. In his mid-fifties, he appeared more aged than other Kentourians his age. He bent over and grasped the table, obviously in pain from having run a great distance, as he fought to catch his breath. Blain and Ezeikeull, only slightly curious of the bewildered expression on Jarsel’s face, waited calmly for Jarsel to catch himself and speak.
“Contact!” Jarsel blurted loudly, with an air of profound excitement.
At these words, Ezeikeull launched from his seat, knocking a few papers from the top as he did, and swept away from the table without so much as a glance back for the tablets and papers he was leaving behind. Jarsel watched silently until Ezeikeull disappeared from view. Once Ezeikeull was out of earshot, Jarsel shouted so loudly that everyone could easily hear the news, unable to contain his excitement any longer. With the sudden sounding of the news, everyone in the cafeteria headed departed in a rush, some to the command deck, others to the nearest comm-center or their own rooms. Running, Blain caught up with Ezeikeull and, knowing his place, followed him silently. When Ezeikeull, Jarsel, and Blain entered the command deck, Captain Rohken was sitting in his chair with a concerned expression on his face. The command deck was unusually silent. Captain Rohken’s expression was stern, almost foreboding, as he listened to a live radio signal. There was no doubt about it; they had finally found Des Lo Tomin Ath. There was a long period of silence, as everyone focused on the odd words.
“Doctor Fash…it is time.” Captain Rohken explained quietly.
“I know...” Doctor Fash replied, talking mostly to himself.
“We’ve made history, kid!” Captain Rohken cheered, as he and Blain began the cheering celebration at the same time.
The cheering spread quickly throughout the entire ship, creating a rumbling that vibrated through the walls of the entire ship. The crew broke out into wild cawing and even a song or two rose up, as confirmation spread slowly through the ship. As the cheering grew louder each second, a thought occurred to Blain and he had to sit down. Des Lo Tomin Ath was real. It was an amazing discovery, almost beyond understanding in the moment. He took a seat behind one of the desks at the left of the Captain’s seat, hardly able to process all of the feelings being born into him. He was so lucky to be a part of the search. His name would be a part of the great songs carried through generations; people would ask for countless interviews, and he had no idea of what he would tell people. Blain jumped to his feet and walked over to Ezeikeull, searching for a question to ask. Ezeikeull and Captain Rohken seemed to be the only two people aboard the whole ship whom did not look excited, whom were not vocalizing in some way. They had gone serious and were talking into each other’s ears, speaking so softly that it was impossible to overhear what they were discussing. Blain waited a few minutes but gave up when neither of the two noticed that he was waiting to speak. He returned to the empty seat he had taken before. He figured that he could begin working on the sorting of data: identifying signals coming from the planet, creating a new database for it, organizing it. He logged into the computer before him and began to search the vast ocean of signals that were being transmitted, in search of video signals. After a few moments, he stumbled upon on the transmission of a signal containing visual information.
Blain slept for just over seven hours and only awoke when the gravitational pull of Earth caused him some uncomforting swaying feelings in the stomach and made him feel sick. He awoke feeling dizzy and tired, but he was just as excited as he had been when he had heard Jarsel make the announcement in the dining hall the prior day. The soft tone of his computer brought him to full consciousness, which he had set before he had gone to sleep. He placed a hand upon the screen and the tone faded away. Still feeling mentally exhausted by the argument over where to land, Blain slowly, slumped into his shower and proceeded to wash off. He thought about how important his image would be in the future. Everyone aboard the ship was sure to become famous back home, but, unlike him, with good cause. They were part of the crew that had fought numerous battles, struggled to keep an older ship operational, and had discovered the location of a planet thought to be mythical. He could only imagine how the people of Des Lo Tomin Ath would react. Earth, he had to remind himself what they called their own planet. He hoped it was nothing like the way people reacted in the Earth-movies he had watched. He figured that he would be on televisions around the planet Earth, as well as on his own planet. He smiled at these thoughts and hurried along, wanting to get involved with the day’s activities as soon as he could.
Ezeikeull had spent hours talking to the government officials by means of video-conference, only half-surprised that the technology of these people was good enough to establish such forms of contact. He assured every nation’s leader that he had not made the journey to Earth to make war, which took a considerable amount of talking to achieve. Once the world’s governments had confirmed the existence of alien life, the world leaders created a two hundred-person committee to represent Earth on a galactic level. The process of accomplishing these tasks too much too long in Ezeikeull’s opinion, but he wasn’t about to go insulting the people of Earth for it. The newly formed committee debated the matter of where the Kentourians ought to land for two weeks without arriving at a conclusion, which highly irritated and tested Ezeikeull’s patience. The dilemma was that every country wanted the honor of having the Kentourians land in their own territory, but nobody would volunteer to surrender the honor. After the issue proved to be too difficult for the people of Earth to resolve, the committee was deconstructed under the pretense that - everyone blaming someone else - the matter could not be resolved due to stubborn members. Once Ezeikeull received news of this, he gave up and ordered Blain to choose a location to land, which might have been a difficult decision to make had he not been watching the video signals that were coming from the many satellites around the planet.
Sunlight was just coming onto the head of the Statue of Liberty when the Shathor Four swooped down and landed in the water, just a ways out in the ocean. New York was the background, and several Navy vessels sat in the area; this was where the President of the United States of America would have had the Kentourians land. Blain chose this place not because of the American president, not because of the buildings, and not because of the particular country; rather, because of the Statue of Liberty and his desire to make a connection to what it represented. The Shathor Four was an ovular vessel with two black wings protruding out from either side and two on the top of it; however, as these wings were not for flight control, they came to sharp points. As the ship lowered to the ocean’s breaking waves, four massive legs appeared from its underbelly. These four legs lowered and locked into place, vanishing a moment later below the surface of the ocean. The Shathor Four lowered very slowly into the ocean, moving toward one of the military vessels very slowly. The Shathor Four lowered into the water and came to a stop so that its side-loading door opened downwards and rested at the end of the runway of the super carrier U.S.S. Liberty. The U.S.S. Liberty’s surface had been cleared of its usual load of jets.
“New York State.” Blain said softly, half talking to himself.
“We are prepared.” Jarsel said to Ezeieull and Captain Rohken.
The Shathor Four was so large that it only sank one-third of the way down before its four legs had touched down on the ocean floor. By the time that they had arrived, most of the crew had already dressed in their best for their first appearance on Earth. Doctor Fash had already sent warning to the President of the United States of America that he was sick of the arguing about where to land, giving notice as soon as Blain had picked the place to land. The docking-bay door unfolded and rested on the runway of the ship. A crowd of half-dressed soldiers soon began to emerge from below deck. Some were turned back, being told to fully dress, but most of them ignored orders and fell into rank and file in the vast open space. Blain was surprised at how many of them appeared, which made him wonder how much personal space all those people could be living in within the small boat. Of course, he knew that this was one of the largest sizes of boats the people of Earth had ever built. How can so many people fit into such a small vessel? Blain wondered to himself. A good deal of the Kentourians were gathered in the hanger, starring out onto the runway of the airship, providing minutes of warning to pass so that the humans would be prepared for guests. Ezeikeull pushed Blain out with a wing. Walking out and onto the U.S.S. Liberty, the rest of the crew followed only after Blain was half way to the formation of humans.
Blain ignored the scents that begged his attention, drove his focus away from the cool wind pulling at his feathers and begged away the instinct to take flight. Three of the Earthling soldiers met with him twenty strides before the formation of soldiers. After a moment of studying each other, a helicopter appeared upon the horizon, which was heading straight towards the U.S.S. Liberty. Blain heard a radio buzzing loudly from the other end of the U.S.S. Liberty, and saw that a soldier was standing off to the side of the rest and was receiving muffled orders from whomever he was speaking with.
“All personnel to top-deck. The President of the United States of America is in that helicopter.” The man yelled. Apparently, this leader had not been that far away at the time. Blain wondered if the president had thought to arrive before the Kentourians. One of the men standing before Blain glanced to his wings and gave a moderately controlled smile. Blain returned the man’s smile in earnest.
As the last men lined up on the runway, the helicopter slowed to land; it made a quick circle around the area for a good look before descending. After a minute’s worth of shouted orders, all of the Kentourians had managed to get lined up on the runway, mimicking the Earthling formation as best they understood it. Looking back at the formation, Blain realized that he had not properly explained the formation, wondering if it might be an insult that his own people had formed in a circle instead of a square. Ezeikeull came forward and joined Blain and glanced at the men gathering before Blain. The helicopter landed on the other end of the runway and the president stepped out onto the runway a moment later. With a man in a black suit leading the way, the president approached at a casual pace. The general saluted the president and, after a few hushed words into her ear, began the introductions.
“Madam President, this is Doctor Ezeikeull Fash of Kentouria. Doctor Fash, this is the President of the United States of America, Madam Kristen Watkins.” The general announced.
“Madam President, I would like it if my crew would be able to,” Doctor Fash hesitated for a moment. “Mingle with yours.”
“I assure you that I would like nothing more.” She replied with a nervous smile on her face, obviously surprised by Ezeikeull having spoken English so well.