Selkina Spaceport Six
(20 years after The Maghandi Royal Displacement)
Kedis stepped through the spaceport scanner. She hated the clunky machine, three models too old and making too much noise. Everything in this spaceport needed upgrading and they had the money flowing through here to do it. Careful eyes looked at other beings going through the scanners, handing the Nemtura guards bronze colored discs symbolizing the galactic currency. Pay up enough and you could get anything through this security.
As red lights moved vertically and horizontally across her, she knew what they were checking for. Unauthorized weapons, biological agents, outlawed surveillance equipment, stolen goods and most importantly a genetic’s check. They wanted to make sure they weren’t opening a door wide open to a bunch of Imbued. She held her hands above her head and tolerated the scan, knowing she carried none of those things. And even if she did, a Maghandi got passes in this part of space.
The long-necked, reptilian customs agent waved her through with a twenty-digit hand. It lived as one of the many genetically altered creatures employed by the Nemtura to do their menial work. Kedis felt for the creatures made only to serve. This particular spaceport, being as large, had thousands of them at work. Some skittered up metal pillars chasing away flying pests while others kept to corners and along walls looking for the pests that burrowed. They were the janitors for the Nemtura, created solely to maintain an old spaceport. Kedis wondered how much it bothered them to know the meaning of the existence and to realize just how small it was. What did it do to a sentient being to actually know the reason they existed?
Their plight didn’t bring her to this place full of rambling people from a hundred different species. No, her purpose was singular.
Having had enough experience with these places, she moved and glided through the crowd without having to express one apology. In fact, she knew which species would try to kill her if she did apologize. The Orgu-Sact thought an apology always secretly held a threat of death. She brushed by one and nearly touched a horn coming from the side of its head. A sigh of tremendous relief escaped her when she avoided that. Touching their horn carried worse implications than apologizing.
She could hear a couple of the aliens clicking and hissing at her, making their usual insults about the Maghandi people. None of it surprised her and she actually agreed with some of what they said.
“Decadent species. They’ll drain us all dry.”
“They spread like a disease. Bastards will infect us all.”
“If only we could destroy them…”
Despite their harsh comments, they were not direct and could be aimed at every Maghandi that passed them. Uncle Zari taught her much about how to move without being seen and how to be seen without attracting attention. So she made it past many of the methane breathers without gagging on the whiffs of their air tanks and knew to smile at the proud Nemtura merchants who always demanded attention. The dance was always the same. There were few species that did not want to be exalted and she knew the ones that didn’t. Her Uncle had been like a mad man when it came to studying the various races of the galaxy. She found him many times fast asleep with a knowledge drive still plugged into his ear. He taught her so much, but at the element of caution floated to the top of his lessons.
She didn’t relax until she spotted her sister sitting on a floating stool at the bar she always drifted back to. Zari taught them to create habits that only they would know about or understand. Kedis never really knew how successful they were at it, but twenty years had yet to see them put in any serious danger. Though she warned her sister about always coming to this particular bar when there were at least fifty others in the space port. Being seen as a potential regular brokered dangerous people. Regulars could be tracked. They could be waited for.
Those concerns were pushed out of her mind when she saw her. Jarisay was a vision of Maghandi beauty. Long legs and arms that were delicate as the black, long, silky hair framing Jarisay’s round face. Kedis longed for hair like that in place of her curly, short locks. She envied her sister and loved her all the same. As a child, she had often wondered why certain marks of beauty passed her by. Uncle Zari always assured her that she wielded beauty beyond any star, but he was family. Kind words were a minimum.
Jarisay turned her in stool and upon spotting her, a wide smile spread across her face. Kedis always felt her breath taken away by that smile. The closest thing to perfection she encountered. Uncle Zari told her that they both smiled like their Mother, but Kedis could not believe she smiled with such radiance. Once again, those were just his kind words.
“Kedis!” Jarisay hopped off the stool and ran to her sister with a tiny green glass in her hand. She kissed Kedis on both cheeks. “My gorgeous little thing, I started to think your cruiser got delayed.”
They reached out and hugged each other tight, Jarisay having to bend down a little to get to her sister. The two moved back to the bar where Jarisay charmed the green-horned Ixis next to her into giving up his seat. Jarisay looked at her sister as she continued to sip on her drink. Those brown eyes managed to remain curious and inquisitive even after twenty years of hopping from one place to another across the galaxy. “So tell me what you managed to find out?”