In this continuation of the main OtherSpace storyline, we meet a Nall warrior:
Longfur walks into the tavern, his pack still slung over his shoulder as he makes his way up to the bar, sliding onto a stool. When asked for his drink, he orders a simple Demarian Ale, and settles in to take in his surroundings. His face is tired, his whiskers drooping slightly as he lets out a long sigh.
A man’s voice over the loudspeaker announces: “The Nall warship Striking Blade has docked. Prepare accordingly.”
The bartender delivers the requested ale to Longfur and rolls his eyes at the announcement. “This oughta be fun.”
Longfur looks up at the announcement and gives a soft snarl as he takes up his drink. “Fun is not the word I would use.” he growls, his ears flicking in irritation. “Where a Nall goes, trouble follows, often in large scaly swarms. Getting drunk sounds like a good idea at the moment.
The bartender chuckles. He picks up a dirty glass left by a departing Castori and deposits the container in a material receptacle. There’s a brief crunch and hum as the glass is recycled and the debris cleaned before it goes into the printer. He shrugs. “If they meant to kill us, I don’t think they’d bother docking. They’d just poke a few holes in the hull and let us die.”
“Perhaps.” Longfur says, his tail giving an idle twitch. “Like us, they are warriors, and fighting tooth and claw is something they would not pass up. Choosing to dock is not comforting.” he says, taking a swig of his drink.
“Last time I checked,” the bartender muses, “we’re not at war.” He shrugs. “Of course, one of their diplomats did go missing down on New Amundsen. I’m surprised it took this long for them to show up. Must not be one of their favorites.”
“They do not need a war as a reason to fight.” Longfur simply says. “However, that is the more likely explanation… they have come to see about their missing liaison. However if they do not get satisfactory answers, they are not known for their diplomacy, even if they are outside of their borders.”
“I’d be worried if it was just a Nall gone missing,” the bartender replies. “Arjun Bright and the rest of the team didn’t make it back, either. You think the Nall are going to say everyone else is gone to cover up for one disappearance?”
“I would not disregard the possibility.” Longfur says, his ears twitching again. “They care little for that which is not Nall, I highly doubt they care that others are lost also. A Nall is lost, and that is all they see.”
“You’re paranoid,” the bartender says with a chuckle. “I like that. But, really, it’s not like we’re on Tomin Kora. Mr. Bright played it smart. He got investment from Consortium and Parallax governments. He had to make some concessions to both, but he got some back. We’re treated like a diplomatic outpost. When’s the last time the Nall blew up a diplomatic outpost?”
“When they tried to conquer Demaria and bend us to their will.” Longfur says. “My paranoia, as you put it, is well founded.” he says simply, a bit of a toothy grin showing that he is being jocular about it. “Either way, I am not turning my back on them.”
The bartender releases a sigh and scratches his cheek. “Before my time. But I get it. They creep me right the hell out. Like someone trained a Gila monster to walk and talk.”
After he says that, Latu of Hatch Vril enters the establishment from the habitation deck, accompanied by two Clawed Fist Fleet warriors who take up observation positions on either side of the interior archway as she makes her way toward the bar counter.
“I believe the humans have a saying, ‘Speak of the devil and he shall come?'” Longfur says with a snort, his eyes narrowing a bit as the Nalls make their appearance. His ears lay back slightly, and his tail twitches become more agitated, but he does nothing but take a sip from his ale.
The Nall, commander of the Striking Blade, stops several feet from the bar counter so that she can maintain eye contact with the bartender and avoid the indignity of trying to scramble up onto a barstool. Her jaw lolls open as she notes the presence of the Demarian, samples the air with a forked tongue, and then hisses softly before returning her attention to the proprietor of the Northwest Passage. “Notify your superiors that Soth Latu of Hatch Vril requires on-station lodging per Arjun Bright’s agreement with the Order Council.”
The bartender knits his brow. “I’m not a concierge. You want a room, reach out to the operations staff. And, before you ask, no, I won’t carry your luggage, either.”
Longfur lets out a bit of a chuckle, taking another sip of his drink.
Latuvril regards the Demarian with a soft snort, clacking her fangs together. “Something amuses you?”
“Indeed.” Longfur says. “A dose of reality. I’m sure you’ll find the operations center.”
The Nall tilts her snout, eye membranes flicking as she considers Longfur. “Indeed,” she replies. She swivels her snout to stare at the bartender for a long moment, then turns and strides back toward the archway. Her guards follow after her as she departs.
The bartender takes a deep breath. He says, “I probably should’ve offered that one a drink.”
Longfur snorts, and takes a sip of his drink. “I doubt it would have done much good.”