The Ambassador

A reluctant hero is called to help protect the Local Neighborhood. She needs her team, the crew of her new starship, some old friends, and some new ones to stop the invaders.

Good friends, good food, good times, and some bad guys, in the Local Neighborhood.

THE AMBASSADOR follows the adventures of Micha Lawrence and her team, her old friends, the crew of her starship, and a new generation. The story is part mystic seeker martial arts adventure, part space opera, and part family sit-com. It’s not about ‘the one.’ It’s about five plus five plus five and more.

The Ambassador is a highly respected older woman. She’s well versed in the martial arts and multiple languages. She’s still got game but she’s not a ‘young vixen’ any more. She leads a team that includes several generations and races. She’d like to retire and find someone to teach, really teach. But the High Council has summoned her for a difficult new mission. She must go to distant Ka’len, try to get a treaty with them, and find out what the invading Olmeri are up to.

In his 1977, rock-and-roll classic, “Running on Empty” Jackson Browne sang “Everywhere I go, people need some reason to believe. …. If I can get you to smile before I leave.” That’s what my story does. Gives people a reason to believe and makes them smile.

Jacqueline Chan and The Little Rascals meet Andy Taylor in Space

You smiled. Pretty sure you did.

We all want a reason to believe. So many of us these days are running on empty. Tomorrow is so close and so far away. The world is on the brink of change and we don’t know what it is. We want heroes and hope. We’d like a little less tension and anxiety. Crying is okay, but we’d like to smile maybe a little more.

We want heroes who could be us. We want something familiar and comforting to hold on to. Something that we can relate to. Something that isn’t about everything and everyone being broken.

My characters are from different worlds, different races. Yet they are mostly the same. ‘We’re all out here, different and together’ is one of my key themes. They live in a world where excellence is expected, integrity and honor matter, trust is earned, where wits matter more than firepower, friends are the best, everybody gets a seat at the table, and the good guys win most of the time. They laugh. They cry. And they get up to try again. They are interesting and approachable. I’d happily invite them to my house for dinner. They would politely refuse and invite me out to dinner instead.

My story is pot roast, mashed potatoes, and green beans on Sunday with cherry pie if you like. It’s realistic and grounded. It’s a comfortable adventure. It’s not too demanding. It’s got interesting hooks. Always another secret to be revealed. It crosses generations and cultures, East and West.

My story has elements that people will recognize and smile about. It’s normal, mostly. It’s new and fresh and old and full of all sorts of hooks and turns. It’s not the same and it is exactly the same. It will make you smile, cry a little, and smile again.

The Local Neighborhood is both literal for the group of stars and a metaphor. The kids are going out to play in the neighborhood. Stay close enough you can hear your mom call you for dinner. Lots of places in my story will feel close to home comfortable. The places we are going are familiar.

My characters don’t save the universe. They try to do good. Sometimes they succeed. They are brilliant and humble, honest and kind. They are excellent at what they do. They fail sometimes. They are mostly regular, normal, outwardly average, incredibly interesting, quietly extraordinary people.

Who are we? What do we want? How do we figure it out? Now what? Everyone is asking these questions. Globally. My characters don’t have the answers. They do have old friends to hold on to. They learn new ways of looking at the world and each other.

My story is about coming together and asking the questions even when there are no answers. It’s about friends. It’s about believing we can find a way through even when we don’t know where we’re going.

It’s how we find hope. We look at ourselves and we find good friends.

Come along. Let’s go for a ride. It’ll be fun. Promise.

“Yes, indeed, we’re ready to go. Where are we going again?” the Doctor asked.
“We are going for a ride on the Magellan, Doctor,” the Ambassador said with just a hint of impatience.

Dedicated to my mom, the lady who raised me
and to all the little girls like me
whose dreams are never big enough for their imaginations
5/24/2021 Terri Morgan

The Ambassador Book1 Cover Aesthetic
The Ambassador Book1 Cover Aesthetic

Chapter 1: Departure Day

The wind will tell it’s story.
Whether you are listening or not.
Where do you want to go, it whispers.
Who are you? it asks.

Initializing High Council Chambers on Dagon

Confirm Settings  Ambassador’s Apartment on Dagon

Getting Ready  Ambassador’s Apartment on Dagon

Installing Ambassador’s Apartment on Dagon

Progress Report (Recall)  President Smbarak’s Office on Dagon

Continue (Recall) Resort Meeting Room On Sirius 7

Finishing Setup The Ambassador’s Apartment on Dagon

Begin Transit Diplomatic Compound Garden on Dagon

Departing Local Transport Terminal Platforms

Arriving Space Station Arrivals

Hello Space Station Arrivals Mezzanine

Ready Space Station Departures

Access Granted Space Station / Magellan Gateway

New Settings  Ambassador’s  Quarters on the Magellan, Hallways

Start Diplomatic Briefing Room on the Magellan

Initializing
High Council Chambers on Dagon

We have looked to the stars for 10,000 years. From the time before the early orbiters to the first colonies on Mars and the breakthroughs that let us travel to the nearby stars, we wanted to go. We wanted to go out, to find what we could, to discover what we didn’t know. So we did. We moved out among the stars in our Local Neighborhood. We made friends and discovered new worlds. We learned. We built better ships. We rediscovered ancient technologies. We kept going.

The Central Alliance was founded on Dagon in the Fomalhaut system as a forum to handle trade issues and to protect the Local Neighborhood. As time went by, the Alliance became a federation of systems with a governing High Council and an Assembly of Delegates. They needed to be able to keep in touch with each other and to contact potential new allies and trading partners. For this, they needed special teams. So the Central Alliance High Council asked the Masters of Ras’alhague to create a training program. The Masters were widely known and highly respected as Adepts in the Ancient Arts of healing and fighting and Keepers of the Five Elements: Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth. They agreed to create a program that would both reveal the character of the person and prepare those who could complete it to become one of these specially trained First Contact Ambassadors.

Ambassador Micha Lawrence paced the clean marble floor outside the High Council Chambers. A tall set of ornate doors took up most of the inner wall. Well-spaced woven silk carpets muffled her footsteps. She wasn’t tall but she wasn’t short either. She was pretty but not overtly so. Her long, dark-blonde hair was braided over her left shoulder. She was dressed in the formal gold and rust color robes of a Keeper of Earth with a simple dark red woven belt wrapped around her waist. Her Ambassador’s sash with several medals hung across her right shoulder. Her First Contact pin was set on her collar. It’s eight jewels glistened in the clear light from the atrium windows above.

The pin had a simple, elegant design. The base was flat gold with a ring of gold braid inside the rim. Frank Drake’s iconic pulsar map for the Pioneer Plaque was engraved in the center. Eight small jewels were arranged in three dimensions to match the relative positions of the eight original members of the Central Alliance: Sol, Eridani, Procyon, Vega, Altair, Fomalhaut, Ras’alhague, and Aldebaran.

The inner doors began to open slowly outward.

“Ambassador Micha Lawrence,” the clerk called out.

The Ambassador took a breath and straightened. Her robes swayed gently as she walked into the chamber. The room had an air of quiet deliberation, as if speaking in a whisper would be too loud. She moved quietly, gracefully, with a traveler’s determined gait. Worn, well-polished boots covered the space between her robes and the floor. She had an air of confidence and humility. She walked to the center of the room, crossed her arms fists closed to her chest, opened her arms to extend both hands palms up, turned them over and bowed slightly as she brought her hands down to her sides. It was an old-fashioned elegant gesture all those who trained on Ras 2 used. The original meaning was complicated. The common meaning was simply ‘I offer you peace.’ She looked up at the Council members.

The twelve members of the Central Alliance High Council sat on a raised platform in a semi-circle around a large, open floor. Carved oak columns supported a curved ceiling. Ebony panels inlaid with mother of pearl fronted the council seats, providing an imposing view and a barrier. The clerk and two assistants sat at tables just below the council members’ seats.

Each of the High Council members wore a formal black robe with different colored scarves draped over their shoulders and bands on their sleeves to identify their roles on the Council and their home planets.

Council President Aliel Smbarak sat in the center chair. Her shoulder-length black hair framed her face. Her deep antique gold earrings almost matched her eyes. She wore three scarves: dark red, brilliant yellow gold, and spring forest green. The green represented Dagon, her home world; the red and gold her roles in Medicine and Agriculture. Her sleeve was trimmed in gold braid, indicating her role as Council President.

“My greetings, Madame President,” the Ambassador said looking around the room. “My greetings to the entire Central Alliance High Council. How may I be of service?”

“We have a problem,” Minister Daru said abruptly. He wasn’t much for pleasantries.

The Ambassador turned to look at him with a questioning gaze and a smile, waiting for him to go on. She wanted to challenge him. ‘Ok. Sure. That’s why you called me here. Might you be just a little more specific?’ she thought. But she didn’t say it. It wouldn’t help.

President Smbarak frowned at him and turned to look at the Ambassador. “We’re getting more reports about the Olmeri. Several of our trading partners are reporting problems with their shipments of grains and other staples.”

“What sort of problems, Madame President?” the Ambassador asked.

President Smbarak looked down and shook her head. “Disruptions in deliveries, spoiled containers, booked shipments not delivered. There are too many things that have ‘not gone smoothly.’ And now, we’re getting reports of Olmeri raiders scouting other sectors,” she said. She took a breath and sighed.

The Ambassador frowned. “What do our traders say?” she asked.

“They don’t,” Minister Rang said sharply. “They don’t tell us anything. Nothing. They won’t give us any details. All they say is they went to pick up the shipment and it wasn’t there. They couldn’t get the permit to load it. They were delayed and the shipment was sold to someone else. It’s always some excuse.”

The Ambassador listened carefully. He was just repeating the problem. He wasn’t adding anything new. “Is that what’s happening, though, Minister? What have they tried? Why did they fail?” she asked.

President Smbarak turned her head slightly and looked at the Ambassador. “That is the question we want you to answer, Ambassador.”

The Ambassador looked at her with concern and raised her eyebrows. “I see,” she said.

President Smbarak shook her head. “The latest reports we have are from traders near Ka’len in the Hyades Cluster.”

“And that is where you are going,” Minister Pargals said wagging his finger at the Ambassador.

The Ambassador turned, shifted backward, and looked straight at President Smbarak, shaking her head ever so slightly. “Madame President? The Hyades Cluster is well outside the Local Neighborhood. It will take weeks just to get there,“ she said whining a little. ‘Please tell me that’s not where you are sending me,’ she thought.

Minister Daru shifted forward in his chair. “Well, yes. That’s why we want you to go there. We didn’t give you a First Contact Charter so you could take nice vacations. We’d rather not wait for the Olmeri to come closer,” he said.

The Ambassador tried not to frown. ‘You want me to go where and do what?’ she thought.

President Smbarak sat forward and folded her hands in front of her. She smiled, nodded and shrugged her shoulders. “We need you get to the Ka’len system before the Olmeri. Divert them if you can but do what you must to stop them. And we need a treaty with Ka’len,” she said.

“I appreciate your confidence in me,” the Ambassador said.

“We have assigned the Magellan to be your transport and your over watch,” President Smbarak said. “Make your preparations quietly, Ambassador. Don’t mention your mission to anyone until you are well underway. Not until you are out of our Local Neighborhood. Even your team cannot know.”

“They are used to that,” the Ambassador said.

“Whatever you need, Ambassador,” President Smbarak said. She looking around the room at the other council members as if to tell them they should all agree. They all nodded.

“I’ll get the preparations underway,” the Ambassador said.

“Quietly, Ambassador. Quietly,” President Smbarak said.

The Ambassador nodded to her, bowed to the High Council members, and turned to leave. She pasted a neutral smile on her face and tried not to let what she was thinking show. ‘Whoo boy, this is a doozy. But sure. I’ll go out there and see what I can do. Thanks ever so,’ she thought.

Confirm Settings
Ambassador’s  Apartment on Dagon

The Ambassador was sitting in bed with a glass of wine watching an old Earth film, The Sound of Music.

The comm link chimed.

“Micha, are you awake?” President Smbarak asked.

Micha sat up, put the wine glass down on the bedside table, and switched on the video. “Yes, Aliel,” she replied.

Aliel’s face appeared on the screen. “What’s that in the background? Children singing?” she asked.

Micha smiled. “I’m watching an old Earth film called The Sound of Music,” she replied. “It’s about a wealthy family with quite a few children. The children were singing a song about something called a cuckoo. It’s lovely, Aliel, just lovely. You’d like it. You would.”

“I saw that film once,” Aliel replied.” I did like first part with the children singing. But the next part I don’t like very much.” She looked at the almost empty wine glass. “How many glasses of wine have you had?” she asked.

Micha raised her hand with the last three fingers up. “Just two,” she said. “I don’t really have anything else to do. We’re all packed and well, everything is ready. We’re all good.”

Aliel frowned. “Everything is ready? Is there anything about that everything I should know?” she asked.

Micha blinked a few times and smiled. “No. Thanks for asking though. Everything is good. We’re all good.”

Aliel lowered her eyes and shook her head then looked up. “Really? All good? Micha, what did you?” she asked. Then, she quickly held up her hand and shook her head. “No. Wait. Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough. I know you too well,” she said laughing.

Micha grinned. “Yes, you do. But that’s not why you called.”

Aliel shook her head. “I wish it was,” she said. “Traders returning through the Aldebaran system have sent new reports of Olmeri activity along the edge of the Orion Arm. We haven’t had reports like this before.”

Micha leaned forward. “Like what?” she asked.

Aliel sat back in her chair. “Several of our more reliable trading partners for grains and other staples have stopped trading with our buyers. The buyers are not able to pick up their shipments,” she said.

Micha nodded. “We knew that was happening,” she said. “It’s part of why I’m leaving in the morning. What’s different now?”

Aliel looked down and shook her head. “The traders inquired. The Olmeri replied that it was their choice to trade with others or not,” she replied.

Micha sat back. “Oh crap,” she said.

Aliel chuckled. “Well, yes, that’s one way to put it,” she said.

Micha frowned. “They aren’t just scouting anymore,” she said.

Aliel shook her head. “No. And they are moving more quickly. We had reports from our trading partners in that sector about the Olmeri scouting sorties just last year,” she said.

Micha sat back a little more and turned to one side shaking her head. “Did they give you any better idea of what the Olmeri are looking for? What do they want?” she asked.

Aliel shook her head. “No. We only know that they seem to be, how to say, moisson les planètes, harvesting planets.”

“Récolter pour quoi? Harvesting for what?” Micha asked.

Aliel shrugged. “Je ne sais pas. I don’t know. Once they arrive, we lose trade. Then communications,” she said.

Micha shook her head and laughed. “Quelle pagaille! What a mess! And you are sending me to go meet them? Thanks ever so. How is it you always seem to find the very best assignments for me?” she asked.

“You are so very welcome,” Aliel replied grinning. Then, she became serious. “Micha, if anyone can figure out something, it’s you. With everything you know about agribusiness and your training, you are the best chance we have at finding a solution. I don’t like sending you out there. Other than some traders, we don’t have allies in that sector. You’ll be mostly on your own. We don’t have any good options. We need to find out what is going on and we must find a way to stop the Olmeri before they get any closer,” she said with a deep sigh. “You’re scheduled to depart first thing in the morning. Try to get some rest now.”

Micha looked at her skeptically. “Like I’m going to sleep well after this conversation.”

“Get another glass of wine and go back to watching your film?” Aliel suggested.

Micha grinned. “I can do that!”

Aliel shook her head and chuckled. “Make sure your alarm is set.”

Micha sat up proudly. “Already done,” she replied.

Aliel nodded. “Micha, I know it won’t be easy. Keep your eyes open. Whatever you need…,”

“Just ask. Thanks, Mom,” Micha said, finishing the sentence.

They both laughed.

Micha lowered her eyes then looked up at the screen. “Seriously though, Aliel. Thanks. I appreciate you looking out for me,” she said. “You always make sure I have what I need.”

Aliel smiled and nodded. “Safe journey, Micha. I look forward to seeing you back here on Dagon in a few weeks,” she said.

Micha nodded. “Thank you, Aliel, she said.” She closed the comm link, got up and poured another glass of wine. She went back to the bed, took a few sips, curled up with a pillow, and fell asleep just as the lead male character in the film was singing a song about a special flower that only grew in the mountains and blossomed in the snow, Edelweiss.

Getting Ready
The Ambassador’s  Apartment on Dagon

The Ambassador was curled up on her bed sleeping. The room was quiet and dark. An alarm chime started, softer at the beginning.

Micha switched the alarm to snooze. It went off again. She switched it off and sat up. She rubbed the back of her neck and the sides of her head. “Red wine” she muttered, looking at the empty glass. “Hmmm. Red wine.” She shook her head gently, swung her legs over the edge of the bed, started to get up, and sat back down. She sat there rubbing her knees for just a minute. ‘Getting up earlier than usual isn’t as easy as it used to be,’ she thought. ‘Maybe I should leave this work to someone younger. Stay home. Putter in the garden. Teach. There are some candidates who showed promise this year. Maybe I should go visit Ras 2 after I get back?’ She stood up and put a wrap over her shoulders. The warm aroma of fresh-brewed coffee drifted into the room. She sniffed the air. ‘It was supposed to start at 4:00?’ she thought. She looked at the clock. It was just after. She let her nose lead her out of the room. She waved her hand across a small panel as she entered the kitchen. Four muted lights came on under the cabinets. The coffee was still brewing. She picked up a cup and poured just a bit. She liked just a little of that sharp bitter taste that only very strong coffee had. Brewed coffee was one of the little things she had tried to keep. So many other things she’d had to give up over the years. This one, this small thing, she wanted to keep.

She had a standard garden apartment with a large living room, comfortable kitchen, a bedroom suite, a spare room she used as an office, and an outdoor patio. She chose a garden apartment so she could have the patio for her plants. She walked through to the back patio and opened the door. The patio was her favorite place to sit and think. The before-morning air was cool and crisp. She turned around quickly and went back to her room. She put on a pair of slippers and picked up a sweater, putting it on as she went back to the kitchen. She stopped to get a cup of the now-finished coffee and went back out onto the patio. It was quiet. Even the birds weren’t up yet.

She looked up at the stars and thought back to when she’d first started her training on Ras 2. ‘The stars aren’t so different there,’ she thought. ‘Not that different at all. Maybe after this trip I can go visit?’ She remembered a song she used to listen to and wondered if someday she would return. “Can he hear my voice? I know he’s out there,” she said quietly, looking up at the stars.

She looked out at the back garden as she paced along the low stone wall surrounding her patio. There were more shadows than light. It was a quarter moon night. A few crickets chirped in a bamboo stand. An owl called from one of the tall trees. Several dark birds fluttered in and out the top branches. “It’s too early for birds,” she said. She looked closer and smiled. “Those aren’t birds. Those are bats,” she said. She took another sip of coffee, paced a little, and shook her head sadly. “What do they want? What do the Olmeri really want? What they are doing makes no sense. Why destroy whole planets?” she asked.

She looked down into her almost empty cup. She turned to look at the garden one more time, pausing to listen to the quiet in the stillness before dawn. She took a deep breath and went back inside.

Installing
The Ambassador’s  Apartment on Dagon

The Ambassador turned on more lights as she went back into the kitchen. She refilled her cup from the pot on the counter. She leaned back against the counter and took a sip.

A chime sounded and a comm terminal on the kitchen counter lit up. She left it on audio only.

N’amani’s clear, resonant voice came through the speaker. “Good Morning, Ambassador,” he said.

The Ambassador smiled at the sound of his voice. “Good Morning, N’amani. You’re up early,” she said.

“It’s almost 5:30 am Ambassador,” N’amani said.

“So it is,” the Ambassador replied. “Thank you for the reminder. Seems I wasn’t paying attention to the time. With all you have to do to get us ready to leave, I appreciate you made time to call me. I have my coffee in hand. I’ll be ready in 30 minutes,” she said.

“You are very welcome, Ambassador,” N’amani said. “Also, Ambassador, about those additional supplies you requested….“

“Yes,” the Ambassador said, expecting him to tell her there were a few things he couldn’t get.

“I have everything you requested,” N’amani said quickly.

The Ambassador switched on the video. “You what? You have everything? How did you manage? No, don’t tell me. You have everything? Everything? Really?” she asked.

N’amani nodded. “Yes, Ambassador,” he said. “The last few boxes of dried foods and herbs are being loaded on your shuttle. You have a little more luggage than usual. And, em,” he cleared his throat. “A few cartons were included in the stores we already transported to the Magellan.”

The Ambassador laughed out loud. “Already on the Magellan? On already board? Heeee Ha He ho ho!!!” she said. “Oh really? You’re a magician! What did you do? How did you?” she asked.

N’amani smiled proudly. “Nothing too much,” he said. “Some bargaining here and there. Some of the regular stores the Magellan requested were increased by just a little. A few last minute boxes went in two of the containers. They will notice the wine bottles in the rice bins eventually. I’m afraid we will have to find a way to manually repack those.” He was trying not to laugh. It wasn’t working. He put his hand over his mouth and chuckled just a little.

The Ambassador doubled over with laughter almost spilling her coffee. “I’m sure we’ll find a way to manage. I’ll help. The Doctor and Beth will too. And Kell, oh, he’s going to enjoy this! You are amazing, N’amani. Thank you!” she said.

“You are welcome Ambassador,” N’amani replied.

“Thank you again, N’amani. I’ll see you shortly,” the Ambassador said happily. She closed the comm link, picked up her coffee, and walked back to her room to shower and get dressed. She’d already set out her travel clothes. ‘N’amani is so much more than I could have asked for. Somehow, he just knows what to do and how to get it done. I wish the Council had assigned him sooner,’ she thought, remembering how she’d learned he was being assigned to her delegation and their first mission together.

Progress Report (Recall)
President Smbarak’s Office On Dagon

President Smbarak was seated behind a large, ornate desk in an oval office. Ivory slats filtered the light from the tall windows behind her. Bookshelves lined the walls. A ficus tree took up one corner. Several plants were set around the room. A plush green carpet with an oval flower medallion had been placed on the hardwood floor in front of her desk. The Ambassador was standing on the carpet.

President Smbarak frowned and shook her head. “You knew we weren’t happy with your ‘went there did stuff’ summaries,” she said. She held up a small screen then put it face down on her desk.

“Well, yes,” the Ambassador replied.

“So, why didn’t you write your reports?“ President Smbarak asked. She tilted her head to one side and frowned at the question.

The Ambassador smiled just a little. “I don’t like writing reports,” she said whining a little.

President Smbarak laughed then frowned. “But you are required to write them. It’s not optional” she said.

Doesn’t make me like doing it,“ the Ambassador said.

President Smbarak chuckled. “I take your point. But we can’t let it continue. We’re assigning you an acting Chief of Staff until you find someone,” she said.

The Ambassador frowned. “I’ve been looking.“

President Smbarak raised her eyebrows. “For almost a year?”

The Ambassador looked off to one side. “Well,… “

President Smbarak shook her head. “And your last requisitions report?“

The Ambassador smiled and shrugged. “What’s another case of wine or a few bottles of good sunflower oil among friends?” she asked.

President Smbarak frowned. “It was more than a few,” she said turning her head to one side.

The Ambassador smiled proudly. “It was for a good cause,” she said.

President Smbarak looked at her and shook her head. She picked up another small screen and held it up. “N’amani Anrmlar will be joining your team,” she said.

The screen showed a formal image of a tall, well-built, dark brown male with a slight blue tint to his hair and skin, a square face, and kind, thoughtful eyes wearing an impeccably tailored black dashiki with an intricate gold inlay. He had a subtle smile that hinted he knew what was going on.

The Ambassador was curious and a bit taken aback. He looked like he really could get things done. She liked that very much. “You’re assigning a Elronym Administrator as my Chief of Staff? You must really want those reports!” she said.

“Why, yes. Yes we do,” President Smbarak said.

They both laughed.

The Elronym were well-known for their administrative, logistics, and organizing skills. They were exceptional at keeping track of things and getting whatever was needed. Their Administrators were some of the most sought after in the Alliance. Having an Elronym Administrator meant all the reports, requisitions, and supplies would be accounted for, reported, and managed. It also meant they’d get their supplies. Besides accounting for things, the Elronym were experts at acquiring whatever was needed.

President Smbarak lowered the screen. “We’ve already talked with N’amani,” she said.

“Oh,” the Ambassador said.

President Smbarak nodded. “Once he gets your backlog cleared and your budgets up to date, you can find someone else if you want,” she said.

The Ambassador raised her eyebrows. “I haven’t met him yet,” she said.

President Smbarak smiled. “Tomorrow. You’re scheduled to meet him here to start his orientation.”

The Ambassador shook her head. “That seems quick. Monday next week wouldn’t be late,” she said.

President Smbarak sighed and shook her head. “Minister Pargals has been screaming about these reports for weeks. The only way to shut him up was to tell him we would ask N’amani if he would take this assignment. Luckily, N’amani agreed. So you got him. Now, please give me something to placate Minister Pargals. Quickly?” she asked.

The Ambassador smiled sympathetically. “We’ll get started in the morning,” she said. “I didn’t realize. Thanks for taking care of it. I’ll help N’amani as much as I can. We’ll get it all sorted out. Don’t worry.”

President Smbarak looked up and smiled gratefully. “Thank you,” she said.

“Can I go now?” the Ambassador asked.

They both giggled.

President Smbarak nodded.

The Ambassador grinned and turned to leave.

N’amani had turned out to be so much more than she could ever have asked for. He naturally took over managing things. He could walk into any room with ease and be at the center of at least a few conversations. He seemed to instinctively know what needed to be done and did it. He was extremely practical, always on time and he kept track of everything with ease. Better yet, he could fight.

Continue (Recall)
Resort Meeting Room On Sirius 7

The Ambassador and N’amani had gone to Sirius 7 the week after he was assigned. She had been told a senior trade emissary wanted a quiet meeting to discuss some local tariffs related to a new treaty. Nothing unusual about that. The Alliance wanted to get the issues sorted out.

The Ambassador and N’amani walked through a set of glass doors that opened to a five-story atrium. Small balconies jutted out from each floor. Long philodendrons hung over the railings.

“This is nice,” the Ambassador said looking up through the skylights.

“They built a glass mountain and brought the plants inside,” N’amani said.

The Ambassador laughed and nodded.

They stopped at the front desk. The clerk pointed to an open door at the end of the hallway behind them. They walked down the hallway to the room.

“This doesn’t seem right,” N’amani said as they entered. “There should at least be a seating area and a couple of side tables. This room looks like it hasn’t been used in quite some time.”

“This shelf is a bit dusty,” the Ambassador said tracing a line on top of a cabinet. “What’s over there?” she asked, pointing to a partly-open panel in one of the walls.

N’amani walked over and opened it. “Storage,” he said.

“This room is not set up for a meeting,” the Ambassador said shaking her head.

“It’s not set up for anything,” N’amani said. “I’ll go back to the desk and check. Maybe we got the wrong room.”

“I don’t think so. This is where he wanted us to go,” the Ambassador said shaking her head.

“Why?” N’amani asked.

Just then, another of the side panels in the wall opened. Three fairly large and not-so-friendly-looking males came through the opening and formed a line.

“Why indeed?” the Ambassador asked sarcastically. “Seems the greeting committee has arrived.”

“Ambassador,” N’amani said, a warning in his voice.

The Ambassador glanced over her shoulder to see four more scruffy males coming in through the door. “Oh great. We have an escort, too,” she said. “N’amani, I was told you had some training?”

“Yes I do, Ambassador,” N’amani replied.

“Do you know how to use it?” the Ambassador asked.

“Yes, Ambassador,” N’amani said. He smiled just a little as he set his shoulders. He stepped quickly into the space behind the Ambassador facing the four coming in through the door.

“Good,” the Ambassador said. “Now would be the time.”

The three thugs that had come through the panel started towards the Ambassador.

The Ambassador waited for them to get closer. The one in the center was first. He tried to grab her. She trapped his wrist and twisted, breaking his elbow. As she spun to drop him to the ground, she used a back heel kick to the groin to stop the second one and broke his knee as she brought her foot down. When the third one tried to grab her, she trapped his arm and spun into him, dislocating his shoulder and breaking two of his ribs.

The four that had come in through the door separated to form a box around N’amani.

N’amani smiled. ‘I couldn’t have set this up better if I tried,” he thought. He settled into his legs and dropped his shoulders as he picked his targets. He turned to his left, stepping into the first thug with a double strike to his ribs and chin that sent him flying into the wall. He spun around to the opposite corner and took out the next one, and quickly spun toward the adjacent corner to strike the third thug. One more full turn took out the last one.

The Ambassador was watching. She smiled as he stopped after the last turn. “Fair Lady Works the Shuttles,” she said.

N’amani nodded. “I like the turns.”

“It shows,” the Ambassador replied. She grinned her Cheshire cat smile.

N’amani looked down a little with humble pride, then he looked up and smiled.

“Seems we may have been in the right place after all,” the Ambassador said.

“Right place for what?” N’amani asked.

“Someone wanted a meeting with us, didn’t they?” the Ambassador asked.

“We should go,” N’amani said.

“They will probably need medical attention,” the Ambassador said, pointing around the room at their attackers on the floor.

“Let’s call from the ship,” N’amani said pointing to the door. “We should go,” he said again.

The Ambassador nodded.

They left quickly.