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“Look, whatever happened, it isn’t his fault! It’s mine!” Rock burst out, too loud and emotions lashing at Sehmal’s senses. It must be even worse for the ones not used to how loud human emotions could actually get (hint it was galaxy screaming loud)

 

“<Interesting>” commented Ambassador Sihrkah. Sehmal didn’t think it was interesting! Rock was upset and scared and trying to protect him from some nebulous unrealized threat. That didn’t even exist because they weren’t in trouble stinky fucking human. (man did humans have some good swears)

 

“<Hmmm he is displaying very aggressive behavior for an Inferior Scientist.>” said Ambassador Rhktar. He was less than impressed and didn't bother to politely hide it behind other emotions.

 

“Rock you aren’t helping, shut up,” Sehmal hissed at his partner, using human language. His accent now was nearly human sounding himself. Which in any other situation he’d be proud of.

 

“Excuuuuse me, I’m sorry being drug out of my bed by power armored raptor aliens to stand in a circle of your ominously looming superiors makes me nervous Sehmal!”

 

“Idiot we’re like a meter tall how can they loom over your giant human ass?”

 

“They are looming ,” Rock protested, then quieter, “and you like my ass.”

 

“<Look, he’s scared we’ve done something wrong can we not do this whole circle thing?>” Sehmal tried to reason, waving his long tongue (a natural gesture) and clawed hands (a learned one picked up from humans) at their current situation.

 

“<But neither of you are in trouble, Guard Ahlte. And we know he fears, he’s screaming it even louder than humans usually scream. It would be nice if he could stop that, though.>” Ambassador Rhktar said, tossing his head and flicking his tongue dismissively. Sehmal didn't bother hiding his anger behind more polite emotions.

 

“<We just need to see proof of your claims. If you’ve been fabricating them then of course you’ll be in trouble for interfering with such a serious mission just to satisfy your unusual urges.>” Superior Chelik reasoned, as if Sehmal was too stupid to grasp such a concept. Sehmal stamped his foot and clacked his power armored claws against the floor in frustration.

 

“<How can we show you our bond when you guys are scaring him?>” Sehmal snarled. His helmet still exposing his lower jaw so he could lash his long tongue in anger.

 

“<Sehmal how can we possibly scare a human? Even this scientist you’ve partnered, claimed to bond with, is strong enough to kill most if not all of us on his own.>” said Ambassador Rhktar. Was he fucking sense blind or trying to goad Sehmal into something stupid. Because Ambassador's didn't wear power armor and just. one. tiny. kick. would send his pompous ass through the wall.

 

“Uh, everyone’s kinda talking really fast here, can we maybe use translators? Or slow down? Please?”

 

“<Rock would never kill anyone!>” Sehmal shrieked. I just might though. 

 

“Killing?! Whose killing? I’ll, I’ll…”

 

“<Not the point. Get on with->” Superior Chelik began imperiously, speaking too quickly.

 

“I’ll punch you in your horns if you hurt Sehmal!”

 

Which brought a stunned silence down over the entire room.

 

***

 

Human guards were apparently actual guards. Not like the ceremonial guards basically every other species in the galaxy had. It sure as shock made his job of chit chatting with the unimportant humans to get a feel for their real culture harder than necessary. Since they were supposed to be acting like what humans thought guards did. Which meant not starting any conversations.

 

His armor was heavy, it made his chitin itch against his skin. And the stupid helmet was so uncomfortable on his sensing organs. The humans called them ‘horns’ even though they were velvety soft. Though no human could know that.

 

What an embarrassing thought. Humans touching a sense organ. He didn’t care what the helmet’s designers said about it being ‘comfortable’. This stupid thing was heavy and awkward and he hated it.

 

The energy spear was pretty cool though. And at least he looked good. The senseless humans screamed their unease every time they were reminded he was there. Standing with his back to the wall, seemingly watching their every move. Even though really he was just trying to figure out how to tell them apart without sensing them. Why do they have to scream if they can’t sense , he complained silently to himself for what had to be the thousandth time.

 

They were so loud that the ambassadors had to limit their sessions to shorter than they’d wanted. Just to keep from getting too stressed and going into shock. The guards had it even worse though, since it took so long to get used to one human’s feel that they couldn’t adjust easily.

 

The humans didn’t seem to think anything weird about the guards changing so often compared to human guards, but it was hard to tell. Maybe they just couldn’t tell them apart in the armor and didn’t think there were all that many different guards? Though none of their expedition had any illusions as to fooling the actual human guards and soldiers. In their power armor, with their own ceremonial weapons, they were over three meters tall. With 'ceremonial' weapons as big as a xander. They towered more than three times the height of Sehmal.

 

Even in power armor Sehmal barely stood head to navel with an unarmored human. If this went on much longer he was going to develop a complex. He sighed. The human walking past turned to look at him. Sehmal was ignoring his senses out of self preservation, not that this human would have any special feel that others didn’t.

 

”<Oh was that a -exhalation of boredom- -question- Do you-singular or plural or species unspecified person- do that too-also as well as- -question- I do that all the time -possible colloquial expression to mean often frequently more than considered usual- -statement- It really -Earth fermented milk product- off my -superiors->,” the human approximately said.

 

Sahmal straightened up and ‘looked’ up to them. The translators were still learning their languages. Most humans didn’t seem to have the patience to deal with them. It was really annoying, but humans couldn’t seem to wrap their tiny tongues around Xandri. And the human ambassadorial team of course offered only sanitized and proper language packets. Nearly useless for speaking to common humans.

 

The human waited, surprisingly patiently from what Sehmal had seen, for himself to parse through the translation.

 

“<Ah, yeah, we sigh when we’re bored>” he responded, deciding to ignore the last bit since it was incomprehensible and his shift was close to ending. This was the first time a human had talked to him since they’d started the negotiations. He didn’t want to waste this opportunity learning whatever his ridiculous colloquialisms were when he could be doing his actual job.

 

Of course who knows what the human’s translator actually interpreted his response as.

 

”<-admiration astonishment- -exclamation- I didn’t think you’d-you singular plural species-would- -in reality- say anything-exclamation- or admit to being bored-exclamation- -will you-you singular plural species- not get in trouble-question->” said the human, for a very loosely given value of said considering the translation.

 

Well, it seemed his own words had been translated relatively close enough. Maybe.

 

Sehmal made a sound of confusion at the question. Though that was probably not a noise the human’s translator had programmed in. He clarified, “<Why would I get in trouble for talking to you?>”

 

“Oh, uh,” the translator didn’t translate that, perhaps they were just nothing noises? Or something really, really terrible? The human went on, “<Soldiers get in trouble if they talk on duty. So I thought->”

 

“<-Keeper of Parks--exclamation- Stop bothering the xander guards and return to your post!>”

 

“<-apologies- -familiar form of leave taking--statement->,” the human whispered and scurried away.

 

Well, that’d been interesting. He finally had something useful to report when his shift ended. No use explaining to the human’s superior that the human hadn’t been a bother. ‘Keeper of Parks’ must be the human’s surname, as they seemed to go by those when on duty or in uniform.

 

Sehmal cautiously opened his senses, trying to get as solid a feel as possible on this human. He didn’t want to ignore him if they met again, especially because he hadn’t been paying enough attention to him the first time.

 

The loudest feel he got was embarrassed shame from the officer that had yelled. From the other humans nearby was a very human kind of savage curiosity they seemed to get when another got in trouble around them, and ah, yes. There, he could feel the embarrassment of ‘Keeper of Parks’. And… was that just a hint of contrary stubbornness under all that?

 

Sehmal held in his tongue, he’d nearly curled it in curiosity. Body language involving tongues greatly upset the humans for some strange reason. But he was most definitely going to try and establish some sort of regular contact with this human.

 

***

 

It hadn’t been long after Sehmal’s report on the encounter that other humans, all low ranked ones, began initiating contact with other guards. The initial results were similar, the humans being ordered to return to work and leave them alone. But soon enough, Sehmal and his compatriots received orders to spend every other duty session ‘off duty’ as it were.

 

Sehmal’s job wasn’t really guarding the ambassadors and official liaisons anyways. Everyone knew it was just a pointless formality, but humans seemed to love those. A single human soldier could likely kill all of their expedition. Realistically what could Sehmal do against even one fully armored ‘Space Marine’? Even if he got a lucky strike in with his energy spear he’d still be dead and the human would just keep going anyways.

 

Though as he spoke more and more with humans he learned that the humans did not know the xander guards were a pointless formality. They seemed to genuinely believe the guards to be at least as ferocious as human guards.

 

He wasn’t sure if he should dissuade them from that belief or not. It could be useful if the humans thought them fearsome, or it could get them in trouble. He reported it and moved on, not his problem now.

 

What was his problem was needing an actually ‘relaxing’ location on the neutral Whelkin controlled space station to get to know the common humans better. And not just for himself, for all of the other ‘guards’ as well. Most species were quiet to mildly annoying on the senses. But humans. Humans! Get too many in one place and no one was going to get any work done, much less relaxation.

 

Humans screamed their main emotions with an intensity that was completely ridiculous. They claimed repeatedly to be sense blind. And efforts to communicate via sensing all failed. Even grave insults went ignored. The common humans surely couldn’t keep up a ruse as well as soldiers or ambassadors. So it was now accepted as strange reality and not a cunning defense.

 

A reality the stress of which could send Sehmal or his people into shock. Shock for humans was horrifyingly ‘normal’ and easily survivable. Shock for a xander was invariably fatal .

 

The humans they really needed to talk with and gain the trust of were the ones not allowed, or at least not sent to The Sturdy. The Whelkin station was better than the accessible areas in the human’s ship, but it was hardly ideal. There were some relatively quiet, innocuous, public places on station.

 

The humans not ‘allowed’ on The Sturdy probably had something to do with their bizarre superstition with true AIs. It was ridiculous. AIs allowed the galaxy to function. But humans heard ‘allowed’ and immediately assumed there was some kind of hilarious oppressive regime keeping the ‘organics’ in place. Sehmal heard the hilarious stories some of the humans shared from his co workers and friends.

 

Humans were actually, completely terrified of true artificial intelligences. Sehmal had thought it a rumor to make them seem stupid, a kind of clever deceit to get them underestimated in battle. But no, they were as scared of real AIs as the rest of the quadrant was of humanity. They had myths of AIs ‘going rogue’ and murdering humanity for reasons that made no sense. They were the kind of stories one told to still growing offspring to keep them out of danger they didn’t yet understand. But the humans telling these were grown adults speaking to other adults. The ones that spoke to the guards about it acted as if they were endangering themselves to speak of it and used whispers and convoluted turns of phrase to ‘keep them safe’.

 

Sehmal gradually began to spend more of his ‘off duty’ time with one human in particular. The one that had started the contact. Rock was what his translator made of this human’s given name. The human had laughed when Sehmal had called them such. But it had been a good laugh, which led them both to discovering their shared love of jokes.

 

Rock though, he (for Sehmal had learned his gender by now) was eager to talk about the very mundane things the ‘guards’ were supposed to be finding out. How humans interacted with other humans. How humans interacted with the rare other species on their ships. What humans did for entertainment, and so on. These things the knowledge of would help his people piece together the true humanity, and not the face their politicians and soldiers presented with the ambassadors.

 

But Sehmal was learning things about Rock as well as his culture. He was learning the feel of him. How yes he screamed his main emotion but if you focused, if you paid attention to him, you could feel something like ripples or static in his feelings. The emotions that made the main one complex and specific.

 

It was hard to do with other humans, and not everyone agreed that they could sense these ‘microfeelings’. But enough did that they now had new orders, on top of trying to gain these human’s trust. Try to get familiar enough with them to learn their ‘microfeelings’ and how to sense the same in less familiar humans.

 

***

 

Peace treaties and alliance negotiations could take a long, long time.

 

Thankfully the humans, as a political group, had never declared war on The Xander Republic. As a space faring species they'd be either extinct or enslaved if the humans had taken offense to them. But human mercenaries were a strange and unpleasant alien device spawned by the human desire for wealth above life. Where before, AI controlled drones had taken over such unpleasantness as battles for space faring species, humans were too unpredictable to rely solely on AIs any longer.

 

Oh the AIs would win battles . Many, many battles would be won. But humans were terrifying and strange and could survive injuries and stresses that would kill most all known species. And eventually, the human troops would do something so insanely reckless enough, completely illogical enough, that they’d win. And trying to predict the least logical actions just made the AI controlled armies and space navies lose faster.

 

Human mercenaries were beholden only to their contract holders. And even then some of them would turn on the holders if given a better offer by other sides in the conflicts. It only made sense to strive for some sort of alliance with the actual human governing body. Ideally with terms that would offer human assistance in the event of a mercenary assault against The Xander Republic.

 

But that was all out of Sehmal’s hands. His job was getting to know Rock better. Well okay, technically his Superior was annoyed at him focusing all of his attention on only one human. But Rock was funny!

 

Funny and surprisingly not scary at all for something as big and dangerous as a human.

 

It wasn’t Sehmal’s fault he’d get caught up in Rock’s stories! Or spend more than his assigned time with him. Usually it was productive time! Their translators both turned off and trying to explain certain turns of phrases needed to get the punchline of each other's jokes. Which helped with learning language AND culture, he was a xenosociologist by Galaxy!

 

Rock was even learning to understand Xandi. He couldn’t speak nearly any words of it, but he was getting passable with comprehension and reading their written language. Well, he said it wasn't written because it was tactile. He called it ‘alien braille’ but that wasn’t really accurate. It was fascinating that humans had developed a tactile written language for themselves. Sighted species nearly never did. Sehmal eagerly reported on this to his Superior and shared the human word and terms with his friends.

 

Think of how much they could learn of humanity if they could read human works!

 

***

After only half a cycle shift reading human literature Sehmal gave up. Turns out that according to humans humanity was really shitty and kind of sucked and humans didn't even like themselves: individually or as a species, it seemed not to matter to them. Except sometimes humans loved themselves so much they wrote way, way, way too many words on how awesome they, specifically, had been. Yawn. (yawning in boredom was a human thing, but it was an easy gesture to pick up, and simply saying 'yawn' could convey emotion to sense blind humans quite well)

 

Sehmal started spending his actual off duty time more and more on station. Socializing with humans and trying to teach his friends how to sense more deeply the nuances in their screaming emotions. This lead, purposefully or not, to more time spent with Rock. Both because they enjoyed each others company, and because his microfeelings were the easiest for Sehmal to sense. Logically should be the easiest for him to show. But his friends could only spend a short amount of time with any human before needing to head back to their ship, The Sturdy.

 

***

 

It should have been inevitable with as much time as they were now spending together. But it was a huge shock anyways. (not a real shock thankfully, just a human expression) but very alarming all the same, when Rock’s microfeelings started spicing his pleasant affection for Sehmal with lust.

 

Sehmal had no idea how to deal with this. It was unheard of. Alien species were too, well, alien to develop lust for anything that fell into the category of Other.

 

And humans sometimes even considered humans as Other! Though they spoke to their ships like they were people even when they were controlled by dumb not true AIs.

 

Humans were weird.

 

Sehmal expressed his thoughtful confusion with body language. Body language in xander of course primarily involved the tongue and subtle changes in posture and stance. Not like in humans where it was mostly hand and arm gestures mixed with the subtle stance and posture changes.

 

The lust heightened, Rock’s temperature increased slightly. In that way Sehmal had learned was ‘blushing’. A strange flush response they had to certain emotions or situations that brought about those emotions. It hadn’t ever been caused by lust before now. At least not between himself and Rock.

 

Testingly Sehmal turned his thoughtful confusion into nonsense body language, studying Rock’s microfeelings as he moved his tongue in (maybe?) suggestive ways.

 

Definitely lust. Completely unmistakeable. He pulled his tongue back in and continued on as normal as possible. It was weird and felt wrong, how humans ignored feelings and wouldn’t discuss them openly. But being sense blind must be confusing. He guessed it was, anyways, it was something he himself hoped to never experience.

 

If he left out the lust feeling from Rock in his report that cycle that was his business.

 

***

 

Rock’s lust remained a spice in all of their interactions. He never brought it up to Sehmal, never tried to do anything about it. Ignored it and went on with his life.

 

It was infuriating.

 

Rock’s lust was plain. Had grown so obvious infact that Sehmal’s friends were talking about it. Which meant he had to report on it now. Ugh.

 

Maybe he was spending too much time around humans. He never would have considered hiding someone’s emotions before this whole expedition. It was patently impossible. Except, apparently, when it hadn’t been.

 

***

 

“I cannot believe that such an expert on human microfeelings such as yourself could have missed your own pet human’s lust,” his Superior ranted. Well, rant might be a bit much. But Sehmal was unhappy. It was true he seemed to have the finest ‘tuning’ into all human microfeelings. But he had no idea how or why or how to even teach anyone else the ability.

 

His first instinct now was an insincere apology. Stupid humans with their stupid stink.

 

“I was waiting to report on this in the hopes that it would lessen over time,” Sehmal settled on. Not untrue.

 

“Well, that did not happen, did it Guard Ahlte?”

 

“No Superior Chelik it did not,” he growled out. Stupid Rock with his stupid laugh. 

 

“In fact, I would say, and so would anyone sensing the pair of you! That his completely inappropriate feelings for you have grown!”

 

“It would appear so,” Sehmal agreed. He had no idea still how he felt about this. It was strange and surprising. But he knew he wasn’t disgusted as some of his friends and his current Superior were. Intrigued maybe. Curious as to how such a different looking species could find his own form appealing, perhaps.

 

“You will inform your human in no uncertain terms that you absolutely know his emotions for you and you will tell him of your own!”

 

Sehmal held in his tongue. No one else needed to know the exact nature of his displeasure at this order.

 

“Yes Superior,” Sehmal agreed. He’d better figure out what exactly he did feel regarding Rock’s lust for him before he met with Rock next.

 

***

 

Sehmal had come to realize that perhaps he was as strange as Rock. The others already called Rock his human. And really, while Rock’s form did not exactly inspire lust in Sehmal’s glands he wasn’t entirely unappealing. His scent was strong but not unpleasant. His fingers nimble and hands dexterous.

 

His legs were much too long, with their strange joints that made them seem like stilts. He was tall and large, an alarming prospect if Sehmal really did want to explore this… whatever it would be with him. But he was also funny and kind. The sort of person Sehmal could spend half a cycle talking with. (and had, often, much to the worry of his friends and annoyance of his Superior)

 

It could be an experiment , he reasoned. But it felt hollow. An exercise in humans and trust and their culture .

 

Surely it had nothing to do with Sehmal’s curiosity over what Rock would feel like completely nude and way too hot against him with his human lust loud in his senses.

 

Rock beamed up at him from under ‘their’ spot in the station’s arboretum. An alien tree, rich in pleasing sensations (and apparently pretty to look at to species with sight, like humans) surrounded by alien shrubs and ground cover in it’s little garden. The root systems of the arboretum were used as part of the water treatment processes on station. Something Rock found fascinating. Sehmal didn’t really care about that, but Rock’s feelings washing over his sense organs as he talked about it were pleasing.

 

Sehmal reached up to his translator and disengaged it. His human speech had improved greatly, though Rock insisted he keep calling him Rock instead of whatever the actual series of sounds his name really was. Concern tinged Rock’s happy greeting as he disengaged his own translator.

 

“Sehmal, what’s up?” he asked, voice softer than usual. Whenever they were alone he always took care to speak softly. Sehmal had pressed him on it and he’d done the very human thing of deflecting, but had eventually conceded that it was for Sehmal’s comfort. He’d learned of xander ‘heightened’ (compared to a human) senses and wanted to accommodate.

 

What’s up? Sehmal thought. Human speech was full of such strange phrasing. They couldn’t sense and they never spoke plainly. Sehmal tried, as usual, to share his feelings with Rock. And, as usual, Rock remained as unmoved as his namesake.

 

“I can sense your emotions and know of your feelings for me,” Sehmal began, speaking at the pitch and tone he knew Rock found easiest to hear. Rock’s feelings bled into PANIC PANIC PANIC at his declaration. Sehmal flicked his tongue and leaned back, the same a human wince. Actual wincing being impossible without eyes.

 

“I'm sorry,” Sehmal began. He was, truly. But they hadn’t been supposed to discuss that with humans. Just in case of something he didn’t particularly care about since his real job was xenosociology. “When you didn't mention your feelings I didn't want to upset you by bringing this up.”

 

But now he had to bring this up. Because orders and his stupid human fearing Superior. But he didn’t want to tell Rock that. And he wasn’t finished anyways. At least Rock’s PANIC was edging with confusion now.

 

“It isn't natural to hide feelings, because, you know, I mean you don't know, but, well, it isn’t possible for us to hide feelings,” Sehmal added.

 

Rock stared at him. His temperature changes were usually a good indicator of what he was trying to convey. Sehmal knew they used facial expressions amongst themselves and tended to rely on them to communicate concepts without words. Human body language was still hard to read. Sometimes even Rock's. Especially when his feelings loudly conflicted. It was so hard to parse out exactly why or what was the conflict right now.

 

“You… You mean you made yourself uncomfortable… put yourself under extra stress because you didn’t want to upset me?”

 

“Ah, well…” Sehmal thought on that. It had been… only mildly stressful. But, “yes.”

 

WORRY CONFLICT UPSET “Sehmal! Stress can KILL YOU,” Rock did that thing he called whisper-shouting. Sehmal tilted his head and curled his tongue just so.

 

“Yes? I am aware?” he replied. How strange.

 

Rock pulled at his hair, little sounds of frustration escaping him. Sehmal wondered what sounds he would make in satisfaction . He pulled his arms into his body and curled his head back, tongue just peeking out. Embarrassed his body said, betraying his emotions to the senseless Rock. He could feel his blood flowing to his sense organs at the unbidden thought of Rock naked and sending pleasure at him with his human intensity.

 

The flush response that in humans was called blushing was for multiple emotions, but for his people it only occurred when aroused. “I like you.”

 

SHOCK which no matter how often Rock felt of SHOCK always sent Sehmal’s naturally erratic heart rate stuttering. SHOCK then hope?

 

Sehmal nodded, a human gesture but an easy one to pick up, “You’re nice.”

 

Rock made a loud, high pitched noise and pulled him into a fierce hug. Not literally bone breaking, but what humans would call such. It was too warm and Rock was too tactile and it was also perfect. Sehmal’s temperature rose.

 

“Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygoshyoulikemeyoulikeme!”

 

Sehmal laughed, tongue waving. Rock kissed him. Well, moved his happy kisses from all over his face to his mouth. It was awkward. Humans had too many teeth all right there. Their tongues were so tiny, it was almost pathetic. Sehmal tried his best to kiss back, it wasn’t instinctive or natural. They broke apart, both laughing.

 

Rock's joy and happiness were so loud and intense it was like a drug. Sehmal grinned stupidly at him, purring lightly.

 

“You can purr? Ohmygosh you just keep getting cuter ! That should be illegal,” Rock said. Another ridiculous human saying, declaring things illegal that made them feel strongly.

 

Rock moved his kisses once again to his face. Then he started nuzzling, too. Nuzzling was something like kissing for Sehmal. Sehmal shuddered and nuzzled back, tongue hanging out, relaxed, tip curling and uncurling just a bit. Then Rock’s happy tactile display of affection brought his nose then lips in contact with Sehmal’s sense organs.

 

The sound Sehmal made at that was definitely one he’d never made for Rock before. Rock pulled away, intrigued confusion flavoring his delight. Sehmal wagged his tongue in a voiceless whine, trying to press his own emotions at Rock.

 

“Why are your horns all black now? Is that normal? Are you okay? Did I-”

 

“Arousal induced flush response,” Sehmal grunted, annoyed. That had been a good sound! But as Rock peered at his sense organs (he’d long since given up correcting Rock’s inaccurate use of the term ‘horns’) his overwhelming joy grew subdued with curiosity and anticipatory excitement. Sehmal focused on his own senses, they were in public. They really shouldn’t be making out here. Even if plenty of other persons took advantage of the semi-private little gardens for such things. “You always make out with your pals on the first date or?”

 

That got him a response, alright. Embarrassed flushing and stammered apology as Rock disentangled himself from Sehmal. His too hot human warmth had been surprisingly comforting. His steady, regular human heartbeat soothing in a strange way. Sehmal waved his tongue again in a whine.

 

“Because I am totally okay with hot makeouts on the first date,” Sehmal clarified, licking his tongue lightly along Rock’s lips.

 

***

 

Sehmal’s Superior never asked for clarification past his report of “Rock took it as well as could be expected. We continued to exchange information amicably.”

 

Which was good, because it’d been obvious to anyone with sense that Superior Chelik had been hoping such a declaration from Sehmal would damage Sehmal and Rock’s relationship, such as it was. Not enough to endanger their mission, but enough to remind everyone why they were here. Which was most certainly not for illicit alien love affairs.

 

Though if anything Rock was even more chatty about things he’d been recalcitrant about prior to their change from ‘friendly aliens’ to ‘aliens with benefits’ (Rock’s silly human terms again). If Sehmal was ruthless, or perhaps not actually invested as he was in Rock’s happiness, he would have used this newfound power shamelessly.

 

As it was he used it mostly to satisfy his own ponderings and wonderings of humanity, as seen through Rock’s viewpoint. And if he found himself telling Rock things he maybe shouldn’t, he knew he could trust him if he told him not to tell anyone.

 

As time and again Sehmal’s trust was rewarded. He found himself making his reports on things he’d overheard humans saying or doing while ‘on duty’ on duty. He chatted up other humans, just for information he could share without betraying Rock’s trust in himself. He learned, albeit unintentionally, how to say nothing while filling up a report.

 

In short (a pun Rock would appreciate) he’d become compromised.

 

***

 

Sehmal hadn’t realized Rock also was compromised, until he showed up rather the worse for wear. Unexpected and on the Whelkin station. They hadn’t planned to meet up. Sehmal had been chatting amicably with another human and pair of his friends in a ‘cafe’.

 

He could pick Rock’s feelings out from the edge of his sensing range though. As his sense organs twitched (a clear indication to his friends he was distracted even if humans didn’t usually notice it) his friends must have cast their senses about and felt Rock, as well. He was being loud, even for a human. It was upsetting, stressful, the most stress Sehmal had felt since he’d gotten used to humans with their screaming feelings.

 

Dhnek and Rhilan made polite exuses for the human’s benefit, though they felt of concern for Sehmal and vague worry. The human, Ensign Patel, had a weak spice of maybe lust for Dhnek and made her excuses politely with them. No doubt trying to gather the courage to mention her interest to Dhnek at some future point in time.

 

The fact she didn’t know xander could sense emotions just reaffirmed Sehmal’s trust in Rock. And his worry. He ‘cornered’ Rock and ‘drug’ him to their garden. (impossible to physically overpower and drag him anywhere without his power armor on, but stood in front of him and 'looked' at him with worry until he felt Rock's acceptance of his leadership in this was much less dramatic)

 

Humans smelled strongly. To basically everyone except themselves (as a species) it seemed. As Sehmal led him to their spot in the arboretum he could sense other people scurrying away as Rock's scent reached them. Good, he felt like kicking something and that'd get his stupid ass killed for sure if anyone gave him an excuse.

 

Was that... normal? Maybe he was getting to be too good at being a guard? He did seem to be the only xander to enjoy their joint 'training' sessions with the human soldiers.

 

“Just a fight,” Rock said, even quieter than usual. Not bothering to wait for Sehmal to ask him what had happened. Rock felt tired and regretful and a little bit mad. He said this as if being violent was completely normal for him. Which prior to this expedition Sehmal’d have believed of a human, but he knew Rock abhorred violence. Sehmal’s body language gave away the emotions he tried to push at Rock, his disbelief and distress.

 

“You should see the other guys!” Rock tried to joke. Sehmal clicked his concern over Rock even as he shut down their translators. Stupid things got in the way of serious conversations.

 

“Why didn’t you go straight to medical? You should have reported this straight away. What or who would be stupid enough to gang up on a human? In a neutral territory! The Whelkin take their neutrality VERY seriously you know-”

 

“Sehmal, please. I’ll be fine, it’s just some bruises and busted knuckles,” Rock said, trying to sound reassuring. He believed the words he was saying, and his emotions were not concern for himself but for Sehmal.

 

Sehmal shook his head in the human way ‘no’ even as he clacked his foot claws on the soft ground cover in frustration, “That isn’t the point Rock.”

 

Rock was stressed, reluctant. Stress wouldn’t kill Rock though.

 

“Tell me.” Sehmal said, insistent.

 

“Just some of the guys, you know,” he rubbed at the back of his head, a gesture Sehmal now knew meant he was uneasy, “They were talking shit and I, uh, couldn’t leave well enough alone.”

 

“You do not fight,” Sehmal stated. Rock ducked his head, a silly gesture with Sehmal as he still towered above his own meter tall self. Even when they were both sitting.

 

“They were talkin’ shit about us, you,” Rock mumbled. Sehmal felt his own confusing emotions reflected in Rock. And damn himself, his own curiosity at what humans could say to each other to offend Rock so. (the damming was a good human swear. They had many good swears, which Sehmal took great delight in sharing around the barracks)

 

“Tell me.” Sehmal said, as sternly as he could manage. Putting on his best commanding body language. Rock seemed to push his displeasure at sharing. But of course that was impossible. Sehmal remained firm.

 

“They called me an alien fucker, which I don’t really care about. Honest. I mean we haven’t even fucked for one, and really it’s a stupid insult, plenty of other humans have alien partners, but uh, then they started talking shit about Xandians and then this salty cuss said, um might have implied, as it were, as to how you… you, uh... youmustabeeneasyandtightandscreamedrealgoodtheyshouldtryit and then I punched her in the face and we kinda had a tussle in the ship’s bar so I came out here to cool off and then you were here and now we’re here,” Rock rambled. Sehmal, well, blinking is not possible unless one has both eyes and eyelids. But he did the equivalent of blinking in surprise.

 

Rock was upset and ashamed and embarrassed and also proud (probably because he’d won the fight if Sehmal had to guess). Sehmal was… intrigued.

 

“So, other humans find alien forms pleasing to them?” which Sehmal realized was not a comforting question for Rock right now. But only after Rock’s distress and fear of abandonment hit him full force, “I like you, Rock! You are my partner!”

 

“Oh… oh s-sorry, I just-”

 

“It’s nothing. I’m asking not ‘cause I wanna leave you. But because I might’ve accidentally made my friends curious about humans by over sharing. Just a bit. They were kinda bummed that other humans weren’t likely to wanna try stuff,” Sehmal clarified.

 

Rock did blink at him. “Wh-what, really? That’s… that’s really unusual, most of the humans with alien partners it just… happens.”

 

Eloquent as ever , Sehmal thought, sending Rock his amused affection.

 

“I mean, yeah there are humans that’d be interested but humans are seriously really dangerous partners to have. A lot of them don’t pay attention or worse don’t care if they hurt who they’re with and-”

 

“Hmm so,” Sehmal interrupted, tongue curling in a clear invitation to nuzzle (or kiss or likely both). “it sounds like, what you are saying, is that, it seems likely, further data upon the safety of humans as partners for xander should be acquired.”

 

Once he caught onto Sehmal’s ‘reasoning’ Rock blushed and giggled.

 

“Do not fear, I know of just the place for us to research this vital question,” Sehmal nodded, pretending to be serious with his body language.

 

He knew of and had complete access to currently (relatively) private rooms. The neutral ground reserved for on station treaty discussions was currently unoccupied. The Whelkin held it for human and Xander use at all times while negotiations were underway. The rooms and halls would remain unoccupied for plenty of time yet. The only people there would be the sense blind, definitely not ceremonial Whelkin Guards patrolling.

 

The Xander Ambassadors still, after all this time, became stressed in the presence of humans and needed much time to recover from their duties. They had time in plenty.

 

“Oh, well,” Rock laughed again, feeling of nervousness and excitement and happiness and anticipation. Much better than the unhappy emotions of moments ago. “Don’t let me stand in the way of scientific progress!”

 

***

 

Sehmal was determined to use their time to the fullest. They entered the first ambassadorial room he could access and Rock must have agreed, because he had him up in his arms before the doors could finish closing.

 

They started as usual, with their strange make outs. Human kisses and xander nuzzles. Rock’s sad, but somehow endearing attempts at tongue twining (he insisted it was ‘frenching' or ‘french kissing’ even if he couldn't explain the ‘french' part). Sehmal’s tongue eventually wandering lazily over Rock's exposed skin as Rock moved his mouth and hot, hot tongue over the bits of Sehmal not covered by clothing or chitin.

 

Really, realistically, their thermostatic temperatures weren't dramatically different. But skin to skin Rock felt hot . Sehmal loved it.

 

Sehmal was already flushed, his partner’s emotions rolling against him like an ocean surface in high winds. When Rock's tongue laved at the base of one of his sense organs Sehmal moaned. Loud as he pleased in the relative privacy of this room.

 

Rock set him down and started pulling off his own uniform, Sehmal wanted to ‘watch’ him. Mostly to figure out how his clothes functioned so he could better touch him later. But he, too, was impatient to be fully skin to skin. Rock’s heavy musk seemed to flood the room as he got less and less clothed. Sehmal finished stripping first and took a moment to arrange himself in a hopefully pleasing manner. Then he focused his senses on Rock and gaped in surprise.

 

When Rock turned to look at him he could feel the surprise was mutual.

 

“Why the fuck is your dick so stinking huge!” Sehmal got out. The length was just a bit long but do able, but the girth!

 

“Why does your dick have tentacles?!”

 

They stared.

 

They stared some more.

 

His partner's emotions mirrored his own and Sehmal started laughing. (impossible to actually be mirrored Rock couldn’t send) But the sensation was a tiny sliver of normal for him. Rock laughed with him, dropping down next to him and laughing even harder.

 

“Fucking aliens,” Sehmal gasped between laughs.

 

“Alien fucking ,” Rock managed to say.

 

They curled into each other and laughed themselves silly.

 

Rock was still nice and hot, but his dick had changed. Humans didn't seem to have genital cavities to keep their important bits safe, so it couldn't have ‘tucked in’ as it were. Sehmal sat up, ‘staring' at the organ in question.

 

“Like this it's not so big,” he reflected.

 

“Ouch, man, that's cruel. Just give me a- ah fuck!”

 

How strange that such an observation was apparently an insult. But Rock's emotions immediately felt focused on YES GOOD PLEASURE as soon as Sehmal wrapped his long, slick tongue around his alien dick. And indeed as Rock had been attempting to explain, his dick was growing thicker, longer, harder with the stimulation. Sehmal fruitlessly sent his own lust and need at Rock. His partner's dick began to leak a protein rich fluid as he kept working him over with his tongue. No orgasm slammed his senses so he kept going.

 

He could sense the edges of what had to be an orgasm building. Rock moaned his name and pulled him bodily over, planting his flexible hips over his hot, hot mouth to take his dick inside.

 

Sehmal’s tongue contracted reflexively at the completely alien, completely pleasurable sensations that brought him. His slit started dripping as Rock set to it. Whatever it was it was something xander couldn't do. Their own mouths had only room for their long tongues and teeth (tooth batteries humans strangely called them).

 

Sehmal focused on teasing this delightfully wet and hot hole with his specialized sense organs (the ‘tentacles’ as Rock had called them) before checking in with his brain and remembering human mouths were hardly an erogenous zone. Letting them flail about without direct control felt weird . But what about this wasn't weird? Sehmal focused his attention back on his tongue, still lazily playing with Rock's dick. This was definitely an erogenous zone. He worked his partner's dick as thoroughly as he could manage. Using every trick he'd picked up and thrillingly testing Rock's ability to take how tight he could pull his tongue around him.

 

The answer seemed to be very and yes please good want (as Sehmal must have deluded himself into feeling Rock send).

 

His partner's orgasm should never come as a surprise, and this one wasn't. But nothing had prepared him for the rawness, the intensity of Rock's feelings as he orgasmed. His own orgasm did take him by surprise. Other xander had never sent him over when they’d found their pleasure. His slit gushed all over his partner's face, specialized sense organs on his dick stiffening and then lashing against Rock’s wet, hot, mouth as he shuddered through his pleasure.

 

Rock pulled his delightfully hot mouth away from him, and damn his sense blindness Sehmal needed more . But damn Rock’s human-ness because his fatigued bliss rolled over him and Sehmal lazily turned about to sprawl along his delightfully hot and humanly sweaty torso.

 

Once the human fatigue receded Rock nuzzled against the top of his head. Sehmal’s still unsated lust returned full force as his partner gently kissed his sense organs. His slit started leaking, empty and needing filling. Rock’s dick was softer and smaller now, likely difficult to work inside his tight slit. Even with how wet he was. And while his partner’s mouth was absolutely amazing and he was going to learn the human term for what he’d done with it, Rock’s tongue was nowhere near long enough to stimulate the aching nerve clusters deep inside himself.

 

Rock’s nimble fingers rubbed their way along Sehmal’s body, his feelings of human bliss still keeping his own need somewhat at bay. Then his fingers played teasingly along the lips of his slit, exploring with an almost lazy possessiveness. Would his fingers be long enough?

 

They slid easily inside and slowly teased along the ‘rough’ (textured soft tissue in actuality) edges just inside. Sehmal moaned and butted his head under Rock’s chin, rubbing his ‘horns’ along hot, wet skin. Rock hummed happily.

 

“Feels good?” he asked, lazy and content and pleased.

 

Sehmal pushed his emotions hard at Rock, waving his tongue in a whine and vocalizing what he hoped sounded like ‘yes want more good’ to Rock’s human ears. Rock’s soft (comparatively to xander digits at least) fingers sunk deeper inside, pressing and curling and moving in delightfully strange ways.

 

“I really wish I could sense you now,” Rock said, feeling wistful and… something warm and soft and tender. Sehmal pushed again, screaming his need loud. Rock was unmoved. Sehmal keened frustration.

 

His fingers teased and stroked and slid slowly, inexorably deeper. Sehmal’s slit was wet, soaked, fucking damn near we enough to pass an egg without any pain. But Rock’s fingers finally were fully inside him and were JUST NOT LONG ENOUGH. BARELY, barely missing the aching, throbbing nerve clusters that would give him sweet completion. Still Rock stroked and pressed and teased against him. But the almost touches so close and so good but not enough and were driving him insane .

 

As soon as Sehmal felt Rock’s dick hard against his leg, he pulled himself off of those teasing, cruel, pleasurable fingers and slammed down onto Rock’s cock. Rock’s body shivered and shuddered and he cried out, louder than when Sehmal had been using his tongue. His partner’s gentle sounds and words turned into a steady, desperate stream of ‘fuck fuck fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck.’

 

Which Sehmal was, well not exactly chanting himself, but fuck that girth that had seemed intimidating before was so good inside of him. The lack of sense organs teasing him was replaced with satisfying , hot, fullness. His partner filled him up and pressed on all of those throbbing, needy nerve bundles at the same time .

 

Rock’s words stilled as Sehmal instinctively tried to twine tongues with him. Rock licked and sucked on the tip, the only sensitive part of his long tongue. Sehmal shook apart, senses whiting out with the intensity of pleasure as he tightened around his partner and spilled his fluids. As his senses fuzzed in and out in afterglow he was dimly aware of Rock cuddling him close and murmuring something gently. Was he worried? He could barely tell.

 

“I’m good,” Sehmal moaned. Couldn’t Rock let him enjoy his post coital bliss, seriously?

 

“So sorry, seriously, I’m so fucking embarrassed, never came that fast before, and the second one and-”

 

Sehmal groaned. Being sense blind must be hell.

 

“Is ‘to come’ slang for orgasms? Didn’t go over that one, idiot,” Sehmal said.

 

“Oh! Uh, yes, yes coming can mean orgasms, and humans aren’t supposed to cum so fast I’m so sorry please give me another chance, I’ll last longer-”

 

Sehmal shoved his tongue into Rock’s mouth. Better. Rock tried to keep talking, but only for a few more moments. He pulled his tongue back in and said, “I came so fuckin’ good you idiot. Stop apologizing and let me enjoy it.”

 

“Oh.”

 

Sehmal curled up on Rock’s still delightfully hot torso and relaxed. He was wet from his own human sweat and Sehmal’s rather sticky mess. Their scents were stuck on each other. Every non human Rock interacted with would smell Sehmal on him. The only thing that would get rid of his scent on Rock was time. Time away from Sehmal. Something about that sent delighted possessive satisfaction spiraling through him.

 

“<My human>” Sehmal purred. He’d never called Rock that before, not even in the relative safety of his own mind.

 

Rock hummed at that and started petting his hand down Sehmal’s back. He twirled his fingers around the edges of his now raised chitin (it wasn’t really chitin but it protected the rather squishier bits of xander something like chitin did to earth creatures)

 

“Your heat sinks are so weird,” Rock said. Sehmal rubbed his head along Rock’s sweaty chest before raising it to ‘look’ at his face.

 

“Your ‘vaporative cooling ‘s weird,” Sehmal responded.

 

“You’re evaporative cooling,” Rock countered.

 

Sehmal rumbled wordlessly, not deigning to respond to such a ridiculous human insult.

 

“I can’t believe you fucking make biscuits like a-”

 

“If you compare me to your earth animals you keep as pets I will never touch your dick again.”

 

“Like a very professional chef,” Rock finished, clearly lying. Sehmal chuckled.

 

Rock pulled him back down and pressed a tender kiss to the top of his head, then nuzzled gently against him. Sehmal resumed his purring and petting of Rock’s chest. Rock resumed his petting of Sehmal’s back.

 

They stayed that way for a time, before Rock’s emotions tinted with a very human kind of embarrassment they called ‘shyness’ and a bit of excited pride. Rock said, “So, uh, what’s the verdict?”


It took Sehmal a few moments to recall the teasing excuses he’d used to initiate this whole, very messy, thing.

 

“Mmmm, need more research… next shift the ‘bassadors are on The Sturdy . Yes, definitely more.”

 

Rock laughed, happy and warm and his emotions were a blissful, rolling tide against Sehmal’s senses.

 

“Yeah, okay. But seriously, your friends shouldn’t be alone with a human they don’t trust,” Rock mumbled, nuzzling against Sehmal’s head. Sehmal purred, whined, and generally made contented-fake-tortured sounds as the gentle touches stimulated his oversensitive, overloaded, sense organs.

 

“Kinky,” Sehmal got out, laughing along with Rock at his joke.

 

***

 

Sehmal did manage to get some actually useful information for his like minded ‘xeno-curious’ (after all they weren’t alien fuckers yet ) compatriots. And even gave them some fun tips he’d picked from his own ‘research’.

 

Most humans wanted casual encounters, nothing like the partner relationship he had with Rock. Casual sex was certainly not uncommon with xander. It was usually the best way to get rid of unwanted, distracting emotions after all. Mutually felt ones anyways.

 

And Sehmal faced his Superior. Deception was a human thing, and being good at it shouldn’t be possible for himself. Though truly, he’d likely been successful for so long only because Superior Chelik was so busy with so many different, very important tasks. Also he reeked of human, of Rock’s, sweat and semen. Hiding at this point would just be cowardice.

 

Mincing around things that were obvious was another human thing. And Sehmal’s reports were hardly the formal affairs of an Ambassador. So on Sehmal’s next report he started with, “Rock and I have been casual partners since I declared I could sense his feelings, and as of two cycles ago we have become partners and I have on occasion thought I could sense Rock returning feelings to me.”

 

Superior Chelik’s flabbergasted amazement was hilarious. Which, in retrospect, was unfortunately not really a good response to have in such a serious situation. In his defense it wasn’t like he sent his hilarity to anyone. It was just really funny.

 

Superior Chelik definitely did not have a sense of humor.

 

Which was how Rock had wound up next to Sehmal in the middle of an impromptu Council. Half asleep and afraid and angry and upset and at first embarrassed since they were in the ambassadorial rooms that of course held the kinkiest of their mutually pleasurable moments. For Sehmal at least it had been the kinkiest. (though honestly there wasn’t a set of rooms they hadn’t Christened, but Sehmal couldn’t bring himself to be ashamed. Seriously, if the people in charge didn’t want anyone fucking in these rooms then they should have given their deliberately partnerless crew either private quarters or access to private beds or something)

 

Now…

 

“<Sehmal how can we possibly scare a human? Even this scientist you’ve partnered, claimed to bond with, is strong enough to kill most if not all of us on his own.>” said Ambassador Rhktar.

 

“Uh, everyone’s kinda talking really fast here, can we maybe use translators? Or slow down? Please?”

 

“<Rock would never kill anyone!>” Sehmal shrieked.

 

“Killing?! Whose killing? I’ll, I’ll…”

 

“<Not the point. Get on with->” Superior Chelik began imperiously.

 

“I’ll punch you in your horns if you hurt Sehmal!”

 

Which brought a stunned silence down over the entire room.

 

Rock’s emotions had pushed at Sehmal, clumsy as he ever did (still unknowing of how or when he was even doing it). But all senses were now on Rock.

 

Well not all, Sehmal could feel the enraged humans coming down the halls, and the passive interest of the neutral Whelkin guards. They were here to keep other species interference out, not to stop humans and xander from killing each other if they so desired. Just so long as they kept it in their appointed areas anyways.

 

“<Sehmal… did you teach this human… to send >” Ambassador Sihrkah asked slowly.

 

“Oh, thanks, Ambassador. I was having trouble following there for a while. Yeah Sehmal says I send him stuff but I don’t really know how?” Rock said. All senses turned now to Sehmal.

 

The doors opened and The General (Sehmal had taken to calling her that since Rock and many other humans referred to her as such) blew into the room with a fully power armored and armed marine squad. Sehmal could have laughed if he wasn’t suddenly pinned in place by the weight of sense swirling the room. (he distantly remembered humans laughingly saying ‘There’s no kill like overkill’ when completely destroying their opponents in games, apparently this saying applied to actual battles as well)

 

“Your Inferior is unharmed. A moment more if it pleases you General Johar,” Ambassador Sihrkah said, surprisingly calm for certain, very messy death looming over them. And screaming anger and determination bellowing in their senses.

 

The general gave a terse nod and a grunt. Her marines spread for maximum efficiency in their ammo usage. Sehmal knew this because as a ‘guard’ they had trained in basically this exact scenario together. This was a common, standard, hardly secret protocol.

 

Sehmal also knew these humans he’d shared comradely bonds and almost friendship with wouldn’t hesitate to murder him and everyone in this room if ordered to.

 

Maybe the Ambassador was so calm because she thought it was just for show? How much did they really know about how humans actually worked, anyways? That wasn’t information he had access to.

 

Ambassador Sihrkah stepped forward with gravitas. She pulled Sehmal’s helmet from his head and pressed their sense organs together.

 

Sehmal was paralyzed at this display of equality and respect. What had he done? Why was this happening?

 

“Ambassador Ahlte-”

 

What, what? WHAT? Was this shock? Was he dying? Was he already dead and being punished for, no that was what some humans believed (though now he could completely understand why if this was what shock actually felt like), was he already dead and seeing his death flash before his eyes before his soul went on with itself to wherever souls went?

 

“What?” Rock said, emotions mirroring Sehmal’s. He sent confusion at him. Sahmel lolled his tongue (naturally) and shrugged his shoulders (in the human way) and shared his own confusion back at Rock.

 

“Ambassador Sihrkah, Ambassador… Ahlte,” The General said, human mouth working at Sehmal’s surname, trying to pronounce it properly. “What is the meaning of this.”

 

Sehmal held back his shrug but his tongue lolled again in confusion.

 

“General Johar. Please forgive any distress our actions have caused. Truly an amazing and momentous event has occurred with your humble Inferior-”

 

“Ensign” Sehmal corrected. Then snapped his tongue back into his mouth in quiet horror at having corrected the head ambassador. HAVING CORRECTED THE HEAD AMBASSADOR IN FRONT OF HER INFERIORS AND THE HUMANS SHE WAS NEGOTIATING WITH. Sehmal wanted to scream and run away, possibly melt into the floor. How was he still alive? He suppressed a keen but just barely.

 

Ambassador Sihrkah did what humans called a curtsey but what actually was something like a nod of acknowledgement of an accurate correction.

 

“Forgive me. Your Ensign was brought before Council-” here Sehmal let her continue even though he knew really she should have used Rock’s surname. He was still trying to process the fact that the head ambassador not only hadn’t reprimanded him but had acknowledged him as having more and more accurate information than she.

 

“Ensign Parker was taken from his quarters under duress and brought to neutral ground for what appears to be an illegal trial for what I can only presume is on his unusual attractions to your… new Ambassador. Which is grounds enough to declare war on your species and the only reason you aren’t all black goop on the walls is because I like Sehmal.”

 

“Oh my God,” Rock said, and he said it again. His shock was quiet but paralyzing. Sehmal focused. Was The General serious? Did she actually refrain from MURDERING EVERYONE IN THIS ROOM BECAUSE SEHMAL WAS A STUPID JOKING IDIOT THAT ONE TIME MADE HER LAUGH?!

 

“General Johar,” Sehmal began. It felt weird to say her name instead of just ‘General’. She appreciated straightforward speak. He remembered her complaints about the formality Ambassadors displayed. “We are gathered here this cycle because Rock can make sendings.”

 

Well, couldn’t get more straightforward than that. And fancy enough it ought to keep the scribes off his chitin. If they survived this.

 

“No other human has ever made sendings before Rock-” and he REALLY WISHED ROCK HAD TOLD HIM THE ACTUAL HUMAN LANGUAGE SYLLABLES OF HIS FUCKING NAME BECAUSE HE KNEW THIS SOUNDED STUPID but at least if Rock got them all killed he could finally have some rest because galaxies that man’s desires were relentless . “- and as I was the only observer an immediate Council was called. I, myself, was unaware that any protocols had been breached and most definitely did not want to upset anyone with my actions.”

 

“So…” The General said slowly. Drawling it out in a way that mirrored her emotions perfectly. Sam did his best to project body language humans would interpret as ‘earnest’ and ‘honest’instead of HOLY FUCK DON'T KILL ME PLEASE OH PLEASE MERCY!!

 

“Let me get this clear. Ensign Parker here, ordinary and average human that he is,” Rock was so stunned he didn’t even process the backhanded insult, much less protest it, “can do something no other human in the galaxy can do. And this is an innate ability that… somehow… became active in him not because of illegal experimentation but because of…”

 

Sehmal’s urge to say, ‘because we fuck lots and lots and it’s real good’ was suppressed in time for Ambassador Rhktar to say, through his translator (because of fucking course one of the Superior Ambassadors hadn’t learned human speech, politicians , ugh)

 

“Your Inferior-Lesser Peon Subordinate- is so full of -affection appreciation emotion fondness passion tenderness ardor delight regard- for -zzt error- Ambassador Protector” WAS THAT WHAT THE STUPID TRANSLATOR MADE OF HIS SURNAME?! SERIOUSLY?! Sehmal wanted to scream, but Rhktar continued determindly on, and oh was Sehmal going to give him his opinion on ‘forgetting’ his new status in the middle of literal life or death negotiations, “was such that a miracle-marvel rarity revelation- did occur and bless-anoint transcend bestow gift- us-formal to include equals superiors and inferiors- with-”

 

“Yeah, that’s good Rhkal,” Sehmal interrupted, and the responding offense and anger was a real delight to feel. Fucking slight him for petty bullshit when all their lives were on the line here. See if he gets his title back anytime this cycle shift.

 

Sehmal turned back to The General, “We love each other so much he sends to me. I don’t know how else to explain it.”

 

Rock was still muttering ‘oh my god’ and felt fuzzy with shock. Distressing but at least not fatal for him.

 

He could feel the utter disbelief from the rest of the humans in the room. The General heaved a deep and dramatic sigh. Sehmal was sure she was about to order ALL of their deaths, including Rock’s for getting them all in this mess in the first place.

 

“This was so important that it couldn’t wait a few hours for everyone to be here?” The General ground out, again that slow steady way that Sehmal knew meant she might just kill them all anyways because they wasted her time with something stupid. Sehmal wanted desperately to keen.

 

“Apparently so, the decision was not mine to make,” Sehmal stated. If he had sweat glands he’d be sweating. He must look utterly absurd in power armor without a helmet or energy spear.

 

The General barked what could charitably be called a laugh, “That stinks.”

 

Surprised mild offense radiated from the others. They must think her ignorant of their swears. Sehmal knew The General knew that particular word was offensive in their language. He laughed.

 

“Fuck I know, right?”

 

She laughed, a good laugh not the bark from moments ago, and waved ‘stand down’ to her troops.

 

He heard Rock make a pathetic noise like air escaping into space from a tiny crack in the hull, “Oh my God. Sehmal you can’t say fuck to The General.”

 

Sehmal turned to face him, beaming, “We’re not dead yet!”

 

The roiling distress from his fellows was just icing on his sweet, sweet cake. Apparently, he was at least a co-head if not head Ambassador now. However that was going to work. And whatever happened, interspecies negotiations were definitely not going to be the same.

 

-fin-