Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. Katherine reminded herself as she approached one huge Kalquorian that God had created all, and therefore, Kalquorians were not inherently evil. It was a little hard to do when the dark creature before her was so huge and foreboding. However, his expression was now more worried than fierce. He shifted uncomfortably as she drew only an arm’s length away. She caught the scent of him: an almost pleasant musk mixed with something that reminded her of a sweetish spice. He edged back half a step.
She made him uncomfortable? This immense man who could crush her with one blow?
Gathering strength from the alien’s obvious unease, Katherine asked him, “Can you understand me? Can you tell me who is in charge here?”
The man’s eyes widened and he jerked his head to the left to look at another Kalquorian. That one wore four silver bars on the chest of his formsuit instead of the one or two Katherine saw on the majority of the rest. Perhaps they denoted rank?
The man with four bars spoke in staccato bursts of a foreign language to the man Katherine had approached. The first Kalquorian nodded and returned his attention to her.
He said, “You must speak to Nobek Miv. He is responsible for answering your questions.”
He nodded to the man directly to his right, a dark look of jealousy crossing his face. Katherine looked at the other Kalquorian.
Like all of them, Miv was big and muscular. To her, he looked a little harder edged physically than the rest, as if he used his body in strenuous activity often. His features were stunning, in the way a wild animal like a bear or wolf would be. His nose was slightly crooked, and there were small scars on his face. One beneath one eye, one slightly below it on his cheek, and one on his chin. Rather than detracting, they added to his masculine beauty, making him seem a battle-tested hero. He was extremely tall too, perhaps a full foot taller than Katherine’s own impressive five-feet-ten-inch height.
He also looked at Katherine with great discomfort. His large cat-slitted eyes were wide, as if in shock. His startled gaze moved to the man with the four silver bars. He only wore two himself, and he looked much younger than the other man.
Katherine wondered why she was to speak to someone other than the ranking officer. She also wondered at the way his face softened as his gaze returned to her face, almost as if this primal creature was in awe. It made him much more approachable, and her galloping heart eased back a little.
She gathered her courage and moved over to address him. Even with that astonished expression turning his features almost boyishly innocent, Miv was still intimidating. Katherine’s legs felt like jelly as she neared him.
“Nobek Miv?” Her voice trembled, but there was nothing she could do about that. Besides, why pretend she wasn’t frightened? The aliens already knew they were all terrified.
He blinked down at her. At first Katherine didn’t think he would answer, but at last his lips moved. The voice that came from them was a low purring rumble and as hesitant as hers. “Yes ... yes, Matara?”
Releasing this summer.