I couldn’t help but stare at the Valarian on my viewport. His bulbous head filled the whole screen. For those of you who have not had the opportunity to meet one of this species, it is quite extraordinary.
He was speaking. The mouth on the right side of his head was verbalizing a series of pops and smacks. The mouth on the left side of his head interspersed those pops and smacks with trills and whistles. The translation appeared on a reader line at the bottom of my screen. As I told him about my encounter with the entity in the Maelstrom his head, and what I could see of the rest of his bulbous body took on varying shades of color, I assume to match his mood and/or reaction. He seemed to fade from light grey to an almost green hue, then to a ruddy color when I spoke of the ghost ships. I was so fascinated by the display before me I had a hard time concentrating on what I was saying.
He wanted every detail I could remember. He asked permission to download Ma-rye-a’s data base in case she had recorded something that perhaps she or I had forgotten to mention. He was being extremely thorough. He moved away from the viewport on his eight appendages and connected to Ma-rye-a.
It was spellbinding to watch him and his crew move about their deck. The bridge is huge. It has to be to accommodate a crew of Valarians. When they are moving at a relatively normal speed they walk on any number of their eight arms and/or legs – from two to all eight. When moving beyond a walking speed, they fully extend their appendages and cartwheel from place to place. They are able to do this and still keep track of where they are going because their head rotates 360 degrees, much like our owls on earth.
The commander of the ship turned back toward me at the viewport and would have bumped into one of his crew except that the crew member used the third form of movement. He pulled all his arms/legs into a ball and quickly rolled out of his commander’s path. Once he was past, he uncoiled his appendages and continued on his way four-on-the-floor, two with a flat reader each, one punching the flats, with one left over to scratch his head. The captain, nor his crew member, didn’t even pause, it was that fast and routine an action for them.
“Much gratitude is bestowed upon you, Captain 3su,” the Valarian said, or so it translated.
“I just wish I could have made a vid of it for you, but I guess you will forgive me considering the circumstances,” I replied.
“Completely. Good Ma-rye-a identified ships. Closure for many,” it read. “Academy in contact if needed more.” I hated the translator. It read like the Indian’s dialogue in some of the ancient “B” western movies Tim dragged to Jake’s birthday parties to play in the background.
“It was lucky you were so close. I am glad we could help.”
The captain and his crew had actually been tracking the Maelstrom’s movements. One of its stars had gone supernova and blown it out of its normal path. Amazing it had not killed it, but what was that old saying, “what does not kill you, makes you strong.” In the case of the Maelstrom it appeared as though it had fed off the radiation from the supernova. The captain said the entity seemed to be headed back to reestablish a path very close to where it had been before. It was feeding on the debris field of nickel and other base element remnants from the explosion.
The captain bubbled and whistled his way through another thank you and a good bye before we parted company, him to continue his observations of the Maelstom’s movements and me to head for Jake’s birthday party and a much needed R&R.