I stood stark still in the mud on our side of the MFD. The Centaur was right in front of me, within arm’s length, on the other side. The MFD barrier gave me a perfect view of him. Up close and personal. From his side, he would be looking at his own reflection. The barrier was above and surrounded the chewed up area the Krackow had left behind. It ran between us and the inhabitants of the planet and was meant to keep them calm and uninfluenced by our technology. The most they would notice of our presence would be the mirror on their side. Even the entry for our ships was planned not to interfere with the Pegasus' who might fly over or around our installation.
The centaur was magnificent. His body was a sleek chestnut brown – his tail a flowing mass of coal black hair so long it almost touched the ground behind him. His muscular human shaped torso was golden brown – his hair as black as his tail ran in a thick braid down the middle of his back. He pranced side to side studying his reflection, his hoofs striking up the grass in clumps on his side. Unlike a bird, you could tell he had no illusions that his reflection was another centaur. He knew it was him and he was admiring himself. He was worth admiring.
He turned to leave and I wished I could call him back. I couldn’t get enough of him – the soft wispy hair that fell over his hoofs, the faint running of short hair down his back which must have evolved from the presence of a main. He only walked about five lengths of his body away and turned. He stood motionless for a moment except for his front right hoof pawing at the ground. Then all of a sudden he charged at the barrier directly in front of me. Even though I knew he could not penetrate it I involuntarily jumped back. He slid to a halt just before contacting the MFD and reared up on his hind legs. He was enormous – at least twice my height. When his front feet came down to the ground once more he was smiling. He liked what he saw. You could tell he thought himself as magnificent as I did.
He leaned forward and placed his hand on the barrier. As though he could see me, I snuck slowly up and pressed my hand against the barrier and his on the other side. He tilted his head and looked directly at me. If I didn’t know better I would have thought he was staring at me. His eyes were mesmerizing – almost a lime green with flecks of forest green and brown in them. I leaned forward to study him closer. So much was in those eyes.
All at once something caught his attention to his right and his hand fell away. The moment was over. I exhaled, just realizing I had been holding my breath. When I followed his gaze I could see another centaur in the distance – a female. Her body was a lovely buckskin color and the skin of her torso the shade of a smooth latte. Her hair and tail were blond.
She must have called to him, though I could not hear it. He turned and with the flick of his tail galloped off to meet her. They greeted each other on the rise with a nod and moved out of sight over the grassy hilltop.
My knees felt weak. I sat down on a stone by the barrier and kept gazing out at the landscape on the other side. It was nothing short of an Eden. Velvet smooth, grass covered rolling hills, flowering shrubs, crystal clear streams that ran into china blue pools, trees whose limbs swept down over the stream banks into the water or built umbrellas of shade on the the hills, and a sky so many shades of blue you almost felt it should have a color name all its own.
This was my second delivery to Olympus. Sam would be finished unloading soon and we would be off for another load. I hoped the centaur would come back for another look at himself, but with miles of MFD to choose from he probably wouldn’t. But, I had seen him. My first centaur.
I love my job.