It is very uncomfortable having Attalla Six onboard. I have tried to see things from his point of view – from his people’s point of view, but I just can’t. Attalla Six unsettles me as much as Attalla Five seemed to fit in.
It is not that the current Attalla has not tried to fit in – he has. He explained to me that only the current Ambassador is active in public, the rest of them live together in a compound on the home planet. They eat, sleep and school together in order to have similar memories from which to draw. The active Attalla comes home each night to the compound and tells the others all about his encounters and decisions during the day to keep all the others in the loop.
It was told my Attalla kept a journal and sent daily reports back to the compound via his sub-space com-link along with his reports to his superiors. The current Attalla knew everything about my ship and crew – however, it seems he and his ‘brothers’ were not privy to Attalla Five’s feeling for me. My Attalla kept those to himself. Attalla Six is blissfully ignorant of what was developing between us.
Chee lived with them all. She has had no trouble adjusting – in fact, she is happier now that Attalla Six is aboard.
However, I cannot feel for this stranger in the same way I felt for his predecessor no matter how much alike they seem to be. He is not the Attalla I shared meals with or played Cue or drank tea. He is his own version of the man I loved. Unlike Chee, for me, they are not interchangeable.
We will arrive at the iisadsu planet shortly. I hope he is more successful than my Attalla in reaching a treaty. I do not care to meet Attalla Seven. I wish to be done with this mission and away as soon as possible.