Day 41. 132 pages, 60,830 words.
The warehousers showed Massington around eagerly, although by the time they got halfway down one of the aisles between the crate-stacks he’d become completely unable to distinguish meaningful artefacts from junk. The light-fountain things, strangely, were ‘junk’ according to the mysterious classifications of the warehouse custodians.
“Bars in the cell of the Prison Angelic,” Boriel Belal explained enigmatically, “and naught more.”
To Massington, ‘Bars in the cell of the Prison Angelic’ made the strange iron devices seem quite important, but he would be the first to admit that he had no context to make such an assumption. He nodded politely and made what he hoped were appropriately admiring sounds as he was shown an assortment of baffling items. The Ogres clanked along behind them, occasionally knocking things off shelves or bumping into the piles of crates solidly enough to give the Molran a mild attack of claustrophobic panic at the thought of the whole lot collapsing on top of them.
After a while, he felt it would be a good idea to broach the subject of the Fleet.
“Our representatives – the Council of Captains – are planning a meeting with Earth leaders,” he said. “The heads of state to as many of your nations as can be arranged.”
“Yes,” Adithol said, “we hear it whispered e’en on the wind, and indeed our stalwart […] Osrai doth also murmur titbits of […] unto our humble ears.”
“They shall meet, anon, on the blasted and forsaken land of Terellia,” Boriel added.
“Yes,” Massington agreed awkwardly, “anon.”
“Aye,” Adithol said, giving Massington a glance that the Molran was reasonably sure was admiring. “A most diverting and […] intriguing ploy, friend Massington Karturi-Captain. A most […] indeed, on the part of your Council.”
“Is it? Oh,” Massington looked around. “Well, it was sort of a joint decision, and from what I understand the First Citizen of Terellia is a reasonable fellow. Hopefully the meeting – or the pre-meeting, or whatever we’re calling it – will go smoothly,” he noted Adithol’s attentive look. “Will you be represented in this meeting?” he asked.
“Alas, no,” Adithol said with a laugh. “Ours is an order that must […] secret for the long march of ages.”
“Oh,” Massington paused. “So, forgive me, but what about this meeting?” he gestured with his upper hands. “The meeting we’re having now. How will this meeting fit into the wider contact timetable?”
“Well,” Mer spoke up, “that’s where it once again gets a little-”
“-complicated?” Massington guessed.
“I thought so.”