“Now, about the job. You are familiar with the law here, miss?” he asked. “You can’t find a place stay or work, you are sent back home.” His eyes flickered on the backs of the duo for second. They were new here too, barely a month worth experience in space. Were they slowing down? Eavesdropping? “The request you gave in earlier, I’m afraid we don’t have anything available right now.”
He glanced up, watching the man in purple shirt stop his friend and turning around. This was making his day indeed. So much of an easy getaway with the law.
“We’re hiring, if you’re interested,” The older man shrugged nonchalantly after turning around and setting his dark gray eyes on them.
“We are?” Tyton moved his eyes from older to younger one. He knew they were here on business, but he couldn’t remember right now, what exactly it was. It seemed the younger was not aware they were hiring.
“Why not? Jocelyn would appreciate the help.”
Tyton tried hard to hide the tight smile climbing on his lips. There was an odd scent rising from the mute female, a taint scent of dirt. He frowned for a second. Instead, he decided to concentrate on the disturber. Was it coming off him or the female?
“Who are you?” he asked, narrowing his eyes and was met with equally annoyed stare. He couldn’t pass the sudden thought as if the human was challenging him for some reason. For what?
“Kyle Darves, sir.”
Polite? It sounded military like, the way his voice fell, when he punched on the words. Might have been? Humans did have open system for everybody to join. He didn’t divert his gaze and kept it steadily on the tall human, over the heads of the two females between them. They were on equal heights. He wouldn’t lower his gaze either.
“We own a bar on the back of the free time area of the station. We don’t pay much, but should be enough for expenses, plus you get to keep the tips. You don’t need to use your voice, we can start with jobs that don’t require working with customers.”
“There,” he pressed through thin lips, annoyed, “you have a job now too.” He nodded quickly and turned around, leaving the humans to discuss the details.
That barman was doing it purposely! If he weren’t older, he would most certainly challenge him for intervening in his business.
He waited, looking over the shoulder quickly. She bit deep in her lip so she wouldn’t shout out a thank you. She nodded instead and they stood there, watching him strove away, shoulders squared in disappointment. He’d done it on purpose! He’d witnessed humans react on surprises and was using it!
“Phew! That went well!” she turned around, still holding her hand.
“In what way?” she asked, voice hoarse. She gulped hard, trying to rid the dryness from her mouth. “Darling, have I failed as an older sibling? Have I not told you how to lie to mom?”
“So you can talk?” Kyle Darves sounded amused, but then again. “Oh, don’t worry! They don’t know about lying – their culture doesn’t have it!”
Well! Being around humans sure was changing them! Her grin grew just a bit wilder than she would have liked, but the moment her sister turned she was serious again.
“I had to use little lies here before and they didn’t make the difference!” Her sister went with the bragging without thinking twice that just as they had fooled Belyer, they were just outed by Kyle “What?”
“Don’t worry, we’re not snitching.” He smiled widely. “I’m Kyle Darves, this is my friend in crime, Swick Hartman – we own the small Cigar in the end of the recreation area. We started about a month ago, so we don’t have a lot going on yet, but if you’re interested, we do need a barmaid.”
“I’m not sure about your voice…” Swick tried to pull down the eagerness of his friend. “We do need help, so if you can join us, that would be great, but…”
“She only needs to lie to Belyer.” Meredith said. She could see the mix of odd surprise on both faces. The princess of the station declaring to complete strangers how she was to break the law.
“Why do I have to lie to him anyway?”
“What’s wrong with that? I have very nice voice!”
“The moment he hears you talk, he knows something is wrong. Remember I told you their culture is built around sounds? That it’s how they choose their partners?”
“They use their hearing as their aid to find, who’d they have best sex with and thus…” Kyle added, chuckling.
“Too much info!”
She responded with nearly pulling her hand off.
“Don’t let him hear you speak, Dakota Warren, and I mean it!”
“Ok, ok, no need to cut my hand off!” they walked the next half a minute in silence. “So, I’m to play mute now?”
The blond beauty lit up as she’d hit the nail. “Yes! That’s it! If no one can hear you speak, then no one will find out and he certainly won’t find out!”
That’s just scary, she decided and pulled her to full stop. “I don’t think that can work.”
“Why not?” Swick asked.
“Sanja, to start with?”
“OH!” She thought for a long moment. “Don’t worry about her, I can get her to keep you secret. Who else?”
She tried to remember hard if she spoke in Belyer’s office. “No one here, I think.”
“Well, think hard, ’cause it’s important now.”
“Alright. No need to get over exited now.”
“You are the one, who came here to hide, remember?”
“Hide?” Kyle sounded surprised, but after a moment of thorough checkup on her, his eyes widened for a moment before he chuckled again. “Oh, I see. Nice work, by the way – you look great!”
She nearly snorted! The man wasn’t so different at all, dressing pretty as a male, but inside, he carried the same faulty blood.
“See, this is why you can’t speak in front of Belyer! She’ll see you later, gentlemen. Good day!”
“Where are you leading me to?” she asked instead, when she kept walking and dragging her behind her. Her eyes flew up just in time to see another alien dressed similar to Belyer stop in the crowd and pinpoint them from his spot.
For a moment she thought the entire alien mass here was working on same brain principles as ants – one sets the path and others pick it up on the go. Be marked down as a possible threat and they all kept keen eye on you as if you really were planning something big. Did they leave scent messages? Probably not, she shivered, he hadn’t touched her after all. Yeah, that’s it – it was all her own imagination and paranoia playing her up.
“Food! You gotta taste that weird ice-cream like substance they serve here. You’ll hate it soon enough, but at first you might even like it!”
She wasn’t listening, but let herself be dragged with. She couldn’t break the eye contact she had with the younger alien. No polite nods as if to say hello, no proper conduct at all – just a weird who-the-hell-are-you thing going on.
He did stand out though. Slim, tall and shoulders several inches higher than human males, who surrounded him. The color code of his puffed costume was dark gray and dark blue with thin forest green stripes shining out as if she was staring at a beetle. Although the pattern was same as Belyer’s, the slimming coat made him look royal compared to the soldier hidden in the chief’s clothes.
“Who is he?” she asked from her sister, nudging her shoulder, still staring at the alien.
Meredith flinched, strong shiver running through her as if she’d been caught smoking. “That’s Belyer’s right hand man!” She swirled them both around so he couldn’t see their faces. “Him you should also avoid.”
“Is there anyone on this station I won’t have to avoid?”
“Humans.” She said simply and pulled her onwards.
She burst into giggles, trying hard to hide it behind her hand. She didn’t think humans were really the trustworthy punch, but she wasn’t about to change her sis’ opinion.