First Encounters (ICI 1)

“Ohhh, that’s a good one,” Aeryn said, sitting down. “Harketh’s Lunar Odyssey.”

The person in question didn’t even look up from his book.

Aeryn didn’t know him at all, but everyone usually downloaded their books or researched through online databases so seeing someone in a library was quite rare, even if it was in the Intergalactic Combat and Intelligence Academy’s library.

“That’s not light reading,” Aeryn said. “Fifty chapters of exploration.”

The man didn’t budge.

“You’re from Kaltyru, aren’t you?” Aeryn asked. “Bet you’re wondering what gave it away. The blue hue or the black eyes.”

The Kaltyri man looked up finally, his black eyes seemed to have tiny pinpricks of light, as if they contained distant stars.

“What do you want, Human? To pester me?”

“I have a name. It’s Aeryn.”

“I don’t care what your name is,” he said.

Aeryn chuckled.

“Why are all Kaltyri so irritated?”

“Because of arrogant Earthians who think they own the galaxy and everyone in it,” the man said.

“Not fair…we only own fifteen percent.”

The Kaltyri did a double blink; the equivalent of an eyeroll for his species.

“Tough crowd.”

Aeryn got up and went to a shelf. He was looking for books on celestial patterns within clusters containing black holes but he settled for a book on Martian zoos. He sat back down, next to the Kaltyri man. It only took him two minutes of fake reading to finally speak up again. He shut the book and turned to him.

“Go on a date with me,” Aeryn said.

The Kaltyri shut his book and looked at him, a blank, albeit agitated expressions on his face.

“No.”

“Not into guys?” Aeryn asked.

The man stood up. He was wearing a casual uniform, a black, matte jacket and matching pants. The logo was of the Academy.

“No, because you’re Human,” he said, moving from the table and back to the shelves to put his book away.

Aeryn stood up as well. “That’s a bit racist, don’t you think?”

“No, I’m just not into Humans,” he said. “Somehow, they always manage to annoy me.” He threw a glare at Aeryn.

“Let’s talk about that…over a drink.”

The Kaltyri man slid his book into a shelf and made an exasperated noise.

“Don’t you have lesser forms to colonize or something?” he asked.

“Don’t think I’d be here if I had the power to do that,” Aeryn said.

“Why are you here? Didn’t think Humans had the patience or the brains to read.”

“I like to read,” Aeryn said, smiling. “And this is my first time at Cyron’s ICI Academy library.”

“To bad it’s open to the public.”

“Well, that won’t be a problem for long.”

Aeryn lifted his shirt slightly to flash a newly acquired Academy ID. The Kaltyri man stared.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” he said.

“I’m a transfer,” Aeryn said with a grin.

The Kaltyri made a huffing sound and flashed his ID card. He was also a student of the Academy. Aeryn peered at it.

“So, your name is Cassus,” Aeryn said.

Cassus quickly put his ID away.

“What field is your focus?” Aeryn asked.

“Tactical. Special Ops.”

“Aren’t you a bit short for that?”

Rightfully, Cassus gave him a glare.

“Relax, I was kidding,” Aeryn said, chuckling. “I’m in Investigations. Maybe some of our classes will over—”

“I hope not,” Cassus said, walking towards the library entrance. “For your own sake. This isn’t a place for squishy Humans.”

And then he left.

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