The second Blue Flame novel –
There is a wiki database to reference names, although you can certainly ask me questions as well.The Other Side of Life
Chapter Fourteen: Part One
Greg turned at hearing his name not considering the situation unusual. He actually thought it strange when he could move about and not be bothered. He thus turned to the one that called him with a pleasant expression on his face.
“Ambassador Greg, I want to speak my thanks on behalf of my faction for the fine socials provided for our consortium.”
This was not the first time such a statement had been made. Greg did recognize this speaker as one of the minor groups, and there was some pleasure to hear even agreement from the factions that usually showed up with grievances. He thus truly felt the warmth that he tried to put into his words.
“Well, you don’t know how much luck went into our decisions or the timing of things, but we were thrilled to have such esteemed witnesses. Glad that you appreciated the visit, and hopefully we can satisfy you as well next time.”
The being approached to say, “Glad to hear it, Ambassador. Really, you are doing well. There is a lot of talk of you not staying, and we don’t want that.”
“Well, I agree with you. Let’s not talk about me leaving. We have to deal honestly with ourselves just like we force you to deal honestly with us and each other. Still, I should become as much a part of this vessel as the other ambassadors. Things change, but hopefully our concerns are far in the future.”
“Sounds good, Ambassador. Until next time.”
Greg did not engage his own feet as the attaché moved off, as he saw his own employee, Jirdan, approaching. Seeing the Cladastian pleasantly cover the distance, there was no feeling that trouble was being brought. He even paused as if to find some delay to prevent any intrusion into an already occurring conversation, declaring that that nothing of importance was being conveyed. Greg thus held his ground as he looked to Jirdan letting him know it was all right to advance.
“Everything seems to have gone well with this meeting. I was little needed, as these basically spoke the same language. I however have been given the assignment to continue with developing my code, as there is no telling how the next ones to arrive might speak.”
Just to be conversational, Greg calmly replied, “I thought the translation software could handle forms of speech besides vocal.”
“There are almost none in our knowledge that do so. I was asked if you could transform into such a creature, one you have met in your travels, that could help us develop our translation software further.”
“No. Honestly, I don’t think I could. The Flame does have my body appear in different forms, but they are usually reactionary depending upon the culture. The Flame is a personification of a force of the universe, so my appearance is as the people consider me to be. I don’t think about how I appear, but it is just part of what I am to appear as I do. Around those of you of the Suderling Union, I appear as myself, as there is not a strong enough image of how I should appear.”
The Cladastian was designed along a triple axis with three of most things. He only had one mouth however. Greg noticed that he moved in a manner to prevent his speech organ from being seen as he replied.
“I expected some form of ‘no,’ but what you said did make sense.”
“Good. Now, are there any other pressing engagements within the foreseeable future?”
Jirdan moved as if to determine in which direction Greg should be going. He however had no set direction, but was merely making himself available for the occupation he was on the ship to perform. Jirdan ended up simply standing next to Greg while providing an answer.
“No. There will be the usual discussions of having the Apostle move to a more reactionary part of our union, but everyone again deciding against it as your presence is never assured.”
“Well, we both know that this part of the galaxy does have its problems. I however seem to not to be pressed for business either. I could go to Peace, but at the moment I am here.”
Still in a position where his mouth could not be seen, Jirdan said, “If you are thinking to go to your wife, she is with Tertha.”
“Nothing wrong with that. I am glad to know that the two get along.”
“It is something to do with decorating.”
Considering that Jirdan’s wife had recently laid a number of eggs, Greg really wondered about the type of decorating ideas that would be discussed. He however did feel it a very positive sign that the two ladies got alone. He felt his relationship with Jirdan and Tertha was a good thing, so could only support whatever the two ladies were doing together.
“Then I will leave them at it. If nothing is pressing here,” Greg turned to direct his face toward a monitor to assure that others knew to inform him should they have other concerns, “then I guess that I will go to Peace.”
“Wish I could go with you.”
Considering the Cladastian a friend, Greg replied, “I wish that you could as well. Still, I expect something to disrupt whatever I am doing. I will let you know what happened after I return.”
“It will give us something to talk about, besides business.”
Greg voiced an agreement while turning to go to an elevator door. Those that moved personnel further than just between floors traveled through the vacuum of space, as it was not feasible to keep air in the lengths of shafts. As the Flame, Greg could activate the doors, move through them safely keeping the ship’s atmosphere stable, then close the doors before rushing off to wherever he felt a desire to be.
The second parlor in Peace was empty. He strode into the room accepting that such was usually the case, as those in Peace did try to be as sociable with each other as possible. Considering the short period that he had been active among the immortals, he remembered what usually happened was a few men or women would get into a conversation and move to the other parlor where they could rant or get rowdy without disturbing anyone. Greg however entered the second parlor attempting to understand why it was present. A jubridor was in the room, and Greg had it make him an alcoholic mixed drink, then sipped it while pondering what facts of the parlor he knew.
There had been two parlors near the fountain, but he could not think of why. The room with the fountain did not seem to be a place to socialize with food, but he could think of no reason why it could not happen. Surely the jubridors, or whatever saw to the maintenance of this place, could take care of a few spills. Greg accepted that a nearby parlor to sit and eat a meal made sense, but could not think of a reason for two.
His first assumption was along the line that he usually knew of this second parlor being used, which was according to gender. Nothing about the room however spoke of it appearing masculine or feminine. The chairs and divans were different, but not in any stylistic manner. They only had him think that these were the pieces of furniture for this room, although he could not help but consider that the Jubridors would redecorate if someone would give such an order. If the parlors were to be used according to gender then Greg could only assume that they should look as if intended for men or women. That had him wonder why these pieces of furniture were present. Not even being able to check an assumption about the purpose for two parlors, he stepped out of the room considering how to gain more information.
“Greg!” He turned to see Vabrey, and as he approached he asked, “What were you doing in there?”
“Wondering about it.” Greg looked right, thought of Shetaile, but it was Vabrey that was present. “Do you want to join me?”
Greg shrugged, then took off running. The sound of four thick heavy feet soon came behind him. The two ran for a time, then Greg stopped. Vabrey ran a little past him, then came to a halt in order to ask a question.
“What was that about?”
Instead of immediately answering, Greg walked up to the quadraped to point while simply providing an obvious statement. “It’s yellow.”
Vabrey looked, then said, “Yeah. The things some of you get fascinated about.”
“You know of another yellow doorway?”
“Uh, now that you mention it – no.”
He followed Greg toward the portal. The door was in a semi-circular alcove with a red doorway in the curve where neither had been able to previously see it. Greg did speak of checking to see what was stored in that room, but headed to move through the yellow portal.
Even Vabrey had to make exclamations upon stepping into a garden. It was not as expansive as the fountain room, but it gave me the impression of being much more active. The walls were of the usual artificially appearing panels, which in this case were a light gray. Columns supported what appeared to be a walkway, although actually seemed to provide some shade to the plants growing about the perimeter. Other plants grew where a bright light stayed constant. Greg stopped and noticed that he did not smell the aroma of rotting vegetation and soil, but found himself almost overwhelmed with the scent of fruit and flowers. Vabrey stepped forward while asking the obvious question.
“Do you recognize these plants?”
“They are not roses or dandelions, so no.” He moved to examine what appeared to be a rough thick reddish leaf, but stopped upon recognizing it as a fruit. “There is no telling what world has plants like this.”
“Do you think that there is a room with plants from every world?”
Considering that he had knowledge of doing things that would hopefully result in abundant new life, Greg had to make a conclusion. “No. Peace would have to be extremely expansive. Not just for the numerous worlds, but for all of their climates along with the grand number of plants as they developed over time.”
“So, why are these plants here?”
“I would stop now, Vabrey, as you are going to become a philosopher.”
The quadraped turned slowly so as to cause little damage to the plants around him while asking, “Are you saying that there is no answer?”
“No, Vabrey, I am saying that there is no way for us to learn the answer. There is no one to tell us things. Yes, there has to be a reason why these plants are here, but we do not have any source to answer those questions. We are not looking to gain answers, but simply to learn. This is our home away from wherever we call home. This is a part of our lives. It is just nice knowing that a garden is here.”
“Well, what is in the store room across the way?”
Greg simply shrugged while reminding Vabrey that an earlier comment had been made to check the other portal out. The two thus exited the garden to directly step through the red doorway. The room did not appear organized at all, but had piles of clothes in no clear sign of organization. Vabrey did not appear interested, but Greg walked past him mentioning taking a moment to check the stacks to see if anything important might be found.
The quadraped never asked what Greg might be looking for, but simply moved with him. The pace began as casual, but as the size of the room continued to stretch before them Greg slowly had his feet increase in rhythm. Suddenly, he stopped upon seeing something he felt was familiar. Vabrey continued to silently move with the man as he changed direction to walk over to a stack toward something he felt was familiar.
The two looked at the garment with Vabrey putting his conclusion to words, “Our pictures, our clothes, they don’t allow anything personal to remain in our rooms.”
Greg corrected him. “No directly personal. If we went to Chisel’s room, it would appear as it did, but simply lacking those things that clearly identified him.”
“You would think that they would at least send the things to his family, or at least his world where there would hopefully be someone who would care.”
The glance from Greg indicated that he could not argue with the words. “Definitely gives you the impression that something is being done wrong, but it also causes you to wonder why the things are kept.”
“Yeah.” He went silent for a moment, then asked, “Do you think there was a war? You know, a fight – a struggle between those early immortals?”
“I cannot say, but – no. No, there was no real struggle. I believe that they simply felt that they were special – that they belonged here. While something does mark us, I believe the intent of these storage rooms is to say that we are not unique.”
“But not completely cast aside either. The stuff is kept.” Vabrey moved to the door while saying, “Thanks for bringing me, Greg.”
“I didn’t bring you. You could have come or not come.”
“No, you could have said it a different way. They way you said it, I came.”
“Oh, well, since you put it that way – you’re welcome.”