The Sub-Committee on Intergalactic Security and Recruitment held hearings….

Telmx (video of author reading from excerpt below)

The Sub-Committee on Intergalactic Security and Recruitment held hearings in the northeast spoke of the sprawling Council complex on Locur Centrex. The Sub-Committee consisted of eighty-two representatives from the full 2,867-member Intergalactic Council, which in turn represented the 300 billion different species from thirty—soon to be thirty-one—galaxies. Telmx squatted among a handful of sentients in the reception area, an immense comfortable chamber tastefully decorated with miniature tapestries, frescos and holograms from every part of the known universe. Soft out-loud music, along with their appropriate aromas, competed with her anxious anticipation of the hearing. Goshing, her mentor and a permanent member of the Sub-Committee, was probably at that very moment sponsor-presenting Telmx’s petition for monitor recruitment right behind the huge closed doors on the far side of the reception area.

No way of knowing what was going on. In the Intergalactic Council complex, shielding was so tight, even Goshing and Telmx, highly evolved Imari empaths, could not empath to each other across even the thinnest of barriers. She couldn’t even read others in the reception area, squatting, sitting, lying down, standing, swimming (in huge portable tanks), hovering around her. Every time she visited Locur Centrex, there were more varieties of sentient life forms to learn about. This time, a pair of round, floppy-eared gray beings hovered far above her, near the top of the domed ceiling. Their noses resembled the elephants she had recently encountered scanning the Earth’s jungles, except, like most sentients who agreed to join the council, they had huge sapien hands—four of them, in this case. Some day she would read up on studies about the correlation between the rate of planetary industrialization and the number of thumbs the dominant species possessed. Near her, two Orangas were chattering in a language she vaguely understood. They were small furry creatures with long shingled tails, whose dramatic gestures punctuated their loud vibrant conversation.

Her petition was going to be tricky. By accident, responding to the distress of the little earthling child, she had entered her mind too completely. J was now a Level I empath, without the express consent of the Council. She needed that consent without letting on that she had already inadvertently recruited. If they found out she had superseded her authority, she would lose all she had trained for and ever wanted to be. Old Gir and Goshing had been great about it, but the Council would certainly expel her from the Order of Empath Travel Scouts, not to mention the censures that Goshing and Gir would have to endure. Better if this little detail were just kind of left out—which made her all the more grateful no one in these chambers could listen to each other’s minds.
“Telmx Galencia Eja-K’arika?”

A sinewy calico Gorrime standing before her broke her reverie. It still startled her that in this place of empath silence she could not anticipate someone intent on addressing her. She knew this receptionist from last time—a distinguished Imari-like sentient, except he was much shorter, and possessed overlapping tufts of long wafting cilia along his forehead and the sides of his face.
“Yes.” Her mouth went dry and her cilia began to ache. So it’s time, she thought.
“Please follow me.”

She felt for her V.E.-disks, now shoved deep into the front pocket folds of her ceremonial wishaptha, and stood to her full height, dwarfing most of the sentients around her.

The author reading from Chapter One

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