Ambassadorial Yak

Alex wiped the blear from his eyes and muzzily tried to process Seymour's waffle.

“And so, in reference to point seventeen b, I put it to you - the good people of the Ssala Tribe - that we work toge-” He frowned.
“Uh... Mr Eastlick, are they asleep?”
At his name, a bow-headed Jamie snapped to attention.
“Whu'?” He blinked and cleared his throat. “Oh uh... No that's just their, um...” he subtly prodded one on the knee “... their hibernation cycle” he invented, so as not to insult the ambassador.
At the prod, the Ssala's head jerked up, and without warning it leapt to its feet, issuing a barrage of angry hisses and clicks which were quite clearly directed at Seymour.
Niples swallowed nervously as the startled tribesman eyeballed him.
“I say...”

Jamie frowned and scratched his impressive beard.
“That... is actually quite unusual behaviour for a Ssala, they're normally a fairly placid people. It's not often they become so aggravated.”
Alex let out a tired grunt of a chuckle.
Well, they've just met Seymour, ain't they?”

Seymour winced.

Haven't they, Mr Solvay.”
“Yeah... they 'ave, that's what I said.”
“No, 'haven't they', not 'ain't they'.”
Alex's face creased, in an Elvis-lipped display of apparent confusion.
“What are you talking about? Yes. They have.”
Seymour tutted, 70% certain that Alex was being deliberately obtuse, and asked Jamie to recap the last thing he'd said to the Ssala.
Jamie looked panicked.
“The joining of forces, Mr Eastlick”.
“Oh yes.” He made a sound like a feral cat on heat, and off they went again.

Gods, it was excruciating. Alex hugged his knees, and ran his gaze over the others - they all looked as bored as he felt. The only interesting thing was Efof making googly eyes at one of the Ssala. Heh, maybe the blue git'd get lucky.
On the subject of getting lucky, Phi's neck looked warm and elegant... kissable.
Nope, he couldn't be thinking things like that.
He groaned loudly and got to his feet, as much as to distract himself from fantasising about the ladies present, as to escape the tedium of Seymour's incredible ambassadorial yak.

“Just gotta... uh-”
He offered no further explanation, just wandered off.
“Where're you going?” Plisken called, in thinly veiled annoyance. He didn't see why the hamster and the sullen one got to leave the meeting while the rest of them were stuck there.
“Generator” said Alex, not looking back.
Seymour threw his hands up in despair at yet another interruption.
Jamie mirrored the movement.
So did the Ssala, with smiles, seeming to enjoy this part of the conversation more than anything else that had happened during the entire discussion so far.

Seymour watched Mr Solvay plod off, and, fists clenching, decided to give up on him for the evening. Sometimes it was like trying to deal with an absurd teenager in an unseemly man's body.

“Mr Solvay is feeling unwell.” He informed the Ssala, deciding that it wasn't exactly a lie, for all he knew Mr Solvay did feel unwell. He certainly didn't look particularly healthy.


The generator was impressive - large, solid, and masterfully built. It was somehow simultaneously modern and intriguingly ancient, and Alex took a liking to it right away. Whoever had created it had cared for their work, and weren't only concerned with function, but form. There were several likely unnecessary but attractive adornments; he could see why it was displayed so prominently in the village.
A large ring ran around the base, on which was inscribed some sort of writing or symbols that glowed an alluring turquoise. He ran his fingers appreciatively across the lit grooves, stopping to wipe some dirt from one.
All of a sudden the contraption emitted a loud buzz, and a holographic projection sprang outwards, causing him to jump sideways in alarm.

He tilted his head, unable to work out what it was for a moment. There was... a symbol, a picture, that looked like a representation of the generator, then... over here, and here... several more. Ah! Some sort of map!
It showed a bunch more of the ringed generators, dotted over an unfamiliar landmass (the one they were on, he presumed), all roughly circling one central hub.
He poked at it, his finger meeting nothing but air.


The Ssala chief pointed over at Solvay and squawked anxiously.
“He's asking why you are letting your village idiot interfere with their most sacred of artefacts.”

He turned to be greeted by several Ssala with spears pointed at him. The sight made his eye twitch, and his staples itch - a rude reminder of the Huzzard incident.
He held up his hands in what he hoped was a universal sign of compliance - no weapons here.

“Let's not do anything hasty, boys.”
He considered that.
“Or girls.”
It was difficult to tell.

One of them thumbed the projection off, and the others directed him back over to the group.
“Seymour," he began "there are more generators, and...”
Niples's face was red with either anger or shame.
“Please sit down and be quiet, I think you've done enough damage for one day, don't you?”
“You're not listening. I think you're right about- ”

The rest of the sentence was swallowed amid happy cries from the Ssala. They'd spotted Jay, Jaxx and Phil lumbering their awkward way into the village, bearing the massive Haruk, and leading the rescued young Ssala.

“Yes! Well done!” Said Jacky, enthusiastically. He was pleased because perhaps it meant the boring conversation would soon be over .
He peered behind the group. “Uh, where's Davie?”

As he and Jay lay down their burden, Jaxx simply shook his head in reply, lower lip trembling.
“Oh... Shit.”

Jay ran a hand through his hair and cleared his throat.
“Yeah. Sorry guys... I'm afraid Davie didn't make it.”
“Oh. Well, goodness me.” Seymour's tone was gentle now.
“That... That is a bother.”

A shocked hush fell over the group. Plisken removed his hat and held it to his chest. Efof followed suit, which was... unfortunate.

After a long and poignant silence, the Ssala chief quietly intoned something to Jamie.
“Ambassador Niples, the Ssala say that because you have lost one of your tribe in order to bravely save one of theirs, they would be most honoured to assist you.”


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