Alien General's Bride (Brion Brides)(3)By: Vi Voxley
Isolde’s mouth dropped open. “Trial? But...”
The agent was serious again. “Do not worry for his sake, Miss Fenner. This is a huge blunder and we will try to fix what we can. But Rhea... Rhea is important. He should have waited for you, even if you had been a week late.”
He typed something into a console, pulled faces of which at least three bordered on disgust – Isolde would have to update her views on Palians – and finally motioned for her to follow. As they walked, Isolde composed a letter in her head to her professor back on Terra, the one who had sent her on this space adventure. It went something like this:
Dear professor Nagasuke,
I hope this letter finds you well and busy, as you love to be. Now, if you would please explain to me why you neglected to tell me that the mission to Rhea is important enough to create an intergalactic fuss over? That would be ever so wonderful.
Your admiring student,
They had to be joking. Isolde was prepared to admit she wasn’t known as the life of the parties, but she wasn’t completely bereft of a sense of humor either. Only this was something else. She didn’t even know if she wanted it to be a joke or not. Because if it was, it was a very odd one and someone was likely to die.
Agent Perkins, for example. Face to face with the most handsome man she had ever seen.
Isolde found it surprisingly easy to laugh about this situation. She had messed up, so they punished her by – as far as she could tell – trying to dump her on Terra’s (and the galaxy’s as a whole) most volatile allies. Naturally. What could possibly go wrong? With Brions.
It wasn’t like they had only recently been let in the Galactic union , after being denied twice because of some things headlines at home called “the unfortunate result of routine military exercises”. The joke being the Brions were somehow always in the vicinity of a brooding conflict and seemed to wait just until it boiled over so they could step in and break everything, later claiming the most innocent of intentions. Her professors had called the Brions “a bunch of brats who play at war, only some idiot handed them nuclear warheads and adamantium blades instead of sticks”.
She doubted if any of them would have loved to phrase that to the towering 6’4” mass of man meat trying to burn agent Perkins to half-human, half-Palian ash with his gaze.
To his credit, the agent wasn’t backing down one inch. Isolde found herself oddly charmed by confident men, although this one obviously harbored clear and untreated suicidal tendencies. Her knowledge of Brionese dialects laughed hollowly in her face as she caught only some of what the hunk (no better or more self-explanatory way of describing Brion men) spat at the unyielding agent. To be honest, she didn’t actually speak Brionese – very few in the galaxy besides the Brions did – but the simplified version of the language, which the man in front of him apparently neglected to resort to.
She made out “unheard of”, something along the lines of “none of our business”, and several words she had to assume from the context were thinly veiled insults to agent Perkins’ character and martial capability.
That couldn’t be denied. The Brion could easily have broken a grown man’s neck between the trunks of what presumed to be his biceps, and Isolde had to enact some manual self-control not to stare.
When the Brion had to stop to breathe, agent Perkins slipped in with all the smoothness of a born negotiator. Isolde could have clapped when he spoke in a fluent, precise manner and in much more subtle threats of “precedent”, “upcoming GU High Council”, “questionable military presence”, and – Isolde had to bite her lip not to giggle out loud – “would do good for your image” – until she realized what that entailed for her. Then she shut up. So did the Brion, if gritting one’s teeth so loudly the air seemed to vibrate counts as shutting up.