TtWA

  • Fiction,  TtWA

    Turn the World Around, Part 24

    by Chapter 20 Video cameras.  Microphones.  Flashes. Safe behind one way glass and hopefully protected from any eavesdropping devices, I looked out over an ocean of reporters, questions to come from all over the world.  Anyone who could afford, or almost afford, to send a representative had someone there, and usually more than one.  If I hadn’t known the guest complexes were beyond capacity with government representatives, I’d’ve thought they were filled with reporters.  I didn’t know whereGuineafound space for the press.  National leaders across the globe waited on standby so they could jet in if it looked like something big might be in the offing. I tried not to…

  • Fiction,  TtWA

    Turn the World Around, Part 23

    by Chapter 19 (conclusion) Brief glimpses at Talya and Manuel showed the same confusion that probably decorated my face.  Manuel’s eyebrows dropped into a deep frown and that worried me a little.  He’d shown nothing but patience in the months we’d been talking.  I chalked it up to the stress of the moment. Snap, snarl, spit.  Before the Hoon Ambassador finished speaking, my translator began delivering stilted English.  “This is strange.”  Was that a break with tradition, the Hoon going first? Mahyul nodded, her thin head almost slicing through the air.  “I am forced to agree.  My blood is hot being this close to you, even in the cause of…

  • Fiction,  TtWA

    Turn the World Around, Part 22

    by Chapter 19 (cont) The Hoon and Asoolianne ambassadors stood waiting, maybe even holding their breaths.  I turned to greet the swish of glittering fabric as Ambassador Mahyul stepped through the door.  From the corner of my eye, the Asoolianne representative hopped to stand beside Talya.  The Hoon, still in my view as I pressed my knuckles together while bowing to Mahyul, waited for a second or two before thumping into the room to Manuel’s side. The Hoon are always late. Captain Razush’s words came back to me from Landing Day.  Or was it a day or two after?  Months ago now, but it seemed like years.  I had no…

  • Fiction,  TtWA

    Turn the World Around, Part 21

    by Chapter 19 Money—and probably far more of it than I heard about from any of the ambassadors or government officials I met over the course of eight months—greased the wheels of construction.  I should have had more faith in my own species, at least in our capability to respond under pressure.  Given the ultimatum of ‘have it done or all three alien species leave and we get squat for our trouble’, money from every nation that could squeeze it from the budget flooded into Guinea and created an instant boom in construction.  No one talked about what would happen to the boom when things finished, but I suspected some…

  • Fiction,  TtWA

    Turn the World Around, Part 20

    by Chapter 18 (conclusion) I set the second disk down and slid it across the table.  No one jumped to grab it this time, but St. Hivon, computer already open, popped the drive open to be ready to swap disks.  “Not as comprehensive as they’ll need to be, but the Shalash, Asoolianne, and Hoon are more than willing to leave the details of design and construction to us.  The disk just has the basic requirements.  General sizes and dimension of things appropriate for each species, including climate control, furniture, and sanitary facilities.  Some of it conflicts and they’re leaving it to us to work out the kinks.  The key thing…

  • Fiction,  TtWA

    Turn the World Around, Part 19

    by Chapter 18 (cont) I took another deep breath and tried not to bit my lip.  “I’ve actually had three meetings with Ambassador Mahyul regarding the list.  Recognizing my inexperience in the field of interspecies negotiations, she takes great pains to explain the Shalash point of view behind everything.”  I shook my head at Cunningham’s opening mouth.  “Before you suggest it, sir, I don’t feel like I’m being taken advantage of and I have no reason to suspect her of being untruthful in any way.”  I did have the feeling Mahyul didn’t provide the whole truth on certain subjects, but what could I do about that except keep asking questions? …

  • Fiction,  TtWA

    Turn the World Around, Part 18

    by Chapter 18 Materializing on the jetty for my next government meeting, that uncomfortable feeling settled in for what looked to be a nice, long visit.  Far too many suits waited under the shelter. “Mr. Cotta.” St. Hivon stood and stepped out from behind the table to shake my hand.  “I have some introductions to make.”  Four other people stood with him, three men and a woman, all in expensive suits and with serious expressions. “Ambassador Cunningham, appointed from the United States.  Ambassadors William Henderson-Jones and Nicole Vergniol, representing the European Union.  Ambassador Chong So, of the People’s Republic of China.” I shook hands with each and exchanged meaningless greetings. …

  • Fiction,  TtWA

    Turn the World Around, Part 17

    by Chapter 17 Manuel, as the only Intermediary with security experience, gained over thirty years of military service, took the lead and agreed to be the primary interface with the government of Guinea, the centre of our triangle, in that regard should we someday be able to get into contact with them.  “Looking at each of the requirement sets, I find that they are remarkably similar, with only small differences from one side to the next.  It will be harder to balance things three ways—who will conduct first sweeps, and so on—but it will be an interesting challenge.” Talya seemed happy to give up that portion of the organization, more…

  • Fiction,  TtWA

    Turn the World Around, Part 16

    by Chapter 16 Ambassador Mahyul, having finally made the time for a meeting lasting longer than five minutes, asked me to read through the details of the shopping list rather than read it herself.  She’d refused to let me give it to her ahead of time, explaining that there should be no pre-existing bias.  I wasn’t sure how my reading it aloud would eliminate the bias.  What bit of Shalash psychology made that make sense?  What context did I need to understand?  A subtle reminder that I was way out of my depth, but at this point I just had to push through. As I read, I edited a few…

  • Fiction,  TtWA

    Turn the World Around, Part 15

    by Chapter 14 “Wake up, Ian.”  Lying in the larger than king-size bed with three sleeping children sprawled around me, I had a hard time prying my eyes open even with Sharon shaking my shoulder. She had the wall on, volume turned far down to avoid waking me or the kids.  Probably the news.  My wife had a fondness for early morning news that had stopped bothering me a long time ago.  Now she hardly ever had the news off and I got everything she thought I might need to know in short, simple sentences I’d understand. I could hear the low grumble of the anchor’s voice but wasn’t alert…