The Dessaron’s ship landed delicately on the platform, despite the dangerous storms and streaks of lightning cutting through the sky.
“Uh, why are we here?” Psiksi asked as Tenuk shut everything down and started putting on an environmental suit.
“Tenuk?” Retvik was also concerned. “This is an unscheduled stop. What are we doing?”
Tenuk didn’t answer. Elksia grabbed him by the shoulder, pulling him back. “Dude, Tenuk, what’s up?”
“I don’t know…” Tenuk finally answered. “But I saw this place on navigation and wanted to have a look.”
“You couldn’t have said that as we landed or something!” Psiksi tutted. “I thought we were heading home!”
“We will be, after this…” Tenuk threw some envionmental suits at his team, then got ready to leave the ship. Retvik peered out of the window to see where they were, but he couldn’t see much past the rain and fog.
Elksia and Psiksi put on their suits, which automatically stretched and shrank to fit them. Retvik did the same but also grabbed a small blaster. Just in case.
Tenuk opened the door and stepped outside, wobbling slightly in the wind. The others followed, uncertain what was going on.
Waiting for them were three Vahrga. One red, one white, one green. All heavily armoured.
“Hello, strange beings, what brings you here?” the red Vahrga asked. Their head plates were decorated with coloured flames.
“You are members of an independent Vohra nest, yes?” Tenuk asked back. “We are… here for two reasons. Firstly we wanted to know how independent nests work so we can help recently abandoned Vohra nests, and secondly, we would like to make an offer to you.”
The white and green Varhga glanced at each other. The red one stared at Tenuk.
“You are drawn here by gears and cogs you cannot see, yes?” the red Vahrga growled. “A connection that transcends multiverses. Drawn to me.”
“Like the old, green, liar-Vahrga who came along!” The green Vahrga’s voice was somewhat squeaky. All of their voices had a mechanical twang to them. “The one who was connected. This one is its brother, yet your brother too!”
The red Vahrga nodded. “Welcome, beings. My name is Tanok. These are my siblings, Korak and Levak. We are the Vahrga and guardians of this nest. Have been for a long time.”
Tenuk bowed. “I am Tahnahos tou Avran, Tenuk Theanon. These are my close friends and associates General Retvik Rethianos, Lieutenant Elksia Ksion and Psiksi of the Ξ-Class Ksa.”
Tanok smiled. “It is nice to meet you all.”
“Nice to have visitors too!” Levak added. “Come on in!”
The Vahrga led the Dessaron into the nest. Unlike most nests though, the walls and tunnels were insanely clean and straight, as if they had been sanded down then coated in rubber. The Vohra wandering around were working as tirelessly as ever, but seemed somewhat… mindless.
They eventually made it to a throne room, where three Vahyra Queens were present. There didn’t seem to be any Vahla Guards around protecting them. To the left of them though was a pile of discs made out of goodness knows what.
“Hey, my beloved queens!” Levak beamed. “We have guests! People who might actually want to trade with us and not want to destroy us when they find out the truth!”
Retvik blinked. “What truth?”
Korak slapped Levak across the face them nodded at the queens.
“Is that one like the green thing that came by?” the largest of the Vahyra, in black and silver, asked.
“It is, Nuvok!” Tanok smiled. “He is harmless. As are their friends. And even if they weren’t harmless…”
“Galok, Parak and I can deal with anything!” Nuvok hissed. “But still. You think we can talk the truth? Can they handle it?”
Korak was tapping away at some sort of device. He glanced over at Parak and smiled.
“Korak thinks they’ve seen more shit than we have. This lot tussled with the time god a while back.”
Nuvak looked at the other queens, then sighed. “Fine. But if they try to harm us, I turn them into pancakes!”
“We would never harm anyone unless they threatened us first!” Retvik exclaimed. “But clearly you are lacking in visitors…”
“I’m telling them…” Galok grinned as she adjusted herself. “You see, little ones, we are somehow very long-lived, each of us living over thousand of years. Three Vahyra, three Vahrga, living in perfect harmony. Our children though are mindless, unable to think for themselves, living for only twenty five years each. Why they die so young while we live for so long, we do not know why.”
“How long have you been alive?” Psiksi asked.
“Well, we fought off a Corruption from our territories during the Great War…” Tanok shrugged. “We saw the fall of the Anexartitai and the previous Deiton empire and watched it get replaced by Kronospasts.”
“We’ve been around for fucking ages!” Nuvok hissed. “And now you will want to kill us.”
“Why?” Psiksi glanced at the others. “I dunno about them but I’m fascinated!”
“Are you also interested in shiny rocks?” Tanok asked. “We have so many, we don’t know what to do with them.”
“What sort of shiny rocks?” Elksia shrugged.
Tanok disappeared, then reappeared holding a bucket of shiny things. He handed it to Elksia, pausing only to try and work out what species she was.
“Are those…” Elksia was at a loss for words. “Diamonds?”
“I guess?” Tanok shrugged. “We have tons and tons of the stuff. Way more than we need.”
“May we take a small sample and test what it is?” Retvik asked. “Perhaps we can arrange a trade deal, trading these rocks for whatever you need.”
“I want candy!” Galok demanded. “We all want candy.”
“And ice cream and pancakes!” Parak added.
“We don’t have cooling facilities here to store cold sugars long-term, we just produce the basic honey we need…” Tanok explained. “If you could arrange regular transport of luxury foods, you can have all the shiny rocks we don’t need…”