Sorry for the long delay between novel posts. I am trying to get Deathwalker and Wind Town back to regular updates, but there may be a few more delays while I get the plotting and worldbuilding caught up. Since it’s been so long, you may need to review a little: Chapter 6 may be enough for the long-time readers. New readers (welcome!) may prefer Chapter 1.
Well, most of them. Ignoring the captain’s glare, I started to form the same gesture of respect I’d used for Kith (it worked that time). But the captain straightened abruptly and slapped a hand on the table.
“Kaihmi? No.” The captain’s sharp hiss dismissed that idea with a sneer. “He iss from Ialu.”
My eyes narrowed, and the tightening of my muscles halted the salute midway through as my hand fisted instead.
“He says Kaihmi,” the Teg said with an audible shrug. His completely unruffled attitude had my arms dropping as I turned and stared, baffled.
“-He acts Kaihmi.”
What exactly did that mean?
“What doesss that mean?”
I frowned. That was unsettling. I tilted my head away with a grimace of distaste and found myself meeting Gri’s too interested gaze. Nervously, I jerked back and smoothed my expression as the Teg explained, and the captain argued back. It went on so casually that I wondered sourly if the captain always greeted new people with insults.
That thought slowly faded as the question became how many times the conversation would go around in circles before one of them gave up. The third time through, I snuck an incredulous glance further down the table. None of them looked surprised. On the plus side, not one of them was paying attention to me.
Next to the captain, a young, black-haired women had half-turned and was leaning back in her chair, obviously enjoying the impasse. She wasn’t still though. No, she reacted to each comment and expression, turning her head back and forth like an eager sports fan watching a match. Her energy was so palpably bubbly that her light cinnamon skin seemed to glow with energy, and I found myself smiling as I turned to the next spot at the table.
Frowning, I cocked my head. There was someone there. I could see that much. But with the way she was turned, the young woman was blocking almost my entire view of the person next to her. It was hard to tell because she was sitting (slouching, really), but she didn’t look particularly tall. How short was the person next to her?
Closing my eyes, I tried to picture the faces around the table when I first entered. I had a vague impression of a bald head and big, dark eyes. Could be humanoid, but at that height… probably not. Not completely.
Some of the thrill of meeting people from different races was coming back. A step or two to the side, and I could be learning about a culture I’d never even heard of.
“Anyone can make hand gessturess!” The explosion jerked my attention back to the captain as she burst to her feet and glared down at the Teg. The Teg cocked his head and calmly looked up at her, utterly unconcerned by the violence of the action and just as obviously determined to win the argument.
I looked quietly from one to the other. After careful consideration, I decided not to move and remind them of my presence. This trip would take weeks, so I’d have plenty of chances to talk to the crew. There was no need to rush.