For Dinner: Turkey sandwich and chips, from my supplies.  
Mood: Feeling achingly different, like an inscrutible outsider.
Written in the Year of our Lord 3580, March 15th, Friday night.
Location: En route from Thrym to Loki  in the Frost Giant System.

   The next morning, Glutheim came for me....and yes, I was locked in there when he wasn't around.  "We'll be leaving at mid-day on a Thrym-Loki interplanetary shuttle."

   "That should be interesting...."

    "We'll get there about mid-day tomorrow. Is there anything in your personal habits that needs to be taken care of before that? I'm too conscious that I'm dealing with an alien, and not sure  of all your needs."

     "What, like insane mating urges or berserker rages?  No fear, I'll be fine."
     At mid-day, we entered a dock where an interplanetary shuttle was waiting, called Fel's Hammer. It held about fifty passengers, and there were soldiers watching as they entered. Deralb, the portmaster, was watching. Without thinking, I waved goodbye...until his look of, Okay, what is that idiot alien doing? stopped me in mid-wave.

     Just something as everyday and automatic as waving longer made any sense now. Even if I explained it to them, I know they would not have anything comparable. They would think to themselves, Why would one wave to signify they're leaving? What's in it for the other person? What will they gain?

      A Ganeshan would understand. Or an Edenite. Or a Cassandran. Or a Tithonian. Yet a Lokiite would not. A Lokiite cannot understand, I suspect. Anything that is not for one's own like explaining color to someone blind from birth, or music to someone deaf from birth.

     The couches which we were to sit in were arranged three to a section. Glutheim sat on my right.  To my left was a smaller Lokiite, one of the Norhym, short and squat and bearded.  Traditionally this race had been exploited and enslaved by the taller, unbearded Falhym, like my companion Glutheim.

    He was staring at me openly. I looked back, and almost waited for him to say, sorry, and then remembered he never would. Instead, he spoke:

    "First time I've been close to a human before." His Fellowship Franca was halting.

    "What do you think?"

     "You smell a little. Your eyes are strange. You are so like Lokiites compared to other alien races, that you give me the creeps a little.  Why are you going to Loki?"

     Glutheim leaned over. "He's travelling on Derheim's business, Norhym."

     The shorter one looked amused. "I'm soooo scared. And Derheim needs a human for--what?"

     Redwine sighed. "I'm a priest."

     "Oho! Community religions, or are you becoming a Fanist or something?"

     "A Community religion called Christianity....I'm here to investigate some things about your religions--see what we can learn. Also to see if there's anything we can offer--"

      "At what price?"

      "Um." Glutheim was looking at him rather expectantly also. How to explain this--? In terms they would understand--?  "We consider that the price has already been paid. That's it's our duty."

      The two Lokiites looked at each other.  I think I'm  going to get very, very, very used to that look. Then Glutheim said diffidently, "Remember, he's an alien."

      I  was still turned towards the smaller Lokiite. "My name's Redwine."

     "Myranag's mine."

     "Good to meet you--"
    Myranag looked startled, and then suspicious. "Why?"

     "Uh, never mind. Reflex."

     "Okay. I'm a trader in engineering goods, and they taught me some Fellowship Franca in case I had to deal with some merchants on the human side. But this is the first time I've been able to use it."

     So for the rest of the night I was his living language lab. I got some insight on the Norhym side of things on Loki, though...until I fell asleep.






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