Chapter Two

Later that night, after they’d made first contact with the nations of Earth, Talina was alone in her quarters. Exhausted she was thinking about going to bed, but couldn’t resist running through what had happened one more time. They had decided to make first contact in Switzerland. It was apparently one of the few nations with a history of being neutral. If what they had planned was to work they needed to appear as non-partial as possible.

Before she could continue her recap the door chimed.

“Come in.”

Her brother walked through the door followed by Amiri. She’d expected Zalier to show up, but not the prince.

“I hope you don’t mind, I ran into Amiri on my way over and asked if he wanted to join us. I know we’ve already gone over how everything went with the Nian council, but I also know how you are, and figured you’d be giving it another once over.”

She smiled and gestured for the men to join her. She always preferred to think things out with other people, they helped catch what she missed. “Everything seemed to go how we thought it would. There was the expected confusion, and things appear to still be excited.”

“Probably will be for a while.”

“That’s expected, though. Everything I’ve seen seems to be positive. The statements from the heads of state for each of the governments on Earth have all been welcoming.”

Zalier nodded, but Amiri spoke up, “Not everything.”

She waved her hand to dismiss his statement, “We expected the negativity on their internet. There are apparently a lot of trolls on there, whatever that means.”

He shook his head, “Some of the news media are already speculating that we have nefarious goals. Nothing mainstream, but a few of their news personalities have thrown rather unsettling ideas out there.”

“Really? Already? We haven’t even told them why we’re here, how could they possibly have ideas on the matter?”

“They’re a very creative race, one of the reasons we selected them, but they’ve also had decades of science fiction writing not painting aliens in the kindest of light. I believe one of the main questions was why we were speaking in German.”

“We also spoke in Italian and French, but predominantly German because the country we were in speaks German.”

Chuckling Zalier said, “I know that, but evidently we brought up memories of a dead dictator bent on genocide.”

“You know Sasha mentioned that German might not be the best language for you to use.”

Frowning Talina replied, “I don’t see how a dead German dictator would have any impact on our situation. I’ve read their history for the last fifty years and Germany had no dictator.”

“You didn’t read far enough back.”

Rolling her eyes Talina said, “We’ll speak in mandarin at our next meeting then.”

“That will probably piss off some people too.”

Sighing she rubbed her head and frowned, “These people are so divided.”

“So were we, when we were their age.” Zalier gave her a sympathetic smile.

Shifting in his seat Amiri cleared his throat and then asked the question Talina had been expecting for some time. “That actually brings up a question, why this species? Surely there are other planets more advanced. What is your goal in making contact with Earth?”

Making herself comfortable Talina smiled. “Would you like to answer this one Zalier, or should I?”

“This was your idea, I’m just along for the ride.”

She smiled lovingly at her brother before beginning her explanation. “Two generations ago our people were at the end of a very bad war. Have you heard of the Olovian?”

Amiri’s eyes grew wide. “You fought the Olovian? Wait, are the Nians responsible for their retreat back to their homeworld? They caused so much destruction and misery and then just disappeared, was that really you?”

“It was, however, they dealt a heavy blow before their retreat. Our female population was nearly wiped out with a genetically engineered plague specifically targeting them. By the time we were able to create a cure and administer it we were down to twenty-five percent.”

Glancing at Zalier to confirm, Amiri was shocked at the news. He’d heard nothing about Nian involvement in the Olovian disappearance. Of course, just a few generations ago Andovian space flight wasn’t as advanced, and they had only heard rumors of the Olovians. What he did remember was not pretty.

“Desperate measures were put into place so that our species would not die off. Female Nians have a roughly twenty year period where they’re able to give birth. During that time, it is required that Nian females give birth to at least five children, preferably more. A Nian gestation period is one year, so you can imagine being pregnant for at least five years of your life is not pleasant.”

“Actually I don’t think he could imagine Tali.” Zalier chuckled.

Waving her hand impatiently, she said, “Anyway, because of the shortage of women most Nian males have been unable to find a life partner. I’m not sure how Andovians do it, but Nians partner for life.”

“It’s similar for us too.”

“Really? That’s interesting.” Zalier shot his sister a look and she narrowed her eyes at him.

“Anyway… Without a life partner, the Nian male life expectancy is shortening. It doesn’t help that the men that do find life partners are forced to watch as their wives are impregnated with other men’s sperm. Medically inseminated, of course, but it can still be difficult. Some men are unable to cope with raising another man’s child, most choose to raise their children in a house with multiple males. Our children are used to having at least two fathers in the house, now, but there was a transition period. Still, basically sharing partners has been proven to adversely affect the majority of Nian partnerships.

“Something we’ve been working on for some time is the possibility of finding a species that we can breed with that our genes would dominate. We have evolved past needing to be pure Nian, it is our culture and beliefs that must survive.”

Shifting in his seat Zalier said, “Some of our people have evolved past that, others… find your plan less than ideal.”

Glaring Talina replied, “They certainly changed their tune when the women of our planet went on strike. We’re through being used this way. It’s not only our males that are suffering from these shared unions, we are too.”

Raising his hands in agreement Zalier said, “Peace sister. I agree with you, I’m just saying not everyone does. A lot of men felt like they were pushed into a corner with the strike and didn’t have a choice in the matter.”

Standing up to pace Talina couldn’t control the anger bubbling up inside of her. “We didn’t have a choice in their population laws. We tried it their way. For two generations, we’ve tried and our population has barely grown. It’s time to take action. If they can’t see that we’re doing this for their own good then they’re stupid.”

“Sometimes those in authority have to act in their people’s best interest, even when their people are unable to understand.”

Amiri’s quiet words of understanding were a relief. She knew she was doing the right thing, she knew that Zalier agreed with her, but it was hard when she also knew that so many people back home disagreed. Squaring her shoulders she took her seat again and they rehashed what they expected to happen the next few days, weeks, and months.

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