Apr 19, 2013

Q for Qele

I tried to only do English songs, but my Q selection is rather tiny. But most of this song is in English and has a good beat.





There he was again. Sirusho Amhara. Resident of Modlin, an inhabited moon orbiting Jupiter. She watched him depart from Gate A3 and made his way to the shuttle bay.

When Laura had entered the Earth Police Department as a cadet she had wanted to be in the division that flew high atmosphere planes for planet patrols. It was the closest she could get to space travel after applying to join the Star Corps. But leaving the planet would devastate her parents, so EPD it was.

But she didn't get assigned to the High Altitude Air Division. Nor did she get assigned to her second choice, immigration, or her third, identity theft. If she wasn't going to get to go off planet, at least she could work with people who did and hear their stories. But no, she got assigned terra airport surveillance, airports whose flights only went between Earth cities. And while yes off world tourists did visit some of the airports, she couldn't talk to them. Surveillance was all electronic, and she sat in a small room at the top of the airport looking at all the bustle below her through a computer screen.

Sure, it was normal hours for the most part. No danger. Her post was the Lake Michigan airport, situated in the middle of the water and offering quick hover shuttles to Detroit, Chicago, Madison, Columbus, Windsor, Toronto and other Midwest American/South East Canadan cities. Shuttles which meant quick travel times for her parents to visit, shoot her now.

Sirusho got on a shuttle, heading for Windsor. He had to duck to fit. Even though the shuttles had been built with some needs of off worlders in mind, Modlings were taller than the seven foot door frame.

Laura watched the shuttle doors close, and when it left the docking station followed it's blinking symbol until it left airport grounds and disappeared from her screen.

She replayed the footage of his time in the airport again. He was hard to miss, being so tall, and maybe that's what drew Laura to him. His inability to hide. Or maybe it was his calico colored skin. All Modlings were calico patterned, but Sirusho was black and gold, a rare combination for his species. They usually had three tones to their skin. Absently, Laura wondered if he was considered on Modlin sorta like albinos were on Earth.

Being so close, yet not able to interact with him was driving her crazy. Something about the alien drew Laura to him, and she spent more time then she should looking at surveillance footage of him. She had dreams about being with him too, trying to picture her short human build next to his tall frame. It didn't quite fit.

“Drooling again?”

Mary Ellen, her fellow EPD surveillance cop rolled her chair over to look at Laura's screen. Hastily, she swiped the window off screen. Mary Ellen laughed.

“You've been pining after that guy from the screens for six months now. It's obvious he's a resident, he comes through here so often, you should just jump on a shuttle with him one day.”

“That would be unprofessional.” Laura peeked over at Mary Ellen's screen. Majong. Of course. LMA got very little trouble, having cameras and scans all around tended to keep crime down. It was impossible to not get caught sooner or later. And if something did happen at LMA, the computers would alert them.

Majong was actually a good activity, it helped stretch your brain. Much better than Laura's habit of gawking at off worlders and keeping her fingers crossed that Sirusho would show up. Still, she couldn't help it. Maybe this time when she asked for a transfer to a different unit she'll get it.

~*~

Despite being 27, her mom still had a lot of power over her. Maureen would call, insist that she visit, and on Laura's next day off she'd be sitting in one of the smaller hover shuttles to Pittsburgh.

Laura pulled out her key card and scanned it at the shuttle's entrance, only looking inside the craft once she boarded.

There he was, Sirusho Amhara. Hunched over in a seat in the center, away from the slanting ceiling in the front and back. He was so tall, his knees were almost even to his rib cage sitting down. On his thighs, he had a tablet propped.

The seat next to him was empty.

Her phone rang.

Laura picked it up, still staring at the empty seat when she answered.

“Hello?”

“Hey Ms. Stalker.” Mary Ellen. She was on duty today. “You're obsession is on the shuttle you just boarded.”

“Yeah, I figured that out already.”

“Talk to him!”

“I'll...I'll try.”

She hung up and took a deep breath. Her mom was always telling her she was a push over, and maybe she was, but if Mary Ellen was going to push her closer to Sirusho, well, she wasn't going to complain.

Laura sat down in the empty seat. It was electric, being so close to the Modling. A huge feat, to just be this close to an off-worlder.

Sirusho didn't notice. He kept playing on his tablet. Laura leaned over to peak, it looked like some type of logic puzzle. At least, it wasn't a graphic game and it didn't look formatted into text paragraphs. Well, not that the Modlin writing system had paragraph, it was just one block of text.

“Yes?”

Laura looked up at the voice, it was Sirusho. Talking. To her.

“Um...is that a Modlin game?”

He blinked, and Laura noticed that his eyelids weren't calico patterned like the rest of his skin. One was black and the other gold.

“Yes. Do you want to learn it?”

“That would be wonderful.”

It wasn't that different from Sudoku actually, the objective was the same but it was based on the mathematical properties of different shapes. Sirusho was a good teacher, and while Laura caught on quickly she kept repeating questions and double checking her thought process just to hear his voice.

All too soon, the shuttle was docking in Pittsburgh. Laura was half way tempted to sabotage the doors so they couldn't get out. Instead, she settled for being one of the last passengers off. Sirusho had waited as well, thought she supposed that was to make it as easy as possible to not hit his head. If the crowd had jostled him into one of the storage shelves lining the ceiling, it would hurt.

Once out of the shuttle, Sirusho stretched to his full size. He had to be eight feet tall, and Laura felt dwarfed by the difference in height. Surely they'd only be able to converse with raise voices to breach the two and a half foot difference between their mouths. And now, she realized she hadn't actually asked Sirusho about his life or world. For the entire 40 minute ride they had played the game.

Drat.

He offered his hand. “I'm Sirusho Amhara.”

“I know.”

He blinked at her.

“I mean, I work surveillance at the Lake Michigan Airport. I know your name from the scans, that's all. I'm good with faces. I'm Laura Silvestri.”

He nodded, the awkwardness of her response to his name fading. “I have never seen you at the air port.”

“I work in a small room, no windows and no interactions with anyone other than the cop in there with me at the time. It's not a very exciting job.” To her delight, she didn't have to shout for him to hear her words. They started walking towards the doors. Laura didn't have luggage for this was a day trip, and Sirusho just had a backpack he had kept under the seat. “What do you do?”

“I am developing a tour guide of Earth for my race.”

“Well, if you need someone to show you around, I'd be happy to.”

Sirusho smiled down at her. “I would love more of your company.”

They exchanged numbers before getting in different cabs. Once in hers, Laura called Mary Ellen.
“You talk to him?” she asked as she picked up.

“Even better, I got his number.”

------------------

Some of the credit for this story goes to Star Trek, for making me think if there are ships to protect the Federation, why aren't there ships to protect individual planets? Why did the Enterprise alone have to destroy Nero's drill? Where was the Earth Defense Force?

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