“Enter last, Andersen,” Admiral Kilfrey instructed me for the fifth time since boarding the anti-grav lift.
I managed my best imitation of a naval acknowledgement. I would have given a verbal, but he had already ordered me to silence.
“Your post is purely as consultant.”
He straightened his uniform jacket’s lines and checked the medals once more in the chrome paneled lift doors. Dignity held his age-sloped shoulders square while a quart of hair gloss guaranteed not one iron gray strand on his head budged a millimeter. He grimaced at me in the reflection. “We will ask for your help when we need it.”
How he expected me to consult while remaining silent, I could not determine.
Doctor Overan, the third member and spokesman of our diplomatic party, wore a casual jacket from decades before over a standard military issue tunic. The combination of orange over maroon set my stomach off. “Gives me a distracted air,” he claimed. I found it painful to look at and told him so. It was probably the statement that earned me the gag order.
The lift opened with a swoop and we stepped out into a room full of light. The doors clicked closed behind us before my eyes adjusted to the shine from outside the towering windows and focused on the room.
Our hosts stood with their backs to the glaring white expanse of glass. Two black statues against such a stark background made my eyes water more. I blinked. The admiral blocked the glare with an arm and the professor removed his glasses.
One of the Diaspora pressed his hand to his chest.
“Shutter windows.” His voice carried clearly, warm and deep among all the cold whiteness.
The room dimmed.
“Greetings and welcome to Scyilica.”
Did it grab you?