The Ambassadors

The twin moons over Bar Yazmia wane together but once every seven years. Tonight, in this stillest of nights, a thread of mercurial fluid pours from the sky in silence, collecting in a puddle beneath the carbon dunes.

Soundlessly, the puddle rises, growing, molding, twisting into an enormous vessel. A Quicksilver 45. Its front slopes downward into a point; its back opens wide, revealing a gaping hatch to the interior. Suddenly, the ship winks into subspace. Undetectable, but still fully there.

20 kilometers from the capital city and shrouded in the shifting black fogs, an army emerges from the invisible ship. Hundreds—no, thousands—of ethereal beasts glide forth, trapped between dimensions, ghostly in appearance.

On the other side of the galaxy:

“Sir, the Q45 should have arrived on Bar Yazmia by now.”

“Still no word?”

“Negative, the comm channel is dead.”

“I knew sending the ambassadors through malspace was a bad idea! This conference is too important!”

“If they were hijacked—”

“So much for peace.”

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