This is Episode 1 of 1 in the Journeys series

Chapter One – Observation

Michael stood on the balcony looking over the crowd below. No one knew he was there, hidden in the shadows as he was. The guests meandered around the room taking their turns at the buffet table and drink bar, each in turn. Occasionally a group would gather just at the end of one station or another and cause the line of guests behind them to bunch up. This evoked wrath and scorn from those stuck in the jam. Eventually the culprits would move off and things would settle down.

The band alternated between the music of as many cultures and species as it was capable. it was interesting watching the participants in the dance area change out on a regular basis. Earth Human, Extra Solar Human, Antalain, and what Michael assumed, based on the reptilian body and bird like head, was a group of Gregari to name a few. His specialty wasn’t species identification but he knew the major groups, the one likely to have been invited to this event.

His assignment was simple, observe and report.

He wasn’t worried about being discovered, his invitation was tucked away neatly in the pocket of the blazer he wore.

Just as Michael shifted his position to the other side of the balcony three Potach walked in together from each side of the ballroom. Potach were definitely not the type to have been invited to an event like this, so it immediately grabbed his attention.

Potach were considered the least desirable species in the quadrant. Many, if you believed the news feeds, wanted them to be ejected from the Commonwealth. They were already banned from participating in any form of government, be it local, global or otherwise.

This was something Michael never quite understood. Of all the species in the Commonwealth the Potach were the ones that looked the most human. They were bipedal, and stood about 3 meters tall on average. Their head sat atop their torso and they even had binocular vision like humans. True their skins were alabaster white, eyes are orange, have slightly sharp teeth, they had three arms, and a prehensile tail but that was a far cry from the generally inhuman looking denizens of the other worlds.

Michael glanced quickly at the reptilian Gregari to make the point to himself.

He stood straighter as the groups began to converge and make their way toward the stage where the band played, directly underneath the balcony he stood on, and as he did caught sight of Sable Markenson, dazzling in a long red dress, a faintly glowing blue drink in her right hand. She walked right in front of the Potach group coming in from the right side, one of which reached out and grabbed her by the wrist causing the glass goblet to tumble to the floor and shatter on the hard tile. Michael watched as the blue liquid slowly worked it’s way across the black and white tiles. Her scream caught the attention of any party goers that weren’t already watching the new arrivals.

As the attendees turned to locate the source of the scream the Potach pulled out weapons and started firing randomly in the crowd. One of them stepped forward and spoke a brief message and even though Michael wasn’t able to translate, since he hadn’t brought his translator, the message was loud and clear: Shut up.

He watched as the crowd slowly quieted down and the Potach made their way through the terrified guests, examining each face and comparing it to some sort of device. Occasionally a scream would erupt as a guest would be rudely hauled to to wear the apparent Potach leader stood. The scream was quickly quieted by another assailant with a quick shot of their weapon. Michael made a mental note to find out how the weapons made it into the event.

He couldn’t interfere. He had to let the event’s below play out, no matter how badly he wanted to. The primary rule of the Corps was non-interference, and that rule was inviolate. The Potach began making their way toward the doors in which they had entered, waving their weapons back and forth to prevent any of the survivors from following.

The shuffling of feet and scraping of chairs on the tile floor jarred Michael from his daydream. For a moment, his eyes still stared, unfocused, at the green chalkboard on the far side of the room. Students were filing past him, departing from the recently ended class. He glanced at the monochrome clock hanging high on the wall above the bulletin board and smiled as he once again came fully into the world and realized it school was done for the day and it was time to head home. He slammed his book closed and shoved it uncaring into his book bag, prying himself from the metal and wood desk-chair combo.

He half smiled and waved at the teacher without really looking, his eyes only grazing over the homework assignment on the board as he plotted the quickest course to the buses.

This story is part of an ongoing series. To read from the beginning start here: Journeys