We’re getting way ahead of ourselves here, but this is an excerpt from Book 5 (title unchosen so far). At the start of the new season, Raven returns to the ‘scene of the crime’, Bestmartin for 3 days of teaching and encouragement. Lots of foreboding here.
After so many months at Central, the landing port at Bestmartin seemed tiny.
Has it really been only seven months since I was here, thought Raven.
Raven walked down the arrivals ramp with her old backpack over her shoulder. The feeling was definitely different. Six months ago she had set foot on her first alien planet with almost no money to go home and no real prospects. Now she was returning to the ‘scene of the crime’ as an honored guest.
Glancing out the windows, the sky was a deep blue. Just the weather for a nice long walk to Iskandar Bestmartin. When she got to the baggage claim, Raven frowned.
Iskandar Bestmartin sent five people to greet her. Four humaniforms, and a Lumbor. Raven recognized the slightly bovine features of the lumbor but had never yet met one. Lumbors were slightly less intelligent than other races, but their great strength usually relegated them to manual labor. Surprisingly the lumbors didn’t seem to mind. You found many of them around spaceports and other places where large amounts of material were moved. Generally they were not put in management positions because of pedantic tendencies and lack of decision-making ability. They made great finance people.
The odd thing about this lumbor was that he was in a suit.
Of the humaniforms, three were male and the fourth was a dark female. The female had whitened her face and was wearing a short leather jacket. This was the uniform of Raven’s Raiders.
They’re everywhere, was the thought that drifted through her mind, but she recognized her.
“Greetings, Raven,” began the Lumbor, shaking her hand in both of his. “I’m Kelsori, the director of the Bestmartin facility. It is great to finally meet you.”
“Thank you for having me down,” she replied. “It seems like an eternity since I’ve been here.”
“You are our most famous alumni,” he continued.
Raven burst out laughing. The lumbor looked surprised.
“I’m not so sure I can be called an ‘alumni’,” she laughed. “I spent less than an hour here. I’m not so sure about the time but Josie would probably know better than me.”
She indicated the dark girl in whiteface. Josie broke out in a big smile.
“If I remember correctly, Raven,” she smiled. “It was about 25 minutes. I remember running toward to lobby to wish you luck and not only were you already gone and so was transport.”
“It took me an hour to walk from here to Iskandar and the transport took all of ten seconds on the way back,” laughed Raven. She walked up and gave Josie a hug.
“And you’re a raider,” she commented. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed that Kelsori was not entirely comfortable with what was going on.
“All the way. It took a while for there to be a local down here, but I joined right away.”
Raven turned toward the other three. They were obviously earth-type and dressed in ‘business’ casual. A lot better than the lumbor.
“And you guys are?”
“Darin Jackson, manager of communications.”
“Hojo Zennisore, chairman of training staff.”
“Zeph Samolian, chief tech,” said the shortest one. “And, uh, we have already collected your baggage.”
“And we have transport waiting.”
“And we have an itinerary and schedule,” added the lumbor, waving a paper.
“Let me see that,” she said, taking it out of his hand. She carefully turned it sideways and ripped it in half, then put the two pieces together and ripped it again. She did this four times and put the stack of pieces back in Kelsori’s hand.
The lumbor stared at the pile in his hand and began to seemingly bark. Raven raised her eyebrows.
“He’s laughing!” laughed Josie.
“Shit man, I’ve never seen him laugh!”
Raven didn’t catch who made that comment. The lumbor continued laughing as he neatly deposited the pieces of paper into the trash.
“Thank you, Raven,” he bowed. “Your schedule is my schedule.”
Just the fact that they had five people here to greet her and herd her around grated on Raven. She reflected that she’d never felt like this before.
Does it have something to do with what I planned? Thought Raven.
“Okay, next question: Why are all of you here?” she began. “I can figure out Josie, but what about the rest of you?”
For several seconds all that was heard was the ambient sounds of the spaceport.
“For my part,” began Hojo. “I’m just thrilled that you’ve come down here to talk to the students. Well, I’m also honored to meet you. Come to think of it, if you had spent any longer than a half-hour here, I’d be learning from you.”
“Good answer,” smiled Raven. “Taking it a step further, what do you guys think I expected when I came down here?”
You can almost smell the thinking, thought Raven.
Zeph started laughing.
“I get it,” he said. “You expected the same situation as when you first came here! Dare I say that you weren’t pampered that time and don’t want it now.”
Raven smiled and gave Zeph a high-five.
“At least some of you are thinking,” Raven quipped. She turned and looked at the lumbor, who appeared to shrink into himself.
“Well, this probably wasn’t fair to you guys,” She started. “So, since you have my luggage, why don’t you take transport and I’m going to walk. Meet you in about an hour.”
“Heather and I will meet you in the lobby,” said Josie.
Raven smiled and nodded her head. She shouldered her backpack and began her walk toward the Bestmartin facility.
I wonder what idiot put a lumbor in charge, she thought.