Librarian Sor’Tah stood at the very edge of the tarmac as the shuttle landed, a rather unimpressed look on his face. His long robes hung neatly over his massive frame, in one three fingered hand he held onto a large tome, the other clutched his robes with care. Sor’Tah’s eyes never left the shuttle as the occupants began filtering out. He never showed any excitement or surprise, though deep down he was thrilled to be meeting Vulpine. This was his first time meeting the smaller race of beings that had been touted as friends of the Critainian people. Sor’Tah had never been off planet before, his duties to the Library kept him quite busy.
He watched as Jor’Tal assisted the three pilots, and marvelled at how different they appeared, even though they had the same features. The one he felt that was the commanding officer had brilliant, orange fur with white markings covering her, and he could only assume that was the case even under her uniform and armour. She was shorter than the other two, one of which was a softer orange colour than the first. The final one had similar white markings, but his fur was mostly black. Each of them had similar tails, a white tip that made up something brilliant to behold.
As they approached, he steadied himself, preparing to make the usual greeting. With an outstretched hand, he looked to the four that approached and called out in a proud voice. “Welcome to the Great Library. Our knowledge is your knowledge. I only wish this could have been under more pleasant circumstances. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Head Librarian Sor’Tah.” He motioned to a pair of Critainians that stood slightly behind him, their robes ornate, but not nearly as much as Sor’Tah’s. “This is Jen’Tauk, she is head of the library’s inventory. And Tor’Val, associate head of new stock.”
“Greetings, Sor’Tah,” Jor’Tal announced as she stepped forward. “This is Left-tenant Senia Felix, and Corporals Clarfax Billings and Hardy Maynard,” she said as she motioned toward the Vulpine, pointing out each one as he announced their names.
“I am most honoured to meet you,” Sor’Tah announced as he stepped forward and faced the three. “I do hope you will be able to assist us in this matter. I apologize if we have not presented any tea for your arrival.”
“That ith quite alright,” Senia announced with a nod. “Well patht tea time ath it ith,” she added and looked to her comrades with a small smile. “Bethideth, we’ve had more than enough with the hothpitality on board the orbital thtation.”
“In that case, please follow us to the main faculty,” Sor’Tah stated with a slight bow and motioned down one of the long streets. “Jor’Tal, I believe that is all we require of your attention. Thank you for bringing the Vulpine to us.”
“Actually,” Senia stated as she stepped forward. “I believe it would be in our betht interet’th if Jor’Tal came with uth.” She saw the confused look on Sor’Tah’s face and continued quickly. “We aren’t fully verthed in Critainian law and authority, tho having her with uth would be a great benefit.” She looked up to Jor’Tal, who seemed to be giving Senia an impressed look. It was obvious that she had diplomatic skills.
Sor’Tah on the other hand was caught off guard, but quickly found his voice. “Ah, yes. I can see how that would help a great deal. Yes. Well, if you would all follow me.” Again, he held out his arms in the direction down the street, bowing slightly as he motioned for the four to walk with them.
The buildings were an architect’s dream. Ornate, well constructed, and evenly spaced down the entire street. The buildings had a few variations in colour, but many were trimmed in gold. Why anyone would wish to adorn their buildings in gold was another thing, it was a useless metal for the most part, had no monetary value, and only those who created computer circuits found any practical use for it. Each of the buildings had large windows, some were open revealing shops and other services, while some others had blinds in front which could only mean they were homes. Possibly the dwellings of those who worked at the library. This place was more than just a library, after all. It was a small city.
After what seemed like a kilometre, the small group finally approached the steps of the main faculty, itself an incredible structure. Jen’Tauk took out a key and unlocked the main doors, as each Vulpine took a mental note of what they were doing as they entered, sometimes asking a quick question about the actions. They learned the main faculty was always locked, and only five Critainians had a key to enter. Unlike many of the other buildings Senia had seen, the doors to this building were opened with a very old fashioned key, not with a key card as most others had.
“This is the main faculty,” Sor’Tah announced as they walked inside. When they were all in, Jem’Tauk closed and locked the doors. Inside, there was the smell of books, many that seemed like they were over one thousand years old. Most were in a series of stacks, with some Critainians alreayd cataloguing them to be placed in their respective areas of the main library itself. Others were sitting in neat piles on a series of long tables, obviously waiting to be itemized and put away before being catalogued. Some of the books had spilled over onto the floor, one of which Clarfax nearly stepped on.
“Oh,” he called out as he picked it up. “Looks like this one was trying to get away,” he said with a chuckle. He held it up to one of the organizers, taking note of the bold lettering and bright colour of the font against the black background which stated for all to see ‘Don’t Panic’.
“Um, Vulpine humour, if I recall,” one of the organizers said as she came around the table and gently took the book from Clarfax’s outstretched hand. She made the comment to ease the questions the others might have about what Clarfax meant. “Like, this book was going to grow legs and run away.”
“Exactly,” Clarfax replied with a nod.
“I’ve been studying some of the Vulpine texts that we get in,” the Librarian said with a smile, then turned to one of the others. “Put this in the galactic reference section. We can’t lose this one.” He handed the book to one of his companions and turned back to Clarfax to offer his thanks, only to find the Vulpine, and his two companions, extending three books out to him. “Oh my, what’s this.”
“Ath ith cuthtomary for anyone who would vithit the Great Library,” Senia said as she handed him the book. “It ith well known that a book mutht be prethented. I hope that each of thethe can find a plathe in the library.”
The librarian took each book and looked them over carefully, naming off each title as he inspected it. “History of Chattingham Airfield. Oh, this would do well in the Vulpine historical section,” he said with a smile as he handed the book to one of his assistants. “The Expanding Universe: Theories and Discoveries in Quantum Mechanics. Oh my, yes. Written by Colonel Nelson deGrase. I’ve been so hoping to acquire a copy of one of his books.”
“He was my physics professor at the military college,” Clarfax said with a beaming smile, obvious he was proud that one of the most renowned Felanus professors was his teacher at one point in his life.
“Oh, that must have been an honour to speak with him, and even learn from him,” the librarian said before handing the book to another assistant. “In the scientific section, physics subsection, if you please. Now, what have we here,” he said turning his attention to the last book. “The Mark Ten Maverick: Designs of the Vulpine Air Corps Flagship. Oh my, I never knew they had released this.”
“The Mark Ten’s are to be decommissioned,” Hardy said with a nod. “They’re making way for the new Nighthawk. And let me tell you, that bird is light years ahead of the Maverick class.”
“Oh excellent,” the librarian chuckled and handed the book to the third assistant. “The aeronautics section, if you would.” He turned back to the three Vulpine and smiled. “I can’t wait until the book for the Nighthawk comes to reside here as well.”
“I’ll let you know when I finish writing it,” Hardy said with a chuckle.
“Now with our gift’th out of the way,” Senia said as she turned her attention back to Sor’Tah. “Perhapth we can get down to the matter at hand.”
Previous | Next