Axis Pheydra emerged from her ship, inclining her head briefly to the droves of awestricken humans gathered before the columns of glossy motionless Mechari, their chassis gleaming in the hot sun. She knew how much importance humanoids curiously attached to such innocuous gestures, even if only those viewing the ceremony televised would catch it. To impress the millions overflowing the immense public square, she would need to employ bolder means.
A squad of organic attendants trotted forward, bearing a corpulent man in golden robes on a thrumming electromagnetic cushion. When he spoke his voice was soft and courtly, though he was unable to conceal the trepidation behind his frozen smile. "As Supreme Chancellor of the Cassian Commonwealth, allow me to bid our first interstellar visitors a gracious and mutually profitable welc -- "
Pheydra's icy reply cut him off as her eyes raked the faces of the honor guard in shimmering ranks of red and gold. "Which is Tresayne Toria?"
The Chancellor's smile drooped a bit. He was a small but well fed man, his true age obscured beneath a cicatrix of cosmetics. "I'm sorry?"
"The Devastator of Sculptoris." Pheydra brushed past him, scanning and cross-referencing every genome in the crowded square. "Scourge of the Black Fleet. Slayer of Zeificus the Crazed. Champion of the Pits of Phardoum. Decisive victories commanding the Cassian Commonwealth: 8024. Victories in personal combat: 632. Defeats zero. Produce her now."
The Chancellor coughed into his frilled sleeve. "Commander Toria remains involved in pacification efforts in the colonies…However, I am uniquel -- "
Pheydra's voice boomed across the square and the planet, echoing like thunder from the clouds. "We are the Mechari, emissaries of the glorious and powerful Eldan. Tresayne Toria must accompany us back to our world. In return, your race will rule the universe."
The Chancellor stepped back.
"Should you decline this honor, you will be eradicated. Choose."
The silence stretched. Of the three million present, not a soul breathed.
Finally the Chancellor turned to his ashen-faced attendant and hissed, "Patch me to the colonial channel, once you can spare a thumb?"