AL: New Dawn

Dreamless Realm

Restless writer
Life on the Edge GM
@BookKnight Sebastian received a one time pass to a Bavethjan space station, and was told to wait right at the docks where the vehicle he came in had left him. He was meant to wait for someone that went by the name Dx. Valled. The picture given to identify them was of a generic looking blue amphibian, a Bavethjan, whose most distinctive feature was a dark blue spot that covered their two right eyes. The architecture of the setting followed an eco-friendly brutalist style, with few windows, glossy finishes, a lot of greys and whites. The lighting followed a white and blue pattern, and all visible screens had a circular shape. He wasn’t the only foreigner there.

Some of the others looked nervous, watching over each other and grouping up often with their brethren, however unknown. Some looked more aloof, however, not worried at all. A few had ways to entertain themselves, portable holo-projectors or even hyperthin 1 use ice screens. An amphibian had taken one look at Sebastian, told him to wait, and left through the main dock’s doors. They’d probably gone deeper into the massive space station. That was approximately 5 minutes ago.

A loud noise echoes nearby. A human had punched a code into a keypad, and a soda can looking beverage had fallen to the bottom of what one could assume was a vending machine. Pretty common, if it didn’t have live fish inside it, at the price of 2’5 galaxcreds each.
Sebastian sat in his chair a little away from the others, his back toward a wall. He splayed out as he sat, his head up and a faint smirk on his face, but the hands holding his waterbottle between his spread knees stayed close to his body in an instinctively protective manner, and his sharp green eyes occasionally took note of the exit, ensuring his escape route. Flashy rings on his fingers with black painted nails, three studs in his left triangular cat ear, and the logo of an expensive brand on his black shirt told of someone who had money, but if one looked closer, the illusion quickly fell apart. The logo was misspelled by one letter, and not a single gem in his rings was the real thing. The holes in the knees of his black jeans were not the artful kind, and a small, battered duffle bag lay in a lumpy mass under his chair. Everything about him was fake from his air of confidence to his clothing. The only thing that was real was his bright orangy-red hair color.

His right ear flicked and turned to follow the sound of the human at the vending machine. His stomach growled, twisting from hunger. He shifted slightly and mentally told it to shut up before the entire reception area heard it complaining. It wasn't his fault he hadn't fed it in three days! Alright, maybe it was, a little bit, but ultimately it was the fault of that Silvestris! And Sebastian's stupid boss for thinking it would be an easy thing to roust him off their territory. Ha! Like Felidae ever stood a chance against Silvestris. His stomach growled again, and his eyes wandered over to the vending machine. Maybe someone forgot to get their change and left it in the machine. He shifted, considering standing, the tip of his tail tapping lightly, but then he changed his mind. It was too open. What if people saw and thought he was trying to rob the machine? Not to mention, the noisy hum could block out the sound of someone sneaking up behind him. No, it would be better to sit here and starve, even if the fish did look tauntingly tasty. Maybe after his meeting he could get something to eat. Maybe he could find someone to sucker into buying one of his rings as the real deal instead of a fake.
There was no good reason why draining the corridors of the station took so long every time. It wasn't even so much the process, but getting the right routes approved. They didn't even need to be waterfull*. But it did make life more comfortable for the resident Bavethjan. Even if it made Valled's own work longer and less efficient. Now with a clear route, they walked over to the dock on deck 14, wearing a two in one undersuit of hydrophobic spandex with neon yellow stripes on the sides. On top, a dark poncho shaped garment with a hood and a spirally pattern in light blue.

"Sebastian Thunder?!" They called for the guy once they got to the right end of the docks.
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Sebastian tensed but managed not to jump too badly. His ears perked up and his tail twitched in agitation. He took a moment to get himself together before grabbing his bag and standing. "Here!" he called and sauntered over to the strange, fishy fellow. "Hey, how's it going?" He grinned at the fellow, his free hand shoved into his pocket and his posture relaxed, half slumped. Even so, his eyes were sharp, taking in every detail.

He did not want to go down the corridor. It did not have a good escape route, but if he really did want a new lease on life, he was going to have to hold his tail and take a leap. What else could he do? Hang around and wait to be found? No, he had to keep going forward as fast as he could. As long as he kept running, perhaps he could outpace anyone chasing him and finally relax.
Besides the generic blue body, earfins and other typical Bavethjan attributes, this one had the big blue spot on the face. So they must be the one Sebastian was meant to meet.

"Hi! Better now that we've confirmed your arrival. I'm Dox Valled, but call me Valled or Val. I'll be with you during your stay here, so follow me, yes?" They said, speaking fast and with a thick accent that not even the translators could hide. Their eyes were big and black as an abyss, with only reflections. It was hard to pinpoint where they were looking exactly. They didn't offer a hand to shake or anything, just a gesture for Sebastian to follow. They turned toward the hallway and started talking again.

"It's very important that you don't venture outside of our route. Always follow me through the station, yes? Not all the corridors are drained." They explained, and it was a bit strange. Normally, space stations weren't flooded... And in this one, the ceilings and the walls were dripping. The technology available, be it screens, exposed circuits or keypads, was completely fine.
"Right, whatever you say, Doxie!" Sebastian said cheerfully, twitching his ears comically, trying to hide the surge of anxiety in his chest.

They were surrounded by water with no way out? No, these fish people had ways out, and he was a decent swimmer. Surely he could find a way out. Hopefully before he drowned. No! He must not think like that! He would be fine. He came here to take them up on their offer to help him escape his past and find a new place to make a new start. Maybe he could even go straight for once. If nothing else worked, he could leave these fish people in the dust and make a run for it on his own once he reached a new planet. Still, according to all the rumors he'd heard about the fish, they were solid, not a scam. If he could get on their good side, they would hide him from the Silvestris. He had to try. Anything to stay hidden.

A drop of water landed on his ear, making it flick dramatically. Interesting that none of the tech seemed to be bothered. They must have waterproofing down to a science!
"Doxie? Oh! Dox isn't my name. It's a title, similar to a doctor?. So you're calling me a little doctor, do with that information what you will." Answered the Bav, with a bit of light hearted laughter. It was better to take these linguistic mistakes well, and laugh about them. At least the guy was friendly so far, communicative and open to following instructions. That was good! Very good.

They only saw a few guards on the way to the office, and they didn't say much. Probably busy watching them via camera feeds, or chatting. Tsk. Sometimes they got too complacent. Only a few more turns and they'd be st Valled's office. Then the real interview could begin.
Sebastian shoved one hand into his pocket while the other held his bag over his shoulder. "A doctor, huh?" he said, surprised. "I wouldn't have guessed it. My only experience with doctors is they tend to be one of two things: The good guys that are harried and worked to death and have no time for anything but doctoring, and the snarky ones that think they are gods or something. Ain't never heard of a doctor willing to act like a tour guide. Are you fish folk so healthy the doctors have to moonlight in other jobs?"

He turned to look around as they walked. There wasn't much to see in this hallway. Just some electronics and the occasional other Bavethjan doing some other task. They didn't seem overly concerned to see Felidae roaming their halls. Was security always this lax? It was amazing they hadn't been robbed blind by now. Or maybe they didn't have anything to steal? But everyone had something worth stealing, and rumor had it the Bavs were intergalactic travelers. Surely they'd pick up things of value in other places and bring it with them. What held value on one planet could be worthless on another, and vice versa. These fish folk should really be more alert.
The so called fish person stifled another bout of laughter.

"Frog folk, if you must use that language. And... Well, I have a doctorate in social water sciences. I'm not a health issues dox" They explained as they went on, and finally entered an office after a few more turns. It had a window that looked out to directly to space. No wonder they had been walking so long then. The door closed behind them automatically and locked with a click.

The office itself was spacious. It had a bending machine with neon lights on one wall, like the ones back at the docks. Similar. There were several differently shaped chairs that could accommodate various sorts of creatures. Only one was just in front of the main desk, though. A seat that would accommodate Sebastian perfectly.

"Here were are. Feel free to grab something to eat or drink and make yourself comfortable. What would you prefer to be called?, Is Sebastian alright?" Asked Valled, passing the vending machine to put in a code and get a drink in return. This one didn't have prices on the items, just a keyboard and codes. The rectangular bottle the Bavethjan took had teeny, tiny, small colorful critters swimming in it. After, they headed to the chair behind the desk and sat down, watching Sebastian.
Sebastian raised his hand as he followed the other into what looked to him like an office. "No offense meant, of course. It's a bit of a habit. I'm so used to calling pretty much every race by the street alternative. I don't even know the real name for some of them, but I'll do my best to remember your preferred one."

He paused, looking around the "office," if that was what it was. So bright! Yet no matter how spectacular the room might be, it paled in comparison to the black openness of space. It took his breath away to the point he actually had to remind himself to breathe. He'd forgotten where they were after such a long time in the waiting room. He stared out at the stars, his tail twitching lightly. There was nowhere to run here. He was trapped. Utterly trapped. Yet, it was also a representation of a new chance. Of a thousand new chances! He could completely reinvent himself, if he wanted. He could be anyone he wanted to be! So... who did he want to be?

The Dox's question snapped him out of his reverie, and he turned to look at him. His eyes widened at the swimming things in the bottle, and his tail thrashed with sudden excitement. He shifted, forcing his tail to still. Not a toy! Not a toy. He cleared his throat. "Sebastian is fine, yeah, and thanks, but I'm good. I don't need anything." His stomach knotted hungrily, but he ignored it.
Valled opened the bottle and stook a few sips, watching the other without pause. When they were done, they left it on the desk.

"Take a seat, then." They told the young man before them. Valled then busied themself with collecting a tablet with rounded corners from one of the drawers. They turned it on and went to read a couple of files they needed to get through. Once they were satisfied, their attention was back on the other. So, leaving the tablet to rest on the table, the Bavethjan started talking.

"Okay, you're here because we have reviewed your application for the New Life program and we are considering you. I need you to tell me about the life you want. Don't worry about what you may think is or isn't possible. How and where do you see yourself being happy and thriving?. Not just surviving or getting by." They asked with conviction, and a small smile.
"Oh, gosh," Sebastian said, flopping with precision carelessness into the indicated chair. "Thrive? I never really thought about that. Surviving week to week was an improvement over day to day!" He grinned at the Bav and ran a hand through his hair. "Let's see. I've always kind of wanted to see what it was like to live out in the countryside, but not middle-of-nowhere country. You know those idyllic scenes on the holovids of the cute little cottage at the edge of a village? With maybe a cow or two and some chickens? Something like that might be really nice, or maybe something on a larger island or a beach where I could maybe fish or learn to surf! Or I might hate it. I don't know. I've spent my entire life in the metropolis, and I only have a set of skills specific to city life. I have no idea what anywhere else is like. I like the idea of actually having space while not being isolated."

He paused and shrugged. "That said, I'd be completely willing to try out pretty much any other place, except maybe full dessert or an underwater compound. I don't mind water, but I still need land." He rubbed one ear thoughtfully. "I'm good at small business entrepreneurship and taking care of small animals. If I'm placed in a city, I could maybe open my own cattery or something, or I could learn to be a fisherman on an island or beach setting, but I'm open to suggestions. Small business in the countryside selling eggs or something?" He thought a little longer. "I don't want to be alone. I like having people around, and I am really athletic. Does any of that help?"

He hesitated a moment before making a final comment. "I just... really want to try something other than what I have been living in. Literally, anything else, even if I fail and end up completely miserable, it'll still be something new and different." He looked away and shifted uncomfortably. That moment of vulnerability had surprised even him. He really needed to get a hold of himself.
Valled had to admit the excitement and the attitude of the newcomer were beautiful to see. They couldn't hide their smile, and a few twinkles of mirth in their eyes. It was always better when subjects were eager, just like this.

"I see! We can definitely make that possible. You will spend some time aboard a community ship while you get to your destination. When we decide where that is. Our species as a whole tends to live in close knitted colonies, so you won't be alone. Especially the first few months, you will have housemates. We will watch you closely in order to help you with everyday issues and keep up with you. Yes?. We always live near water." They explained, turning the tablet over to show some photographs. Brutalist style colonies near the beach, lakes or rivers. Red grassfields and green skies, farmland and cottages. Families! Big and small, Bavethjan and foreign. Some were human, some other heteromorphic aliens. Everyone looked comfortable and happy.
Sebastian studied the pictures for a moment. They looked so happy that it felt unreal to him. He'd long since learned that pictures were the easiest lies to create, and yet as he studied their body language and looked for the tiny tells that were virtually impossible to hide, he could find very little to tell him that the pictures were anything but true. There was a little girl that looked like she desperately needed the loo, another child of indeterminate gender (if either of the two he was most familiar with) looked like they were smiling because of some kind of bribe, and two of the adult aliens in one of the pictures appeared to be trying to hide their attraction for each other. All of it fairly innocent and normal. The majority of most of the pictures seemed to be portraying the truth that everyone, whatever their race or gender, seemed to be happy.

Sebastian glanced up at the Bav, Valled, and smiled. "It looks pretty good!" he said cheerfully, pushing the tablet back toward the other. "So, does this mean that I'm accepted? That you'll take me in and all that?"
The blue alien took the tablet back with a nod.

"We'll take you in, this interview is just a precaution in case of any catfishing attempts, forgive the term. Your case is mild, and we're happy to offer a new beginning to someone with your background and interest, especially since you've had no crimes related to our species." They looked relaxed, and fiddled with the tablet some more.

"I need to know, anything specific that you want in this new life. And what your body needs. I assume the standard mammalian package applies, oxygen, sunlight, company, food, water... But what is your diet like?, What kind of companions would you prefer?. Other mammals, or do you not have a preference?. You've mentioned a cattery, it's possible for you to have pets around too. Talk to me about it"
Sebastian flicked his ears, his tail tapping the chair leg as he thought. He felt a bit like when you packed to go on a trip: it was easy to remember to pack the unusual things like the swimming trunks, but hard to remember the daily things like the toothbrush. He went over his daily life in his head and tried to figure out what the alien would need to know. "Standard needs apply, yes, like food and oxygen and all of that. I've mostly been friends with fellow Felidae and other mammals, but I wouldn't mind getting to know a few fin-heads - I mean, fish-folk - I mean, Bavethjan." He smiled sheepishly. "Sorry. No offense meant. It's just street slang, and old habits die hard, you know.

"Anyway! I've meant a few non-mammals, but I've never formed a friendship with one. It's kind of considered, I don't know, taboo amongst the group of people I grew up around, but they weren't exactly the straightest laces in the shoe, so I'd be totally willing to try to overcome those prejudices. Either way, I promise it won't be a problem to be around them even if we aren't bosom friends and all that. I do desperately want a pet or two if at all possible, but I can wait until I'm more settled, I guess.

"For food, I'm primarily a carnivore, but I do need some plants and stuff like that. Just some. I am moderately lactose intolerant, caffeine drives me bonkers, and I'm allergic to onions and garlic. Nothing super bad, I just avoid it and try to be careful with new foods. I really love fish and chicken, those are my favorites, and carrots and apples, but I'm not really picky about my diet."

He paused for a moment to think. "I'd like somewhere where I can go swimming on a regular basis. Pool, lake, pond, ocean, doesn't really matter to me. Oh, and I get bored kind of easily. I need a lot of downtime, but when I'm awake, I gotta have something to do or it starts feeling like I've got ants crawling in my brain. I'm usually pretty good about finding something to keep me entertained, but it's not always constructive, and that's kind of what got me into this mess to begin with." He grinned and shrugged. "Curiosity almost killed the cat in this case, but the fish saved his life!" He chuckled at his own joke.
Everything was written down and recorded, of course, but they would need more specifics. It was information Valled could easily find out by requesting it from the research department though. So they weren't particularly concerned.

"Alright, we'll investigate on our own to get the specifics beyond what you've just told us. But by all means welcome to Alien Living! We'll be seeing a lot more of each other from now on. Everything you've described we can provide and accommodate for!" They didn't try to repeat that Bavethjan weren't fish at all, it wasn't particularly offensive. That and the younger generations had accepted the term as common street slang. Valled gave Sebastian a radiant smile full of fangs. It was a bit sharp, but sincere.

"Do you have everything you want to bring to start your journey? Or do you need to make more trips?. We're ready to host you on the dry decks, but of course you can take your time." They put the tablet in a drawer on their side of the desk and stood up. Ready to guide the cat-guy back to the docks or up to the dry decks. Where he would find more shore-dwellers.
Sebastian blinked in amazement. "Really? I mean, thank you!" He returned the sharp smile with a genuine one of his own. He picked up his bag and stood. "I have everything I need right here, so I can go wherever you want me to be! I travel light. Do you know who I'll be traveling with yet?"
"Well, I will be there. I'm going to be with you every step of your journey, really." Said Valled, guiding Sebastian back to the corridors. They'd be taking a different route this time. To the dry decks on levels 0 to +4. Those only had water running through the sides of the halls and rooms. Like little streams to keep the ambience humid. Instead of being constantly full like levels -1 to the depths of the station.

"So you'll always travel with me, and perhaps other participants of the Alien Life program!" They explained as they walked towards the elevators. It was good to see a good attitude in this participant. Valled could report it had all gone well, very comfortably. That and it would make for a better trip if they were to spend a lot of time together.
Sebastian gently slung his bag over his shoulder and grinned at his new traveling companion. "I feel like I just went through a screening process for a new best friend!" He glanced around the hallways with interest before stepping into the elevator. The idea of confining himself into an elevator was still not something he was particularly happy about, but the Bav's acceptance of him into their program lifted a huge weight off his shoulders. He could deal with an elevator for a short time. He was on his way to a new life! Finally!

"You must meet a lot of interesting characters doing this job. Are you the main person to perform these interviews? Or do all of the other Bav traveling companions do this?" he asked curiously. He studied the tiny floor labels next to the control panel, taking note of what was where. "Also, how long until we get to a planet? Or get to go to one? However that works."