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“So, what brings you to Morriband?” you ask your latest visitor.

He takes a sip from the small glass and makes a satisfied sound. He seems content with the tea at least, you’re relieved.

“Just a stopover I’m afraid. A Mallowmarg colony on the frontier is looking for some able bodies and I consider myself pretty able.”

You wipe at the counter a bit with your trusty rag. You look up at the Marg and ask, “I thought the Federation’s colonies were more diverse? Heck, I thought that was the main difference between the Empire and Federation.”

The Mallowmarg looks apologetic, “Oh, oh no, I’m sorry. It’s not just for Mallowmarg, all Federation citizens are able to colonize Korva IV, I just mean that some of my people have found a particularly suitable corner for us and need more able bodies to shape it. I am looking for some work and a place to stay afterwards and figure it’d be my best chance to do both.”

He takes another sip and stares at you quizzically.

“Did you want to look into settling elsewhere? Forgive me for prying, but you are a Kemezeckian and Korva IV is a Federation colony… I am sure there is a nice body of water-”

You laugh, but it comes out more bitter than you had intended. “Oh, no, I’m an expat. Couldn’t stand the the Federation’s bureaucracy so I threw in my lot with the Cycs… just struck me as a better option…”

“Oh,” the Marg smiles, “but it would still be easy to-”

“Nah, I’m not interested in heading further away from civilization. I was just interested in how you said it was a Mallowmarg colony is all.”

“Ah, yes. I see. How long have you been an expat?”

You pour yourself a shot and hold it up to your guest, “29 standard cycles, 30 next month. The name is Jaal Vem.”

The Marg holds up his cup and nods.

“Springan Sunvault.”

You take your shot, and the Marg takes a long sip of the tea.

You grind your beak a bit as you feel the shot burn its way through your gullet. You look up at your guest. “Is there anything else I could offer you besides Fermentea?”

“Just water, really, I hope that doesn’t sound rude in a bar… I can only drink certain types of alcohol.”

“Really?”

“Only fermented leaves, no grains or fruits. Part of my religion, you see.”

“What religion is that?”

“Oh, I am a Sun worshipper.”

You don’t know much about religion, having never been religious yourself. You admit to yourself you have a curiosity about that, but religions and bars rarely mix. You consider where to take the conversation next.


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