"Good evening, most appreciated guests and visitors!" The small female voice carried well across the room thanks to the intercom system setup by the party staff. She was standing on a platform behind a podium, smiling her most best of grins.
"I am delighted to welcome you to our special celebration in honor of Ancient Culture. We, of the committee, hope that this will be a first of many events focusing on tradition and history of all living species. Through exploring and understanding of other cultures we can connect all worlds throughout the galaxy. Ending unnecessary conflict and bringing a more peaceful existence."
"Finally, I would like to thank all of your for embracing this very unique holiday of Halloween! Please, enjoy the festivities!"
After the opening speech, Ambassador Ziranova Sachavik left the podium to do what she does best. ...mingle! Completely thrilled with the Halloween theme, she had went all out to make sure this party was authentic and impression. The banquet hall was decorated to look like one of the ancient haunted manor houses. There were hanging cobwebs, big fuzzy spiders (Although... she was starting to suspect some of those were real.), sheeted ghouls, scary looking mannequins. Her favorite part was the costumes. The Ambassador's own costume was the Greek Goddess Aphrodite. There was no better way to promote peace and prosperity than as the Goddess of Love herself!
Blaxdon had fallen into a light sleep when he heard a buzzing noise and looked at the control panel. He was running very low on fuel and didnt have time to get to a proper fueling station. "oh thats just perfect, Jovvy.. Jovvy come on wake up and find us a place to land" he snapped at his driver/pilot.
An older man bristled and popped his neck and yawned. "Alright alright.. come on sit down I will have us on the planet in no time." he smiled and worked the buttons, knobs and countless switches and sure enough the black and silver craft made a soft landing on a roof top.
"Looks like a party going on over there, go check it out, Ill secure some fuel." Jovvy gave his boss a nod. "ah come on have some fun, we've come this far haven't we?" Letting out a sigh Blaxdon knew he was right.
"Alright fine Ill go, but you better be here when I get back.. you know I dont do well in crowds" Blaxdon sighed hard then grabbed his dark gray jacket and hit the button for the ramp to lower. "Have fun" Jovvy called to him as the door shut. Blaxdon just waved him off as he made his way over to the party. It looked like a real big deal and he suddenly felt underdressed. Everyone was happy and the music was great. He could smell some food. It was an exotic mix of color and texure as some the dishes were still moving. He jumped back from one as its claw like arm grabbed at him. It was going to be very strange night for sure.
In the kitchen, the air was tense and hot. Waiters and waitresses were moving in and out, chefs were preparing little snacks for the guests and keeping the buffet outside full, a few supervisors were overseeing everything while one of the Ambassador's assistants made sure everything was in order. Everything had to run smoothly but quickly.
There was the apple cider to keep cold and in hand. It was one of the most expensive drinks to date and the Ambassador had made sure to find the very best orchard with the very best apples. There were also the snacks, from caramel apple to bite-sized pieces of pumpkin pie. The buffet had more variety. The food wasn't just limited to food associated with Halloween but made to cater to every guests' tastes.
... And that was no small feat.
Only a few of the people working tonight were human. The others were a mixture of races and species but they were all required to wear uniforms. For example, the waiters were black slacks, shoes, vest, and a white shirt with a black bow tie. The waitresses wore basically the same thing but heels instead of shoes and skirts instead of slacks.
Celix walked into the kitchen and set the tray down on a counter. Then he took some glasses, placed them on the tray, and filled them two-thirds of the way with apple cider. It was a good thing he had hands instead of paws, although the cap he wore to cover his ears was beginning to itch.
"Come on, Rytha! The guests are still waiting for that honey-glazed ham," one of the supervisors called to one of the chefs.
"We're running low on candy apples. Get another dozen of the crates here," went another supervisor.
"... The Ambassador invited everyone who is everyone to the party," one of the waitresses whispered to another.
Celix balanced the tray on his hand and walked out. Anyone who was anyone was here but he was only interested in one person.
From the abyss of space, a small star detached itself from the celestial body and soared serenely down toward the flickering lights of the party. Magnificent in shape, construction, and decoration, the massive cruiser hummed silently amidst a sea of others not half as impressive nor expensive. Voices unheard in the hush of cockpits no doubt mused as to what king or queen had been invited to the affair, unaware that the main benefactor of the party reclined within a red plush chair, staring out over the stars and lights below him.
It was the act of a simple manipulation of various controls to drop the guest to the surface, and thus, the party. His flagship would remain on an autopilot standby while he partook of the joys higher society always seemed to offer...and he was all too content to let it sit and be admired.
Let them talk...it only assisted his ambition.
Stepping in a lively stroll, the man had but to flash his identification to gain immediate entrance into the celebration. Before him, the decorations of the archaic holiday festooned the walls and stared from every corner. It was curious...the Earth that Was once celebrated decadence, decay, murder, terror, and disease by polluting their body with delightful sweets. Dressing as fictional creatures of mystery and horror, the primarily juvenile population was rewarded for their duplicity with further treats...looting house after house mercilessly.
It was more reminiscent of the ancient Vikings then any of the 'civilized' customs the old age had held...but who was he to judge oddities?
His name was Adrian, but it was the titles following after that held weight in this place. He was a knight upon a battlefield not of blood...but of words every bit as deadly as blades.
He...and he alone held supremacy here.
Clad in the vines, leaves, and makeup of the Greek God Dionysus, the cherubic noble certainly lent himself well to the god of orgies, drinking, and excess. Capering nimbly through smiles with forced teeth and eyes sly with information, Adrian made his way to the table in order to procure a caramel apple, delighting in its succulent crunch and taste.
"I daresay," He commented cheerily to a young woman beside him "Who would have thought our ancestors could be so ingenious with food? This simply tastes marvelous...just marvelous." He received a nod and a grin for his words...more then enough for a stout socialite as he.
But alas, he could not claim to be here solely on business...somewhere in this throng of unsightly horrors there was a woman who had been brazen enough to call him wrong...to slap him...if such a thing could be perceived.
Her name was Ziranova Sachavik...and she alone had stolen the heart of the untouchable lord...dancing past his intricate manipulations as if they were no more powerful then the cobwebs hanging limply from the ceiling.
"Thank you for being here, I really apr- Oh. no, no, no!" The Ambassador suddenly broke off from one of her conversations to quickly bounce over to another group! Her hand placed gently over the mouth over a confused Cradilian, she was plucking an infantile... creature... out of their hands.
"This um, is not part of the menu! Have you tried the buffet? There's a myriad of different choices! I'll just... take this little one back to it's mother." Escaping with the creature, Zira let out a sigh of relief! That would have been an intergalactic disaster for sure. Holding up the child (it must have belong to one of the visiting Duchesses), she grinned. Nothing was cuter than dressed up babies for Halloween! Even if they did... slobber... big stringy goop... Ew!
Ah ha! There they were! "Madam Burossa! I have found someone that belongs to you." Giving the Duchess her wee baby, (of which she was relieved to have back! Seems the kid had gone missing for an hour!), Ziranova was free to return to socializing.
Except, she spotted the one person in the world that wasn't invited to this party!
Ziranova ducked behind one of the decorated pillars, stopping a sandaled foot in frustration. Damnable cretin! Just because he funded her latest project didn't mean he could show up. ...well, it did, but that didn't he should!
Taking a deep breath, she returned her sparkling smile before stepping back out in to the crowd again. As one of the waiters passed, she plucked a glass of apple cider from his tray. She blinked! He had a tail! A swishy real one at that!
"How cute! I bet ladies can't keep their hands off your tail."
Walk. Stop. Dip the tray a little lower to let one of the shorter guests take a cider. Nod when said shorter guest comments about the cider and how the taste can be related to intergalactic economics and interpersonal relationships. (Even if aforementioned lecture makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.)
Celix managed to sidestep a female waving one of her many tentacles away from her in a dramatic reenactment and stopped just in time to let another guest take one of the ciders. The ears under the cap twitched. Chaos' theory, this cap was itchy! ... But he'd been in such a hurry to get here so he wouldn't miss his chance.
"How cute! I bet ladies can't keep their hands off your tail."
The words were enough to take Celix's mind off of ears and caps. What? Someone had noticed his tail--Damnation, the stupid thing had unwound from his waist again! Grr ... It had a mind of its own!
Celix kept his head lowered but looked up at her. As long as she stood there and he didn't turn his head, she wouldn't see his eyes. She had piqued his curiousity. She was the first one to have noticed his tail all night.
"The trouble, my lady, is when said ladies take it upon themselves to use my tail as a wrap," he said softly, his voice low. It might have sounded ridiculous but it was completely true!
"As a wrap?" Ziranova was having a hard time figuring out why a woman would, unless it was made of real fur. ...and then she realized it very much was, as the tail itself was real!
"It's a real tail!" she eclaimed with some surprise! Fancy that, a man with a tail! Zira tilted to get a better look of his actual face. He was still bowing low, of what she assumed was staff protocol. "No one has tried to take your tail off have they?" Ooh. His eyes were strange too. She didn't recognize this species. Where exactly was he from?
Straightening, it was a question she would have to save for a moment. She was trying to signal subtly to one of the other staffers across the room to not poke at those spiders with sticks! If real spiders wanted to sit up in the webbings they were welcome to, just as long as they didn't go eating any of the guests!
Then and only then did Celix realize his mistake. He could have easily passed it off as a costume but now, not only did she realize his tail was real and his eyes weren't quite er, "normal", but she'd start to wonder a whole bunch of things!
"No one has tried to take your tail off have they?"
"No--no, my lady." Well, not lately and that's because he was bigger than said ladies he had mentioned. They were the wee girls who lived at the orphanage he often visited. It wasn't the same one he'd lived at when he was younger but then all orphanages had a tendency to look the same after awhile.
Celix glanced around. He needed to find a way out of this before she started asking questions. He preferred kids. They were easier to distract than adults were.
That was when he saw his chance. A male dressed in flowing robes off to the side about several yards away was pounding on his chest with a claw, his blue face turning red. The people he was talking to seemed oblivious to the sight their companion was choking.
"Pardon me," he told the Ambassador. Then one hand still holding up the tray, he literally bounded over to the male. Celix leaned forward and used his hand and feet to propel himself forward in leaps, still keeping the tray upright and not a drop of the cider from escaping. He stopped right behind the male and stood, then put the tray down on the floor. Wrapping his arms around the large male's waist, he pushed his fists backwards a few times until the food the male had been choking on shot out and landed in someone's drink.
Celix picked up the tray and disappeared into the crowd just as the male turned around to find whomever had saved his life.
... Unfortunately, he had also dropped his cap on the floor.
Blaxdon seemed to forget his manors as he ate his way around the table. He found some strange stuffed roll with some sweet meat inside. He didnt even care to know what it was he had to have more. He had one plate in his left hand a turkey leg in the other as he turned around to scan the crowd. Licking his lips he set down the plate and went looking for something to drink. A eyed someone with a tray of something and tilted his head following the tray around the other guest. He smiled and wiped his face and hands on a napkin and took a few strides over to the tray. He grabbed to glasses and chugged them. He smiled and went for a third holding the two other in his other hand.
"Selbots" he smiled to the woman and the person holding the tray. He noticed a tail and then finished off the third glass. He held the empty ones in his hands forgetting he hand them.
"Lord Adrian, you Cock-Eyed Tellanur! I didn't know you were coming!"
The voice was a momentary distraction from Ziranova...and a moment was all it took for her to vanish in the throng of costumed guests. Adrian found the situation mildly annoying at best, but no hint of his maligned feelings dented his winning smile as he turned to behold Lady Myra DeNothal of planet Titania...one of his largest stockholders in Shirou industries. Of course she'd be invited, the woman thrived off of the social shindigs of the upper class, hopping from one martini glass to another. But royalty was royalty and you could no more castigate one for being drunk then you could hold back the revolutions of a planet. The question of class was a universal answer to who held the most power in the universe.
"Ah! Darling Myra, how marvelous to see you here." Adrian cooed with a smile and an obligatory bow of his head. "I was told you were vacationing on Dir-Ma-Neur...however did you find yourself in this part of the universe?"
"Oh you know," she explained with a breathy sigh, her steps stammered in their complete inebriation, "I no sooner heard of this luverly party then canceled my vacation early and had my captain set a course for this system...one cannot afford to miss such occasions you know."
"Quite," Adrian assented marveling at how a vacation costing more then a small duchy on a border moon might be canceled so frivolously and without remorse. "And what a party to choose no? You simply can't find this attention to detail near the Prime moons or on Avalon...if I don't miss my mark, I predict this costuming ordeal will become quite the trend in the upper echelons in the coming seasons. What do you think?"
"Oh! Indeed!" Myra slurred, her gaze an unfocused mess of beauty product. "I would be disappointed if it DIDN'T make a debut...perhaps you'll hold one?"
"My dear," Adrian said with a smile. "How could I dream of denying you the opportunity to one up this celebration?"
Her answer was a giggle as a friend whisked her away from Adrian and back into the foray of theologists, historians, and nobility alike.
Adrian moved through the swath of people with a singular purpose, and one not so far removed from his original reason for being here. Unfortunately, winning back Ziranova was not the reason he funded her reenactment. While generous, Adrian never did anything without secondary or even tertiary effects. While this was initially a plan to show Ziranova he respected her work...it also served as an impromptu gathering of men and women he had need of council with.
In fact, this celebration of Halloween had become the perfect cover...recognition distorted by the already outlandish costumes. Truly Ziranova had unwittingly stumbled upon the perfect way to conspire in style.
Smiling more to himself then anyone else, Adrian walked on a cloud of his own charisma and reputation.
Now...he needed to but locate Lord Bracken and begin the hopefully last pre-measure of his grand ambition.
Ziranova didn't have a chance to ask the waiter any more questions before he pounced off suddenly. (Yes, pounced! A bit like a cat, wasn't it!) She was incredibly impressed when he caught one of the guests choking and solved that problem with quick efficiency. Having a guest die tonight would be the worst! Before she even could dart over there, he had vanish. Zira leaned to pick up the hat that had fallen on the ground. ...Did he have kitty ears too?
"Selbots." Ah, too late for her to go chasing after him, here was another guest! Ziranova smiled back at the man who now had his hands full of empty champagne glasses. She didn't recognize him from the guest list, but she wasn't going to object to people sneaking their way in to the party and enjoying themselves. It was a night dedicated to getting to know fellow lifeforms!
"Good Evening!" she replied, "Oh, let me take some of those for you." Zira confiscated the empty glasses and passed them off to a waiter walking by.
"You certainly look like you're enjoying yourself so far. Have you tried dancing?" she asked him, debating on how much the man had drank so far and wondering if he could hold his liquor. At worst, she could guide him to a chair to sit and pass him something a little less intoxicating!
"Ah where are my manors.. " Blaxdon bowed to her and smiled as he stood up again and snagged another glass from a passing tray. "Im Blaxdon, I didnt mean to pop in here without being announced, I can leave if you like. You see we are only refueling nearby and then Ill be off.. Nice party, is it your birthday or some other human celebration?" he asked in hopes of not being asked to leave just yet. He smiled at her as he scopped up another glass when she wasnt looking. He winked and wiggled his eye brows over his glass as he tipped it back and polished it off. He quickly looked for another. Something he had eaten made him very thirsty and earthy made drinks of any nature never effected him as it would other humans or life forms. It was like water to him.
"Its rather sweet isnt it, that water or something, its refreshing, nothing like what her have at home." he smiled at her and looked around at the others that were dancing and laughing. "that looks like fun, want to try it.." he smiled and without warning picked her up and spun her into his arms and around the dance floor. Many people stopped to watch them and cheer them on as he moved speed and grace. He spun her around the floor like a pro. He moved with her around the other couples in and out with perfect timing. He loved her scent and didnt even know her name. It didnt matter.
Blaxdon twirling her up in the air then caught her before she hit the hardwood floor. He smiled and touched her face as he let her stand back up. She was a sight and he had been this bold in his life. Just taking her and dancing with her, but he just couldnt help himself.
Panting a little he nodded at the people clapping and then gave her a bow. "I pray you will forgive me... " he slowly backed into the crowd as she was swarmed by other women and men all clammoring to dance with her next and all asking who her partner was. Blaxdon took two glasses from a passing try and smirked as he went to get some air. He wasnt sure what came over him and he didnt even know her name, but that was the most fun he'd had in a long time. The look on her face was priceless.
One moment she was about to launch in to a detailed explanation of her big plans and party, then the next she was being lifted and whisked away to the dance floor! She had been suggesting it for him, not that she- darn it!
To his credit, the stranger was so extraordinarily good that she was sure she had just been spirited away by a professional dancer. Ziranova liked to think of herself as a fair dancer, after all she had to attend many parties and social gatherings. But now, she was so focused on making sure she placed her footing right that she couldn't even speak! The surprised expressions she was giving, mingled with the concentrating looks probably made the entire scene look so much more romantically intense than it really was!
By the finish and being righted on her feet once again, as the stranger muttered his apologies and escaped, Zira's head was spinning! By the time she caught her breath, she was surrounded by curious guests that just had to know who the stranger was!
"Lady Ambassador! Would you honor me with a dance?" asked one of the Councilmen from Xel 5.
She shook her head quickly, praying she wasn't blushing like a teenage girl. The last thing she needed was to look like she was infatuated and having a secret affair! All the gossip that would cause. "I need a moment to catch my breath. I would be happy to give you a dance later, though."
"Am'assa'or Sacha, iz tha man a frien' o no'? My so hansom e 'as! E 'as a name?" Someone else asked. Ziranova had to quickly offer her apologies about not knowing the man's name, but that she would go and find out immediately!
...right after she got herself a drink! Heading to the tables, Ziranova captured a glass of red wine and drank it down quickly with a relieved sigh. The party had just gotten started and now she needed to return a hat to a man with cat ears and a tail, as well as still rumors about a mysterious dancing guest. What else could happen?
As the Ambassador was righted a cruel laugh punctuated the end of the applause, though only those surrounding the figure the laughter had emenated from heard it, and despite themselves they felt shivers of apprehension drift down their spines.
The figure, a man of average hight but broad across the chest, approached the ambassador, deftly manuevering through the crowd, removing a brass half mask as he did so, the mask looked like the lower half of a bestial man's face, the shark like teeth that grinned from between cracked lips gave the mask a sinister appearence, and though it hung from a chain around Severdus Tharn's neck, those who looked at it too closely would swear that it moved slightly, as though the mask was breathing.
The heavily scarred Tharn passed the group of onlookers and caught up with the Ambassador, smiling as he spoke, though the spark in his eyes made all his expressions seem rather malevolent.
"Lady Ambassador, If I may, I'd Like to thank you for inviting me to this......event" he said as politely as he could, though the tone of his voice, whilst not directly hostile, was cold and cruel.
Thanks to years worth of experience, Ziranova greeted the Overlord Severdus Tharn with the same easy smile she greeted all of her guests with. Despite the fact that the man's natural appearance could give anyone nightmares! He was a very important person from Skarrathos, and a very good example of a race that really, really needed to participate in peace treaties. Skarrathans were an incredibly violent race.
"I do appreciate that you decided to attend, Overlord Tharn. I thought someone from Skarrathos would appreciate the grim noir factor of this particular Ancient Earth holiday." Thankfully, no one had alerted her to any more 'misunderstandings', so as long as those hands that seemed to be nailed to the front of his armor weren't any of the guests attending - she was glad!
Ziranova was swapping her empty wine glass for a fresh one as her eyes scanned the crowd, there was now two men she was looking for and one she was trying to avoid! "Have you taken a moment to talk to some of our other guests? I made sure to invite officials from the neighboring planets in your solar systems and, er... well except Emporer Gagzcek. I believe he said he would ignite my ship in to smithereens if I came anywhere near his planet with invitations..." Sometimes being an Ambassador was risky business.
Blaxdon was just finishing off his 4th or was it his 6th glass of sweet water as he called it when his transponder came to life. He sighed and answered it as he moved even father away from the noise.
"What now.. Im Im... im dancing" he smirked as he confessed and also want to surprise his pilot with the truth for once.
"Your what??? No your not, you never dance.. dont lie to me.. Anyway, we are all fueled up and ready to go.. however I would like some hours sleep before we take off again and your mother had left 28 recordings begging for your location and intentions, what should I tell her?" the pilot waited but already knew the answer.
"Nothing! say nothing, dont repsond that will tell them where we are.. Im not going back just yet.. " Blaxdon was getting stress again and didnt like it. "Just.. just get some sleep." he closed the small communication device and ran his fingers in his hair.
His stomach growled so he turned back toward the buffet tables. He eyed the exotic dishes in amazment. Some were still moving and he couldnt resist the impluse to poke at it with a fork. He smirked as it moved in the pink sauce it was in. Blaxdon jumped when he heard her voice near by. Looking up he saw a figure that filled the horizon. It couldnt be. But it was. He had never thought he would see one up close. The rumors were true, they were huge and mean looking. The battles his kind had fought over trade routes filled his memory.
Locked in a blank stare as flashes of explosions and battles tugged at him. He felt like he couldnt breath and had to look away. What sort of party was this he asked himself, and had he been seen? Hoping he could slip away before she saw him or the Overlord did. Turing to leave the table Blaxdon failed to see person walking behind him with a tray and crashed right into them. Food and drinks went flying as Blaxdon got to his feet and tried to scramble away. His escape was ruined.
The Overlord basked in the ambassadors smile for a moment before catching himself, She would have been an Attractive woman had she the ritual scarification the people of Skarrathos underwent as their initiation into adulthood.
Tharn found himself grinning at the mention of the Emperor Gagzcek
"Ah, the Emperor of Galathros always was a brute with more bluster than brains Tharn's voice was a gutteral growl, but the tone of his voice was that of amusement.
it was then that Blaxdon and the waiter crashed into each other, and as they fell, Tharn's hand whipped to the revolver in it's holster, the weapon sliding from it's restraints and the overlord's thumb drawingthe hammer back as Tharn swung the weapon in the direction of the disturbance, all in the time it took to turn around, the Overlod's reflexes taking over.
Tharn holstered the weapon and engaged the holster saftey, so that the weapon could not be drawn so swiftly next time with an audible growl of released tension as the handsnaild to his armor twitched with anticipation, their movements slowing as Tharn holstered his weapon.
"My Apologies Lady Ambassador, but when you have as many attempts made on you life as I do, your reflexes tend to be swift" he said, struggling to hide his pleasure at the thought of the violence he could have unleashed upon the clumsy idiots who had caused the noise.
Ziranova jumped at the loud crash, really prepared for the worst (at least, the worst in her head was someone getting eaten) but was relieved to see it was simply an accident with a waiter. At least until the Skarrathos had pulled his weapon! Zira had moved a hand to grab on to his arm before anyone was shot at, but thankfully Tharn had his weapon put away in a blink of an eye.
Withdrawing her hand and shrugging her shoulders, she smiled easily (and with relief!). "I understand. I doubt you would be with us here today without those reflexes!" Speaking of which, those hands on his armor were twitching, making her blink and quickly look away elsewhere before she got the urge to poke at them and ask questions.
Her eyes fell back on the fallen waiter and the one that crashed in to him. There was that stranger! Jumping to his feet and merging in to the crowd. Zira snapped her fingers, trying to make sure she kept a good eye on him. In a moment, she was going to hunt him down and figure out who he was!
"You don't happen to know who the stranger is, do you? I hate to admit that I don't know everyone here, but he wasn't one on the guest list and now there's a big to-do about him."
Tharn grinned and pointed to the severed hands
"These were from the last to try his hand at my destruction, though as for the Dancer, I have no idea who he is" Tharn said dryly, his eyes locked onto the stranger as he and the Ambassador made to follow Blaxdon, though Tharn made sure to ask one of the travelling waiters if they had anything stronger than wine as he passed, and the waitress had handed him a glass of 'scotch', which Tharn sipped at as he followed the Dancer. his free hand held open and behind him, almost inviting the Ambassador to take it so that they would not be seperated in the crowd.
Blaxdon was trying to help put everything back in order but the person he bumped into was slapping his hands as they both tried to clean up the mess. "Im sorry if you would just let me.. I mean" over and over his hands were slapped and swatted away. Finally the young girl stood up and looked at him. She glared at him. "You have done enough, you worthless 225!" she snapped at him. "Just run away again, run away from us and from here your a disgrace!" the waitress slapped him and stomped off. A few of the other guest took notice but quickly looked away as Blaxdon touched his face and hissed.
He hadnt been slapped in a very long time and knew he had it coming, but from someone from a lower class! It was unspeakable, he was a royal after all, his family was.. He shook his head and started to walk out. He never should have come here. He was a fool to think that no one would notice him. Blaxdon avoided eye contact as he got to the french doors at lead outside. Now more than ever he needed some air. His face still stung but the fresh night air was bittersweet. He had no idea that he was being followed either.