| "The second ocasion for our contact with the inhabitants
of Slana came just an hour later. We were remaining inside of the
dink as we had been commanded to do by our Captain. The 'music' suddenly
intensified a hundred fold. Until it was much more audible.
"We looked out of the ports, and saw a great procession
of the Slan gliding towards our module.
'WE COME IN PEACE, DO NOT FEAR US..' reverbrated in
my head, so loudly that it felt like a chorus of giants were shouting at
'PLEASE!!' I thought desperately..'CAN JUST A FEW OF
YOU SPEAK TO ME AT THE SAME TIME? IT IS TOO MUCH FOR ME, WHEN YOU
ALL SPEAK TOGETHER AS YOU ARE DOING NOW...'
'VERY WELL, JUST THE ELDERS WILL ADDRESS YOU
IF THAT IS YOUR WISH.'
'WE ONLY WISH TO CONVEY OUR RESPECT FOR YOU, SO THAT
YOU WILL KNOW WE ARE ALL OF ONE MIND.' the smaller chorus continued.
'IS THIS MORE COMFORTABLE FOR YOU?'
'YES, INDEED. THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION.'
We were now recording the exchange, and I was interpreting
it as I went. The delegation of Elders, as such they appeared to
be, looked no different from the others, with the exception of having brighter
looking hair. They stood in front of the mass of Slan who had accompanied
We had come out to greet them again. I could feel
the probes scanning my body and looked at Solon. He, too, seemed
to be experiencing them.
'WE ALSO COME IN PEACE AND WISH YOU NO HARM OF ANY KIND.'
I smiled at them, and added in my Earth voice, "How are we supposed to
tell them apart? They all seem to be almost identical."
"I cannot quite describe my feelings on being with so
many of the alien humanoids at one time. It was a deep feeling of
being comfortable, and at the same time a sort of excitement. It
felt somehow like a long held desire being fulfilled. But how
was that possible?
"Ask them if there is a leader that our Captain can
meet with?" Tara seemed excited, also.
'IS THERE ONE WHO WILL SPEAK FOR YOUR ENTIRE PEOPLE?
A RULER, OR SOME DESIGNATED LEADER? OUR CAPTAIN WHO REPRESENTS ALL
OF US, IS MOST ANXIOUS TO MEET WITH SUCH.' I conveyed.
'WE, THE ELDERS SPEAK FOR THE SLAN.' About ten
or so with the firebright hair stepped forward. 'WE WISH TO MEET
WITH YOUR CAPTAIN ALSO.'
'IT IS THE REQUEST OF OUR CAPTAIN THAT ONLY ONE OR TWO
REPRESENT THE REST, IT IS A LITTLE OVERWHELMING TO DEAL WITH SUCH A LARGE
GROUP.' The Captain had been most particular about this point, as
we did not yet know very much about them.
I relayed their response, 'WE HAVE NO SUCH THING-- WE
HAVE NO SECRETS FROM ONE ANOTHER. SO IT IS HARD TO DO THINGS ALONE,
DO YOU UNDERSTAND?'
"The Captain, who by now had beamed herself down to
the meeting site, stepped forward. "Tell them that we will all act
as representatives, all four of us. Ask them if they will select
four Elders to be their group." She smiled expectantly at them, while
she was speaking to me.
'OUR CAPTAIN REQUESTS THAT YOU CHOSE FOUR...' I held
up four fingers of my hand, and indicated our group. 'TO BE YOUR
REPRESENTATIVES TO US.'
The Slan did not look at one another, but kept looking
direcetly at us. I could hear the dialogue among them, 'WE DO NOT
DO THINGS IN THIS MANNER', 'BUT APPARENTLY THEY DO', 'LET US HUMOR THEM',
'BUT IT IS NOT SEEMLY', 'WELL, LET US SEE WHAT IT IS THEY WANT FROM US..'
Finally, a chorus, of 'SO BE IT', was intoned.
Four of the Elders stayed, and the others stepped back a little.
"Please tell them that we appreciate it." The Captain's
smile was even broader than before, if that was possible. I could
sense how proud she was to have this coup on her log of our voyage.
A First Contact of Peaceful Kind, and the subsequent learning added to
the Federation's bank of knowlege, and her name as Commanding Officer of
"Looking back now, there was absolutely no indication
of the trouble to come. There was no warning feeling in the air,
that I could sense, and I was the only one of our group to be able to pick
up on their conversation, feeling tones, etc.
"But, just as suddenly as the first life form had appeared,
all of the Slan, turned as one, and vanished before our eyes!
"What happened, Darla??" "Where did they all go??"
"Can you get them to return??" "Why, for heaven's sake?" Now
the chorus was human, from my fellow officers.
"Gosh, NO! I know as little as you do about what
happened!" I protested, suddenly feeling anxious. "Perhaps
we had better get into our dink and wait to see what happens next."