Tivk: We will talk in here. My work station has enough interference from proximity to the drive core to prevent surveillance.
Nok: I have other counter surveillance programs on my padlet. We are secure.
Mukh: Good. I brought the Vacc-Jack. Let’s all have a libation.
Tovk: My species does not drink. But this is a perfect occasion for me to start.
Mukh: You said it, beanpole.
Nok: I’m turning the lighting down a little. I want to take my glasses off and look at you two with my own eyes.
Tivk: Be comfortable ... friend. This alcohol ...
Mukh: You like it?
Tivk: No. Hit me again.
Nok: That makes no sense.
Tivk: I’ve been hanging around with humans, and you two.
Mukh: Rhhh. This stuff can take the sting off egg laying, I’ll tell you.
Nok: I think far from influencing the humans they influenced us.Like right now. Why the hell are we speaking English? When was the last time we spoke in our languages or Galactic Common? We couldn’t dissuade them from their mission to use the Question against the Slugs.
Mukh: I ... don’t remember. Well as long as we are going human ... a toast.
Nok: Go ahead froggy.
Mukh: To humans. May they never stop asking questions but at least learn when to shut the hell up.
Tivk: Good toash ... toast. Another please, froggy.
Nok: We are good to talk here?
Tivk: There’s a slight increase in radiation here. Our primate colleagues shun it almost superstitiously.
Nok: Radiation. Pffft. They should come from my planet. Our Primary is very ill behaved at times.
Mukh: I don’t plan on laying anymore eggs. I’m good. Fellas, I have to tell you something ...
Tivk: Kidsh tie you down.
Chief: Excuse me gentlemen. May I join you?
Tivk: Chief ... of course.
Mukh: Soitenly. Want a snort? It’s good stuff. I got it from a Cat Girl.
Chief: No thank you. I’m on duty. This is not a social call.
Tivk: Is something wrong?
Chief: Thule Base is gone. We got a an alert from them an hour ago. A giga-boom doesn’t leave much doubt. Twelve crew and four patients are gone as well.
Nok: The Question is gone too. Dark Mother be praised.
Tivk: My people had loss-es when they encountered the Question. Hundreds of thousands. They fell away from rationality in denying it. They turned to destructive pursuits, war, tyranny. You call them the enemy now.
Chief: Why are you all here now? In this cramped compartment. Surely there are more comfortable meeting areas for you.
Nok: I was homesick for a dark closed place with high radiation.
Tivk: We were having a private ... support group. If you must know.
Mukh: I wanted to have a drink alone ... with my friends.
Chief: The containment of the Question on Thule Base was pretty secure. But the self destruct system was relatively easy to sabotage. It was built to be quick access. We had to have safeguards ‘a course but you could circumvent them ... if you were good at intrusion ... if you were good at tech ... even if you had some high end translator and de-crypt programming skills, like a linguist.
Mukh: I have been told I’m a cunning ... ah skip it. That joke is too bad even for me.
Nok: All our races had a brush with this Question and had losses Chief. Sometimes you just run back to your safe dark little world and hide there until a bunch of dolphin people ‘port down and convince you there’s a lot of good in the galaxy that you have to experience. We all took losses from it without having to blame each other.
Mukh: Think about it Chief. For decades before your race journeyed to other stars you wondered where all the aliens were? Why was the galaxy so empty? Was there a Great Filter wiping intelligent life out? Then you found the Great Filter itself and tried to turn it into a weapon. What did you think your chances of success were?
Chief: You should stop talking now. You need representation.
Nok: Fine. What was going on at Thule Base will come out. Your people have to know.
Muhk: Go ahead blame the aliens. We’re easy targets! It’s not like my people go around invading.
Tivk: What about Carnellia 2?
Mukh: That wasn’t an invasion! We got lost ... and hungry.
Chief: ... sixteen people.
Mukh: So what happens now? You feed us to the reactor? Let us escape in a shuttle?
Chief: I think I’ll have that drink. Then we go to the Captain and I tell him my suspicions.
Tivk: Excellent. The part about the drink firsht. Not about the Captain being told. Because he’sh going to be upshet.
Mukh: I like the Captain.
Nok: Let’s have another round for those ... lost.
Chief: ... The crew at Thule,.
Tivk: To the crew at T’ule Bashe.
Chief: Sometimes there isn’t enough Vacc-Jack in the Local Bubble.