A new species arrives on the station, and the humans Will Not Stop Staring.
New species is worried. Did it offend them somehow? Is it edible?
Meanwhile all the humans are thinking is “Holy ***,. a unicorn.”
G’pux soothed her new companion by petting her neck. “There, now. It’s all right. It’s natural to be a little tense when meeting the Galactic Alliance.”
Thrass tossed her head and stamped uncertainly, Though she fit the pattern for Horse, she was undoubtedly a cogniscent species. She was certainly more flexible and robust than a Terran horse. And the species’ gift for telekinesis did no harm, either. “This not being little tense,” she managed. “This being close to snapping.”
“I’ll let you in on a secret,” whispered G’pux. The lizard leaned closer to Thrass’ twitching ear. “You won’t be meeting planetary ambassadors. You missed the Meet by a year and a half. What they’ll have is -ah- unattached ambassadors. People with the title but little to no influence. And possibly some station-resident staff who handle matters for the planetary ambassadors. If they have nothing better to do.”
“So… I will being most important in room?”
“Oh yes. They’ll all be there to impress you.” G’pux thought about this. “Except perhaps Ambassador Shayde. She’s… kind of… a law unto herself.”
“Need I worrying about her?”
“No. You’ll be fine. There’s very few things that annoy her and you’re not prone to do any of them.”
The ship docked, and far too soon, it was time to make Thrass’ introduction formal. G’pux exited first, just to make sure there were no accidental ambassadors lurking in the corners. Shayde was present and actually standing to attention for a change. And Rael stood at her elbow so he was ready to preempt anything Shayde was going to try.
Five other humans were in the group of twenty and at least one had brought a gift basket. G’pux secretly hoped that it was actually full of gifts and not mostly cellophane. “Gathered cogniscents, Ambassadors and staff, it is my singular honour to introduce you to Ambassador Thrass of the Houyhnhnm. Planet H’ruh’hra.”
Thrass stepped out, resplendant in the golden copy of her former work suit. She had been a farmer before G’pux had crash-landed into her life. Her speech was heavily rehearsed. “Honoured cogniscents, I thank you for your welcome.” The rest, I bring peaceful greetings from H’ruh’hra, appeared to die in her throat.
The humans were all staring.
Bug-eyed, barely-breathing, slack-jawed staring.
“Is they think I edible?” Thrass whispered. “I doing some thing wrong?”
Then Shayde, most likely to blurt anything uncivil, blurted, “Holy fookain shit, that’s a unicorn.”