It worried her, more than anything else, how easily she fell into the rhythms of the cultures she adopted. It felt right, rising at dusk into the rolling heat of sunset, and marking her nights by the near frantic orbits of the satellites. She wouldn’t call them moons, they were too small, too dim, and far too numerous. She learned the languages, not fluently, but well enough that they no longer looked startled when she spoke. She learned the taboos and the mores, the unspoken rules and spoken fallacies. She unmade herself in their image, until at last they simply accepted her among the herd, unconsciously redefining ‘us’ and ‘them’.
By the time the second team arrived she’d filtered down the aliens into something translatable to Earth, and taught them one by one how to gently shape the definitions. It would be decades before the giant herbivores would accept them as they were, but for now she’d carved them a niche that wasn’t quite us and wasn’t quite them.
Which meant it was time to leave the herds behind, trade nights spent under a sky bleached black by a vengeful sun for the dim beige corridors of a diplomatic courier. Time to readjust herself from Vehelann to Human… and then step out into another world and into something else.
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