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Galactic Satori Wars

Book 1 - Incursion


The Echoes of Human Emotions

Planet: Earth
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Date: May 22, 1987
Time: 7:25 pm




Applause washed over her, a wave of alien sensation she should have despised. Beneath borrowed skin, Umanti bowed. A lifetime of warrior discipline crumbled before the insidious rush of human triumph.

Her fingers twitched, seeking the beard that wasn't hers. Julian's beard, a pale echo of her own strength. Eyes squeezed shut, she reveled in the feeling, knowing that every second of indulgence was a failure.
He was old, frail. The tux hung loosely on his thin frame. She, who had bested the trials of the Omarii, was now trapped inside this withered shell. A wave of disgust washed over her, followed swiftly by bitter amusement. These humans, so easily impressed, so unaware of the doom she carried within her host's mind.
Modifications to the projection system… a failure, again. Even knowing it was a trap didn't lessen the craving, the sickening need to revel in their meaningless praise.
Their applause beat against her borrowed ears, a mockery of battle cries. Umanti bit her lip – his lip – the taste of blood a familiar sting. She was Julian Vance, and he was a weapon, nothing more.
"I told you that you'd enjoy yourself." Sheila's voice, smug and self-satisfied.
Umanti forced a smile. "That you did." Each word a lie, but her mission demanded deception. "Thank you for forcing me to come."
Two wasted hours, stolen from the glorious work of crafting a pandemic. She wasn't the first, wouldn't be the last. Their deaths, like all Earth deaths, were simply a means to an end. Yet, the thought held no satisfaction, only a lingering trace of the strange joy that had nearly unmade her.
The Omarii would succeed. Earth would be cleansed. Only ashes would remain, yet the echoes of alien applause still haunted her as she lifted her host's hand and drank.
Dinner, it seemed, justified the entire charade. The thought was absurd, indulgent, a weakness she should have purged long ago. Yet, the truth remained – a single night of revelry did little to hinder her grand purpose.
It was a strange logic, born of too much human wine and the insidious warmth of their praise. Humans fixated on pleasure, on moments stolen from the endless grind of existence. Kron knew no such respite. The endless war, the ever-present plague… no, there was no room for frivolity on her ashen world.
Her lip twitched – a visceral echo of a sneer, ill-suited to Julian's aged face. The Aliri, with their twisted manipulations. Someday, Kron would repay them a thousandfold.
Sheila's hand on her shoulder, a fleshy weight that should have been repulsive. "Julian, are you Okay?"
The drink, and alien emotions she could barely understand, betrayed her. "Sorry. You know I deplore these kinds of events."
"You'd rather be back in the lab?" Sheila's laughter was grating.
Umanti sipped borrowed champagne, Julian's hand shaking with feigned age. "Of course. Who wouldn't? The work…"
"What you've accomplished, Julian." Sheila's correction was sharp, a reminder of her place. "We stand on the cusp of a new age…"
Umanti returned her earlier, mirthless laugh. "A bit dramatic, but I'll concede with grace." She raised her empty glass, a silent toast to their ignorance.
Sheila, oblivious, refilled their glasses. "Here. You'll need it once your adoring fans converge."
The praise that should have tasted like poison was growing strangely sweet. The food, the drink, everything was a perverse celebration of a life these humans would soon forfeit.
"That man with the red tie…" Sheila pointed, conspiratorial. "Jean-Pierre Robert. The Large Hadron Collider project…"
A flicker of cold purpose returned. Perhaps this night wasn't entirely lost. Agneta still needed a host, a brilliant physicist… A sliver of doubt snaked through her. Was she losing herself in Julian, or was this simply the Omarii's ruthlessness taking a new form?
Sheila nudged her. "Drink up, Julian. And enjoy yourself."
"I think I will…" The words felt like a betrayal, a surrender, but beneath them, the warrior still waited, calculating and cold. They would all die. That was the only truth worth clinging to.

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