HUMAN/SUPER First Contact 311

Genesis rolled her eyes and sauntered through the portal. Ozzie sighed and followed. Leigh arched an eyebrow at Angela.

“It’s complicated,” Angela said.

“When isn’t it with you?” Leigh replied, winked, and stepped into the vortex.

Angela went in after her. The room on the other side was little more than a closet, metal walls lined with shelves, mostly empty. The air was stale but otherwise normal. She dismissed the portal.

“You ready?” Ozzie asked, standing by the door.

Angela nodded. Ozzie pressed a button on the wall and the door slid up into the ceiling. Dim light poured in along with a roar of voices. Angela took a deep breath and stepped forward.

She stood on a balcony overlooking a cavernous chamber. Below, hundreds of aliens huddled on cots or the floor, murmuring amongst themselves. They came in all shapes and sizes; from slithering, insectoid creatures to beings nearly indistinguishable from humans. Angela counted at least a dozen distinct species.

“Look at all those people,” Genesis said. “They look like… like refugees.”

“They are,” a woman’s voice said.

She was leaning against the bulkhead nearby. She was very tall, with a broad frame, shaggy grey hair, and dark green skin. Her face was covered in battle scars but there was something alluring about her all the same. Angela tried to read the woman’s mind, but her eyes were both artificial.

“Bandits raided their colony,” the alien said. “Took everything of value, razed the crops, and killed anyone who fought back. The survivors gathered what little they had left and hired the cheapest ship they could find to take them somewhere safe. My ship. On which you folks are currently trespassing.”

She pulled her dark overcoat aside to reveal a gun of some kind hanging at her hip. Ozzie started forward, but Angela placed a hand on her shoulder and shook her head.

“We’re here to help,” Angela said. “If we can.”

The alien glanced over the four of them and returned her mechanical eyes to Angela.