An ensign put his head around the corner of Mallory's office door. 'Lazloi on the move, sir.
Captain Mallory pushed his chair back with a crash and ran through to the operations room. 'Report!'
A console operator raised a hand. 'Sir, the Lazloi have relocated to the Treem sector. Vessel is on the ground. Several aliens have left the ship and are moving on foot.'
'Why would the Lazloi be interested in a bug infested slum?' Mallory pulled out a slate and activated its screen.
The operator coughed for attention. 'Sir, I have video from the site.'
Mallory turned and watched the feed. The iridescent blue craft was sitting on the perimeter of the settlement. In the minutes it had spent on the soft ground, the vehicle had already tilted slightly under its massive weight. Mallory swore under his breath. If any other ship had done that, they would be feeling the full force of the law. Here, they were facing something very different. This ship was made from tens of thousands of tons of precious metal, sustained and protected by an unknown power source that sent sensors off the scale. Its weapons and capabilities were also unknown. He cursed loudly. The Lazloi seemed determined to go anywhere they pleased, and there wasn't a damn thing they could do about it.
'Keep monitoring,' he barked, 'and alert orbital control in case we need a view from space.'
Mallory went back to his slate. This had happened before. Reports going back over decades showed the Lazloi seeking out the Treem. Until recently, Lazloi visits to human space had been rare, but in each case, there had been contact with the Treem. Now, Lazloi were appearing all the time, and the contacts had continued.
'Sir, something happening,' ventured the console operator. 'Large concentration of Treem converging on the ship.'
Mallory reached for a controller on the console. The view swept in closer to a cluster of Treem crowding amongst the garbage and hovels of the township. 'Are they praying?' he whispered. 'Do the Treem worship the Lazloi?' he asked louder.
'Reading small energy spikes,' said the operator, changing the view. 'Two Lazloi seem to be source.'
'What are those white spots?' asked Mallory. 'Is that interference?'
The operator shook his head. 'Sir, I think it's the source of the energy spikes.'
The two white haired figures moved slowly through the thickening crowd of Treem. As they walked, the white balls of light moved with them. Almost imperceptibly, plants would bend around them, moved by an invisible hand.
'Personal force fields,' cursed Mallory. 'The stories are true.'
The operator stopped and listened to his headset. 'Sir, Rear Admiral Gordon on priority channel B.'
Mallory waved it through. Gordon's face was incandescent.
'I have Treem on the move, Mallory.' Gordon leaned closer to the screen. 'Seems like they've got it into their alien heads about rights. They want better housing conditions, proper jobs, sanitation.'
'They're at the security barrier with placards demanding their rights,' shouted Gordon. 'Those damned Lazloi are like some prophesy come true for them, salvation from the stars.' He fixed Mallory with a cold stare. 'It's got to stop.'
'Sir, the Lazloi ship is in the township. It's a crowded area. Perhaps once they move again it'll die down.'
'It's time to draw the line, Mallory,' said Gordon firmly. 'Those Lazloi having been sticking it to us for too long.' His face broke into a grim smile. 'I've ordered two cruisers to break orbit and take them into custody.'
Mallory felt the hairs on his neck rise. Around the room, operators had stopped work and were looking at him. 'May I remind the Rear Admiral that no Autocracy craft have ever survived an engagement with the Lazloi?'
Scene assembly and final rendering in Cinema 4D R15 Visualise. Post processed in Photoshop CS2