Persuading Yourself

Trying to be diplomatic

I never said this would be typical or sensible. Really, what did you expect?

–Beginning Basic Expressive Narration of Recording 26–

Lapadj, Sarela, and the Goddess Grapefruit are standing inside the office’s Human kitchen, staring at various bottles of water Lapadj has collected. Lapadj is still cloaked as a Human, Sarela still is invisible, and Grapefruit still has taken the form as an inconspicuous phone-device that resides within Lapadj’s Human ‘hoodie’ pocket.

“Lapadj, we need to talk about the plan,” Sarela says.

“Yes, we do,” Lapadj agrees. “This is how it is going to go. I am going to walk in there, break cloak, kill him, and take his soul.”

“That is a little bit extreme,” Grapefruit murmurs.

“Just a little,” Sarela says. “There are numerous problems with that plan. Where do you want me to start?”

“Nowhere, because that is what I am going to do,” Lapadj replies, his fists clenching. He breathes in raggedly, face growing increasingly red.


“Why what?”

“Why do you want to kill him and take his soul?” Sarela inquires sharply, floating around to face him even though he cannot completely sense this change. “Asides from that being a Kharatzara thing to do.”

He shifts in place. “Also asides from him clearly insulting me?”


A long pause is his response. “Do I need another reason? He has insulted my honor-“

“Bashl. He just insulted your abilities at pretending to be a Human, which I do all the time. Your honor is still intact. For now, anyway. If you break cloak you will lose your honor and face.”

He scoffs. “Unless I make him break cloak first. Then if I break my cloak afterwards I will be responding and my face will be fine.”

“Do you really think you could tear his composure down before you lose your own?”

Another protracted period of silence comes from Lapadj. His face scrunches up and he closes his eyes. He waves one of his hands while shaking his head in surrender to that point. Sarela humphs and his eyes flicker back open.

“Exactly,” she says. He is trying to make you crack. Giving in and attacking him like an Empirian makes him win. If you want to beat him, you have to survive him and find out some way to defeat him on his turf.”

“Such as?” Lapadj asks lowly.

“By pretending to be a Human and dealing with another fake Human,” she says.

He mumbles something decidedly incoherent. I have made the decision not to waste my unlimited resources on deciphering his mutterings. It is likely of no importance.

“So your plan is for me to walk in there and take his offenses,” Lapadj states. “How is that Empirian?”

“How is being the first one to break cloak over something as idiotic as Humans or being Human in anyway Empirian?”

“Piekal,” Lapadj spits that Tyra Tarkush curse. “But he is insufferable.”

“So are you, Lapadj,” she informs him. “Also, why are you taking so much offense at him? He is another cloaked Empirian. We are all free to break the Contract of Sangrae La and trespass onto Earth. It is an Empirian right to defy Empirian laws. We can all coexist together in our madness.”

“No, we can’t,” Lapadj bitterly returns, using the Human contraction. “He is stealing my turf and threatening my only relationship with a Human.”

“Wa. You are jealous of him.”

Instead of turning more red, the cheeks of Lapadj flush pink. Sarela stifles a laugh.

“I have a few responses to that revelation. No. Actually. Just one. Make him jealous of you.”

“What?” Pale color returns to Lapadj’s countenance and his eyes sparkle with intrigue.

“Make. Him. Jealous. Of. You,” she repeats slowly. “This is all about territory. Exert dominance on this turf. Sure, it may be his now as he was here first, but that can change. You have to claim it by defeating him.”

“Which brings us back to why I should not just kill him and take his soul. That is a show of dominance.”

“No, that is a show of an Empirian losing his composure. A show of dominance would be beating him at his own game.”

“Why can I not beat him at my game?” Lapadj questions vaguely tired and aggressive.

“You can, but you will probably lose your honor and whatever game in question,” Sarela replies dryly. “You have no idea what race he is, do you? I cannot sense it. He is cloaked too well.”

“I cannot sense it, either,” Lapadj mutters.

“Another reason why breaking cloak is a terrible idea: what if he is a Dracite or something? Are you going to hit a Dracite with your tail?”

“I think she has a point there,” Grapefruit chimes in.

Sarela makes a hushing noise. “This is between Empirians.”

“Empirians cloaked as Humans,” Lapadj clarifies. “Piekal.” He shakes his head vigorously. “Tell me your plan in clear terms.”

“Take the water bottles, walk back in there, sit down, eat, talk, and covertly insult him and exert dominance over this Human territory. All while not breaking cloak. It is really quite simple. It is basically what you were going to do had this ‘Mark’ not been an Empirian.”

“The original plan,” Lapadj whispers to himself. He nods his head like a Human. He straightens his back. He seizes the translucent bottles of water, bundling them up in his grasp. “I will try to do this.”

“I am proud of you for seeing reason,” Sarela says. “Mana ky quar gamel. Quin quar lar. And all the rest of those proverbs before someone does something especially Empirian. We will be with you.”

“Yes,” Grapefruit says excitedly.

“I know.”

And then Lapadj turns away and strides out of the kitchen and back to the presence of Mark.

–Ending Basic Expressive Narration of Recording 26–

I wanted to keep the ‘No Such Thing As Being Alone’ series going but I needed this break.

The question you all are having, I am sure, is whether Lapadj will keep his cool and not blow up. Does Sarela actually succeed in persuading him? Here is my super-vague answer to that:

Gods, no. TBC