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14 Military Encirclemen

 After Ivan descended into the fourth dimension to hunt for himself and Mazur, Valeria nervously began searching the ship for him. Naturally he couldn't communicate with her, so he had no method to explain to her he would be gone for a while.

Mazur found her as she was getting increasingly restless and running around the ship.

"Tsu Viskers ut noskis Ivan, por?" Valeria worriedly asked in her language while backing away from him.

Mazur still hadn't finished the translator, but he understood that she was looking for Ivan. He was slightly irritated that she was calling him by the distasteful nickname 'Whiskers', that Ivan had introduced him by.

He wanted to approach her and correct his name before it became a habit, but Valera had a strange fear of him and ran away as soon as he approached. Ivan hadn't notice it, but Mazur had. Whenever he approached the two, Valeria would slightly move away from him and closer to Ivan. He presumed this to be due to the fact that his appearance was far more alien than Ivan's.

Valeria continued to evade Mazur and refused to be close to him by herself. Mazur chased her around half the ship exasperatedly, yet still failed to catch her. He could dive in the fourth dimension and sneak up on her, but she could escape as soon as she sense him.

Feeling defeat for the first time since he fell into the hopelessness of old age, Mazur gave up on the pointless endeavour and went back to building the translator. The Poseidon's computer was more than capable of constructing a translation database for such an archaic kind of language.

Ivan soon ascended from the fourth dimension and arrived with a pale face beside Mazur.

"That's a pretty deep injury," Mazur pointed out while looking at his true body. "Did you meet a dangerous creature?"

"Yeah, it looked similar to a lion, but it had six legs and four red eyes. I decided to call it a Four-Eyed Devil Lion," Ivan stated factually before continuing after a brief hesitation, "If you meet it, just lie down and accept death. It's simply too strong."

"I'm not going to die now that I have just become a higher existence of life. There is too much for me to explore and experiment with," Mazur snorted contemptuously. "By the way, that little fox has been running around like mad looking for you. All you did was feed her, making me tempted to cut open her head to see if she has an imprinting mechanism in her brain."

"You just don't understand people. Don't touch her."

"Yeah, yeah, boss."

Ivan paid no more attention to Mazur. He had brought back a dead fish from this trip and a small pile of firewood pre-soaked in the energy water. A fire was soon lit and the two of them cut the fish up to roast.

After eating, Ivan walked through the ship and found Valeria hiding in the corner of her room. As soon as she saw him, she calmly stood up and walked to quickly to follow behind him.

Ivan could tell she hadn't eaten so he led her to the kitchen to have something to eat. She refused to go though, instead wrapping her little hands around his and trying to drag him in a different direction.

Valeria pulled and tugged at Ivan as she led him to the side of the ship where an electro-shielded glass window provided a view of the world outside. She hastily said a few indecipherable words as she pointed to various points in the forest.

Ivan wasn't sure what she meant, but upon looking closer at where she was indicating, saw various Vulpes in military outfits discreetly spying on the ship.

"I see, so they've already spotted us," Ivan said indifferently. "Valeria, you go eat something, I'm going to take a closer look."

Ivan used body language to tell the little fox girl to go eat something before contacting Mazur over the Poseidon's internal communication line.

"I've spotted the local military hiding in the forest scouting us," Ivan spoke into the console near the door.

Mazur's voice lazily responded shortly afterwards, "Oh? They certainly found us quick."

"It was probably those Vulpes who escaped the other day. I'm going to go out and have a look at what's going on."

"Try not to be seen, if they get spooked and release a nuclear weapon, our ship most likely won't survive and we'll be stranded in this solar system for the next century at least."

Ivan agreed with him before moving through the fourth dimension to directly jump out of the ship, flashing through the air and disappearing into the forest like a shadow. He strolled through the sky amongst the tops of trees as he scouted the surroundings.

The Vulpes soldiers were more numerous than Ivan had initially expected. Only twenty or so soldiers were in the immediate surroundings monitoring the ship, but there were thousands deeper in. It was a country's military by the appearance of the. They had been shipping supplies to rapidly build defensive fortifications.

Ivan was greatly surprised at how much they had done in merely days. In order to arrive here with all this equipment, it was less likely that the escaped Vulpes gave away their positions and instead the world had detected their arrival.

Further out, near the edge of the forest, a large metal fence has been put off, cordoning off the area where the Poseidon was. Heavily armored trucks and tanks continued to drive into the forest, but they ran on some type of unique engine which produced very little amounts of noise.

Back in the ship, Mazur showed an interest in what was happening outside the world. He had managed to build a semi functioning translator and was rapidly improving it with his test subject.

Over two weeks, the military presence around the Poseidon continued to increase in force, to the point where they stationed defensive lines in the immediate surroundings of the ship. Every day, a man would come forth with a megaphone and call out to the ship in the Vulpes language.

Mazur had finally finished the translator and built a second one for Ivan. It was a simple device which they only had to speak into it and it would automatically translate it the Vulpes language into the galactic language, and vice versa.

"Can you understand me?" Ivan asked Valeria with the translator.

"Yes," Valeria answered with a nod, glancing nervously toward Mazur who was standing to the side observing the test and making notes in one of his research journals.

"Good, I need to test this thing quickly. Tell me, what is your name?"

"Kivsharr."

Ivan sighed reluctantly. For some reason, the little fox girl was adamant about calling herself by this name.

"It's not translating this word, Mazur. Is it actually her name?"

Mazur flicked through his research journal to double check some entries before replying, "No, it's not her name, but closer to a title. From what I leaned from Test Subject Alpha, a Kivsharr is someone who has been convicted of severe crimes. They have their name and identity taken from them before being banished from their race."

"Kivsharr is a term that can be understood as 'no name' or 'outcast'. They do not have any human rights, and can be beaten, or even killed, without consequence. The hole in her ear had been seared with a hot iron, like some kind of punishment. It is most likely a form of brand for her status. The fact that she is still alive today, is because none of the normal civilians wanted to risk their lives if she fought back."

Ivan nodded in understanding before turning to face the little fox-girl. "Valeria, did you understand that? Is it correct?"

Valeria stared at her feet as she gave a curt nod.

"What was your crime?"

"For stealing food, along with killing a few people in self defense."

Unlike her usual steadfast appearance, she was teary-eyed and held one hand over the hole in her ear. It was as if she was reliving the experience of being branded a Kivsharr, the despair she felt upon the sentence being made, the pain of the hole in her ear being cut out and seared with a hot iron, and the torment of being treated like an animal from thereon after.

Ivan felt sympathy for the little girl and wiped the tears out of her eyes.

'What the hell!' Ivan suddenly thought in a panic. 'Since when have I ever felt sympathy for some kid. Don't tell me, this is one of those damned side effects of Mazur implanting those memories into me!'

"Stop crying and pull yourself together, you're not weak like that," Ivan forced himself to ignore the girl's plight but took a softer tone as he tried to console her without being undignified. "Your name is Valeria, my first emplyee. That is all you need to think about. Now come with me, the translator works, so let's go meet those people shouting outside every day."

"Hey, don't I count as the first employee?" Mazur shamelessly chimed in.

Ivan rolled his eyes and responded, "Unpaid labor doesn't count as employment."

****

The base hatch of the cargo hold opened and formed a ramp to the ground. Ivan walked out with a table over his shoulder and Valeria towing behind with four chairs.

Vulpes soldiers saw this movement and rapidly begun moving in defensive position behind the sand bag barricades. Higher ranked officers shouted orders but the too many people's voices overlapped so Ivan's translator wasn't able to decipher it properly. While Mazur had a brilliant mind, there was only so much he could do in two weeks.

Ivan placed down the table and chairs and sat on one end with Valaria, while leaving the other two seats open. He turned and smiled to the soldiers currently pointing their assault rifles at him as he motioned toward the empty seats.

Even though no words were spoken, everyone understood Ivan's intentions and commands began to pass through the military encampment at a rapid pace. Not long after, two individuals strolled out of the encirclement and heading toward the makeshift meeting point.

One of the Vulpes was a tall military man covered in bulging muscles and carrying a domineering atmosphere with him. The second was someone of average size, dressed in a blue formal attire somewhat like a suit, but with overlapping folds of cloth which caused his collar and cuffs to flare out.

As the two Vulpes took a seat, Ivan placed the translator on the middle of the table and began by saying, "You may call me Ivan, and this is Valeria."

The device in the middle of the table quickly relayed the words into the Vulpes language. The military officer had extremely strict discipline, and ignored the presence of Valeria as he stared intently at Ivan.

The diplomat, or perhaps a kind of feudalistic noble under Ivan's speculation, didn't have that same discipline and couldn't help cover his mouth in distaste as he glance toward her.

Valeria lowered her head in shame, feeling out of place, but Ivan lifted her chin without even looking and commented, "Chin up. You represent me, so don't ever lower your head to someone else."

"What is your purpose in coming to this planet?" The military officer said unwaveringly.

Before Ivan could even think of a response, the diplomat raised his hand and waved it at the military officer. "Now, now, don't be so abrupt with our guest. This is our first meeting with life from other planets, and he appears human too. The first thing is learning about each other, such as culture.

"What part of that appears human? Just look at his eyes!" The military officer glared at the diplomat with anger clearly present. "I represent the safety of our citizens and ensuring the elimination of any hostile threats!"

"Ehem!" Ivan cleared his throat with a smile, his deep blue '+' shaped pupils drawing in the Vulpes attention. "I can answer one at a time. It's much simpler than you think, I was merely searching for someone to put my feet down. I am currently in the process of starting a unique company unlike no other, but to do so, I happen to need both a base of operations, and a plethora of skilled employees."