A dsk of House El-Zora Fe'nix was waiting for them as they disembarked from the shuttle. The House had its own berth on the station, allowing them to avoid the confusion and crowds of the public concourses; but Mera was still overwhelmed by the size of Casblan.
The station was built on the cylindrical model, with alternating solar and land panels. Visible through the tinted panels was the medium-sized sun to the right. If she turned her head to look to the left, Mera could see the dull, blankness of the Hub, the entrance and exit from Layered Space. Some ships were large enough to break layers on their own; most, however, had to make use of the naturally occurring Hubs to cut the time spent traversing the galaxies to a manageable length.
The land areas of the station were overly built-up, a jumble of architecture types from different worlds crowded together and filling every available space. Buildings pressed against the street on either side. Above, they hung like overripe fruit ready to plunge downward.
Everywhere there were people: Byshen, Avononian, Terran, Elysium, and representatives from hundreds of inhabited worlds thronged the narrow sidewalks. The House car moved slowly through the heavy traffic. So many people pressing around them; so many minds and emotions.
Mera looked toward G'ar. A faint pucker of distress marred the broad, brown face. She reached out mentally, strengthening the shield around him. Shifting slightly to cover the movement of her hand, she slid it across the seat to rest against G'ar's. She had found during her training with T'o'lz Inik that physical contact gave her an anchor for her shields.
G'ar glanced her way, nodding in appreciation before returning his attention to the conversation between the Ladye Alinore and her dsk.
The small gestured warming her more than she had thought possible, Mera relaxed against the seat, only to set up again as the dsk's words sank into her consciousness. "T'o'lz Inik is here?"
The dsk, an elderly and frail appearing man who had no doubt served House El-Zora his entire life turned an impassive face her way; though his light eyes held more than a hint of contempt. Mera flushed, lifting her chin in response. She had done nothing to deserve such a look.
"Koryak," G'ar said, his inflection sharp and commanding House Master to House Servent, "answer the Ladye El-Zora."
The dsk's lips tightened but he answered in overly correct House Servant Lower to House Msster, his eyes never meeting hers, "El-Zora L'ar's negotiations with Trenton of Sol System were delayed, due to the non-appearance of a contracted Negative Psi." Mera fought the urge to squirm. "Head of House T'o'lz Inik arrived on an auglýsing shuttle late this afternoon," Koryak continued. "He was taken to the T'o'lz compound. Negotiations between El-Zora L'ars and Master Trenton will begin at átta Casblan standard time."
T'o'lz Inik had had to assume her duties. Mera bit her lip than pushed the thought aside.