A/N: To those of you still reading, sorry about taking so long to update. Unfortionatly school is more important.
Disclaimer: See a previous chapter, I don't know which.
Just after breakfast Franklin found himself on the shuttle taking him over to the Surak. Like a human shuttle it possessed seat belts, but Ssestar didn't bother putting his on. The little ship had artificial gravity. Little more gravity than he was used to, but right then Franklin didn't care.
The pair didn't speak as Ssestar set the ship on auto pilot and it carried them over. The Selay folded his fingers his lap and waited. Until he'd found out about the auto pilot the thought of flying with someone untrained in piloting unnerved him.
"This auto pilot is certainly useful."
"It makess trading goodss fassster," Ssestar replied, beady eyes locked on the impressive vessel before them.
"How does it work?"
"I do not know, Sub-Lieutenant Arel," Ssestar said what sounded like a last name, but Franklin thought it sounded more like whistling notes than words, "of Engineering will be able to tell you."
"What race is Sub-Lieutenant Arel" he tried and failed to pronounce the last name.
Ssestar's thin mouth appeared to smile, "Arel is a Variel, one of the more unussual racess in the Five."
Sharing in the smile, Franklin laughed slightly, "Ssestar, every race in the Five is unusual to me. I wouldn't be surprised to find a bird like race on your ship." The scaly face was hard to read, but Franklin thought he saw a knowing look on the counterpart's face.
The shuttle docked shortly after and they disembarked into the shuttle bay. Through two sliding doors and they entered the hallway. Franklin fought to keep his jaw from dropping. Outside the ship looked sleek and streamlined, inside it looked even more so. The corridors were wide and tall. He wondered just how tall some of the races on board got.
A giant stomped past.
The man carried a heavy load, others on board flattened against the bulkheads to let him pass.
"He'ss a Morg."
"They look like overly tall humans."
"I can assssure you they are quite difffernt. Thisss way," Ssestar turned right down the corridor. The sheer variety of races on the ship both wowed and baffled him. How could one ship accommodate so many? He asked Ssestar as such. Unhelpfully the Selay shrugged and said the answer lay in the uniforms. From what he said races like the Andorians, wore cold insulated uniforms due to their icy home world; while the Selay and Vulcan uniforms kept heat in incredibly well. Others, like races with fur wore uniforms that collected static energy to keep their fur from standing on end. Outwardly he couldn't see these differences, but didn't doubt their existence.
At one junction a little being, who looked rather like a triceratops around the head, hung from the ceiling by his knees while conducting maintenance something.
"Is that safe?" A few of the crew mates who heard, laughed at his question.
"It'ss perffectly ssaffe," Ssestar told him, leading Franklin down yet another corridor, "The Ensign's people dwell in the trees. They climb whether other's like it or not. Dokachin preferss for them to fix ssuch thingss." Shaking his head in amazement Franklin followed along, wondering just what he'd see next.
"Well, Ambassadors, Captain, let's sit." Sheridan silently steeled himself for the conversation to come. He did intend to enjoy it. A person of logic conversing with a person of emotions. This would be interesting.
Still standing by the door way, T'Prel studied the furnishings, "Your people value these comforts I see. Very into extravagance, I have to say."
"Ah, you've caught us red handed! There's no denying we love our creature comforts." He spoke as T'Prel sat beside Delenn, "By your demeanor, I'd say your people as into such things as the Minbari. But tell me, do you drink?"
"I do not understand."
Sheridan interrupted, "he means, do you drink spirits?"
"Spirits?" Her confusion was almost comical.
"Why use another word where one works?" This time a little emotion slipped past her control, seen only in her wrinkled brow.
Delenn spoke sympathetically, "English is a most difficult language to master."
"How do you speak it so well?" The day before, Sheridan asked the same question, he learned that the Five had invented Universal Translators. The officers and enlisted wore implants in their ears. Though T'Prel was unable to explain better, he understood the usefulness of such devises. In fewer words, she explained the same to Mollari.
Pursing his lips Mollari nodded, "a handy technology, would the Five be willing to share?"
"Under a treaty declaring a sharing of technology, yes; the Council would find no other means acceptable."
"How advanced are you?"
"Our technology lies about fifty years ahead of the Minbari."
"Then you'll fine most willing allies in the Centauri."
"Such in the Envoys' hope," she replied in her emotionless voice.
"Now for that drink!" He hurried over to his kitchen, "what would you like?"
"Water." His three guests said in unison.
"Come, Ambassador, Captain, join me in a drink!"
Sheridan shook his head first, "I'm on duty." This met a customary 'bah' from their host.
"Alcohol serves no logical purpose. It adversely affects the mind and lessens reflex time in most races. Other such as my own are not affect at all." Only Delenn realized it was the Vulcan way of saying 'no'. The race seemed like natural word-smiths. Much like the Minbari she realized.
"Then you'll drink with me?"
"I believe I already declined the offer."
Under his breath Mollari muttered, "Oh gods, I hope the others in the Five aren't as stiff." He didn't know T'Prel heard every word he said.
As he served the drinks, Mollari inquired, "Tell me, how many races are in the Five?"
Sheridan found his prediction untrue. They didn't discuss philosophy, but cultures. Unlike the conversation with G'kar he participated in this one. T'Prel answered every question they asked fairly. The moment they inquired after the races' respective histories T'Prel closed up. The first question about Vulcanian history, and she changed the topic of discussion to cuisine. All three assembled knew she'd done it deliberately, and nothing they did could change it back. What lay in the races' history that she didn't want them to know?
After a while, Sheridan asked, "Ambassador, why do you avoid questions about the Five's history?"
"History deserves protection and must be treated with care. When the treaty is signed, you will learn what each race wishes you to know." The answer didn't satisfy him, but he accepted it. At least he knew the reason. Then he realized she never asked about Minbari, Centauri or Human history. Perhaps she already knew a fair bit, or she felt such questions were rude. He wondered what the other race's opinions where on the matter.
None of Sheridan's staff had better luck getting such information out of the visitors. They all seemed to take keeping their history to themselves very seriously. Franklin was the only one who seemed to even be getting close to one of them. Even then he came across road blocks. Likely those blocks would vanish when everyone signed a treaty. Perhaps not, they had no way to tell.
A/N: sorry about any spelling or grammer errors. Hopefully I'll be able to update sooner, as school's out for the next week and a half.