by Tom Jolly
The alien splayed a group of five tendrils above its body, extended from the primary bulk of its multicellular colony. The saurian in the room nodded to the alien and said, "The Amass gives its greetings to you," then looked back at the group of humans for a reaction. Its English was perfect, with a slight London accent.
Will Ember, leader of the European League of Nations, glanced around at the other world leaders in the Parliament meeting room, taking his cue as the appointed speaker, and replied, "Thank you, Miss Charaka, for offering to perform the translation for all of us. As you might guess, learning that there are seven other sentient species in our stellar neighborhood was a bit of a surprise for us." He redirected his gaze to the gesticulating blob before him. "We return the Amass' greetings, and welcome it to Earth."
The saurian Charaka, the first of the seven species to contact humans on Earth, motioned with body language to the Amass, which responded in kind. She honked a laugh and returned to look at the humans. "The Amass was first among us by nearly a billion years, so we feel it is appropriate that it deliver our message, though we provide the translation."
Someone behind Will snorted in disbelief, and one of the others gasped. Will sighed. Alien diplomacy would have to be learned, especially amongst this crowd. Still, a billion years. It was hard to swallow.