There were quite a few people on the beach, with a huge, roaring bonfire, and distinctly primitive-sounding music playing - mostly drum beats. There were humans, Sartoran, Ilonans, and a few races Hailey had never seen before, each in small numbers, and even a handful of Furren - one calico, one as black as night, and two more light neon green with darker stripes.
“Oh my God, Furren!” Candy called out and waved at them with her tail.
They looked up from their meal and their jaws collectively dropped as they saw Hailey standing next to Candy. “Did I eat some bad shrimp?” the solid black Furren woman asked, and rubbed her eyes.
“If you did, I did too,” the calico Furren answered as they approached the pair.
The other two furren nodded, “Same here, woah, a stardust blue furren?”
“Wait,” the calico Furren laughed, “I know you! You’re that doctor who was working with sound wave therapy right?”
“In the fur.” Candy said, grinning. “Call me Candy.”
“I don’t mean to praw-n,” he said, “But your study on the behavioral effects of sound on the Furren mind were absolutely groundbreaking.”
“Yes you do.” Candy giggled. “But that’s fine, It translates for all races, the same sound just at a different frequency, Before I was brought here I actually got approved to test it on Sartorans, and we’ve had much success.”
“Hey party people,” the girl from the radio’s voice spoke up, coming from a couple of hand-made speakers, but the woman herself was standing right before them. She wasn’t too tall or too short, and looked for all intents and purposes to be human, at least on the outside. The only exceptional thing about her was that she had a very high tech earpiece.
Brie smiled, “We need to figure out how to boost your signal, soo we can reach it at our colony.”
Hailey grinned, “I can also let you download my extensive music library too.”
Candy sat down with the other furren, “Have any of you noticed anything different, like you're able to vent in front of other races now and such?”
One of the radiation-green furren giggled at that. “Just recently. Normally we have to go off to another island completely, just to avoid accidentally being heard, but lately we’ve begun to just let it all hang out, much to the amusement of the others.”
“Yeah, I’ve been here for 24 hours, and I feel comfortable around other species here to just go full out.” Candy nodded.
The Calico spoke up, “Tell us about your blue friend, has she.. Noticed anything, like can she.. You know?”
Hailey and Candy both giggled, and Candy added, “The gods of this planet have a cosmic sense of humor. She’s the first of her kind since the great wars, and she’s a rolly like me.”
“Really?” The black cat mused, “Have you tried to change forms yet?” he asked Hailey. “Also have you tried to use your pheromones on anyone else yet?”
Hailey gave Candy a confused look. “You’ve been holding out on me,” she teased her. Candy laughed.
“Actually I wasn’t sure if you were a true stardust blue furren. And I didn’t want to frighten you since you’ve only been Furren for a couple of days now. You should be able to turn into a large beast like creature.. And um, as a defense, you can make other people horny.. So they’ll leave you alone.”
“Shouldn’t that second one have the opposite effect?” Hailey giggled. The idea of being able to turn into a large beast cat didn’t seem to phase her in the slightest.
The black Furren laughed, “It makes them soo horney they stop doing whatever they were doing and paw themselves.”
“That is one hell of a superpower,” Hailey giggled out.
“It’s why they were hunted down and killed off during the great wars.” The Calico cat sighed. “I’m sorry, did she say you’ve only been Furren for a couple of days?” His tail swished slowly and thoughtfully.
Hailey nodded, “24 hours to be exact.”
“Incredible... We theorized that genetic mutation could occur beyond just the rudimentary enhancements we all experience living here, based on the base DNA code being 98% and, in my cases even 99% identical, but on such a complete and rapid scale is just mind-blowing.”
“Down tiger,” the black Furren teased and giggled. “You should join us. The beer-basted honey shrimp is simply divine.”
“Don’t mind if we do, we would love to open trade with you guys, using this as a port when we go out.” Rebecca smiled as she sat down as well.
“Just knowing there are other Furren out there is so exciting,” the other radiation-green Furren giggled.
“I’m glad we’re not the only ones either, our colony has begun preparing for more incase more show up too.”
“Now that we know there’s a way out,” the black furren purred, “We can start exploring again, too.”
“There has to be other ways out as well.” Rebecca stated.
“We searched for years,” a middle aged woman with light blue skin, and shoulder length, very dark blue hair chuckled as she approached. “It may well be that those who brought us here didn’t want us to leave until now. According to Aria, that aquatic friend of hers has been searching for ages.”
“We’ve only been looking for the last 2 years.” Rebecca nodded. “Also our scientists don’t think there’s a way to use conventional fuel to propel a ship off this planet, what do yours think?”
“The physics-oops,” Aria said over the loudspeakers, paused to adjust her earpiece, and giggled. “Sorry about that. The physics on this planet are... strange. Fuel seems to burn less violently, possibly due to the lower oxygen level in relation to other inert gasses. We don’t notice it because of the difference in gravity, relation to sea level, and the like.”
“Our scientists posited that,” Brie said thoughtfully, “Except that we’ve found wood that burn really well, but carbon-based propulsion fuels just simply won’t work, from what I’ve been told by my friends in the Science guild anyway.”
“Strange,” Aria said. “So even conventional solid rocket fuel doesn’t have enough power to propel a vehicle?”
Jaxxana smiled, “So you are guild based in your colony, we would love to join your guild systems.”
Brie nodded, and the pair began to bounce off each other scientifically almost identically to how Candy and Hailey bounce off each other with subtle, lewd humor.
“I agree,” Admiral Flaxi nodded. “We’ve always been such a small group that we found it easier for everyone to just do what needed to be done, but knowing there are much more out there, we would be honored to join with your colony.”
Rebecca smiled, “Our colony is rather large actually, we have around 10,000 people, some were born here as well, we’re not asking you to leave this island at all, but we’ll come and help set you up and bring you into our guilds.”
Ella smiled, “Seems you have very limited power here too, we can also fix that.”
Jaxxana nodded. “You will find yourselves always most welcome here,” she said. “Our power is based on Aria’s ship’s solar auxiliary generators, which were damaged with her engines so we are unfortunately limited.”
“Actually I think I loaded some things into the cargo of our ship I can bring out for you as a sign of friendship.” Ella smiled and took off for the ship, it didn’t take her long to return either, she was carrying several large array of solar panels, and heavy cables and other equipment in the large trailer she dragged around.
Jaxanna looked surprised. But then, the Admiral did as well. She leaned over to him to whisper something. He laughed and nodded, replying, “Must be the water.”
Ella laughed and dropped her carry on the trailer and smiled, “There should be enough panels here and wiring to power your entire village, there’s even a couple small fridges in there to keep food cold.”
“I’ll come back and help with the setup shortly,” Brie said with an excited giggle. “Aria’s going to show me her ship.”
“This will be great, our main square here is the only place with lights, thanks to Aria.” the Admiral smiled.
“So have you figured it out yet?” the black furren giggled.
“Figured what out?” Candy asked.
“Aria. She looks human to you too, doesn’t she?”
“Traxian, actually,” Candy said. The black furren looked surprised, and laughed.
“She’s a psychic chameleon - her appearance changes based on the race you feel the most comfortable seeing her as. For most races, it’s their own, but for us it seems to usually be human because we’d suspect something if she looked furren, I think.”
“We could smell her.” Candy nodded.
“Now that is a surprise,” one of the tiger green twins said. “She even smells human to us.”
“Weird, she doesn’t smell human to me.” Candy shook her head. “Or Traxian for that matter. It’s difficult to describe.”
“Kind of sweet, but not really,” Hailey nodded. “Like... a very subtle rose mixed with...”
“Some kind of fruit, but I can’t place which,” Candy nodded as they began to eat.
“Do you guys think she might be part of the race that brought us here?” Hailey asked.
“If she is, she’s not in on the joke,” the Calico nodded. “When she first arrived here she was as lost as anyone, according to the Admiral. She thought she crash-landed here. It is strange though that hers is the only vessel to ever be brought here. There are a few buildings on the other islands though.”
“We found our first one as well yesterday.” Hailey nodded, “Do they have power, ours seemed to.”
“No discernable source for it, but yes,” Jaxanna nodded her head. “It’s another in a long list of mysteries.”
“We even found an entire island of nothing but cattina plants,” one of the green Furren giggled. “We promptly left and never looked back of course.”
“I wonder if we should outlaw that here as well..” Candy sighed.
“Candy’s first discovery here was an island covered in trees shaped like penises,” Hailey said, trying to keep a straight face.
The Black Furren laughed, “Did you land in the trees?”
“I did!” Candy started laughing now.
“Puss in a penis..” The calico laughed.
“And a rolly in a sausage forest,” one of the green ones giggled out.
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a Rolly.” The other green one frowned at her friend.
“I never said there was,” the first said. “She said it first anyway.”
“I did,” Candy giggled. “It’s no longer an insult on Furra Prime, but a mark of pride, like being a Bobtail.”
“Wow,” the second green Furren said. “We really have been away a long time.”
“I think so.” The Black Furren nodded. “Only Jacque is a recent arrival among our lot,” she said, motioning to the Calico.
Hailey stifled a giggle at ‘Calico Jacque’, but kept it to herself, figuring the others wouldn’t get that one.
Jacque nodded, “Been here 2 weeks 3 days.”
“Seems your colony leader has been here longer than ours however.” Rebecca smiled, “Ours is going on 60 years.”
Flaxi laughed. “Don’t think I’m looking for a new job, though,” he said jokingly. “I’ve been giving serious thought to retiring. Now that we know there’s a way out, I may build myself a seaworthy ship and set sail.”
Jaxxana smiled, “Space or ocean.. Can’t ever keep a man or woman of a ship on ground for long.”
Flaxi laughed. “Well, it’s been ten years since I last led an expedition. And with the help of our new friends we might even be able to maintain long range communication.”
As he said that Hailey’s app came to life, “Expedition Team 2 this is Heart Island, do you read?”
Startled, Hailey fumbled for her phone. “This is Hailey, Heart, we read you loud and clear!”
Hailey could hear the woman who called her yell “It works!”, “Sorry about that, Expedition team 2, we’re testing out a new device based on your phone, We set up a Transmitter on top of the Hill. What is your location, so we know how far it reaches?”
“We’re at the bottom of the lip.” Hailey replied.
“What?! Do you require assistance?” the woman said frantically.
“Negative.” Hailey replied, “We found a way down, We’ve marked it with a boey so we can start sending trade ships in. There are others here - including Furren.”
“About 2,000 or so people actually.” Flaxi spoke.
“Copy that!” the woman said excitedly. “We sent someone to get Tricia.”
“That was incredible,” Brie said as they returned. Her hair was a bit of a mess, and she had some kind of engine lubricant on her face. Of course the furren’s first thought was that Ariad took her for more than just a tour of the ship.
“I bet it was,” Ella teased her, causing Karen to giggle.
“What?” Brie laughed. “Her engines. Even though they don’t work anymore, they’re like nothing I’ve ever seen. That ship could jump across the galaxy in seconds.”
“It works by scanning for nearby wormholes and then expanding them,” Aria explained, sending the furren into a collective giggle fit.
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