Androsynth series fic!
No warnings, but it helps to know what's been going on before, even though it's been a long time.
Featuring Jack. Not sure of the wordcount since I don't have any way to check that without Word (I have Notepad, but...)
Jack had become the de facto liaison with the Ur-Quan Hierarchy, as the one who minded the job the least. It was not an onerous task, he'd decided. A few times a year, Lord 419 or occasionally another Lord in its stead, would visit regarding production quotas, state of the planet and the war, that sort of thing.
Of course, none of the Lords ever came planetside in person. They stayed in their battle cruisers, orbiting Eta Vulpeculae 2, and conferenced remotely. All parties preferred this arrangement: the Androsynth because they didn't have to directly entertain their overlords, and the Ur-Quan because they needed a different breathable and pressurized atmosphere.
Over the years, Jack fancied he'd grown to understand some Ur-Quan body language, and knew Lord 419 as well as anyone might understand a wholly alien being. By the same token, Lord 419 probably thought the same thing as Jack, so the Androsynth council member was careful to keep a rigid stone face during the visits.
This time it was a new Lord - Lord 27 by the identifier on the screen. Jack wasn't familiar with Lord 27. Not that he could distinguish any two Ur-Quan by sight without scars or other markings, but he knew Lord 419 and its selected underlings. The Androsynth were a very minor race of Battle Thralls, and the Vulpeculaes used as a refueling and resupply station rather than as a source of ships and troops. It allowed the Androsynth to live under benevolent neglect, and Jack liked it that way.
"Greetings. Androsynth. Subject," said Lord 27. The Hierarchy did not learn the languages of their Thralls, and, generally, vice versa. The misshapen, mushroom-colored Talking Pet did that. (Thralls didn't get Talking Pets, so they had to use interpreters or learn languages the old-fashioned way.)
"Greetings, Lord 27, exalted representative of the victorious Hierarchy, may your doctrine always reign supreme," Jack answered. "How may we help the Hierarchy today?"
"Your species. Is not. Especially. Fecund," Lord 27 rumbled. "Yet your. Planet. Seems suitable for. Your physical. Prosperity."
"We are indeed blessed with a planet well-suited to our needs," Jack said. The Ur-Quan had never been happy with the Androsynth's low numbers and inability to reproduce. "However, if the most gracious Hierarchy would gift us with the small scientific knowledge we have previously requested - "
"Your planet. Lies. Waiting. Ripe yet. Uneaten."
The Talking Pets were too good at translating for that to be a misinterpretation. Jack continued holding his frozen expression, and said nothing.
Both parties stared at one another in silence. The minutes stretched out.
"We have launched plans to increase our utilization of the planet," Jack heard himself say at last.
"Are you. Not concerned. About. Accidents," Lord 27 said.
"We are. We have teams dedicated to securing our future." This was a borderline lie. Dina's team was the only one who had even tried in recent years to break the reproductive barrier on the Androsynth.
"You have. Not. Achieved this. In all your time. Here."
"We are close to a breakthrough," Jack lied.
"If you. Lie. To the Hierarchy. The punishment. Is swift. And. Final," said Lord 27. "You are. Not the only. Species. Who finds. This planet. Suitable. For life."
Jack made his obeisances and thanked Lord 27 for the honor and wisdom shown him. Then, once the conference was over, he summoned every member of the council for an emergency meeting.