Reyne tried to make a point of meeting all new visitors to the planet at the spaceport. For one, as cultural attache, it was part of the job. For another – Reyne liked the Mestaron, but they were extremely, extremely touchy about certain things – much as many humans were, come to think about it – and there had already been too many “incidents.” Humans might be touchy, but it didn’t mean they were cautious about others’ touchiness when visiting other planets.
(It was a bit surprising that Reyne had been allowed to keep the position of cultural attache, once that first report, the one with the bolding and the caps-lock, had gone through, but part of the bolding-caps-lock-side-bar had covered the unusual situation of Reyne and others of similar unusualities.)
This particular contingent, however, Reyne made a point of taking a shuttle up to their ship and meeting them before they even thought about touching down. Dressed carefully, in clothing that was sufficiently formal to impress, sufficiently Mestaron-like to discomfit, and specifically and entirely androgynous, Reyne greeted each of the VIPs first in the current style of the Federation and then in the human-equivalent of the Mestaron style.
“I hope you brought women with you.” It was rude to go about things quite that directly – either for the Mestaron or humans – but Reyne wanted them off-put and off-balance. They needed to shake expectations first.
“Here in the Federated Nations we don’t concern ourselves with the gender of-“
“The Mestaron will. The Mestaron will take it as a considerable insult if you don’t bring your ruling class with you. Also: did the Federated States outlaw sex drives while I was away?”
The definitely-male-bodied person – whose collar insignia said was probably in charge of the mission – sputtered and stammered for a moment. “The Federated States doesn’t speak about-“
“But they do, I’m sure, or you’d be having a population problem. Look. You know if you brought women. And if you didn’t, we’re not going any further in this briefing and I’m not letting you on-planet.”
There were some days Reyne really loved this job.
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