Invasion in Force

The Naming Ceremony for the new world started with a ball in the Director’s palace. The festivities were half in and half out of doors, with perfect Homeworld spring weather even the Director couldn’t have ordered. The air inside was perfumed by banks of flowers, and outdoors the warm, moist night air smelled of life itself. Ambassadors from the forty-three Named Worlds circulated with their companions, speculating on what the Name might be. Scattered among the tables, xenariums exhibited plants from the world being Named.

        Doranna Magee tiptoed out of the service room with stalks of orchids trailing from her arms. She slipped as unobtrusively as possible around the perimeter of the ballroom to where the existing orchids had been flattened. She inserted the new stems into the arrangement and wrapped the broken ones in paper. “Doranna to the service room,” came through the speaker attached to her earlobe. She scurried to comply.