Nkklsh!b (Nkk to its friends) rolled its single, amethyst, eye at the mission leader. “This isn’t real. That isn’t real… For a race that cannot Walk between Universes, you certainly spend much of your time creating them.”
“We’re not creating Universes, Nkk… we’re just amusing ourselves – what do you mean by ‘Walk?’”
“In my culture, we have long believed our ‘entertainments’ are inspired by visits to nearby Universes. This belief eventually became fact. We can take a sideways step and find ourselves Wherever we wish. In fact, as children, our parents encourage us to ‘go take a Walk,’ whenever they feel we have become too sedentary in mind or body.”
“Yeah, our parents sometimes suggest that too – mostly just to get us out of the house. Wait! Sideways step? Has Bruce been after you about playing ‘Werewolf’ again?”
“You know this technique?”
“It exists in a role playing game – another kind of entertainment. Ask Bruce when we get back to the ship. Just be prepared for a very lengthy explanation.”
“I will do so. Thank you for the suggestion, Anna.”
The pair continued to watch the people in robes approaching the great stone circle. From time to time, one would raise their staff, make a gesture, and step through, only to disappear.
“See, not a Stargate. A portal, apparently. But there’s no spinning dial. No blue ‘puddle’ representing the event horizon. The ring isn’t even complete.”
“Anna, once again, you are letting your limitations show. Perhaps this was merely what inspired your entertainment.”
Grudgingly, Anna allowed that it could be a possibility. “Although…” she mused our loud. “Those staves remind me of keys, and the portal is shaped like a stylized lock.”
“Perhaps we should continue our observation before we report to the Captain,” Nkk suggested.
“Perhaps we should.”
The retreated into their camouflaged shelter and engaged the cameras that would record the events at the stone ring for them.
“So,” Anna asked her companion as they shared a meal hours later, “what kinds of entertainments have your Walks inspired?”
“One of my favorites,” Nkklsh!b replied, amused affection coloring it’s tone, is about a member of my species becoming the first non-human to join a SpaceCorps Expedition ship.”