by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright January 2006
Background: By the time this story takes place, mankind has been dealing with the HX for many centuries. He has learned to thrive in the Live HX ecosystem, and there are around one hundred human settlements spread across a 100 LY volume of the galaxy roughly centered on Earth.
Mankind thrives by cooperating with other alien species that are looting the HX. Mankind's ability to learn languages is distinctive, and useful in this environment because its lets alien species cooperate who would otherwise fight with each other while they were looting.
Mankind's language ability has proved valuable to those looting the HX, but the HX environment is always full of surprises...