The N'hazudh Federation was small, encompassing twenty planets over four star systems, and had been a minor yet important intergalactic power for well over 5,000 years.
N'hazudhs were an extremely proud, hardworking race. They were loyal to friends. They were also completely neutral politically.
Both spouses were considered to be equals. Over the previous 50 years, many wives had started successful home-based businesses.
Husbands loved their children and wives dearly. Most fathers were very "hands-on" dads.
N'hazudhs were a serious people, but also a race with quite a quirky sense of humor. They could be snarky, more than abit bawdy, and even downright risque when they wanted to.
They had little to no experience with humans. Although not allies with Federation Directorate, they weren't enemies either. They simply tended to stay in other areas of space than the ones humans normally ventured into.
They were somewhat distant relatives of the Pangerans. Pangeran was their second language. Everyone spoke it.
Q'Veldrah, a young N'hazudh woman, lived with her 3 young daughters on E'iskhlah, a small, extremely cold moon circling A'khtarh, a planet in the Federation.
A'khtarh, the farthest planet from its sun in its star system, was extremely cold as well. E'iskhlah was one of 6 moons, and the moon farthest from the planet. It was so far away that it was almost in enough of its own orbit to be called a planet!
Temperatures on E'iskhlah very rarely reached over 2° N, the N'hazudh equivalent of Earth's -50F and -46C. It was regularly windy as well. Rarely was snow or ice not on the ground.
The entire world was, quite literally, a moon-sized version of Earth's Antarctica.
Conditioned air, obviously, was unheard of there!
All crops, flowers, etc., were grown underground, and had been for millennia. Even livestock was raised underground.
What couldn't be grown or raised was imported from other planets in the Federation.
The inhabitants of E'iskhlah were a very hardy bunch. They needed to be, living under those conditions.
While N'hazudhs were spacefaring, the N'hazudhs of E'iskhlah preferred to stay on their home world.
************************************************************************ Stone Marchand lived on Seti Delta 2, his home planet in Federation Directorate territory.
Stone, who'd been named after his maternal grandmother's maiden name, was a fairly serious fellow, and a cut-up at times as well. He was one of the finest gentlemen you'd ever want or hope to meet...of any race!
He was also a man with a secret.
Stone had turned 36 the month before. He'd been divorced 7 years prior, when their youngest was 2. Their oldest daughter, Helena, was now 11, their middle daughter, Daryna, was now 9, and their youngest daughter, Zoya, was now 7.
It was a very contentious divorce. His ex-wife managed to get full custody of their girls, and had poisoned their minds against him with lies. She'd tried to force him to relinquish his parental rights, but he'd steadfastly refused.
A judge had granted him one weekend a month visitation privileges. The girls were very bitter towards him.
Stone had a sweet tooth as strong as any child's. He'd never met a cookie, pie, donut, cake, candy, or ice cream flavor he didn't like. For a man as toned and muscular as he was, he ate alot of junk food!! His love of junk food knew absolutely no bounds!
“Now that I filled that out, gentlemen, let's have a look around.“, Stone said to his coworkers one day after he'd finished filling out his profile on GalaxyMatchAnonymous, a dating site that matched folks of all species from all over the galaxy.
Everything was done anonymously; only name, race and little other information was given. Pictures weren't even shared on the site.
He scrolled through profiles of women the site bad thought might interest him, then suddenly stopped. The profile of a young alien woman, a N'hazudh, caught his eye.
“You don't want to click on her.
”Look, Stone. She's been a member of GalaxyMatchAnonymous for six months and hasn't had one view. It's one thing if she'd just joined a couple days ago and had no views but...six MONTHS? Stone, she's a loser!
“Besides, she's not even human!
”It says here she's declined to post her income. Don't waste your time on someone like her!”, one of his coworkers said.
”According to her profile, she's 26 and divorced, 3 kids, an animal lover, and works as a cosmetologist, nail tech, and esthetician.
”She loves coffee! Good for her! That's a definite plus as far as I'm concerned! She likes traveling, gardening, music, hiking, cooking, and candles. She sounds like a winner! So far, anyway.
“Here's her audio.”, Stone said, ignoring his coworker and clicking on the link to the audio stream attachment.
“Hello. I'm Q'Veldrah. It's nice to meet you. I'm from E'iskhlah in N'hazudh Federation territory. I have three daughters.
“I'm a licensed cosmetologist and nail tech. I'm a licensed esthetician, but the salon I work out of doesn't offer those services.
”I'm also a small business owner. I work out of my home selling home decor products.
“I love most animals, especially dogs, cats, and birds. Unfortunately, our building property management doesn't allow pets of any kind here. We can't even have a goldfish.
”GalaxyMatchAnonymous says I should tell you my income. As a single woman, I'm not comfortable giving out that kind of personal information right away. Sorry.
”If you'd like to get to know me, my work link is n'hazfede'iskhlah/StylesByQ'Veldrah. My personal link is n'hazfede'iskhlah/hairstylegal.
“You can audio stream me on either one of those, or here on GalaxyMatchAnonymous if you'd prefer.
”I'm looking forward to meeting you! Have a nice day or evening wherever you are. Sincerely, Q'Veldrah”
Later that evening, Stone decided to go on GalaxyMatchAnonymous. He couldn't get the alien woman out of his mind. There was just something about her. She sounded so kind.
He recorded an audio stream, clicked ”Connect“ on the app, and attached the stream to the "Connect" notification that told her he wanted to get to know her.
He wasn't sure what time it was by her on E'iskhlah but hoped he wasn't waking her, especially if she had to work early the next morning.
N'hazudh Federation Territory
Q'Veldrah was finishing up a midnight snack and a glass of iced coffee when she got a notification from GalaxyMatchAnonymous on her large-screen.
”GalaxyMatchAnonymous? I forgot all about that site! What's it been now...6 months since I joined that site and not even one connection request from there until now?
“Hmm...let's see if I can remember my password. Oh that's right. I remember now!”, she said, putting in her password.
Her account had a notification from a man on Seti Delta 2, a planet in Federation Directorate territory.
“Let's see...his name's Stone. I've never heard of a first name like that before.
”According to his profile, he's 38 and divorced, 3 kids, an animal lover, and works as a pilot and flight instructor.
”He loves coffee! Good for him! That's a definite plus as far as I'm concerned! He likes traveling, gardening, music, hiking, cooking, and candles. He sounds like a winner!
“Let's check out the audio he sent.”, she said, clicking on the link to the audio stream attachment.
“Hello, Q'Veldrah. I'm Stone Marchand. I'm from Seti Delta 2 in Federation Directorate territory.
”I saw your profile here earlier today on GalaxyMatchAnonymous while I was at work, and thought I'd send you a Connect Request. I hope it's not too late to send this to you. I'm not sure of the time difference between Seti Delta 2 and E'iskhlah.
“I'm a fighter pilot and teach advanced flying techniques at our Federation's Academy. I'm divorced and have three very beautiful daughters. They're my pride and joy.
“I'm told I'm funny, and a good extra man to have at dinner.
”I'm looking for someone who's smart, funny, kind, and loyal. I'm an animal lover so I need someone who likes dogs, cats, etc.
“She doesn't have to be a great beauty, either by our human standards or other races' standards. Inner beauty's far more important than outer beauty, at least it is as far as I'm concerned.
”My likes? I'm a major coffeeholic. My coworkers joke that I practically mainline caffeine. That might not be as much of a joke as they think.
“For my birthday this year my secretary got me a gift set of coffee-fragranced body wash, soap, and candle.
“I like food, coffee obviously, flying obviously, traveling, fishing, hiking, candles and incense, music, video games, and gardening.
“I can be stubborn, but I assure you my intentions are always honorable. I'm a good man, and will treat you very well.
“Due to my work at the Academy, I unfortunately can't relocate out of Federation territory. I'd need you to come live with me on Seti Delta 2, my home planet, if things progressed to marriage.
”Anyway, I'd love to get to know you if you'd like to get to know me. My work stream link message me directly at my personal stream link, fdsetidelta2/flyguydad.
“My work link username is much more dignified.
“It might take a few hours for me to answer depending on if I'm at work or not, but I'll definitely answer you.
“Anyway, I hope to hear from you if you're interested.
“You can stream me on my stream link, or here on GalaxyMatchAnonymous if you'd prefer.
”I love your username, by the way! Have a great weekend! Yours, Stone Marchand”.
Q'Veldrah immediately sent a live audio stream request to his personal link. Within 30 seconds she received a notification that he'd accepted the request.
”Hello Stone. I'm Q'Veldrah. I hope you don't mind me streaming you so late. I couldn't wait until morning to stream you!“, she said.
“It's nice to meet you too, Q'Veldrah.”, he said.
“What time is it there?”, she asked.
“It's a little after 1am. I got home a few hours ago from a formal military soiree, then played video games for awhile. What time is it by you?”, Stone asked.
“It's 9:30pm. I just got my girls to bed abit ago. What did they serve at the soiree?”, asked Q'Veldrah.
“We had steak, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, salad, beef noodle soup, dinner rolls, chocolate cake, and unlimited drinks.”, he replied.
“Everything sounds delicious!”, replied Q'Veldrah.
“What did you have for dinner tonight?”, he asked her.
“I made a pot of hearty beef noodle soup. I'm off work tomorrow, so I'll be making a big pot of spicy meat soup. It'll cook on my stove all day.
”It's bitterly cold here, as always. Our world is very frigid. It's basically an ice planet.
“I picked up a few bags of apples and cans of pumpkin tonight on my way home from work, so my girls and I'll be baking tomorrow while the spicy meat soup's simmering. I'm having an iced coffee and plum Apkha right now.”, she said.
“Everything sounds delicious. Is Apkha similar to apple pie?”, Stone asked.
“I think so. I'm also going to be making apple crisp, pumpkin bars, pumpkin bread, and lots of other things. My girls and I love them.”, Q'Veldrah said.
They chatted for another hour. They knew, beyond any shadow of a doubt, they'd found their soulmates that night!
They audio streamed twice weekly. Per website rules, they never shared the names or ages of their kids.
Q'Veldrah had been divorced for two years. She'd been unknowingly pregnant when her husband demanded a divorce. She'd found out two weeks after the divorce was final.
She'd put the house up for immediate sale. Her ex-husband had agreed to let her keep the proceeds from the sale in addition to a large one-time payout settlement.
He wanted a clean break, and signed away his parental rights to the girls. He never knew about their youngest. Q'Veldrah had put down “Unknown” on her daughter's birth certificate.
She and her girls then moved to another province, renting a two-bedroom apartment not too far from a salon she'd found work at.
She told Stone all of this, not wanting to keep any secrets from him. He told her all about his past, plus his present custody fight situation, as well.
Within one month, they'd both deleted their GalaxyMatchAnonymous accounts. They'd each found the one who completed them.
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