The ships that appear are huge, probably built in space, made for aesthetic sensibilities not as alien as they could have been. On board they start checking whether the system is a template.
Ah yeah that does sound hard.
"We can also just wait for that part to happen on its own. We don't need you to die under any particular circumstances or anything. And then I guess we'd eventually stash you on a planet in a totally different universe from this one when we happen to feel like it, and hope Amenta doesn't get around to developing the right kind of transit until after they figure out that their color-coding is stupid. But it seems like it'd be horrible to die not knowing and, uh, I don't think I want to stand by and watch what the reds do if they don't realize their impending deaths aren't for real."
"If you were a remotely competent diplomat or you trusted me enough to express preferences or you showed any signs of realizing this conversation is voluntary, I would have more questions for you. As it is - well, I guess I do have one. I don't have the good healing magic but I have some and I assume the other Amentans didn't think we'd mind if you were a little bruised, do you want to listen to a magical song that makes wounds heal faster?"
"- okay, sir?"
Heyyy that's basically a normal way to respond to a significantly cooler person offering you something.
Song! Not sped up because sped up it's illegible. At normal speed it's theoretically possible to learn it just from listening.
It's very pretty. Nelen sways his head very slightly to the rhythm.
"If you decide to trust me as far as taking my advice, I think if you stay here and someone decides to yell at you about things that happened in an alternate universe, acting like they're not worth your time would work better than the way you've been acting."
Nelen does not respond out loud at that but does - tilt his head curiously.
"You don’t want to tell us anything you aren’t forced to, right? But the forcing isn’t going to happen and we all get mean when we sense weakness. And you somehow have the Amentans fooled into thinking you’re stupid and that your war is just the mindless thrashing of a savage beast but - your alt isn’t much of a diplomat but he’s thoughtful and articulate and passed the most grueling test of character in the world. And we’re pretty sure it’s a close alternate universe, the kind where at some point you were identical. You're not too broken to have opinions, you're just acting - afraid of what we'll do if we know what they are."
Yeah it's not acting.
"See, it’s completely plausible to me that after plotting riots and spending your life ready to be called on to die for your people you’d be too terrified to talk to aliens who - "
"...Fuck. I’m sorry."
"So. The powers I can arrange for you to get in under half an hour are a personal space ring, an anti-aging necklace, and the ability to understand everyone in all the worlds as though they were speaking your native language. Being able to share powers like teleportation is one of the things we hope to gain by traveling between realities, and I can’t offer you that yet. I would if I could. With more time we could teach you to make magic jewelry, and in theory maybe someday you could do just about anything that way, but - we don’t know how yet. You’ll have to figure it out. And - if there’s an oath you would find reassuring, I can consider whether I can swear it. Let me just - "
Nelen's going to go over and sit on the bed they put in here with him while nobody's staring at him.
That's what it's there for!
Valan reappears with jewelry. "I thought maybe just the things that don't involve doing anything directly to you until you chill out." There's an airlock setup for giving them to him. "We'd have a fancier cleaning setup if we thought you were going to complain that merely not having any germs left isn't good enough but I bet you aren't."
"...There is also a song for steadying your nerves but - I don't want to imply that I care if you listen to it. It exists."
Nelen blinks at him.
"It - works. Some people are bothered by how well it works. I don't want to imply that I have an opinion about your preferences about mind-altering magic songs, because if I have an opinion that you can discern I'm afraid you'll take it as an order."
"- yes sir."
"If the empire we met hadn’t wanted all the people in all the worlds for their slaves I - wouldn’t actually be here, but I’d be able to just hand you the power to go wherever you want and heal any injury instantly. I bet you’d be easier to talk to."
It's Time For Nelen Silence. Again.
"Got a completely abstract idea which direction is objectively better to err in in the absence of better information?"