Al's smile matches William's in intensity, but in Al's face, William's malice is replaced by pure, almost rabid excitement. "I can imagine, he says. "The perspectives of human beings... most intelligent organic life, actually... tends to put a phenomenally unique spin on just about everything." He grins "Start that effect with something they can't explain and rinse with hundreds or thousands of years' worth of repetitions." His eyes shine. "I'm talking to a myth." His expression grows serious, and he looks William straight in the eye. With a solemn tone, he asks, "Do you do autographs?"
He places the folded shirt in William's hand, then waves the transparent rod around near the man's arm for a moment. "Alakazam." He brings the rod close to his face and squints at it, frowning. "I think that's it." He shrugs and stuffs the rod into a pocket as he turns to watch the man from the Bug Fighter sulk past. "These contraptions are a surprisingly close on the heels of your time," he says. "Assuming time where you're from advances similarly to the way it has in my world. There are a few big jumps all species need to make. The next one from where you're at is the one into space. Once there, the advancement and growth for most species seems to be pretty steady, but there's no 'almost space.' You're either a spacefaring species, or you're not." He tilts his head and looks at William curiously. "If you're as timeless as you claim, it won't be long before you're there yourself. When is it you live?"
"You do seem like you should get along well with the Yeerks." He laughs. "You almost seem to be their... what, spiritual equivalent? You're like a Spirit Yeerk. A Yeerit." He frowns. "Or is Speerk better?"
Salem sighs in response to Rathien's gesture and leans back against the bar. He's still tense, but he lets his eyes flicker over Rathien's body and face, and then to the glass of miruvin, before returning his attention to the bar at large. He smirks, but doesn't comment. "Listen," he says. He sounds weary. "What we have to do... what's coming... it's like nothing you've ever done before. It's not something the two of us can do alone." He lowers his voice to barely a whisper. "We'll be hitting a prison. We'll be hitting the Electorate hall on the homeworld. We might need to hit a Dome Ship. We need more hands and more eyes. We need more talent. More brains. If you know of anyone I don't, talk to them. In the end it could mean our lives. I've found you... I needed you the most, and I found you right when I..." He stops, chokes something back, and gives his head a quick shake. "Now I need to talk to them," he says with a nod towards Keshin and Myitt.
With that, Salem shambles over to where Myitt, Keshin, and Guppy sit at the bar. He notes the way Myitt and the blind man sway a bit, talk a bit too loud. Would it be better to talk to Myitt first? She'd probably be more... agreeable in her current state, but that had the potential to backfire later, depending what she remembered and what she resented. Less chance of a backfire now, though, than if he'd been the one buying the drinks. Probably best to play this little dance by ear.
He sighs and draws a deep breath, straightening his posture and putting on a friendly, businesslike air. "Hey, Myitt," he says warmly as he steps up to the three of them. "It's been too long." He turns his smile towards Keshin. "I'm sorry for my rudeness earlier, guys. The past has a way of coming back to shank you in a place like this." He rests a hand gently on the blind man's shoulder. "My name's Salem. I'm a trader. It's a pleasure to meet you."