forehead high and narrow, the nose delicately thin and chiseled with long vertically slit nostrils, the ears long, pointed and lobeless. The mouth looked almost human, though the chin was abnormally pointed. The hands would almost have passed inspection as human hands—except for the long, triangular nails curved over the fingertips like the claws of a cat. They wore skin-tight clothes of some metallic silky stuff, and long flowing gleaming silvery capes. They looked unearthly, elfin and strange, and in their own way they were beautiful.
The two Lhari in front of Bart had been talking softly, in their fast twittering speech; but as the hum of the crowds on the upper levels grew louder, they raised their voices, and Bart could hear what they were saying. He was a little surprised to find that he could still understand the Lhari language. He hadn't heard a word of it in years—not since his Mentorian mother died. The Lhari would never guess that he could understand their speech. Not one human in a million could speak or understand a dozen words of Lhari, except the Mentorians.
"Do you really think that human—" the first Lhari spoke the word as if it were a filthy insult—"will have the temerity to come in by this ship?"
"No reasonable being can tell what humans will do," said the second Lhari. "But then, no reasonable being can tell what our own Port Authorities will do either! If the message had only reached us sooner, it would have been easier. Now I suppose it will have to clear through a dozen officials and a dozen different kinds of formalities."