Close Encounter

Ever sampled the buffet 4.4 light years from what used to be Earth? Let’s just say it gives one a new appreciation of airline food. At least that stuff was edible.

I was in the ship’s mess hall, though it only looked so to my Human eyes. It’s more of a stark, utilitarian, warehouse type room where “eating” is done. For food I had two choices: tasteless protein supplement gruel (the primary diet of the Centaurian crew), and something that would generously be described as a reptilian crab. The “crab” is the favorite dish of the Skrrith, who made up the majority of passengers and who preferred their meals live. I went with the protein supplements.

While standing in line behind a particularly large Skrrith, I heard a noise. Something kind of like “UAAH!”. A passenger in a hooded robe hurried past me, towards the personel quarters. As they ran by, I did a double-take. Two arms? Two legs?

The Skrrith next to me nudged me in the ribs, and my universal translator buzzed “Must be one of yours, eh?”

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