Commander Biznap was the most over-worked Telleron aboard Xiar’s mother ship. Given the fact that he was the most competent spacer on board, in fact the ONLY competent spacer on board, it was easy to understand why.
Corebait was gone. The foolish Fmoogian foul-up had gone and disintegrated himself while on Earth using a skortch pistol and an Earther mirror. That meant no one on board was competent enough to do the astrogation calculations it was necessary to complete for the Tellerons to travel from the ancient Mars Base back to Barnard’s Star where their orbital living complex was located. It was very possible the entire crew would have to learn to live on the space cruiser in orbit around some other fool planet in this solar system.
“If you don’t want to live on Earth, dearest,” said Harmony Castille, Biznap’s new Earther “wife”, “then maybe we should just live on Mars. There’s a perfectly good planetary base there.”
“You must forgive me, honey, but I don’t want to live anywhere even remotely near your people.” Biznap’s frown told it all. He had learned to love this woman of another species. Now that he had used the de-evolutionizer to make the old Sunday School teacher young again, she was ravishingly beautiful… so much so that Bizzy had decided to take up the same strange Earth custom that had so appealed to Captain Xiar and his new Telleron wife Shalar, and married her, binding her to him for the remainder of their lives together, however many centuries that would be. But Earth people were strange primates with such weird customs. They didn’t eat their own young, but they ate meat, even (shudder) frog legs. They used machines on a regular basis, but they also relied on muscles and physical labor far more than any Telleron could stomach. And since they didn’t absorb moisture through their skin like a Telleron, they preferred dry rooms and refused to run about the spaceship naked the way Tellerons preferred to. Harmony insisted that Biznap wore clothes at all times, except when they actually had time to be intimate. She was a bit of a prude.
“Well, what will we do, then, if we don’t find a way to get back to your Bernie’s Star?”
“Barnard’s Star,” corrected Biznap. “You people named it, after all.”
“Okay, okay. But it will just be living on a space station, won’t it?”
“Um… yeah… The artificial swamp in the interior is very realistic, though.”
“Wouldn’t it be better to live with real ground under our feet? I mean, I think I’m going to miss the birds singing in the early morning, and the lovely fall colors of maple trees.”
“I really don’t think so. I mean, I don’t even know what those things are.” Being a Telleron who had lived his entire life aboard some form of space vehicle, and her being a planet-raised monkey-person instead of a proper amphibianoid, might just not have been ideal for getting “married”. Bizzy loved her bare legs and the wonderful Earther invention known as “breasts”, but did that really make up for having to live your love-life with an alien monkey-person?
“Look here, Bizzy. You forgot to carry the one in this equation.”
Biznap looked down at the tablet computer. “I think I know a little more about Sleer Mechanics and Advanced Sylvanian Geometry, thank you. …Oh, look at that. I, um, forgot to carry the one.”
“Does that help our problem?” she said sweetly. “I mean, the same mistake is right here in Corebait’s old equations?”
“Yes… yes, I think our problem is solved! The numbers match and flow properly for a change. Thank you, dearest one. Now we must try it.”
Biznap went to the primary jump control board and began inputting the numbers just as Harmony had corrected them. The machine purred and glowed with its inherent bioluminescence. It was a happy machine for the first time since Biznap could remember. It chugged and farted, and then they were physically lifted through space and time and light-years of travel. Suddenly a planet appeared on the view screen.
“Oh, no!” gasped Biznap.
“What’s the matter?” asked his lady love, gaping at the blue, green, and brown ball of dirt slowly rotating in space before them.
“This is Galtorr Prime! The one planet in the area of the Telleron Empire that’s more dangerous than Earth!”
“It’s that bad?” asked the clueless Sunday School teacher.
“They are reptile-men! With big teeth! And they’re more aggressive than humans. If they ever learn space travel, we’re DOOMED!”
“Yep,” she said. “Maybe we don’t want to live here either.”
Biznap smiled a crazy smile. A thought had occurred to him. Living on Galtorr Prime couldn’t be any more difficult than being married…