QSFer Angel Martinez has a new mm sci fi romance out: “A Message From The Home Office.”
Being an OIL (Onsite Inter-species Liaison) for the Interplanetary Multispecies Pact has never been an easy job. In fact it’s a crap job when stuck on a backwater nowhere planet like Earth.
But cobra Yervath Sissal Naganos manages. The demotion was swift and heavy-handed, but he’ll climb back out of this hell eventually. Humans don’t meet his social needs, so, yes, it’s been lonely and he tells himself he likes the solitude. That is, until IMP sends him an irritating new assistant he never asked for. Now his peace is well and truly disturbed and his paranoid diplomatic reflexes have reawakened. The worst part is the kid didn’t have to be so cute.
“But I didn’t ask for an assistant.” Sissal scanned the documents, squinting in dim evening light.
“Life in the diplomatic corps, eh, Siss?” Captain Spencer’s tail and whiskers twitched as he jabbed a stubby claw at the bottom of the screen. “Just sign here… and here. Initial here. Great. Can’t stay and chat today, sorry. Tight schedule this run. Very tight.”
“Um…” Fingers stinging from Spencer snatching the doc reader away, Sissal could only stare as the ship’s captain scurried back up his loading ramp. “See you, Spence.”
Usually, Spencer at least stayed for a drink and a chat. He was always a little twitchy—part of his charm—and the hyperalertness made him an ideal interstellar captain, but this time he’d seemed almost frantic.
Finally, he turned to the newcomer whom he’d barely glanced at during Spencer’s fussing. Big, dark eyes, cute little horns, the kid was barely taller than Spencer. Sissal took a careful sniff. Dik dik shifter? Off balance and still annoyed at being dragged out of bed, he blurted out, “How old are you, twelve?”
The little guy’s face turned an interesting shade of scarlet. “If you’d bothered to read my work portfolio, you would have seen that I have five degrees from various prestigious intergalactic universities and a doctorate in applied interspecies microeconomics.”
Fine, not quite a kid. Sissal glanced down at his personal reader to pull up the docs Spencer had transferred. “So… Rcrred…”
Rcrred poked his shoulder. “I’ve only been here five minutes and I can already see this facility is unacceptable! I demand to speak to the PLIC for this planet! You don’t even have a proper atmospheric acclimation canopy. There’s no shielding. No hydro-evaporation collection that I can see.”
He stomped into Sissal’s cabin without an invitation and proceeded to spew nonstop Liaison Office regulations. It was as if an EM pulse had swept over Sissal’s brain. All electrical activity had ceased, and with no neurons firing, no thoughts could form. He followed Rcrred inside, openmouthed, and simply let the harangue wash over him for a few precious seconds.
“This front room alone breaks fourteen—no fifteen—regulations in construction! And I’m terrified to see your record keeping system! Where are the filters? How do you keep planet-borne diseases out? Why is there no medkit by the door? No fire suppression?” Rcrred had whipped out his own reader, taking frantic notes as he ran his impromptu and unsolicited inspection. “I swear, this floor is tilted at least three degrees.”
When the interloper got down on his hands and knees and pulled up a level tool on his reader, Sissal’s brain re-engaged with a sickening lurch. He rushed through the cabin, hit the door pad on his hidden communications room, and flung himself into the chair. Frantically, he tapped in the code to contact the Nutcracker.
“Spencer, get back here!” he yelled into the comm. “I don’t know who authorized the drop-off on this little twit, but you can’t leave him here. Turn around and get him out of my installation!”
The comm light blinked rhythmically, indicating no one had picked up on the other end.
“Spencer! Answer the comm! You can’t do this to me!”
Still the light blinked smugly at him. He switched to emergency coding. He knew the Nutcracker was operating in a tight window this trip, but they had time, damn it. They couldn’t have gotten that far. “Spence, for the love of all that’s holy! Don’t leave me here with this little monster!”
The light still blinked, and to Sissal’s horror, the steady red one beside it winked on. Out of turnaround range. Oh, sweet goddesses.
Angel Martinez is the pen name of a writer of several genres who writes both kinds of queer fiction – Science Fiction and Fantasy. (What? There are others?) Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware, (and full time inside the author’s head) Angel has one husband, one son, at least one cat at any given time, a changing variety of other furred and scaled companions, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.
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