“Opius Seven has given us permission to land,” Ensign Melody Patron said as she listened to her headphones. As the Communications Officer it was her job to monitor all traffic in the area, not just that which concerned their enormous freighter.
“Did you specify an orbital offload?” the Captain asked, gripping the arms of his chair.
“Yes sir, but your request was denied. Apparently there is a stevedore strike at the moment. Our only option is to wait until the strike is over, or land as ordered. Their last strike lasted one and a half years.”
“This damned old tub was not designed for planetary landings,” Captain Derby said uncomfortably. “Ok, Control, take us down. I only hope we can get it back up again,” he growled, sitting at the edge of his seat.
“That’s every man’s most fervent wish,” the navigator, an ebony black woman with white hair, said from her corner. Melody groaned and looked at Pitts. She could be cute, if she tired. She had very shapely legs. Melody watched as Pitts sat facing her, kicking one crossed leg absently as she gave the captain a sly smile. In her short skirt, Lt Pitts looked very enticing.
“When I want lip off you Pitts, I’ll…”
“Aye sir, my lips are sealed,” the newest lieutenant on the ship said with an obvious smirk, as her glance fell on Melody. Melody wondered how long she would last. The last smartass was left on some backwater planet without a name. It only carried a designation number. It’s function was listed as Waystation. It was not a good place to be left. The way Pitts was going…”
“Patron, what the hell’s the matter with you?” the captain screamed, nearly in her face.
“We are being hailed, Ensign,” the captain pointed at the blinking light below the viewscreen, “answer it.”
“Oh, yes sir,” Melody said hurriedly and adjusted bars and sensors until the voice was picked up on her com unit.
“GRF Normandy, this is PRS King’s Booty,” a voice finally said in her headphones.
“This is Normandy, go ahead please,” Melody said, adjusting the slidebar.
“Normandy, we are having a party tonight, we wondered if anyone on your crew would like to attend. It’s strictly informal,” the voice said in her headphones and over the overhead panels. “We are being parked in an adjoining slip,” the voice added quickly.
“What should I tell them, Captain?” Melody asked. She saw the look of disgust cross his face. He quickly shook his head.
“That’s a pig boat, Patron, we can call for volunteers, but I’m not going. Tell them I have business ashore.
“What’s a pig boat?” Melody asked as she typed her response rather than talking directly.
“PRS stands for Pieces Relief Ships, but the old timers privately refer to the designation as Pigs Rolling in Shit. Their ships hire anybody who can fly, Sabs, Micens, and mutants. Their ship are a total mess. Hell, half the crew don’t even know how to use a bathroom or eating utensils. Nope, I’m busy tonight. You guys can go if you want.”
“I can’t pass up an experience like that,” Melody finally said. “Even if I find it distasteful, it’s something to make this trip unique. I need adventure.”
“Well you’ll probably find it there,” Derby said with a laugh.
“I’ll go with you,” Lieutenant Pitts said uncertainly, “I hear that Sabs have a tongue almost two feet long,” her voice dropped to a whisper.
“You fucking horny bitches,” the captain shook his head in wonder. “You’ll let anything crawl up between your legs as long as it feels good.”
“Kind of like old drunk sailors,” Pitts said, just loud enough for Melody to hear. Melody snorted and nodded her head quickly, before the captain turned to find out what she was laughing about. He glared from one to the other, then concentrated on their landing.
“They are designated as human, even though they have mutated a bit,” Melody said quickly to waylay his anger.
“Yeah, but they look like toads,” the captain said. When the atmosphere began glowing around them he took control of the rollerball and eased the ship down to the concrete. They landed smoothly, which was why he held such a high designation. Captain Derby might be old and sloppy looking, but he was one of the best captain’s in space. He was assigned to an old, antiquated ship because it had grown old and antiquated around him.
“Shut down, lock down, and climb down,” the captain repeated the age old saying used for shutting down all systems, setting the watch, and commencing shore leave. They had heard it so many times that they didn’t hear it anymore.
The Control Officer, Lieutenant Gerald Schultz, sat back and smiled at Pitts and Melody as they ran for the door. He was in no hurry because his section had first watch. He wasn’t that fond of Opius Seven anyway, so he probably wouldn’t take shore leave.
Melody was out of her seat in record time and sprinting down the passageway. There were close to 700 people on the ship, most would be taking shore leave and crowding the elevators, causing an hour long wait. Melody planned on being one of the first to the elevators. She waved to Pitts as they separated and entered their own cabins. There was no water rationing on the surface of a planet, because they would immediately be hooked up to shore facilities. It was a rare treat and it meant that Melody could shower as long as she wanted, and brush her teeth with clear clean water for a change, not thick recycled crap. Melody actually let the water hit her face for the first time since coming aboard. She had always washed her face in canned water. She hated to waste her weight allowance on common water, but she would not wash her face and pussy with recycled piss. Melody let the water wash over her body as she soaped her slender neck shoulders, and perfect tits. The low gravity of space had many drawbacks, but firm upturned tits were definately one of the advantages. Melody soaped her tits liberally, then slid her hand down between her legs. If she were to have some action down there as she hoped, she needed it clean and battle ready.
In horror, Melody realized that she had wasted too much time on her shower. She would have to wait hours for an elevator.
In fifteen minutes she was sprinting down the passageway, dressing as she ran. By the time she saw the first people on deck, she was sealing the seam on her shirt. It took only moments to find Pitts, waiting with a small crowd at the edge of the elevator lines. There were already at least a hundred people ahead of her. She swore and walked dejectedly over to Pitts.
“This is the Kings Booty crowd,” Pitts said happily.
“The party group. That is what you’re looking for, isn’t it?”
“Sure, I guess. But we’ll never get on the elevators now,” Melody said dejectedly.
“We aren’t taking the elevators, silly, we are an official liaison party. We take a shuttle.”
“Oh shit, that’s great. I never trusted these overcrowded elevators anyway,” Melody said, not wanting to let on how horrified she was of small places.
The bright lights around most ships showed a milling crowd of people, delivery vehicles, and maintenance vehicles in a continuous flow of action. The bright lights around PRS Kings Booty showed only a handful of people coming and going. The shuttle landed on the edge of the security area, let the seventeen passengers debark, then lifted off immediately, not wanting the shuttle’s logo to be associated with the tall silver ship. With some excitement and a little trepidation, the crowd moved toward the quarterdeck in front of the sparkling ship. It was actually a very beautiful and brand new ship which Melody immediately envied.
Amid the laughter and chatter of many voices, Melody suddenly remembered that they were ambassadors of their ship. She stopped on the quarterdeck and saluted. The others suddenly remembered their protocol and saluted as they followed her across the quarterdeck. When they entered they requested permission to come aboard. The automatic responder summoned the human crew, while it hailed and welcomed the visitors. Out of breath, sweaty crewmembers finally poured onto the quarterdeck and looked at the crowd in awe.
Melody realized that they had not expected anyone to accept their offer. They were taken by surprise.
“W… welcome,” an older enlisted man said with a formal salute. Melody liked him immediately. He was tall, good looking, and had brown hair. He met all her prerequisites. His eyes bugged out when he saw that ten of the seventeen visitors were women. His eyes locked onto Melody for several minutes, then he tore his glance away.
“We… we actually were not expecting visitors… I mean not yet,” he quickly amended. “Please, come this way,” he ushered them inside. He took them to the amusement deck and showed them around as the officers and more important enlisted men quickly showed up, some dressing as they entered.
Drinks were passed out and games played all over the deck. Melody was surprised to see a spotlessly clean ship. Unconsciously, she was looking for the mutants which were reported to be filling pig boats, but she saw none. Finally she got tired of craning her neck to see over the crowd and came right to the point.
“Where are your mutants?” she asked the man who had originally greeted them.
“Is that why you came, to see the mutants?” he asked in amusement. “I’m sorry, but the captain forbid them to come. He’s trying to improve our “pig boat” image.”
Melody tried to hide her disappointment, but it must have showed in her face. “We came to see something different, not the same old boring ship’s dinner,” Melody said moodily.
“I know what you mean. Imagine how it is for us, we seldom get visitors because of the old rumors, most of which were unfounded. We had a sulfur based drive that smelled bad. To make matters worse, we had a few early captains who kept a very sloppy ship. That and the fumes led to rumors and the rumors led to more rumors. They were completely unsubstantiated, of course, but nobody bothered to check before they branded our ships. We do have Sabs, Micens, and Picas aboard, but they are as clean as us. The rules are the same for everybody.”
“Can you ask the captain to change his rule for tonight? We came to see the whole crew, not just a few humans.”
“That’s not the job for a lowly chief,” the man laughed and pointed at the officers around them, “why don’t you ask one of them?”
“I don’t know them. I trust you, and I have a feeling that your captain will too. Please?”
“Shit,” he said under his breath. Sweat was breaking out on his forehead already. “Ok, what the hell,” he said and walked away. In a few minutes several mutants appeared in the room, livening up the conversation. It was obvious that their shipmates enjoyed their company, many were patted on their… backs? And many more were petted absently as they stood beside a fellow male or female crewmember. Melody was startled, a little revolted, and completely overjoyed. She inched closer to a Sab and was amazed that Captain Derby’s description was accurate. Sabs were small toad-like people with equally long arms and legs. They used both for support. Their bodies were fat and wide, like a toad. But their faces were primarily human, showing their distant lineage.
“Happy?” a voice startled her out of a year of life. She turned to face the chief and was wonderfully horrified to see a Sab standing beside him. “This is Katherine,” the chief said happily. “And I am Chief Holly Irons,” he said with a grimace.
“Holly?” Melody asked with a skeptical smile.
“My parent’s little joke. Katherine can’t talk, she speaks through sign language or a computer adapter. Sorry,” he said, patting Katherine on her wide head. Her tongue snaked out and licked his hand. Melody jumped back a little, holding her hand to her chest.
“I’ve heard that a Sab’s tongue is two feet long, but I never expected to see it. My name is Melody, by the way.”
Katherine’s tiny hand came up and made a few gestures, while her other hand supported her weight.
“Katherine said hi, and thanks for including them in the party. Her long tongue is why she can’t talk. None of her race can. She is as curious as you are, apparently.”
“About women?” Melody asked in confusion as she looked at all the female crewmembers in the crowd.
“Well sort of. Mostly of fashion and scent,” Holly’s face crinkled in a smile. “They choose friends by scent. She likes yours, by the way.”
“W… well that’s good,” Melody said uncomfortably.
“Ooops, the party is about to start, there’s our captain,” Holly said, straightening his clothing self-consciously. Katherine straightened uncomfortably and her eyes seemed to narrow minutely.
“You don’t like the captain?” Melody asked unceremoniously.
“Shhhh, not so loud,” Holly cautioned. “Our captain doesn’t like mutants and doesn’t think they belong in the service. He’s not well liked by my wife or her people,” Holly said, patting Katherine’s head again.
“Your wife?” Melody asked in disappointment.
“Katherine,” he nodded at the Sab standing next to his knee.
Katherine froze for a moment as she stared at Melody and sniffed, then made a few hand signals to Holly. He looked up at Melody in embarassment.
“Katherine says you are disappointed and a little angry. Your scent changed,” he explained with a shrug.
“I was half hoping… well maybe you and I could…”
“Oh, I see,” he also turned half away in embarassment. Katherine signaled again, but he shook his head quickly. She pushed against his knee and repeated the signals. He finally nodded and let out his breath in a gust.
“Katherine says she is willing to share, she would like you to join us after the party,” he finished in a rush of words. Melody squinted as the meaning of his words sank in. Suddenly her eyes widened and she looked around the room before looking at them and nodding. “I came for an experience, I can’t think of a more… sure, I’d love too.”
“Oh, boy!” Holly said enthusiastically. Katherine nudged his knee and he looked down in embarassment. The party began with a formal ringing of a bell.
Melody started for the table, then stopped in confusion when she saw a pond in the middle of it.
“Oh man, the captain’s really out to embarrass the mutants tonight,” Holly said angrily.
“Why?” Melody looked around at the captain in confusion. He was amiable and smiling at everyone around him. Katherine jumped up and landed in a depression next to the pond. Melody laughed and clapped happily. Katherine turned and bowed with what appeared to be a smile on her wide face.
“He wants them to eat out of the communal pond,” Holly said, rigid with anger.
“Is that bad?”
“It’s embarrassing, to say the least. They can eat off a plate like everybody else. He wants to embarrass them, and us. Now you will see why they have those long tongues. They can stretch out to four feet, by the way.”
“What if we refuse to be embarrassed?” Melody asked, looking at the captain with new eyes.
“It won’t matter, he will take every horrified look, stony expression, or mutter and turn it to his favor. There is no way to outmaneuver a man like that.”
“What to bet?” Melody asked, silently signaling to Pitts across the table. “What’s in the pond, by the way?”
“Fish, eels, sand grubs,” he said with his head lowered so the captain wouldn’t notice the hatred in his eyes.