So… I was left feeling somewhat concerned about the Siliconoids, especially after my brief encounters with them when I first arrived. Blueneck had more than a few things to say about their behaviors. But a great deal of what he told me was blocked out by my Relative Profanity Filter, so I assumed he wasn’t really offering relevant information. I thought about lowering the setting to make his comments a bit clearer, just in case there was something in his stream of xenosexuallity focused invective, but at the time I decided against it. I knew my job well enough, I thought, the probably do too. Later, I realized I should have been a little less sensitive. At that moment. And perhaps for my entire time on the station, really.
I asked to see my duty station, and he showed me into the tight space behind the force field array enveloping the egg-shaped transferal chamber.
Inside were both the disassembly areas, where he would be working and the filtering area where I would be. I realized we weren’t alone.
There was a form, but it was even more alien than what I’d seen so far, amoeboid at best, compulsively shape-shifting at worst. It gave me a vertigo headache just looking at it. Blueneck introduced it as ‘Because’ a Gnarloshifter who’s job it was to keep the surfaces of the chamber from collecting a critical mass of supersymetrical particles. Yep, he was the guy with the mop.
Ah, a Gnarloshifter. I relaxed as the shape shifting imagery was all in my mind then. Gnarloshifters are a shifty bunch, telepathic by nature, fluid by inclination. The whole ambiguous nature of what I saw was actually in my own mind.
Hmm... I thought to myself, I must be more unfocused than usual. I also remembered the shifters were more sensitive than most about psycho-reflective perception defenses and tend to be a bit reactionary about it.
He, however, seemed friendly enough. For a perception twisting amoeboid, that was.
Blueneck’s neck stump quivered as he showed me my filtering stall.
“Here’s *blank*where you do your *blank**blank*work,” he told me. “And as long as you can *blank*scrub the *blank*filters clear of their *blank*interdimensional spunk, no one will have any problems with you, even with those antennae and all.”
“I thought I’m cleaning supersymetrical residue,” I replied.
He waggled his thick neck.
“Yeah, you keep telling *blank*yourself that,” he offered. “Things get *blank*mixed. You gotta know that. You know your *blank*job, don’t you?”
I nodded, such was my life, antennae and all. I examined the stall, noting it was as sparkling as the rest of the chamber. I also noted there was some sort of closed porthole as well welded into the external, nonorganic wall.
“What’s that for,” I asked.
“You use that,” he told me. “In case you are *blank*claustrophobic. Or you get really *blank*bored.”
“Why would that even happen?”
“We had a couple*blank**blank* filterers who were a bit like that,” he advised. “Doesn’t really matter if you *blank*open it or not. Not like there’s much to *blank*see.
“Seems like a waste then,” I thought. “To have windows which open up to nothing?”
“Seemed to *blank*work for them,” Blueneck admitted. “Sfroga *blank*psychology, who can *blank**blank*figure it.”
“Isn’t It just black out there,” I was thinking of the Dark Cluster, full of black holes and black interstellar dust.
“As I*blank* said,” he repeated. “If you get really, really *blank*bored. Or go really, really *blank* crazy.”
Well, I wondered, I was only going to be here for a couple hundred phase shifts, how bored was I going to get? And how crazy was I going to get? How crazy could I possibly get?
<<Galactic News Flash: The Beatelbeakian who was hit and shattered into multiple independent partitions during a deep space walkabout by an ancient probe has had his planetary council petition to enact vengeance upon the planet from where the probe was launched. They have utilized the galactic exclusionary precedent which guarantees, if the offending species is no longer extant, to provide legal protection regarding the victim’s representative’s vengeance on whatever is the highest life form on said planet. Thus far neither the offending planet nor their species have been located. It is assumed they, and it, have gone into hiding.>>