Part Four - 37 - Memphis

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"Ito Min-Hee's journal, entry 603. Memphis came to me with a problem today. Moira can't keep any food down. I told them to see Kala but they don't want to let anyone else know. I asked questions but they refused to answer. He knew he could come to me, that I would never be the one to expose any of their odd behaviors. But what he doesn't know is that I know their secret already. When I joined the Capricieuse, the first thing I did was find everything I could on each crew member. Let's say it's a...habit. Finding out what they are, where they came from, wasn't hard for someone with my skills. They aren't the first of their kind that I encounter. In my line of job, I often lurked in the shadiest parts of the galaxy. People like them; they usually aren't viable and don't reach adulthood. Memphis and Moira have periodic health problems but overall are fine. We are lucky. I cannot think about what it would do to this crew to lose the twins. I realized today, that I would fight for them until my last breath. For any member of this crew. Life is full of surprises."

It took Memphis everything he had not to sexually assault Edwin. Even if, to be honest, the whole covered in animal green guts wasn't usually what did it for him. Yet, he couldn't deny he really wanted to eat Edwin's face now.

Edwin had just pulled out the most badass action Memphis had ever seen – and the Lightning Sprite had been in his life for a few years, so that was saying something about the praise. He had jumped under a freaking 5-meters-long monster, all teeth and claws, and opened it up like a pinata. Now Edwin was trying to shake the remaining green guts and blood from his ruined clothes while explaining the whole situation as calmly as if he was talking about what he had for lunch.

"Sorry guys, I should have warned you about the fauna on this planet...The shormloks – that's how I named them – usually never come out during the rare occasions when the weather is clear. They don't like sunlight. I thought we were safe until nightfall. This is unusual behavior."

Nobody must have expected the shy nerd to pull something like that because no one was able to do anything other than stare. On most days, Edwin could be barely trusted with not tripping over his own feet. But now it came to Memphis' realization that the young archeologist surely didn't survive alone in the Unknown for two years out of pure luck only.

Kala was the first one to get out of her stupor. She walked to Edwin and gave him a nod of approval. Then she turned to the dead animal and kicked at its armored body. It barely budged.

"Shormloks have an extra thick shell," said Edwin, "to protect them from the elements. But they have one major weakness," he pointed at its underbelly, "they have one opening there, to allow reproduction and defecation, and thinner skin around it."

Kala seemed impressed.

As did the captain when he came to face Edwin. He put his hand on the younger man's shoulder - at a spot that wasn't too covered in green guts - and said, "Good job, Eddy." then he turned toward the dead beast and spat: "Ugly motherfucker."

Memphis snapped out of his erotic daze. He took eager steps that brought him right in front of Edwin. He dropped on one knee and blurted out: "Will you marry me?"

Everyone laughed. Edwin blushed and swatted him away. Memphis grinned fondly.

* * *

It turned out that flying an alien ship wasn't an easy thing, even for the Lightning Sprite. Kala had been alone in the ship for most of the day, trying to get her bearings with the strange technology. Memphis for his part was just sitting in the leisure garden, watching her fly through the glass panels as he sipped his green juice. Min-Hee had made it with the fresh fruits and herbs that grew in the hydroponic systems around the room. It tasted healthy to a fault.

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