“Alright, you guys, I’m tired of waiting.” I looked at my Spaceforce chronograph display. “Sheesh, we’ve been sitting here for more than a month!” Jerry pushed his glasses up his nose and coughed awkwardly while Derrick smiled with a patronizing expression.
“I’m good here,” he said. “Good coffee, good raisin rolls. If you had been down in the conduits like we had, you’d be happy to be sitting around for a few minutes too.”
“Fair enough. Are you rested now?”
“No,” Derrick smiled, “I think I need some time in bed. Interested, Ensign?”
“Hey!” Jerry jumped up and poked his finger in Derrick’s chest. “Ensign Golden is on duty and so are you. What happened to saving the Earth, hot shot?”
“I can do that too,” Derrick replied swiping Jerry’s hand away. “Hot shot. I can multi-task. Can you, Doc?”
“Yeah, I can multi-task.” Jerry’s voice grew louder. “I can save your worthless ass and chew gum at the same time.”
“What?” Derrick said.
“What? This is ridiculous,” I sighed, now rising to my feet. “I’m out of here. You boys can stand here for another month and fight about whose got more testosterone but I’m going to find a way to lure that trader up into the daylight and get the chip back.” I put my cup and napkin in the recycling bin and then headed out into the terminal knowing those guys, like puppies, would soon follow. It was just before midnight and the terminal lights had dimmed somewhat. Only a few tired looking people wandered about as no commercial ships arrived or departed until the next morning. Overhead, the glass ceiling displayed the vast expanse of stars, Planet Earth, the largest light among them. I stood watching Earth for a moment, trying to block out of my mind the ramifications of her destruction and instead, concentrated on the fragments of a plan that I had been putting together in my mind. I needed a woman who would attract the trader. It would be a nasty job, but Spaceforce had made certain I had plenty of money to pay her well.
“Marla, I love Marla,” an off-key voice sang from the doorway of the bar down the terminal. “Marla, oh Marla, I love you truly!”
Marla. The triple-breasted Andorian stripper was displayed prominently on the signage right outside. Her last show had been at 2300. Maybe, I could catch her before she went home for the night.
“Excuse me,” I said to the drunken Martian that was serenading the absent Marla. He turned his enormous eyes on me for a moment, a giant tear leaking from one of them.
“I love Marla,” he told me. “But she doesn’t even know I exist. I’m just another big headed Martian in the audience, another Bill at the bar.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, Bill.
“I’m not Bill. I’m like a Bill.”
“You’re like a drunk.”
“Yeah, I’m that too,” he laughed sloppily, his big head swaying back and forth. “But what else have I got in this life? Without Marla, I’m nothing. I might as well just go home and crawl back down my hole.”
“Listen, Bill,” I started again.
“I’m not Bill. I’m Fogweet.”
“Listen, Fogweet,” I tried a third time. “I need to talk to Marla. Do you know when Marla comes out? I’ve got a job for her. Do you think she might be interested in making some money?” Suddenly, his big head lit up the dark terminal like a beacon.
“Yes,” he cried. “I can give her money. Every Andorian loves that stuff. Can I do the job instead? I’ll keep the money and then give it to her. She’ll be so happy, she’ll marry me right away.”
I wasn’t sure I could trust this Fogweet. On the other hand, we had wasted too much time already. I really had to get that Rogarian trader up here now. “Can you go down to the conduits?” I asked. “I need you to coax that trader up here.” I waved a bunch of bills in front of his head.
“Oh sure,” Fogweet scoffed. “I can do that.” He stood up and swayed on his feet. He started wobbling to the lift bay. “I can bring him up here, no problem at all.”
“What are you going to tell him? How are you going to get him to agree to it?” I followed him to the lift.
“Easy,” Fogweet replied pushing the button. “I’ll just tell him, I’ve got his dinner all ready.”
“Okay.” Food was an incentive I hadn’t considered as I wasn’t sure what Rogarians ate. “What have you got for him?”
“I have the Rogarian’s favorite meal.” Fogweet smiled as he entered the lift and shut the door. “There’s no way he will resist a fresh human girl.”