I was shocked again, but recovered easily. The being I encountered was not so bizarrely strange looking (if occasionally beautiful in a surreal glass blown way) as the Oboloni Siliconiods, but the being I next encountered wasn’t at the pleasant end of the normal to abnormal scale either. But then, those on the pleasant end of that scale wouldn’t be working in bent, twisted space, now would they?
Picture a more or less recognizable humanoid body, two arms, to legs, (to be fair, they were as much tentacle as actually bony limbs), but no head, just a thick blue trunk of a neck.
The figure waved a flappy hand at the end of an arm-like limb, at me, to enter. I hesitated for a moment, and then a synthetic voice boomed from the top of its cutoff neck.
“Stop*blank**blank* playing with yourself,” it advised, while my internal profanity filter blocked out the unappreciated color in his statements, “And*blank* come in. I can’t keep this *blank**blank**blank* thing open all day. It bites. And if it doesn’t*blank* bite me, It’ll*blank**blank* bite you.”
I cautiously entered the teethy organic hatch, looked around the egg shaped chamber it opened up into. It snapped shut behind me.
“Where’s the filtering chamber?” I asked, assuming such a small space couldn’t be my workspace. I was used to a much larger setup, and expected one, considering the volume of dark matter which was supposed to flowing through this station.
“You’re*blank*inside it,” the being confirmed. “What’s your *blank**blank* designation? I’m the station’s*blank* prime facilitator. You can *blank**blank* call me Blueneck.”
That was the first thing I’d encountered here that was the least bit reasonable about this place. Just shows you that looks aren’t everything.
As I looked again over the chamber, familiar details began to emerge from the alien structure. There was an area I could see now it did look like supersymetrical scrubbing housings, the familiar, if organically shaped force field screens, and the other side of the egg was peppered with what might have been other hatches. But they appeared to be all too small for the Siliconoid’s I’d seen, whom I assumed were the frontline puncturing biomechanicals..
“How do the Obolomi workers fit in here?”
Blue neck laughed a synthetic laugh, his thickly muscled neck quivering with seeming delight at my apparent ignorance.
“They just*blank*stick their working appendages in here,” he told me, pointing at what I thought were portholes. “They make their exchanges and we, or should I say you, you clean the filters. You have*blank* done this before, haven’t you?”
I had the uncomfortable feeling he was scrutinizing my reaction, but couldn’t figure out by looking at him, with what.
I quickly nodded my antennae, at least a dozen times. Yeah, I’d done this before, but never quite like this.
“I know the job,” I insisted. I’ve been doing it for several millennia, hoping in my shakiness I sounded confident.
“Good then” He told me. “I’d hate to have to*blank* school another*blank**blank* neo.”
“I don’t have to do the extraction and reinsertion, do I?” I had to know. It wouldn’t be the first time a jobber tried to throw in extra duties.
He laughed again.
“No,” the synthetic voice told me. “That’s my*blank* job. They don’t like to be rubbed the wrong way. If you know what I*blank**blank* mean.”
At that, I finally relaxed, relieved. I wasn’t really the type who wanted to learn how to rub a Siliconoid Mechanical hybrid the right way.
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