He’d started sending off tweets with the Nokia. For some strange reason it seemed to be able to do that, even if there couldn’t be any sort of connection since the Transient Void was probably a hundred thousand light years from the closest cell tower. Most of his tweets used #WTF as the main hashtag. Seemed appropriate.

I must have watched to much Steve Irwin as a kid #alienbrainparasites #WTF, read his latest tweet.

“So what is there to do on the ship if I have to wait for my ‘Zos to start working?” Iain asked the pair at the next meal.

 There was something. A 3D printer. And a pretty good one at that. A real honest to goodness sci-fi replicator. It took him a few days worth of figuring out. He started with simple things – new socks and underwear, a t-shirt with ‘I’m with Stupid’ pointing both left and right. A game of checkers. That offered a few hours worth of entertainment for Arc and Arl, if not for him.

They’d never encountered a game like it, and felt the need to make up their own rules.

“King me!” Arc crowed as he hopped a piece to his twin’s side of the board.

Arl obliged with a fist in his twin’s face.

Iain made the mistake of getting between them once. Arl inadvertently swiped at his arm. The pain was breathtaking, and Iain looked down to see his ripped shirtsleeve turn bloody red.

“What the fuck did you just do?!” he screamed.

“Wow, that blood’s really red.” Arc said, stopping his own swing at his brother’s head.

Iain held his arm while the blood oozed from between his fingers. His upper arm burned in agony. His lower arm had gone completely numb.

“We’d better get you to the infirmary,” Arl said. Then, in response to his brother’s glare, “how was I to know he was so fragile? He’s ninety percent Mime. And my venom isn’t even as potent as yours.”

Over the next few minutes, Iain fell in and out of consciousness. The next thing he knew, he was laying on a bed of some sort, with many shiny robotic arms with sharp and pointy instruments arrayed over him moving about alarmingly fast.

“What’s going on?” he asked. He felt woozy, and his entire right arm had gone numb. Iain felt barely conscious. On the other hand, the pain was gone.

Don’t be afraid, the Skipper told him. I’m going to fix you, and maybe add a few improvements…

When he next woke up, Iain did feel better. Looking over at his injured arm, the rips in his flesh were all gone. There wasn’t even a scar. Arc and Arl were standing off to the side. Arc nudged his twin. Arl winced, then spoke up.

“Sorry about that,” he said. “Reflex. Thought you’d be tougher. Or at least immune. Can’t be a clown either, I guess.”

Arc grinned at Iain.

“You are now,” he said. “Tougher, anyways. Right, Skipper?”

I’ve added some enhancements to your basic biology, the voice of the ship said. Including organo-polymerization to your epidermis and musculature without effect on your bio-esthetics. Not a bad job if I don’t say so myself.

“You did what?!” Iain replied, alarmed. He got up and took a look over his body, expecting some sort of horrific alien cybertech modification to his body.

Go to Chapter Eight

Go to Chapter Ten

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