Just a Guy in Space
Sil wasn’t quite glued to him but it was a close thing. The diminutive Dintph was sitting practically next to him and was currently glaring daggers at Nyph Rohor. The latter was trying – and failing – to explain the previous situation to Gus’ mate.
“Like I said, we were just talking. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
“You were too close. Much too close! You can talk from over there, can’t you?” Sil said, pointing at the far end of the table.
“You know that’s not reasonable.” Nyph sighed then perked up. “Still, I have to say this development is quite interesting… For you to be so enamored of someone you’ve only just met…” her voice trailed off as her ears twitched forward.
Sil reddened for some reason and pressed herself closer to Gus. It was unfortunately a wasted opportunity for him given how thick the vacsuit was. If dramas had taught him anything it was that he should keep his silence and wait until spoken to. The silence stretched as Sil looked at her feet with a red face and Nyph leered at them. Gus realised the time for actions was here.
“You know when I first realised I was here for the long haul I was kind of lost. And then I got thrown into this crazy situation with Sil and things were pretty touch-and-go for a moment there. And see, I …uh… I like Sil, I really do. She’s fun and smart and she makes me feel like things are going to be ok when I’m around her. At first I was worried that I screwed things up between the two of us but since she’s agreed to be my mate, I’ve been relieved.” Sil’s face was positively fire-hydrant coloured and even hiding her face with both hands didn’t cover up the fact that her ears were now crimson. He wrapped a suited arm around her shoulders and grinned at Nyph, this time showing his teeth. “What can I say? When I’m with her I feel like I can do my best.”
“Ohooo? Coming to her rescue? How romantic. I can see why she likes you.”
Sil started hammering his arm with her cute fists. “Wha-wha-what are you saying?! It’s so embarrassing! Stop it!”
He grinned and suddenly hugged her. She squealed and even her fur was in danger of turning red but she ultimately settled down. Seeing how Nyph was leering at them, he let her go and cleared his throat before eating some more stew. It was lukewarm now. Better eat that more quickly. It’s time to share.
Gus took the opportunity to rub Sil’s shoulder affectionately and passed her his spoon. She quickly gobbled some stew before passing the spoon to her fellow Dintphs. Funnily enough, the first person she passed it to was Nyph. In Dintph culture, you bring a meal to share but only one set of utensils. You then pass the spoons and what not around in order of affection. While this might seem like a popularity contest, it allows outsiders to get some information on the relationships between Dintphs. Gus passed his spoon to Sil for obvious reasons but among them, Sil considered Nyph to be her closest friend.
I guess being litter-sisters trumps jealousy.
“So Nyph, you said you were litter-sisters with Sil right? Are there any embarrassing antiques I should be aware of?”
Nyph smiled and leaned forward once more. “Oh, there are so many of them. This is Sil we’re talking about; she might be smart enough to make Lieutenant in less than thirty years but she’s easily flustered. I remember that one time with the Andalax embassador, she –”
“Ah! He doesn’t need to know that!” Sil shrieked as she pounced on Nyph. Her hands tried in vain to cover Nyph’s mouth and they started play-fighting.
“What’s that about the ambassador?”
“This girl, she *get off* she tried to *I’m serious let me go* push the ambassador *got you there!* off a cliff!”
While it was admittedly quite fun to see his newly-minted girlfriend get in to a fight with her sister, news of cliffs and pushing off of was alarming to say the least. “What’s that about a cliff?” he asked to one of the other Dintphs.
One of them shook his head but the other had heard of that incident. “Yeah, the Andalax ambassador visited Dith while his troops were making a stop at the nearby orbital station. Apparently he was smitten by Sil Nubo and tried to woo her in the ways of his people. It didn’t end well.”
“Yeah, I’m surprised we weren’t all arrested. He is royalty after all,” Nyph injected, having successfully locked Sil’s arms behind her back. “But Sil was really pissed. Apparently he tried to grab her tail before she shoved him back.”
“Oh? Tail grabbing is bad?”
“No, it’s only done when you’re close to someone.”
“What if you’re not close?”
“That makes you kind of a pervert then.”
Useful information to have. No tail-fondling in public.
“Sil, how about you come back here and leave you sister be? I’m going to learn about these things sooner or later anyway.”
Sil shot him an aggravated glare before shaking Nyph off and slinking back next to him. Nyph’s ears twitched in surprise at that.
“You’re pretty close already. I thought it’d take some more time for you to get there. Is that the results of the mating? Sil seems more lively too, you must have done something right.”
“Thanks but she’s helped me out more than I did her. It’s all thanks to her support that I haven’t had a breakdown yet.”
Judging by the way they’re looking at me, that might not have been the best thing to say. “I mean, I’m in space, far away from everything I know, plunging head first into the great unknown. It takes a toll a guy…”
Sil’s hand hesitantly reached out and squeezed his. God, I really need to get a better suit. I can hardly feel her hand. “Ah sorry about that. Wasn’t trying to be a bummer.”
“It’s not a problem. One can hardly blame you for feeling that way.”
“So enough about me. I came here to learn more about you guys, so the floor’s yours now,” Gus said gesturing to them. They all looked down at the floor. I should have known. “It means that it’s your turn to speak now. It’s a term used in debates back on Earth.” After the collective “ooooh”, the conversation picked up again, with Sil throwing in good-natured jabs at Nyph.
Gus enjoyed his time with them and was startled out of his contemplation by Van’s beep.
“Sorry guys, I need to go. I have an appointment with a guy from Engineering to talk about my suit. I’ll see you guys around.”
He waved and quickly left. Social gatherings still made him slightly uncomfortable and Sil and her friends had some catching up to do anyway.
* * *
“Quite a nice being.”
Sil harrumphed and kept eating the stew Gus left behind. “Look, he didn’t even finish his food! It’s your fault for making him talk all the time!” Sil said in a huff.
The other Dintphs smiled in sympathy as Nyph once again bore the brunt of Sil’s displeasure. After a time, the shnolock stew was done and Rheh Git and Smil Wurum left for their own shifts. Sil was left facing a grinning Nyph.
“What is it?” she asked sullenly.
“Nothing. I’m just happy to see my cute sister got herself a mate. He doesn’t look all that reliable but to be fair that might be because of the vacsuit.”
“He’s reliable enough when I need him.”
“That sounds like a juicy secret.” Nyph sidled next to Sil and their tails twined together in a subtle ballet of emotions. “You know you can tell me anything. You used to be so cute back at the Academy, telling me all about which boys you’d choose for a contract.” She grinned as Sil reddened. “So what’s so special about this one? I’m sorry to say he doesn’t look like much. That might just be my own sense of aesthetics though.”
“He’s…” Sil stopped, struggling with her words. “How much do you know about my mating period?”
Nyph shrugged. “Lieutenant Vatta Ren wouldn’t tell me anything about it. She said I should ask you myself. I just assumed it was embarrassing.”
“It is embarrassing. Shameful, even. I… I went feral.”
Nyph was stunned. Only a small proportion of Dintphs ever go feral during matings and they are kept on a strict hormonal treatment to mitigate the after effects of such aggressive behaviour! Yet Sil looks just the same as she always did. That’s not possible!
“You certainly don’t look like you did. I mean, you’re still eating with spoons.” She teased, trying to cover up her shock. “Is he the reason you came back from being feral?”
Sil nodded absent-mindedly. “I think so. I only got flashes of what I did during my time with him but I remember this… overwhelming lust. I remember getting really physical with him. There was scratching, biting, clawing and much more.” She paused again, organising her thoughts. “He looks weak, but he’s surprisingly strong. He can hold me down during one of my frenzies and he can easily carry me around on his shoulder. He’s also very good in bed. Really good. I’ve never done this before but all the reports I’ve read and the studies I’ve done show that matings aren’t usually this intense and pleasurable. I think… I think that if I go full on feral that he can restrain me.”
Nyph was silent for a beat. “Is that the reason you’re in a contract with him? Because it feels good and you’re scared of being with another Dintph? I’m not being xenophobic here, but he might not be the best choice of a mate.”
“That’s not the reason, it’s just a good bonus. I genuinely like him. He’s very sweet and he wants to know more about me. Did you really think he just bumped into you in the Commons and happened to have some shnolock stew with him? With just one spoon?”
Nyph snorted. “Yeah, that was kind of weak I have to admit. Not very subtle, our boy, eh? Well, I don’t hate that about him.”
“I think I’m going to stay with him for now. We’ll leave the future for the future.”
Nyph retracted her tail and slowly got up, giving her litter-sister a hug. “You take care of yourself now. I can’t always be there to help out but you know where to find me if you need me.” As she was leaving she couldn’t resist a parting shot. “If you ever get bored of your human pet, let me know. I’m really interested in his … prowess,” she said suggestively.
It was a good thing she was out of reach of Sil’s hands.