Quatittel and Steven were crawling through a maintenance access duct having been tasked with removing the fungus that had been found. The duct was wide enough for them to work side by side and be able to reach all surfaces. Steven, having to sport a pair of goggles that would show the fungus with a fluorescent glow making even the smallest of spores stand out, remarked “These goggles are starting to give me a headache. Be glad you don’t have to wear them.”
“Yes, but only my rear eyestalk can see the correct wavelengths, so I am having to work backward, over and behind my head.”
“At least you can lay down and work. My arms are too short to reach the top easily and if I sit up, I have to crane my neck weird to see.”
“I still blame Professor T’ckTo’ck. If it was not for him, we could have released a gas to kill it all.”
“It’s not his fault that he had just started an experiment that he could not leave. The gas would kill him even if it just contacts his exoskeleton.”
“This would have only taken an hour, but now it is taking days. And I am covered in all kinds of filth, be glad you can wear clothes.”
“Well, a little elbow grease won’t kill you.”
“I mentioned before that my outer membrane is impermeable, so none of this mess will kill me.”
Laughing, Steven said “That is just another idiom, means manual labor. Sometimes a little hard work makes you appreciate what you get more.”
“It will definitely make me appreciate not doing more manual labor.”
“I heard that you got a commendation from the Admiral.”
“Yeah, I didn’t do anything to deserve it, really. Just did what anyone else would have done.”
“But it was the Admiral’s daughter. A commendation will work in your favor.”
“It didn’t help me get out of doing this.” Steven said with a huff.
“You would let me do this alone?” Quatittel asked with a disappointing tone.
“No. I wouldn’t. I’d still help you.” Steven said with a resigned sigh. “Where did this stuff come from anyway?”
“It came from Tobeornot 2b where we had that expedition. I have no idea how it got on board though, we all went through decontamination. All the samples that were collected were sealed and there has been no breach of containment protocols. This fungus was not even one of the samples we collected. So far we have only found it in the ductwork, nowhere else.”
“A mystery then.”
No sooner as he said that, they both noticed something scamper across the intersection at the end of the duct.