Steven is walking down the hallway headed toward engineering when Quatittel turns the corner just ahead. “Quel, there you are! Where have you been?” he asks feigning any knowledge of zis whereabouts.
“I was negotiating a trade agreement with the Lixa.” ze replied as ze gave Steven a hug.
“I didn’t know if you were avoiding me or what.” Steven replied as he awkwardly tried to hug zim back. “You left that morning and then… nothing.”
“A short time after I got to my desk, I was called to the Captain’s office. He gave me a new assignment that I supposedly volunteered for. This trade agreement had been dragging out for several long cycles because everyone they sent would quit and leave within a few days. Most of them from injuries, and I now understand why.” ze explained as they continued toward engineering.
“You were gone for a while, did you get them to sign the agreement?”
“Yes, but it came with a cost.” Quatittel replied as they entered the main engineering bay.
Steven stopped and just stared at Quatittel looking confused.
“They have a certain shortage of a personnel nature. Despite seventy percent of their children being born male, the adult population is eighty eight percent female. Most boys do not survive the transition into adulthood, therefore only the rich and powerful have males to… use. I was propositioned no fewer than one hundred times, some were quite insistent. Their queen had to assign guards to keep them off of me, but even the guards propositioned me.”
“It sounds like you could have had yourself a pretty good time.” Steven replied giving Quatittel a nudge with his elbow.
“You do not understand, the Lixa are covered in silicon carbide crystals everywhere on their bodies… EVERYWHERE.”
“Oh, ouch.” Steven said as he grimaced.
“I do not know who volunteered me, but they better hope I do not find out because I will volunteer them for every horrible job I can find.”
“Humans have an saying ‘Two wrongs don’t make a right’, getting even will not undo what happened.”
“No, but revenge can be therapeutic.” Quatitel countered trying to justify it.
“It can also escalate things and cause more problems.” Steven retorted.
“You are right.” Quatittel said after pondering it for a moment. “It would not change things and I did get the agreement signed, so it was a worthwhile outcome. But I would still like to know who did it and why.”
As they made their way to the location of their first work order, Steven asks “So… they are covered… everywhere?” giving zim the side eye.
“As I said, several of them were very… insistent.”
Later that evening Steven was having dinner with Parla when he mentions that Quatittel was back.
“I had heard ze was back and was able to satisfy ‘all’ their requirements to get the agreement signed.” Parla said adding emphasis to the all to suggest something.
“Ze said it was a bit rough, but ze got it done.” Steven replied missing the innuendo she implied as he was too busy implying his own. “Ze still wants to know who volunteered zim for the job.”
“I thought ze volunteered when ze was asked.”
“Not according to what ze told me this morning in engineering.”
“No one can be volunteered without being asked, that is in the rules, so it must have been an order from higher ups. But why would they not tell zim it was an order?”
“That is a mystery.”
“I will ask my dad about that tomorrow. Anyway back to us enjoying our evening.” Parla said as she wrapped her tail around his waist.