“Steve, wait up.” yelled Quatittel as Steven walked down the shuttle bay.
“I thought you had already left?” Steven said as Quatittel caught up.
“My shuttle was delayed due to a late passenger so I came to see you off. Where is Parla? I thought she would be with you.”
“It’s her shift, so we said goodbye this morning” Steven replied with a dour look on his face.
“It is hard to leave someone you care for.” Quatittel said as ze put a couple of tentacles on Stevens shoulder in a sympathetic gesture.
Steven turns and looks at Quatittel with a smile, “We have a saying…”
Quatittel replies with a chuckle. “Of course.”
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
“You expect to see her again?”
Steven says with a grin, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way. We both want it to happen, so we will make it happen.”
“I am sure her father being an admiral will be helpful.”
“Probably. I expect to see you again too.” Steven says as he steps up on to the shuttle walkway.
“I will be here at the station every half long cycle for a short cycle, so we should run into each other if your ship stops by with any regularity.”
“We will be staying in this quadrant so we will be stopping by occasionally for crew leave and resupplies. Humans can survive on replicated food, but some of the species we will host have to have live food and we can only keep so much on board.”
“Yes, if you do not have enough or you have too many and, how did you say it, you end up in deep shit.”
They both laugh for a second before Steven says “I think I have corrupted you. If you use human idioms around others, they will think you are crazy. They already think humans are.”
“Maybe your species’ culture is infectious. That is how humans will take over the galaxy.”
“Shhh.” Steven says as laughing, “Don’t tell anyone our plans.”
Quatittel’s datapad beeped and ze dropped an eyestalk to look at it. “They found our missing passenger, so my shuttle is boarding. Make sure to keep in touch through the data net.”
“You do the same.”
As Quatittel shuffles away, ze looks at the data on the missing passenger and thinks “Someone’s god must hate me.” as ze sees it is a Lixa representative.
Steven boarded the shuttle and saw the pilot was human. He walked over to him and gave him a hug, much to the pilots surprise.
“You are the first human I have seen in over a year. It’s just nice to see another one.”
After the awkward hug, the pilot sat down and Steven sat in a seat behind him so he could see the viewscreen.
As they approached the ship, Steven remarked “Damn, that’s big.”
“Second only to a dreadnought class ship.” replied the pilot. “Of course it has to be bigger to accommodate the large species.”
“Yes, some of them can get big.” Steven said thinking about the Zmaj captain. “My orders said they had not decided on the name of the ship yet, what did they end up with?”
“They were going to name it Noah’s Ark, but too many people complained because of the religious connotation and it did not exemplify its mission statement, so they chose Dolittle to better represent its intention, to foster communications and coexistence between different species.”
“Good name.” Steven replied as he wondered what new experiences would await him on this journey.