Relay Novel: Sci-Fi

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The place smelled like a Mintakan swamp goblin’s breath, thought Captain Dace Hawking as he surveyed the collection of small, mishapen beings standing in line waiting their turn to enter the doorway. The sinister portal was hexagonal and glowing green, and there was no mistaking the hideous purpose of the place, even if he had not been warned by both the stench and his telepathic first officer of the frightening horrors waiting within. Dace was reckoned a brave man throughout the galaxy, known for his courage on a hundred different worlds but he wished now, on this out-of-the-way backwater fueling station in the middle of nowhere with a capital N, that he could find some way to avoid what lay inevitably before him now. Again he cursed the sultry, blue-skinned, three-breasted, Aldebaran seductress who played him like a Venusian violin, plying him with glass after glass of Korgan Ale in her wily attempts to pry from him the whereabouts of the Planetary Confederation’s main battle fleet. But she was far away by now and there was no avoiding it: The time had come and nothing in this universe could forestall what had to be done. Captain Hawking steeled his spine, pushed his way to the front of the line, past the feeble protests of the lumpy-skinned locals and lept through the portal into the fueling station’s rest room.


Once inside the poisonous confines of the restroom, Captain Hawking frantically searched for a human stall. Most of the stalls in the restroom accomodated the local alien species. Some of the stalls he noticed as he searched resembled elongated cornucopias with the narrow end pointing outward. He also saw stalls that were nothing more than a series of pipes with multiple openings. He quickly rushed over to the cornucopia-shaped stall and relieved himself. Just as he was finishing up, an Aldebaran construction worker tapped Hawking’s shoulder and grunted, “DIRTY TERRAN, I WAS NEXT!”