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Pylo was a woman of trade and travel!

She had set out for a life of adventure and exchange with strange new life.

She would make deals and exchanges with new fools and new civilizations. She would boldly swindle like no one had swindled before.

...

So did she tell herself in times like this.

When everything seemed to be nothing but boring forms, fine print and excessively overbearing handling instructions.

It was in moments like this that Pylo wanted to have a sit down with her younger self. Take a big breath and then throttle the little sprout of a girl until she was gawking with mouth agape and senses addled out of the foolishness.

There was no swindling, there was hardly any haggling. There was long and uncomfortable periods of time when you had to deal with the very inconvenient dietary requirements of the natives.

You got yelled at a lot.

And ultimately although yes there was the lovely expanse of the reef, when it all boiled down to the essentials you mostly were just a glorified delivery girl.

And all the bones and gristle you made in the dealings? It all went to feed the bottomless pit that was the very light of your life and the only reason to even bother with all of this.

“⌒⇜◬⑆ ▅▂◴ ▇▆▁▾⑆▃ ↺↶ ◈▂▶⑆ ◍◎ ◍↶▃◵ ↩↻▜ ◴⎌↭ ⎌⌒↺◇? ▇ ⎌⎌◴ ⎌⌒▁▂▄◎⎌ ▄▁▘▁▇◍↶▂ ▁▄▁↻ ↬↻◶”

Even when said light apparently had no appreciation for interrupting the song and dance necessary and pre-requisite for finishing the deal with a weird parasitic psudo-canner operation like this.

Best sooth the poor dear before she got antsy and decided to disengage the docking while they were trying to load up the last of it.

Pylo softly hummed to her partner in this great endeavor of glorified reef messenger. The representative, or dock master or whatever the voids between bound locals called the person that managed the paperwork was oblivious to Pylo’s distraction at her life’s warmth interrupting.

The idiot probably had never seen anyone Pylo’s species before she showed up to oversee the cargo loading.

So could not tell the difference between attentive, bored and distracted. Just as well.

“Just a moment Tunie, I’m almost done... they just need me to ratify the contract in person”

She spoke in harmony with Tunie, so as to not trip off the weird canner’s talking box.

“↶◬⑆⌒↻ ↹◵▂ ◎⇝▁⎌⌒▇▆▁◶⎌⎌ ? ↷↻▇▆▁⎌⎌⎌◇ ◍↶? ◵⎌ ???”

“Yes I know they are extremely silly we could have done this over the aether. But this makes them feel better. And dealing with the locals is why I’m here. And they are giving a really good deal for this haul”

“↶ ↭ ◈◴◵◶◎◍▁▂▇▁▇↬!”

“Well just be a little bit more patient, at least they're feeding you for the trouble right?”

“↻”

“Exactly. Just stay close and drink up and we can get out of here and on our way soon”

Singing with Tunie was a thing that Pylo rarely tried to explain to others (unless she wanted to get in a fight... so she actually did try to explain it all time). Her big girl didn't really think in words. Just charts, intensities, thrust vectors, relative time dilations and mass equations.

Not the dry stuff that you might write out though, not like a stupid Canner counting box.

No her Tunie thought in the raw stuff underneath the symbols. There was never a proper translator for what Tunie said.

Pylo liked to think languages ultimately failed and crumbled under the weight of what Tunie conveyed. Space was Tunie’s life and breath. Velocity and speed her heart. Arcs and scale and scope to match the fierceness of stars was the voice of Tunie.

Pylo loved everything about her, even the way she sang truth as sharp as a trajectory without even using the symbolic ideas, let alone the slimmest cousin of words.

Some would say that it was foolish for Pylo to feel anything for Tunie. Idiots and scum the lot of them.

But they still would mutter in the dives and relief warrens that Pylo frequented in her work as a trader, a hauler, a messenger girl. Sometimes some idiot would be brazen enough to even spit it in her face.

They would say something that barely thought in anything but trajectory and propulsion could not possibly reciprocate Pylo’s tender feelings or act to comfort her in times of trouble. That Tunie could not even understand that Pylo was anything but an appendage of the missions the two of them flew together.

Pylo had gotten chased out of many a port laughing like a maniac and authorities screaming for blood over what she was sure any civil person would agree was a perfectly justified reaction.

She was pretty sure most of those scuzzy scummy fools knew better then to insult a Woman’s Best Friend.

And any idiot who was fool enough to insult a Hauler’s Ship who also happened to be her Best Friend and most precious companion?

Well it just went without saying that they deserved being smeared into paste across several bulkheads.

Pylo was the height of politeness that she left the corpses unmolested.

Huh?

Oh right!

The dockmaster/government official/Pylo could not be bribed with filling every one of Tunie’s hold with gristle to care the name of canner idiot had been explaining things.

Pylo made head motions that she had read had some kind of ancestry with infantile feeding reflex but apparently meant understanding/affirmative with the local’s culture.

Then as was required she swiped her foremost left limb’s most distal points across the tactile reader confirming her assent.

Finally the paperwork was done!

This called for a celebratory drink!

She turned to the figure and sang to the little squawky box they insisted on using for discourse with her. Not that she really minded. They seemed like pretty sheltered scummy canners.

Probably hadn't gotten properly toughened up or learned in how to speak like normal people.

“So this is it then? The last bit of forms I need to fill out before you stop delaying on the cargo and we can call this contract ratified?”

[​IMG]

The figure nodded and she said some stuff, and Pylo understood it. Could feel the words forming inside the weird little scum creature’s calcified block of a head. Really their squawking box was completely un-needed.

“Yes, It’s so very kind of you to take the last of these colonist shipments. I’m sorry to say we could only offer the remaining portions of the Terran Expanse fund. Some of the earlier visitors seemed unwilling to make the journey for our available price...”

Pylo cracked her lips in a shining display of teeth that she had on good authority was a smile. Which seemed to make the little scummy creature nervous. Even with that soft scruffy furred face behind the metal coated dome. Even with the bone and water and meat under all those layers of smothering white cloth and weird tight fitting garments. Every single one of these Terrans insisted on dressing so bundled up that it would have made Pylo feel like she was going to drown.

She didn't get it, it was a perfectly cozy vacuum out here. They were not even close to the local star.

“Well that’s great my good madam, Pleasure doing business with you and your world. Now if you could direct me to the nearest bar I would like to sample your people’s hospitality while the last of the cargo is loaded”

The bundled up white dumpling with a shimmering gold dome on top made words in their head that became noises in their little air pocket that THEN became messages and signals in the stupid squawker box.

Pylo did not wait to hear the box explain.

Some kind of polite corrective insistence that Pylo used the wrong pronoun? And a few directions to the ‘feeding door’ that they used to keep the nice vacuum outside?

Whatever.

Everyone knew that everything was female.

That just made sense.

“ ⎌▆▄▁◎⎌▁▅◎ ⌒↻⎌⇝▂▁ ↷⎌◍▂▁▝ █▃◍◍↺↻?”

“The contract is secure, I’m gonna go get into trouble while they load you up with the last of it.”

“▂▁▂↷↻ ◎”

“Oh come on where is the fun in leaving somewhere without upsetting the locals?”

“▁▁▁▁▁▁▁▁▁▁▁▁▁”

“Fine, I won’t pick any fights unless they insult your loveliness”

“↺⎌!”

“Fine, I won’t lead them into insulting your loveliness either”

“▁▆▁▄”

Pylo relented with a sigh in the aether between them.

Agreeing that she would actually TRY to not cause trouble.

Then continued climbing under the frustrating acceleration all these scum-people-terrans insisted on.

Seriously what were their ancestors thinking settling somewhere that was always pushing up against you?

Ah well time for the traditional deal closing bar raid!

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Morgan J Heacock
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