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There was something beautiful about bartenders, drink masters, madams, managers, chefs and particularly powerful service providers.

It was something Pylo had found comforting and pleasant across so many worlds, in so many different places. Most of the time you could get the translation right by saying “I want the professional person who helps me relax”.

It was a role that every civilization, camp, city, or simple clump of a few dozen struggling canners understood.

And in the regard of personal character Pylo was not unimpressed.

Richard Tillerson was at least in the better half of the service women Pylo had gotten services from.

“No it’s very tasty richard, but I could drink my weight in this and not even be impaired. I don’t mean to brag I mean that’s just how it works”

Sadly the Terran prefered treatment for stress and to relax with coworkers was utterly useless for pylo.

She had sampled every single dish and drink Richard had on menu (and some that She suspected the old girl was ordering in from neighboring establishments) and while the interesting array of sugars, fats and alcohols had nuances of flavors she appreciated. Nothing they served was heavy enough to even make her a bit tipsy.

It was frustrating.

“I literally gave you a bottle of alcohol from the medical kit and you eat all of it whole... including the bottle”

Pylo sighed and apologized again for that one.

“I swear it tasted exactly like this one salad I had”

Richard Tillerson was a good barkeep, she was even accepting that Pylo could UNDERSTAND her fine, but had still insisted on using a squawker box going the other way.

Pylo didn't really know or care at this point. The tragedy of apparently nothing to ease her muscles and nerves for the celebratory deal ending drinking binge was ruining her mood.

It made her less forgiving of the apparent Terran allergy to open spaces.

If she was going to be polite, Pylo would say that Terran architecture was cozy.

They had to open up the entire street facing of the bar to get her inside.

And even then more than two thirds of her body was actually splayed outside in the ‘avenue’.

Which the claustrophobic tunnel they called a city street for the port was honestly smaller than most of Tunie’ maintenance shafts.

The only saving grace of this terrible burrow of a bar was at least they didn't insist she wear the same amount of coverings as they did.


“Well, what do you normally drink to unwind? I could maybe order some. The Port authority is covering your tab anyway so it's not even like cost is a problem... You don’t get drunk on gold do you?”

Pylo laughed, this is why she liked Richard!

Always being helpful!

“Um. Let’s see what the squawker box makes of this“

She tried a simple relaxing brew that was rather common anywhere civilized in the reef.

But sadly Richard was already shaking her shaggy faced head.

“Nope... sorry, that one just came out as grog” (which while full of a lot of water and tasty grain and flavorings did not work).

Pylo huffed heavily enough to shove one of the ‘glasses’ over.

The place was muggy.

She had drank things thinner than the atmosphere here.

And yet all these terrans were barely uncovered at all!

Even with the room so humid Pylo could feel water droplets condensing inside her.

Even with her every pore and crevice soaked full of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. With fizzy free oxygen tingling and tickling all over.

Even with the place practically roasting and chokingly thick with scents and fluids and vapors and little wriggly living things in every breath.

Still the Terrans insisted on being clothed almost completely.

Just leaving the very ends of their foremost limbs and their fuzzy heads free.

How could they stand it?

She could taste and smell how their bodies oozed salt and water trying to cool off in here. It was almost as if their bodies were trying to make the air even thicker!

But she was on a mission.

A tradition even!

And she was going to get drunk!

Even if she had to apparently introduce entirely new grand unified theories of mixology to do it.

“Alright what about. Dunlets? Does that translate?”

Richard covered and uncovered the gooey little eyes every Terran had. To be fair Tunie had a bunch of them too. But terran eyes were nowhere near as big or beautiful or golden.

Richard raised one furry brow. Like a shifting mountain range of bristly spines in the midst of a desert of bare skin.

“That came out as one”

Pylo had to double check the way Richard’s brain fired for that one.

“You mean Dun”

Richard tilted her head adorably, Okay so there was something to be said for terran features. They were almost cute. In an infuriating scum animal kind of way.

“The box just called that one”

Or that was the lack of inebriation talking.

Pylo took a heavy breath and tried again

“The dunlet which is composed of a Din-group of den ↑ and dun ↓ this is then paired with a complementing to flat. This is a dunlet.”

Richard waited patiently as the squawker box made air waves.

Then looked up at Pylo.

“Okay... At the start it just said singlet, then it yakked about a bunch of physics techno babble. Then it said this is a hydrogen atom”

Pylo grinned, it was always nice when stupid canner boxes actually could learn something.


Richard nodded “Hydrogen again, so you get drunk on Hydrogen? Uh I could go look... Um there is Hydrogen-Peroxide over in the first aid kit but...”

Pylo gently pressed her distal claw on Richard’s lovely fragile little shoulder.

“No no I want a Dunælet stuck to Doʊnlet that is stuck to a Dunlet. I guess you’d need to add a Dunulet too to hold it in the water. And I’d like about a Punoi of them mixed with water which is Dunlet with Doʊnlet with another Dunlet. Just to be sure.”

The squawker started talking. And then started kind of just repeating the same pulse of sound over and over and over and over again.

Richard was staring blankly at the squawker box and Pylo could see that in her head the information was completely lost.

Pylo groaned and tried to fix it.

“Stupid Canner squawker box! What did it choke on now? I’ll try again-”

Richard however simply shook her head and said.

“It was saying some kind of chemical formula in there before it started saying zero zero zero zero over and over again. And then at the end you said water was Hydrogen Oxygen and Hydrogen right?”

Pylo huffed and nodded.

Richard hummed and looked Pylo up and down.

“What did you try to say? Without actually saying it?”

Pylo rolled her head around on the constantly leaping up in acceleration at her counter.

“I just said how much would be a decent drink”

Richard blinked slowly again then smirked.

“How much of what would be a decent drink?”

“How much of a Dunælet stuck to Doʊnlet that is stuck to a Dunlet and a Dunulet. I mean not precisely that would be silly, but broadly speaking the right number of them”

As the squawker conveyed the message Pylo waited and fumed how apparently hard it was to simply order a decent drink here.

Richard laughed, then shook her head and held up a finger while she ‘got ahold of a friend’.

There was a hum in the aether and for a moment Pylo wanted to strangle Richard.

And not in a fun way!

If they could have sung it properly why did she have to use a squawker box like this?

Oh wait, never mind she can’t even understand what their saying at all. Even looking right at the bits that were humming and singing and how it hooked up to the brain. Lots of specialized cortical tissue, no way to learn it manually.

Ugh these scummy terrans were so ANNOYING.

In a bit of time, and with careful stepping over her sprawled aft limbs Richard’s friend showed up. All lumpy and less fuzzy on the face but also grinning and buzzing with so much delight Pylo could not help but find the little terran cute.


Richard laughed and just looked at Pylo.

“You follow all that because I only got half of it”

Pylo smiled and nodded. It was not really any harder to read the terran brain behind the flood of mouth sounds then when Tunie got excitable.

“Ah sorry, so let's see if I can help you out with getting our alien guest a proper drink eh?”


“Better take out a notepad, she told me how many ATOMS she wanted of it or something last time.”

The newcomer blinked then widened her grin.

“You counted the atoms? That’s ingenious! But a little cumbersome. It must have been hard to say such a big number... Don’t you have an aggregate term? We use this thing called a mole... for molecule”

Pylo would have blinked, she settled for ‘facing’ them in a ‘stare’ then tilting her head. And finally just had to interrupt the happy little terran puppy.

“I don’t know what you mean, it’s not that hard to say at all, your squawker box just choked on it and started droning on and on for some reason... Now if you please-”

“Huh? Really? Let me just check to see what itmusthavehangedonasec-”

Pylo rumbled, she would say this for atmosphere, it was good for making none-contact displays of annoyance no one could ignore.

Except exuberant puppy terrans apparently.

“Ahem... Wenty... If you could just help me get the order together... That would be great”

Richard is best terran, wonderful wonderful drink getting Richard. Slayer of Sobriety.

“Eh? Oh? Well Chlorine, Oxygen... Sodium... eh? She wants to drink? Oh I got it!”

She shoved herself ahead of the constantly rushing floor, across the counter and then absorbed the collision with her aft limbs. It was quite graceful really. Sort of unnecessary if they were living anywhere SANE but pretty to watch if you had to.

After that Wenty reached around one of the ‘faucets’ and took out some kind of tasty smelling jug.

“Here ya go, it’s not dangerous to you in high concentrations right? Like if this was pure you’d be fine?”

Pylo laughed and nodded.

“Well it would be a bit strong and might give me some aches but I’d be fine. We can always dilute it if its too strong”

Richard was just staring at Wenty and the bottle she had pulled up.

“That’s what she wants to drink?”

Wenty nodded vigorously

“Yeah the portion might be off a bit but this is what she was asking for”

Richard looked at Pylo. Pylo Looked at the bottle she was dieing of thirst for its contents.

Richard shrugged her shoulders and handed Pylo the bottle, muttering to Wenty.

“If this kills the first alien to visit my bar I’m taking you down with me”

Pylo bit the top off then started drinking.


She smiled and swished it around in her cheeks then swallowed and huffed. Delighted and laughing even as she tried to bring up a tone of scorn.

“This isn't pure at all Wenty”

Wenty laughed.

“I was asking just to make sure we weren’t going to poison you. That’s like Five Percent in a dilution of water. We use it to disinfect cleaning rags. Although I would love to see what your neurotransmitters are like if BLEACH is what it takes to affect them. Like what even are you doing in there? Oh man Sventen is going to have a fit when I tell him!”

Hmmm. Pylo honestly could not really remember from her last lecture from her mom. Something something enzymes. Not worth bringing up and making herself look like a fool.

The bar was cramped (she had worn body socks more open then this place), the only people who were willing to hang out with her was some kind of mixology specialist and a bartender.

But they were friendly and the port master gave her an open check to drink to her lust’s content.

It wasn't a bad send off for a trade run. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad.

“Richard! Get me a cup of that meat grease and some mango puree! I think we could probably manage to make something palatable out of this!”

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Morgan J Heacock
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