“Can we say that on television?” Mool asked. He narrowed his eye at the monitor and raised a turquoise tentacle to his mouth as his other three appendages worked the digital controls.

“Mistep? Sure. It’s been clear for a decade.”

“But what about the Xedrin colony? We got an eight percent pull there last season.”

Nick pondered this for a second. He pushed his rolling chair away from the desk and slid over to the other tech. “If they’re going to bar us for mistep they’ll bar us for having a Relana, period. Leave it. It’s edgy.”

Mool sighed, a sound that hovered in the air for nearly thirty seconds due to his third lung. He dragged a tentacle over the trackpad and a scantily-clad blue female broke into pixels before reassembling at a different time signature.

“Molting season is just an excuse for her to turn down the environment,” the Relana complained as her overdue feathers bristled beneath the old ones. Her bare cheeks flushed to an irritated magenta. “’Oh, it’s so hot!’” she whined in a horrid approximation of a Terran accent. “Yeah, maybe on your ice planet, you frigid mistep.”

A tap to the panel, and her image froze. “Nice,” Nick said. “Do we have a retort clip?”

“We can skink one. Kelly was malko about the feathers in the sink last week.”


The cutting room filled with relative silence as the two techs pondered the next scene, Mool still sucking on his fourth tentacle and Nick gnawing on his thumbnail.

“Don’t we have a Penguinair ad?” he finally suggested. Mool’s skin tightened to inspired attention.

“A Texaco heating one, too!” he said, and his second tentacle yanked to the advert box. The clips were found almost immediately, and he slid the first cartridge into the control station. “We could run this pleb for centuries,” he said, as his mouth opened to a grin. “It’s like it never gets old.”

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