Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer

There’s another muted ‘thud’. Bangstri leans its eyeball on the cool bulkhead.
“How many is that?”
“Seventeen, Venerated Piloting Specialist.”
It rotates it’s necktacle to glare.
“My appellative is Bangstri. You are to use it at all times, not just when you haven’t made a wormhole-sized bartniff of something whilst trying to overachieve. It has reached a point where I don’t actually need reportage from you. All I have to hear is how you address me to determine the success or failure of the particular in question.”
“Apologies, Venerated Piloting Specialist Bangstri. It was not my intent to commit a bartniff of such scale.”
It leans back against the bulkhead. The chill metal stalls rage-induced temperature creep.
“You were aiming for a smaller one, mayhap?”
Sputtering and multiple colour changes accompany limb waving and genuflecting.
“No being intends to bartniff, Dangdo. You simply did not think all the way through your cunning contrivance.”
A trio of eye stalks pop upright: “You thought it was cunning, Venerated Piloting Specialist Bangstri?”
“Not particularly. Merely testing to see where your self-preservation boundary lies.”
“I do not understand?”
“That much, I have gleaned.”
There’s another thud.
“Apologies, Venerate-”
It extends a striketacle so fast it pins Dangdo to the wall.
“I am no longer in the mood for apologies. Indeed, I am reconsidering whether an educand is desirable upon this vessel. I would venture that you delivering a scintillating remediation theory within the next few minims might improve your chances of not being my morsel for this wake cycle.”
More sputtering and multiple colour changes accompany limb waving. The attempts to genuflect whilst pinned firmly to a wall are quite desperate.
“I remain bereft of remediation.”
Further sputtering. Bangstri opens the flap over his primary digestor and pops Dangdo in. The flap closes and it feels a sense of calm return. It always gets forceful when peckish. Now, to the problem at hand.
Nineteen native bipeds in body-contoured clothing with matching tabards, engaged in rapid locomotion along some sort of game trail. A tribal challenge, mayhap? This activity is obviously a local ritual of some importance. The participants also possess a passable level of electronic sophistication, although only worn, not embedded or grown.
What to do?
Twenty. This getting out of appendage. Why on Flordiplah had Dangdo parked them across an obvious transitway with obscura-screens engaged? Impacting fauna are snatched into static containment until decisions as to denouement are taken. Thanks to this bartniff, the vessel is actually running out of containment capacity.
It scans local transmissions for an acceptable way to avoid having containment autopunt twenty sentients into the big empty as its vessel exits the atmosphere.
“Yet again conspiracy theorists are having a field day due to three people collapsing unexpectedly over the weekend. All of them were visiting Meech Lake, over in Gatineau Park. Conspiracy theorists maintain that Carbide Wilson left an underground laboratory that’s never been discovered. Chemicals stored in the lab are leaking and mixing, leading to noxious gas releases, an early warning that the lab will soon explode. So far, investigators haven’t found any subterranean lairs. The cause of the collapses remains under investigation.”
Serendipitous. It transits the necessary distance and artfully decants the sentients along a convenient length of transitway adjacent to the collapse locations. Being bereft of consciousness, they should be flaccid enough to suffer no lasting harm from the short drop.
Departing for home on the minim, it feels it’s temperature fall back to cool.
That’s it. No more educands. Their snack value isn’t worth the irritation.