SEASON ONE: ENTRY FOUR
Stassi left Twon-lak-yu before the IBIA agent could change his mind or think of something else that would allow him to keep her under custody. There was likely a bylaw somewhere in the hundreds of thousands of pages regarding the IBIA’s regulations but it was obvious that Nuaqo was a smallfry and the IBIA had sent someone green to tidy up the minor illicit dealings.
Once settled in orbit, her rocket floated along a track around the planet. She held Rob close and exhaled with relief. “I wouldn’t know what to do if I lost you,” she told the toy robot.
Pressing the button, her fingerprint activated the machinery and Rob’s silver limbs spun out. He walked along the dash, tapping against the hard plastic surface. “Miss Stassi, how are you today, beautiful?”
“Tell me when the agency saucers leave the planet,” she instructed and then left the pilot’s seat. Heading into her rest quarters, she finally removed her bubble helmet and breathed deeply of the air filtered for her lungs. The humid atmosphere felt comforting. She set the helm on its stand and looked in the mirror to examine the outcropping of scales over her body.
The hard chitin layers had laid down, settled against one another in a mail-like armor over her. There were some spots where the scales hadn’t grown or got chipped off during her escape. Her hair had become riddled with long tendrils of scales layered over one another. She took a deep breath, then plucked one out of her scalp. It fell away with a light pinch. Her antennas curled, shivering in response to the jolt of nerves.
She continued, gathering the scales in a small clump at her feet. Once her hair was freed of them, she sat down at a bench and started the tedious process of removing each scale from her skin.
Once she was nearly done, an hour later, she took a break to hydrate. After a shower that was more steam than water, she hurried back to the bedroom to make sure she hadn’t missed any alerts. She watched the orbital coordinates on the map-screen next to her bed. The agents were taking forever to leave. She wondered if they’d kept more people to interrogate, perhaps people who weren’t as experienced, or difficult, as she was.
Stassi wasn’t concerned for Nuaqo. He deserved the trouble for trying to skimp on their promised deal. Worst case, he’d have to testify in court against someone who’d likely kill him for it. Best case, and more likely, he’d be out of custody by next week after his lawyer’s appeal went through. Whether the IBIA actually had anything of worth would decide matters on that end but it wasn’t any of her business.
She reached into her nightstand, taking out a folder and opening it to browse through her list of past clients. While she glanced over the photos and recorded payments from old jobs, she heard Rob hurriedly jog into the room. The little clinking robot beeped, the light on the top of his head flashing. “Miss Stassi, the saucers have left!”
The huntress stood in a hurry. She plucked the couple last remaining scales from her waist, her skin as good as human again. She grabbed a new outfit from the nearby dresser. On the way back to her command dash, she pulled on the formfitting jade catsuit. Hopping on one foot as she pulled up a legging, she gazed out the window at the saucers breaking from the planet’s atmosphere. After a flash of light, they faded from sight due to their glossy covers reflecting the distant stars.
She turned off the automatic orbit, smashing her palm against the targeting button. It pressed down and the system locked on the last saucer to disappear from sight. The rocket launched forward, forcing itself with a few thruster blasts to direct course. She sealed the front of her suit, with the plastic zipper, all the way up to its high collar.
After a few hours, they arrived to a new planet. She glanced up from her client folders, her feet resting on the dash, and looked out the window as the saucers came back into view.
“Rqib-kuj-te?” Stassi set the folders on the dash, initiating landing into the spaceport. She supposed it wasn’t the oddest choice; Rqib-kuj-te served as a decent waypoint on the way to a nearby planet that harbored a known IBIA administrative station. She spread out the papers, looking over the client list and picking one out. Whether Mahzie still lived on the planet, she didn’t know, but it’d be worth looking her up while visiting.
Stassi let the rocket land on an automatic trajectory once she locked onto an empty spot in the port. She returned to her room. Adding a sheer dress over her jumpsuit, the hem went to her knees. She cinched her narrow waist with a wide belt. The alien woman fixed her hair, brushing it and making sure there weren’t any scaly remnants in the fluffy strands. She pinned them so the hair wouldn’t get in her way and put on her bubble helm. It sealed to the collar of her catsuit.
She locked her spacecraft and left Rob behind in the secured rocket. Stassi looked across the port where she could see the row of saucers parked. Rqib-kuj-te was a decent waypoint, but it didn’t have a lot of places to go. The agents were likely to stay at one of the three hotels and if they ventured out for food or otherwise, there were about five places to eat at and only one place actually worth going to.
Author’s Note: Thank you for reading the fourth entry in this development serial. Comment below (or use the contact form) to share what you’d like to see more of, questions, etc.
I took some time off from this project to finish my newly released book, Princess Hana.
My attention has started to lean towards the world’s environment: what influences I want and how to bring them in through Stassi’s perspective. I plan to continue on the path of a retro-futurist setting and figuring out how an optimistic spacefaring civilization branching from the 1940s/50s/60s Earth might develop with the addition of a great many peaceful and sociable aliens out there in the stars. Stay tuned for the next entry!