Rendezvous on Crandr by Roy Neyman

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Xenkrosnit slapped his tendrils across the screen, snapping "Paiwjjfa!" out loud for what seemed like the zillionth time in the last parsec. Those dangerous globules of dark matter were relatively few and far between out here, but they were annoying nonetheless. The meager allotment of Crandrian Schniblots he got for this workaday job didn't allow him to afford one of those new neural-net drives that he could just cram into his anus to link directly with his central ganglia, so he was stuck with the wall-to-wall touch sensitive display his guidance system projected on the bulkhead along with whatever view he was partial to at the time. His action was sensed by Gladiola (he'd named his interstellar bus after an inanimate life form he'd seen on some planet or other) as instruction to dodge momentarily toward the nearest gravitational center, then converge back onto the original interspatial rhumb line toward his final stop. He'd be back to his crevice on Crandr not long after that.

The last delivery of the run was in stasis about three meters aft. Ugly creature. He'd waived his photo-stalks briefly over its view port after the garish blue cylinder whooshed into dock among the other juvenile life forms that had already boarded. Not all of them had to sleep the trip home. Its was a temporal race and, if not encapsulated from the ambient space-time continuum, would arrive home to find its parents generations gone to dust.

This creature's symmetrical features repulsed X'snit to peevishness. As an antidote, he let his thoughts drift back to Rrrr, the fluffy little Glingdort that waited, hanging languidly in his crevice, for him to come back home. She was so asymmetrical that it was sometimes difficult to know whether she had her auditory, olfactory, or visual arrays pointed in his direction. That made him stutter, unsure whether he should project sound, smell, or visual mating cues. Then she would twist about, shifting all her fur to the side facing him so that ALL her sensory organs were at his disposal and he would quiver in ecstasy. Ahh. Rrrr always knew what he wanted.

Contrarily, this thing looked, from what he could see, to be horribly symmetrical. He surmised the flaps of flesh protected eyes, only one placed on each side of a central nasal trunk. He could tell this boring little lump facilitated gas exchange because, even at the depressed metabolic rate inflicted by the transit pod, a slow fog waxed and waned on the hyperglass plate. A soft pink slash of an opening occupied the area below the nasal trunk, luridly situated at a precise right angle to the axis of symmetry. "Errgghch," X'snit had muttered. DisGUSTing.

Still, he'd detected respect among the other passengers. The various sensory displays flashing, humming, and who-knows-what-ing between them often related tales of wonder at this being's ability to create new constructs out of nothing. It would drift there quiet, eye flaps closed, motive stalks still, the digits at the ends of its upper appendages fiddling gently among themselves.

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