WHEREIN Our Hero, Having Just Come Out of the Woods, is Pushed Back In
Grif shifted in his chair, looking from Velis, then to Alef, then back, trying to find some clue as to what they were thinking. Velis was, for the moment unreadable. She sat still, gaze unfocused, as if she were only partially paying attention to the conversation. Alef, on the other hand, was watching Grif carefully... very carefully, with an intensity that made him shiver. Alef's eyes glinted in the light, and Grif thought, once again, that they had to be cybernetic. He wondered what it was like to view the world through the lens of a machine--for that to be the only reference available.
WHEREIN the Terms "Rock" and "Hard Place" are Given Due Consideration
All of the crew had been affected by the audit, and when Hari, Vod, Gurgan and Morgan came back, Captain Vindh filled them in as quickly as he could, starting with the all-important disclaimer "first of all, it's not my fault..."
WHEREIN Things Appear to be Going Well Until It Is Too Late To Do Anything About It
Ktkt'tkkt'kktt'tkkk'tktk'ttkt'tkkk'kktt'kktk'tk--or Ktk to the bipeds it traveled with--waited impatiently as the technician from Tylaris Industries explained how the new Artificial Tachyon Induction Drive would be installed. The technician was describing the process using a level of detail Captain Vindh would probably have called "mind-numbing," and Ktk already knew the process. It probably knew how to install the drive better than the technician did, but it waited patiently while he droned on about the T-420 induction field and how it would be attached to the fusion drive to draw the power it needed, and how it would be linked to the ship sensors so it could cut off when a gravity spike was detected, and every other aspect of the installation.
WHEREIN Our Hero, Having Reveled in His Success, is Faced With Certain Consequences
Grif Vindh, captain of the Fool's Errand, woke up to discover two things: first, his head felt as if a Nengit were jumping up and down on it with all four of its legs, and second, someone in the room was shrieking at the top of his lungs. The second item contributed greatly to the discomfort of the first, and it took nearly half a minute before Grif had regained enough of his wits to figure out who was shrieking and why.
"Oh, for the love of--Hari!" Grif tried to shout over the din but found the exertion of raising his voice was also painful, and he resorted to the largely impotent tactic of clutching his head and desperately wishing the alien would stop.