Utamx Paxicol North
Soktulo District, Utama
0600 Hours – 1 Yulitat 2228
Fuzo opened her eyes, and the perfumed subak vanished.
She lamented that this fantasy lover always took the form of the one who ran away—her first and only subak lover, Tavo Ex. There’d been many zaxiri since that night, but none of them haunted her dreams like Tavo.
Outside the sleeping compartment’s hatch door came the harmonic whine of a kyrs-b’do. Bare feet thumped down the ladder rungs near the exit hatch, causing her filmark in the overhead mesh to tremble; those in top-tier billets cared little about disturbing the late arrivals beneath them.
Fuzo slept her full twenty, despite being laid up in a medical bed on the Orcinus for several weeks. She’d spent that time serving on Connie’s navigation team under the command of Promad Kilvx. The day before her hibernation time, Kul arrived to retrieve her. Finding Fuzo too exhausted for the slider ride to Pikalit, she enrolled her at this citizenry paxicol in Utama.
Suddenly, wake-up shouts bellowed from outside with barefooted kicks on her hatch door. One newly risen voice ordered her out by name and punctuated her command with a fart.
Sitting up in her elongated box, the world around her began spinning. Fingers sought the scar on her brow and traced its jagged imprint. A vision of Ilo Cux flashed behind her eyes, a cerulean beauty with salty spots and a hide that smelled of tangy glacial melt.
Fuzo tapped the button on the hatch, popping the square door open and ushering in the faint stink of Col-Tan. On her hands and knees, she crawled out and found the tile floor still damp from the stuff. At first glance, the marixi wing at Utamx Paxi felt no different than her assigned unit in Pikalit.
A long stretch made her lightheaded, but once her bearings returned, Fuzo descended a narrow ladder and found herself on the gapirx deck. Dozens of units surrounded the central wash pool, each flushing noisily after being used.
Fuzo blended in with the herd of naked marixi, stepping gingerly to her chosen unit. Straddling its porcelain top, she urinated several minutes, wondering if the hizzahs and bellies waking elsewhere in the building liked to talk during a leak.
Then, a familiar bruiser straddled the gape opposite her and stared hard before curling her lip.
Written by Tina Anderson
Cover/IllustrationS by Daniel Hurtado
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