"Okay", Cha mumbled, "let's consider all possibilities".
One: she could maybe ignore it was all there. Just go on gathering dust, cans, unspeakable biomass and icky tricky selfgrowing goo from the kind that doesn't belong in pods and ships. She
could just leave her crap on the floor so she couldn't see the dirt. It would pile up of course. It would get a bit akward moving around the ship. But at least the docking crews would start looking elsewhere than through her interface suit. If there was no afterlife, then maybe this was her only opportunity for leaving some legacy. She would get some type of immortality, albeit not of the heroic type. Hmm.
Two: she could just dump it all in space. And then she could insist the piles of garbage everywhere around her of course did not belong to her. And then they would of course not believe her. They would start threatening with fines, and she would ignore them, getting more and more infuriated about how injust it all was. They would start threatening with detention, and she would be taken out of her ship by force, kicking and screaming about how injust it all was. The injustice would raise massive protest from Arnola to Jolia, featured on every news channel, but there would then arise a slight miscommunication between the activists on who would be the real spokesman for the Save Chacacha Committee, and then they would start quarreling about what exactly would be the best way to protest, and then they would forget what exactly the subject of the protest was. And then they would discover how injust the scorpions on Hirtamon were treated by their own offspring. And there she would be, in the middle of her cell, surrounded by suddenly superfluous merchandise. Which probably would start gathering dust too.
Three: she could break all these non-consumable possessions down into the necessary and the unnecessary. She pondered a while about this exercise. Apart from the inescapable fatigue that would come with it, she doubted there would be much of what she would deem to be necessities. Like this - she slipped her hand into a silvermetallic loop kinda thing that probably should have been on the drone. That could be useful. Her thoughts jumped, her face flushed red, and she corrected herself hastily: "Well, no, just bracelets." Other than that, she would still be stuck with a whole lot of unnecessary dust, cans, unspeakable biomass and icky tricky selfgrowing goo from the kind that doesn't belong in pods and ships anyway, which would bring her back to square One. Or Two. Or -
Four! Aha - she might get to be famous without being dead first. She looked around. Lots of opportunities for unbridled creativity! She could start practising for the interviews already. "I select familiar stylistic imagery, icons and spacemarks that transcend traditional cultural boundaries and promote a superficial notion of interspace, the image being a fantasy realm obtainable through commodities void of a contextual study allowing the illustrated lifestyle to be readily adopted, leaving the seeming banality and regularity of these objects, through various media, only addressed when positioned by it's subjective components."
She'd be rich in no time. She'd be the greatest thing since Fedo sushi. If it wasn't for the champaign on all the gallery openings. Champaign did something to her. Wine took two glasses to get her giggling, and three to start doing things she shouldn't. Champaign did the same in sips. Tricky territory. She shook her head. Art is dangerous.
She shuddered at option number five, loaded with peril.
Alas. It seemed there was no other way.
Option number five sat right there, on the floor next to the control panel, inside a cardboard box. With compliments of mrs Nakatre Read, delivered right on her doorstep. And since mrs Nakatre Read was her boss, it would have been slightly deficient to refuse, careerwise.
She should have known that there would be consequences when she had started accepting help "to enhance the smooth integration of your unique professional abilities within the corporation's future plans" - Cha wasn't entirely sure mrs Read had only meant her fighter pilot skills, the way she had looked her up and down with that slow appreciative smile of her, wasn't she married or something? Anyway, she could live with the help when it took the form of skillbooks and autocannons and ammo. Even both those shiny new ruptures in her hangar right now, although her stomach had been upset for two days from that. But this - possibly this truely was the worst fate that ever could have befallen her. Horror in her own ship.
Too late now.
Reluctantly she pushed the box over with the tip of her foot.
A pilot can establish, with a fedo, a kind of relationship, if not friendly then logical at least: the pilot produces the garbage, the fedo decomposes it. Not so Cha. To her there was nothing logical about having a giant smelly detritivore wander her ship, no matter how much detritivoring it obviously needed. She simply knew that it would breed exponentially, carpet the floor and burst underfoot when she'd try to get somewhere. Or that they might get in the habit of hurling themselves from the ceiling onto the human face.
She stood with folded arms, silent, observing her first subordinate. The spongebug remained equally silent.
"Maybe this is a formal manifestation of respect," Cha thought, realizing she knew nothing about fedo culture. "soon it will throw itself on my garbage."
Time passed. Nothing happened. It didn't look dead though.
She didn't feel any urge to connect on a deeper level, but maybe the fedo did. Maybe it needed a personal relationship to function properly. Cha supressed the upcoming panick. Maybe a name would do.
She had no idea whether it was male or female, and she didn't feel the urge to look for the determining sting either. But it was reddish. It felt female. She shuddered at the thought that she actually had something in common with a fedo.
She took a decision. "...Sue," she said hesitantly, and then more firm: "Sue, nice to meet you, would you now please go to work?".
Sue remained snug and irresponsive.
Maybe Sue needed more explaining. Cha picked up something undefinable slimy something, and, remaining at a safe distance, dropped it near the fedo. Sue firmly refused to ingest, let alone she warped into raiding her fresh territory. Who knows what's on the mind of fedo's anyway? For all Cha knew fedos maybe exacerbated a thorough hatred toward all humanity. She was probably giving off hostile vibes that Cha just couldn't pick up for some reason.
Cha started loosing her patience. Maybe Sue needed more convincing. Cha gave her a stern look. "Now, listen up Sue," she straightened herself, "i dont want to be a nuisance and crash your party here, but this is about the jolliest place for fedos i know of. I know we aren't extravagantly fond of each other, but i suggest we try concealing our mutual enmity and get to work."
Sue didn't conceal anything. She just didn't move.
Cha dwelt more than just a short moment on the possibility of some fatal accident putting an end to Sue's existence, and then afterwards just turning the lightning low. Very low. That would not only be romantic, but it would hide a multitude of dirt.
She suppressed her homicidal urges. She had faced more than just an unwilling fedo here and there! It was clear that it would take authoritarian rule, the fear of the sole human in the room holding a strap, or a laser, or maybe a railgun, to convince some unruly fedo to actually abide by her rules. She emitted what she hoped would be the brave and optimistic image of a seasoned fighting pilot in a battle, grabbed a piece of scrap metal and held it up in what she hoped a fedo would understand to be a life threatening pose.
The fedo observed her rancorously, suspiciously, reprovingly. That is, it would have, if fedos would have had eyes to observe with. But Cha could feel its contempt anyway.
"Raaaargh!" she screamed, "you, you, you roly-poly tiggychuggypigglydoodlepillpotatobughog!"
Disheartened she sank on her knees next to the recalcitrant critter. Were fedos possibly self-destructive? She had no clue.
She got the feeling it was a bit upset though.
"Not exactly of a passionate nature, aren't we?" Cha whispered to Sue.
To her astonishment, Sue stirred a multitude of little tentacles.
Duh! She had as much social intuition as a fedo. She walked over to the desk, checked the market and gave the order. She wasn't exactly excited by the prospect, but if it had to be done, it had to be done.
"I'll call him Adam," Cha said, "do you like that?"
Sue moved. She put her tiny fiddles forward, wheezed a trifle acid, and started to work.
* expression first coined by CCP executive producer Nathan Richardsson