I’ve posted a bit of Nest before, but you needn’t read that portion. What follows is the first scene of Chapter Two, and all you need to know can be conveyed by the movie’s tagline (for when this trilogy gets published and becomes a blockbuster motion picture):
Animal Farm — in Space!
Meet the Grith Lyssomes.
Nest, Chapter Two, Scene One
A Grith Lyssome listening post high above Brakah
Dr. Bzz*cough*cough*gasp, Buzz to his friends, crawled out of the one-fly slinger and inhaled the station’s stagnant air. Nothing ever changes. The old box still reeks of —
The listening post’s current resident interrupted Buzz mid-thought with a vigorous zero gee tackle. With all six legs, the agent pinned him to the ceiling and smothered him with noisy kisses. His proboscis scrolled in and out with frightening energy.
“Thank God you’ve come. Ten months I’ve been here. This was supposed to be a three week assignment!”
The agent’s proboscis would not be still. He had anchored himself by seizing two leg-holds on either side of Buzz, so the doctor had to crawl out from under the lad. The two drifted apart.
Buzz sighed. This would be even harder than he’d thought.
“I’m sorry to disappoint you, Ensign . . . ”
“Operative, actually. Haven’t made Ensign yet.” The agent pulled himself closer using the ceiling’s leg-holds. Buzz turned his compound eyes on this blue-rumped fellow with wrinkled wings and nervous legs. Just a youngster.
The kid thrust out a foreleg. “Operative Snore-(silence)-squawk, Surveillance, Sentient Activities Division.”
“Dr. Bzz*cough*cough*gasp, Civilian Science Corps, but for the time being, I’m an honorary Lieutenant. You can call me Buzz.”
“Lieutenant Buzz.” They shook legs. “What do you mean, disappoint? You’re not my relief?”
“The Chancellery wants two agents here. Not that they don’t trust you, son, but the upcoming contract negotiations are important to them.”
Buzz made a quick assessment. How best to secure Snore’s cooperation? He would feign ignorance. Try to instill some sense of camaraderie.
“Heaven only knows why we have to follow the Benevolents around the galaxy, recording their abuses. It’s not like the Chancellery ever does anything about it. For all I can tell, they just sit around, stroking their antennae.”
He watched Snore closely, gauging the effect of his words. The operative’s head twisted 180 degrees clockwise in one clean jerk, drifted back to neutral, and twisted again. Five times he did that, in as many seconds. It was one hell of a nervous twitch.
“I’m stuck here for the duration, then?” said Snore. “Oh, well. I thought as much, after my last transfer request got this reply.”
Snore punched keys on a nearby console, and the cargo bay filled with buzzing noises, coughs, groans, and three distinct patterns of laughter.
“At least it will be a blessing to have someone to talk to,” Snore added.
“Come help me with the luggage. The Chancellery knew there would be a morale issue, so I’ve come bearing gifts.”
“Gifts?” Snore crept from side to side, fluttering his wings.
“Gifts. Ten gross of blank mini-disks.”
“Contraband chocolate bars from Earth, a dozen varieties . . . ”
“And a carton of the latest Roon Vissar fur-zines.”
“Hot stuff. Checked it out myself on the way over. Centerfolds to die for. Picture this: two tasty young Roon Vissar hounds going at it human-style.”
“I didn’t know that was possible!”
“Contortionists, Snore. Anything is possible.”
If there’s a clamor for more, I’ll continue this next Friday.