Read the prequel ‘Trailing Spec205’ here – https://jessyburche.blog/2019/09/13/trailing-spec205-part-1/
“Up for lunch?”
Mudiaga’s voice bounced off the stark white of the observation lab. He was standing with hands in his scrubs and a smirk on his pimpled face. I turned to give my specimen a final prod. The crichin – long snorted alien arthropod laid still. I sighed. I had been trying all day to get the silly thing to move, eat or do anything at all for my observation notes. I would’ve noted “Dead” on my digi-booklet if I wasn’t so invested in their cunning nature.
In defeat, I dumped my notes and followed Mudiaga out through the double doors, down a flight of steps where we veered off to the busy hallway that led to the cafeteria.
“So anything interesting happen over the weekend?”
“Nothing interesting happens over the weekend Mudiaga. You know that. I even wonder why you bother to ask”
“Well, I’m fascinated by your life” he said, leading me towards a four sitter dining table at the far corner. The cafeteria was bustling with aliens and humans from different departments that made up Omar Space Corps
“Don’t be. Being the daughter of Hamzah Danasabe isn’t exactly exciting. That man wants to kill me with fazed traditions” I slumped on the seat and called out my order to the robot-waiter.
“That’ s why you need me Latanna. I can bring some excitement you know. Movies, parties, good fucking…”
I almost choked on the peanuts I had started feasting on. They had small saucers of peanuts on every table in the cafeteria. Mudiaga watched me closely. His eyes set wide apart under bushy black brows, ran across my face. If he wasn’t so light skinned, he would pass as handsome in my books.
“That’s never going to happen and you know it.”
I stood, “I have to get an avocado for that crichin. Not a lucky day”. Mudiaga opened his mouth to speak but I didn’t stay to hear it. I skimmed through the a group of Boister aliens to the fruit section on the open counter.
I picked an avocado off the rack and was about selecting a few pineapples when I felt a push from behind and all the fruit – oranges, bananas, grapes and came tumbling down.
“What the actual fuck! You did-“
I stared at him with what I knew could only be venom in my eyes. Maybe it was the way his lip curled in a shy smile but something about him made me tuck my next words.
“I wasn’t looking. I’m really sorry” he said politely, bending to pick the avocado and pineapples off the floor. He handed them over to me, his dark skin complemented by the navy blue of his patrol uniform. Above a one star badge was the name plate that read ” Salim Faizu, Regulations and Clearing”
I regained my composure, straightened my scrubs, and met his eyes with what I hoped was hostility in mine. “You need to watch where you’re going Salim”. With that, I strutted back towards Mudiaga
I shrugged it off. Something g about Salim had struck me but I wasn’t ready to share with Mudiaga so when I felt a gentle tap on my shoulders, I was taken aback to see him standing there, hovering above me with those purple-blue eyes. Yes! That was it. His eyes! He wasn’t human. He was a staid! Staids are admired for their ability to exist between two worlds – the universe and earth. They could morph between physical features – dark skin today, red hair tomorrow. Their uncanny knowledge of the universe and its creatures earned them a place on Afrikana continent once Space Relations was accepted. This one was strutting a dark skin, lean muscles, and goatee. I eyed him.
“Look I’m really sorry about what happened back there. Didn’t mean to embarrass you. Can I make it up to you?”
My eyes narrowed to take a quick glance at Mudiaga. He had this irritated look on his face. I grinned. “Definitely. You can take me to dinner”
“7:00pm, the Sphinx estate. And I don’t do cheap” is stated, watching Mudiaga’s shoulders deflate. Salim, smiled and we exchanged cards. I watched him, read mine with shock.
“See you then” and he was off.
The Madness Brothers hit single “Charting Courses” was playing while I applied a smudge of red lipstick and got ready for my date. I was a bit giggly owing to the fact that I had just smoked my last stash of genium. When my home AI assistant announced arrival at the back gate, I was already dressed in black jeans and jacket to match, my afro hair wa stied in a bun. I had told Salim over the phone to park behind my father’s estate for two reasons. One, I didn’t want the patrol to spot him at the entrance and two, my father is too nosy.
I walked passed my Retrograde hover-pod parked in the garage and out towards the gates. As a child, I used to the squeeze myself between their bars until my head got stuck one day and my father fired the nanny. I didn’t try to imagine what Salim’s ride would be but when I saw the red pod hovering an inch above ground, my mouth flew open. Metro3000! Okay Latanna, Calm the fuck down!
“You like?” Salim asked as he stepped down.
“Like?! I freaking love this shit!”
Okay. A Metro3000 isn’t the latest pod-car in Afrikana, nor is it especially luxurious but that was why I liked it. It is ugly in a majestic kind of way, is very cheap but rugged and was built for the tough road tracks of the continent. My father called it a trash piece of rusty metal but I was in love.
“Good because you’re driving”
I almost fainted with delight. I was made to drive a Metro3000!
Salim shoved the control key in my face. “Well, what are you waiting for? Hurry! I have to return it”
I took the keys from him and sauntered over to the driver’s side. My reflection bounced off the sleek black windows – my fair skin sharp- almost like a mirror. Inside was a sleek black interior. The ride’s internal assistant requested for my name and playlist. The engine revved and Mountain Black’s “Baby you leave me stuck in the stars” blasted from the speakers. Soon we were on full speed on the tarmac to The Club; the galazina star’s purple light shone brightly in the late evening sky.
I had only been to The Club once, when I was just enrolling for the Specie Probe and Observation Executive position at Omar Space Corps. It was just to satisfy curiosity. Three years later and the place was still teeming with alien hipsters, socialites from different galaxies and humans looking for a quick hook up. I held unto Salim’s hands as we walked through the entrance, passed a group of snickering aliens and towards the bar.
I punched in my order on the request pad – One glass of “Knock Out The Dead cocktail”. I caught sight of Salim’s raised brows and laughed. “I like a good drink”
“Interesting. They don’t call it Knock Out The Dead for nothing though?”
“Try me” I teased, winking at him. He chuckled.
Our order would be ready in 5 minutes so we took the hover plates to the top of the club overlooking the dance floor. It was quiet here. I suspected Salim chose the spot to give us some privacy.
“So? Interesting to see that you’re Hamzah’s daughter.”
“Hmm. How is that interesting? My father isn’t particularly liked”
When he laughed, it was hearty and those purple-blue eyes twinkled. “No he’s not”
We got on to talk about work and how he’d traded the Metro3000 for our date.
We turned to see a Boister alien. All worm shape, two arms and an excited grin crawling over to us.
Salim and Eggworm shake hands while I watch on. “Its good to see you. You look really…” , and as if he was just seeing me, he said -“Oh, you have a date! What has it been? Three years?”
Suddenly his bulky eyes behind ridiculous square glasses, were on me. “Well dear, whats your name? Salim is my good friend and I’m absolutely delighted to have you here!”
His excitement was infectious, I couldn’t help but chuckle. “Latanna. That’s my name. And its a pleasure to meet you too Eggworm” I say, shaking his hand.
“Okay, I’ll see you guys some other time. Have fun!” he said with a wink and slid over to a group of irate human hipsters.
The rest of the night went on well. I even did a little jiggle when “All up In the Air” came on. One thing for sure, I was a better dancer at Salim. I even got 10 Et-coins for my moves!
“I should consider dancing professionally” I said as we stepped into Salim’s place in Bawari. Knock Out The Dead was jamming massive drums in my head. Bawari was different from The Sphinx Estate in so many ways. No elite aliens, or lawns that smelt like money. Salim’s pad was a small minimalist one bed with a single cream leather sofa, a robot butler and rows of plants in robot-planter shelves.
He poured me a wrangler in a shot glass for my headache. I drank the tangy liquid in one gulp.
Standing really close to him, our eyes trying to read our thoughts , a wave of curiosity came over me.
“What does it look like when a staid drops into the universe”
He wasn’t surprised at my question. “Its not something we show just anyone until…”
“So I’m just anyone?” I said. Of course I was just teasing him and he knew.
“Nooo, but it’s a vulnerable moment for us ’cause we’re not really aware what’s happening outside the universe”
“Yeah, I know that. But can I…watch you drop?”
He looked at me for a second, hands in his pockets. I could tell he was weighing the idea. I could almost see the fulcrum shift.
I hadn’t known what to expect but as I watched Salim’s body gradually transform into a figure of energies all intertwined, I was dazzled. It was like watching the stars up close. Red,blue green, and purple hues twinkle on his figure. I stepped closer tentatively with my hand outstretched. It felt cold when I touched him. It was only a brief touch before he dropped back.
“It is beautiful” I said, staring into his eyes. There was something like fire in them.
“No…you’re beautiful” he said softly. Every inch of my body tingled as he leaned into me. I felt the yearning in my bud. I let him trail small kisses from my forehead to my lips and his hands take off my jacket. Soon I was straddled up against the wall, hot with passion – our lips locked with fingers scratching at our backs.