“Hi there! Name’s Louis Fulbright. You must be the new hire. Welcome to the Crow’s Nest. Great to meet you! Great to see you, really. I wasn’t sure when corporate would send you out here. Flight go okay? Sleep well enough? Good. Good. Welcome to the observation deck. You’ll be spending the majority of your time up here. Has a hell of a view, doesn’t it? That star up there to the left started going supernova about two months ago. Have you ever seen anything so beautiful? It’s all purple and exploding…
“Crow’s nest? Oh, right! That’s what I’ve taken to calling the observation deck. Like on ships way back when humans still lived on Earth? Ships that sailed on the oceans had a little kind of bucket at the top of the sails that a poor slob would sit in and keep watch for things. But we’re in space now, so it’s a little different, don’t you think?
“Come. Take a seat. I’m sure you have lots of questions. But, before we go any further, I’ll just go ahead and answer the question you have on your mind. Yes, fourteen-hour rotations on an observation deck are boring as all hell, but the pay is good. Technically, my job is to keep watch for wayward asteroids and make sure none of the old mining barges make any unscheduled collisions. But, honestly, these old war relics could smash headlong into one another and the drivers (if they had drivers) would only float away with a case of whiplash. They are nearly indestr…hnnnng!
“Pardon my outburst. The Squid just made a pass at my prostate. Little bugger must be hungry.
“What was I saying? Oh, right. The old frigates were appropriated by our employer and retrofitted with long-haul mining equipment and A.I. operators. This far into the heart of the galaxy there are precious ores aplenty–a lot of the really heavy stuff. Unfortunately, the binary supermassive black holes draw in crap from light years away. It’s kind of like digging for gold underneath a waterfall. A waterfall filled with chunks of iron and ice the size of an elephant. But like I said earlier, the pay is good. And the view is g…great! Woah! Wow. Little guy is persistent.
“I guess I can’t keep him waiting any longer. I’ll just flop the little guy out and give him a few good strokes. There we go.
“So, you were saying you had a few questions about daily life up here? I’d be happy to answer whatever… Why are you staring at me like that? Is it something I said?
“Oh… Oh! The Squid, right. Don’t worry about that. I promise we won’t make a mess or anything. Sanitation is one of our top priorities up here! It says so on a lot of the posters we have to keep up.
“But, you still look confused. Did they not tell you about the Squids when you were hired? Oh, lady, you are in for a treat! Genetically engineered symbiotes. Little guy lives over my bum and crotch. He feeds on excrement and other bodily fluids. Makes it so I never have to worry about leaving post to use the bathroom, and the regular orgasms keep a steady stream of dopamine pumping through my brain. Little guy regulates other bodily functions as well. It’s a win-win situation.
“Corporate gives them out to us long-shifters when we are isolated from regular human contact out here. They aren’t much for conversation, but how many people really are? They do develop a taste for ejaculate, though. That’s why I’m helping the little guy get his fix.
“Um… Could you stop staring at him like that? You’ll make him uncomfortable, and he might get a sour stomach. You wouldn’t stare at a lady breastfeeding her baby, would you?
“Terrifying? He’s just hungry. Really hungry today it seems… Woah! That’s a tentacle down my urethra! Haha! Erm… So I guess it is kinda weird, huh?
“I’ll admit it took some of getting used to. I was put off by the idea at first, but the doc was insistent that I would grow to like the little guy. The first few hours of it wiggling around inside me were… alarming to say the least. And the first time it latched onto the head of my penis and proceeded to pound my prostate from the other side I nearly fainted. The first week was a real trip, let me tell ya.
“After that, the months droned on. I really wasn’t prepared for the kind of loneliness that hits you out here. You get delivered broadcasts and recordings with news and other junk on it from elsewhere in the galaxy, but even with the FTL transports coming and going, the news is always a few weeks old. And you just…you just really start to miss seeing other people, you know?
“The Squid helps. And so do the chems it helps your body release. It might be lonely out here, but there is really nothing like staring at the crucible of the galaxy while your invertebrate life partner unrelentingly pumps at your insides drawing out orgasm after orgasm. Want to head down to Medical and get yours?