By: Rip (Written Nov 11, 2015)
Some people have a knack for finding strange things. Strange things always seem to find Zane Legends.
Jerald was in a bad mood. Someone had been knicking food from the Larder. At first they'd assumed the merchants were shorting orders, but after checking and double-checking and triple-checking at the last port, it was clear that things were going missing after the ship was underway.
This annoyed Jerald even further. They had had a good relationship with those merchants, and it would take much apologising to earn back the lower rates after that debacle.
The Div'dolphenean steepled one set of hands beneath their, for lack of a better term, chin; while the other idly worked through skinning a barrel of fresh gopshicks that was significantly lighter than it should have been.
That left only two options: thieves, or stowaways. The former was impossible; only Jerald had access to the Larder hatch and the galley staff were not nearly dexterous enough to slip anything past the head Chef's strict supervision. Their culinary incompetence was evidence enough of that.
The latter seemed equally impossible. The amount of foodstuffs found missing each day could only have been consumed by a herd of stowaways, or perhaps a small Heptacian. But Jerald had turned the larder inside and out and every which way and could find no evidence of the remains, or even effluence of whatever must be raiding the stores!
Jerald's brainstorming faltered for a moment, derailed by a sudden sense of wrongness that could only be honed by the skinning of hundreds, if not thousands, of gopshicks over the course of a career. They looked down to see the uneven globule they'd plucked from the barrel was marred by blunt teethmarks, as if something had attempted to break through the tough outer membrane by gnawing at it.
"RRRAAAAGH!" Jerald flung the tainted pod at the Larder hatch, where it exploded and slowly slid down to the floor on a trail of shimmering mauve slime.
Zane cowered in the corner of the Larder, drawing his holo-cloak around him tighter. He hadn't meant to stow away, you know. All he wanted to do was take a quick nap before the next shift, and he'd come to the brilliant conclusion that the last place anyone would think to look for him was splayed out on top of the cargo itself, snoring away under a blanket of perfect camouflage. He must have been more tired than he thought, though, as the movement of the containers didn't wake him, and indeed he didn't stir at all until it was far too late.
The light outside the Larder hatch dimmed, indicating the kitchen was once again unoccupied. Zane relaxed, and reached over for another gopshick. What he wouldn't give for a paring knife...