Ah, the mysteries of Love! Trainwrecks like Interstellar might lead one to believe the subject is best left to the Literary genre, but here’s a lovely bit of old-school space opera by @Kendersrule that tackles the issue AND uses the word “arse-breathers” in the process. Splendid:


PROMPT PROVIDER: @tom_mendelsohn

AUTHOR: @kendersrule

TITLE: Untitled

The ship sped closer to the base, the auto-defence lasers glancing off its energy shield. Captain Remmick swore, and dialled the Commander’s private line, pre-emptively wincing.

Commander Linusc, flushed, appeared on the vid screen, jaw clenching as she started to formulate her ire.

“Alien ship on fast approach, sir!” Remmick managed, just cutting off the first splutter of outrage.

Linusc snarled, and waved off the vid, but not before Remmick caught an unwilling eyeful of the commander in her birthday suit. He whimpered, and muttered a quiet apology to whichever ensign had caught relaxation duty, the poor bastard.

Remmick waved on the station coms controls, and announced a red alert status to the rest of the crew, but not the reason why.

Linusc stamped onto the command observatory, and glared at Remmick for a full second, before striding to the coms controls and hailing the alien vessel.

“Alien ship, you are in violation of Earther air space, please reverse your thrusters immediately, or a formal complaint will be lodged with the Council of Unaligned Interests.”

Linusc levelled her glare out of the large plexiglas panel facing the offending ship, and folded her arms.

“Remmick get the Counci-“

The coms panel let out a loud burst of static, then, the translator AI said:

“Earther female, we are on a mission of great importance, given to us by the High Commander of Talos VI itself. Please prepare for our arrival shortly.”

Waving the coms off, Linusc swore loudly, at great length, then told Remmick to set up a methane atmosphere at one of the airlocks, and an adjoining guest lounge.

“Bloody arse-breathers are always pulling this shit, why won’t the council do anything?!” She muttered to her self, adjusting her uniform into a semblance of respectability.

“Remmick, compose a complaint for the idiots at Unaligned while I go greet our honoured guests.”

“Yessir!” Remmick saluted, holding his pose until his superior had left the observatory, then let out the breath from his puffed up chest in one long sigh. His mind kept pulling him back to the vision of Linusc, sweaty and naked, gracefully sweeping her hand ove- “Stop that!” He shook his head, and sat at his control panel, unconsciously clearing his throat.


“Greetings, I am Commander Linusc, what brings the Talisians so far from home?” A smile was plastered unwillingly onto the commander’s face, unnecessarily, as she was wearing a breather-mask.

The spindly beings carefully inched their way into the guest lounge, checking all possible viewpoints for danger with their dark green composite eyes. Satisfied that they were in no immediate danger, the three Talisians took up positions around the wall of the lounge, ending up in an equilateral triangle.

Linusc, standing in the middle of the room, sat down next to the translator panel, facing the bundle of yellow sticks that was adorned with the pink ribbon of rank.

Why pink though? And what did they use before we sold them silk?

“Our high commander has tasked us with solving the most difficult of the mysteries surrounding you Earthers. What is… Love?”

Linusc opened and closed her mouth in a perfect goldfish impression for a few moments, then stood back up.

“I’m sorry, gentlepersons, but I don’t think you will find the answer to that question here. This is a small military outpost unequipped with philosophers or poets, you would be much better off going to a centre of commerce, or a relaxation zone, or or or…” Panic was showing in her voice now, and she backed towards the door.

“Unfortunately we were denied a pass for deeper entry to the Earther systems, so, you are our only hope, Commander.”

“Erm, I’ll just have to confer with my staff, won’t be long!” She dashed out of the lounge, sprinted into the inner airlock, and hit the cycle button so hard that she cracked the plastic, as she tore the breather-mask off her face.


“Remmick, open up a channel to Fleet headquarters, these Talisians are insane!”

The captain jumped, and would have fallen off his seat if it wasn’t moulded to fit him. He crossed his legs awkwardly, and complied without comment.

Fortunately, Linusc was too busy pacing to notice his odd behaviour.

A grey haired middle aged man appeared on the main screen.

“Yes, Commander-” he looked down, then back up at her, “Linusc, what is it?”

“Sir, I have three insane Talisians on board, who want to know what love is. They say it’s one of the great Earther mysteries, sir. Sir, Help!” The commander’s voice accelerated and rose in pitch, sounding like a 6 year old child by the time she reached her plea for help; Remmick’s jaw was wide open.

The grey-haired officer pinched his nose as he scrunched up his face, “look, just deal with it, some of us have real problems to attend to.” He waved his hand, and disappeared.

Remmick quickly slid from his chair, and opened The Cupboard Of Rage, in one smooth motion pulling out a tranquilliser gun, and shooting his commanding officer with it.

He put the gun back on its shelf, then got two plaskin packs and the antiseptic, and hurried over to the prone Linusc.

Remmick frowned at how deeply her nails had dug into her palms, and applied his medicaments.

He thought about it for a moment, then lifted her up, and carried her to the elevator.


Remmick stood next to the sofa, and lifted up one of Commander Linusc’s ministered-to hands toward the be-ribboned sticks.

This is love.”

PROMPTbut seriously, what actually is this human emotion you call love? high command were most insistent