Atcraxor 12 was, even for its downmarket sector of space, pathetic.
Its two exports were a sort of extremely bitter citrus fruit left over from the Genetic Wars of the 82nd Century and a kind of ceramic pot that had been briefly popular when featured in the trans-galactic soap opera 'Gerry and the Peacemakers'.
"Rodney, are you ever going to be finished with that inventory? Only I want to get off home love."
Rodney turned to his warehouse coworker Phil.
"Phil my dear, as you know better than I, if we don't do this properly, the cyborg in charge of our little corner of the Warehouse Satellite will fire us both first thing day shift."
Phil sighed and nodded. "I know. It's terrible isn't it though. I mean." Phil squeezed through the very narrow gap between two spectacularly tall stacks of crates. "I'm off down to the botanics section. If we're going to be here through the shift change I may as well get all the specimens for the Mordee Foundation finished. That way we can claim it on this orbit's schedule and keep our efficiency up to Rating 1."
Rodney nodded absent mindedly as he went back to checking the gravity pods. There had been a tiny but recorded fluctuation in the gravity of their warehouse pad. The sort of pedantic thing that their martinet of a boss, the cyborg Mister Phooks, would jump all over at the earliest opportunity.
Phooks was rebuilt with a definite chip on his shoulder, even though that whole 'angry young cyborg' malarkey was so old fashioned now. The last Galactic President had been a cyborg for goodness sake!
Meanwhile Rodney had arrived at the botanics section.
"Oh blast," he cursed, as he saw that one of the clear plastic storage boxes was broken open.
He look around the base of the nearby pallets, timidly. He was hopeful that the breakage was due to some sort of microgravity glitch, and not the presence of one of the many noxious vermin species that the satellite was literally plagued with.
"Come here..." a soft voice said. It had the sound of an old man drowning in phlegm.
"Who's there?" Rodney asked, unoriginal to the end.
"It's only me..." the voice replied.
Rodney looked around the nearest stack of plastic boxes-
Sitting amongst a pile of organic rubbish swept up by one of the Basils, the sweeping robots equipping this station, was a potted cactus.
"Very funny," Rodney said. "Who's using a vocalizer then? Someone feeling awfully dramatic are they? Oh grow up."
At that point the cactus began to glow, and Rodney started to gasp and then scream before the same glow enveloped him. Then he fell silent.
The cactus swelled and shifted form, even as Rodney crumbled to dust.
"Total transference achieved," the cactus said in triumph. It now looked exactly like Rodney. Walking over to his dessicated remains it picked up his all purpose overalls, shook out the flakes of Rodney, and put the garment on.
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