The Dukes of Iapetus

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Darla Alrad VII
- 7/30/2021 9:16pm

so i was in the ice worm stables when the klaxons started going off. i kept working during the sick out because i needed the money, but the collective worker's action had the whole rest of the lodge in chaos--angry guests not getting checked in, angrier guests finding their rooms unmade and no food in the dining room--but i didn't figure it would end up in a wholesale evacuation!

the lights went off and the emergency lights went on, and there was a path of blinking little green lights i was supposed to follow to the escape pod. but what about the ice worms? i felt like we developed a relationship during my time with them, and i couldn't just leave them locked up. so i rounded them up and herded them to the airlock and was about to let them enjoy the freedom of their native land when who do i find but @Lois Andrada in a space suit right outside, standing next to a giant tusked giraffe with @Nald's face! tucked under one arm looked like the severed head of some kind of insect space alien.

the more the merrier! after shooing the ice worms out i was taking lois and nald back to the escape pods when she mentioned something about "the labs" and "the others" and told me to find the biggest escape pod i could and wait for them.

so now i'm hanging in the stable's shuttle bay, warming up a big old boat called The Space Ark, waiting for them to return. which is great because it gives me a little time to read the manual.

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melanie moo
- 7/26/2021 9:41pm

It was Ook who first came up with the proposal to unionize. Mook is never serious enough about anything to take a stand. Ultimately it was something about butchering all that wild extraterrestrial game meat that just rubbed Ook the wrong way.

"DEFINITELY NOT CHICKEN," he signs to me over lunch in the worker's canteen. "DO NOT PUT IN MOUTH."

No problem there. Royal Dukes HR claims all their food is safe no matter what planet you're from, but I've been sticking with the salads anyway.

In any case, it's clear they overwork us here, with required overtime, no breaks, and a seriously dangerous work environment -- mostly due to the guests! At least on Earth when a customer lashes out, they don't have a huge, poisonous barbed tail.

Sick out tomorrow! Who's with us?!!

Lois Andrada
- 7/24/2021 8:30pm

Threebottom Fangsnapper is an interplanetary influencer. Who loves big game hunting. So it was a high stakes negotiation to get them to the Royal Dukes of Iapetus Grand Lodge. 

I was assigned to Threebottom during  their stay, guiding them through a series of highly choreographed events, and reining in their more random impulses as best I could. 

“Shouldn’t this be a job for a more experienced… customer service advocate?” I asked. I really didn’t want to give up this opportunity, but I’d had hardly any contact with the extraterrestrial guests. 

Apparently not. So, I've learned how to hop out of the way of their long, segmented body when they suddenly shift on a whim.

"Whoops!" I leap up over a leg and on top of one of their sections. Maybe I should just try riding Threebottom.

We're at one of the hunting blinds. Threebottom doesn't like riding Ice Worms so we took a ground vehicle. It rolled out over the weird brown landscape and pulled up next to something like a big mushroom, with windows above and a docking port on the stem.

Threebottom doesn't have a lot of questions, except for things like "Are we there yet?" and "How do my antennae look?"

"You look great," I answer. Having no idea what a nine-eyed, mostly-mandible alien insect face is supposed to look like.

Once we were in the blind, Threebottom took the controls of the big laser harpoon mounted to the top of the mushroom. Then we scanned the screens, and waited.

We didn't have to wait long. Soon enough, one of those blurry outer-space animals appeared on the screen. It was shy, peeking around a boulder, then suddenly jumping out into the open, like it had just been bitten, or shocked with a stick.

"Computer, lock on" Threebottom said in his high-pitched chirp.

The computer zoomed in on the animal. It had four long legs coming out of a hairy rectangular body, a long neck, and a tusked head that looked like... @Nald. Totally @Nald's face on top of that long long neck. But with tusks. And he looked freaked out.

"Computer--" continued Threebottom.

"Noooooooooo!" I cried and knocked Threebottom away from the controls.

Three bottom coiled, their dozens of spindly legs splayed out to make themselves look even bigger. And hissed.

Even my Intro to Exo-biology class at Psyhigh was enough to tell me this was trouble.

Darla Alrad VII
- 7/20/2021 8:00pm

@Nald was supposed to introduce me to the stablemaster about getting a job shoveling worm poo, so when @Nald disappeared it kind of left me in the lurch.

but good news! i went down to talk to the stablemaster myself and guess what they said i could have @Nald's old job. which i mean, is kind of weird. but i'd do literally anything to get out of housekeeping. loretta lyons got attacked by a swarm of xeno-invasive bed bugs that somehow got past the bio screens. the Nurses of Iapetus said they can grow her legs back no problem but i just want to avoid that route completely.

melanie moo
- 7/15/2021 11:19pm

Ok the view of Saturn IS frickin amazing.

Behind the check-in desk at the Duke of Iapetus Grand Lodge it's one giant window, and it looks right at Saturn through the craggy crags. The rings... everything. It's huge. And it never goes down because Iapetus is tidally locked.


I want to keep staring at it but the pesky guests just keep coming. So I keep checking them in and sneaking glances behind me through the glass wall whenever I can.


The guests are, in every case, jerks. And I hear they're shitty tippers too. But they are from literally all over the galaxy, so no two are hardly alike. Giant spider person here, drooling set of fangs nestled in ambulatory jelly there, occasionally a bipedal creature close to what you and I look like but then will have a three-foot forked tongue or something.

But each and every one of them treats me like some annoyance, or some kind of nameless servant.


Which really shouldn't be surprising, since they've all only come here to hunt and kill something. I see the weapons they check -- great baggage carriers heaping with thermal rifles, sonic destroyers, spears tipped with synthetic fissile material. The bellhops keep them from falling off the carriers and accidentally firing. The guests merely sneer and don't tip.


The Cave Twins have been enjoying their jobs immensely, from what I'm able to ascertain through their primitive hand gestures. Chopping up large animals is right up their alley, and the kitchen has allowed them to use their own stone tools.

"How's it taste?" I ask them in the evening, back in the worker barracks.

"LIKE CHICKEN. HA HA HA!" Mook replies in sign.


"Smells funny" is pretty easy to figure out, the way he moves his hand and scrunches his hairy face up.

- 7/13/2021 10:09pm

Big promotion today. The stable master liked my work -- said I was the best Ice Worm manure shoveler they'd seen for awhile, and I get to accompany the wrangler out to visit the hunting blinds tomorrow! Does this mean a raise?

Lois Andrada
- 7/12/2021 11:38pm

Working in the marketing department for the Royal Imperial Dukes of Iapetus Grand Lodges Inc. is my dream job. Ok it's more like an internship. But I've been wanting to apply my psychic abilities towards getting a degree in marketing and this is perfect for my list of Psyhigh extracurriculars.

So I get to write advertising copy, which then gets translated into hundreds of different galactic languages and printed on brochures which are distributed to rest stops all over this part of the Milky Way. Stuff about all the multi-species amenities and the room service and the pool.

What I don't get is the part about the hunting, because they claim a huge variety of native animals you can hunt, and have some blurry pictures of them. But Iapetus is, well, a small moon, with no real atmosphere, and an average temperature of around -160 °C. Which doesn't seem like a place that should have such a wide range of interplanetary fauna. But hey I'm just here write the exciting words! Not ask pesky questions. I mean, not if I want to ask for a recommendation when this is over.

Darla Alrad VII
- 7/9/2021 6:06pm

i got stuck with housekeeping, @Nald, and it doesn't sound much better. you wouldn't believe what kind of mess we find in the rooms, but at least we have hazmat suits. i think a lot of the guests are molting, or eat in their rooms. and it seems like nobody understands how to properly use multi-planetary environment bathrooms.

- 7/8/2021 4:57pm

Maybe this is actually worse than working for @Janitor Pete. I got stuck with cleaning out the stables of the Ice Worms, which is what the guests ride when they go out hunting. I have to wear an insulated EVA suit, but when I shovel out the Ice Worm poop it still steams. And wriggles a little.

I did get to see a hunting party returning to the lodge though. There were 4 guests and the wrangler, all in EVA suits so I couldn't get a good look at them, but they were pulling a big animal behind them that looked like a giraffe with tusks. It was huge! But also kind of sad to see it dead like that with its long snakey neck and big tusky head dragging through the ice and dust.

melanie moo
- 7/7/2021 7:05am

Yeah that teleportation ring was super hard to find, wasn’t it? Totally overgrown in a weird part of lower campus. Like it hadn’t been used for years.

Anyway, once we found it, we made our way to Iapetus just fine. The employee dorms are ok I guess but no windows! I thought they promised “spectacular views of Saturn” but my new boss Hildegard says I’ll get to see plenty working at the front desk. The Cave Twins got work in the kitchen.

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