Qin sat idly on his chair in the command bridge. Well, the chair he had claimed for his own. No one had expressedly told him it wasn’t his chair when he sat in it and no one else sat in it after he started sitting in it, so that made it his by the divine right of callsies. The Zeppulian hung in orbit above Qwark, ready to leave in a moment’s notice, provided that Kara was onboard that was since Qin still didn’t know how to pilot the ship. He did know how to operate the teleportation app though and was on standby if they needed a quick extraction. He briefly wondered what Bor was doing in the engine room. He had told the Gorlothin to find something to do. Bor seemed to just know things, almost like information was relayed to him unbidden, and had noticed a couple of maintenance issues while in the engine room. Qin had happily left him to it, he seemed to know what he was doing and Qin was never one to stop someone who knew what they were doing. He yawned loudly as he stretch, the small insectoid wings on his shoulder blades popping out in full, a rarity for him. Not that he was ashamed of them though. He wasn’t ashamed of anything. He had decided long ago that shame came from other people and if they had a problem, it was theirs to have not his. If anything his wings got in the way when extended. His right wing had once poke Zo in the eye when he turned around abruptly and it had taken a lot of “There, there’s” and eye-blowing to calm him down. Also, since there really was no need for them to be extended while he was on a ship, Qin saw no point in displaying his Lofian heritage just because. A muffled beeping filled the command bridge. Qin looked around, confused what it could be or what it could mean. He then noticed that something was vibrating in his pants pocket. With a cautious hand hand he reached in his pocket and felt his fon. He pulled it out with some trepidation, unsure what he had done to anger it that it would beep and vibrate at him so. Looking at its screen, he saw that Zo was calling him and he smiled. Sliding his finger across the screen, he answered the call.
Kara watched Zo speak to Qin over the fon for a moment. He had stood apart from them to make the call but his hand gestures were quite pronounced and punctuated each sentence emphatically. Kara thought it was slightly amusing Zo gestured so despite the fact that Qin couldn’t actually see him. It was only an audio call after all. Smiling to herself ever-so-slightly, she turned her gaze to Midalyn who was who was absent-mindedly swinging her bold green flat hands to and fro while she waited for Zo to be done. She wasn’t sure what to make of the Phocida. She seemed so sure that they were the ones to help her ‘issue a complaint’ to Qwark’s Intergalactic Tourism Bureau but hadn’t actually explained what that would mean. We should be back on the Zeppulian going to the next place. There's too much to see. I can't get stuck again... Frozen. The thought caused a sad look to cross her face but she didn’t dwell on it. I can't get stuck again, she repeated to herself. But I can't just leave.
Zo was walking back towards them, shaking his head slightly, the moisture on his gills making his dark neck glisten when it caught the sunlight at the right angle. Once he reached them, she asked how Qin and Bor were.
“Eh, they’re fine. Bor is doing something in the engine room and Qin is Qin,” he shrugged. “They’ll stay on the ship until we get this... um, whatever sorted out.” He smiled and faced Midalyn, “Alright, let’s get on with it. What’s up with this planet?”
Midalyn let out a breath and flung her flat flipper hands behind her head. She studied both of them with her coal black eyes for a second before she began.
“As you might have noticed, Qwark is a little more zersflit than the holo-brochures let on. But it’s a fine planet, you know? Not all that special but it’s fine. We’re well-aware of the misleading holo-brochures and it’s no surprise to us that our fine but not all that special planet severely disappoints tourists expecting some sort of a planetary paradise or whatever,” she paused and Kara could help but note the snark in her voice. Her whiskers bristled and she continued.
“Millions of visitors from across the galaxy came to Qwark every standard sun-cycle bringing business so it seemed okay, you know? But they were always immediately, um, disappointed with the planet they found themselves on - my planet. Which we got since no one likes false advertising. Most of us just accepted their anger with a resigned shrug because what you gonna do?”
Kara and Zo murmured in agreement. Kara still didn’t see the need for off-worlders yet but it was clear that Midalyn hadn’t got to the twist yet so she let her get on with it.
“Some of us decided to protest,” she stated. A pensive expression washed over her face. “Of course, our feedback was important to the Intergalactic Tourism Bureau and would be passed on to the relevant department,” she recounted, her eyes became beadier somehow. She gave a slight smile, which Kara thought seemed quite sarcastic.
“In appreciation of our feedback, we had all silently been given coupons for the re-education centres found at the outskirts of town.”
“Which town?” Zo asked.
“Oh, it doesn’t matter which town. Every town on Qwark has a re-education centre on the outskirts,” Midalyn explained briskly, her head downcast. “Nothing truly happens at the re-education centre aside from being exposed to the most poorly produced and insufferable educational videos imaginable," she gave an involuntary shudder. "So you see it’s not that common for us to offer feedback, at least not officially,” she concluded sadly. A solemn air hung for a moment. But only a moment before Midalyn looked up at them with excited coal black eyes. “But off-worlders, that’s a different story.”
“I thought tourists complained all the time?” Kara interjected.
“Oh, they do. All the time. But never a formal complaint. And never to the Intergalactic Tourism Bureau’s main office.”
Kara looked at Zo decidedly. From the look on his face, she knew that he was committed. From the moment they met it was clear to her that Zo was one of those people who loved the sound of their own voice but she knew that once he had been convinced of something, that was that. She gave out a slight laugh at the situation they found themselves in.
“We can’t just leave, can we, flyboy?” The slight laugh turned into a wry smile as she addressed Midalyn. “Since going to the beach was such a clusterbust, we’ve got nothing better to do. Let’s go issue that complaint.”