Danger of Dancing
by Jez Patterson
"It's 'mother' with the stress on the 'moth,'" Percina's own mother had told her. "Playing host to something that'll eat through clothes, is restless all night, and makes grown men flap their hands about in panic all the time."
Martin wasn't showing any concern for her pregnancy, his enhanced face not wearing worry lines and his enhanced mental capabilities processing Percina's changing physique as if she sat in a petri dish.
Captain Percina Saunders had only accepted the humiliating position of captaining the cruise ship because pregnancy was proving less plain sailing than painful swelling.
She stayed up on the bridge whilst Martin paraded the decks looking gorgeous for all the holidaymaking passengers, wearing a suit with so much bright white cloth and gold braid it resembled Caesar's favorite sofa.
"We have a problem," Martin told her when he'd finished his tour.
"I don't want to hear it."
Martin did it in mime. Smartarse.
"What do you mean the crew's gone on strike?" she asked.
The ship's engines, cleaning, maintenance, and cooking were all automated and so all Percina really had to do was watch out for space-bergs.
The "crew" therefore consisted of those on hand to entertain the passengers during their fortnight in Space. Keeping the passengers otherwise engaged distracted them from realizing they'd paid for the cramped living conditions and limited menu and exercise space of a prison ship.
"The entertainers claim they're being exploited," Martin said.
In the past, menial jobs had been done by exploitable immigrants. Space turned the status of "immigrant" into a difficult one for anyone to adjudge.
"And are they?"