Jun 24th 2011, 14:48 by E O Hatterpol | 1228 AU FROM SUN
NIXIE looked gorgeous, even prettier than I remembered from Monday. We had met spontaneously then, but I could tell she had taken some time in her closet and in front of the mirror today before meeting me at the StarLight Espresso Bar.
I had spiffed up my spaceman suit, too, and shined my pink utility belt; I wanted to look my best for Nixie. I ordered a black coffee from the lady; she was short, with sandy brown hair and an Italian nose. She looked tired, stressed out, overcaffeinated and overjoyed to be the owner of her own business. Nixie got a hot chocolate and I threw in a breakfast pastry for the two of us to share.
Lady & the Tramp-styles! I thought to myself. That's how we gon' get it done, Charles!
We chit-chatted for a bit, sipping our hot drinks and sharing the pastry. I made a few bad jokes, but she laughed anyways. She had this irresistibly cute way of looking down and smiling shyly when I'd look into her eyes, like she was bursting on the inside. What from, I couldn't tell. But I wanted to know more.
"So how'd you end up on Starbase Octopus?" I asked.
"I'm in the Help & Welcome department," she said. "I help people find their way around all the different tentacles and welcome them aboard when they anchor. I take groups of students or tourists or expeditionists on tours of the Starbase, showing them all the neat things they can do while they're here. Then I get them settled in their quarters & make sure they feel at home. It's kind of like orientation at college, you know?"
"So am I on the special tour right now?" I teased her.
She dropped her eyes and smiled that big, irresistible smile again.
"Well, I only ordered that black coffee so you'd think I was a normal guy, but truth be told I don't process caffeine well. I'm using all my energy not to bounce off these walls right now!"
"Why don't we start the tour, then?" she asked.
Shell yeah why don't we! I thought to myself. Now don't mess this up, broheem! Just be cool, ice cold, man - outer space cold, man!
"I heard there's some kind of observation deck nearby where we can check out the stars? Something like dark space-"
"The Deep Space Observation Deck?"
"That's the ticket," I said slyly. We gon' go where it's dark, playboy! I said to myself.
We walked to the Starbase's main square - the Octopus Beak - then turned down one of its tentacles. Our arms almost brushed once on the way there.
We reached a dark room full of suction cup windows with the letters "DSOD" over its threshold. We took turns looking into telescopes and thinking about all the possibilities out there - all the planets, all the new life forms we'd discover one day, we even found out how much we both loved to travel - and I worked my masculine wiles at full steam.
I think she was working her feminine wiles, too, because I was seized by a strong enough desire to kiss her to overcome the terrifying fear of "But what if she rejects me?!" I had only known her for thirty minutes tops, but I felt like I knew her already. I bent down to where she was peering into the telescope. She turned her head to meet mine, and we slowly moved our lips towards one another when-
"What the shell was that?" I said, pulling away from Nixie.
"I don't know!" she cried.
"I thought this place was deserted!" I said. I was pissed! Here I was about to get the first action I'd seen since leaving Earth (and then some) and some joker was crashing my snogging party?!
But then, from the deepest, darkest corner of the DSOD emerged the most terrifyingly disfigured face I had ever seen.