The air is getting slippery and it's not to my surprise My heart, it beats irregularly and the sweat it fills my eyes I do not mind what I excrete 'cause I'm here to make a buck And those that cannot take the heat can take a flying Forgive me if I hes-i-tate Primus - The Air Is Getting Slippery Sargasso's Wetlands, Just Off Main St., Roadside Motel 'Willow Inn' Outside of the beachside city's crowded metropolitan area, a quieter corner of Sargasso laid half-in and half-out of the ocean north-west, over the mountains and visible from the skyscrapers of North Shore. Watching the star of Aleph Null fall north-west from the balcony of an arcology, the snaked rivers and splintering delta of sandbars framed shimmering water in the dusk as the lights of the little town-stead strewn throughout the marsh twinkled from afar, obscured and surrounded by the mangrove forests. Getting closer, the air of the wetlands was gently distorted by the pervasive, balmy heat of the coastal moon-colony's long afternoons radiating from the grey roads, coupled with the rising smell of rotting vegetation, still water, and waste bubbling up from the swamps. When this place was cast by the Units, they made no mistake to create an ideal environment for slime breeding and natural discovery, a delicate balance tiptoed by the cultivators large and small who staked claims here. Just off of the northernmost main road which connected the major land masses together, a seedy drive-in-no-questions motel was home to two upon an extended assignment, a beat-up old aerotruck full of tools was parked around the back for their stay, emblazoned with 'Putty & Resty's Plumbing' in large letters. A hydrocarbon Crude watched droplets slip down the window, their body mirroring the colours of the flickering neon from the sign outside before shifting back to their natural matte ochre texture, smelling faintly of sun-bleached plastic. Their amorphous body was framed by a hollowed iron bell, primary maesus core within. Three salvaged extremities served as finer manipulation tools, while they glided along the floor on a membrane which left no trail. Their working partner, a quietly grumbling Belza suited within neoprene, steel, and hermetic seals patterned in gaudy, lightly bevelled triangles, tools stowed across their body and hip was laying the wrong way around on the bed. Their two eyes circled around within the glass bulb that made the head idly, hooked up to something scintillating from the Mon-Channels on the motel telly. "The sooner we're done getting this pumping and shipping station automated, the better, Resty." The crude grumbled in a low register, visible eye peeking through the back-facing hole in their clam-bell at their partner. Their middle hand stretching from upon what could be construed as a right shoulder threw up their two-thumbed gauntlet in disbelief. "The Sourcian who runs the front desk was eyeing me funny again." Restaurant's - an old 0th generation with many forks - swirling eye motes paused for a moment, lights within turning green. "Take it as a compliment Putty, like you smell nice, have good skin, or chemical composition," They spun a finger around idly looking for a word, coming up short and producing an annoyed click, "o-or whatever it is slicks and flans are made of." Putty's visible eye rolled inside their bell, something clanging inside of them. "Sorry, that came out wrong." Restaurant apologised. "Eh, the only piece of me she can have is my mind and our hotel budget," Putty let the Belza's awkwardness slip right off their exterior. "My only concern are the conditions here - all the smells and impurities I'm discovering are hampering the build process significantly - I had to oxy-clean pipe we've already laid to and from five and six twice now." "Don't fret, the seals I put on today should be keeping gunk out," the lights within the Belza's dome swirled differently, discussing job trouble outside the job bothered him, since they were missing the good parts of their favourite show about a bounty hunter. "I just hope this weather doesn't break them." The Belza heaved a sigh, a warm jet of exhaust from processes within rising out. "We'll do another pass in the morning and carry on, I suppose." The Crude flummoxed their exterior palette indifferently in a shrug. THE NEXT MORNING... After ingesting nutritious petroleum and helium with a dash of argon respectively, Putty and Restaurant got aboard their rig under a cloudy day and made back for the silos and piping on the Der Merwe Slime Merchants property, a stone's throw away from a modest bungalow and cultivation shed surrounded by grassy wetlands. Their particular blendage consisted of savoury and sweet strains which were popular with Sourcians from the diaspora upon Orbital Object: Null, and the cultivators found themselves expanding faster than they could handle. Powering down upon a parcel of solid land, the truck's two cabin doors opened, from the driver's side was the Belza, stepping out and dusting themselves off with a sashay. On the opposite side, the Crude slithered out halfway, extruding four spindly legs to walk upon over irregular terrain before stepping down the rest of the way and closing the door behind them. Stepping through the fence around their worksite, Putty and Restaurant could see the storm last night had thrown some of their materials into disarray. They spent a half hour to undo the damage before getting back to work on this accelerated silo connection, and getting it hooked into control. The six silos were each couple of metres in diameter and ten metres tall, built like boilers while their pipes sported semi-transparent sections for visual inspection. An mobile tapping machine sat dormant, waiting for its next opportunity to dispense with goods. The Crude and the Belza were adding silos Five and Six to the original four. The third silo was a done by a friend of the family, while silos one and two were the first built for Der Merwe. Silo four was done by another contractor unknown to the workers. As the day wore on without incident and cloud cover thinned to warm the swamp, the heat haze and moisture from the wetlands was rose up, that palpable feeling you couldn't escape from would creep through most mammals; The way the Crude was seeing it was that the environment outside was saturated with humid, moist warmth, something ideal for Sourcia. "People with an epidermis wouldn't like this, not one bit." The Crude commented from upon Silo Five, unfased by the conditions while they watched the treeline. The Belza meanwhile was at ground level feeling a minor temperature warning, reading approximately thirty eight degrees and high humidity. As pipes five and six were tested again with a tool gel, the Belza supervised the flow for leaks; Something swimming through the bush through the fences caught their attention. The bush - the distinct iridescent shimmer of fish scale was unmistakable against LIDAR - how was a fish swimming through the hedgerows? "Hey." They said out of habit as the trout wove through the grass and toward the build site - they were wary of the ocean's denizens. "Cut that out. Shoo." The fish was illiterate, had no understanding of language, and obeyed its urge to migrate through someone's wetland property in the balmiest of climes. The Belza's LIDAR found more reflections of iridescence emerging still - a silvery dart leapt through the air from one pool of water in the wetlands to another, flopping ungracefully as it plotted its next move. This was followed through by many imitators, splashing and leaping en masse. Intimidated by the alien life forms, the Belza looked up at the Crude, who seemed nonplussed. "Wh- What are these things?!" The gaseous tradie panicked a little as they watched the fish throw themselves against the fences of the dry worksite, then watched the unfolding spectacle of nature in perplexity. The crude wondered what the dramatic bother was. "Fish?" They radioed to their companion. "They're fish, Resty." They chuckled, shaking themselves in bemusement and returning to their task - to be interrupted by a fish entering their field of senses from high up where they were. Momentarily perplexed, a free tool arm of the Crude snatched a salmon from the air, eye gazing into it before it was examined it in further detail by enveloping it whole behind the bell. "Not bad eats, either." "We're being attacked by aliens..." The Belza complained from below, selectively blocking out the sound of flopping fish before trying to get on with their work, then looking up to be greeted by fish clearing the fence - practically swimming through the moist air. "Der Merwe told us nothing about being attacked by aliens, Putty!" As checks were clearing and the silos were sound, the Crude overheard the Belza's complaints, and they saw an opportunity. "Hey Resty, Think we can upsell him a flying fish fence or something in light of these recent events?" They proposed, as the automated tapping machine was activated for its test run and lined itself up. Observing the machinery in action, Restaurant thought there could be a buck to be made in that before sensing a snag. Humans didn't see common fish as aliens, they just saw any other old animal, plus... "That'd mean we stay around longer, I thought you wanted to run back to your drum as soon as this was finished?" The migration of fish was beginning to circle around the higher, dry land and stayed in the wetlands where the humidity rose purest - the combined olfactory assault of humidity and fish irked Putty. Oh, right. The Crude remembered, though his complaint was only with the tall pitcher of jelly who ran the motel, not with getting their appendages dirty on work. Test gel was pumping from silo to tapper, and into a test drum with minimal turbulence. It seemed like their task was close to wrapping up. "We'll leave the idea in his head. Next time we're here for work we'll find a different motel, too." The pair's job had a habit of travelling all around Sargasso, and Putty loved planting opportunities for more work out among his clientèle, because the Crude knew they spoke. "You can pick any motel in the wetlands, Putty," Restaurant sighed as a flying fish assaulted the tapping unit, and another hit their truck's windscreen. "I just don't want to be attacked by flying fish on the reg..."