Time: A few years before Hell for the Company
Steam curled from Verin's nostrils as he stared at the vid. "We're gonna steal goo?"
"We are going to steal experimental intelligent polymer," Shax purred as he watched the clip play yet again. "Look at that lovely stuff."
"Uh-huh. More like creepy."
Shax waved off the comment and ignored him. The Smartmold (galactically registered and trademarked) ran through its paces in the vid again, oozing over objects to "feel" their shapes and then recreating the object or filling an empty space. Smartmold could instantly repair cracks in seals and gaskets in impossible to reach places, even minor hull breeches, useful for modeling and casting. In could even, as demonstrated in a segment that was, admittedly, slightly creepy, act as a temporary replacement for lost extremities.
"I'm not touching that shit. You can sulk and pull drama queen crap all you want. Ain't gonna happen."
"Settle, Ver." Shax tapped the vid off and cracked his knuckles. "I never asked you to. We'll do this the way we always did back home. I'll handle procurement. You take lookout and provide the muscle if it becomes necessary."
After a little bit of planning and surveillance, they broke into the lab on Terrapin during a holiday evening. The majority of staff was home celebrating. The local authorities were running a skeletal police force for the night. The weather cooperated with thick cloud cover. Classic stuff, really. Disabling of security systems – Shax. Disabling of security guards – Verin. Smooth as chocolate ganache. The superior sort, of course.
The signs near the polymer tank gave him a moment's pause.
DO NOT LEAVE POLYMER UNSUPERVISED WITH LID OPEN.
DO NOT TRANSPORT POLYMER PORTIONS IN UNAUTHORIZED CONTAINERS.
"I suppose they do need to be careful," Shax murmured with a one-shouldered shrug. "Proprietary materials and all."
"Just get the goo and let's go," Verin whispered back from the doorway. "Longer you take, better chance shit gets all fucked up."
That was just like old times, too. The familiar refrain made Shax smile in fond remembrance of heists gone wrong. This one would not. He'd covered every possibility. Slowly, Shax slid the lid open on the tank, just far enough to get his glass cube over the opening. As he suspected it would, the polymer reacted and surged up to fill the cube. The force of the surge shocked him, nearly knocking the cube away, but he managed to hang on and shut his captive portion inside his container. A little bit escaped before he could get the lid closed, but the lab boys and girls could deal with that.
Back to the spaceport and the Brimstone they sauntered, without a single hitch.
"Tell me there's a buyer for this weird crap," Verin growled as he started pre-flight to leave the planet.
"Benny has a bidding war going on, apparently. He'll let us know who wins. In the meantime, we'll head toward Amnesia sector. Most likely place a deal might happen."
Shax took the sealed cube to his cabin and set it on the table beside his bunk while he undressed for a nap. He deserved one and Verin would bellow for him if he needed anything. Naps had been scarce lately, and Shax succumbed quickly to the sleep of the successfully wicked.
Two hours later, he woke to the feeling of something profoundly wrong. He surged up and his heart did a police knock in his chest when he spotted the empty cube.
"Hell's pointed sooty gates," he hissed. "What…?"
The cube was intact. Only the seal was broken and the lid carefully opened. Could Verin have taken it out? Curiosity? Shax was about to hit the comm to ask him when he became aware of the oddest sensation. At his groin.
The Smartmold had wrapped around his cock and was oozing around his balls.
"Get off! Get off! Get the fuck off!" Shax screamed in a voice that was definitely threatening and not the shriek of a frightened human child.
Pulling at it did no good. The stuff simply slipped through his fingers. No matter how he batted at it, he only managed to smack himself, and it wasn't even the fun kind of beating off. Finally, it oozed off over his hip and onto his bedside table where it oozed into a perfect standing replica of Shax's genitals.
"Hilarious," Shax grumbled. "You're not funny, Mr. Mold. Now get back in the box."
He held the box out to the sculpture of his own cock, rather handsome thing, of course, but it didn't look its best in gray semi-solid polymer. The Smartmold refused to ooze into the box. Instead, it oozed into the drawer beneath.
"No, no, no! Not in there! Reeking sulfur pits—get back out here!"
After he pulled on a pair of work pants, just in case, Shax yanked open the drawer to find the Smartmold exploring his toys. Yelling at it didn't help. A stern talking to, likewise. Frustrated and oddly embarrassed, Shax finally pulled the drawer out and shook it over the glass container so that ship gravity forced the Smartmold to drop into the cube.
Shax set it on the floor, placed a heavy box atop the lid, and continued grousing as he got dressed. Stupid Smartmold.
* * * * *
Course set, nothing to do but let Ms. Ivana handle Copernicus drive flight, Verin wandered down to the galley for a cup of coffee. He found Shax sitting on the bench by the wall, sulking. The glass cube was on the table with that weird moldy stuff moving through shapes next to it. Shax wasn't trying to put it back in its box. He just sat there with his arms crossed over his chest, glaring.
The Smartmold was making…shapes? Wait. That shape was clearly a dildo, a long, straight one. That was a cock-shaped one, or maybe an actual cock. That was a flanged butt plug.
When Verin figured it out, he burst out laughing, hanging onto the wall to keep himself upright. "Oh, unholy fucking pits! It got into your toy drawer, didn't it?"
"Yes. Shut up."
But Verin couldn't stop. Every time the goo took a new shape, he started howling again. He wiped at his eyes, gasping, and managed to get out, "Why's it out of its damn box?"
Shax pouted, looking like the sulky little demon kid he'd once been. "It kept getting out. Seemed easier to let it amuse itself."
"It's been quite an education," Ms. Ivana sang from the speakers. "Who knew that Captain Hotpants had such an extensive collection? I'm just all aflutter."
The mold almost seemed to be looking at Shax for a few seconds before it collapsed into the shape of a studded cock ring.
"Stupid smartass goo," Shax muttered.
It was the one time Verin recalled that he felt like he might die laughing.