Crash adjusted the environmental controls on his suit, took a long sip from his hydration straw and began.

“So there I was - captured, by the Algonquin Indians…”

Orbit paused. “Wait a minute - ” interrupted Anne.

“Sorry,” said Crash, “I just like starting stories like that.

“Anyway, I was in my second year of University. I still hadn’t decided what I wanted to do, so I was taking whatever classes interested me. One semester, the catalog had a course on xenoculinary skills that promised to teach at least a dozen cuisines that humans could consume and would like. I thought it might be fun, but I also saw that the labs included trips to some pretty nice locations, and I figured that there would surely be some… interesting company in conducive locations, so…”

“I see what you were thinking,” said Anne, knowingly.

“Hey, what can I say? So sure enough, the class started and there was this one girl who I got along with, and we decided to pair up to study.”

“Study,” said Anne, deadpan, trying to make air quotes in her gloved hands. “In a cooking class.”

“Sure,” said Crash, “we had to practice, right? We actually got pretty good at some of the dishes. We made Flippian moss soup, flilet of Gnargl, and I was just getting decent at properly serving Hathian Stingerfish when it was time to take one of the trips.”

“Wait a minute,” said Anne, “Stingerfish? Those can kill humans if you don’t know what you’re doing. What the hell, Crash?”

“I live dangerously. Besides, I didn’t make ‘em fresh. Worst case, we would have lost a few pounds on the Stingerfish diet. 

“So we packed up, got on the ship, and headed out to Nexus Three where we were promised a course by some sector-renowned chef of some name. To this day I don’t know who it was supposed to be, since we never got there. Halfway there, our ship picked up a tail. Turns out our brilliant instructor was not only a great chef, but also cultivated some, shall we say, unique ingredients for his own enjoyment and profitable resale. Dumbass decided to take off on this trip with his whole stash of bioengineered mushrooms instead of delivering them to a buyer. The buyer wasn’t pleased.”

Crash stopped and adjusted his boots. Anne and Orbit waited patiently as he took off a boot, emptied out some sand, and put it back on again.

“So the instructor decided that this wouldn’t work well for him and he took off in the escape craft. To this day I don’t know what became of him. We were in the travel lane, but not near a thing. But I was the one on board that everyone decided to volunteer to pilot us the rest of the way to Nexus. That’s when things got… interesting.”