Kirrik swept a forehand over the metal surface, watching the shifting light that glinted off the surface. “The good news is, it’s not going to get worse for us,” he reported. “The hatch warped when it hit the deck, and tore a little. It’s no longer airtight. Between that and the vents, there’s enough air getting in here. The walls are all fine, and there’s no weight pushing down on them, so it’s not going to collapse on us or anything.”

His companion’s head tilted to one side. “There’s a ‘but’ waiting there,” Krinni accused.

Kirrik didn’t bother denying it, but that didn’t mean he had to say the word, either. “That warp means it’s not going to open without a lot of force, and the way the metal tore, I don’t doubt there’s some jagged edges on the outside. Niemel’s right, he shouldn’t handle it. We’re better off waiting for the others to get back than risking the last person still mobile on this rust-bucket becoming a casualty.”

“So we stay here for an hour or two,” Krinni concluded, feet shifting – maybe in a bid to get comfortable in the tight space, maybe a gesture of some other sort entirely. “So far as you’re concerned, it could be worse.”

“I’m sure it could, indeed,” Kirrik replied, letting the glow of his fingers ebb until it was barely there. “Dare I ask what you mean by ‘so far as I’m concerned’?”

Krinni let out the staccato chittering that was a Kareesk laugh. “Sure. You could be stuck in here with her.”

No need to ask what he meant by “her.” Not with how bitterly he’d said it. “I don’t get along with your other half that badly,” he protested.

“On a normal day, maybe not.” Krinni’s head tilted the other way. “But how long do you think you could stay comfortable in here without coming into contact at all? She wouldn’t like that at all.”

“While you certainly don’t seem to mind some contact,” Kirrik shot back a bit archly. Some people at this station would probably think that a gross understatement, in fact.

“I don’t,” the Kareesk confirmed. “So you don’t have to squeeze yourself into the corner unless you or the big guy would rather…”

There was an open invitation there, all right; for a moment Kirrik was about to make another sally. But he paused with the words unsaid.

The incident that had landed Krinni in the station brig had been about him being rather too aggressive about getting into someone’s personal space. Well, fondling someone, to be quite honest. But he wasn’t doing any of that here. Sure, he was closer to Kirrik than would be thought polite, but that wasn’t by choice – there wasn’t much room for a full-grown Kareesk in this hydroponics chamber in the first place; that Kirrik had been in here with him when the rack gave way wasn’t Krinni’s fault. Oh, he was plainly interested; Kirrik didn’t know Kareesk body language all that well, and Krinnishka’s fractured personalities might not quite follow their norms, but he could tell that much from the scrutiny he was receiving.

And yet he wasn’t pushing any closer than the confined space demanded, and he’d acknowledged Kirrik’s existing relationship. He hadn’t tried to say anything like “Gorrak doesn’t need to know” – he’d basically been asking if Kirrik’s Thing with Gorrak allowed for someone on the side as much as if he, Krinni, could be that someone.

So Kirrik took a slow breath, and said instead, “You know what, why not? It’s not like we’ve got much else to do ’til the rest get back.”

“That’s the spirit.” Krinni ducked his head in and nibbled at the base of Kirrik’s neck.

It was lighthearted, easygoing, and despite their tight quarters, really quite straightforward. Kirrik’s coverall, tailored to be manageable around his multiple limbs, was out of the way in moments; Krinni himself wore little beyond his feathered armbands, so though he didn’t have as much relative space to maneuver, he stripped down just as fast.

There Kirrik was uncertain. He had some familiarity with Kareesk, mostly virtual, but all of it had been with Kareesk who were, frankly, more normal – who were quite comfortable with all their sex organs at once. They alternated from one set to the other in a cycle, sure, but they were ultimately the same person no matter what point of that cycle they were at.

To say that this was not the case for Krinni and Ishka would be an almost criminal understatement.

In the end, Krinni made it moot by taking charge, drawing Kirrik in against him. Some of the details of anatomy differed, but the firm warmth of an erect penis was still quite recognizable as it slid against Kirrik’s belly.

At that point, his own eagerness took over, both of his lengths slipping free to twine around Krinni’s larger piece. His midhands slid over the Kareesk’s scaly hide, forehands doing much the same up on his muzzle, his fingers casting enough light to glimpse his new partner’s features, to see the eager gleam in his eyes, but not much more. Most of the light in the tight space came from lower down, from the twin members embracing his larger lover’s length, blue-green radiance playing over flesh that was growing quite comfortably, quite excitingly slick.

Krinni’s breaths were slower than his, but there was a sharpness to their rhythm, each breath rushing in, then slipping back out almost inaudibly. It made it a bit harder to tell when he was managing to rub somewhere just right, but he did his best. And apparently his best was good enough, because Krinni was the first to succumb, shuddering against Kirrik and muffling a keening whine against the Trygg’s neck, clutching him tight, wet heat flowing over his flesh. There was an enticingly unfamiliar edge to the Kareesk’s scent as he came, something alien and exotic about his semen, yet there was no mistaking it for anything but what it was.

And it was always thrilling to know he’d got his partner off. Thrilling enough that he soon followed suit, first on the right side, then, as he kept sliding himself against his partner’s male equipment, on the left immediately after. It wasn’t the intense double-climax he’d sometimes had, but it kept him awash in pleasure for quite a while.

In the gentle haze of afterglow, it occurred to him that it was much easier to cuddle up to someone who wasn’t quite so outrageously larger than him.

At length Krinni asked, “So how much time have we killed?”

Trust a predatory race to stick with that idiom. “About,” Kirrik twisted around to poke at his tablet, “twenty minutes.” And about half of that had been the afterglow.

“So they won’t be back yet,” the Kareesk sighed.

“Not a chance,” Kirrik agreed.

Krinni drew another breath, head tilting to one side. The silence drew out for a moment. Finally, he asked, “Again?”

The Trygg laughed, shrugging with two pairs of limbs. “Might as well.”