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Better With Tentacles

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" - and I think it's just not right, you know what I mean?" Guy said.

Jason, Alexander noticed, was wearing his sunglasses again. Probably taking a nap, the lucky bastard.

The Mak'tar had been a deeply spiritual, highly accomplished people but, alas, they hadn't spent the five seconds it would have taken them to invent sunglasses. (Possibly because they hadn't bothered inventing glasses, either; all Mak'tar apparently possessed perfect eyesight.) And Alexander was a professional, all right, with meant no sunglasses while he was in costume.

"Please, not this again."

As usual, the wall radiated sympathy, but opted not to actually do anything about it, like fall over.

"You could always ask the writers, you know," Gwen said. The sympathy radiance coming from her was a bit weaker - Jason's bad influence, no doubt. Still, the woman had a point. Better yet: she had a point that might shut up Mister I Want a Romantic Love Interest.

"And what're they going to do with me, huh?" Guy asked. "I mean, we all know the Lieutenant's got a thing for the Commander - so where does that leave guys like me, huh?"

"Please say it'll get him tossed out of an airlock. Please."

Gwen glowered at him. Damn Jason. "Alexander! Look, Guy, just ask. What've you got to lose?"

"Aside from your dignity. Oh, wait."



"That tickles."

"Oh. I - "

"No, no, I like it. So um, is it okay when I do - "


"I guess it is," Fred said. "Cool."


"Tagny," Gwen said. "That's how people are referring to the Lieutenant and the Commander. Tagny."

"Yes. Well." These new writers were ambitious. They were going to screw up his character, Alexander just knew it. He'd already heard them talk about doing an episode with another Mak'tar in it - as if you could just pluck one out of thin air. Probably make it his long-lost girlfriend or fiancee or something. "It's kind of catchy, isn't it?" Alexander hated death scenes, he really did.

"Because, you see, Jason's character's last name is Taggert, and my character's first name is Tawny, so then, when you combine the two, that's what you get."

"Yes, yes, it's terrible. My sympathy." Actually, what you got when you combined the last name Taggert and the first name Tawny, what you got was a female commander by the name of Tawny Taggert, who had all of Jason's (in his case undeserved) luck and combined them with considerable feminine charms and an actual brain. Alexander should know; he'd written the episode for it. And never told a soul, of course - unlike some people, he did have some sense of discretion.

Jason looked up. "We're kind of popular, you know. Hey, did you see that video they made of me and Gwen to the sweet, sweet sounds of 'Hit Me Baby One More Time'? It's pretty cool."

" 'Hit Me Baby One More Time'? Isn't that a Britney Spears song?" With that kind of title, it would have to be. Fabulous modern times, where people composed songs about wanting to get spanked.

"It sure is." Jason grinned. "Jealous?"

Alexander sighed. "Immensely." Thank God Dr. Lazarus got spared that sort of insanity. Britney Spears, indeed. Just about Jason's level, though, he supposed, even if Gwen deserved better.

"Chela's more popular," Guy said. "They made a Rihanna vid for that - how about that, huh?"

"It's not more popular," Jason said, because of course Jason would leap to the defense of an imaginary relationship between two fictional characters, provided one of those two characters was played by him. "It's just that different people like different things, that's all."

Alexander turned to Gwen. "If I ask what 'Chela' is, I'm going to regret it deeply, aren't I?"


"What's an octopus?"

"Let me - oh, now that's just silly."

"I could still - "

"Oh yeah."


"It's simple," Guy said. "I've got just one word for you. One word."

Alexander wished they would be so lucky as to that one word also being the last one spoken on the matter. Yes, he supposed some people had probably gone to see Shakespeare's masterworks and gone back home again wishing Romeo and Juliet had actually gotten a happy ending. Or that Mercutio and Tybalt had run away together to New York to get married, although Alexander disapproved of all these modern interpretations on principle. Still, it was all just so ... silly.

"Yeah?" Jason asked. "And what word is that?"

"Tentacle porn."

Alexander groaned. "Learn to count, please."

"I didn't like it at first - thought it was kind of freaky, you know, but it sort of grew on me," Guy said.


"What time - oh man. Oh man."

"There still are fifteen minutes left, Tech Sergeant Chen."

"Have you seen my pants?"


"Thermians aren't like octopuses, you see. Common mistake, that, thinking they are."

"Nearly as common as saying 'octopuses' where you mean to say 'octopi'," Alexander said, glancing at the clock and wondering if he was going to survive a ten-minute lecture on the topic of tentacle porn.

"They're warm-blooded, you see?" Guy said, and it occured to Alexander that perhaps the question ought to be whether he wanted to survive. "None of that slimy stuff - just doesn't happen."

Clearly, the answer to that question was 'no'.

"Say, has anyone heard from Fred?" Jason asked.

Alexander came embarrassingly close to kissing him. (Well, no, not really.) "Bit late, do you think?"

It appeared Jason recognized a trick question when he heard one. "Well, no, not late. I mean, there's still ten minutes before we're on."

"So it's just like having sex with someone who's got a couple of extra arms," Guy said.

"Yeah," Gwen said. "Nothing freaky about that."


"Okay, I feel like I should complain about how you never actually need to put on any clothes, but you know what? It's great. I wish I never had to put on any clothes, either."

"Perhaps if I asked Doctor Lazarus, he would know what to do about the problem of conserving your body heat."

"Well, I don't know. Might feel a bit freaky, you know, to walk around naked all the time. Ooh, parking space. Are we going to be on time?"

"According to that clock, there are still five minutes left before we are expected."

"Good. That's ... really good. Um. I'm really going to get in a lot of trouble if I get dirt on these pants. And, well, five minutes."

"Five minutes."

"Let's make it four, right? Don't want to be late."


"Hey, where is everybody?" Tommy asked. "I mean, I just snuck a peek, and it's completely empty out there. What - is George Lucas putting in a surprise guest appearance or something?"

"Unlikely. I'm not smelling any smoke," Alexander said.

Jason frowned and walked to the door that led to the stage. "Tommy's right - place is completely deserted. Like someone set off the fire alarm or something."

"Again: not smelling any smoke."

"Well, what are we supposed to do?" Gwen said. "And where's Guy?"


"It is time, Tech Sergeant Chen. Here are your pants. They are still clean."

"Thanks. I mean, not for - well. Good. Let's get going, then. Uh. Lot of people in the parking lot all of a sudden. Wonder what's going on."


"Yeah, you read 'In the Tentacles of Passion'? That was mine, man. Guy. Guy Fleegman. I'm on the show, so, you know, you want to know anything for sure, I'm your Guy. That was a ... pun, you know?"

"Chela forever, man."