Rati opened his mouth to speak, but before uttering a sound the little creature collapsed to the floor. He froze in place, staring in disbelief. Was this some sort of trick? A biological defense mechanism? Not a very effective one in either case, he considered. He stood leaning against the doorway, idly twirling his long, slender tongue around one of his older teeth, casually jerking it free and crunching it in his jaws. A replacement was already beginning to form in the new space.
After several seconds, the small pink thing still hadn't moved. Rati sank into a crouch, moved toward the creature with deliberate caution, and picked up the long stick from its open hands. He'd noted how it was held before its wielder lost consciousness, and gripped the narrow end in a similar fashion. Then, in the eternal spirit of curiosity and exploration, he employed a nigh-galactically known technique designed specifically for such situations as this.
Rati poked it with the stick.
And poked it again. And again.
It quickly became obvious that whatever was wrong with the alien was clearly not going to resolve itself anytime soon. Which was very bad, because at that instant a pair of very large, heavily armed drones in need of serious maintenance exited from a hatch across the launch bay, sensor arrays and LEDs flashing sinisterly. Smoke belched from the chest plate of one, and the other appeared leave a trail of coolant every few meters.
And both were aiming localized singularity generators at Rati and the alien.
"Why do these things keep happening to me?" Rati mumbled, rooted in place with terror and disbelief. The pulse of the cannons broke him from his reverie quickly, however, and with reflexes he wasn't even sure were his he scooped the alien into his arms and rolled out of the way of the first volley. Rati leapt to his feet and ran in zagging lines, dodging around the broke down 'pods and parts, making for the launch bay door, the alien slung haphazard over his shoulder. He dove headlong through the door and landed hard in the corridor, struggled back to his feet and tore off madly down the hall, running on pure instinct. Fortunately, it sounded like the drones were having a spot of trouble manuevering through the corridor, and they lost them quickly enough. Still, Rati reasoned, a ship with two malfunctioning drones could easily have two thousand malfunctioning drones. He slowed, shifted the alien in his arms and fingered the strap across his chest, ensured he still had the toolbag from the machine shop, and settled into a light jog down the corridors....