Free Story from J.S. Fields, author of the ARDULUM series

TALES FROM ARDULUM is a book of shorts, but there were a few really short shorts that obviously didn’t make the cut.

Below is a snip I wrote on the fly for a friend who was feeling down. I sent her the Emn illustration (you’ll see it in book four, and it is GORGEOUS) and wrote a little blurb to go with it. I wouldn’t consider this canon, necessarily, as Mmnnuggls probably have much more sophisticated bathrooms than what is described here, but the idea of the short was more of the Neek/Emn tension addition that start at the beginning of SECOND DON more than anything.


Neek kicked the pocked marked recess in the green-tinted wall. Water should have come out. Every being in the known universe used water to wash after using their version of a washroom. And she SWORE the damn thing had made some yesterday. How in the hell did it…


For absolutely no reason whatsoever, Neek spun around, violently slamming her back into the wall and her head into the too-low ceiling of the stolen Mmnnuggl pod.

Emn stood in the doorway to the washroom, her damn dress hugging her damn curves far too well. “Did you need help? I heard shouting.”

“No I don’t need help using a lavatory,” Neek accidentally snarled. Shit.

Emn took a step back, hands held in front of her. “Okay. Sorry. We uh, we ran out of the wash water though. There’s a gel in the other wall if you want to sanitize.”

Neek closed her eyes, nodded, and, mercifully out of Emn’s field of view, felt around on the wall until she found a soft spot that felt like a, well, a breast, and squeezed it. Something cold and viscous came out that smelled antiseptic. She rubbed it over her hands. Thinking Emn would be gone and she could go back to skulking in her room, Neek turned around to see Emn still there. Still fucking beautiful. Still staring at her.

And the tiny room she was standing in was way too warm.

“I uh, I’m sorry about yelling. At you.” Neek shoved her hands into her flight suit pockets. “I’m going back to my room now.”

Emn canted her head. “I thought you might come to the cockpit for a bit.”

“With… you?”

Emn nodded. “Nicholas is napping. I think I figured out how to access part of the ship log.”

Neek quickly assessed standing next to Emn, in a tight cockpit, when she was wearing…that.


Emn’s eyebrow raised. “Is something wrong?”

“NO,” Neek said quickly. “Why would anything be wrong. Your dress is fine.”

Emn blinked and looked down. “My…dress? What about my dress?”

“Oh fuck. Oh. No. I didn’t mean dress. I meant, fuck. Or NO I DID NOT MEAN THAT EITHER.” Her stuk gelled. The air seemed thinner. That had to be the Mmnnuggl pod, right? Or Nicholas playing with the atmosphere controls?

Emn looked thoroughly confused, and yet, Neek swore she almost saw a smirk playing at the corners of the younger woman’s mouth. Damn it was she… she wasn’t ENJOYING this, was she? Emn? Emn who was a fucking kid what, like a month ago?

Well, either way, Neek had to stop babbling in the bathroom. “Itlooksverypretty I havetogobye,” she rushed out, cinched by Emn (her breasts brushing Emn’s arm–something neither of them failed to notice) and bolted down the hall. Stooped, of course, because fuck Mmnnuggls, and fuck her because if she had to spend another month on the pod with Emn, in that dress, things were going to get a lot stickier.



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