Darius sat back panting and sweating from the exertion of beating his station mate. Again.
His anger quenched, he looked with some pity, but little remorse, at Angela's bruised naked body. She was spitting some blood and whimpering but he'd, again, caught himself before he killed her, for that he was glad ... but he felt no guilt.
'Dammit, if she would quit whining and antagonizing me none of this would happen', He thought. Then his thought stream shifted to the imminent arrival of the relief ship which would mean the beginning of the end of his tour on this god-forsaken outpost and take him away from that bitch forever.
Thinking back over the two years, he should have focussed on the early times when they actually enjoyed each others' company ... both at work and in bed. But he couldnt help but remember his increasing awareness of her bossiness and her subtle but hurtful attempts to lord her education and social position over him. As if she'd gotten hers any differently than he had gotten his. Hers were also injected nanobots that manipulated her synapses, but hers were apparently increased and altered to give her some feelings of superiority over him.
'It's those fuckin' EAL bastards' fault.' he grumbled to himself for the latest in uncounted times. 'Anyone thinks they can make a human out of some chemical soup and nano-chips is crazy!'
Indeed the Enhanced Artificial Lifeform people had a long list of mistakes to account for and one of them was letting new versions and models out into remote service before they'd been thoroughly tested, long term. And, in Darius' mind, the Space Authority's bright idea of one human, one EAL per station was idiocy.
Thinking about it didnt help, though, it just made him angry, again. Angela was now sitting on her bunk and cleaning herself up while pointedly ignoring him. Her lip had quit bleeding that red stuff and she was halfway presentable. Which meant sexy. She had ALWAYS been sexy, she was 'made' that way, she had boasted to him once, in her haughty way.
Darius gradually realized that what she really meant was that she was 'made' for people like him to worship and slobber over.
Perfect body, insatiable in bed, almost perfect mind ... in her own estimation, anyway. He hated her!
'Shit', he thought, 'serve 'em right if I only turned in a bag of nano-plasm.' But he couldnt do that. After a series of near-disasters, Space Authority had removed the ability to deactivate EAL's. They still could be disabled, of course, but outpost employees no longer had the rights.
'Well, in a few months I'm gonna be with a REAL woman ... blonde, horny, dumb and knows her place!'
That thought was shattered by the unfamiliar hoot of the hailing ringtone. Darius looked over at Angela ... she had raised her head at the sound but only to curl her lip in a snarl when she saw him looking at her.
He got up and flipped the vox activation switch.
"Station Iona 9, identify yourself!"
"Iona, courier ship OrangeCrate, inbound. Who's this?"
'Who do you THINK it is, fuck!' Darius thought. 'What a bunch of morons ... who ELSE is gonna be here, Doctor Who?'
"Darius, stationkeeper." he responded ... no need to piss these guys off he was gonna be in a ship with them for 3 months, after all.
There was a few seconds of silence.
"Oh, yeah ... here it is. Sorry 'bout that. Anyway our ETA is 02:45 and thirty seconds. Is your docking pod enabled?"
"Enabled and tested this day." he responded.
.... There is more of this story ...