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Three Vermars, tall and reedy aliens who looked a lot like man-sized centipedes balanced on their tails, stood next to a water cooler, shooting the breeze. They spoke Vermararian, which always sounded to Kay like a cross between Esperanto and microphone feedback. And they smelled like fresh doughnuts.
Iggy, the senior of the triad, waved a pseudopod at Kay as he went to get coffee.
"How they floating, Iggy? Damn, don't tell me we're out of cream again? All we got is this powdered shit?"
Iggy chittered. Pointed at the counter.
"Oh, yeah, thanks. I didn't see it." He found the cream behind a box of stale doughnuts. "Thanks, Iggy."
Kay poured some cream into his coffee, stirred it, then looked at Edwards. "Okay, kid, you ready to roll?"
Edwards stood there with his mouth open, staring. Kay nodded at the Vermars. "See you around, guys."
They gave him some feedback squeals and waved.
Kay walked to where Edwards stood. Put one finger under his chin and pushed his mouth closed. "For future reference, this is a better look for you," he said. "Besides, some of our clients take that open mouth as a threat, you know?"
Edwards looked at him.
"C'mon, kid. Let's go take a walk. I'll fill you in on what you need to know."