As he watched his weapon form, the Destroyer examined his intended target.
“Where was I, before I was interrupted by an idiot?” the Destroyer asked.
“Ha,” Anderson said.
Anderson A. Anderson was not the Destroyer’s target; the dart wouldn’t have pierced his skin.
Anderson was a member of the Grebyan species, and a Grebyan's hide is one of the strongest known organic substances.
In the 28th century, Grebyan skin was the basis for starship hull material on at least 37,004 worlds. The fake skin works fine until it reaches 130 years old, the Grebyan age of puberty.
One species, the Makunal, unaware of that fact, had to forfeit a war, when, to their great embarrassment, they found their 130-year-old fleet covered in acne.
By coincidence, the common Grebyan name, Anderson, sounded the same as the human surname, Anderson.
Ages ago the Grebyan word was An Dar Suun and meant Leader of the Wise. Due to centuries of linguistic change, it had become Anderson, a nonsense phrase. Anderson wished his name had the older connotation and not the current one: "Plastic Hat Again."
To most species, Anderson looked terrifying.
He stood seven feet tall, a pile of light-gray stone dotted with razor-sharp purple crystals. The crystals served as his sensory organs and vocal apparatus, and the largest mass of them covered protruded from his chest. Vaguely humanoid, he had two arms and two legs, but no head—his torso housed his brain.
After meeting Anderson, however, most species didn't think he was scary.
Yes, he could lift 100 tons. Yes, he could survive in the vacuum of space and under high gravitational pressure. Yes, he never got sick or tired.
But, like all Grebyans, he moved really, really, sloooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwlllllllllllly. His top speed was three miles per hour.
Despite his sluggish pace, Anderson was always ready to trade verbal jabs with anyone on Stuck Station.
Especially if someone made fun of his hands. He was ashamed of them: Grebyan fists are little more than large, spherical rocks, useless for precision tool use.
That's why Anderson, and all other Grebyans, wore energy prosthetics on each arm.
Surgically linked to the nervous system, the devices produce shapeable force fields the wearer can use to interact with the objects.
Without the fusion-powered machines, Anderson could never have held the two queens and three sevens in his faux grasp.
Stuck On: Grebyan Energy Prosthetics
The Grebyan species purchased energy prosthetic technology from a traveling salesbeing named Troakach millions of years ago.
Although the seller asked a high price—three of the seven Grebyan moons—most Grebyans considered it a good buy.
Until they noticed the millions dead ... from the catastrophic weather changes ... caused by the instability in their homeworld’s orbit ... brought on by the sudden loss of three satellites.
Then the Grebyans felt some buyer's remorse.
For those who survived, however, the prosthetics ushered in a golden age of invention and art.
Without them, the stone-age level Grebyans could not use their blunt, giant fists to build anything more complicated than an inclined plane.
Many Grebyans have even attached religious significance to the energy prosthetics, so central are they to their society and culture.
They also look like metal boxing gloves with blue, headless, transparent eels sticking out of them.