Igra sat bolt upright in her bed, rubbed the sleep out of her duostalks, and threw the thin tunic folded on the nightstand over her thorax. Rising, she went to the room’s window. As she walked, her chitinous toes clicked on the scarwood floor, scuffing it slightly. It couldn't be helped; scarwood was a soft material, but widely available here in the Wastes. When she reached the window, she looked out onto the darkness of the Wasted nighttime, knowing what she would see. Sure enough, a group of cephalopods, each at least ninety cubits long, were breaching upwards from the sand as if it were water, then making long, slow arcs through the air and back down to the dunes. As they hovered momentarily in the air, the long splines of their tentacles lit up with a brilliant esparine-colored light, rippling the local space-time with strands of metachrome. And as they sunk back into the sands, they chuffed and larred louder than a Nikloid, the audions on their hind tentacles releasing a sound loud enough to make the Gods need earplugs.
Igra sighed, massaging the sensorium bead at her temple. “Frukking glow squids.”
It was the eighth night in the past two weeks Igra had been awoken by glow-squid activity. This time of the annum, the 'squids were in their hypertrans phase, returning from far dimensions to their spawning grounds here in the Wastes. As their reproductive glands became active, the 'squids became more and more attenuated to real-space, eventually resorting to crawling through the sand rather than shifting and apparating. Igra thanked the Gods that the mating fields were at least a hundred stadia from her house, over in the Whitebones. She had a half-cousin who had spent some time in Whitebones; the poor guy had nearly gone mad. As it was, Igra was already taking sedative supplements every other night. She knew that she had to be careful, though; Illiped physiology was not the best at metabolizing certain chemicals, and the brand she bought down in Sand City were not recommended for arthropods. Still, sometimes, like tonight, the incessant chuffing was just too much to handle.
Igra doubted whether he'd be able to get back to sleep. Probably not—she could feel the tension in her chitin that only time could relieve.
She turned away from the window and left her small, sparse bedroom and went out into