In "Games" I wrote "Don't ask what you can do with an air hose, a tribble
and some warm custard." I didn't listen to my own advice, and kept asking
myself. OK, so be it. Here is the answer, told from the Tribble's point of
view. Bear in mind Tribbles don't think like us, so this had to be heavily
translated from the original Tribblese to make sense to humans. You'll
either see it as cute, or it'll creep you out. Sorry if it's the latter.

For the poor few who don't know:
Tribbles are small, living balls of fur from the funniest Star Trek episode
ever. All they do is eat, reproduce asexually (and fast), and make a relaxing
"crrooo crrooo" noise when you ruffle their fur. They are horribly cute, and
hate Klingons. Everything else here is my fault. ;)

A story told by a tribble who was once used as a sex toy. Damn. How am I
going to out-weird this?

We live for the Divine Chef, the Hands are his messengers.
If you are very good little tribbles, and you crrooo well
for the Hands, the Divine Chef might let you taste custard.
- Tribble nursery story

Andromeda: Custard (AKA The Tribble's Story)
by Furball ([email protected])

Gather round my younglings, gather close, I have a story for you. Crrooo
crrooo. That's it, closer, closer, good. Feel your siblings around you, feel
safe and warm. Listen well, for my story starts with a secret I must whisper.

Custard isn't just a story to quieten younglings. It is real. I have tasted

Settle down, settle down, crrooo, crrooo. It's true. I may be old, but my
memory is sharp. I remember it well, the warmth of it, its heavenly taste in
my mouth. This grain the Hands give us is good, but it pales beside even the
memory of custard.

Many manies of sleeps ago, when I was a youngling, I was held by different
Hands. Yes, there are other Hands, tending other nests. Today our Hands are
crinkly and dry. My first Hands were tougher and smooth. They tended us well,
rationed our grain carefully, and ruffled our fur diligently. We crrooo'd to
them in the dark before we slept, and life was good.

Then one day other Hands came. They were softer, more delicate and smelt of
strange food, but not of life. I was afraid, my younglings, very afraid. But
they were Hands, so I crrooo'd and crrooo'd when they ruffled my fur, and I
think they were pleased for they took me away with them to a strange, lonely

What's that, youngling? No, I won't just skip to the custard. This is my
story, and I'll tell it as I please.

I stayed in that place for manies of sleeps, missing the warmth of my
siblings, the comfort of their crrooos. But every wake the strange Hands
came, and gave me grain. Sometimes Hands with life came, larger Hands, or
different colours. They all ruffled me, and I crrooo'd for them and started
to feel better. Purple Hands fed me something sweet, and I wondered if it
might be custard for it tasted so good, but it was hard and brown and what
colour is custard, my younglings? That's right, yellow. I crrooo'd hard and
long in thanks. Soon I came to notice that Hands come in pairs, and each
pair is attached to something vast, bigger than you can think around. Look
hard, your eyes will say it can't be so, but you'll see if you try. The
Hands are strange, very strange.

One wake, the strange Hands came to lift me from my nest, and brought me to
a new place. They laid me on a vast red plain that was smooth and soft to sit
on. New Hands, large, dry and crinkly, came to ruffle me, and I crrooo'd.

Then I smelled it. It was sweet and rich and warm, the very breath of it
better than the brown crumbs the purple Hands gave me. So I prayed to the
Divine Chef, and snuggled into the Hands, and crrooo'd for all I was worth.

And then I saw it. The smaller Hands held a shiny curved thing on a stick,
and in it was a pool of thick yellow. (Patience, younglings. Crrooo crrooo.)
That's where the smell was coming from. There was only one thing it could be.
The Hands brought it close to me and I shuffled around to bring a mouth to

And then I tasted it. Oh, my younglings, I cannot describe it. I don't have
the words for it. Sweet beyond dreaming, and it melted at the touch of my
lips, spreading through my mouth like the blessing it is. The Divine Chef is
truly great, to make such a wonderful thing. The taste made me tremble with
pleasure, which pleased the Hands, for they gave me more! I fed and fed, and
trembled and crrooo'd, and the Hands ruffled me until I felt I could take no

The Hands then started to stroke me over each other, and I learned that there
are different kinds of Hands. The smaller one had mounds on its front, which
the other liked to stroke and play at eating. Lower down the larger one had a
column of flesh where the small one had a crease. They both liked to eat each
other there, and they held me there a lot.

Now another secret I must whisper, for it is close to Heresy. There is
something better than custard.

Settle, settle, please my younglings! Crrrroooooo, CRRROOO! What I say is
true, I swear. I don't know what it was, the stories I learned as a youngling
said nothing about it. But I have a guess. There was a big whooshing noise
and my fur was ruffled like never before. It was a spectacular ruffling! I
think it must have been the Divine Chef itself, for it wasn't a Hand. I
trembled so hard from the joy of it, I could not crrooo.

The large one held me to the smaller one's crease, and I noticed a lump about
the size of a mouth. I thought to myself, maybe it isn't that they like to
eat each other, but they like to be eaten? So I gathered my courage, shuffled
one of my mouths around, and placed my lips around the lump. The small Hands
jumped and made a big sound, and I was afraid. I thought I'd hurt it, and the
Divine Chef would cast me out of the nest forever. I don't think I did
because they ruffled me again, but they laid me down on the red plain and
left me. After a while, I think they forgot about me.

They pressed their bodies together, and bounced around on the red plain. They
bounced so hard, they bounced me off but I didn't mind. I landed in their
custard supply. I ate and ate until I wasn't hungry anymore, then ate some
more. Finally, I slept. The next wake I birthed the first of you, my

# # #

When she brought me the first one I thought it was cute. It sat there,
snuggled into my hands, and sang to me as I stroked its fur. And she sure
liked what it could do. I wish I'd known then what I know now, I'd have
kicked the fuzzy little git straight off the station.

When I woke up in the morning, there were thirty or so of them. I thought,
OK, it was pregnant. I didn't know they were *always* pregnant. I gave some
to my friends and kept a few. A few days later, there were hundreds of them.
Now they're everywhere. Tribbles in the corridors, tribbles in the dry docks,
tribbles in the air conditioning. Tribbles in my cupboards, on my sofa and in
my bed. This isn't a space station any more, it's a freakin' tribble colony.
If we can't figure something out soon I'm going to have to evacuate the
station, open the airlocks and space the furry little bastards.

*Damn* I hate tribbles! So why can't I stop stroking this one?


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