Today is shaping up to be the worst day of my life.

Perhaps that’s a little hyperbolic. After all, I did live through an intergalactic war before I had my first kiss. Watched the fire falling from the sky and ran for my life, pawed through rubble in search of anything that remained of my old life, lived in a crowded shelter that smelled like stale sweat and other people’s farts, and eventually shipped off to a distant planet to live in a tent for three years before moving into a proper, four-walled domicile again.

Maybe I’m being dramatic.

Only a little. Today sucks. It’s definitely the worst day of the year, no question about it.

“Well, Ms. Korin-Lassos?” my soon-to-be-former-boss asks. Her feline features crease in irritation. On the screen in my kitchen, she’s twice as big as she is in real life. Double the disapproval, double the disappointment.

I shake my head. “I’m sorry. I have no memory of what happened last night. Is it possible that he’s confused?”

Menda Vash’s eyes go wide as she says, “Are you saying that a Therassian warlord would lie to me?”

My mouth goes dry. “He was a warlord?”

Of course he was. What else would he be with those glorious horns and the rich blue-purple skin and the muscles that felt like a demigod sculpted him out of living stone? Who else could smell like that?

“That’s right. And if that doesn’t spark your memory, I’ll request Grand Collector Velarr’s security footage. You left your uniform on the floor of his bathroom and joined the dancing girls stark naked,” Vash says.

Quick. Turn on the tears.

I attempt a fake sob, and realize that this is a live demonstration of why I’m currently studying botany and not auditioning for the newest vid-drama. “I’m so embarrassed. I can’t believe I did that. Is it possible I suffered a head injury?” I say through gasps and hiccups.

Vash sighs and says, “I’m terminating you. And I’ll offer you a very generous agreement. Half pay for last night’s party, and I ensure that the appropriate footage is deleted from Velarr’s security. I’ll be lucky if he ever hires me again.”

I nod silently.

She stares at me with those yellow-green eyes for several seconds longer, and then the screen goes blank.

I flop back onto my bed and sigh. Half of what I told her was true.

When I woke up this morning, I had a splitting headache, the taste of fruity liquor in my mouth, and no clue where my panties were. I also had no memory of what happened last night.

Which is what I will tell anyone who asks why I got fired from my job with the catering company. This is where the lie begins, because I remember it all, unfortunately. It’s all but certain that for the next seven years, I will lie awake and remember throwing myself into the lap of a Therassian warlord and offering to fuck him. On my deathbed, my final memories will surely be about that night I nearly dry-humped a perfect stranger.

The mere thought of it makes me want to fall into a black hole and die. Historically speaking, that might have been a possibility a century ago, but the Praesyrion agreement made sure that no one could do things like throwing their enemies into extradimensional space for a breach in etiquette.

Too bad, really. That’s about the only way I could escape embarrassment of this magnitude.

Honestly, it’s probably for the best that I got fired. Sure, I need a new side job because I live in one of the most expensive cities on the planet, and I’ll burn through my savings in less than two months. But there is literally no way in all eighty-three confirmed galaxies and sixteen hypothesized beyond that that I could go back to work and face Menda Vash, who found me dancing naked with the Abrinda girls when I should have been serving pretentious little desserts that were too small to please anyone.

(Unlike the warlord’s absolutely massive…no, absolutely not.)

In my defense, the other guests didn’t seem at all fazed. They probably thought it was part of the show. I mean, really, I might have done Menda Vash a favor by diversifying her catering business. Dancing Drunk Waitresses could really add to her marketing.

But here’s the thing.

Like any warm-blooded human living in a cornucopia of diverse cultures and interesting experiences, I occasionally try interesting things that have interesting effects on my brain, digestive system, and libido. I mean, every woman on Phosra has tried the legendary Nimnavarian Nectar shot that will give you a brain-melting orgasm. There’s a reason it costs a hundred credits an ounce and they warn you to bring extra panties.

However, I do not do those sorts of experiments when I am at work, alone, or without the supervision of a more capable adult who has the good sense to say no, in fact, Seyla, you should not go and offer your pussy to the nearest Therassian warlord.

While I certainly remember the results, if not the location of my panties, I still don’t understand the cause of my behavior. I was minding my own business and working the party as assigned. During the day, I study alien botany at Thevet University. Because of my public service record, I receive a meager stipend and a free apartment. But a year ago, I decided I wanted something nicer after spending over a decade in close, cramped quarters with too many other people.

One of my friends from my civil service years, Ahris, hooked me up with a job waiting tables at a nice little diner near the spaceport.. A few months later, that turned into a catering job with Menda Vash’s company. In a city like Tahl Thevet, there are dozens of parties on any given night, and there’s always work for someone who can smile, pretend not to notice the occasional hand on your ass, and balance a tray of drinks while wearing high heels. Some even specifically request humans because they find us so fascinating.

I have made it through more than thirty fancy parties without trying to molest a guest, so what happened?

There are stories about the Therassian warlords, that they can command you with their eyes and dominate you from across the room, like some kind of psychic clitoral magic. But I’ve seen them at parties before, and I didn’t lose my damned mind.

So what changed?

Given that my untimely – but well-deserved – termination has left my schedule free tonight, I’m planning to find out.