Bícek-Qor-Eleven’s nose quivered. The dried liquid that had left these marks on the floor of the conduit smelled… sweet, and sharp. Not food. Trouble. His trouble. Sniffing, he set off down the line, following it back to its –
The trail ended. Eleven stopped, raised his head, sniffed again. Above. He scampered up the wall, and took a firm grip on a cableway with his tail, metallic skin-threads glistening. His front paws patted the insulation of the pipes, seeking moisture. There. He parted the insulation, pulling it aside, and touched his nose to the pipe surface. Leak.
Eleven pulled the tiny, half-inch canister of repair-spray from his jacket, applied it to the pipe, and listened to it hiss for a moment. He gripped the insulation with his teeth, pulling it back into place, then uncoiled his tail and dropped back to the floor of the conduit.
* * *
Talentar High Orbit
“Estrey? Take a look at this. That intermittent coolant leak we couldn’t find in the ag section; it looks like BQ11 just fixed it for us.”
“Well, I’ll be – see he gets some extra cheese at shift-end. Smart rat, that smart-rat.”