The Sisters of Proxima Centauri wore their traditional habits, based on what had been common street wear two hundred years ago.

“So, you think you have what it takes to be a midwife?” said Sister Mary Xargbargl. A Theodosian, she looked rather strange wearing an Earth-style t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers, but the Sisters would brook no violations of their dress code.

“I do,” said Miriam Burbage, late of 1066 Vowele St., The Integral Article, Surwickshire.

“You do know that there are over 10,000 species on Maximus Prime,” Sister Xargbargl said. “Each with their own complex birthing rituals.”

“Well, I do know that 4583 of those species reproduce by budding or asexual division,” said Miriam. “So there’s that.”

“Hmph! I’ll be the judge of that,” Sister Xargbargl snapped. “How does a newly budded Pseudopodean prevent its parent’s digestive enzymes from permeating its membrane?”

“It uses its birth legs to crawl away before they soften, naturally,” said Miriam. “Do give me a harder one if you’d like to test me, Sister.”

“How long does a newly burst Chitinoid have to find a suitable host before it loses its baby claws, then?” snapped the sister. “And how do you, as a midwife, keep from being infested?”

“37.3 hours,” said Miriam. “And I’ve already switched to a garlic shampoo.”

“Where must the incision be made to keep an Eleutherian from eating its way out of its father?”

“Below the sternal vacuoles and above the hyperthorax,” said Miriam. “Are you quite finished?”

Sister Xargbargl nodded one of her heads rather grudgingly. “Just one more thing.” she said. “Why?”

Miriam looked off into the distance. “I want to help people,” she said. “If there had been an alien midwife when my sister was carrying her half-Scraglite baby, she might have lived.

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