Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Sci-fi · #1465399
A smile may have unknown consequences
|“The one thing you cannot do,” said Clara Holden, as she ushered the seven new greeters into the embassy’s reception room, “is to smile at any of the Choal ambassadors or their interrupters.”|
“Why,” asked Joy going the official greeting area. “We’re professional greeters and smiling is part of our job description.”
“Because, Miss Carlyle, we are attempting to negotiate a treaty with the Choal and secure mining rights to the Lortof System. The Choaler consider a smile as foreplay. As a request for an intimate relationship and since we don’t want any misunderstandings, don’t smile at them.”
“Well, I suppose every sentient species has it own unique culture,” Joy took her place beside Alice Langley, the head greeter.
“Joy,” Alice leaned over and whispered in her friend’s ear, “let’s change places.”
“Sure,” Joy smiled as her dream of first greeter came to fruition. “What’s the problem?”
“I don’t think I can keep from smiling, Joy, and I don’t want the head ambassador to think I’m coming onto him.”
I’m probably in the same position, she bit her tongue as she and Alice changed places, but I can always have my tongue reattached, if that’s what it takes to remain straight faced.
Outside the reception area, Ambassador Klav Forst, took a deep breath and slowly expelled it, as he consciously retracted his claws. This is my last attempt to negotiate a peace treaty, he thought as he turned the handle to open the reception room door, considering what an unhappy lot these Earthers are, maybe we should put the entire planet out of its misery.
The minute Ambassador Forst stepped through the door, Joy moved forward her right hand extended. Miss Holden didn’t say anything about not shaking his hand, so perhaps that will work in place of a smile.
“Good morning, Ambassador Forst,” Joy smiled as she shook his hand, “welcome to Moon Base One. I’m Joy Carlyle, your guide. Is there anything I can help you with, Ambassador, or any question I can answer?”
“It’s nice to meet you, Miss Carlyle,” he watched her smile suddenly freeze and melt into a frown. What a pretty smile she has, perhaps I was wrong about Earth people being so unhappy. Maybe they just get extremely nervous in formal situations. If that’s the case, I don’t see why we can’t negotiate a proper treaty.
“My only question, Miss Carlyle,” he offered her his arm, “is where the refreshments are, if I remember correctly from my last visit you Earth folks always have a nice selection of exotic foods.”
“This way, Ambassador,” she smiled again as she took his arm and lead him toward the banquet room. Oh well, she thought as they walked through the archway, leading to the international buffet. Since I can’t bite my tongue and talk at the some time, I’ll have to deal with the consequences of smiling at Ambassador Forst.
Inside the banquet room, Ambassador Forst, went directly to the buffet table, picked up a plate and put a selection of meats on it, before allowing Joy to direct him to the table occupied by Ambassador Calvin Jones.
“Good morning, Ambassador Jones,” Klav Forst set his plate down and took the place next to the Earth Ambassador, rather then the one across the table where his name card rested. “About that little boundary dispute we couldn’t settle at our last meeting, I think we are approaching it from the wrong angle.”
“What angle should we be approaching it from, Ambassador Forst?”
“Well,” he turned his coffee cup right side up and motioned to the waiter. “Both are empires would like mining rights on the planets of the Lortof System. And since all of the planets are apparently uninhabited by any sentient creature, I don’t see why we can’t come to an equitable solution.”
“And that solution would be?”
“Share the planets equally, you Earthers take half the mines and we Choalers take the other half.”