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by Paul
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2191209
Will we pass, or be destroyed!
“What in their world are you watching?”

“A song contest . . . singing contest. This language has no logic. I’m still processing tenses and I get them confused.”

“And that ball dropping down the pole?”

“A judging tool.”

“I had similar problems with Gorn. For my departure thank you speech to their governing council I was trying to describe a vegetable I liked that came out as a part of their anatomy. A sexual part at that and the ambassador did not think it funny.”

“Politicians are like that; They have no sense of humor, and they take everything so seriously. So who are these people? Doesn’t look like they’ve expanded far. Why are we here?”

”You never read the briefings, do you?”

“No. They bore the crap out of me. All the magic is completely gone from our jobs any more.””

”Well, they’ve developed space flight and they have colonies on their moon and the forth planet, uhhh . . . Mars, I think. They’re pre FTL travel.”

“So What? No FTL, no problem.”

“Their aggression levels are off our charts. They even fight among themselves. Death doesn’t seem to bother them.”

You’re kidding me! They actually harm one another?”

“They cause death.”

“That is not a civilized act. We’re here to track and analyze them, right?”

“Yes. The Board wants to know if they can be retrained and allowed to develop and join our galactic society, when the discover faster than light travel or be eliminated as a future threat to our existence.”

“Okay, how long do we look before we sample a few?”

“A couple of their planetary rotations, days they call them. But day implies light and a full rotation has a varying dark period too. Their language makes no sense.”
*****

“The images show 2 of them isolated in a ground transport . . . Car . . . far away from others. We can take them, interrogate them, wipe their memory and return them unobserved. Me still must follow the ‘No Contact’ directive.”

“Pain in my neither regions I always say.”

“That may be, but breaking it will result in a lot more pain.”

“Here we go, I love this new system. No more trips down to dangerous places. Now this system scans and disassembles them then rebuilds them here. No fuss, no muss.”

“Well, every few thousand transfers it reverses itself and that’s quite messy.”

“Doesn’t happen often and I won’t travel this way. I walk out, thank you.”

“Here we go—.”
*****

“Holy shit, Fred, where’s the car? Where’s all the trees and the dark too?”

“I don’t know. What is this place? A metal sphere with a glass floor. We’re in the focal point of the sphere. Holy shit! I think it’s a transporter thing. Like from Star Trek.”

“I want to go home!”

“That’s going to be difficult. I think home is a long way away right now.”

“Ralph! A door slid open behind you and 2 slugs just crawled in. BIG slugs. I want to go home. NOW!”

“We’re sorry, but that won’t be possible before the interview. After we wipe your memory you’ll be returned unharmed. Unless the shifting device fails, but that doesn’t happen often. Your species uses personal names, what are yours?”

“I’m called Fred and this lovely young woman is Kathy.”

“I want to go home now Fred”

“That is not possible . . . Uhhh, Kathy. Your interview isn’t over.”

“Screw your interview, I WANT TO GO HOME!”

“Raising your voice will not help, Kathy. Remain calm and we’ll be finished in an hour.”

“NOW, I SAID, YOU DISGUSTING SLIMY SLUG,”

“We are not slugs, they’re un-evolved, mindless creatures, we are highly evolved and intelligent. We were the first to develop FTL travel more than 50 million of your planets revolutions around your sun ago. Years?”

“Yes. No kidding, 50 million?”

“WHY WONT YOU LISTEN. I said I—.”

“Put it to sleep No.2.”

“Done.”

“Holy shit. Did you hurt her? If you did I’ll—.”

“No, no, she’s just asleep. Unlike your species we do not harm intelligent beings.”

Okay. What’s this interview about? Are we going to be asked to join some union?”

“Not exactly. This is to determine if there’s hope in transforming your kind to a less aggressive type. We think if you develop FTL and expand as you are now you’ll destroy our galaxy spanning culture.”

“How big is it?”

“The 3,542 different species that make up our society occupies 132 million star systems and over a billion planets, at the last census.”

“How many people?”

“Over 10 trillion at that same census.”

“And our few millions will destroy that? Horse Hockey!”

“What sport is that? I’ve read of Polo, a type of hockey, but never that.”

“It’s not a game, it’s euphemistic speak for horse manure.”

“You have a strange language.”

“Yeah, English can be tough. Try Finnish.”

“We have.”

“So what happens if we don’t pass?”

“We eliminate you before you become a threat.”

“Eliminate? As in kill us all?”

“Well, yeah, we can implode your sun effectively doing that I guess.”

You GUESS? Don’t you think you should KNOW that? You’re just blowing off killing a couple billion intelligent beings. I thought your culture didn’t do that?”

“It’s self-defense, a necessity.”

“But we haven’t done anything?”

“Yet.”

“Don’t you have laws to govern how you treat each other?”

“No. We don’t need them. Each knows what’s expected. Put it to sleep No.2.”

“I thought you’d argue through the sleep cycle.”

“We’ll let the computer do the scan then send them back. I’m for sleep.”
*****

“Well, No.1, now that we’re heading home, what’s the decision?”

“This pair showed they can be changed so we hold off on the sun-buster and teams of the psyche guys will arrive to start the change. They’ll decide if it’s doable.”

“Good, I can’t wait to get home. It’s our meld time coming up and I do not want to miss it.”

“All you think about is sex!”

“At least I still do.”

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