Author : Viktor Kuprin

“B83-1 was the human designation for the devices. We first thought the images might be related to the trigger mechanism, but it isn’t so,” explained Intelligence Reporter PLOF-873 as he followed his commander into the storage bunker. “We have the human leader of this base in custody. There is high confidence that he knows the meaning of these graphics.”

Theater-Attack Commander SKH-1032 was sick of the human race. Their fierce resistance had put the planetary invasion three cycles behind schedule. The fighting had already caused nearly irrecoverable ecological disaster. At least this base in the sector called Alaska had been captured intact. Nearly intact, anyway.

The chief interrogator greeted them as they entered the bunker. Row after row of the devices filled the room. The images had been found painted inside the maintenance plate-covers of almost all the silver-gray cylinders.

In a corner was the now-subdued base commander, Colonel Heffernan. SKH-1032 was pleased that the human was bound with metal and fabric restraints. He had learned early on to never trust humans, even those that offered cooperation.

The interrogator jerked Heffernan to the first cylinder and spoke in the human language.

“What is this?”

Heffernan looked at the cover plate’s image without reaction. “It’s a blonde.”

“A nude human female with golden-colored, dead keratinized cells surrounding its skull and groin,” PLOF-873 offered.

“Ask it about the text,” ordered SKH-103. “What does it say?”

Heffernan read the words aloud: “Bad News For Boris.”

The group moved to the next cylinder.

“And this?”

“It’s a redhead in a negligée, with great legs,” Heffernan said.

“What is the significance of her attire?”

Heffernan held back his desire to sneer and curse the aliens.

“She’s ready to go to bed.”

“You mean she is agreeable and ready for the mating act, correct?” said the interrogator.

“Yes, that is correct, that and a lot more.”

The three aliens looked at the human, puzzled.

“The text?”

“It says “Putin’ It In The Right Place.”

“Meaning what?”

“It’s a pun, a play on words. Putin was once the president of Russia, a potential enemy to the United States,” Heffernan explained.

The interrogator turned to his two superiors. “Even after the ideological rivalry between the two prominent social collectives had ended, the humans continued to maintain these devices. We don’t understand this.”

SKH-1032 grew impatient. The countless paradoxes and mysteries of the human race were tiresome, of no interest to him.

“Enough. Ask what purpose these graphics and messages served.” The interrogator did so.

Heffernan shrugged. “Purpose? To let my guys have a little fun. To improve their morale. I shouldn’t have, but I allowed it. No one but technicians and loaders saw them, and they were all men. I would have had them removed if any women had been assigned to munitions maintenance.”

“Just for entertainment. Amazing,” SKH-1032 concluded, stomping out of the bunker. “Send the human back to the pens,” he ordered.

PLOF-873 stayed behind to help close the maintenance panels of the B83-1 hydrogen bombs.

The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows