Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

Captain’s log: “This is the third day since we made first contact with the inhabitants of the Epsilon Eridani system. The Kalers, as they call themselves, are an intelligent humanoid species that inhabit the second planetary body from their luminary. To date, we have discovered that, technologically, the Kalers are significantly behind us. Conservatively, I’d estimate that they are approximately equivalent to twenty-second century Earth. They have achieved routine interplanetary capability, and have a proto-warp drive under development. The home planet of the Kalers contains two large continents, one in the southern hemisphere and one in the northern, each ruled by a monarchy; King Suflamish in the south, and King Patuk in the north. As fortune would have it, our arrival into the system has coincided with an arranged marriage between the eldest son of King Suflamish and the second oldest daughter of King Patuk. I am not sure if this marriage is intended to unite the two ruling families or to…”

“Captain,” interrupted the tactical officer, “sensors have detected several ships leaving the planet’s surface. The lead ship is King Patuk’s yacht, but it appears that it is being pursued aggressively by the King’s security forces.”

“Perhaps, the yacht is being stolen,” mused the captain. “Contact them and ask if they require assistance.”

A few minutes later the communications officer reported, “Captain, as you know, I believe that I have conveyed your offer accurately. Commander Teplar of the security force says that the yacht contains ‘The Rose’, which is King Patuk’s oldest daughter.”

“Ahh,” replied the Captain, “there appears to be a little sibling jealousy. The oldest daughter must not be too happy that her younger sister is the grand prize in this wedding. Helm, intercept course. Lieutenant Harper, when we’re within range, retain the yacht with a tractor beam until King Patuk’s security team can board her.”


Two days later, the captain and his interpreter greeted King Patuk at the wedding reception. “Ensign, please tell the King that it was a marvelous ceremony, and that the bride looked radiant.” And as an afterthought, he added, “and, ask the King if ‘The Rose’ is available. I’d like to make sure that she has forgiven me for ruining her ‘great escape’.” The Captain smiled broadly as he waited for the interpreter to relay his message and translate the reply.

“I’m sorry, Captain. I’m not positive, but it sounded like he said, ‘The Rose is in the kitchen’. Do you think that she is being punished for running away?”

Perplexed, the captain pulled the ensign aside. “That is a possibility, Ensign. We can’t assume they react exactly like we would. Please consult with the Kaler interpreter immediately. I don’t want to offend our hosts so soon after first contact. These are very sensitive times.”

Minutes later, the ensign returned, visibly upset. Her face was ashen and her hands were trembling slightly. “Oh my God, Captain,” she whispered. “The Rose isn’t preparing the meal. According to Kaler tradition, she’s the main ingredient in the wedding soup.”

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