Author : Phillip English

“Listen, that kind of thing ain’t my problem!”

“Well whose problem is it then? I got a lotta pressure from the top brass on this one, and I’ve got to tell ‘em something!”

Ba’rhy and Gleeg stalked along the walkway over the steam cookers, yelling at each other over the high pressure hiss that emanated from the giant, steel riveted bell-jars. Ba’rhy pointed towards his office and then to his lower ears. Gleeg nodded and waited until they were safely inside the confines of the supervisor’s sound-proof walls before resuming his interrogation.

“I acknowledge that you’re not exactly in the line of fire here, but I’ve got to give something to the higher-ups. Isn’t there some kind of fault you can point to? Something mechanical, out of our control?”

Ba’rhy pinched his foreflanges together in exasperation “If I say it was a mechanical fault, then our engies will get it in the neck for not performing proper maintenance. If I say it was a quality control problem, then a schmuck on the assembly line will be out of a job, and likely his life. What do you want me to do, condemn some poor bastard to his death?”

“I know, I know. It’s just that this kind of galactic fuck up doesn’t happen every day, and they want someone or something to blame.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Ba’rhy’s faceplate change hue to a smile. “But man, I’d have killed to see their faces when that bloater exploded in their faces. I mean, damn! All those chunks of fat and giblets strewn over Her Royal Highness? Hah! Priceless.”

Gleeg allowed his faceplate to colour slightly. “Yeah, right, I know. Look please, can’t you think of anything?”

“Maybe…hey, maybe we could say it’s just this batch of humans? Do a product recall? It’s a grand enough gesture and the blame is placed on the product, not the people behind it?”

Gleeg pondered this for a few moments, but then reluctantly leaned back and nodded. “Hmm, product recalls are expensive, but a lot of that cost can be reclaimed by feeding the ‘damaged’ product back into the feed stations. Alright, sure, I’ll see if it flies. But you’d better be prepared to point a foreflange if it doesn’t!”

“Yeah okay, okay,” Ba’rhy lead Gleeg out of his office and surveyed the landscape of the factory. The smell of the thousand or so bodies writhing around in feeder vats below made him shudder and return to his office. He sighed and brought out his private stash of clink: filling out the paperwork for the recall was going to be an all-night job, but someone had to do it.

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