Author : Bob Newbell

“Your hot coffee, sir,” says the Inteeri waiter as he places the beverage on the table in front of me.

“Thanks. Here’s–” The short alien that looks vaguely like an anthropomorphic armadillo shuffles away before I can offer him a tip. At no time while serving me does he make eye contact. That was out of respect. And fear. I’m nobody important. Just a struggling writer. My waiter probably has more money in the bank than I have. But in his eyes — all six of them — it doesn’t matter. I’m a member of the galaxy’s most terrifying species. I’m human.

My old man was part of the delegation that made first contact with the Inteeri. The aliens weren’t sure if mankind posed a threat to them so their top military officials were tasked with the initial assessment of the human race. On a space station orbiting Inteer Secundum, my dad and the other human ambassadors met with the alien generals and admirals. One of the human delegates had a slight cold. He sneezed once during the meeting. An hour later the entire Inteeri High Command were dead. The earthly rhinovirus proved instantly lethal. With their military command gutted, the Inteeri political leaders unconditionally surrendered to Earth despite the reassurances of a distraught and horrified humanity that the Inteeri deaths were an unintended tragedy.

Someone or something jostles me as it moves past. Some of my coffee spills onto the table. I turn in my chair to come face to face with a rather surly looking Kordann. The creature’s eyestalks quickly withdraw from a beligerent extension to a submissive retraction as its leathery skin turns blue with fear.

“Ten thousand pardons, master,” the Kordann says through its translation device as it glides away on six tentacles, bowing in apology.

Humans made contact with the Kordann ten years after the disastrous Inteeri encounter. Again, the Biomedical Assessment Team determined there was little danger of contagion between the species. Nonetheless, the Earth delegates wore environment suits as a precaution. As the human ambassador walked up with his hand extended to the Kordann prime minister, he tripped. The Earthman’s hand struck the Kordann leader’s trachea, killing the latter. The details of this event bore a more than passing resemblance to a passage in the Kordann Book of Scripture prophesying a visitor from the heavens who would kill a Kordann ruler and establish a monarchy on their world. The religious-minded Kordann quickly submitted.

And so it would go for Mankind’s emmisaries to the stars. The Scottish brogue of Earth’s ambassador to the Relvet would result in “We come in peace and brotherhood” being mistranslated as “Surrender and serve, or die.” In the wake of the fall of both Inteer Secundum and Kordanna, the Relvet surrendered.

On Basura VII, the representative from Earth accidentally knocked over his water glass short-circuiting the computer that managed the Basuran Stock Exchange. A crippling recession and humble request that Basura VII be admitted to the growing Terran Empire followed. The Supreme Monarch of Juppnoi, finding himself trapped on a conference table by the barking Maltese dog of the Earth diplomat, abdicated the throne and turned the Juppnoi Kingdom over to Terran control.

Humanity now dominates much of the Orion Arm of the Milky Way galaxy. But we’ve turned over all further first contact and diplomatic missions to our extraterrestrial vassal states. A population of 50 billion subjects, none of whom we wanted, is more than enough.

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