Author : David C. Nutt

“Give me a good reason why I should not demote you, Sub-lieutenant.”

“Excellency, I followed the mission parameters to the letter. I do not understand why the creatures reacted so violently.”

“Did you manifest as an older white male with upper mandible facial hair?”

“Mustache sir. The area indigenous term for it. Affirmative. I even put on the ocular enhancers called ‘spectacles’ and had the cranial hair appear thinning so as to be more non-threatening.”

“And the fossil fuel vehicle. Did you purchase one large enough to conduct an interview?”

“Yes sir. I purchased what they area indigenous call a “van.” Given our sensitivity to their sun, I chose one without windows in the rear compartment. Even though I would be seeking out their pupa- or rather their young, at the crepuscular cycle- what they commonly call dusk- I felt the dark interior would have a calming effect. This species goes into a state of torpor in darkness. I believe like our scientists that this may be a regeneration cycle to-“

“I do not need a remedial science lecture Sub-lieutenant. I also attended the briefings and trained for this mission. Skip over the details and describe what happened after you selected the subject.”

“Well sir, upon parking the fossil fuel vehicle near the youth recreation equipment area I then selected one of the young to approach for an interview. It was a male and it seemed more independent as it left its peer group and began walking toward my hiding place in the vegetation. I stepped out before him and offered him nourishment- confection they call it- no sir not quite right…candy! I offered him candy.”

“Did the pupa, er, young accept your good will offering?”

“No sir! It had a panic reaction. It began an excruciating sonic emanation display and it ran from me.”

“Did you try to calm it?”

“Yes sir. I firmly but gently held the subject and brought it back to the ‘van.’ My rational was the dark interior would calm it and I could conduct the interview.”

“Did the dark ‘van’ calm the subject?”

“No sir, it had just the opposite reaction! The creature increased its sonic agitation and began using its phalanges and mandibles to tear at my ocular ports and epidermis! It wanted to inflict pain upon my being! I had to release it and I just barely escaped some agitated adult monitors who almost stopped me from reaching the extraction point.”

“Astounding! This is the 54th system we have engaged for first contact and never have we had such difficulty. Our research section is must be missing some crucial socio-cultural rituals. Any ideas on how to proceed Sub-lieutenant?”

“Well sir, I have put the matter to much thought. I believe the manifestation as the white male, spectacles, mustache and balding to be non-threatening. Their literature and digital records confirm this. I believe where we erred was the target.”

“What do you suggest?”

“That the next target be female.”

“Will you give her a food offering as well, this candy item?”

“Negative sir. I will offer her some of their trade indicators.”


“Yes sir. I will offer the female what they call ‘money’ to go with me in the dark van.”

“Brilliant Sub-lieutenant! I cannot wait to hear your next report.”

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