“We’re humans. Earthlings. Terrans. We are not Kludge!”
“You are to us. You’ve been Kludge for eons. Get over it,” the platypus-like creature said dismissively from its anti-grav sedan chair. It belched lustily, exhaling the unmistakable stench of Corn Nuts which it ate incessantly.
In his private office, Kin Kin Tram Wah, the Secretary General of the United Nations, reddened to the point of apoplexy. His aide fanned him with the document the Ambassador From Beyond had presented only a short time before to the General Assembly.
Tram Wah waved his aide away, took a breath and sat down at his desk near which the Ambassador’s golden sedan chair hovered, spinning idly in circles.
“Ambassador,” Tram Wah began calmly, “you have taken us by surprise. We have much to learn from your kind, but I must insist that you not refer to us as Kludge. It is demeaning.”
“Not at all, Kin Kin. Kludge is perfectly apt for your species. My race calls it like we see it. Your kind is kludge. You’re a workaround. A quick and dirty fix to a nasty little problem we inadvertently created. We needed you to keep an invasive species in check, and you’ve handled that superbly. Now, this planet is once again habitable for our kind From Beyond.” A deep gong sounded from the Ambassador’s sedan chair.
The Secretary General lost patience again. “Must you do that, Ambassador? It makes our proceedings cheap and theatrical. I mean, you won’t even reveal where From Beyond is to our astronomers. You treat us like sub-intelligent mutts. I feel like I’ve become Arthur Dent from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”
“Possibly if more of your race had read and heeded that illustrious historian, then you’d have a better appreciation for your place in the cosmos,” the Ambassador responded snootily. “But it makes no matter. You are Kludge and we really have no need of you anymore.”
“But we are an intelligent race?”
“We have spacecraft. We have computers. We have language and culture.” The Secretary General’s voice sharpened. “We have Corn Nuts.”
“That’s about all,” the Ambassador conceded. “Come, come. This is getting weary. You are Kludge, and Kludge have their uses. We gave you the limited neural capacity to dispose of our dolphin enemy, but do you think we would give you real intellect? Why would we create more competition?”
“We do not need to compete. We can cooperate and both benefit,” the Secretary General pleaded.
“So said the ant to the elephant.” The Ambassador From Beyond’s hovering sedan chair stopped spinning. “Look, Kin Kin, it’s done. You’ve served your purpose, and now you Kludge are on the verge of becoming an invasive species. We don’t need that kind of ecological nuisance in this galactic arm. Your species either boards the transports in six days in an orderly manner or we dissemble humanity’s DNA.” The Ambassador belched again heartily. “A Kludge, by its very nature, is a stop-gap. Face it, you’re all expendable temps, and it’s time you clocked out.”
Tram Wah raised his hands in supplication. “Please, Ambassador, consider our contributions. Humans have a higher purpose. Have mercy.”
“Higher purpose? Mercy? That’s what got you Kludge this gig in the first place: compassion for those sycophantic bottlenosed finbacks and their cloying, proud, ambitious brethren.” It snapped its padded forefingers in finality. “Six days.”
The Ambassador From Beyond and its golden sedan chair vanished with a flash and final melodramatic gong. The smothering smell of Corn Nuts all that remained.