“Kylax-ola, there’s a live transmission coming in for you.” The voice from the bridge is heard throughout the mess, where the ship’s eleven other crew members are gathered. The craft nearly flies itself but protocol requires one crew member on the bridge if they are on a mission. This would be considered a mission, of course. Unauthorized but a mission nonetheless.
“Can’t it wait? I’m in the middle of a meal.”
“It’s the UN Secretary General.”
“Oh all right. Have it routed here.” He looks around the table at his companions and says, “See? It’s me they call, not you.”
“Are you suggesting that interlocution is not worth it, Kylax?”
Kylax slurps his meat smoothie. “No, Zylan-dula. I am establishing . . .”
Beeping accompanies a flashing light in the console embedded in the arm of Kylax-ola’s seat. He raises his hand for silence. “To be continued.” Then he touches the flashing light. “Hello?”
“This is he.”
“Please hold for the Secretary General of the United Nations.”
Kylax-ola furrows his brow and gives an exaggerated shake of his head while rolling his eyes.
“Mister Secretary General.”
“May we get right to the point?”
“Please do. I’m at dinner with some friends.” Kylax gives a slight nod of his head which somehow communicates to the others at table that it is okay to resume eating. The slurping of meat smoothies creates a soft susurrus in the background of the conversation.
“I’ll be brief as possible. I’m calling you at the behest of the permanent members of the Security Council. As you know, we have a situation . . .”
“You mean Crimea?” Kylax tries to smile. He recalls reading somewhere that smiling comes through even when two people communicating cannot see each other. Smiling does not come naturally to Kylax. Likewise, he cannot think of himself as “people.” Oh well. No smile.
“No I do not mean Crimea, Mister Ambassador.”
“Then I’m afraid I’m at a loss, Mister Secretary.”
“There’s a jetliner missing. It disappeared between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing. It disappeared but did not stop flying. Apparently . . .” Ban Ki Moon’s voice falters, then he says, “You have heard of this, Mister Ambassador?”
“Oh yes. Of course. Terrible thing, Mister Secretary. Terrible thing.”
Kylax-ola’s companions around the table blink their wide eyes and their heads bobble with silent mirth.
“Would you perhaps . . .?”
“Mister Secretary General, please, you know it is against all our mutually agreed upon principles for us to lend any assistance during or after any disaster of any dimension. We would love to help. We feel great kinship with all Earthlings. But please remember, it was your side that requested we remain absolutely neutral and incognito. We might be able to locate the craft. But then what? Are you prepared to tell people we aided you?”
“Mister Ambassador, I did not contact you to ask for your help. Members of the Security Council . . .”
Zylax cuts him off, feigned shock infusing his voice: “Mister Secretary General, you’re not saying that someone is suggesting we’re responsible? Which members of the Security Council? We may have to respond to this insult directly. Who, Mister Secretary? What nation dares invoke our wrath?”
“No no. No, Mister Ambassador. Please. No offense was intended. It’s all so strange, that is all. We’re a bit out of sorts. Please forgive me. It was all my idea.”
“You’re in Manhattan, Mister Secretary?”
“Yes. Again, Mist . . .”
“Then we shall obliterate Manhattan. Right now. Wipe it from the face of your planet. Is that what you want?”
“Good God no!”
“Your people have launched the biggest search ever. It’s ongoing. Why bother me with this?”
“We have to search. We have to try, Mister Ambassador. For the families if nothing else.”
Kylax-ola slurps his meat smoothie and says, “Mister Secretary, if I were to tell you that right now my compatriots and I are slurping meat smoothies made from the missing airliner’s passengers, what would you do?” Slurp. “What could you do?”
‘Oh that Kylax. So outrageous. So funny.’ This thought swirls among Kylax-ola’s companions and settles in all their minds. One is so overcome with mirth that he slides under the table, convulsing and writhing with silent laughter. Kylax acknowledges the unspoken compliment with a nod of his head.
“Mister Ambassador, please, are you saying. . . ?”
“Purely rhetorical, Mister Secretary. As you know, we grow all our food here on the ship. That’s why it’s so large. Well, that and our other capabilities.”
He pauses. Only the sound of Ban Ki Moons breathing is audible. Kylax continues.
“Admittedly we harvested the necessary elements to grow and clone humans for food. But those harvests stopped two decades ago.” Kylax holds up two crossed digits and the others at the table rock back and forth with silent laughter. “Mister Secretary, are you still there?”
“Yes, Ambassador, I am still here.” A resigned quality infuses the Secretary General’s voice.
“So as you know, we have plenty of sustenance on hand.”
“Mister Secretary General, thanks for calling. I’ll be in touch immediately if we hear anything useful.” Kylax slurps his meat smoothie, then disconnects.
Lamand-kirla says, “We grow our own but there’s nothing like the taste of wild caught, is there?”
“Nothing like it,” says Kylax-ola. “Tenderized with human fear and adrenalin.”
Each and every nod their heads in agreement.
Soon the food is all gone. The feasting ends.
Chiran-dinga’s voice is heard from the bridge. “Where do we want to dump the tin can?”
“It’s a 777, right?” queries Zylan-dula.
“That’s correct,” replies Lamand-kirla.
“Where are we now, Chiran-dinga?”
“Over the Norrth Sea,” replies to the voice from the bridge.
“Let’s dump it in the deepest part of Loch Ness. That way if they ever find it, they’ll have two local mysteries there.”
Everyone bobs and rocks with laughter.
Now Kylax-ola and the others take their leave and wish each other well. Before they all transport themselves back to Earth’s surface to don their costumes and carry on their tasks among the herds, Kylax addresses them, “We should do this again. Soon.”
Zylan-dula says, “I thought you were unhappy with the aftermath of such an operation, tired of interlocution?”
“Interlocution is a small price to pay, dear friend. Good food and good company. A small price indeed.”