Culture / November 15, 2010
By Jared Vaillancourt [creative writing bureau chief]
“Hey, Jane, can I ask you a question?” Kris asked. Jane offered a non-committal nod over her shoulder, her boots crunching the odd plant-like things underfoot. “What do you think of those things we discovered a few weeks ago?” he ventured. Jane shrugged and sneered at some dead thing.
“You mean those fruits?” she replied. “I mean, those fruit-like things? Fuck, if those were fruits, they’re totally inedible.” She curled up and leapt, clearing the mass of the rotting carcass. “I mean, fuck, dude… they smelled like gasoline to me.”
“I don’t mean here,” Kris replied once he hit the undergrowth next to Jane. “I mean those things we discovered, you know?” he asked. Jane gave him a perplexed look, her brown eyes betraying the boredom he thought she wasn’t even trying to hide.
“We discovered those fruits,” she countered. “What are you getting at, Herr?” she asked. Kris sighed as she took a sniff and immediately cupped her hands over her nose.
“Fuck, this thing smells like those fruits, too… that’s not a good sign…” Kris laughed as he scanned the path ahead, deploying a quick nadion pulse from his forearm emitter to clear a tree-like limb thing from their way.
“I’m talking about those aliens, mein frauline,” Kris said as she took the lead again. Jane laughed aloud, but then paused and looked around warily as her laughter echoed mysteriously. Both of them paused.
“Interesting,” Jane whispered, “but I can’t say I’m a fan…” She motioned for him to follow as she continued at a gentler place. “There are a lot of aliens in the galaxy, Herr. Which ones are these?”
“Those cyborgs.” He replied. Jane stopped and turned to show him her ironic smile.
“You’re talking about us?” she chuckled. “My, my, mein Herr. Going native already?”
“I would never dream of it,” Kris replied, pretending his dignity was hurt. Jane’s smile only broadened as they continued to trek through the odd purple foliage. “Standard fleet personnel are only eighty per cent cybernetic. I’m talking about those aliens, mein frauline.” He yawned as she used her forearm emitter to quickly vaporize a hungry insect about the size of his torso. “Aw, Jane! That thing was loaded with some interesting iodine compounds!”
“It was big, slimy and full of what I assume were teeth,” Jane replied with out turning around. “I think that translates quite competently into ‘shoot me’.” She hacked a smaller twig – which then shrieked – with a sharp chop of her hand. “Sorry. What were we talking about?”
“I was talking about those alien cyborgs…” Kris trailed off as he noticed his voice echoing into the thick fog. Active scans couldn’t detect any solid surfaces through the thick soup. “I agree with you, mein frauline. I’m no fan of this talking fog either.”
“I’m no fan of this planet,” Jane countered as she crouched down to hack and chop at the plant-thing that had started shrieking, quickly silencing it. “Fuck me!” she shouted when the thing erupted, splattering her armor and face with a smear of light pink goo. She quickly stood up and spat while Kris laughed and slapped his knee. She grunted something rude in a language he could understand.
“Mein frauline!” Kris replied, only half-shocked. “Those are bad words, ja? Hey, it’s the planet that ejaculated on you, not I.” He chuckled as Jane stared blankly at him before she frantically did everything in her power to clean the goo from her face.
“This better not fucking leave a rash!” she half-yelled. She scowled up at her echo as Kris did his best to subdue his laughter. “All right, fine, mein Herr. What about this new alien species of cyborgs?”
“Done talking about this beautiful, pristine world, are we?” Kris asked. He hesitated as Jane spun around, discharging her forearm emitters as she indiscriminately attacked the fog. “Ja. Okay, so like I was saying, what do you think of them?” Jane turned to face him and sighed, her wrist wiping sweat and goo from her dark ebony forehead.
“They’re just more non-humanoids,” Jane countered, her hands going to her hips. “You know, I shouldn’t be surprised that every single sentient species we’ve encountered hasn’t been humanoid. I can follow the logic that alien environments starting with alien materials and going down alien paths of evolution can produce intelligent beings totally alien to us, but… well, I wasn’t really prepared for this,” she sighed. Kris crossed his arms.
“We were all excited by first contact, ja,” Kris agreed. “I mean it was all so perfect! Our good Herr Doctor flies his historic flight, the aliens land in his hometown… but when they emerge, they are using breather masks, stand nine feet tall and have four arms. The only humanoid feature on them had to be the ears.” He scoffed, smiling down at some snake-slug-root that was exploring his boot. “At least their ears were pointy, if not retractable and ten inches long.”
“The Vulcan race,” Jane agreed, “there’s no way we could ever breed a Spock.”
“Ja,” Kris smiled amicably as he took the lead, intentionally checking to ensure the red armor over his shoulders was cleaner than Jane’s yellow security plating. “So, what about these new aliens our good French pioneer captain ran into? Why do you think the Borg are so interested in us lowly humans?” Jane laughed as she reached into her hip, removing a probe to deploy into the fog.
“We’d probably be the easiest to assimilate,” she scoffed, “you know, being cyborgs and all.”
“Ja, mein frauline,” he replied as they reached a precipice. “Star Trek, mein ass.”
“Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination”