Protocol One: Secure Peace Treaty
Capt. Drake Danvers of the Intergalactic Federation starship Exploitation sits across from the Snarfucik ambassador, a towering cephalopod from a race of beings that pride themselves on their cuisine. Eyes swollen from binge drinking and lack of sleep, Drake stares down his opposite while trying to ignore the gnomes hammering in his skull. A horrific image leeches from his mind along with all the alcohol fleeing every pore of his body. Suckers fasten on his neck and face, a smothering yet sticky embrace. He can barely breathe. Drake shakes the memory from his throbbing head. He must focus. The future of the galaxy depends upon this treaty.
The 23 dishes they must consume flicker and squeal on the table between them. The first dish is a limpid, puke-colored, crustacean appetizer that smells like diaper biscuits. A disapproving look flashes across the ambassador’s face, and the chef seems to wink at Drake with one of his seven eyes as he serves the dish. The antenna are still moving and an oily substance oozes from its cracked shell.
The virile captain is 99.9% certain that this is an assassination attempt to pay him back for what happened last night. However, Drake closes his eyes and imagines he is eating chicken, as he slurps the black liquid from the side of the plate. He offers the customary compliment:
“It is a feast fit unto one of the star gods of Asganthras. Let us partake of this morsel of our undying peace.”
The ambassador convulses as if Drake has grabbed the third appendage at the corner of his mouth, stretched it back like a rubber band, and released it.
Protocol Two: Seek Peaceful Resolution to Conflict
Drake reviews the translation on his omnipad and spots the mistake. He missed a click of the tongue, which means he said one of following:
“By Asganthras, your daughter feels like a dumpling soaked in butter.”
“Your daughter is fit to be a dumpling to the whore gods of Asganthras.”
The ambassador’s eye narrows and several tentacles wriggle and turn purple. The Snarfucik hate dumplings because their gods have declared it an abomination. Out of the 13 billion dishes they are known for, there is not a single variation on this starchy ball of dough.
Drake doesn’t need a translator to tell him they are perilously close to war. He attempts to shrug off his mistake with nod toward the translator. He laughs nervously.
The ambassador bellows and sweeps one limb across the table, and several dishes crash to the floor. One of the courses slithers off to the corner of the room and trembles.
In a moment of stomach-purging clarity, much like the one he had that morning when he woke up entangled in the tentacles of the ambassador’s daughter, Drake realizes his mistake.
The Snarfucik hate laughter. To them, it is the most odious noise in the galaxy.
Protocol Three: End all Future Conflicts
The mortified chef closes all seven of his eyes and leaps through a window that separates the galley from the kitchen. Clanging pots and pans announce his arrival.
The ambassador reaches for his blaster, but Drake draws first and fires.
The acrid stench of expelled ion energy and melting plastic fill the room. Slumped over the remains of the first course, the ambassador’s blood mixes with the oily sauce. Drake’s steely resolve weakens, and his stomach gurgles at the sight.
Recovering quickly, he growls, “I’ll see you in hell.”
The omnipad beeps. Drake’s translator informs him that the English for this phrase sounds a lot like the Snarfucik phrase for “my compliments to the chef” minus one glottal stop.
He tosses the omnipad on the obliterated table and vaporizes it. Then he frowns. Should he call the ambassador’s daughter? If they can get beyond the awkwardness of the blown treaty, maybe they could give it another go. The tentacles weren’t all that bad. Maybe she could grow to like dumplings.
What was her name?
This flash fiction never found a home. Part of the issue is that is is half-spoofing Star Trek and maybe a little too close to fan fiction.