Captain Robinson of the destroyer U.S.S. Puerto Rico received several extraterrestrial diplomats for the Congregation of Galactic Governance that was to convene in Hawaii. His ship conveyed the distinguished visitors from spaceships that landed at sea and served as security for the islands during the momentous gathering.
Everything went smoothly until the Kulixes arrived. Unable to tolerate direct contact with humans for any extent of time, they sent a Wibblerian liaison—an alien that looked like a half-deflated beachball held up by four worms— to speak on their behalf. His name was Plinkpot. Admiral Babbitt boarded the ship for the meeting, which Captain Robinson held in the observation room. Crewman Dressler finished up cleaning the room and gathered the waste receptacles for incineration.
“They despise humans,” said Plinkpot. “They especially despise your mouths, the way you eat, drink, breathe, and communicate with the same orifice. They are very sensitive to the constant spray they detect coming from them. Plus, they think you smell like quimple glots.”
“What are quimple glots?” asked the Admiral.
“Horrid creatures that live in the Plood cesspools on Moo.”
“There’s a planet named Moo?”
“A very stinky one,” said Plinkpot. “Even worse than Earth.”
“What do they want?” asked Captain Robinson.
“They demand a sanctuary completely free of human beings. They require a dedicated block inside the ship they can withdraw to and escape the contaminated land. They expect a path for their boarding and debarking to be cordoned off for their use only, and they insist that the entire deck be empty when they do so they will not come in contact with humans.”
“Is that all?” said XO Farnsworth.
“We’ll accommodate them,” said Admiral Babbitt. “I’ll have the Idaho back you up while you move them in and out.”
With strenuous preparation, Captain Robinson made the arrangements, cruised up next to their bulbous spaceship, and cleared the deck while the Kulixes creeped on board. From the observation room they looked like orange grubs, but on each side were greenish, round, hard-shell shrouds that partially covered several appendages. It looked like two hermit crabs growing out of their bodies. They pushed one side forward and pulled themselves with the appendages as far as they could, then pushed the other side forward, affecting a sort of waggly slither.
When they were safely ensconced in their block, he signaled the crew, and the decks immediately bustled with activity.
A vessel shaped like a squid with a ruff collar emerged from the Kulix ship and burst through the air flying over the Puerto Rico about thirty feet from the deck. If there wasn’t a pane of glass in the way, Robinson could have almost reached out and touched it as it went by. It’s clattery boom rattled the ship and its trail of thick, brown exhaust settled on the decks leaving a slimy residue that smelled like burnt hair and mushrooms.
The intercom chirped. “Captain.”
“Steady, Farnsworth. I’ll be right there.”
The vessel buzzed the destroyer twice more before returning to the spaceship. Before Robinson could dispatch orders, dozens of men brought mops and rags onto the deck and started cleaning the schmutz, Dressler directing them.
Robinson called the admiral and put him on speaker. He explained the event with efficient detail, and he brought Dressler up to describe the mess.
“It was excessively aggressive,” Robinson said.
“We should be prepared to fire on them next time,” said Farnsworth.
“Don’t even think about it,” said Admiral Babbitt. “The last thing we need is an interstellar incident, and I’ll be damned if I’ll let some hotshot Kulix bait us into it.”
“It might have been a one time thing,” said Robinson. “But we should prepare a response.”
“If it happens again, send the Wibble to formally complain,” said the admiral.
The next morning, shortly after the Kulixes had debarked for the conference, the vessel emerged once again and buzzed them five times, two on one side of the ship and three on the other.
“All right,” said Captain Robinson. “Send for Plinkpot.”
The Wibble took their complaint to the Kulixes and returned.
The Wibble twisted one of his worms and puffed up his middle. “They said to blutt the fligger over the campledurp.”
“What does that mean?” asked Farnsworth.
The next morning, the Kulix vessel buzzed them ten times. Robinson brought together all of his officers in the Operations Room and dialed in the admiral. His officers tracked the brown slime in with them, so he sent for Dressler to bring a mop.
“Can’t we at least send some warning shots?” asked Farnsworth.
“Out of the question,” said Babbitt.
“What about appealing to the other aliens?” said the Command Master Chief.
“If the Wibbles can’t help, none of the others can,” said Babbitt. “So try them first.”
Dressler stuck his mop in the bucket. “I think I’ve got a solution.”
Following the swabber’s plan, Robinson cleared out the observation room and had Plinkpot escort the highest ranked Kulixes into it. Plinkpot had assured him that the Kulixes have the sensory capability to see what was happening below.
Through the intercom, the captain spoke to the Kulixes, and Plinkpot translated.
“Dear esteemed guests, I hope to appeal to your good graces by demonstrating to you the hardship and unnecessary work that you are subjecting my crew to by allowing your pilot to buzz our ship.”
“Frot the creeb,” Plinkpot translated.
“Go pound sand.”
“Ah. I understand your irritation,” said Robinson. “However, I hope you will change your mind if you will just observe below the problems that you are causing.” The captain gave the signal.
Dozens of crewmen went onto the deck with washcloths.
In the intercom the captain said, “Please observe, my friends.”
The men spread across the deck, and some of them moved the barriers separating where the Kulixes crawled on and off the ship. They all spit into their washcloths and started scrubbing the deck.
A horrendous groan came through the intercom.
“I hope you will find it within yourselves to show compassion for my overworked crew,” Robinson said.
The next day was quiet, and the Kulixes did not come out of their block. Captain Robinson watched the alien ships arriving and leaving. Three more days of conference.
“Farnsworth,” he said. “Put Dressler in for a promotion.”
“To what?” said Farnsworth.
“Anything he wants.”