If you have not read the story by Pandeism Fish in this same node, please read it first, thanks!
"Alien spacecraft, this is Earth Defense. Identify yourself and your purpose here."
The day just went from marginally annoying to decidedly annoying.
When I got to my office this morning all I wanted to do was to have a nice hot cup of brewed stimulants and then find the maintenance department to see if they, finally, could see about the flaky heads on two of my rig's satellites. The girls down in the maintenance pool were, understandably, behind on their PM schedules, just as I was behind on MY scheduled assignments.
But like just every other morning it seemed, within recent memory, my inbox had several red flagged messages and, joy of joys, an immediate action work order, "see job packet E-6739X5DT5, blah, blah blah," I picked up my communicator and buzzed my supervisor.
"Supervisor, Rethichev speaking. Ah! How are you doing this morning, Hurth!"
"You tell me, Spug. You tell me how I am doing. What's up with this IAW?"
"Oh, typical Yuxvit shit. Some bigwig in the Ministry of Galactic Zoology is all freaking out because some planet that she likes to have her family reunions on apparently, possibly has some sort of organism running rampant on it."
"Yeah so? What is the big whoop, are we behind on that one?"
"Just like every other class G planet out there, Hurth. But you have to get out there today because somebody's favorite species of wild fungus just might be in jeopardy."
"Oh, come on, Spug...."
"No, no, wait, this is a good one, check this out! The Ministeress of Zoology is sitting in her dentist's waiting room, waiting for her tusks to get polished. She is reading an old copy of the Pan-Galactic Inquirer and, you know that Strange Encounters section in the back?"
"Yeah, always something good in there..."
Well there is a blurb about a "breakthrough scientific discovery of the millennia" in some scientific journal of some Plasma based-race, describing how they discovered, while searching for a new star to inhabit, get this, a 'previously implausible carbon based life' on an orbiting planet."
"Yeah Strange Encounters always has a bit about one race 'discovering' another 'wild, bizarre' life form, so what?"
Well, the so what is that these particular carbon based life forms thought that the Plasmas were intending to invade 'their' planet and sent a welcoming party into space to intercept them."
I groaned and massaged my optic lobes,
"AND, the shit hit your desk, of course, and you had a radiological scan done and it come up positive for excessive EMR, right Spug?"
Yup. Saddle up and check it out. And don't forget the paperwork. Oh, and fill out your expense reports when you get a chance, girl, OK?"
Several Million Light Years later I am staring at the dark side of my assignment and, yup, just as I had expected, the thing is all lit up with artificial light.
By, Prime, that is a helluva infestation, I thought to myself as I checked my logs, I didn't think I was that overdue on this one!
But hey, what do they expect when they layoff over a quarter of the Galactic Parks and Recreation Ministry? Oh, no the GPR is just some unnecessary fiscal black hole until someone's favorite fungus patch might get messed up and then it's as if an entire solar system went nova!
"Alien spacecraft, this is Earth Defense. This is your last warning. Identify yourself and your purpose here, or we will *blurp! unknown expression*."
I did not need the translator to know what will come next. Great. This is always a pain in the ass.
"Earth Defense, this is Planetary Degaussing Specialist, Hurth F'rienne of Galactic Parks and Recreation. I apologize but your planet is behind on its scheduled preventative maintenance. This won't take very long."
There was a long pause, from the spacecraft that had come to share my orbit.
"Uh, could you hang on for a bit...I do not feel I am, uh, authorized to, uh...hang on, we'll get back to you."
"Yeah sure," I replied and went back to heat up some lunch.
After a bit, while enjoying a nice bowl of vegetables in a protein broth, someone "authorized" got back to me.
"Specialist, F'rienne, is it? Are you there?"
"My name is Tyrone Washington, speaker of The United Nations of the Planet Earth. We welcome you to our solar system and to our orbit."
'We, are unaware of the...governing body of which you represent, sir?"
"Uh, not Sir, I am a female of my species. And, well, I am not really qualified as a diplomat, Sentient Speaker, I am just a worker for Parks and Recreation. Just going to do some routine degaussing, no trouble really," I lied.
"Miss F'rienne, what exactly is it that you are going to degauss?"
This is where the alarm and threatening and begging starts...
"Your Planet. Won't take long. Just need to deploy my satellites"
"Hold on there, are you saying that you are going to de-gauss the entire planet?"
And here we go!
"Yes, that is what I am going do in just..."
"You can't do that!"
"Well, Sentient Speaker, that is my job, you know."
Right on cue, a pair of jet torpedoes of some kind fired from the craft which I was communicating to. Casually, I flipped a switch which had "Pulse Generator" taped above it.
The torpedoes detonated and I waited for...
"What did you just do?"
"Well, you attacked me." I continued calmly, "You shall find that all of your orbiting craft and sensors are now off-line Sentient Speaker. Sorry about that, but I do have a job to do."
"Look, the thing that you are going to do will cause the whole planet and everything on it to loose their magnetic field, correct?"
Yup, that's what a Planetary Degaussing Specialist does,"
"But our whole civilization is dependent on magnets in turbines and *blurp! unknown expression* for electricity!
"Sorry, just doing my job Sentient Speaker."
"Your 'Job' will deprive the whole planet of light and heat and power for every facet of our civilization! Without it our whole world will collapse! The lives of over 16 Billion people are at stake!"
"Sixteen billion sentients on this sized planet, are you pulling my Threegers??"
"No! Please, you shall plunge us into darkness and famine and *blurp! unknown expression*, what you are going to do will be genocide!"
"Now calm down, I think that you are over exaggerating the situation."
"You sentients seem to be fairly resourceful. Your race shall survive, hopefully."
"Yeah! With a little luck and a whole lot of faith in a little while you will get it right and some one will come down here again to make proper introductions.
"It is our fault really, if it weren't for these damn budget cuts, we would have been able to get to you before all this happened and you would have not gotten sidetracked."
"For the love of *blurp! unknown expression*, please have mercy on us!"
And with that, my day was completely ruined. They were now going to go on pleading and begging and fnonging on and would make me feel terrible.
"Now, now, take heart everything will work itself out in the end. Stand by, please."
I switched off the translator and settled deep into my seat. After taking a moment for a deep sigh, I set about deploying the satellites until a fault indicator "#4 launch pod failure" started flashing.
"Oh, for Prime's sake! You piece of *blurp! unknown expression*!!!"