Category Archives: Gary Cuba

Drabble: Lunch Break by Gary Cuba

by specklit

Mankind was poised to join the Galactic Federation!

Our trade negotiations with the recently arrived aliens had been proceeding well ­­although, not without a few moments of confusion. Nevertheless, we strove to present ourselves in the best possible light. When we broke for lunch, a white-­gloved waiter entered the room and took orders from around the table.

“And what will you be having to eat, sir?” the man asked the head of the alien delegation.

Long after the aliens’ abrupt departure, we discovered the glitch: our translating system had been reformulating the English word “what” into the alien concept “who.”

Author’s note: I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of “First Contact,” and how fraught with difficulty it will be. Seemingly miniscule but very potent mistakes will likely prevail.

Drabble: Wildcatter Blues by Gary Cuba

by specklit

I’d finally struck it rich in Beta Aurigae! One of my wildcatter land­probes had detected rare ytchurium ore on a nearby asteroid. I landed, barely able to contain my excitement.

My heart sank: a Kra’al ship was already there. Luckily, they said they didn’t consider ytchurium to be very valuable. They’d reassign their prior land claim to me in exchange for five kilos of antimatter fuelstock. A hefty price­ — but small compared to the claim’s huge potential.

After the Kra’al left, I couldn’t find any ytchurium except for the tiny bit they had obviously planted in my probe’s sampler scoop.

Author’s note: Everybody hates to be suckered, and yet it happens to us again and again. T’was ever thus, and t’will ever be.

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