the smuggler’s bible


The trolls on engineering deck keep posting about how the aliens will probably squawk like chickens. It’s xenophobic and reductive. And extremely inconvenient when the face that appears on the bridge viewscreen has a yellow beak that begins crowing before the linguistics A.I. patches in.

“Greetings and wishes of sun-warmed plant seeds.”

“Come on,” Nigellus says out loud to all assembled. “Be serious.”

“We encourage peaceful cooperation,” the creature replies. “We inquire respectfully regarding the juiciness of your worms.”

Some of the crew begin sniggering. Nigellus sighs. “I don’t know,” he says. “Tell them it’s a state secret or something.”