Protected:   4. “Bureaucracy kills innovation.” -Frank Herbert

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Protected: 3. Receiving

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A Tasting

Actually, it was a series of honest mistakes.

Firstly, if it weren’t the third tasting Isaac and Sara had attended that day, they’d have been slurping and swallowing Rioja, rather than slurping and spitting out Rioja.

Well, firstly firstly, if the two KüzGlorpons hadn’t modified their spaceship’s engines, they would have been recognized as KüzGlorpons and not the first humans to achieve warpspeed.

In all actuality, the very first honest mistake should be attributed to Cthlarians who felt that any single space journey at warpspeed was proof of enough intelligence, civility, and planetary unity to justify first contact with the Galactic Empire.

Thus, Isaac and Sara, swishing the deep tannins and notes of plum about their mouths before spitting, informed the distinguished Cthlarians of what must be a fairly common practice on Earth: wine tasting.

Thus, the Cthlarian spaceship synthesized its own Rioja, based on molecular scans. Amid the alien interior of the spaceship, the feminine curves of a wine glass stood defiantly filled with an unapologetic ruby hue. The Cthlarian ambassador impersonated Isaac and Sara, gripping the glass stem by her right tentacle, holding it to light, swirling the viscous liquid centripitally before parting her lip tentacles to taste the wine.


“This ‘Earth’ is doing something right,” she said aloud. Copying the Earth couple’s slurping action, she then spit synthesized Rioja onto the deck of the spaceship. The Cthlarian ambassador contacted the Cthlarian Embassy at the Galactic Empire.
In what humans had often thought would be an historical moment when Earth finally made First Contact, it just so happened that Isaac and Sara were imbibing again, Tempranillo this time. It may be important to note that the Cthlarian Ambassador was ninety-five and a half Cthlarian feet tall, roughly one hundred times the size of Earth. Floating half the distance to Venus, she raised her right tentacle and impersonated an Earth wave ‘Hello.’ Approaching Earth, she proceeded to part her lip tentacles to envelope the small blue planet in her mouth.

She swished around enough to taste a surprising lack of tannins, an absence of notes of plum, and an altogether salty flavor. 

It just so happened at that point, the joyriding KüzGlorpons sped by, shifting into and out of warp while fish-tailing around Saturn.

The Cthlarian Ambassador realized her and thus, her Empire’s, mistake immediately, and finished the common Earth practice spitting the Earth back out, keeping intact the orbit, continents, and planetary inhabitants as only she could. She then went to pursue the KüzGlorpons, who had no business joyriding at warp so close to a primitive planet.

Meanwhile, on the surface of Earth, Sara and Isaac spat out their Tempranillo, commented on the rich but smooth finish, and wondered aloud if they knew that there was supposed to be a solar eclipse today.

What were Sara and Isaac doing in Spanish Wine country?

Observations on a Spanish Vacation

The slick grey creature crouched behind the bushes, its ink-black eyes reflecting the fire’s light dancing on the vineyard cottage. It telepathically transmitted observations back to the ship’s computer.

“The primary human couple, the one I believe dwells in this building, returns to meet the other human couples, cradling bundles in each arms. Gently, the hosts pass the bundles to the eager secondary couples. The other couples exclaim compliments as they scrutinize the skin of the bundled offspring, which resembles green glass more than the human skin of the adults.

This must be a ritual to introduce offspring to the community. This fertile host couple have produced four which are apparently enviable. The ritual continued…

The host male parent produce a rudimentary implement, a tool of a handle with a helical blade. A guest passes one of the younglings back to the male parent, who stabs the baby earthling straight down into the thin top of its head!


As the male parent twists the helical tool deep into the top of the young human, his female counterpart begins the ritual killing again with another child, the human children’s bodies oddly reminiscent of bottles. 

Each of the human hosts pulls a cylinder of flesh out of the top of the offspring’s head, then tips the body’s liquid red contents into a series of globular glass cups. 


With the offspring’s bodies emptied, the couples raise their glass cups to signify the end of the grim ritual, then drink. The humans smile, nod, and speak of the flavors of the viscera. I translate:

‘Very Big.’

‘Overripe stone fruit.’

‘Such a smooth finish!’

‘Definitely black cherries.’


‘Almost buttery for a red…’

‘I say it just tastes perfect for a perfect night with perfect friends on what’s been a perfect vacation.’

The couples raise glass cups again, then consume more lifeblood of their dead.

Based on the cannibalism and overall savagery of these creatures, I am ending my observances on Earth and search for civil cultures elsewhere in the universe.”

Visit Spain! Drink Wine!


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