"So be it." Calishina continued to translate. "Our plans were to send a task force of 88 code enforcement troopers, which I see may cause you ...consternation. If you will agree to cooperate with our agents we will reduce these number to a...single mimetic hunter droid. This is have no difficulty blending in with your population. In addition we will...contract...a Sekkar bounty hunter to ensure success. The Sekkar are renowned for their stealth and efficiency."
Calculations and webs of intrigue spun out through Raylene's mind. Like every situation she encountered in her unconventional line of work the chief goal was to use it to her own advantage and then, less importantly, to the advantage of the New World Order.
"This is acceptable," Raylene said after a moment's consideration. "I will allow you to send these two agents on the behalf of Imperatrix, but I require two concessions from you."
The robotic skull of the helmet glared down at her.
"First, you will provide us with information about the fugitive you seek and allow us to assist in apprehending them. Second, your operatives on earth will be formally introduced to us on the day of their arrival. When they are due to arrive they will contact us so that we can prepare a suitable welcome, after which they will be free to roam the world unimpeded."
Calishina made a sound roughly analogous to a consigned sigh and then translated Raylene's demands to the representative of Imperatrix.
The Imperatrixian seemed to listen carefully before taking its seat to consider Raylene's counter offer.
"It is agree, then," the Imperatrixian affirmed through the translator. "Before you leave here I will provide you with a detailed dossier in...human English...on the subject we are pursuing. You will be contact with coordinates for...rendezvous…with our agents."
The fly-eyed skull of the helmet swiveled to gaze at the chairman.
"This matter is resolved chairman, you may continue with your address."
The chairman did continue, at such length that it required two further days of grueling negotiations and arbitration to finalize agreements with the entire delegation. By the time Raylene was being given an anesthetizing injection for her journey home by the leering, enormously fat, and purple-skinned doctor she was totally satisfied with her work. She had secured the equivalent of billions of dollars worth of advanced microprocessors, strange organic battery technology, personal defense shielding, and various other gadgets and schematics that would be filtered out to NWO-run corporations over the next five years. In her mind Raylene likened her dealings with the Galactic Trade Commission of Imperatrix to the way the first colonists of North America rooked the Indians out of fabulous wealth in exchange for baubles or - as was the case with the Saccarites - Gummi Bears and M&Ms.
With a satisfied smile on her cruelly disfigured face Raylene sunk into the warm oblivion of the anesthetic. While she lay on the padded table of the infirmary snoring softly the underlings of the trade delegation loaded the long range dissolution transfer apparatus for her return to earth. She was unaware that she would be waking up in Antarctica. Raylene was also unaware that the slobbering purple doctor removed her pants while she was unconscious and took thousands of three dimensional images of her vagina.
The ice around her groaned and cracked sending plumes of snow and water vapor high into the sky and shocking Raylene from her frostbitten and snow blind daze. She jumped up from the pile of sealed transport cases and grabbed frantically at the satellite phone on her hip.
"NO!" She screamed into the phone. "No, you utter fucking morons, you're going to spill everything into the ocean!"
After years of being misunderstood, I had hoped we finally had "our" story. I was wrong.
He had a yellow inflatable tube around his waist, the kind with a comical duck head. There was a tiny fish in one of his hands, and a trident in the other. In the background a squirrel wearing shades was water skiing.
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