A Baker's Dozen
by Jason Browne
Let me begin by reminding you that, as a servant of the Great Council of Decisions, I believe whole-heartedly in my mission. Whether this is due to my own loyalty or my mental programming, overseen by yourself, I cannot be sure. I am sure, however, that there are those at home who question the morality, sanity, logic, and even the ethics of this type of contact with alien civilizations.
The civilization of which I speak fits within the constraints set by the Council. They inhabit the third planet of a small yellowish star. They are quite large for their environment, but their bipedal nature seems to more than make up for it. The majority of cultures on the planet, of which there are many, satisfy requirements one, four, seventeen, thirty four, and one hundred and sixty five. This makes them perfect for the Gift Item Zeta, a description of which is included.
I will reach their planet, a rocky world covered mostly by water, two days hence. Upon reaching 'Earth', the local name of the world, I will spend several days in orbit. During this time, I will search for a suitable landing site. I will then proceed with planet-fall and provide the first inhabitant I contact with the afore mentioned Gift Item. Along with the Gift Item, I will leave instructions on it's use and order the inhabitant to bring it to the nearest cultural leader. You will find that this is in accordance with the terms of my mission.
After the meeting and delivery of the Gift Item, I will return to orbit and remain there for one local year. In that time I will observe the effects, if any, of our Gift on the planets cultures and inhabitants. At the end of the local year, I will send another report detailing the outcome. Upon approval of that report, I will proceed to the next specified system. Thank you for allowing me to serve the Great Council.
Underling Sub-Commander, 3rd Class, #41765903
Description of Gift Item Zeta:
Ingredients list and recipe for a most remarkable substance. This substance, when formed into a torus and hardened at high temperatures by the use of heated oil, yields an amplifier of electro-magnetic fields. A single unit can provide enough power for a large city. A combination of several units can serve as a power core for the world ships seen throughout the galaxy. The only drawback is that the combination of thirteen single units into one generator will result in a cascade reaction capable of destroying small to medium sized planets.
: End TransmissionHail to my fellow servant of the Great Council,
It has been a year, local time, since my last transmission. At the beginning of that year, I was able to provide one of the natives with Gift Item Zeta, as detailed in my last report. I tried to simply give it to him, but he insisted on paying me in the local currency. As a result, I will bring several interesting souvenirs for you and the rest of the Council, upon my eventual return.
Moving on to the matter of the Gift, I tried to impress on the native the importance of bringing the Gift to a local leader. However, despite my repeated urgings, the native insisted on keeping the Gift for himself. He seems to think that making personal profit is more important that the advancement of the species. This feeling appears to be wide spread throughout the planet's populace.
Within the year I have been watching, the native to whom I supplied the Gift has started a mass production process. Apparently, these 'Earthlings' have quite an appetite for the Gift. I am not speaking metaphorically either. They have taken to eating them. Although it will do little harm to them biologically, I still can't see the sense in eating what could be put to such better uses.
The original native I spoke to must have overheard me speaking in my original language. He has called his new product a 'doughnut', which is, of course, the name for the Gift in our native tongue.
I have returned many times to speak with the individual, trying to convince him of the significance of the Gift. Every time I have failed. Since I have arrived at the end of my designated observation period, I can do no more for this planet. Perhaps, after I have moved on, the Great Council will decide to send another of their loyal servants to try again.
I will now proceed to the next specified destination, a small planet within a ternary star system. I expect to be dazzled and amazed at the sights, if the Council will allow it. Until then, this will be my last transmission. May the hallowed Council rule forever.
Underling Sub-Commander, 3rd Class, #41765903
: End Transmission Eric was sitting at his desk watching his computer run a test on their latest design. He worked as a graduate student intern for a government run project. The goal of the project was to find the ultimate, inexhaustible power source. 'A rather lofty goal,' he thought every morning on the way to the office, 'Which would explain why it's taken ten years to get nowhere.'
Eric shared an office with Paula, a woman who had been with the project since it had started. Every morning Paula would come into the office with a half dozen doughnuts. Every morning she would ask him if he wanted any. Being the health conscious person he was, Eric would refuse her offer every morning.
This morning hardly differed from any other, except this morning Paula walked in with two full dozens. Eric looked up as she set the boxes of doughnuts on his desk. 'Little hungry?' he asked.
'Most of those are for you,' she replied. 'Now you have no excuse for not eating any. We both know I can't eat all these, and I know how you hate to waste food.' She looked at him with that smile she'd had for the past few weeks. He could almost believe she had a plan to kill him with fast food.
'You know I don't eat that kind of stuff. Have you seen how they make those?' he said, repeating what he had been saying every morning for several months.
'Oh, come on. Just one won't hurt,' she countered, in the same way she done for even longer. She took a doughnut out of the first box, placed it on top of the second dozen and set it before him. 'Isn't that just too tempting to pass up?'
'No, it isn't. I have never eaten one of those things, I never will, and I won't now!' As he said this, Eric picked up the dozen in front of him and strode over to the atomizer chute. Before she could stop him, he threw the doughnuts down the chute.
'Hey! I paid good credits for those,' yelled Paula.
'One day, those things are going to kill you,' he said, ignoring her outburst.
The echo of his words followed the doughnuts down the chute. Once the doughnuts reached the bottom, the atomizer went to work. First the box was ripped apart one atom at a time.
The thirteen doughnuts now sat at the bottom of the chute. The atomizer went to work once again, using its powerful electro-magnetic fields to try to rip the doughnuts apart.
As the electro-magnetic fields grew in intensity, they worked their way into the doughnuts. Once inside, the fields grew in strength. They emerged from the doughnuts tens of times stronger than when the entered, only to plunge into another doughnut. This process repeated itself several times over in a matter of seconds. A white light began emanating from the doughnuts and moving up the chute.
As Eric and Paula pondered the strange white glow coming from the chute, the doughnuts began to consume the matter around them. As matter fell into the center of one of the small glazed rings, it was converted directly into energy. This energy was then re-emitted, and helped to draw more matter into the rings. In less than a minute, a large cavern had formed beneath the office.
By the time a day had passed, the entire planet had been eaten by the doughnuts. What had been a blue-green planet teeming with life, was now nothing more than a flash of light. In its place, around a small, yellowish star, orbits a baker's dozen of glazed doughnuts.