HumorScience Fiction

Just An Average Guy...

By Richard Foss
883 words · 4-minute reading time

Hi Boss. You’ve probably heard about the little problem that we had with the new model humanoid spy, and I figure you should know the whole story.

As a reminder, I was against this part of the project from the start. If you’d like copies of the memos I sent reminding you of the danger of trying to pass as a Third Planeter, I can send them. I understand why Headquarters decided to try it anyway after the failure of our animal spy projects. We did a great job of fitting the snooper transmitter into the bears before discovering that Third Planeters don’t particularly like bears and don’t say anything interesting when one is present. The dogs were a bit more problematic, and the cats... I don’t want to think about what happened with that, if it’s OK with you. Having to blow up part of our own station to keep them from taking over did damage to all of our morales, budgets, and careers. With the new miniaturization techniques we have we had promising results with an organism called a mosquito, but funding for that was cut off when Headquarters decided to go full speed ahead with the humanoid thing.

That’s where the problem was, really. I complied exactly when Headquarters requested the specifications for human beings, sending the relevant excerpt of the foremost authority on human size, attributes, and abilities. It is not my fault that the person in charge of this project misinterpreted some of this information, and despite the comments of some of my associates I am sure that it is only a coincidence that the High Director’s crechemate was put in charge of the design team.

This item is known in Third Planeter parlance as the Guinness Book of World Records, and it is acknowledged as the oldest and most reliable database of this information. The Design Team Director was of the opinion that these things could be handled without a visit to the planetary system, which would have taken time and budget money that could be more wisely spent on other priorities. (See attached picture of his newly redecorated office.) He also demanded that the spy be deployed immediately after we received it, ignoring my protest (see attached memo #1188923688235A).

The Design Team Director sought to create a spy who was average in all ways, which is the usual procedure for creating our operatives. Upon noting that the lightest adult Third Planeter ever recorded weighed forty-one pounds and the heaviest weighed sixteen hundred, the Design Team Director settled on a weight of eight hundred and fifty as a compromise. In the same manner the Design Team Director settled on a height of seven feet, which wasn’t too far off. The real error, in my opinion, was in failing to note that while certain Third Planeters have grown to maturity with four eyes, these are a very rare type called Siamese Twins. Most Third Planeters have only two. Averaging the eye count to three was definitely an error.

I won’t even go into some of the other attributes that the Design Team Director built into the spy, such as the ability to bounce a basketball for two planetary rotations while riding a contraption called a unicycle and performing a mating ritual called yodeling. Experienced local agents such as myself could have told the Design Team Director that these actions are generally performed separately rather than simultaneously. The spy was apprehended before even one full planetary rotation had taken place, so the ability to perform these actions for two was not tested.

Please note that those of us in the advance team did our best to insert the spy among the Third Planeters in the most inconspicuous manner possible. We chose the landing site in the middle of a Third Planeter hive called New York City, which was the most likely place such a being could remain inconspicuous. Despite this foresight, the spy was perceived as suspicious within seventeen twenty-fourths of a planetary rotation and was taken into custody by the local Third Planeter authorities. We initiated the destruct sequence and it melted into the customary amorphous green slime. As all sentients we know of assume this pattern after discorporation, we assumed that this would lull their suspicions.

For some reason it didn’t. Just a few moments ago we observed that a Third Planeter journal of wide intellectual repute published exact details of not only the spy’s mission, but of our own base on the dark side of their moon. (See attached copy of The National Enquirer.) The article even correctly listed most of our intentions toward the individuals on planet, though I must say that the natives require considerable use of spices to be more than marginally palatable. We must assume that the Design Team Director erred in some way and left this data attached to the spy, and as such that we cannot stay here any longer.

We’re dismantling the base and getting out of here as soon as we can, taking a circuitous route back to Headquarters in case they try to follow. Every time I look at the Third Planeter’s journal I get the creeps, and shivers run up my spines. Tell all our other operatives to get out immediately. They’re on to us.

This story originally appeared in Analog.

Author: Richard Foss

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