The dog lay underneath the table. A slight breeze rolled in underneath the table cloth, which dropped down just enough to harangue the knees of those dining in the Spring air. He rested his head on his paws, expecting very little to come his way. Even the kids of the gentry had been meticulously trained since a young age to disregard everything but making sure not to embarrass their parentage, as if even their ancestor would feel the shame if so much as a crumb found its way to the dirt. The staff, who currently stood outside the confines of the tent waiting for a moment they must seamlessly intervene against an empty glass or vacant plate, had no such compunction and so the dog waited for the meal to end.
His favorite was the young girl who would let him rest upon the young master’s bed while she went about tidying his room. Even the young master wouldn’t intervene if she was in the room. Not that it mattered, as he would follow her from room to room as she went about her duties. Though, if he was around, he seemed to get a longer stay than usual. More than once, the young girl had been accosted about bringing her dog into the house only to later receive an apology from the new senior member of the staff.
On a small planet in the gamma district of a rather fashionable part of the galaxy lived the Parsi. They were small in stature, green, and lacked much in the way of useful appendages. They were also calm in a way Buddhist monks could never manage. Spirituality had little to do with their transcendent nature, rather when excessively excited or angered the Parsi exploded. Anthropologically, this led to some curious practices. Primary school was dedicated to teaching temperament in order to guide them through their turbulent adolescence. Also, deliberate cause of fright was punishable by life in prison.
They were not an advanced people, owing to their stubby arms and fear of hammers. Most of the work was done by outside contractors who convinced the Parsi to open themselves up as a resort for those who wanted to learn the ways of peace and calm—as if their mastery of the self was anything more than a desire to not blow their innards over the sidewalk. Inevitably, dealing with alien species proved too taxing on the Parsi. A committee was formed, an official load of bollocks about tranquility constructed, and outside gurus took on the role of “teaching” Parsi meditation techniques.
Flush with credit, the Parsi gained the interest of a new species, one with little hope of ever gaining inner piece, from the unfashionable part of the galaxy. This new species had never matured much as most interstellar races do upon contact with the broader reaches. Most planets afforded them only the most tenuous of relations, but still the space apes managed to weasel their way in with a unique skill. As social philosopher, Edward of Farbleknocker, put it in some paper nobody read and only quoted from when talking about them, “They have one skill the rest of our collected species lack, they’re lying sons-of-bitches and they’re good at it.” Other people called it marketing. Those in power found themselves endeared to the meat robots.
The meat robots introduced the Parsi to interstellar finance. This was not of benefit to the Parsi. They exploded.
The red light on the dash flashed, trying to send Kevin into an epileptic fit, but the blue light, yellow light, green light, and an entire line of white lights overhead established the pointlessness of the red light in alerting him to eminent danger. The quickly approaching ground, snapping branches, and the vociferous amounts of swearing were a much better indicator that things had successfully gone to shit. “Computer,” he called.
“Yes captain,” it replied in its grating fake female voice. “I am also required to point out that we’re crashing and sound a general alarm.”
“Yes, but if you could remind me, after we’re done with the crashing, to send a message saying I told you so, that’d be swell.” Kevin pulled the crash straps over his body, then closed the flak shield.
“General alarm,” intercoms across the ship blared. “General alarm. Crash imminent.”