Part I. Part III coming tomorrow.
“Perhaps you, Marty. Do you have anything that you wish to bitch about?”
He said it so conversationally, so pleasantly, that I just had to match his tone.
“Well, yes, Nathan. You, actually.” Carla started. I don’t think she expected the conversation to turn this way. “You see, you seem to be under the impression that we’re here willingly and helping you willingly. But in fact you’ve got us captured here like we’re sheep. And that’s really not very pleasant at all. We only get off of this ship maybe once a week when we go shopping, and that’s only because you’re too incompetent at it to know what food to buy. You hardly even let us up into the cockpit, so we can’t even see the outside. There may not be an outside, for all we know.”
Carla joined in. “The work that you’re making us do is boring and stupid and hopeless. It’s not the way I wanted to spend my vacation time. And we all know that Marty’s dad is going to consider this vacation time, and we’re going to be in the hole for, like, the next three years because you won’t let us go home.”
“And then there’s the evenings,” I added, taking over from Carla seamlessly when she took a breath. “And this is really the biggest point, because these events that you plan are nothing more than torture. If Carla and I wished to ballroom dance, we would have done so back on earth, by perhaps taking lessons, in a ballroom, with music, and people who know how to dance, rather than here, on a table, with an alien whose only connection to dance is having overheard the word in conversation at some point. We don’t ever wish to participate in a long jump competition, particularly not when that long jump competition lasts for more than four hours, despite having fewer than four contestants. And—oh, this is important—Debate a Philosophy night is something that can only legally be inflicted upon death row inmates and exceptionally pretentious college students who may be high!”
“You talk funny!” Carla interjected. “Use a fucking contraction! It’s not difficult! You can calculate ten to the five billion different checkers moves, so why can’t you understand that when you have the word ‘not’, it’s okay to replace the ‘o’ with an apostrophe and smush the whole thing together with the other word. The calculations are way simpler and you don’t sound like a jackass!”
The volume was rising, and making a pleasant echo against the metal shelves. “You have this whole room here, and it’s called a library. Get some books! Not metal plates that are painted to look like books, and not boxes that are painted to look like books even though they’re empty. Actual real books-that-have-words books!”
“Your computers suck!”
“You’re on earth now. Buy a frickin’ television!”
“I mean it! Your computers really suck!”
“I am a defective artist!” Nathan screamed.