Great way to start the days after a make-up week, I know. Fourth of July celebrations and the recovery had me away from my computer longer than expected.
Hobbes was his usual self - tall, lanky, balding on top but a neat beard below - and stretched out on the floor looking over the details of some tiny mechanism. It was like a cat playing with a mouse - the project would be almost done, and then into pieces again. As Diego often pointed out - "I'm glad you don't deliver babies that way".
Sing-sing on the other hand, had affixed a small band around her neck, and then folded up a pair of extending arms to put lenses in-front of her larger eyes to do some reading. It didn't strike anyone as the most efficient way to build a pair of glasses - but a normal pair of frames wouldn't really work on here ear-less horse like face.
The alien spoke first, shrill and high pitched, but a valiant effort to avoid using the translation device. "Diego When might get back?"
"Its a pretty bad storm out there. I'm half inclined to turn the transmitter on charging batteries be damned to give him a better beacon."
"I past offer to go. Eekaidie has warm units and cargo can carry."
"Even if you claimed to be our friend, I don't think the people would appreciate that machine appearing on their doorstep. Besides, it can't be easy to haggle through a vocorder. Diego could sell ice in Siberia."
Sing-Sing gave an acknowledging whistle and a quick head horizontal shake.
"So long as the one who is always touchy about family and government is away, I might as well ask - what is the Planetary Citizen government like?"
"I try not to be present for that either."
"You seem to be willfully ignorant of most aspects of citizen life."
Sing-Sing unclipped her glasses, and replaced them with the microphone for the translator. It gave a few warning tones and then stated "fast rocks skip on slow water under five blue moons."
"Why does that machine always say that?"
"It is a tongue-twit-er in our lang-wage. A good test for systems. Supposedly. Or the people were tired of boring mono-tone."
"The machine has improved quite a bit. Bored they may be, the designers did a good job. Now, as for politics?"
"Old style gov-ern-ment is based on the rule of four. True to Beu-orc-ra-see, that takes ten people. In ideal, one decides, two debate each side of issue for them. Three do re-search or find papers to assist the two. Four carry out the will. Some times this means spread word of law. Many other take it to mean to kill offenders. The one is often a family head, the two are representatives such as members of other family or heads of guild."
"Hmm, kind of like a trial. A judge listens to the prosecution and defense. The three find the evidence and needed paperwork."
"So if that is the old style, is there a new one in place?"
"That is fine for one family or guild. But how to represent a large number of people? We elect groups, the one who has the strongest coalition assigns a temporary leader, that the others proceed to complain about, rally against, reshuffle, and any appearance of work getting done is by chance."
"A rather cynical parliamentary democracy. Well, its nice to see all those old movies are wrong about us being invaded by single minded tyrants or hive-mind insects."
"Of course, supposedly the Eye [long squelch] flowing [shorter squeal] [static]..." Sing sing stamped her back feet, shifted her head up, and her lower hands turned palm up "You don't have the word for it in your language. A brotherhood of professional killers."
"Hey, my mother... oh... that is kind of rude. But it might be something similar." She paused, "Stop Laughing."
"Sorry, its just amusing to figure out what is a dirty joke or an epithet to aliens.But, I can see why a shadow government of killers would be something to avoid."
"Just like Mexico was, "Diego cut in, "I'm back by the way. They didn't have that soup you liked, but they did have some nice winter brews. Anyone want to cook while I change?"
"Well, given that she is an insectivore and can't read most of the cans, I guess its up to me."
"Ok, see you in five."
"Well sing sing, I guess we'll have to continue this later, if its all right with you."
"I'll think about it."