Challenge #02380-F190: Tasty TradesteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  2 months ago 

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Alien witnesses true fear in the eyes of a band of country roughneck mercs in the form of a single raised eyebrow of the group's diminutive elderly "grandmother" figure. Grown warriors, men and women, who have charged into the maw of insanity cowed by a 98lbs octogenarian.
Pretty pretty please. -- Yup

In all the known universe, there is little that is as unlikely to be terrifying as the words, "What the diddly gosh-darn heck're you kids got goin' on in here?" It was the sort of thing to come out of an extremely proper and extremely elderly mouth and, in fact, that is just where this string of words had come from.

The Sargasso Scouts, big burly Humans, all of them, parted for her like the red sea, giving Thokaz an excellent opportunity to take in the sight. She was grey-haired, and wizened with age, and walked with the assistance of a cane. Her livesuit was one of the older models and evidently patched with so many repairs that it was hard to tell what the original model was. There were stickers on there older than some of the scouts. There was a macaroni necklace she wore like an ancient and powerful totem. She walked between them like the monarch of the realm. Which she probably was.

The Scouts were instantly cowed. The biggest and roughest amongst them hung her head. "...'m sorry, Mama... He was up in our green habitat, though. We gotta defend our eats."

A single grey eyebrow raised. "What was that?"

The spokescout cleared her throat. "This intruder was found in the gardening enclosure, ma'am. We defended it and isolated the offender. Ma'am!"

"I didn't spend nigh on to sixty years of my life teaching you proper grammar to have you throw it away soon as spit," grumbled the matriarch. "Worse, this is one of those Galactic Alliance people. They're really fragile... was there any collateral damage?"

"Ma'am! No, Ma'am!" This time, it was a chorus of burly Scouts. The spokescout added, "Not on either side, Ma'am."

This earned them all a grudging nod that made five of them practically glow with pride. "Just as well. We don't want any trouble from the Galactics. Now. Mx[1] Lizard... did you trip over us or where you lookin'?"

At this point, Thorkaz was counting hirself lucky that they spoke GalStand at all. Translating alien idioms like that took a moment's extra contemplation. "I was... seeking salvage. I thought that this area was unclaimed. When I found a source of foodstuffs, I attempted to help myself. I do apologise for the unintended theft, and am willing to return your livestock," Torkaz took the captive insects out of their holding bay in hir livesuit, still in their restraining bag, and offered them up.

"Wait. Y'all are insectivorous?" boggled one Scout.

"Sir, we think of those as vermin," said the matriarch. "You can have them. Heck, if you can help us trap 'em in an ethical manner, we'll fill your cargo holds."

It was just one among possibly millions of secret, under-the-table trade deals that Humans worked out with Galactics along the Edge. After all, one being's garbage is another's irreplaceable resource.

[1] Pronounced close enough to 'mucks' to almost not matter.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / mauhorng]

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I pronounce it "mix" :S

Gotta love the tough-as-nails grandmother figures, another favourite of mine is the Italian/Sicilian grandmother (easily replaced with Asian/Indian grandmother which is even tinier) simultaneously telling people off for not eating enough and whatever misdemeanour they've done or doing that while talking nicely to someone else XD

I tried it again and I wound up somewhere between 'mix' and 'mucks'. I am not in any way related to an authority on these relatively new words and I'm certain an established pronunciation will happen in time :D