Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Microstory 1922: The Director’s Direction

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Director for the Office of Special Investigations: Who is this man, Special Investigator? What does he want?
Special Investigator: He’s from another universe, like the creature we’ve captured.
OSI Director: And did he tell you that?
Special Investigator: I know what you’re getting at, but we believe him. His first appearance matches that of the alien.
OSI Director: I’m not doubting that the two events are related, but you can’t go on his word simply because he claims to be a member of law enforcement where he’s from, or because he’s telling a really good story. I can’t authorize a random civilian whose identity we cannot verify to interrogate a prisoner on our behalf. We don’t know anything about either of them. They could be working together. The creature could have been sent to stop the human, who is actually a world-killer bent on destroying us. We are in uncharted territory here, and your trust in him is not reassuring. You were given this assignment months ago, and you’ve still not come up with any solid answers. That could make anyone desperate for results, be they accurate or not.
Special Investigator: You’re right, sir. I don’t know if he’s lying, but it’s as he explained it—and like you said just now—we’ve been working on this for so long with all but nothing to show for it. So far, all we’ve been able to determine is that its wings allow it to float in the air a little bit, but not fly over long distances. Something has to change. It may be a bad idea to let those two be in the same room together. I can’t honestly promise that it won’t end up being the downfall of the world. But the same is true for anything. A humanitarian visitor to a wartorn developing country could accidentally sneeze too close to the dictator, spark World War II, and decimate the human population in ten years. Life is not without risk, but without effort, it’s not anything at all. If you just want to play it safe, then I say we cut off the alien’s head, and study it through an autopsy. But if you do that, I guarantee you that you’ll never hear it speak.
OSI Director: There are those who are not only willing to accept that outcome, but are actively hoping for it. They say it would be the safest route.
Special Investigator: *shaking his head* That may teach us whether those two organs in its back are kidneys, or something else. It will not tell us whether it’s here to kill us, or if more are coming. You pushed for a non-violent start to this investigation, and you got a lot of pushback for it, but I backed you, because I believe in this course of action, and I still do. That man downstairs can help us. Let him try. It could be disastrous, or it could lead to a breakthrough. This is the greatest discovery in human history. If they can travel between universes, maybe we can too. Think how the U.S. could benefit from such tech.
OSI Director: This is beyond against protocol. I admit, however, that your idea to treat him as a spy is an intriguing workaround to the paperwork parameters.
Special Investigator: It wasn’t mine. It was Agent Parsons’.
OSI Director: Then perhaps I should speak with Agent Parsons first, and also this so-called parole officer from another Earth.
Special Investigator: I think that would be a fine idea.
OSI Director: Make it happen.

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