Looking down its long snooty nose with pursed lips, it said, “Come with me.”
You don’t argue with a talking kangaroo when you’re a lone woman in the desert; but I wanted to.
Nostrils flaring in distaste, it bounced off a short way. Leaving my beer, I hurried over, swerving around scrubs the marsupial hopped over. I was smarter than it, wasn’t I? “Now what?”
Snooty gripped my wrists with his paws, and it was all ‘Beam me up, Snooty’.
It wasn’t what I’d expected, but I’d expected more than some old Trekkie rip-off.
The room – board or council, whatever – was another matter. Distinguished kangaroos murmured in the transparent chamber. The Earth hung like a giant mobile in the testosterone-filled air – or the roo equivalent.
The tallest kangaroo turned to me. His light brown eyes unwelcoming to a bedraggled geologist.
“Ms Sharman, we care a lot,” said the leader, his voice authoritive.
“We care a lot about that environment. We care even more for our. . . creations. We won’t tolerate their destruction.”
Confounded, I stared up at the pointing red kangaroo. “What?”
“Those new minerals you have discovered,” began Snooty, “they belong to us.”
“But…” My brain kicked in. This wasn’t a fieldie matter. “You’ll have to talk with our legal department and cultural officer,” I explained. “They’re the ones who handle compensation claims.” All I wanted was my cold beer – a geologist’s unalienable right to brewed sustenance.
The leader spoke again. “I don’t think you understand, Ms Sharman. We own the intellectual patent on that mineral in this galaxy. It helps with the development of our creations.”
I tried my blank look again, thankful I wasn’t on the WALKMM legal team.
The leader continued. “You see, Ms Sharman, where your species plants flags on newly discovered lands, we plant life, replicas of ourselves, and minerals; gently edging worlds into acceptable realms of intelligence and productivity.”
The mood in the room had gone cold. Like Snooty’s long stare. “Look, I’m just the local geo—”
“And we care a lot about our creations. So much so. . . ” The leader leaned closer, staring at me down that barrel of a nose. “. . . that we are prepared to destroy all our assets here to prevent little upstarts stealing them.”
There was a murmur of approval around the room.
“And your. . . ‘world’, will be quite destroyed in the process.” His fiery brown eyes bore into mine.
“Ah. Hmm. . . Well, I understand.”
I did, too. You don’t argue with kangaroos in the outback, never mind on their spaceship or whatever.
I cleared my throat. “I’m sure we can come to a . . . a solution.”
“We are glad to see you care enough.”
I was dismissed. Snooty beamed me down to my beer.
I swigged at my unalienable right, watching my field-report explode in my campfire. You don’t argue over intergalactic intellectual property when the fall-out would leave your world extinct.
It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it. Whatever.
Food for thought
Most modern humans, and perhaps ancient ones as well, are defined by their jobs – their contribution to the tribe. What won’t a human do to protect their job – their contributing factor to the whole?
We humans always assume that lands and discoveries belong exclusively to those who ‘lay first claim’: ‘I found it now, so it’s mine.’ Just because we say so, may not always work for us in the future.
We always assume we humans are superior to all other species, yet kangaroos have such dismissive looks. Perhaps they know something we don’t.
About the Author
Leenna was born asking, ‘Why?’, grew up surrounded by books, and looking for answers. She’s still on a quest for an answer, having travelled to the furthest points on Earth from her home to do so. She’s hoping to have the answer by next October, or in her next book. Find her blog at www.leennanaidoo.wordpress.com