Chapter 42

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"I say, it's been quite a while since we've seen any of those wretched Rigellians.  I don't know about you two, but I'm getting rather peckish.  Seems like hours since they last gave us a bite to eat."

"Damn straight.  I'm so hungry I could eat the ass-end out of a low-flying duck.  This flyin' saucer may be high-tech and all, but Air Force One sure as hell does better snacks."

"Ja, I also would like to eat.  Maybe they are hoping to weaken our resolve, by starving us into submission?"

"What would be the point, my dear?  What else is there for us to submit? After all, we've already surrendered our countries."

"Don't remind me.  How the hell I'm ever gonna show my face at the golf club again, after being the first president to surrender America, I have no idea.  Anyhow, you know what I think?  I reckon those Ri-jellians are starving us just to be assholes.  They seem the type.  And you know what else?  I ain't gonna stand for it."

"What ever do you mean, old boy?"

"I mean that I'm gonna get us some grub."

The president clambered to his feet, and set off at a determined march towards the entrance of the chamber, taking as direct a route as the scattered clusters of world leaders would allow.  Dozens of pairs of tired, defeated eyes watched his progress.

Arriving at the door, he paused to give the British PM and the German Chancellor a cocky thumbs up, took a deep breath, and then pounded on the metallic surface, as hard as he could.  "Hey, assholes!  Remember us?  How about some chow?"  Eliciting no response, he continued to pound away, throwing in the occasional kick and the increasingly frequent obscenity.

His enthusiasm was just beginning to wane when the door was abruptly flung open, revealing a diminutive Rigellian, wearing what appeared to be a lab coat.  "Yes.  How help may I you?"

Blinking in surprise, the president took a step back.  "Hey—you speak English."

The Rigellian nodded.  "Yes, yes.  Also some Mandarin.  Me science-ladyboy.  Study Earth-talk.  But at moment me guarding, because proper guards get broken . . . erm, busy other things doing.  Now, what noise for you make?"

"Er—we want some chow."

The Rigellian frowned.  "You want cow?"

The president frowned back.  "Cow?  What are you, a dipstick?  Course I don't want a stinkin' cow.  Not unless it's been barbecued first.  Oh, I get it—that's what you mean.  Sounds good, lady.  We'll have a couple hundred serves of cow, medium-rare, with fries."

"No, no, not.  We do have not cow!  Silly Earth person.  Is want you foods, yes?"

"You got it, little lady."

Delving into one of her lab coat's pockets, the scientist retrieved a plastic card, which she handed over to the president.  "Food-peoples busy doing space-traffic control stuffs.  No time for cookings.  So, here is card of credits.  Machines of vending are down long-walking-thing-to-other-place thing."

"Er, down the corridor?" hazarded the president.

"Yes, that.  You all there go, get some foods, put in cake-holes, stop the all the loud noises.  Now, me need go.  Have to put wetting stuff on Admiral's plants, because plant-person needed for serve drinks in officers' bar."  The Rigellian's face grew stern.  "But when me return, all Earth mens and ladyboys must to back be in chamber.  This is stood under?"

"Stood under?"  The president put on his most sincere face, which after thirty years in politics, was very sincere indeed, or at least looked very sincere, which as far as he was concerned, was what really counted.  "Oh yes, little lady.  Completely stood under—er, understood.  Y'all hurry back now, y'hear?"

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