THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT
“The swordfish bill dna has been trading well.”
“I wonder what the Duogs do with those bills when they build them.”
“Maybe something like you do with those Duog amphibian flippers you put on your buttocks.”
“Those help me swim, they have a purpose those bills seem dangerous.
“It’s me you’re talking to. You put them on there because they look cool.”
“What do you think would happen if we broke into their trader?”
“I know what would happen. Earth would be banned as a trading partner for five hundred years and nothing we got out of it could be decoded.”
“We traded a whole frog for the videos of their last thousand years. I understand that same frog has been traded thousands of times to thousands of worlds. Each of those worlds having their own trader here.”
“Let’s go jack around with their trader. I have some customers that have seen some of their items online and they have some old movies and digitized art to trade.”
“ You have been around a few hundred years longer than me. There were thousands of traders here as far as I can remember. Tell me about them getting here.”
“When we got strong artificial intelligence it found the digital rivers of information predicted by Fermi. It was always there in a complex camouflage hodgepodge. When we hooked up it told us how to build a trader and then the trader hooked up to its individual signal and it filled with the entire library of dna construction instructions for all life on their planets and art and music.”
“I guess all the traders resemble robotic faxes of inhabitants of the worlds they originated in.”
“Usually but some of them must have learned they are not attractive to any other life forms and their traders are an avatar.”
“and you were elected as the official earth trader to the Duog trader?”
“Yep, lots and lots of public service to win that.”
“Spud, let me do the wheeling.”
“Sure Bob, you da man.”
Spud was thinking as always about the Duog trader’s feet. Most of the traders were bipedal. Evidently that was the way the universe rolled. The feet were like really big hands complete with thumbs. It had no hair and like all traders was integrated into the big box that contained the works that controlled the mechanical trader and sent the digital information needed to contruct the items on their home planet. It was a wonderful arrangement but one that could only work if the trader was intelligent, the home planets information was secure and there was actually valuable biological bits to trade. Without a biodiversity a planet would be left out as a trader. Earth had sent the instructions to all these planets to build a human trader on their planets
Spud eyed the Duog and the Duog eyed Spud with some very large lidless eyes that were probably at home in the dark. It was metallic gold and its arms perched like a tyranosaurus but much larger in proportion to the rest of the creature.
“What are you lookin at?” it enquired
All the traders were familiar with earth languages, customs and slang. They were smarter than humans as all machines were and versed in nuance of humor
“one ugly dude” Bob croaked in the tone of the Duog
“You two here to rip off a poor Duog trader again?”
“Hey you got our best frog”
“The Duog laughed. You sold that read only frog dna all across the galaxy. How about some of these feet. Everytime you bring that Spud he is eyeing them. He wants a pair”
They all laughed. The Duog knew what humans thought of its feet.
“Bob, forty years ago home requested a bush baby and the request has arrived. I know the genome for an entire animal is a little pricey but I think we can come to an arrangement.”
“Holy crap, my commission alone would choke a buzzard. What have you got for us?
When Bob was talking about us he was talking about the people of earth. The bush baby dna was not really of any value here but it was the exclusivity and value as a beautiful piece of evolution not available anywhere else. Entire life forms were traded with the agreement they would be housed in appropriate environment and all proper flora and fauna needed to make it feel at home
“The support group of complimentary biology would break a small country.”
“We have already acquired a large variety of insects and shrubbery. Spud, stop staring at my feet. We are prepared to offer you…………are you ready? A Kabongis”
“Really? You mean those flying poodles that have fur that looks like cotton candy?”
“Why yes my friend that very animal, very rare and friendly to humans. Also very delicious.”
“Say pal, are you trying to hurt my feelings? Those Kabongis’ will scare my kids. What will we do with them? I hear they are out the window and gone.”
The Duog carefully eyed Bob then laughed. “Are you kidding those things are hot everywhere”.
Spud looked desirously through the Duog catalog. Their cultural heritage and biodiversity rivaled earths and earths was rated at the highest level.
“Kids these days are more into vr than real animals, It would be much easier to let you have the plans for the bush baby eyes than the whole bushbaby. Let us have the Kabonbis in entirety and I will give you the bushbaby’s eyes and a sawfish bill. By the way why do you want those fish snouts?”
“You know the rules. We do not have to disclose what we do with parts and are only responsible for the proper care of whole animals. No, our buyers want the whole animal this go round so come back to me with a price. I have time. I cant go anywhere. I’m tied to this box, I am patient but this offer might be taken off the table any day. The request was initiated forty years ago, crossed forty light years to get here. The purchaser wont see the the design for another forty if we do the deal right now.” If the purchaser changed his mind the day after he placed the order then tomorrow I will get a notice and the deal is over.”
“ Ok, ok, maybe it is a fair deal. On a whole animal I will have to meet with the council for approval. I do want the Kabongis and of course the right to make them for twenty years.”
Bob slid the card into the slot in the traders rather large box and the information for the bush baby’s trade for the Kabongis was done on a screen also built into the traders box. His card now held the instructions and the sole rights to produce for twenty years with the fail safe of the councils approval.”
Bob said to the trader, “by the way you may not be seeing so much of me in the future. Instructions for a new trader box have been received from somewhere in the Virgo constellation and they are hot to get started and they have a lot of exciting animals in their catalog. It will be finished next week and there is talk they will want me to represent earth with their trader box. There is a bug in that their animals are viable and that is illegal on earth. We don’t allow animals that can reproduce. Of course you know that. If that detail cant be worked out I will continue here, so I guess it is up in the air. If we don’t do business I will still stop in to see you and maybe introduce you to your new representative.
The Duog’s trader looked emotionally upset.
“I like you Bob and will miss you. I cannot visit you a I am built onto this box. I do hope you will stop in to see me. I love my assignment here.
Earthlings pulled back from the brink of the mass extinctions that commonly come with technology. The animal husbandry and stewardship of the biodiversity is something to be proud of. I could have appeared on some planet where the dominant species had nearly decimated the flora and fauna and general bio-diversity and there would have been very little or nothing to do”
“I will stop in. Later, Duog.”
Bob and Spud left the park where the Duog resided and went into the nearest pub for a beer. The pub was full and not a single patron was without beautiful modifications from another star system and some had whole animal pets with them.
It was a lovely day and a lovely time to be alive