Oct 02 2005
Quasim was ready to call it a day and go home. He really disliked the weekly task of gathering the intel reports from the outer reaches of the empire. Not only did it take time to collect the reports from the field teams hidden on all those remote planets, but the reports were so inane and boring. Who cared about the comings and goings on these backwards worlds? The politics of these pre-interstellar civilizations were beyond quaint when compared to the ebb and flow of politics in The Empire.
But that was his lot in life. Quasim only needed one more report from the field to complete this week’s torture. The Commissar’s team on that backwater planet ‘Earth’ had yet to report in.
Leader Commissar had established his team of agents on that mundane little planet years ago. Unfortunately, Quasim recalled, it had not gone very smoothly in the beginning.
Originally the plan was to have Commissar’s team hide in plain site as lower creatures, called ‘animals’ on Earth. That way they could watch the dominant life forms, homo sapiens – also known as ‘humans‘, close up and undetected. While they were able to monitor the humans without any hint of trouble intitially, it did not last for long. One of the team members, a Zendilian named Zokilly, decided to take the form of a human and partake in one of the more popular human rituals called ‘spring break’.
This turned out to be an utter disaster. Zokilly had not been aware of the intoxicating effects of ‘booze’ on his species. It took no time before he began blurting out all sorts of details on Commissar’s team and what they were doing. Thankfully the humans Zokilly had been traveling with were also pretty intoxicated for the 72 hours Zokilly was ‘off-mission’. The only thing that came of this breach in security was that one of the humans began to write a science fiction story about aliens coming to earth and taking the form of animals. Later it actually became somewhat popular, though at the time it nearly ended Commissar’s mission.
The Empire’s analysis of events determined both Zokilly and his human companion were too intoxicated to do any real damage to the mission. Quasim remembered how the ‘alien’ the human described barely resembled Quasim’s or Zokilly’s species. Though it did look like a blurred combination of the two – if you left only one eye barely open.
It was decided that the damage was minimal and could be controlled. So Commissar was directed to plan a new approach. Zokilly was of course transferred. Quasim knew well the planet of insects Zokilly now called home. They were still at the pre-industrial stage and quite barbaric. ‘Poor bastard’, muttered Quasim to himself.
Against the empire’s wishes, Commissar decided to try another ‘hide in plain sight’ approach. He placed his team in strategic geographic locations, but now in human form. They pretended to be independent, non-aligned observers of the very political processes they were there to study in the first place.
Still saddened that the animal disguises did not work, Commissar called his team the ‘Raging RINOs’.
Quasim had to give Commissar credit for his efficiency. Every week a member of Commissar’s team collects all the individual observation reports on the political comings and goings on Earth. They then ‘post’ the report on the earthlings’ antiquated public communications system called the ‘internet’. Commissar simply has to beam a copy back to Quasim to meet his reporting requirements.
Leader Commissar was even able to entice some humans to help collect the intel reports on occasions. This is because RINO agents roam among a group of unwitting, but like minded independent humans who also have an interest in politics.
Quasim had to give credit where credit was due. If only he could find some ‘volunteers’ to write his weekly reports to Commander Tungi.
But Commissar’s new plan nearly unraveled as fast as his first one did. Commissar had suspicions that a second team member might be in contact with the humans. The emergency report Commissar issued on the incident raised alarm within the highest levels of The Empire. Two contacts between Empire observers and those they were sent to monitor was an unheard of breach of protocol.
And worse yet, the report had been hastily written and confusing. The confusion caused concern that Commissar might have taken extreme actions to shut down the unauthorized contact. Fortunately, in the end, it turned out Leader Commissar had fallen for a simple case of mistaken identity. Though he never did explain why that animal looked ‘familiar’?
Quasim was still chuckling to himself when this week’s reports finally started coming in. The reports always came through in the order the agents submitted them. One of these days Quasim was going to have to remind Commissar he wanted the information synthesized and grouped by subject. Oh well. Quasim surrendered to another long review of events on that irrelevant blue little world far, far away….
I must inform you that I missed this report from agent Larry at Larry’s Head. I have decided I cannot continue on with this assignment. Next week there will be a new person assigned to my position.
Empirical Space Brigade
Agent John Cole is reporting on a regional politician who exaggerated events during a major weather anamoly. The politician made his claims on a far reaching communications medium known as ‘network TV’. Seems some of these humans can never give an honest accounting of events. “No wonder humans are still a pre-interstellar civilization”, thought Quasim.
Agent Scott from the Environmental Republican submitted a correction to one of his earlier reports. Quasim wished these agents would remember he was not an expert on ancient, dead human languages. The translator was choking on the words ‘mea culpa’, though Quasim had some idea what they probably meant.
Agent Dean at Dean’s World is really upset about false reports being transmitted on the Earthlings’ ‘news media’ regarding that same recent weather event. Obviously agent Dean has not had to read lots of reports from the outer rim – they tend to be 90% fiction. It never surprised Quasim that the Earthlings’ ‘news media’ was as backwards as that of the outer rim.
Agent Don Surber, who is located in some strange place called ‘Wild and Wonderful West Virginia’, is challenging the earthlings to question the need to rebuild regions damaged in that major weather event. Quasim made a note to make sure all field agents are reminded again not to meddle in Earth’s affairs.
Agent Mark Coffey is reporting on legal gyrations occurring in one of Earth’s major nations states. Quasim noted that agent Coffey must be stationed in a very cold region, because he always seems to be ‘Chillin’. And now the translator was choking on some ‘fili’ named ‘buster’. He sent a message to Leader Commissar to send a clarification on the Coffey report.
Agent JBD at Charging RINO is reporting on a leadership upheaval in one of the national government bodies. At least earthlings did not use the challenge of Athgar’s Blade to determine when a political leader needs to step aside. That method, used on the Rim Planet Fendar, usually resulted in a painful death for someone.
Amazingly, agent Kevin at Louisiana Libertarian is still reporting from the region of that major weather event. “Good for him”, thought Quasim. Kevin reported on the universal problem of governments working within their budgets. Kevin notes that the political party now in control was supposed to control spending. Quasim was not surprised. Quasim noted the irony: That is why it is a ‘universal problem’ – the solution had yet to be discovered even within The Empire itself!
Agent NOTR at ROFASix reports on some uproar regarding transplanted human organs. It appears a hospital provided a spare organ to an Earthling Prince for a fee, and when caught stopped all transplants to those in need. Quasim thought that was a very strange response indeed. That hospital had embarked on the initial stages of evolution towards trade in slaves and organs, a system still prevalent in the Gorm region. Those pirates would literally sell you their mothers. The Earthlings had never shown signs of heading down that evolutionary path. “This could be a bad sign”, thought Quasim.
Agent Judith at Kesher Talk is reporting how many protestors are at odds to the very things they claim to hold dear. Quasim knew this aspect of evolving civilizations well. And he knew, before humankind could ever reach the stars, this kind of cross-wise political energy would have to dissipate so the general population could come together and focus on progress.
Agent Pigilito sites the stagnation of education on one of Earth’s more modern continents. This was not a good sign. Quasim knew The Empire had hopes Earth would continue its rapid advancement towards a space fairing civilization, and be ready to join The Empire in the not too distant future. This news could mean Earth’s record pace of advancement was finally beginning to normalize.
Agent Save Uncle finds a strange new argument that teaching safety is unsafe, well…strange. “Yes”, Quasim thought to himself, “I will be reading reports on Earth for another 250 years if this kind of thinking keeps up”.
Agent John at he Blogosphere Truth Squad is reporting on some confusion regarding the treatment of enemy detainees during armed conflicts. What Earthlings call ‘war’. Apparently guidelines are to be followed but not necessarily defined. The Empire, Quasim recalled, struggled with this very debate for centuries.
The report by agent Rachel at Tinkerty Tonk (Quasim made a mental note to ask agent Rachel what these words meant, since the translator never did recover from his last attempt to translate the phrase) is on how a community in an exotic land, at the edge of a warm major Sea, is tiring of the death and violence in their midst. “Who could blame them”, thought Quasim, “when the region could provide them such a nice life”.
Agent Roaring Tiger (Kathy) at Big Cat Chronicles discusses how the major energy providers are using the excuse of large weather events to charge historically high prices to the masses. In The Empire those merchants would need a solid reason for taking advantage of people during a crisis. Quasim was looking forward to see if the same standards would apply on Earth.
Agent Politechnical is focused on a flare up caused by some poorly chosen words by a major political figure. “Another universal affliction The Empire has never been able to solve”, thought Quasim. In this instance, it is not clear if the words or the understanding were poor executed.
Agent Jane, at Armies of Liberation, filed a report on some major breakthroughs in a region of Earth long devoid of representative government. This region has instead been ruled by monarchies and dictatorships. It seems divergent groups were finally coming together to attempt the transition to democracy, This was a very positive event for the young Earth’s inhabitants, noted Quasim, if they ever wanted to progress beyond the bounds of their planet.
The report by Eric at Classical Values discusses differing stories regarding a ‘Freezers’ at some ‘Convention Center’ in the path of that major weather event mentioned in the earlier reports. Agent Eric apparently finds the stories less than credible. Quasim wondered how any sentient being could create such horrible stories out of thin air?
Quasim was glad to see agent Dan at Searchlight Crusade finally completed his assignment on the energy situation on Earth. The report is complete with a history of events, driving forces on energy production and recommendations on where Earth could go in the future. Quasim was going to make sure and send a commendation for agent Dan to Commander Tungi.
The next report, from agent Recovering Democrat, disturbed Quasim. The report presented evidence that some in the lead democracy on Earth were ready for a bloody conflict in order to grab control. This news would need to be sent to The Empire’s leaders if true. Quasim knew a decision would need to be made on whether to save Earth if such actions where taken.
Agent Typical Joe also discusses the uproar over words used by the same major political personality from earlier. Language, as Quasim knew, was a tough tool to master for many civilizations. And more times than not, the inability to master language was the cause of turmoil and reversal for many planets reaching to explore the stars.
Finally, agent AJStrata at The Strata-Sphere sent in a reminder that politics is not the only or primary force on Earth. AJStrata used the example of a political event that was big in the media, but which he claims will be of little interest to the masses. Quasim understood that the ebb and flow of opinion amongst large groups of people was highly unpredictable. It was why The Empire had stationed these observers out in new worlds – to watch and learn. Quasim was not sure why AJStrata was stating the obvious! Maybe it was time to give AJStrata some leave on the resort planet Water’s Edge…
Quasim was just turning off his computer for the evening when some last minute reports came in. They included one from Leader Commissar himself, Barry Campbell of Enrevanche, Gary at Ex-Donkey Blog and Mr. Proliferation at Restless Mania. Unfortunately it was now the wee hours of the morning, so Quasim would have to go over these reports first thing next week.
To: Commander Tungi
From: Lt Quasim
Subject: Earth Status Reports
Apparently Leader Commissar was unclear when the status reports could be submitted, resluting in additional reports come from Earth since the my report was submitted. Please note these important updates. I will make sure to remind Leader Commissar on the proper schedule for reports. The following field agent reports reports should be reviewed by High Command:
Empirical Space Brigade