The naval committee met at the end of the school year. Five different planets were represented; the five with academies on them. In the past problems had come up, but never so many at once.
“One problem we face is which problem to address first,” the member from
“Agreed,” the member from Lemarac said. “I believe the sheep should be dealt with first.”
“No, I’m sorry, but the recent moose invasions ought to be dealt with first,” the member from Xzob said. “After all, the space moose are a threat to all of us, whereas the other problems only relate to individuals.”
“I have to disagree. Moose are a problem, but more urgent is the sheep,” Lemarac insisted.
“Question,” the member from Trepidusk said carefully. “How exactly did a space sheep get into the academy in the first place, let alone pass all the tests it was given?”
“You don’t know what it’s like on my planet. All the insane liberalists and equalists unite there,” Lemarac explained. “The governor was trying to prove a point, sending that sheep through the academy. No one honestly expected it to do well. It was a publicity stunt; a joke!”
“A joke we now have to deal with,” Trepidusk snapped. Lemarac rolled his eyes.
“Gentlemen,” the member from Heshq said loudly, getting everyone’s attention. “I have a proposal that will get rid of all our problems. The sheep, the moose, and the people.”
“Speak,” the rest of the committee members told him. “You have the floor.”
“Goody,” Heshq muttered, standing up. “I propose we give one of our ships the mission, the purpose, to keep all intergalactic pests, be they moose, squids, sheep, oysters, or whatever, out of the interstellar freeways. We put all the ‘undesirables’ on this ship. We make it a good ship, well provisioned, so that we hear from them as little as possible. And we send them on their merry way.”
“What do you mean by ‘undesirables’?”
“The sheep, for one thing. All the idiots. All the people who have no potential whatsoever. The ones who are real jerks. The ones no one can stand to be around. The ones we honestly don’t know how they passed the tests. And the two young ladies whose future we have on our agenda today.”
“Why do we give them a good ship?”
“Because if we give them a bad ship, they’ll be stopping by for repairs more often than we’d want.”
“But if we put a good ship under the control of–”
“Remove all but the most basic weapons. Give them a ship with no bells, no whistles. A purely practical ship,” Heshq told them. They looked at each other a moment.
“Their mission would be to keep moose and other creatures out of our way, without hurting them?” Xzob asked. Heshq smiled.
“Well,” Trepidusk said, standing. “Sounds good enough to me.”