INT. GROCERY STORE - DAY
HUGH MANBEING is inspecting fruit in the produce department. He picks up a cantaloupe, and scans it with his portable diagnostic device.
Hugh flips the device open, and uses the transceiver to send a hailing frequency to a paired device, belonging to SCOTT CASSIDY.
"Mission command to Beta Team," Hugh says.
Scott stands on the other side of the fruit stand, near the bread. He receives the signal, and opens his communicator.
"This is Beta Team. Go ahead," responds Scott.
"I believe I have located a cantaloupe of adequate freshness and density. Please confirm cream cheese acquisition," Hugh requests.
Scott responds, "Cream cheese confirmed. On schedule for rendezvous at point of sale in T-minus 45 seconds."
"Understood," replies Hugh. "Over and out."
Hugh and Scott take two steps toward each other, then march together towards the cash register.
Scott looks at Hugh and nods, "Greetings."
EXT. OLD FASHION PUB - ESTABLISHING SHOT
INT. PUB - SAME DAY
Hugh and Scott arrive at the pub, carrying plastic grocery bags. CHRIS SANDERS tends bar. He is cleaning steins behind the counter, when the two walk in. He hollers, "Hey guys, do some shopping?"
Scott replies, "Affirmative, we are attempting to prepare a dessert recipe detailed on a television broadcast viewed at 0' three hundred last evening."
"Still staying up all night watching Food Network, huh?" asks Chris.
"Scott believes it is critical for our study of traditional American activities. Whereas, I believe there is no recreational significance in heating sustenance. It is merely killing harmful bacteria," says Hugh.
"I don't know," begins Chris. "I think there's an art to cooking."
"As usual Chris Sanders, your opinion will be noted in the report," says Hugh. "May I also take this opportunity to inform you of our decision to make you primary manager of this establishment -- following our imminent departure. Our application to complete the mission has been reviewed by High Command, and I anticipate we will be leaving soon."
"No way, congrats!" cheers Chris, "Going back to Iceland, huh? Finally, finished your study of American Culture. I can't believe it! My own bar. Wow, that's the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me. I really have ideas for this place."
Scott chimes in, "Your more than impressive service deserves this reward. I hope you indeed make this the 'bumping hotspot' you described. We bid you farewell."
INT. LOFT ABOVE BAR - LATER
Scott plays golf on his Nintendo Wii, while Hugh types on his laptop.
Scott swings the remote, and his virtual ball lands in the bunker.
Scott is infuriated, "Once again I am unable to replicate the practice shot. I should be on the green, not subjugated to this adjacent bunker."
Scott sinks down on the couch, "I have not been this angry since our mission to the desert planet of Scorpius Seven. If only I could kill a sandworm right now."
Scott begins to strangle the controller, imagining it is a sandworm.
Hugh looks away from his screen, and says, "Scott, remember the control exercises. The video game is not your enemy. I believe your report on virtual sports is quite extensive. Why not take a break?"
Scott gets off the couch. He says, "One more hole."
Scott swings the remote. The ball goes in the hole. He cheers, "Yes! Eagle!"
Scott tosses the controller onto the couch. He gets some juice from the refrigerator. In between sips, he asks, "Hugh, why do you continue to deal with our finances? The IRS can't trace us back to Zylon."
Scott laughs, "Unless they have somehow managed to discover a way to send interstellar transmissions in the last forty-eight hours!"
Hugh also laughs. Then silence.
Hugh utters, "No, I'm sure they haven't."
Hugh closes his laptop, and says, "It would be most inappropriate of us to leave our human accounts open after our hyperspace journey. I intend to document our financial capital as thoroughly as possible. Minimal profits in the bar have generated exponential growth in the Stock Market. Lithium trade is at an all-time high."
Scott asks, "Do you truly believe monetary gain is the reason for human existence?"
"I do," says Hugh. "Upon returning home, we will most assuredly be celebrated as master humans."
"And then our choice of mission," smiles Scott. "Ethereal pleasure planet, here I come!"
Hugh and Scott perform a complicated handshake, ending in them announcing in unison, "Hail Zylon!"
Suddenly, the television cuts out. The signal is replaced with the Zylon flag.
The television announces, "Attention, incoming transmission from Zylon Council, High Command."
Hugh and Scott turn toward the screen, and their eyes glow.
Scott elbow nudges Hugh in the ribs, and whispers, "This is it! We're going home."
HIGH COMMANDER appears on the screen. He speaks, "Greetings Commander Manbeing, and Officer Cassidy."
"Greetings High Commander," says Hugh.
"Greetings," says Scott.
High Commander laughs, "Did either of you happen to catch my Zargball game with Dan Jergenson in accounting?"
Hugh and Scott shake their heads.
High Commander continues, "Just fracking owned him!"
"We did not, Commander," says Scott.
"I am sure it was glorious, Commander," says Hugh.
"Indeed," replies High Commander, "By the way, how is the weather on Earth? Does Dihydrogen monoxide still precipitate from the sky, as you reported?"
"Quite regularly, Commander," responds Hugh.
"Fascinating,” quacks High Commander, "You know, once I was on a mission in the Delta Sector, and my space pod was just filthy. I had been racing it on the mud planets of Quazar. I kept telling myself, 'Don't expend credits for a wash. You'll find a comet trail eventually.'"
Scott interrupts, "Commander, excuse my impatience, but we eagerly await the council's decision."
High Commander clears his throat, and says, "Ah yes, the Earth mission. We reviewed your application to update status to complete. While we were quite impressed with the level of detail in your report, we have unfortunately found your study of the human condition to be lacking. Request denied due to insufficient data and exploration. Hyperspace Pass: canceled."
"What?!" shouts Hugh, "Commander there has to be some kind of mistake. We've done everything. There isn't a human culture left uncharted: finances, fitness, language, cuisine, fashion, literature, music. Everything."
"I apologize, Hugh. The decision is final," says High Commander.
"What could we have possibly overlooked?" asks Scott.
"It is quite simple," begins High Commander, "An intricate aspect of human life and behavior: mating."
"Incorrect!" comes Scott's rebuttal, "Several chapters were written on the subject. Case study after case study on the cinematic exploits of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Links to several internet websites were provided."
High Command fires back, "For Zylon's sake Cassidy, you're not just a science officer. You're an explorer! You can't rely on theory alone."
"What are you saying, Commander?" asks Hugh.
"Unit one of you successfully engages in intimate relations with a human female," replies High Commander, "Your mission status will remain as it is, incomplete. High Commander out."
The screen goes black. The aliens fall back onto the couch.
"What do you suppose he means by 'intimate relations'?" Scott asks Hugh.
"It means we better start unpacking," replies Hugh. "I think we’re going to be here a long time."
About the Creator
Insurance broker by day, library owl by night. Avid writer, proud father, devoted husband, and novice chess player. B.Sc. from Queen's University.
Currently living in Alberta with my wife and two children.