The phone rang, and I picked it up just before the fourth ring when the answering machine goes off. On the other end was the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Joining NASA was not on my list of things to do. But my country needed my services, and when your country calls it is our duty to answer that call.
Being one of three Americans fluent in Martian, I understood the need. Uncle Sam's request was simple: Join the diplomatic envoy trying to secure peace with the Martians.
The war with Mars began early in 2082, when I was in kindergarten. I remember toward the end of fifth grade hearing about the loss of my uncle to a Martian Crostine Flier. The deadliest weapon on this ship of theirs is not actually a weapon. They use their tractor beam to take hold of their enemy's ship, and the tractor beam contracts until the ship is destroyed. It was a devastating time for our family.
Needless to say, I had mixed emotions. Yes, I wanted the three-decade war to end, but I also wanted revenge on these green, one-eyed monster, antennae bearing aliens. I wanted to take out some of the Martians, even if it was only a few.
But this was not my duty. I was going as a translator, and as a diplomat. The Martian language is not difficult to learn. What is difficult is tolerating the spit that spews from the Martian's mouths as they speak.
Upon entering their Hall of Diplomatic Discourse and Communication, we were required to remove socks and shoes. The floor was covered in a green ooze held sacred called Monsolatratum. It reaches the ankles and has a soothing, massage-like effect. It reminded me of those old shows from last century on a TV network called Nickelodeon. They showed us videopodtronics of it in history class.
Negotiations started harmless. We ate a Martian delicacy, Shmuttah. It is like a cross of Hispanic barbacoa and Saturn's chomista. It tasted fine, it was just difficult getting used to purple food that moved. After this, negotiations broke down.
As part of our talks, it became clear that the Martians wanted all of Europe, save France, to be declared their territory. We were only authorized to give up France. Tempers flared as no side could agree on who would get stuck with France. We took a break.
I went to use their indoor plumbing facilities, when I overheard their maniacal plot. Two Martian diplomats were kromunking (a Martian form of tuning) their antennae as they talked of their plans. Their plot to take over Planet Earth was actually to claim France. They were only acting like they did not want it so negotiations appeared fierce. We on the other hand really wanted to unload this tiny country.
They believed they could have us all at their mercy if they could gain control of the highly regarded French Fry. If they obtained a monopoly on French Fries, all the planet would be at their mercy.
This was my conundrum. I could not tell my colleagues of my newly acquired information. A diversion was needed. I did the unthinkable. I started swimming in their Monsolatratum. Outrage overtook the Hall of Diplomatic Discourse and Communication, and a scuffle broke out. We were immediately discharged and told to leave the planet.
As we boarded our spaceship and returned home, I informed my team of the evil plan and the information I acquired. That is how I saved our planet. That is how I saved the French Fries. Pass the ketchup.