|The alien tapped the jar with one of his twelve olfactory
tentacles and shifted back in his recline. It had been a very long day
and he was hot, tired and very, very moist. He hated to be moist. It interfered
with his primary receptors and gave him a thumping pain in his two bottoms.
It had taken him 60 of the natives years and 900,000 million of their
Earth miles to get to this Tzakki-forsaken rock only to be told that the
inhabitants were composed of the most odious fluid in the known universe.
"They're mostly made out
of this." repeated Tzixs.
"Ugh! Water?" asked his companion incredulously.
"A combination of Hydrogen and Oxygen. It's a colourless, odourless,
tasteless, transparent liquid covering most of this planet. At its maximum
density of 23 zlotz it weighs 8 kyxties per cubic ygg."
"I know what water is, you dipstick!"
"Well then, water. I tell you they're made out of water, Zargh!"
"Water?" repeated the alien, fixing his companion with his
six glaring red eyes, every one of which expressed mounting incredulity
and diminishing patience.
"And some other stuff. Carbon, Nitrogen, some metals, a few minerals.
As near as we can tell they're containers filled with water covered
by a thin semi-porous membrane and supported by a primitive mesomorphic
"You did say water
and—let me get this straight—'covered by a 'semi-porous
"Yep. Water and skin. Mostly water. There's no doubt about it.
We picked up several specimens from different parts of the planet and
probed them thoroughly. They're made of water—apart from the bits
that aren't which I mentioned earlier.."
"Sounds awfully like a description of sausages to me.." began
Zargh wearily. "Please don't tell me we've traveled 8 million Vlixils
to meet SAUSAGES!"
"I'm afraid so."
"But that's impossible. What about the signals we've been getting?
The radio messages beamed at GCC 42z?"
"They use radio waves to send messages, but the signals don't come
from them. The signals come from machines," said Tzixs smugly.
"So who made the machines? That's who we need to talk to, not these
dim-witted frigging, watery sausages!"
"They're OK for sex."
snorted Zargh angrily. "What's that got to do with the price of
"Well.. not much—but a guy gets a bit bored after examining
ugly bags of mostly water for three years.. and, well—the last
three human females we beamed up were hot to trot. So we did the lot!"
Zargh shuddered. "You actually had congress
"Not exactly 'congress'—the females didn't have nearly enough
orifices for congress but we used what they had. They seemed to like
"I don't want to know! You disgust me! I shall report this
to the Leader—"
"—I wouldn't bother. The Leader had them before we did."
"Can we get back to—"
"—So did half my crew—"
"Can we get back—"
"—And the Leader's envoys—"
"Really?" Zargh glared at his companion. "And what did
you all learn from the experience?"
"That watery sausages make a lousy lay."
"Astounding! Can we get back to the machines now?"
"If we must."
"So who made the machines that sent out the signals we picked up?"
"The sausages made the machines. That's what I've been trying to
tell you all along. The sausages made the machines."
"That's ridiculous. How can sausages make machines? You're asking
me to believe in sentient sausages."
"Well they're sentient enough to know when they've had a damn good
seeing-to. Except this one female...It did nothing but complain. I mean,
it wasn't as if we didn't try. Mxnix turned the gain down to 2 and even
brought the deminimaliser core online, but—"
"—Can we cut out the sex, please?" snapped Zargh.
"No, we tried that, but the sausage liked that even less than when
I tried to eat it. Not surprising really, because they're pretty inedible
unless you go to trouble of—"
"—Look, Tzixs, let me make this really simple for you. Either
you keep to the point or I'll boot your shiny purple asses into the
great void. Which is it to be?"
Tzixs' two foreheads creased into a
frown and the second head opened and shut its mouth several times. To
tell the truth, he was never the quickest Zilog out of the egg and plugging
the earth sausages had been the most fun he'd had since he got to this
awful rock. But the void was definitely scary. The Void was, well, a
void. If there was one thing a Zilog feared even more than an angry
Vlibanik with a really bad haircut it was the Void. Even the nine-dimensional
Kharghs feared the void and they commanded three more dimensions than
the Zilogs. No, the void was not a place any sensible Zilog would want
to go, ever. Tzix trembled from his two heads to his 24 tentacles and
sat down with a bump.
"I'll keep to the point."
"Good. Let's start over." said Zargh briskly. His bottoms
were killing him and he wanted to get off this dreadful rock as quickly
as possible. "Who made the machines that sent the signals?"
"Are you serious?"
"Like I said: bags of 89% Water within a semi-porous flexible membrane.
There are some common minerals and a few elements we haven't identified
yet. Well... there's a bit of gristle too. 'Bone' I think they call
it, but even that's mostly water... What it all adds up to is sausage.
There's no getting away from it. This planet is inhabited by very ugly,
"So, let me get my heads around this one final time. These intelligent
"—The machines aren't intelligent."
"OK. These non-intelligent
machines were made by sausages, right?"
"Right." nodded Tzixs.
"Do you really think I'm going to swallow intelligent sausages?"
"I told you, we tried that. The moisture nearly killed Prxix. Once
we de-hydrated one it wasn't too bad. In fact it reminded me a bit of
the spiced sausages you used to be able to get at that really groovy
diner on Gamma-epsilon 9. You know the one where you caught a nasty—"
"—Now look!" snarled
Zhargh, "I WON'T TELL YOU AGAIN!
"Are you seriously asking me to
believe that these sausages are capable of transmitting complex signals
over millions of vlatees?"
"I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. These creatures are the only
sentient race in this sector and they're all friggin' sausages!"
"Tzakki give me strength!" ejaculated Zhargh and shifted his
weight to ease the throbbing pain in his bottoms. Presently he asked:
"Maybe they're like the Zeezixl. You know, a gallium-silicone-based
intelligence that goes through an animal stage?"
"Nope. They're born sausage, they taste like sausage and they die
like sausage. We studied them for several of their life spans, which
didn't take too long. Do you have any idea how short and boring the
life span of a sausage is?"
"Spare me the details. I'm sure it would involve even more sexual
reminiscences and I really couldn't stomach that just now if it's all
the same to you. Okay, maybe the sausage part is not the sentient bit.
Maybe it's something in the water. You know, like the Tzuddx. An electron
plasma brain inside a liquid ammonia core surrounded by animal protein?"
"Nope. Prxix thought of that, since the females do bear a superficial
resemblance to the Zeezixl. But I told you, we probed them. They're
sausage all the way through."
"And the males?"
"They're the same except for an extra appendage".
"They use it for congress with their females"
"I'M WARNING YOU, TZIX!"
"OK, OK, keep your heads on!"
So where's the brain?"
"Well...funny you should mention that. That female I was telling
you about. You know, the one who complained that—"
"Stop it! I will NOT HAVE ANY
"Even if it's really, really short and very
"OK. It had better be or your asses are history."
"Well..." began Tzix, rubbing his tentacles together enthusisatically.
"After we'd finally managed to satisfy it I asked it the very question
you've just asked me and do you know what it said?"
"Go on—surprise me."