Literature 4-22-2008

miniStories: “Transmittal to HQ” by Jill Bernard

The short story "Transmittal to HQ" by Jill Bernard was selected by Random House/Crown editor, Lindsey Moore, as one of the winners in the inaugural, spring 2008 round of the ministories flash fiction competition.

Jill Bernard


TO: Regency Xalgor with all respect
FROM: Humble and Obedient Commander Qualg
DATE: 01.9320.X1
RE: Status – Mission 44.06.7H1.2

Most amazing Regency Xalgor, I am disappointed in myself to report that things on the surface of Planet Y-Y-32.114 are not as anticipated – not an error of course in the excellent dossier provided by Mission HQ, of course, but through my own lack of imagination.

Order #1 was to encounter savages and have them mistake us for Gods–a time-honored strategy that I applaud. However, upon landing it took some time to locate the natives, as we mistook them for mountains; but no, they were in fact, the native peoples. They did not mistake us for Gods, in fact, it took some time to get them to notice us at all. Second Officer Tulubex quite handily constructed an amplifier so that our voices could be heard by the natives–I would like to recommend Second Officer Tulubex for an award, although it will have to be posthumous, as you will learn below.

Upon hearing our message, that we were their Gods and they must obey us, the Mountain-People did not recoil and offer us free reign of their natural resources as was the planned result of Order #1. Not, of course, a flaw of the Order. I am sure the fault was in our execution, noble Regency Xalgor.

Instead, one of them flicked Second Officer Tulubex with a fingerlike protrusion and sent him flying into the atmosphere where, through my X-12, I observed little crispy bits of him showering on a nearby meadow. Please tell his widow that it was quick; maybe don’t mention the “crispy bits” part.

The landing team scattered. I remained at the base of one of the Mountain-People, attempting to communicate through Tulubex’s device that I was an angry god and they would be punished. The Mountain-People laughed, causing a rumbling akin to an earthquake that shattered Tulubex’s device. I ran to the ship and sent an all-recall.

Unfortunately, some who were outside the ship did not survive. From the best data we could collect, the following four brave soldiers have perished by the cause listed:

1. Relay Officer Clagua – crushed under rubble.
2. Third Officer YyyAzl – drowned in mysterious substance, perhaps Mountain-Person spit or worse.
3. Crew Chief Mixna 412 – tossed back and forth between two Mountain-Persons until one Mountain-Person tossed her over its shoulder, to be crushed in the fall some distance away.
4. Medical Officer Rhyh – last witnessed climbing into a hole assumed to be the ear of a Mountain-Person, assumed deceased.

We await response to this Transmittal with new orders as Order #2 – “Commence enslaving savages and mining/harvesting/drilling of natural resources” does not seem feasible in my feeble imagination. Please send further orders, even though I am not worthy of the time and mental energy it would take your great and esteemed personage to construct them.

## end transmittal ##

About the author: Jill Bernard is an award-winning improvisational comedian, she is the Director of Education for both ComedySportz and the Twin Cities Improv Festival. Born in Downers Grove, Illinois, she currently teaches and performs improv around the country, and is twenty-four states in to her dream of teaching in every state of the union. Her hobbies include drawing stupid pictures of animals and reading the Lockhorns comic strip out loud.