‘Intelligent species my…,’ Balar stopped himself short of cursing. ‘Will you quit, you moron. You can’t drum me out by humming. I am inside your head.’
Of course he was right, but I wasn’t gonna give him the satisfaction of admitting it. I kept humming.
‘You just admitted it. You thought it, I know.’
‘No I didn’t!’
‘Yes… you… I heard… will you just…,’ Balar was so frustrated, he couldn’t even put a sentence together. He fumed in silence for a moment before speaking again. ‘What a gig, right? And to think, my parent was so proud of me when I decided to get into law. I’ve dreamed most my life away, just imagining that one day I might have the honor and privilege to come before a Host to dispense Initial Contact Legalities! Had this gone well, I would have spent the final hours of my life as a celebrity. Children would have been named after me, songs would have been written about me, and I would have gone into the annals of history as a great barrister. But, alas, I am a complete failure. What a shame…’
He trailed off into tragic silence. I stopped humming and mulled it over. Is he making a play for my pity?
‘Nothing else seems to be working! But I swear it’s all true. My parent will probably ask me to change my name so as to not further damage the honor of my lineage.’
‘That’s kind of shallow. One little screw up and… Wait just a sec! You’re doing it again!’
‘Listen, I will explain your rights and legal recourse if you wish to refuse to host our colony. But will you please, please allow me to point out some of the benefits we provide when I am finished?’
I considered it for a moment. I knew full well that there was nothing he could say that would make me not want to get rid of a virus that might accidentally kill me. Smart bug or not, it was still just a bug. ‘Whatever, go ahead.’
‘Ok.’ Balar smarted, trying to ignore the insults. He collected his wits for a second. He had a lot of ground to cover in less than 2 minutes. Despite the fact that this conversation was occurring at the speed of the host’s thoughts, the time constraints might be too much considering how fast this creature’s brain was working. ‘You have the right to refuse our presence in your system. If, at any time, you should decide not to be a host for our colony, then all you must do is file a complaint in the Civil Courthouse of New Plattington. At that time you will be appointed legal council, if you so desire, and he or she or it will guide you through the process. You and your council will be asked to explain your complaint before the judges, who will then issue a ruling. The vast majority of these cases come down in favor of the host with the judges ordering the viral colony not to reproduce. Within a few days the host’s system is Etymicacaus free as the last individuals die off.’ Balar stopped for a moment. He was not looking forward to this, but he simply had no choice. ‘Those are your rights. Do you have any questions?’