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Properties & Permissions

E. Catherine Tobler has never been caught up in alien embassy imbroglios or paperwork on a far away world, and hopes she never will be. She has spent hour upon hour, however, wrangling the pages of Shimmer Magazine, as well as her own fiction, which has been a finalist for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award.

Document 75e: The Properties of Mr. Smith and Xm. Mesfaris
Translated from the Noveana by [redacted]
Note: Embassy investigation is ongoing and will be, given nature of the case. Never in our recorded contact with humanity (residents of Calee Object 214c; disc. 364 A.D) has an incident such as this occurred. Every known visit to our world by humans has been one of peace, exploration, and safe departure.
The properties of Mr. F. Smith.:
--1 jacket, inner and outer pockets empty
--1 pair shoes w/2 1.37m laces
--1 pair pants
--1 pair underpants
--1 shirt, stained with blood and vomit, traces of methane; w/9 buttons
--1 undershirt
--1 writing device, "archival ink" colored red
--1 notebook, 74 pages used, 165 pages blank, 1 page missing
--1 wallet: credit chips with local and homeland currencies, 1 photo of woman, 1 photo of child, 1 photo of ancestors; (for detailed inventory see attached form 273b)
(Following new policy, in accordance with protocols 24b and 1124Je, buttons and laces hereby and thereto annotated.)
The properties of Xm. Mesfaris:
--diagram of a woman's anatomy, drawn in red ink
[Appended 3/4: both individuals recovered wearing standard-issue bio-suits. Mesfaris's suit tested positive for methane and hydrocarbons and having been at a depth of greater than twenty (20) meters; abhorrent violation of Treaty 17, Subsection 125, paragraph 12b.]
[Appended 4/4: reports that a bio-suit was issued to visitor Mrs. C. Smith, at same point as suit to Mr. F. Smith.; suit not returned. Multiple points of violation of the Starfarer Treaty, page 1100 (section 48), page 1506 (section 2), page 1701 (section 42, subsection D); note: Mesfaris's suit issued 4.2 hours later, not recorded until he returned. Multiple points of violation to the Starfarer Treaty, page 1101 (section 32), page 1500 (section 12), page 1701 (section 42, subsection D)]
[Appended 5/4: Recovery team dispatched to dredge Lake Hali; historical preservations permissions secured and attached]
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Author Comments

This story is the result of a friendly writing group competition; this was part of a title challenge, and I didn't end up using the title as the title, but as the springboard for the entire story. The title was, "Diagram of a Woman's Anatomy, Drawn in Red Ink." The story was poorly received; only a couple of readers understood it. I was discouraged, but still liked the idea and the execution both, enough so that I sent it out into the world to see how it would fare. Sometimes you have to jump off that cliff!

- E. Catherine Tobler
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