Saturday 6 June 2020

Debut Flash: 'Worldbuilding 101' by Evan Hoffmann

“Unfathomable. No, no, no. We’re already too far along.”

“But Sir, they are demanding a nickel core. They were very adamant on the point."

"Don't they know iron is all the rage?"

“I told them—I did; but they said it's overdone. They said they want retro."

"Retro, what rubbish."

"I know, I know, but they said old is new."

"Well as long as they're paying core fees, let's give them what they want."

“Very good Sir, I will inform them at once.”

"On second thought let's cut it sixty-forty, they won't notice a little iron once it's all boiling together. It’s not like they’ll ever be going down there."

"Good idea Sir. Ingenious as always."

"As always."
Nickel, can you imagine. They might as well have asked for lead.

Two day later

"Hello, Sir, it's me again."

"I didn't think I'd be hearing from you for at least six days. You couldn't have finished already?"

"Well … no Sir, you are as mathematically gifted as ever."

“Stop with the compliments and get to the point, I haven’t got all day.”

"Right Sir, here's the thing; now they're saying they want to cancel the contract. They found a lower bidder. They think we’re bullying them into compliance."

"But that's impossible, we're the only ones in this line of work."

"Not impossible, just improbable."

"So, who’s the competition?"

"They won't tell me Sir. Said they’ve signed an NDA."

"Find out and let them know we can charge double."

"I think you mean half Sir."

"I meant what I said, and if they don't accept, they're more foolish than I thought."

"Very good Sir."

The only thing these civilizations understand is a respectable threat.

Three days later

"They want a refund Sir. They say they know we shafted them on the core."

"What – did you tell them about the iron?"

"Of course not. They’ve advanced quite a bit; they have buzzing sensors and blinking gadgets, you know. Lots of devices for measuring."

"Just tell them their measurements are incorrectly calibrated. We can’t refund them. We've already invested their money as a down payment on a derivative hedging against our own companies’ assets."

"I’m not sure I understand Sir."

"Good, then neither will they."

The next day

"What is it this time?"

"It's the oceans Sir, they want another change.”

"What about the oceans?"

"Well, they want pure water Sir."

"Did you tell them sulfuric seas are the cheapest?"

"Yes Sir, but they insisted. They require water to hydrate."

"What a costly habit. We'd have to import and it's harder than ever to get liquid through customs in those three-ounce containers.”

"Yes Sir, I completely understand. All the same, they are insisting. They say it’s the last change they’ll request.”

"Alright, fine, but mix in a hundred million tons of salt. That should balance out the import taxes."

"Smart thinking Sir. Clever as always."

"That's why they call me the Creator."

"True Sir, very true."

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