"Also important. Special task force of Imperatrix Trade Enforcement requests access to human earth real space. They are in pursuit of wanted contraband trafficker believing…on earth system…of planet earth."

"What sort of presence is the honorable delegate from Imperatrix suggesting will be brought to earth to pursue this fugitive?" Raylene asked the question and immediately her translator began a long exchange with a creature completely encased inside a sinister black power suit with a voice not unlike that of a fax modem.

"Minimal task force...it is request of-" the translator was interrupted by the representative of Imperatrix who stood and slammed a black gauntlet on the table with a resounding thud. Its abrasive voice crackled out in a painfully loud burst of machine static.

"The honored representative of Imperatrix…is offering no information…it is not your business he is saying."

The Chimopteran translator, as well as the other delegates, seemed cowed by the outburst from the Imperatrixian. Even the lethargic chairman raised a mossy eyebrow and leaned away from the massive power suit.

Raylene leapt at the opportunity to show a little backbone in the negotiations. True, the aliens could basically demand whatever they wanted knowing how badly the primitive humans craved their advanced technology. But for Raylene an attempt at intimidation was something she just could not pass up.

She rose quickly from her chair and strode across the smooth floor over to the towering representative of Imperatrix. The power suit resembled a solid black suit of medieval armor with much broader shoulders and reflective insect-like lenses on its otherwise skeletal helmet. It was more than twice as tall as her and as she reached the table she could hear the smoky glass material creaking and straining beneath the pressure of the gauntlet gripping the edge. Without pause she raised a long finger and jabbed it towards the chest of the suit well above her head.

"Listen up rust-chuckle, if you want me to let a battalion of clanking thugs land on my planet and smash their way through population centers looking for some drug dealer you can just forget about it. I know enough from you Imperatrixians to know that you are about as subtle as a rocket-powered sledge hammer. So if it's none of my business, honorable delegate, I'll make it my business to put my military forces on high alert for a bunch of creaking robots prone to temper tantrums."

There was dead silence for a few seconds and then, haltingly, the Chimopteran began to translate for the delegation. It was only a few words into the translation when the alien equivalent of a collective gasp went up from the entire table. The Chimopteran dutifully continued, going so far as to raise its clawed hands defensively near its face as it finished the translation. More silence followed and all eyes, ears, and various other bizarre sense organs were flicking back and forth between the delegate from Imperatrix and Raylene.

Then a stuttering shrill cough issued from the helmet of the Imperatrixian. It rose in pitch and volume until the creature's upper body began to vibrate. The sound was so unpleasant that at first Raylene mistook it for some type of sonic weapon, but as the other delegates began to relax and even made guttural choking sounds or high pitched cackles she realized it was laughing. She just hoped it was not laughing at her.

The bizarre laughter stopped and the Imperatrixian spoke again, the Chimopteran moving up to stand next to Raylene and translate.

"You are an...impressive...human creature. It is few...in number...even in this delegation that will stand up to the might of Imperatrix. I like you human. Perhaps some day we can mate."

"I don't think so." Raylene replied and suppressed a shudder.

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