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  1. Well, once the Frogg Nebula was created something had to be done with it. The Frogg Incident Donnie yawned as he stepped into the kitchen. It was nearly 5:00 AM, time for him to post his daily literary material on Combatsim. He opened the cupboard and reached for his usual breakfast drink, Ovaltine Classic Malt. Jar in hand, he shut the cupboard door -- and froze. Someone else was in the kitchen. A furry object brushed against his ankle. "Damn cat," he muttered, sighing with relief. "Good mornink, Mr. Donzter." The voice had a scratchy quality, as if it came from a badly designed Universal Translator. Donnie slammed the jar to the counter and reached for the light switch. "Damn it, Squelf! You promised not to -- ah -- to -- ." The alien sitting at the breakfast bar was not the Hork known as Squelf*. The slender creature reminded Donnie of an eggplant, only instead of a green leafy top and stem it sported a Panama hat with a hatband advertising Harry's Bar, Key West. A cluster of eyes regarded him from below the hat brim. He could see no ears or anything like a nose. The protrusion about a foot below the eyes might have been a mouth. It had an opening at the top and tapered down as if food were just chucked in and allowed to slide into whatever the thing had for a digestive tract. No teeth were visible. The pair of jointed appendages jutting from below the mouth looked like the front legs of a praying mantis. Each appendage ended in a gripper with three opposed claws. Just below the "arms" a small square box was barely visible. The creature's flesh had grown around it leaving only the speaker exposed. Donnie, like his Combatsimian pals had encountered a vast diversity of form during various misadventures in Known Space. Nevertheless, he'd never actually run into a sapient vegetable. "Ah -- I was expecting -- well, not expecting anyone actually. But if any aliens showed up in my kitchen I figured it would be -- someone else." "Yes," hissed the box. "Horks are no longer interezted in zis zector." The thing waved an arm in a dismissive manner. "Zey are vorking on climbing back from zee ztone age." "Um -- ha ha." Donnie eased toward his vegetable chopper. It was the magnum model, with an oversize hopper, a multitude of stainless steel blades, and a five horse motor. If he could just turn it on and drop it over the alien's head -- top -- pointy end -- the thing would soon be a heap of slices suitable for salads. "So tell me," he asked casually. "Who are you? What are you?" One arm flicked and the alien produced a standard Mk VII snub nose blaster, a Krellian weapon common to every nook and corner of Known Space. "Keep avay from zat food procezzer. Be glad I don't turn you in to zee Imperial copz for pozzezion of an unlawful veapon of mazz deztruction." Donnie stepped back. "What -- uh -- what are you gonna do?" *Squelf - Hork featured in "The Moose Jaw Caper" "Zat izt for me to know unt you to find out." The alien made a slight bow. "I am Zaladmaster Zog, talent zcout for Zprog Medical Experiment, Inc. Vee are a new wholezale client zupplier for medical labz all over zee Frogg Nebula." "Hey! What's with the Germlish?" Donnie leaned forward. "Is that you, Rommel?" "Germliz? Rommel? Vot are you babblink about?" "Your Universal Translator is speaking a mix of languages. Where did you get it?" The blaster wavered. "A firzt clazz buzinezz -- Fick's Zurpluz." "Fick? That clown? Did you get the blaster there as well?" "Of courz. Vee traded in zomevhat uzed Mk IIIs -- zee one with double barrelz." "Yeah. 15mm blaster and 20mm grenade launcher. I've seen 'em. Too bad." "Too bad, vhat?" Donnie reached for the magnum processor. "The one you're pointing at me is a Chinese knock off of the original. It's a toy." "A toy?" Zog the Frogg lifted the weapon closer to his eye cluster. "But zat can not -- ." In one fluid motion, which none of this Combatsimians would have believed, Donnie hit the magnum power switch, knocked Zog's snazzy Panama hat aside, and upended the machine on the alien's pointy end. In a few seconds it was all over. The processor finished Zog and ate a couple yards of carpet before Donnie got it shut off. He picked up the alien's blaster. "Cheap junk. Taking advantage of a vegetable. Fink has no conscience." He pointed the toy at the wall and pulled the trigger. It took him about an hour to haul Zog's remains to the compost pile and a couple days to install a new window in the wall. He wears the Panama hat everywhere and plans to visit Harry's Bar one day, purely in the interest of scientific inquiry. End
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