Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Xenojustice

"I said spread 'em!" Officer Cory bellowed. With his other foot, he kicked apart the suspect's feet.

He did so several times, as the lower half of the suspect's body displayed dodecameric symmetry. Every time he kicked apart one set of feet, he'd actually force the other eleven closer together.

"And keep your hands on your vehicle!" the cop said. He handcuffed two of the suspect's pseudopods together. The other fifteen pressed their tips to the smooth metal surface of its spaceship. The headlights of Cory's police car bathed the forest clearing with light. The red and blue LEDs in the emergency light bar on the car strobed and gave the scene a tinge of the fantastic above and beyond the presence of the alien lifeform.

One of the pseudopods held a small orb studded with fat, finger-sized cylinders. Cory reached up and knocked it away. It thudded into the grass.

"I don't understand what custom I have violated," the alien quacked.

"Don't you dare quack at me, dirtbag," the cop said.

"I apologize, but this is the only way that I can produce the sounds necessary for the phonemes in your language. Again, I ask what custom have I violated?"

"Recording an officer!"

The cop pulled the alien towards the police car.

"I am recording a documentary for the Universities of Delta Cephei. You should be honored. Xenojustice has become a hot field and I am showcasing the diversity of approaches in the Sol system. You will become famous. You will enjoy all that celebrity has to offer on Delta Cephei, including all of the moolock you can stuff into your voice hole."

"Um, Cory, are you sure that we should be arresting an alien?" Officer Justin asked.

"Who is the senior officer?"

"You are, sir," Justin replied.

"That's right. Help me get him in the cruiser. Push those two heads down. I only have one spare hand. Goddammit, how many heads do you have?"

"Six. They share sensory duties. This vehicle appears to be your mode of conveyance. You cannot take me away from my craft."

"I can do whatever I'd like."

"You cannot. I will die if I am away from the life support systems of my craft. Every thirty-two minutes, local time, I must respire a specific cocktail of life-supporting gases."

"You're resisting arrest," Cory said. He pulled out a taser. "Justin, note that the suspect is resisting arrest."

"He wasn't resisting anything."

Cory pressed the taser against one of the alien's pseudopods. The pseudopod convulsed and backhanded Cory in the face hard enough to knock him out.

Justin's hand went for the pistol on his hip.

"May I return to my ship for a breather?" the alien asked.

"No, no you can't. You were not resisting arrest, but now you have assaulted an officer. I have to arrest you now."

"Oh, delightful! May I record it?"

Justin paused for a moment.

"All the moolock that I can handle?"

"As much as you can stuff into your stomachs."

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you?"

"Yes, of course. We have made great strides in the pursuit of the study of xenojustice today!" The alien began to walk back towards his ship.

"Stop. Where are you going?"

"I have to go back to my ship to respire."

"I've taken haymakers from guys twice your size, you floppy-limbed son of a bitch!" Cory shouted. He wrapped one hand around the alien's leg, the other reached for his gun, and before either Justin or the alien could react, Cory's gun went off. The barrel aimed straight for Justin's abdomen.

Justin staggered backwards from the impact. His butt met the hood of the car and he sagged onto it. Both hands scrambled to pull his shirt up and he found that the lump of hot lead mashed against his bulletproof vest.

Cory kept his gun trained on Justin.

"I've got a perp and a crooked cop. I hate both. Now you both need to listen real carefully or the next shot won't just be to get your attention. Justin, you get on that radio and you call for backup. Slow, like your life depended on it, because it does. Next, alien, you're going to drop that goddamn camera and then hnnnggghhhh."

Cory went under again, as the alien had let go of the recording device. Because of the cruelties of cross-species communication, gravity, and xenobiology, the alien failed to understand that the device would fall straight down onto Cory's skull, the center of his nervous system. Or perhaps the alien did understand.

Justin called for backup and approached the alien.

"May I have those handcuffs back?"

"Of course," the alien said. He detached both pseudopods, slid the metal rings off, then re-attached the appendages. "Would you like a copy of this recording?"

"I'd prefer not, actually. And I'd suggest that you get out of here before Cory wakes up."

"Then farewell, Justin. And if ever our paths cross again, I shall follow through on my promise of moolock."

"I'll take keeping my job."

Cory came to.

"What happened?" he asked.

"I'm glad that you're okay. We stopped a hitchhiker. He slugged you in the mouth, shot me in the stomach with your gun, and took off into the woods."

"The goddamn hell that he did!" Cory said, and ignoring his massive concussion, bolted off into the woods.

The Moral: alien documentarians collecting recordings of xenojustice ain't nothin' to fuck with

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