Quivering at a meager five feet and 9 inches tall, he stood to give his presentation. “Barksdale, reporting assimilation progress.” Clearing his throat, he waited for the response.
The oval table in the room held comfortably 12 people. However, today there were only four present. This included Barksdale and his three superiors. This meeting was a special meeting. Barksdale is an assimilation reconnaissance field agent for the company. His job, as it has been for a considerable time of his career,is to evaluate social assimilation within indigenous species. Barksdale stands at the opposite end of the table from the other three.
At the head of the oval table sat the larger of the three. His gaze was firmly planted on the report in front of him. Lowering the report, his eyes bored through the air across the table. With a grimace, his upper lip separated from the lower. “Report it then.”
A tiny bead of sweat rolled down Barksdale’s left temple. “As you know, the first assimilation team studied the atmosphere, soil content, temperature variations and potential collision paths with all know space debris.”
The upper lip of the boss was still cocked in a grimace. His head tilted slightly to the left and down, He spat out, “Get to the point.”
A tiny bead of sweat rolled around his hairline to his cheek. Barksdale reached up and swiped it with a shaky hand. He sucked in a short breath. “Yes, sir. The dominant inhabitant of the planet is a species that closely matches our own. They communicate similarly as we do. Eat comparable foods. They even procreate in most the same fashion as we do.” Pausing to take two short breaths and wipe the collection of sweat beads that were now forming on his forehead he continued. “However, there is conclusive evidence that many are born with an affliction.” Barksdale rocked back onto his heels. “Of these, many are terminal.”
The boss’s forehead wrinkled as his eyebrows rose to his question. “What? There has been no report of a wide spread disease. If so many are afflicted, as you are saying, how are they maintaining dominance?”
Barksdale looked directly into the eyes of his boss. “The affliction isn’t really a disease. It does not directly affect the longevity of the afflicted.” He turned slightly to the left and right to look at the other members of the meeting. He reached a clammy hand to this back of his neck and gave it a gentle squeeze. “It is actually remarkable that the minority not afflicted support and maintain those who are. Not always directly, mind you. However, even with the support those afflicted still find ways to demonstrate their affliction. Many to their detriment.”
“Are you telling me that there is something on this planet that will not allow us to assimilate?” The bosses head rolled to the center of his shoulders and forward slightly. His hand still gripped the report.
“Sir, to summarize the conclusion of the report, our findings indicate this potential host planet-” he looked to the ceiling of the room. He took two more short breaths, “this reconnaissance team recommends-”
“Just spit it out, Barksdale!”
“Well, sir, all indications point to : Some people are born stupid and never get over it.”