Authors' Note: Happy (belated) April Fools! Ish wrote this as her annual Botosphere prank. It would have been posted yesterday from her hotel in Ireland if her stolen bandwidth had been stable enough. Lamentably it wasn't, so we continue the tradition with just a little delay. When asked for what she'd like in the author's note, her official comment was "anything worth doing is worth doing on crack." Hope you enjoy!
The first sign of trouble was always paperwork. Back in the day, it would have been a telegram from Washington or an envelope marked "Eyes Only."
Technically, I wasn't even qualified to be a quartermaster, so this sort of paperwork should have never crossed my desk. But I was also the man with the most rank to pull where the Autobots were concerned and I had, somewhat naively, told Major Lennox that he could run the ultra-sensitive requests by me.
To date, they hadn't asked for anything too unreasonable. I had half-expected them to find whatever form they could fill out for 20 liters of plutonium for "defensive research purposes," but in eight months of working together, I'd never seen anything more unreasonable than a few weapons-grade parts replacements.
At 07:00 that morning, though, Lieutenant Commander Clancy handed me the usual correspondence and I found a stack of faxed requisition forms for 'instructional videos.' I had already had my first three cups of coffee, so nothing went up my nose when I read on, but I spun in my chair quickly enough that I needed to wait for the room to stop spinning.
"Commander, can you see if..."
"Major Lennox is on the line," Tom shouted back.
Either he was becoming an expert at anticipating my needs or Will Lennox had a damned good explanation for this. I hoped for the good Major's sake that it was the latter, but I closed the door before picking up line 1.
"Lennox," I grunted as soon as the call connected.
"I can explain everything," Will Lennox blurted out. "I didn't know a thing about those requisitions."
"That doesn't explain anything, Major," I growled. "Why do I have seven forms from an alien species requesting sex tapes?"
There was a long pause. "Okay," Lennox replied slowly, "I can explain ninety-five percent of this."
"Explain quickly," I suggested.
"Well, you see, sir, eh..."
"Is it on the blog?" I demanded.
"For now," he said, sounding slightly relieved.
"Call me in five minutes," I ordered. "And you'd better have a better answer than, 'Well, you see, sir, eh.'"
I hung up and immediately went to my bookmarks. Five minutes later, I had a headache and Clancy had Major Lennox back on line 1.
"If they're confused, refer all questions to the Surgeon General or Dalai Lama," I barked.
"The Surgeon General doesn't have this kind of clearance, sir," Lennox explained patiently. "And with all due respect to the Dalai Lama, I think this is out of his league."
"Well, then have your medical liaison handle it," I responded. "He's an intelligent person, isn't he?"
"Sir, he went to Oxford."
"And I went to Kuwait," I said.
Lennox sounded puzzled when he spoke again. "Sir, I'm not sure I..."
"Meaning I outrank everyone who has to deal with this!"
"Yes, but, sir..."
Whenever he called me 'sir' this many times in a row, it meant that he was getting desperate.
"The problem isn't one of medical understanding, sir," he said helplessly. "The problem is that the Bible says God formed man in his own image out of the dust of the earth. Darwin has a theory of evolution. Wikipedia has many articles on human reproduction and none of those correlate with a children's book on how Mommy hugs Daddy in a special way to make a little brother. There is scientific procedure at war with the theological origins of mankind. They are non-biological entities expected to understand biological and philosophical matters."
We were both silent for a long, long time.
"They have too much conflicting information," Lennox concluded at last.
"My thirteen-year-old niece is taking Sex Education in her 7th grade health class," I growled. "Are they expecting me to send them some pamphlets on puberty?"
"No, sir," Lennox said meekly, "but they sent those requisitions in hopes that the United States government could issue official training materials for...um...foreign dignitaries."
"There's nothing dignified about this."
"Then just tell them that sugar, spice and everything nice was made by Walt Disney, the boys came from the stork and we were all created by Darwin," I snapped. "Let them figure it out."
Another decades-long silence. I hadn't taken three bullets for this nonsense.
"Do I even want to know which one of the alien warrior geniuses brought it up?"
"That would be my three-year-old daughter," he said with a defensive note in his voice.
That explained a great deal. Nothing could confound a species as profoundly as a little girl in pigtails. I had extensive experience in the field myself.
"God help us."
"The Autobots are confused about where babies come from and it's because..."
"Because Mrs. Keene at the preschool is going to have a baby soon, yes, sir," Lennox said in a rush.
"And Baines can't handle this?"
When all else failed, I could usually delegate to the more hands-on of the blog's moderators.
"Baines isn't comfortable discussing this given..." I could almost hear him blushing. I was turning red for very different reasons. "Miss Baines is a virgin, sir. She'd rather not."
I'd seen the way she dressed and couldn't imagine her being uncomfortable with human sexuality. 07:13 was not the time to risk sexual harassment, however.
"Your three-year-old daughter?" I muttered to myself. "She's gotten a spanking for this?"
"A time out, sir," Lennox corrected. "There's no harm in curiosity."
"And they expect me to walk them through this?"
"No, sir." Lennox was starting to sound as exasperated as I felt. "That's what the...instructional videos are for."
"In over two hundred years of American foreign relations, how many times do you think foreign dignitaries have needed instructional videos?" I challenged.
"I don't know sir," he deadpanned. "Maybe the Russians?"
I almost laughed. And then I noticed the time zone where Major Lennox was currently stationed in. It was one of the bases where we had to account for the International Date Line and that meant that...
"Request denied," I said with a straight face. "Take ten minutes time out and get back to work."
"Happy April Fool's Day, sir," he said unrepentantly. "Lennox out."
I dumped all of the requisitions in the shredder posthaste, but set up a time for the NEST team to attend a mandatory sexual harassment seminar in the next week.
One way or another, they'd pay for their curiosity...