Ever since my story “Coke Machine” came out, I’ve been feeling pressure to share more about life in the Truck Stop Universe. Marichka, of course, is the talented engineer who’s at the center of that story.
Just to be clear, she’s not too enamored of rule books.
Here are some rules she knows about that perhaps you’re not aware of. I’m not sure you’ll want to follow her example.
Do NOT criticize the formatting of the Handbook for SkipShip Operators. It has to be cute or nobody will even open the thing. Do NOT mistake cuteness for mild, gentle, tentative advice.
RULES FOR INCURSIONS BY GOD-LIKE ALIENS
- DO NOT ENGAGE
- All interaction is engagement.
- (Worship is engagement.)
- Do NOT do what they tell you to do
- Do NOT accept “assistance”
- Do NOT accept gifts
- OBSERVE AND TAKE NOTES
- Do NOT allow the entity to know you are observing
- Keep all communication lines open to your shipmates
- Compare notes with your shipmates
- Do NOT attempt to reconcile notes; Notes will never agree
- REPORT ALL INCURSIONS TO AUTHORITIES
- Surrender all information or objects acquired
- Erase all records of the encounter
- By NO MEANS tell anyone else
- Oh, my god, do NOT tell everyone
- DO NOT FOLLOW ALIEN TO ITS BASE OF OPERATIONS
- Leave that to the experts
- Absolutely, don’t do this
- Don’t even imagine doing this
- Don’t believe any suggestions the alien has what you want there