Arthur readjusted the files and papers tucked neatly between his hands. He carried them with poise, careful not to spill his cup of coffee.
The elevator tinged open. Arthur excitedly sauntered over to his favorite reviewer. He past some colorful desks, some adorned with amusing trinkets, until he found his dear friend Carter typing away at his computer.
Arthur set his papers down, took a relaxing swig of his drink, and scooted a second chair next to his friend. Carter’s spines clacked away at a blinding speed. He finished a thirty page report in a matter of second.
“Alright,” Carter said. “Done with that. What can I do for you today?”
Arthur enjoyed his drink, smiled, and said, “I’m here for my three questions.”
“Ah, right, right, right,” Carter motioned to a monitor against the furthest wall. Images would occasionally cycle with their recent company profits.
Carter continued, “Alright, so I know I’ve told you a bunch about the project. And like I said before, any questions. Any subject. But only three. Keeps the mystery.” He wiggled his scaly mandibles in joy.
Arthur started, “Okay. First question–been sitting on this one–what’s with the name?”
“What about it? You don’t like it.”
“No, I like it,” Arthur said. “I just don’t understand it.”
Carter clicked a few keys, “We struggled with the name. But, from the translations, they call them ‘woman’.” He used air quotes.
“What?” Arthur said.
“Did you not see the video artifact? Wo-man…The poem from that guy? From their internet thing.”
“Internet? Isn’t that like a hundred years old?”
“Yeah, for us. Not for them,” Carter said. “Was that you’re second question?”
“No, no, no,” Arthur panicked. “That was a sub-question. Totally doesn’t count. How can you tell the different from the rest of them?”
“Don’t let HR hear you say that.”
Arthur curled in embarrassment. They laughed when he realized Carter was just pulling his mandible. “You know what I mean,” he said.
Carter hit space bar and a few images popped up on the monitor.
Carter continued, “This one is really confusing. Constant arguments all over.”
“Well–” Carter paused. “They, hold on–” He rummaged through some papers on his desk and pulled out a sticky note. He read it out loud, “Women are adult female humans. Referred to as girl before adulthood. Plural is women.”
Arthur stared at him for entirely too long, and said, “What does that mean? Like gender stuff?”
Carter nodded yes. “Was that a sub-question or a normal question?”
“Sub, obviously,” Arthur smiled. He finished his coffee, and pulled a file from his mountain. “Okay, okay, wait–“
Carter cleared the images on the screen. He motioned for him to continue.
“I just want to make sure I got everything straight,” Arthur said.
Carter motioned him on.
Arthur continued, “So, we call them women. And they’re from 2B, right? Earth?”
“So, and this will lead to my third question,” Arthur cleared his throat. “So, one of us went back in time.”
“Correct. As we do.”
“And created these humans.”
“Then created this woman/women deal for–” Arthur hit a few combinations of keys. Images of women being abducted. “Just so we could abduct them.”
“Keep going,” Carter said.
“And, what?” Arthur laughed. “Use them to–“
“Fight the ghost pandemic. Yeah.”
Arthur blinked several times, clearing his bug-like eyes, “Yeah, yeah, that’s the normal part. My question is why are our ghosts afraid of some aliens from halfway across the galaxy?”
Carter spoke like a bell had gone off, “Exactly! That’s the question of the universe right there.”
“That seems like a–“
“Hilarious point to existence?” Carter chuckled and went to work at his computer. “I’ve read a ton of stuff from Earth. And I’m pretty sure that it has something to do with–” He squinted to read the screen– “The All-mighty Uterus?”
“Sounds like a band. Or an ointment,” Arthur said. “Are you sure that’s real?”
“Well, yeah. If their internet is anything like how ours was, there’s not a single lie on it.”
“But why women?”
“That doesn’t make sense,” Arthur said. “Why would our ghosts be afraid of an alien–“
“Arty, you know,” Carter paused. “How long have you worked here?”
“Couple of months. Why?”
“Have you seen our slogan?”
“The one plastered on the front of the building?”
“Yeah, the one that says ‘Who’re you going to call, a woman–“
“It doesn’t say that!” Arthur said.
“Yeah, it does.”
“…Shut up. So, my third question–“
Carter belched a laugh, “Hold on. Hold on. I need more coffee.”
The two rose from their chairs, locked the computer screen, and headed for the break room.
“How many do you have, by the way?” Arthur asked.
“Four,” Carter said. “It’s a heavy season. Gary in the science division has like nine, I think.”
Arthur rubbed his eyes, “Stupid ghosts. I swear. And I was alive for the Migration. Nothing is more annoying than those wooing bastards. Now I know why that planet doesn’t like to believe in them. Can’t get any good sleep–“
“Don’t you have a pregnant partner,” Carter asked.
“Yeah, that’s the worst of it. How long do we have until the first shipments of women?”
“Still three weeks.”
“Jeez, that’s going to be a long wait.”
“Couldn’t agree with you more.”
Next prompt: Alien finds computer full of souls.