The Shopping Channel

Entry by: Alobear

28th September 2016
“Hey, Jad, I’ve got something!” Yisaheur swivelled around in his chair, waggling his eye stalks excitedly at his crew-mate.

Ma'jadaloon was more jaded. “Really?” She yawned widely, all three rows of her teeth on menacing display.

Yisaheur ignored her lack of interest. “Yeah! Tons of traffic, off in the direction of that new system we identified a while back. Let’s go check it out!”

Ma'jadaloon rolled her eyes. “We can’t just go haring off at the first hint of intelligence, Yis. You know that. We’d get charged for the fuel, and no argument. Even if we did find something interesting, which is pretty doubtful.”

“Let’s at least take a closer look at the transmissions,” Yisaheur begged. “If they look promising, we could send a request back to base for authorisation to do a fly-by.”

Ma'jadaloon let out a resigned huff of air and stumped across to lean over Yisaheur’s station. “Alright,” she said, touching his nearest tentacle. “Let’s see what you’ve got.”

Yisaheur enthusiastically manipulated the controls before him, bringing up the transmission on a large screen, so they could both view it.

The picture crackled and fizzed for a moment, and then resolved itself into vaguely recognisable information. Both crew-mates instantly recoiled from the bright, garish colours and blaring noise.

Letters and figures flashed aggressively, alongside rapidly moving images of unfamiliar objects and what looked like it might possibly be live creatures. They were grotesque, with hair sprouting from the top, and gangly limbs from the bottom and sides. What may or may not have been their faces were horrifyingly flat and their possibly mouths stretched to reveal blunt, square teeth.

Meanwhile, a constant droning noise overwhelmed the crew-mates’ auditory sensors with incomprehensible sounds.

“These silicone pot scourers are multi-functional, heat-resistant cleaning tools! Revolutionise your washing up with these easy and quick scrubbing solutions from Housewife’s Essentials!
Heat-resistant up to 300 degrees! Dishwasher safe - can be washed and dried quickly! Only $12.99 for a pack of forty-seven! Thirty day money-back guarantee! Order now while stocks last!”

Ma'jadaloon reached out a tentacle and stabbed the control that would shut off the screen. She experienced an almost physical rush of relief as silence mercifully fell in the cabin once more.

Yisaheur looked up at her in consternation. “Perhaps we’ll give that system a wide berth after all. What do you think?”

“Just list it as uninhabited and let’s move on,” Ma'jadaloon agreed with a shudder.

They went about their duties, focusing on the next stop on their exploration mission, and leaving the unpalatable system far behind.