the general was trying not to notice the tiles. he was flown here on a red-eye flight to oversea the presentation but all he could see were the tiles. the same exact tiles as were in his building's lobby. now every time he went to work he'd be reminded of this. great.
a functional light grey linolium tile. 12"x12" with white and black speckles creating a faux marble apearance without breaking the bank. nothing flashy. the same material you'd see in a cafeteria or mechanics waiting room. he'd liked them until now.
now those same marblesque tiles underscored a dozen or so rows of folding chairs. filled with experts wearing uniforms matching their professions. physicians, professors, politicians and the like making small talk about the spectacle in front of them.
at the head of the room in front of the folding chairs was a typical speakers stage complete with podium and projectors except this one was centered around some sort of disturbing art project. as though someone had removed the insides of a horse and pinned them to a cork board with labels underneath each part. the general was no expert in biology, but he knew his building was getting new tiles.
on schedule the lights dim and a speaker takes the stage. he's older. like most of the people in the audience, except even older. he looked like the sort of guy who was an expert at something. white hair, thick glasses, white lab coat and carrying a notebook the size of a bible. he briefly thanks everyone for attending before focusing everyones attention.
"as many of you know we were going to call this group 'first contact' - however there was some disagreement about whether that would be completely accurate. we then went with 'human contact' however there were some valid concerns brought up about the value of other life on earth. a seperate committee has been formed to focus on naming and other p.r. concerns. they're making a lot of headway - but due to a time crunch we are calling this our 'presentation regarding alien life' and each of you will be updated with specifics regarding the formalities of the orginization once they're decided. without further ado i'd like to stick to the schedule and give everyone a quick fifteen before we begin. try to be back in your seats on time as we want to start right away."back home