A small pod of Zerxoz explorers were hovering in their bulbous ship somewhere inside a black hole near the Milky Way, awaiting permission from their leadership to teleport to a distant celestial body.

Captain Xryt’s radar spotted Earth in the distance and information poured down her luminescent, augmented reality screen, “Sir, it says here that no life form on XC-3450 has multi-dimensional travel abilities,” She said in a confused tone.

“Well, there must not be any intelligent life-forms on the planet,” Admiral Keqt said matter-of-factly.“They do live primarily in a three dimensional world, after all.”

“But it says here that the primary life form on this planet has developed satellite based nuclear weapons,” Captain Xryt responded.

“So, they are an emerging intelligence?”

Captain Xryt squinted as she studied the information carefully, “No, I don’t think so, they have aimed the weapons at themselves.”

Admiral Keqt cringed his face in disgust and then pondered for a moment, “Well, why don’t we teach them how to travel in between dimensions?”

Captain Xryt’s face lit up, “We could help develop that species’ intelligence!”

“I’ll contact command and ask if we can cautiously enter the planet and disseminate our information.” Admiral Keqt said. “We’ve got a significant amount of time until we are scheduled for teleportation, so I’m sure they’ll confirm my request.”

Admiral Keqt’s hunch was correct.

72 Earth hours later, they returned to their initial position and contacted command.

A hologram appeared in front of Admiral Keqt, “How did it go?”

“Terrible,” A dejected Admiral replied.

“How so?” The hologram queried.

“Well, we entered the atmosphere and brought a few of the targeted species on board as is protocol.”


“When we tried to probe them to deliver the information it went all wrong.”


“We observed that 90 per cent of visual content on their networks of distant communication consisted of a cylindrical part of their flesh entering various orifices on another individuals flesh.”

Captain Xryt interrupted, “Sometimes they use a more artificial object which mimics this flesh.”

Admiral nodded in agreement, “Yes, so we tried to deliver the information in a manner that would comfort them based on this discovery, but they just started screeching and attacking us.”

Captain Xryt interjected again, “And that screeching was a completely different frequency and wave length compared to the screeching we heard in those visual communications.”

“So we just let them off the ship.” A glum Admiral concluded.

A Very Odd Story

Prime or composite, it didn’t matter.


Years of tensions had been put aside as Seven threatened to end the numerical order.


Seven had just partially cannibalized his own wife, Nine.


To make matters worse, he was now holding Six hostage and threatening to cut open his enclosed circle.


The remaining numbers from One to Ten secretly met on a plane to evaluate the possible solutions.


“Our whole society is divided, this just a sine of the times,” One hysterically shrieked amidst the frantic discussion.


“I know why he ate his wife!” Ten abruptly exclaimed.


Four rolled her eyes, “Oh look, of course Mr two-digits thinks he knows the answer.”


“No, no, listen, Seven recently said he was going on a new diet and I bet you he wanted to start eating 3 squared meals per day,” Ten explained.


The rest of the numbers turned to each other and slowly begun to nod their heads in agreement.


“It all adds up,” a wide-eyed Eight whispered to himself.


“What has Six got to do with it with it though?” Two asked.


Ten pondered the question for a brief moment, “I don’t know, but I bet we can carry over what we’ve worked out to calculate the answer, let’s go!”


The numbers sheepishly followed their largest member as he went to confront Seven.


Nine’s half-eaten carcass lay at Seven’s feet, now resembling a J. As Ten got closer to Seven, the homicidal digit tightly wrapped his slender arm around Six.


Ten pleaded, “Seven, please stop, we know you killed your +1 because of your new diet, let Six go and we can work something out.”


Seven sighed and bowed his head.


As his grip on Six loosened, the numbers began to sigh in relief. But just as Six began his bounce towards freedom, Seven rabidly started to stab his captive.


The numbers gasped in shock.


“You fools know nothing!” Seven screamed.


Breathing heavily and foaming at the mouth, he continued, “I caught Six with Nine doing unspeakable things, things she should only do with me!”


Ten slowly backed away to the safety of his fellow digits, who were trembling in fear.


The numbers watched in horror, as Seven bent down to closely examine the mutilated corpses of Six and his former +1, and menacingly whispered, “now, we’re even.”







Lost In Translation

Kang Pyong-il briskly walks up the stairs of a dimly lit, 10-storey Kaesong office building.

The 25-year-old is a writer for The Very Glorious and Democratic Times, a state-run, North Korean satirical news agency.

Out of breath, Kang eventually rushes into the top-floor office of his editor, Jang Song-chul.

“Sir, our last article where we said ‘the United States will cease to exist as our mighty nuclear arsenal will crush them’, did not go down well,” Kang said. “They actually took it seriously, they actually take us seriously.”

“Are they for real?” A shocked Jang responded.  “Don’t they get that we’re being sarcastic when we say ‘mighty’?”

“No, I think they actually think that North Koreans are stupid enough to think that we can defeat the entire Western world with one or two shoddily made missiles,” Kang said.

Jang rubbed his eyes and shook his head in disbelief, “You think?”

Kang slowly nodded.

“Oh yeah, and the Americans tried contacting one of their diplomats, Mr Greg Hazel, after the article was published, but they can’t reach him,” Kang said. “They think the government is keeping him in a prison or something as a major provocation, and President Trump said they will launch a full scale attack unless we notify them of his condition immediately.”

“What!?” Jang barked as he abruptly rose to his feet.

Kang gestured for Jang to relax, “Don’t worry, I know Greg and spoke to him two days ago,” Kang said. “He’s based in Pyongyang and they’re having a bad electricity outage at the moment I’ve heard.”

Jang breathed a deep sigh of relief.

“So, how is he?” Jang asked.

“Oh yeah, he isn’t able to complain,” Kang replied.

A wave of anxiety immediately swept through Jang and his eyes began to widen.

Kang quickly realised his mistake.

“O-oh, oh no, I meant he said he can’t complain because everything is fine, not that he is being held against his will,” Kang nervously laughed.

“You’re going to give me a heart attack at the worst possible time!” Jang yelled as he slowly sunk back into his brown leather chair.

“Actually sir, the worst time to have a heart attack would be during a game of charades,” Kang responded with a smirk.

There was nothing but deafening silence as Jang glared at Kang.

Kang once again realised his mistake and swiftly changed the topic back to the diplomat’s situation.

“Yeah, he actually said the food at the Yanggkdo Hotel is so irresistible that he locked himself in his room for a day so he doesn’t put on too much weight,” Kang said.

“Wow, he must be hungry,” Jang chuckled.

“He said he’s starving to death,” Kang grinned.

There was a brief silence before Jang clicked his fingers with excitement.

“Hey, you speak English right?” Jang asked.

“Fluent sir!” Kang responded proudly.

Jang pointed to a business card at the top right corner of his mahogany desk, “There’s the number we have for the US State Department, call them now and say he’s fine and let them know they can speak to him in a day or two.”

“No problem,” Kang said.

“Remember that we’re on thin ice, so let’s keep it very short and quote exactly what he said so there won’t be any confusion,” Jang said as Kang began to dial.

Kang nodded and winked, “got it.”

But Kang’s heart began to race as the sound of the phone dialing was interrupted by a woman’s stern voice, “Hi, this is Jennifer Terry from the State Department, how can I help?”

“Hello, I am Kang Pyong-il from The Very Glorious and Democratic Times and I am calling to inform you about Mr Hazel’s condition,” Kang said stiffly.

“Alright, please go ahead,” Jennifer replied.

“Mr Hazel’s condition is that he is starving,” Kang hastily said.

Jennifer replied, “Excuse me!?”

Kang began to panic, “Uh…I-I mean Mr Hazel is, quote, ‘starving to death’ but only becau- hello….HELLO!?”

With the phone still at his ear, Kang looked at Jang glumly.

Jang once again leapt off his chair.

“DID THEY HANG UP!? CALL AGAIN QUICKLY!” Jang yelled as he rushed over to Kang.

Kang frantically dialed and re-dialed over the next minute as Jang anxious paced the room, but there was no response.

“You idiot! She must’ve left to tell the President what you said,” Jang cried as he ripped the jacket off the back of his chair and frantically rushed out the room.

“Where are you going boss?” Kang shrieked.

Jang replied, “To try and spend the last few moments I have with my family before we’re all vaporized!”