To Make an Interstellar Omelet- Part II

It was almost midnight when Justin was able to stumble up to his hotel room. The hallways on his floor were empty, and the only sounds he could hear were dissonant humming of the ice machine and the fluorescent lights.
He opened the door to his room and made his way through the dark, unfamiliar entryway and over to the light switch. He suffered a moment of disorientation as he acclimated to the unfamiliar surroundings- bed on the wrong side, curtains open to an array of flickering city lights, and the most hideous shade of pale peach wallpaper he’d ever seen. Just one more day here, a cramped plane ride, and he’d be back in his own bed, complete with white linen sheets.
Justin hadn’t seen Alice at all since their elevator meeting, even though he’d been looking for her in the hallways, the café, and the nearby coffee shop. He took her card from his wallet, but was dismayed to find that the card didn’t contain a phone number – only a web address.
Justin sighed and tossed the card, along with his wallet and keycard, onto the bedside table, feeling more than slightly dejected. He loosened his tie, took off his shoes, and stretched out on the scratchy hotel sheets, endeavoring to relax just a little despite the sting of Alice’s rejection.
He took his laptop, which was plugged into the wall by the bed, and opened it. He decided to take his mind off of things for now, and to get some work done. He knew that sleeping in the strange hotel was a lost cause, but if he tired himself out, he might be desperate enough for sleep to lose consciousness on the plane ride home, when he’d benefit from the state of unconsciousness the most.
As he went through his e-mail, however, he found his mind wandering, and his eyes flickered to the black, glittering card on the bedside table.
He spent a few moments in silent debate, and then gave up, grabbed the card, and entered the URL on his browser.
The website loaded. The front page was cluttered and disordered, filled with an array of headlines in bright, clashing colors with a liberal use of exclamation points. At the top of the page was a bright red banner with white letters.
Welcome to:
The Vision
The only real source of galactic truth.
Justin could feel his right eye twitch a little as he read. The familiar pinch of a tension headache was forming between his eyes. Nevertheless, he scrolled down and continued to read.
Breaking news!!!
Recently released NASA images reveal a new species of rodent living on the surface of Mars. NASA scientists claim the rodents are merely “interestingly shaped rocks.”
Ruins on the Moon!
A former cosmonaut spills the beans about the secret discovery of an ancient lunar civilization.
Ghost Planet?
Find out the true reason why scientists demoted Pluto from a planet to a “dwarf planet.”
 At first, Justin’s heart sank. Alice had been too good to be true- cute, witty, and genuinely interested his work. He rarely met girls like her. Now it seemed she was just another nut case.
However, as he continued to read, and his headache grew more intense, he found himself growing angry. He scrolled further down and found a hyperlink that said “contact me.” His mouse pointer hesitated over the link, but then he put his laptop to the side, went to the mini-bar, and took a Red Bull. He then sat back down, popped a couple of aspirin, downed them with a gulp of Red Bull, and opened a word document.
This madness called for a thorough response.

To Make an Interstellar Omelet- Part I

When Justin first met Alice, he knew he was trapped.

He wasn’t only trapped by the elevator they were in, which was stuck between the second and third floors of the hotel. He was trapped by the most fascinating girl he’d ever met.
Her looks weren’t particularly fascinating, though she was pretty. Her hair was brown, wavy and shoulder length; she was average height and average weight; and though she was dressed a bit strangely- with layers of skirts and a profusion of glittering crystal jewelry- it was nothing terribly uncommon. It was the expression in her dark eyes, and the unsettling way she stared baldly at him before offering a frank, open smile, that grabbed his attention.

When the elevator stopped, he’d groaned in frustration, but the girl merely laughed and said, “at last! I can press this big, shiny red button! That is, if you don’t want to…”

“Oh no, go ahead and ring the alarm,” Justin said, before attempting to pry the door open manually.

Soon, a loud buzzing filled the tiny space, and afterward, a static-y voice could be heard over the intercom.

“… hello?”

“Hi!” the girl said. “We’re stuck between the second and third floors. Hurry, please. My companion can’t seem to get the doors open.”

The intercom buzzed again. “Uh… you’re stuck?”

“Yes, between the second and third floors,” the girl repeated patiently.
There was a long silence, and then the intercom sounded again. “Ok- hold tight. I’ll send someone up there.”

“That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence,” Justin grumbled.

“You aren’t claustrophobic, are you? We have plenty of ventilation,” the girl said, gesturing to the air vent overhead. “We should be fine, unless you need to use the restroom.”

“I’m fine,” Justin said. “I just don’t have time for this.”

“Ah- then I guess we’ll just have to make idle chit-chat, to make the time pass- either that or just stare at our phones for a while. I’m Alice, by the way,” she said, extending her hand.

“I’m Justin,” Justin replied, taking the offered hand. “It’s nice to meet you, even if the circumstances are lousy.”

Alice laughed again, the sound punctuated by the tinkling of her profuse jewelry. “It’s nice to meet you too; I don’t even mind the circumstances. Now- Justin- I suppose that I should ask what you do for a living, following social conventions. Some people don’t like discussing work, though.”

“I don’t mind. I actually like my work, even though it can be more boring than it sounds. I’m an aerospace engineer.”

“Really?” Alice raised her eyebrows in surprise.

“Yeah- I work for NASA.”

Just then, the elevator doors opened just a crack. A bright blue eye peered through the crack, under the bill of a blue hat.

“Hey guys, I’m just about to get this door open. Hold on.”

“Take your time,” Alice said breezily, before turning back to Justin. “I’m a huge fan of the space program. Too bad Nasa keeps losing funding.”

“You’re telling me. I’m sick of seeing the most exciting projects getting scrapped. We have some great projects going on right now, though, so I’m not complaining too loudly.”

There was an ear-shattering creak, then, and the doors opened all the way, revealing the floor below.

“Give me your hand,” the maintenance man said to Alice. “I’ll help you down.”

“Thanks,” Alice said, sitting down and swinging her legs over the ledge. “Don’t look up my skirt.”

“Or course not, Miss,” the man replied, helping Alice down while Justin scrambled out on his own. “Elevators 2 and three still work- they’re just down the hall.”

“Alright, thanks again,” Alice said before turning to Justin. “I guess I’ll see you around. I was really glad to meet you.”

Alice paused a moment, looking at Justin almost expectantly, but Justin’s brain seemed to freeze at this moment.

Alice turned to walk away.

Justin kicked himself awake. She’s leaving, you idiot, he thought to himself.

“Wait-“ Justin said out loud. “Would you like to get some coffee? There’s a Starbucks just across the street.”

“I’m sorry- I’m actually late for a conference.” Alice laughed. “But here- take my card. Let’s keep in touch.”

Justin took the shiny, black and gold card, but he barely glanced at it as Alice turned to walk away again- her crystal jewelry tinkling as she walked.

Alien Race Discovered

Scientists from Centauri University announced on Glorbday that an alien race has been discovered in the Sol system, 4.37 light years away.
This race of creatures, which scientists have dubbed ‘terra-cats,’ appears to be highly intelligent, though somewhat violent. Scientists studying the newly discovered species have urged planetary leaders to exercise extreme caution in their attempts at making first contact with this new race.  Dr. Xular Mardiw, professor of Xenobiology at Centari University, has been studying the terra-cat’s psychology and culture with the help of broadcasts the terra-cats have sent via radio signal.
“These creatures have a very complex, warlike society,” Dr. Mardiw said.  “They spend much of their time racing each other in vehicles filled with explosives.  We believe that surviving these so called ‘high speed chases’ is a coming of age ceremony for the terra-cats.  They also have complex mating rituals, which involve spraying the body with orange body paint, making aggressive shows of their muscles, and imbibing large amounts of intoxicants.”
Despite Dr. Mardiw’s warnings that these terra-cats are an aggressive species, many Centaurians have a hard time taking the new species seriously, due to their resemblance to the common Centauri house-cat.
“They’re about an eight our size, their bodies are as hairless as a newborn’s and they make the most adorable mewling noises,” Prime Minister Yardup said during a press conference on Glorbday evening.  “My daughter has asked me if we could capture one and keep it as a pet.”
Already, videos depicting the terra-cats, who appear to come in many colors and varieties, are a hit on the Centauri Communications System, or CCS.
“The video I uploaded of the terra-cats dancing already has 50,000 views,” a CCS user that goes by the name Radical_Xenu said.  “They’re so adorable, spinning around on their little toes in puffy skirts.  I don’t see how anyone could say that they’re dangerous.”
Prime Minister Yardup remarked on Gleepday that plans were already underway to contact the terra-cats as soon as possible, to offer delicious zarnu biscuits in exchange for more videos.