56-year-old Carson Overbrooks was widely known as "The Fisherman", although he would never dream of fishing. He was the only human ambassador to the fishlike race native to M-107 playfully called "guppies". The guppies communicated by releasing streams of bubbles from their mouths, which made it impossible to refer to them by their native name. Because of this, humans had to improvise a name for them and their planet (Their official designation was actually "Ichthyoid Sentient Extraterrestrial Species A", but nobody called them that).
Lately he had been negotiating the system of government for M-107 Colony C8, the first potential joint human-guppy colony to be seriously discussed. His tiny transfer ship drifted the short distance across space from his human ship, the USS Houston, to the waiting guppy ship. An airlock on the side opened, and the small craft floated to it. Carson was already in his diving suit, and after one last check of his oxygen, he fastened the mask and went through the airlock. As it flooded with water, he mentally reviewed his orders from the UN one last time. The UN was proposing to keep the humans and guppies in the colony separated unless communication was necessary. Officially, the reason for the separation was the risk of disease, but that was obviously not true, since it had already been established that humans' and guppies' physiologies varied enough for diseases from one to be innefective on the other. No, the real reason for the separation was the inherent distrust towards guppies that all but a few humans harbored
Swimming over to greet him was a group of eight guppies. As they filed into the conference room, Carson thought about how it was no wonder that he was the only one willing to do prolonged work with the guppies. They looked like the coelacanths of Earth, but had arms underneath their pectoral fins that unnerved most humans. Their wide, flounder-like eyes darted across the room constantly, which, paired with their constantly frowning mouths, gave the impression that they were in a state of extreme anxiety. But the quality that most disturbed humans was that they had no control over their bowels and defecated whenever the need arose. Encounters with guppies often gave humans a temporary paranoia of water and a pressing need to bathe, which, when combined, was very unpleasant. Carson Overbrooks was one of the only humans really willing to cope with their differences and the only one with any real diplomatic ability.
One of the guppies - from the south of M-107, Carson could tell - let out a stream of bubbles, which was Guppy Standard for, "Hello, Emissary. What is it that invites your visit?" Carson replied: "I come to continue discussions on colony C8." A device on his helmet picked up his voice and translated it into a stream of bubbles. The guppies watched intently as the flow of bubbles erupted from the device. One responded, "Of course. We are as eager as you humans are to begin building the colony. What are the suggestions of the United Nations? "The United Nations suggests that we keep the human and guppy sides of the colony separated and limit communication." Carson could tell that the guppies were upset about this decision by the way their gills quivered. Most guppies were enthusiastic about increasing communication with humans. Many had seen the colony as an opportunity to increase mutual understanding between the two species. To hear that humans wanted to avoid them was very disappointing indeed.
Carson felt guilty about the announcement. he said "However, I disagree with the UN. I think that human-guppy communication needs to be increased, and I am a huge advocate for-" Just then, the entire ship shook. A voice resonated in Carson's helmet. "Houston to Overbrooks. This is Captain Disher. A fuse blew or something in the anti-asteroid gun computer, and it mistook the guppy ship for an asteroid. Are you all right?"
Carson never got to answer. Furious at the humans' apparent ambush, the guppies converged on him, pushed him to the floor, tore off his breathing mask and oxygen tube, and held him down until he stopped thrashing around.
Carson Overbrooks was officially recorded just five hours later as the first casualty of the Guppy Wars.