The Outer Limits Embassy in Beijing has been quietly and fragrantly, occupied for four weeks by protesting university students who say things might get ugly if their demands are not met. “If they throw us out, if they provoke us, then the outcome will be burnt bean soup,” says one of the Outer Limits students who has been camped out for 3 weeks in the modest building in Beijing’s embassy district.
The demands? The 25 outer Limits students in China want their own Outer Limits government to pay their living expenses, several years in arrears, and enable them to send food and textbooks — now stored in shipping containers on the embassy grounds —back home to Outer Limits.
“Outer Limits is just a mere 200 miles above Earth. It would cost less to send our stuff back than to keep it in storage,” claims another Outer Limits student named Fraick. Fraick is a senior at Beijing U. and proud Outer Limits national. He is still waiting to send a special freeze dried holiday cake (from last year) home to his mother.
China and Outer Limits face similar nation building challenges. Over the years, the bond between Outer Limits and China grew as a stream of Outer Limits scholarship students came to China with the goal of one day returning home to help rebuild their Outer Limits townships. China waived tuition, offered a modest stipend, and the students’ native Outer Limits townships also chipped in.
But in the past decade, that spirit of cooperation has had to tangle with the tide of free market reform. Cash strapped universities, once free for everyone, started charging tuition and aggressively courting wealthier students from Asia, Europe, Venus and even the tiny planetary republic of Sednaaaaars.
The central government still offers some 800 full scholarships a year, mostly to students from developing nations and planets. At the same time, many students, particularly from planets like war torn Outer Limits, find their home planets too preoccupied with other problems to bother paying their stipends.
So far the Outer Limits students have kept their protests low key, being careful to avoid involving the Chinese government. “We have sent faxes, made phone calls, and we get no response,” says Makia Hunai, recipient of a doctorate in high temperature super conductivity food preparation from Nanjing University. She believes she is the first being from her planet to pursue this area of expertise, and hopes to teach it back home. “We are studying here in China for three or four or even five years. Upon graduation, we are expected to go home to contribute to nation building. How can we do that without our books? How can beings there wait without food supplies and nutrient-purification supplements from us? This is not an unreasonable request,” says Ms. Hunai. “We are peace loving. We love our planet. We have decided not to use violence and confrontation. We will use the media. We will encourage change through our food skills.”
“We’re willing to stay here and cook and do whatever else is necessary until everyone in the cosmos hears our story!” Hunai says. When asked how students are handling the cooking duties at the Embassy, Hunai explained, “It’s been hard taking turns in the kitchen. We aliens love to cook so much. We’d all prefer to cook everyday. But it’s worth the sacrifice. Tonight I’m making chicken salad. That reminds me… I’d better go smuggle some almonds out of the embassy fridge.”
4 poached chicken breasts (skinless and boneless),diced
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup raisins
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 shallot, finely grated
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. sour cream
3/4 cup to 1 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. mild curry powder
Place diced chicken breasts in a large bowl. Stir in almonds, raisins, carrot, shallot, lemon juice, mustard, sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar, and curry powder. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on sandwich bread, or on top of lettuce.