From the introduction:
It is 3:AM on New Year's Day in Washington DC, and the news has just broken of a major diplomatic row between Canada and the Popular Unified Federal Republic of Starf. The scandal is so serious that Starf has canceled its plans to build a new Flux Grommet Factory in Ontario, and is looking for a new location for its North American plant. Due to the holiday, only a handful of Senators remain in town, and they rush to the Starfish consulate. Also due to the holiday, none of the official US government translators trained in Starfish are available, but that can't be a huge problem. After all, everybody knows that Starfish is almost exactly like English, with only a few, subtle changes. What could possibly go wrong?