Enjoying this generally fun story probably requires a healthy disrespect for authority. It celebrates the abnormal, cranky, & competent over the normal & conforming.
Story summary.In a far off future, Federation is the human political grouping spanning multiple star systems. There is contact with other space faring alien species too.
"His Exalted Excellency, R'thagna Bar", an alien ruler, is returning home after meeting the Federation President. And he is returning in "Euclid Queen", a human space ship! Why in a human ship rather than his own? Don't ask me. But it's key to the story.
Now this ship has landed, probably on the alien world. But ship's door won't open! They cannot even cut the door open without vaporizing the entire ship - some silly & far fetched reason for that.
An urgency is added by a peculiarity of Bar's species. They can reproduce only once in a lifetime. And the visitor's time for reproduction is approaching!
Story is of human bureaucracy's funny efforts at solving the door opening problem amidst the escalating diplomatic crisis. Eventually, a cranky & unofficial man (a "Gypsy") called Candle will get it trivially solved. Hansen, a young emergency call center operator living alone on asteroid "Communications Relay Station 43.4SC" will also play a role.
Fact sheet.First published: Amazing Science Fiction Stories, May 1960.
Download full text (from Project Gutenberg).