lunes, 4 de abril de 2016

#SciFi short story: Alien Invasion

Alien Invasion
By Victor Hernandez

The chatter at the conference table abruptly stopped when Emperor Keffat walked into the room. All of his most trusted generals and advisors stood up and saluted in typical formal fashion, extending their left arm and opening their hands, a symbol of submission to the stronger opponent, as it showed them unarmed and asking for mercy.

“Be seated,” Keffat said before taking his own seat at the largest chair in the room. “Effective immediately we are at war with planet Earth. Prepare our forces for invasion,” Keffat added.

The advisors looked at each other somewhat perplexed. The generals applauded. One of them, however, general Demuri, simply raised her hand.

“Yes general?” Keffat said. “You have a question?”

“With respect, your highness,” Demuri said. “Why are we invading Earth?”

“We need to expand my Empire,” Keffat answered. “Our scouts report Earth has about six billion people, water, hydrocarbons and radioactive minerals we can exploit for fuel. I also understand the place can be used for farming. The people of Earth will be my new slaves and their planet our new colony. You do not agree with my assessment of the planet?”

“No no no, you’re absolutely right, Sir,” Demuri said. “Earth is a great target for the Empire’s expansion. Is just that… I think there’s a risk in invading it.”

“What risk is that?” Keffat asked.

“Well, Earth is a very primitive planet, Sir,” Demuri said. “They can’t even travel from one planet to the next within their own star system. Their weapons are laughable at best, and according to our scouts some of them will actually line up with us just to overthrow their own local governments.”

“And?” Keffat asked.

“Doesn’t seem like much of a challenge against a superior civilization like us, the Alcorans. We could crush Earth in a matter of hours. I mean, we have space warping technology. We can literally bend space to travel from one galaxy to another. Earth barely has long distance communications and some silly weapons that work with explosions. Our photon cannons would burn down every single one of their weapon silos in minutes.”

“And your point is?” Keffat said.

“Well, think about what your political enemies will say if you announce you invaded a planet that’s so easy to conquer. They will start rumors that you are losing strength, so now you conquer planets that are the equivalent of a nest of Brintorian hamsters. After all, why invade some measly planet in the middle of nowhere when we can bend space?”

The generals and the advisors immediately tried to shut Demuri up by saying that she was wrong, and that any expansion of the Alcoran Empire was a symbol of strength, so Keffat’s plan was indeed masterful.

“What part of water, hydrocarbons, radioactive minerals, farming and six billion slaves you didn’t understand, Demuri?” Keffat said. “If anyone tries to spread rumors against our latest conquest we will launch a media campaign showing the spoils of our invasion to Earth.”

“That’s the thing Sir,” Demuri insisted. “Your enemies will probably counter that campaign saying it was cheaper to take the water from some of the moons in Earth’s star system. One of them, if I recall the intel from our scouts correctly, a moon called Ganymede by people on Earth, has even more water than Earth. Another moon called Titan has lakes of hydrocarbons. And the elements in some of that star system’s planets and moons have the components to make even more efficient fuels. We can even harness the radiation from the largest planet in Earth’s star system. The fifth planet, Jupiter I think it’s called? As per the farming, well, our scouts mentioned Earth’s weather is so unstable right now because of pollution it will be very difficult to adapt our crops to its environment for growing any meaningful amount that could be of use to us. Terraforming a planet in any of our neighboring star systems would be much cheaper in the long run. They will accuse you of squandering our economic resources in a planet that’s too far away when it’s not necessary because our technology allows us to do better things in our own galaxy. And about the slaves, people will start asking why aren’t we just using our mechanical units to do the labor if it’s cheaper, faster, and more efficient than using slaves that will hardly be able to keep up with our pace. After all, the people of Earth are barely half our height. Why use slaves if have the power to travel from galaxy to the next? Your enemies will start spreading rumors claiming our economy is in such a bad shape we can’t even produce enough mechanical units anymore and therefore we are being forced to use inefficient slaves. And again, think about the damage your enemies can make to your image if they start saying it’s ridiculous to invade a primitive planet when we have the technology to terraform our own galaxy.”

“Sir, I must object to Demuri’s evaluation of your glorious plan,” said Timerna, another one of Keffat’s generals sitting right in front of Demuri. “Not expanding the Empire will be seen as a sign of weakness. We must invade Earth.”

“I have an alternate plan, Sir,” Demuri said addressing Keffat and blatantly ignoring Timerna. “A plan that will, both, expand the empire, and immortalize your greatness.”

“Really? Do tell, Demuri,” Keffat said.

“We haven’t settled the Yingrel star system yet. It has has been in our list of systems to settle for a long time but we haven’t because have been conquering the Utfilos system. The last remaining opposition in Utfilos was defeated last year. So now we can focus our resources on settling Yingrel.”

“And what would be the point of that, Demuri?” Keffat asked with a hint of sarcasm.

“You could send some of the people in the dissident suspect list to colonize the sixth planet of the Yingrel system. You know, supervise the terraforming, setting up the first settlements, that sort of thing. Then, a year after, when the planet is up and running, cut off their fuel and weapons supplies claiming they are under suspicion of treason. When they protest, cut off the rest of their supplies and suspend their political rights as a preventive measure. That will surely cause them to declare themselves an independent system and they will no longer recognize your authority. When that happens, you can launch a full invasion force against the settlement in Yingrel 6. Now THAT would be a challenge. You would be fighting against a force of equal size, equal strength and equal technology. And you will be seen as a defender or Alcoran sovereignty. The people will see you as a hero and protector of Alcor. Your glory would be immortalized in monuments. Keffat the Conqueror will be the most important figure in Alcor’s history.”

“Your highness, I must protest Demuri’s insane plan,” Timerna said. “I recommend that you…”

“I like your plan, Demuri,” Keffat said without paying attention to Timerna, who went quiet and looked down on the table. “Lets start making preparations for Demuri’s plan, people. Oh, and cancel the invasion of Earth. That seems quaint now. Dismiss.”

Keffat got up from his chair and the generals and advisors did the same. After Keffat exited the room and the rest of the people on the table moved out, Demuri walked into an elevator, only to be followed by Timerna, who got into the elevator with her.

“That was a cheap shot, Demuri,” Timerna said visibly irked.

“A bet is a bet, Timerna,” Demuri said.

“You got Keffat to suspend a planetary invasion just so you don’t have to clean up his latrine. You’re unbelievable.”

“What’s unbelievable is much that latrine stinks and you know it. Ever since he started eating that Lijari pork with Kowota onions it’s worse than an air transport bathroom after somebody uses it in mid flight. And you know it. Every single general who has to clean it can barely keep himself from vomiting and they all end up with irritated eyes and noses.”

“But it’s an HONOR to clean up the Emperor’s latrine, Demuri. And it is the duty of every general to protect his integrity by cleaning after he is done relieving himself.”

“Oh, is that why you took my bet that if in today’s meeting I got him to change his mind about the planetary invasion we’ve been hearing rumors about you would take my turn at cleaning his latrine for a year, and if I didn’t I would you take your turns? You can’t stand the stench either! And may I remind you that because it’s supposed to be an honor to clean up his latrine we’re not allowed to use respirator masks while we deal with that pile of excrement he clogs the latrine with every single time. There’s visible steam coming out of it even under water!”

Timerna grumbled and exited the elevator. Demuri simply smiled and thought about how lucky the people of Earth were without even knowing it. After all, how many planets have been spared before because of somebody’s irritable bowel syndrome?


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The idea of a civilization advanced enough to travel across galaxies just to invade a planet as shitty as Earth makes no sense to me. Right, so you have the power to bend space so you can travel from one galaxy to another. What the fuck would you need Earth for then? Natural resources? There’s way more water, hydrocarbons, and other resources on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn than on Earth. Why bother with Earth then? Politically it makes no sense either. Invasions tend to backfire in the long run. I suppose alien invasion stories were supposed to be some sort of allegory for colonialism, but that doesn’t work with aliens. On Earth, colonialist nations invaded other places for their resources, but they would not have done it if they had other sources for those same resources. Aliens who can bend space have an entire universe to pick resources from in larger quantities. So again; if you are powerful enough to bend space, you don’t need Earth. You can get larger quantities of anything anywhere else. Aside from that, I really liked Demuri’s character and Keffat’s disfunctional gang of generals and advisors. I will probably make a sequel to this story.

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