Flash Fiction Month 2015, Day 20
“Sir, about the alien invasion.”
“Yes?” The general turned to the implausibly photogenic scientist. Without some kind of technological breakthrough, there was no way the military would be able to repel the alien fleet.
“I’m afraid our extensive research has proven fruitless.” The scientist began to count on his fingers: “We’ve proven conclusively that the aliens are not especially susceptible to the common cold or other Earth diseases. They are not allergic to water. Country music does not make their heads explode.” He shrugged. “That’s pretty much all we had.”
“I see.” The general clasped his hands behind his back and stared at the big neon map of the world on the wall. “Is there no way we can hold them back?”
“Well…” the scientist flipped through the sheets of paper on his clipboard. “We did initially manage to slow their advance by scattering LEGO bricks on key bridges and junctions, but then they put shoes on. There was some talk of trying the same thing with marbles, and…” he scanned the remaining sheets. “No, we haven’t yet managed to replicate that early success.”
“So what you’re saying is that the alien invasion force could burst through those doors at any moment?”
The general pointed to the doors of the War Room, which burst open at that very moment.
“General!” A busty engineer hurried into the room, leaving the doors flapping behind her. “I’ve discovered the aliens’ weakness and built a prototype device that should allow us to exploit it.”
“Well don’t just stand there—explain your findings!”
The engineer approached he large oval table in the centre of the room and spread out some blueprints. “When it became apparent we weren’t getting anywhere with germs, water, or country music, I decided to take my research in another direction. The machine I’ve developed consists of a hollow tube containing a chunk of copper-coated lead and a small explosive charge. The explosive produces a quantity of highly pressurised gas, and because the tube is closed at one end the only way for this gas to escape is to force the lead chunk out of the tube at incredible speed. Now, obviously I’ve incorporated a mechanism to…”
The general put up a hand. “Let me just stop you right there. Does your device look anything like this?” He took his handgun out of its holster.
The engineer looked from the gun to the blueprints and back again. “Well, it’s not identical, but it does appear to share certain key similarities.”
“So the aliens’ mysterious weakness is…”
“They don’t cope well with being shot in the face. Not one bit.”
The general looked from the scientist to the engineer. “And nobody thought of looking into this before now? I mean, the alien invasion force could burst through those doors at any moment!”
The general pointed to the doors of the War Room, which burst open at that very moment. And this time it actually was the invasion force. A mass of raygun-armed alien troopers swarmed into the room. The general considered that, for a civilisation that had travelled sixty million light years to get here, they looked suspiciously like regular humans. In fact, if you ignored the rubbery forehead nodules, one of the officers was the spitting image of M. Night Shyamalan.
“People of Earth,” said the alien tyrant, “tremble before the Almighty Xebra, and identify to me your leader.”
The general quickly took off his ostentatious general hat and popped it on the head of the photogenic scientist.
“I know nothing of Earthling dress and customs,” said Xebra, “but I’m going to assume that your leader is the one who just tried to pawn his conspicuous hat off on the guy next to him.”
At a signal from the Almighty Xebra, the M. Night Shyamalan alien unceremoniously vaporised the general.
Xebra turned to the scientist. “I need to install a puppet ruler, and I’m choosing you because you’ve already got the hat.”
“That you’ve got your own clipboard is also convenient. Take note: to commemorate my victory over the people of Earth, I will deliver from my planet a seven hundred metre tall statue of myself holding a placard emblazoned with the words: ‘You suck.’ You may choose where to display this statue, but it must be on display. No hiding it at the bottom of the ocean like those jerks on Titan.” He shook his fist in Saturn’s general direction.
“Is there anything else we should bear in mind when choosing a place for the statue?” asked the engineer.
“Yes. The statue will be extraordinarily heavy for its size, because it will be cast from shamesteel and studded with many greenstones of rebuke. That would be ‘gold’ and ‘emeralds’ in your primitive Earth tongue. Make sure that the ground is capable of supporting its immense weight.”
The photogenic scientist adjusted his general hat. “Well, it seems to me that your statue would have the greatest effect if displayed in the garden of Earth’s most respected ruler. You know. Just to make it really shameful and, um, rebuking.”
“You are foolish to reveal this, for that is where the statue will be placed, and it will be shameful and rebuking!” The Almighty Xebra flourished his cloak and began to make his way out of the room. “Now I must away to the edge of the galaxy, for that is where I keep all my stuff!”
The M. Night Shyamalan alien wrote a note on a scrap of paper and handed it to the scientist. “You can expect the statue in three to five working days.”
The invasion force departed.
“Well,” the engineer brushed some general dust off her shoes, “that all worked out reasonably well in the end.”
The scientist gave a disapproving shake of his head. “And you wanted to shoot them in the face.”