Admiral Tieber leaned his head into his war gauntlet. He despised these blasted meetings. When would the bombardment commence, already?
Captain Lichen droned on. “…and the Gamma Delta Six regiment will attack the Australian continent.” Hundreds of view screens in the war room presented reptilian faces of his commanding generals.
“Yes,” Admiral Tieber muttered. He had to show some sign that he was listening. He was leading his fleet into the glorious battle. The plans, the strategies, the ordinance; it was all planned fifty cycles ago!
“…communications with the blue planet will be disrupted…”
“…allowing you, Admiral…”
“Yes?” He perked up.
“To address the earthlings and give them one last chance to surrender.”
“Surrender? Surrender?!” Tieber slammed his gauntlet onto the meeting table. The generals muttered among themselves quietly. “These earthlings had every chance to surrender when my warship first entered their atmosphere! If it wasn’t for Dr. Corona and the accursed Shatterpack, we would have conquered it, already!”
“NO!” He slammed his gauntlet down again, cracking the table. He stood up straight and adjusted cloak’s collar. “They had their chance! We’ll vaporize their planet into atoms, then split the atoms and blow it all up again! There will not even be a particle of Earth will remain!”
His generals, anxious for war, roared their approval. His commanding officers apprehensively joined in.
Ronk! The buzzer honked. It was from the bridge.
“Yes?” Admiral Tieber said.
“Sir!” Ensign Alder shouted excitedly. Ah, young hatchlings; such vigour. “The remainder of the fleet has entered the system. We now have the galaxy surrounded with Reptaxian vessels!”
“Excellent!” Admiral Tieber bellowed. He turned to the generals onscreen. “Prepare your weapons! Ready your boarding convoys! Sharpen your claws! Today, the Reptaxians shall go on in galactic history!”
The audio emitters nearly broke from the thunderous roars.
Tieber swept his royal cape behind him and strode out to the main bridge. His commanding officers joined him, assuming their respect consoles.
“Onscreen!” Tieber roared. “Open a hailing frequency to every Reptaxian ship.”
Boop! “This is Admiral Tieber! Give no quarter! Leave no earthling, super powered or otherwise, unbloodied! Ready ionized plasma cannons!”
The main view screen instantly blinked on, showing the puny blue planet growing closer and closer. The view puzzled Admiral Tieber, though. The last time his warship, The Incinerator, visited Earth, its space was nowhere near as littered as it was now. Rows upon rows of ships from every quadrant in the galaxy hovered dormant. Thousands upon thousands of ships, making up dozens of various armadas from all across every system, were – for lack of a better word – parked. The Cragians’ legendary stone ships, the Phalian war armada, The Oulipo’s constantly morphing ships, the fabled one-man fighters of the Ghorps; every one of them sat idly amongst each other. One great alien race after another lined up behind each other.
No matter. This puny blockade of lifeless ships would be scrapped for more war weapons! Any crew left alive would be gutted and fed to his beasts in the recycling pools! Nothing would stop his revenge!
“Sol’s third planet is within range, sir! We are about to pass their orbiting moon!”
“Open hailing frequencies in all languages to every orbiting satellite! They deserve knowledge of their imminent deaths!”
His pre-recorded speech rattled off. He ignored it. He had heard it far too many times in practice. Admiral Tieber dipped his hand into the feeding pool beside his captain’s chair. He pulled something furry and still squirming from it and gorged on its upper body. Oh, he could not wait to feast on the entrails of the American president!
“Plasma cannons ionized, sir!” Ensign Taiga shouted.
Cannons surged to life and suddenly died down. Lights on The Incinerator flickered briefly, and then faded to black. Emergency lights hummed on. His crew didn’t panic or waver. They were warriors with lifecycles worth of training.
“What nonsense is this!?”
“Sir! We’ve lost power to the weapons!”
“Everything but life support is operable!”
Just before passing the rest of the dead armadas of the Cragians, the Phalian, Ghorps and others, his own armada stalled to a halt. They were disgracefully directly behind the Ghorps! Tieber leaped out of his captain’s chair and looked out one of the small portholes on the bridge. His armada was lined up perfectly behind the Ghorps ships. Like all the others, they were “parked”.
“Hello!” a cheerful, bodiless but assuredly human voice said. “And welcome to Planet Earth, home of such amazing sites such as the Great Wall of China, Niagara Falls and, of course, John Goodman.”
“Wha…?” Admiral Tieber stammered.
“We hope you enjoy your visit to our little blue planet,” the voice cheerfully continued. “Be sure to stop in at Universal Studios and collect some memorabilia from our E.T. ride’s gift shop! We’re sure you’ll find a familiar face or two, there.”
“Sir?” Ensign Taiga asked. “What is a…E.T.?”
“Please choose from the following options…”
“For service in English, say or press one. For service in French, say or press two. For service in your own language, say or press the corresponding word for three.”
“ONE!” Tieber shouted. He did not study Earth language for three cycles just to let it go to no use.
“Thank you!” the voice chirped. “For our records, please state the name of the commanding officer in your fleet.”
“I will incinerate your Great Wall of China to dirt, then boil the dirt into glass and then blast it all over again!”
There was a pause.
“We’re sorry, but we do not recognize that name in our system. Please state the name of the commanding officer in your fleet.”
Admiral Tieber sighed. “Admiral K’Tlax Ginyu Tieber.”
“Thank you, Admiral Exlax.” What? No! “Our records show you are from the Constipation Constellation. We’re relieved to see you again. We hope your next visit to New Jersey will be to your liking. Please select some music you’d like to listen to while you wait for an operator.”
“I am Admiral Tieber! ADMIRAL TIEBER!” He shouted over and over.
“Thank you! We’re unsure why you’ve chosen Justin Bieber, but we’re happy to accommodate any and all alien tastes, no matter how odd they are.”
The most godforsaken, ear bleeding, nauseous, queasy drivel spewed through the audio emitters. His crew covered their ears in an attempt to drive out the nose. Some tried screeching, begging for their hatching mistresses.
“What infernal weapon is this?” Tieber begged. “If this is torture, we will not yield. A Reptaxian never yields!”
Gratefully, the music stopped dead. His crewed sighed, relieved.
“Planet Earth appreciates your patience,” the voice chirped. “A representative from our planet will be with you shortly.”
Then the grating, tortuous music continued.
“ARGH!” screamed Ensign Taiga.
“Yield, captain!” Captain Lichen pleaded.
“Never! We will not rest until the planet is a smouldering nothing!”
Admiral Tieber barrelled out of his chair. He gorged the remains of his furry snack. No Earthling, no matter the torture, no matter the technology, will overcome the Reptaxian Imperial Armada!
He dug his long claws into the elevator door. The escape pods. If he could launch the escape pods, his crew could land and take Earth, Reptaxian by Reptaxian.
The torturous sound ceased.
“Yes, hello? Admiral…Exlax?” a courteous voice asked. It was immediately obvious that their first language was not English. His accent reminded Tieber of that gas clerk in that accursed cartoon.
Tieber ceased prying the elevator doors.
“You address Admiral K’Tlax Ginyu Tieber. Tread carefully.”
“Yes, I am Ranjit,” the voice stammered. Obviously, he was nervously reading from a script. “How may I help you today?”
“Oh, for Prelate’s sake!”
“Admiral…Prelate?” the voice asked. “I thought this was Admiral Exlax?”
“This is Admiral Tieber!”
“Oh! Yes. Very sorry, sir. One moment.”
The torturous sound recommenced.
He could no longer take it! Rage filled his cold blood. He stomped over to the front of the bridge. He tore out the throat of Ensign Taiga. His crew saw nothing. They were bent over in horrendous pain from the hell-sent sounds.
The sounds stopped again. “Planet Earth thanks you for your patience. Please enjoy the sights of our solar system while you wait.”
The tortuous sounds stopped…finally. The bridge’s view screen blipped on. Now, Tieber saw the full scope of his situation. It was not just the armadas of the Cragians, the Ghorps and the Phalian. There were dozens of different armadas, some configurations Admiral Tieber did not recognize. Additionally, he saw large, humanoid-shaped blotches on the surface of Earth’s lone orbiting moon.
“Enhance grid 7802!” he bellowed. Ensign Adler followed the direction.
On the surface of Earth’s moon, Tieber could see gigantic, powerful beings. Some of them were familiar, such as The Eternal Crimson. A great number of these celestial beings stood in a circle, seemingly just talking to each other. A closer look showed a giant board with beads. It was…Chinese checkers? Some of the most eternally powerful beings were playing a board game! Some of the more unruly ones, like Celestialsaurus, were seemingly tied down with giant red tape. Celestialsaurus wiggled on the grey ground and lapped at a giant red bowl of water. The bowl had its name on it.
“Who on Earth has that power, sir?” Captain Lichen asked, joining Tieber’s side.
“Planet Earth appreciates your…”
Amazingly enough, the ethereal voice stopped.
“Thank you for waiting,” the voice said. “A representative will join you shortly.”
“Finally!” Admiral Tieber bellowed.
There was an ethereal “click” noise. A ringing followed, then another click.
“Permission to come aboard, Admiral Tieber?” a pleasant, definitely English speaking voice spoke from nothingness.
“Granted!” Tieber replied with bloodthirsty glee.
He motioned to his crew to ready their weapons. They would rip this “guest” asunder and warn any others of the same treatment unless they were released.
Without a teleportation sound or signature, a puny Earthling appeared in the middle of Tieber’s bridge. His short blonde hair was disgustingly groomed. He politely adjusted his spectacles. He brushed off some dust from his 3-piece business suit. Cradled in one arm was a clipboard. On occasion, he would adjust his glasses, refer to the clipboard and scribble something down on it.
“Humblest of apologies, Admiral Tieber,” the puny, yet confident man spoke. “Thank you for waiting.”
“Release my ships,” Tieber demanded, “so that we may drink Earth’s blood!”
“I’m afraid,” the man said, searching through papers, “I don’t see your name on the list of today’s appointments…or for the next few months.”
“The Reptaxian Imperial Armada needs no appointment!”
“Ah,” the puny one said. “You’re new. Well, allow me to introduce myself. I’m Beau Uricrat, Secretary of Intergalactic Threats and Other Dimensional Invasions.”
“You are a puny human who has entered the wrong ship!” Tieber bellowed and gave the command to his crew.
The Reptaxian army was nothing but courageously unstoppable. Throughout the quadrant, their armies have thoroughly decimated their foes. Tieber himself has met with a great number of the armadas waiting outside. All trembled before their might.
Except, that is, the puny Secretary.
His crew surrounded him. They raised their edged weapons. Some engaged him with mere claws. It was a gory mess of red…ribbons?
In a brief whirl of thin ribbons, his soldiers found themselves wrapped like Christmas presents. They dropped to the floor in a thud, constantly struggling to break away. Their razor-sharp teeth and claws did no good against the binding material. Beau Uricrat stood unharmed in the circle of dropped soldiers.
“Now then,” the secretary said. “We’ll forgive this little misunderstanding since the Reptaxians are new to Earth’s invasion policies.”
“What nonsense do you speak of?” Tieber demanded.
Mr. Uricrat stepped over the bound soldiers. He held out his clipboard. He tapped it with his pen.
“Currently, Anubis leads a planet-wide invasion by the Egyptian Pantheon. He’s been on the waiting for three years because he wanted two entire weeks. So, you can understand that we can’t just put that on hold for yet another armada to fill our skies.”
“Waiting list? On hold?” Tieber questioned.
Mr. Uricrat sighed. His response was perfectly practiced. “Any and all appointments for imminent invasions and/or destructions of planet Earth must be made at least six Earth months ahead of time. With the growing number of super powered beings, gods, demi-gods, angels and otherworldly beings, Earth and its representatives had no choice but to give the threats their own proper time. In the case of Anubis, he has a longstanding rivalry with Alpha Male and the Cosmic Pack. You can imagine the impatience of an Egyptian deity.”
Tieber stood there, dumbfounded.
“Now then!” Mr. Uricrat smiled, looking at his clipboard. “When would you like to schedule the Reptaxian armada’s invasion? Let’s see. How about the second week of July? That’s only four months away. The Paper Mache dimension scheduled the entire first week but, frankly speaking, it’s only going to last the afternoon. Pyronation, alone, will probably snuff it out. We had a similar situation arise with the Orwellians and our atmosphere back in the 50s.”
“SHUT UP!” Admiral Tieber shouted.
He snatched the clipboard out of Mr. Uricrat’s hands. On it was pages and pages of filled spots on a calendar. Tieber thought many of the names were only fables. Many he hadn’t even heard of: The Machinations of the Absurd Dyansty, the Evil Hand Puppets of Doom, Guy Smiley’s Terrible Travelling Troupe, Annoyicus, Hysterix, The Baker’s Dozen, Comma the Extreme Punctuation Machine. Why, even Anorexis the Undevourer was listed!
“See an ideal date you’d like to appoint?”
“I’ll appoint your head as a trophy!” Admiral Tieber roared.
He unsheathed his claws and lunged at Mr. Uricrat.
With a short side step and a backhand chop to the back of K’Tlax’s neck, the great general plummeted to the floor. In the same motion, Mr. Uricrat gracefully took back his clipboard.
“Admiral Tieber,” said Mr. Uricrat, using some sanitizer on his hands, “it’s my sworn duty to ensure that no invasions overlap. Right now, there’s absolutely no room in the schedule for the Reptaxian armada.”
“Our people crave revenge!” Tieber shouted. He crawled back to his captain’s chair. He pressed at every button at his disposal, hoping to regain control of his ship.
“It’s no use, Admiral,” the Secretary stated, adjusting his tie and bifocals. “Listen, if you really want to get your point across, might I make a suggestion?”
Admiral Tieber sighed. “Fine.”
“Well, given the high number of invasions, we offer the chance for a herald.”
“Indeed! Even the most powerful beings, like Anorexix, use one from time to time. It could be a mysterious monolith, a garbled message to decode; a lesser being that can go toe-to-toe with your intended target to soften them up or deliver a personal warning. Anubis even used one while he waited. You should have seen some of the Egyptian monoliths that appeared all over the world!”
“A Reptaxian needs no herald! We are the warning and we are the threat!”
“Of course, of course,” the Secretary chuckled. “If I may ask, who is the intended target that’s generated such ire?”
“The Shatterpack! Especially Dr. Corona!”
Mr. Uricrat chuckled. “You and half the galaxy.”
Tieber sighed a deflated sigh. This was to be a great day in Reptaxian history; a battle to be re-told for centuries. His children’s children’s children would tell its tales.
Mr. Uricrat appeared at his side with a warm, inviting cup of what the Admiral recalled to be “cocoa.”
“Listen, Admiral. I understand,” the secretary said. “This is your first invasion. You wouldn’t believe the number of appointments I’ve had to reschedule over the years because of misunderstandings like this.”
“I’ll be the shame of my people!” Tieber sobbed.
He took a sip of the cocoa. It was quite delicious. He decided that, once he conquered Earth, he would allow cocoa’s continued existence
“I have a great idea, Admiral,” the Secretary said. “I’ll re-open your hailing frequencies to speak with some of the other armada. Perhaps they’ll let you join in on their timeslot! I bet the Kill-o-Trons would love the help.”
Mr. Uricrat, sitting on a folded chair that appeared out of nowhere, crossed his legs and sipped at his own cup of cocoa.
“Did you know The Ougun/Shalba war started the same way? They decided to kill time by fighting each other. The whole thing conveniently spilled onto Earth just in time for their appointment!” He smiled at the memory. “Oh, they didn’t last long. Not once The Vengeance Guild got involved. But it was nice how it worked out for them.”
Mr. Uricrat looked at his watch.
“Oop! Listen, I have to go. I have a meeting with Anorexix. I need to convince her not to bother consuming Earth. She just throws it all back up again, anyway.”
He patted Admiral Tieber on the shoulder.
He was instantly gone.
Tieber slumped in his captain’s chair. He sipped his cocoa.
It was going to be such as glorious invasion.
I’ve been published previously about half a dozen times, three times in the superhero quarterly, Thousand Faces.