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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Short Story Vengeance from the Cosmos


Vengeance from the Cosmos


Roy Marshall

Hovering nearly 2 miles above the football field, the single passenger of the personal spacecraft was peering into a viewscreen that magnified the game going on below him.  The craft, of Virulean design, was able to screen itself from the observing radar coverage that blanketed the area over downtown Tempe Arizona.  Far below him the two rival football teams carried out a traditional hostility that was governed by a large and what seemed an endlessly changing set of rules.  The stadium seats were filled to capacity with fans that supported one team or the other.  The starting quarterback for ASU, Derek Hansom, nicknamed Handsome Hansom; was in his glory.  Cheering crowds, his team leading by 14 points, yes, good ol' Derek was in his glory.  But that was about to change.
The passenger of the craft, Intal, was ready to get even with the smug little prick.  Intal was a perfectly presentable humanoid; in fact he could easily pass for a resident of this minor little planet.  His was certainly not a huge body, but Intal did not appreciate that egotistical Derek calling him a wuss.  A WUSS!  The incident had occurred last weekend at a party that had been attended by a large number of college type youths.  Intal was fascinated by some of the female humans that seemed to be part of a sub-species called cheerleaders.  Of particular intrigue was their ability to deviate their bodies into unnatural positions.  And of course the sexual aspirations were of considerable interest also.  While attending a quaint little get together known as a "kegger", Intal was introduced to Derek Hansom.  This brute of a human made it known that Intal reminded him of what he called a "kicker".  According to Derek, all kickers and therefore Intal himself, were nothing more than wusses.  They were also as useless as tits on a boar.  Intal was not pleased with this ruffian and his pronouncements.  Intal did not like it when the nice blonde cheerleader left the kegger with Derek Hansom.  Intal wanted some revenge.  Intal knew that the revenge was certainly possible in light of the fact that he possessed superior technology. 
Keeping his eyes on the monitor, he awaited the moment for his revenge.  Soon it would be time for the kicker to perform his duties.  A wuss.  Well at tonight's game, the wuss would perform superhuman feats.  Let Derek Hansom call all kickers wusses then. 
Fourth down. Thirty-seven yards to go.  It was time for the kick.  Intal had spent several days at the library attempting to understand the game of football and had learned quite a bit about it.  The opposing team was spread out over the field.  Derek was sitting on the bench to allow the kicker to either triumph, or fail.
The moment came, the ball was kicked high into the air and was sailing toward the goalposts at the end of the field.  As the ball neared the apex of its arc, Intal spoke to his spacecraft, "Seize that!" was his command.  Although his spacecraft was of Virulian design, the computer systems were of Antularian.  And everyone in the galaxy knows how literal they are.  Even though it was completely familiar with every known Earth language as well as all of the over seven hundred thousand known languages in the galaxy; it had no specific order.  Just 'Seize that!' wasn't enough of a precise command.  Without such a specific object to seize, the spacecraft seized the object that filled the view screen - the planet Earth. 
Darkness was instantaneous as the primary and secondary systems completely overloaded at the attempt to apply a tractor beam to a planet.  The feeling of weightlessness overcame Intal as the small spacecraft began to plummet toward the earth.  The view screens went blank and he was submerged into darkness.  A pitiful wailing began to emerge from Intal.  Soon the final backup system came to life and the view screen flickered to life, only to show the ground rapidly approaching. 
"Primary and secondary systems malfunctioning, circuits broken.  Automatic repairs ineffective without manual assistance." The computer relayed the situation.
"Manual assistance, what does that mean?" Intal screamed at the computer.
"Open breaker panel A and reset switches please."
Intal desperately searched about him for the panel.  Finding it, he threw it open and reset the switches.  "Pull us out of this dive, now!"  He ordered the craft.
"Attempting to comply at this time, but I must warn you that our rate of descent may be greater than can be overcome by the engines provided by the manufacturer of this craft."
"And just what does that mean?"
"Please prepare for impact."
And the craft tried mightily to halt the pull of gravity and succeeded in slowing the craft and altering the trajectory from a straight line into a gentle graceful arc.  Unfortunately the arc did intersect with an older Volkswagen.  The beetle became a twisted chunk of yellow and chrome, resembling a sculpture produced by some New York fanatic that is incapable of making a living by selling his so called art work and must rely on the intervention of government funding.  Skidding along the pavement, the craft demolished several racks of swingers newspapers chained to a light pole.  As well as the light pole.  It came to rest next to a dumpster in the alley behind a popular watering hole for yuppies.
Intal lost consciousness right at the collision with the yellow beetle.  Fainted really.  The sudden appearance of the yellow object filling his view screen had shocked his sensibilities.  After a time, he began to awaken to find that he was still in one piece.  Even the lights were on as the craft remained motionless. 
"What happened?  Where are we?"  Intal asked of his spacecraft.
"We crashed.  A large group of inhabitants of this planet have moved this vehicle into a large empty building. There are currently a large number of Earthlings surrounding the vehicle.  They appear to be attempting to enter the vehicle through means other than the access door."
"Stupid Earthlings.  Oh well.  What happened anyway?"
The computer gave the short version of the attempt to tractor a planet.  Intal was not amused.  Then the computer told him the bad news, that they were stuck without any power.  There would be an interval of approximately 1 earth hour while the repairs were taking place by the automated system.
Intal was not pleased, "Well next time I go out for a little excitement I will be sure to trade this piece of Vilurian crap in for a better made model."
"Well, you have to be specific, Intal.  Vilurians cannot read minds."
"That may be true but Thelosian crafts can.  Anyway, I think that I will go outside and amuse myself with these Earthmen.  I don't want to sit for an hour and listen to you."
With that, he opened the hatch and walked out into the middle of a large group of men holding weapons pointed right at him.  Intal knew what a gun was.  Television from Earth was very popular throughout the known galaxy for its sadistic and arrogant entertainment value.  And the commercials were hysterical.
He certainly did not want guns pointed at him.  So he addressed the group as he felt they would expect to be greeted.  "Greetings Earthmen, I come in peace.  Please, restrain from pointing your primitive weaponry at me, I mean you no harm."
Of course quite the opposite effect was produced.  The men holding the weapons grasped them tighter and appeared even more tense than they were before he spoke.  Not a good thing, as these weapons seemed to be of the automatic variety.  Intal decided that it might be best to assure these men that he was not deserving of this sort of welcome.
"Please gentlemen, I assure you that I am not of any threat to you at all.  There is no need for these weapons."
One man took a step forward, and nervously began to speak to Intal, "You can speak English?"
"Yes, well, that is a profound deduction.  It is not hard for visitors such as myself to learn English.  You Earthmen broadcast primitive electromagnetic energy all over this sector of space."
"Aaah."  As this simple explanation reassured them all as to why Intal was able to communicate, the entire group relaxed just a bit.
"I do apologize for any mess I may have made during my power failure.  Hopefully no one was injured during the crash.  Was anyone?"
"Ummm, no.  No one was hurt.  Except a car.  I,.. we,.. have so many questions to ask you.  Where are you from?  How did you get here?"
"Please, please, I would love to answer questions.  But first, put the guns away."
The man who seemed to be the one in charge gave a few orders and soon the armed men retreated to the far side of the building.  Their weapons no longer aimed at Intal, but still held in hand.  Just four men in white lab coats were left directly in front of Intal.  Conferring in a small huddle for a few moments, they then turned to face Intal. 
"All right, first off, where are you from?" The man who appeared to be the leader asked.
"If I told you, would you understand?"
The four men huddled together briefly.  Then the leader began again.  "That's a good question, and at this time we will forgo the answer.  A moment ago you said 'visitors', does that mean that others have come to this planet before?"
"Well actually this planet is a very popular vacation spot for many space travelers."
Once again the group conferred for a moment. Then he began again.  "Are there 'travelers' here on the planet right now?  And would we recognize them as being from a different world?"
"Oh, well, I would have to say that there are probably a lot of travelers here at any one given time.  As I stated, this place is very popular.  There are certainly other planets that are more popular, but you earthlings are very interesting and primitive.  As to would you recognize them, well, most likely not.  Most of the galaxy's intelligent species are humanoid in form.  Even the Drakonians appear to be humanoid, it's just that they are covered in fur.  But they love to come here too."
A very long conference ensued after those last remarks.  Soon the leader came back with this question.  "Fur, you say they are covered with fur."
"Yes, bright orange fur, several inches long usually."
     "Wouldn't we, as Earthmen, realize that these beings were different, and probably from another world?"
"No, not really. Drakonians like to visit Hollywood.  They fit in quite easily with that strange crowd there."
The group of men all seemed to nod in assent of this new information.  Apparently the mysteries of Sunset Boulevard have bewildered Earthmen all over and the knowledge that fur-covered beings could be found there was not in the least bit surprising.
Another small conference, and the spokesman again gave another question, "What powers your,… vehicle?  We would like to know how it travels, and what powers it."
"An excellent question.  And I wish that I could give you an answer.  But I am just a guy out for a bit of fun.  I purchased this, vehicle, as you say, for a bit of vacation.  Knowing how it works is not of any interest to me.  How many people here on your planet could actually explain how the engine on their cars operate.  Or for that matter, how the gas gets to the station for them to put in their cars."
"So you don't know what powers your craft?"
"Nope, sorry.  Don't have the slightest idea."
"Can we ask what it is that you do back where you are from?"
"What do I do?"
"Yes, you said that this was a vacation spot.  Do you work, or have a job like people do here on Earth?"
"Oh sure, I am a brezzbabblipan.  That probably doesn't mean much to you does it?"
The men all looked at each other a moment before continuing, "Well no, it doesn't.  Is there something comparable to that here on Earth?"
"Well, I suppose that to you, I would be considered middle management."
"And what specifically does that mean?"
"It means that I receive a very large compensation for doing very little."
“You do very little….”
“Yes, and I do it quite well.  Actually I believe that I am on a short list for promotion to upper management where I can do even less and get compensated even more for it.  I’m sure that you must be familiar with this sort of structuring of labor here on Earth.  It is such a wide spread division of labor within the galaxy, certainly it operates in much the same way here does it not?”
Another conference ensued within the group, and after a few moments, they all looked back at him as the spokesman said, ”Well, we have seen similar examples here, yes.  But specifically, what is it that you do?  What does management mean there?  How much do you know about our planet, how can you relate what you do to what you know about ours?”
Intal held up his hands, “Wait, wait, slow down.  That is a lot of stuff.  First, what is it that I do.  Well, I basically sit in a chair, and it is a very nice chair.  I approve things.  I deny other things.  It’s management.”  He paused as the spacecraft beeped and made some gurgling noises and the lights inside began to flash.  “Oh no.” Intal said in an exaggerated manner, “It seems that my vehicle is in a mode notifying me that it may explode.  I need to attend to that to prevent such a catastrophe.” 
With that pronouncement, all the scientists backed up a pace or two and the men with the weapons began to advance toward him.  Intal hoped that his explanation of the beeps was sufficient and so he bounded up the stairs into the vehicle and was not shot.  “Well, what is going on now?” He inquired. 
“Repairs have concluded in far less time than originally anticipated and we are indeed at this time ready to leave.” Was the answer.
“Well that is a great comfort, these Earthlings were unbelievably boring.  How do you propose that we exit from this building?”
“First I think we should close the hatch before they climb inside.  Then we can begin by applying the screens to make us invisible.”
Looking toward the hatch, Intal concluded that was an excellent suggestion.  He informed the vehicle to do so. Then he told the craft to leave the building and sat back and waited as it gently nudged the giant doors at the end of the building open and left the premises.  As the viewscreen showed the exit, Intal was ecstatic and shouted out, “Yes, Elvis has left the building.”
The craft was silent for several seconds and then responded with, “I am not familiar with that reference.”
“It matters little, let’s get out of here, I think my vacation is over and I want to go home.  And get away from these humans for awhile.”
And with that, the craft went into hyperdrive and left the solar system heading back toward civilization.

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