Canto Five – In the Invasion-Squad Ready Room
“I truly hope that we are clear on invasion protocols this time around,” Biznap said to his reconnaissance squad. “Last time we followed the Captain’s orders, and… ohhh, that was a mistake!”
“So what do we do better this time?” asked Farbick. Yes, yellow skin, but Farbick got right to the heart of the matter. It was hard not to like Farbick, even though the fact of his yellowish Fmoog skin made it necessary not to like him.
“Perhaps you better tell the rest of our team what happened last time,” suggested Biznap, “so they will know what not to do.”
“Well,” said Farbick, “it is not for me to question Xiar’s orders. He wanted to capture a single juvenile specimen of Earth primate to evaluate for weaknesses. It is a daunting task to conquer six billion Earther-primate people with only a handful of Tellerons and a little superior technology. We took a simuloid who could take the shape and the place of the specimen so no one would ever miss it. I mean, him.”
“Isn’t the simuloid what we now know as Gracie Morrell?” asked the pretty young science cadet, a female Telleron called Starbright.
“Yes, that is correct. I was there when it happened. The simuloid rescued Gracie from death when her old Earther primate body gave out due to heart failure. It gave itself over to Gracie’s DNA.”
“But how is that possible? Simuloids are only supposed to copy DNA and memories once!” asked a security cadet, a male whose name Biznap didn’t even know.
“We think it happened because of the control device that Commander Sleez was holding as he disintegrated himself.” Farbick nodded, probably because it was his theory. That tended to make a Telleron treat something as fact, if it came from his own mind.
“We need to get back to the recon mission and what went wrong,” said Biznap. “Tell the other stories another day.”
“Yes, the Commander is right,” said Farbick. “We landed and captured a specimen. We successfully replaced him with the simuloid. And then things went really very wrong.”
Biznap knew that was an understatement.
“One of the adult Earther primates, a police officer, fought off the stasis field long enough to shoot me. He somehow overcame the paralysis and the mind-wiper and nearly killed me. I had to bury myself in mud for two weeks and recuperate, or I would not be here now.”
“The way Commander Sleez and Navigator Corebait aren’t here now?” asked young Starbright.
“Yes. I am afraid they were both killed during contact with Earther primates.”
“Don’t leave out the most important mistakes,” cautioned Biznap.
“Yes,” said Farbick. “We should never have taken young Davalon along on a mission like that. When I was shot, he tried to find me, and so was stranded on Earth. He would’ve died if it were not for the generosity of Alden and Gracie Morrell, two Earthers who tried to adopt Davalon as their own child.”
“He also would’ve died if I had found him,” said Biznap. “My mission was to disintegrate the lost tadpole before he revealed our presence to all Earthers.”
“But Commander Biznap was also lucky to find an Earther primate friend,” added Farbick. “You all know Mrs. Harmony Castille by now.”
“Oh, we definitely know her,” sighed the three cadets. “She’s the one that makes us wear clothes.”
Farbick nodded. Clothes apparently didn’t seem like such a terrible thing to Farbick… at least, Biznap noticed that Farbick was rarely without clothes even before the invasion of Earth. Insecurity of a personal nature, perhaps? Farbick’s body was more yellow than green.
“But all of that isn’t the biggest mistake of all.” Farbick nodded sadly.
“What was?” asked all three cadets.
“It was who we chose as a specimen. That Dorin Dobbs was probably the most dangerous Earther primate on the planet. We got him on board this vessel and found out that he was actually so… charming, that we couldn’t keep him from contaminating every Telleron on board… except for Commander Sleez. Everybody liked him. His alien behaviors rubbed off on the tadpoles first and then the female science officers. It began the rebellion that turned this spaceship into a joint Earther-Telleron mission. Apparently now a mission to build a permanent settlement on the planet Galtorr Prime.”
Every Telleron present shuddered at the same time as that last bit of information truly sank in.