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Three's A Crowd
Being conquered by bird-like little aliens no bigger than sparrows was bad enough, General Bradley thought, but why do they have to be so goddamned arrogant about it? He sat at his Chairman of the Joint Chiefs place at the conference table and seethed as the diminutive being hopped around on perfectly bird-like feet to each member in turn, using tiny hand-like appendages affixed to its wingtips to pass out the surrender documents. The pages were about as big as a playing card, but very light, and the print somehow magnified as the human eye looked at it.
Jonathan Gridley, president of the United States, glowered rather than seethed as he accepted his copy, but then the glower turned into a grimace as he read the terms. His fat, jowly face turned a bright red.
"This is impossible!" He exploded. "It's genocide! We can't exterminate three fourths of our population. You can't be serious!"
"See terms," the alien chirped. "You exterminate or we exterminate. Need room." It passed on to Secretary of State Shipley, who was looking helplessly aghast at the president. He accepted his copy and began reading.
General Bradley fidgeted as each leader in turn was presented a copy of the document, trying mightily to think of any military assets that might yet stave off total subjugation, yet knowing there were none. If only we could have held on a few weeks longer, he thought, our gravity weapons would have been ready--and nothing could stand against them. But there was no time left. His space forces had been totally defeated, near wiped out by overwhelmingly superior weaponry. The land battles had been almost as bad, although he did feel some glumsatisfaction that the United States forces had performed better than any other country. The rest of the world had already surrendered.
Senator James Sanders, the Majority Leader, threw his document onto the table. "I won't be a party to this," he declared, rising to his full lanky height. "We'll fight you to the last man! We'll not kill our own people, and we'll not be slaves!" He turned to go.
"Wait, Jim," President Gridley pleaded. "Please! You're talking about every man, woman and child in America!"
Sanders returned to his seat, his body slumping in anguished indecision as the little bird being paused in his rounds to answer.
"You kill, we kill. No matter. Many humans must die. Need room for us."
They mean it, General Bradley thought. They're utterly ruthless. But there must be something we can do. He accepted his own copy of the surrender document and began to read, trying to ignore the hopeless spattering of conversation around the table. It was in English, stark, unembellished and painfully, pointedly simple. Immediate elimination of 75% of the population, he picked out as he scanned the pages, while the alien passed on to the Speaker Of The House on his left. Total subjugation, he read. Breeding program. Labor for Empire. There were other terrible phrases but he had already seen enough. The terms were signed By Order Of The TriAvian.
Posted June 12, 2011
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