Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

The white Silracan clicked its chest-legs together and reared back in what was the human equivalent of a bored sigh. Between it and the hologram of the Earth forces commander lay a chess board made of light. Admiral Grimwald gazed sternly at the board, concern creasing his angry brow.

“As you can see, Admiral. I’ve created a version of our battle here in what you call a chess board. A very interesting game, I have to admit. I’ve quite enjoyed forcing our armaments and troops into an approximation of it during our takeover of your race’s empire.”

The Admiral’s face might have been carved from wood for all the change it showed at this statement. He still looked at the board, contemplating the layout.

It was going bad for black. The white pieces took up most of the board. The black only had a few pieces left to protect the king.

It wouldn’t be long before they lost Earth itself.

“One thing you need to admit, Admiral, is that at this point it would seem you are quite close to checkmate, as you say. If you are the Black King and I am the White King, then I think the game draws nearly to a close. However, I can give you a chance to end the game now and abdicate peacefully. Here. I’ll appeal to your…..ah, yes, that’s the word….sentiment.”

The Silracan clacked its mandibles together in a staccato demand. An underling brought a mutilated human forward. A soldier, still able to stand through sheer force of will. She trembled but managed to bring her head up into a level gaze with the hologram of the Admiral.

“If you give up now, Admiral, I’ll spare this hostage’s life. Though she may be a lowly pawn, I believe you can see the symbolism here. I will spare both her and the rest of your people. Slavery is an ugly word but I believe your race will find it preferable to death.”

The Admiral looked at the hostage. For the first time in six months of military action that had descended into costly attrition, rebel tactics, and guerrilla warfare, he smiled. It was like he’d forgotten how.

“Well I’ll be damned. What’s your name, private?” he asked.

“Sheila Bailey, shir.” She managed to push through her ravaged mouth.

“Your family will be notified. You’ll get more posthumous awards than anyone else in history. Well. Are you ready?” asked the Admiral.

The Silracan’s head craned back and forth between the human exchange in bewilderment.

“Quebec Uniform Echo Echo November.” Said the captain.

The Sirlracan checked the translator to see that it hadn’t malfunctioned.

The soldier fell to the ground and writhed. Smoke started to pour of her mouth as the nanotech in her bloodstream went to work, turning all of the chemicals in her body into very powerful explosive device.

“All of my soldiers were given this injection. All of my ‘pawns’ as it were. The hope was that at least one would make it over to the other side of the board. I never thought you’d actually help with that.” Said the Admiral to the Silracan sadly, watching the soldier die.

The Silracan screamed and tried to twist away from the now-glowing body of the soldier. Milliseconds later, a giant explosion tore the mothership in half.

Without leadership, the Silracan forces dissipated.

“That soldier is no longer a pawn.” Said the captain as he watched the mini-nova from the mothership’s imploding drive, big enough to be see with the naked eye happen in the night sky.

“Now she is a queen.”

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