Author : Bob Newbell

The Agent established contact with the High Command and prepared to deliver his latest report. Nothing about his outward appearance betrayed what he was doing. The entire procedure was telepathic. There were hidden machines in the vicinity that were able to transduce his thoughts and then send them rippling across the quantum superfluid at many times the speed of light, arriving all but instantaneously at the High Command’s base of operations on the fifth planet of the Nu Phoenicis star system 49 light-years from Earth.

“There are indications that the Enemy is preparing to establish one or more bases in this solar system,” the agent said in his head.

“They’ve made no move to reveal themselves to the human race?” asked a silent voice.

“They haven’t,” said the agent with equal silence. “But I wouldn’t be surprised if half a dozen of their ships jumped out of hyperspace and into Earth orbit any day now. Perhaps the time has come to reveal ourselves to the human race.”

“Your assignment is to observe and report, Agent.”

“I meant no disrespect, Command. But the Enemy’s mission is the same as ours: To win hearts and minds. And they’ve made quite a bit of progress.”

As the Agent was issuing his report, one of the Enemy entered the room and sat down a few feet away. The Agent and his Enemy pretended not to notice one another. Amazing, thought the Agent, that this subtle game of spy versus spy had been going on for thousands of Earth years. Over the millennia, relations between the two sides had taken many forms, ranging from open hostility to detente to peaceful and even amicable coexistence. And during all these centuries, two great and terrible empires battled each other among the stars. The tide of battle had once brought the conflict as close as the Alpha Centauri system. Now, Earth itself was probably going to be the next killing field.

“Is the Enemy’s position on Earth strong enough to recruit the human race to their side?” asked the voice of the High Command.

“I suspect mankind would be divided as to which side to support. A majority of the humans would doubtless side with us. But the enemy has made significant inroads.”

For long seconds the High Command said nothing. Finally, a voice in the Agent’s head said, “Perhaps you’re right after all. If what you say is true, the longer we delay the weaker our position. We have ten capital ships holding at their fail safe positions in the Oort Cloud at the periphery of the star system. We will order them to prepare to jump into Earth orbit. Review the open contact protocols. We will be sending the signal to all of our operatives on Earth to reveal themselves simultaneously within the hour. The Enemy will doubtless follow suit.”

“There will be global pandemonium,” thought the Agent.

“We know. It will be up to Agents like yourself to manage humanity’s initial shock.”


The Agent looked over at the Enemy who was trying to act bored and nonchalant. Probably in contact with his own superiors right now. The Agent then looked at the human to whom he’d been assigned, picked up a ball in his mouth, and dropped it at the human’s feet. One last game of fetch before you find out the truth, the Agent thought with some nostalgia. The Enemy abruptly stopped licking his paw, glared at his rival, and purred with contempt.

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