Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer

The Gynler are a race that specialises in winning wars by slow, psychological means. They pride themselves on not having had to use a weapon of war in over a century. When it came to conquering Earth, they spent a long time in planning their opening move.

“It must be devastating to their collective psyche.”

“It must demonstrate our technological dominance.”

“It must be visible to all regardless of censorship.”

So they dusted off a strategy used three centuries before against a humanoid race called the Nondori: they attacked the Moon.
More correctly, they vandalised the Moon. Everyone knew about the Man, or Woman, in or on the Moon. Come joy or mishap, we smiled when we looked up on a clear night and saw the silver companion to our lives.
The Gynler struck the Moon with malicious precision. When we looked up the following night, a leering face peered down. Faintly comedic, fanged and horned, it was a perfect evolution of the infamous ‘Kilroy’ style of graffiti.

“We will leave them for a year. Let them quiver under the reminder of our power.”

Quiver we did – with rage.
That single act managed to achieve what centuries of diplomacy had failed to do: unite the nations of Earth. We plotted and schemed and frothed and spouted rhetoric and fortified all the while.
Kit Newman went to his boss with an idea he’d had at a barbeque outside the car repair shop they worked in. His boss laughed. Then stopped laughing and called his brother. Who called his boss: General Albert Simms. Again, the laughter turned to a thoughtful silence. Kit Newman got flown to London. Then to America. Then to Russia and on to China.
Four months and six days later, Kit Newman pressed the button at Canaveral that launched an old Ares V – carrying maximum payload – toward the Moon.
Three days later, Earth waited. Most watching screens, the rest standing in open spaces across the night side of the world.
Something grey-white blossomed dead-centre on that leering face high above. Within a few moments, the face was largely obscured by a pale blob. Around the world, humanity went noisily crazy and screamed defiance to the skies as they raised their glasses.
Sixty-five thousand litres of a blend that was mainly white exterior emulsion and anti-freeze makes a big mess. A glaringly obvious big mess when it’s slapped onto a vast, black scorched surface made by aliens who completely failed to understand human psychology.
Everyone agrees that the Moon’s surface will have to be cleaned up eventually. But before that, we’re going to wipe the Gynler off the face of known space.

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