Author : Bob Newbell

I handed the teenager her milk and syrup laden drink and went back to the cash register. Just then, a Yedla walked into the coffee shop. He was a good seven feet tall and had a row of sharp teeth in his two mandibles. The other patrons in the shop fell silent. As soon as he got to the counter, the intimidating looking alien fell on his knees, bowed his head, and held his webbed hands up with the palms facing me.

“Pree! Pree!” he said with a trembling voice. It was as close to “please” as the Yedla larynx would allow. His clothing was dirty and tattered. Five years earlier, he might have swaggered into an establishment like mine and simply taken what he wanted. Or he might have razed the building to the ground with his particle rifle just for fun. Now he was humbly pleading for the very thing that had quickly ended the Yedla invasion of Earth: a cup of coffee.

The Yedla had arrived in a fleet of twenty starships. They’d transmitted a message in multiple human languages saying they’d scorch the surface of the Earth if we resisted. Then they’d fired a few volleys to let us know they had the means. The Yedla were less of an invading army than a sort of interstellar street gang. They didn’t want to conquer Earth. They’d take what they found desirable and would kill and pillage for the pleasure of it. Then they’d move on and probably scorch the Earth anyway. At least that’s what they thought until one of them tried coffee.

A group of Yedla had kicked in the door of a small coffee shop in Ohio. One of them was curious about the quintessential morning beverage and ordered the proprietor to give him a cup. The alien gulped down the java and almost immediately fell to the floor. He reportedly experienced two full minutes of ecstasy. Ten minutes later, he was convulsing in what physicians would later call Yedla Caffeine Withdrawal Syndrome.

Caffeine addiction spread like wildfire among the hedonistic marauders. Even the Yedla manning the vessels in orbit, once they heard about the exotic Terran hallucinogen, abandoned their posts and came down to the surface leaving their ships derelict and harmless.

Within three months of that first Yedla drinking a cup of coffee, the aliens were reduced to pathetic wretches. Some even resorted to rummaging through trash dumpsters looking for discarded coffee grounds. Earth had survived its alien invasion and the bean had proved mightier than the sword. The trick now is whether we’ll survive leapfrogging a thousand years ahead from all the Yedla tech the governments of the world are busily reverse-engineering.

“Preeeeee!” the trembling creature bellowed again. I broke down. I filled a big take away cup with light roast and handed it to him. He gulped it down and placed a shaking claw on my shoulder in gratitude before he shuffled out the door. I noticed several of my customers tear up. And I did, too. Five years ago, those aliens were the greatest existential threat Mankind had ever faced. Now, we can’t help but feel sorry for them.

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Blue Jumpers

Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

They call them Blue Jumpers. I’ve also heard them referred to as the Kangaroos.

It’s a space version of the Screaming Meemies or the Heebie Jeebies except that it happens in low gravity atmospheres. You get carried away with how high you can jump and something snaps in the simian, as they say.

You start going for a record with a smile on your face and a clenched-teeth scream coming out of you like a human kettle. With all your strength you bound skywards over and over again, forgetting that flight is impossible and that landing is the hard part. Acceleration and mass and all those nasty physics stay in place.

Most people just get broken legs but some of them rupture their envirosuits and die.

That’s why the habitats have low ceilings. That’s why the observation booths have nets across them.

It’s for your own good.

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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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10th Plague

Author : Rick Tobin

It all started in the spring of 1977. I remember Sunday afternoon in Houston, in my future wife’s apartment, slouching on her couch while listening to public radio. The sunshine wafted through flowered drapes, dancing across her handmade Afghan, covering her asleep in a nearby chair, unaware of the coming alien broadcast. Chopin’s Polonaise went scratchy and incoherent. It didn’t wake her, but it caught my attention. A mechanical, bass voice rumbled, introducing himself as an alien commander. He stated listeners were chosen to help prepare for coming Earth changes, including our destruction. The warnings lasted a minute, faded and then went silent. The frantic voice of the show’s host followed just before an advertisement and a return to Chopin.

I called the station. The host answered…terrified. She was alone that weekend, without engineers. I asked what had happened. Her broadcast signal was interrupted after power surges. I asked if she had the FCC required show tapes. She did, but couldn’t get them until Monday. She asked me what I heard. When I repeated the message she freaked and hung up. On Monday morning I asked the station manager to listen to the tapes. He was abrupt and angry. Before he slammed the receiver, he said there were no such tapes and I was never to call again. So I dropped it. I came from a military family. I could smell a cover up.

I remembered part of the message: three quakes shaking the world, the four blood moons, craft rising from frozen tundra, something about a blue star, the white plague, dying children, and then the blue snow.

Now, in 2020, it all makes horrible sense. I didn’t know about the ‘Wow’ signal at SETI in August of ‘77. That was followed by the November Asteron alien broadcast in the UK. It was the year of warnings. Then came the crop circle phenomena. I never connected all of that with the increased UFO sightings. There were signs everywhere, but I missed the symptoms.

I never bought the global warming stories or the fringe element fears about chemtrails and government mold spraying programs. I didn’t see the connection with mycotoxin spores taking out flocks of birds, rivers full of fish and even dolphins or whales. I did note the skyrocketing rise in autism, COPD, asthma and immune diseases. Some hit my family, including Morgellons Disease. I still missed the symptom connections after the quakes, blood moons and even the blue comet. Maybe our government knew and was trying to condition us to survive. No one realized until too late that giant fissures in tundra of the sub-Arctic regions were left by ancient craft emerging for the new terraforming programmed millions of years prior.

Molds from the dinosaur extinction filled surface waters and aquifers. From those waters rose the white death: a new trichothecene mycotoxin. A child reporting headaches at supper would be dissolved in white cilia by morning. Spores spread to neighborhoods, cities and beyond. It went airborne with bird migrations. Like the 10th plague of Egypt, it took all the young mammals. By 2019 the entire planet was infested, just before the mold’s final deadly mutation.

As I record this message, in the last balloon community near the equator, the Earth is being swiftly enclosed by freezing carbon dioxide crystals generated from tropospheric conflagrations of methane escaping from thawing tundra and ocean hydrates. The gases cooled and spread from the poles, concealing sea and land with gigantic blue glaciers, now growing too deep and fast for any of us to ever escape. We were warned.

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History Lesson

Author : George R. Shirer

“Do you ever feel guilty?” Red asked.

“About what?” asked Blue.

“About lying to the humans.”

“No,” said Blue. “Why would I feel guilty? They’re happy. They get to live full lives.”

“But they don’t know the truth,” said Red. “They don’t know that they’re just disembodied consciousness, enjoying a virtual reality that will never end.”

“You say that like it’s a bad thing,” chided Blue. “Besides, they’re the ones who chose this. Remember? When we told them that their star was going to explode, it was the humans who asked for our help.”

“I know,” said Red. “But it doesn’t feel like we’re helping them any more.”

“You think too much,” said Blue. “You always have.”

“And these humans did not make the choice,” pointed out Red. “It was their ancestors. How long ago? A thousand cycles?”

“Who can keep track?” said Blue.

“I think we should contact some of them,” said Red. “I think we should discuss the possibility of reincarnation with them. We could reconstitute bodies for some of them and. . . .”

“Do you have any idea how long and tedious that would be?” complained Blue. “Why can’t you just enjoy things the way that they are? Why do you always have to be such a misery?”

“Excuse me for having a sense of empathy. Reincarnation. What do you think?”

“I think no,” said Blue.

“I think yes,” said Red.

Blue glared at him. “Deadlock.”

“Not if we ask Green,” said Red. “That’s why we’re a triumvirate. Remember? Majority rules.”

“Fine,” growled Blue. “Let’s ask Green.”

It took them a while to find him because Green liked his privacy. When they did find him, Green was sitting beneath a thought-tree, singing a song about love on dusty Altair. He stopped when Red and Blue appeared.

“Hello, Green,” said Red.

Green sighed. “Hello, Red. Blue. What brings the two of you here?”

Blue crossed her arms and nodded at Red. “Ask him.”

“I think we should reincarnate some of the humans.”

“I think it’s a waste of time,” said Blue. “They’re happy as they are. Why spoil that?”

“So you’re deadlocked and you’ve come to me to cast the deciding vote?” asked Green.

“Yes,” said Red. “What do you think, Green? Should we reincarnate the humans?”

* * * * *

The simulation dissolved into pixilated noise.

The teacher tapped her control pad and clicked her claws for attention. The students swivelled their eye-stalks toward her, respectfully.

“We all know what happened next,” said the teacher. “Green chose not to answer, leading Red to act on his own. This was in direct contravention of thousands of years of Triune custom and law.”

The teacher extended her eye-stalks, peering at the young crustaceans before her.

“And we all know what happened next. Don’t we?”

There were murmurs of assent.

“Red reincarnated several hundred humans and helped them establish a colony near the Cirdetaclan Nebula. There, they spawned and spawned and spawned again, becoming one of the most pestiferous nuisance-species in known space until they were wiped out by the Galactic Council.”

The teacher retracted her eye-stalks and shifted her stance. “And what lesson, class, can we learn from these incidents?”

There was no response. The teacher felt a familiar wave of frustration sweep over her, common to educators everywhere, regardless of species or social development.

“The lesson is simple, class: never trust an AI.”

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