The Alien Candidate

Inspired by this Reddit prompt (my username is goat_therandy):

 

“Sir, we’ve touched down in what’s known here as the Appalachian Mountains,” Blorg said the leader of the Fridnar team, aka the Scalpels. They stood on the edge of a cliff, and twinkling lights dotted the warm, green valley below them. “This is one of the more beautiful places we’ve been, eh sir?”

“Stop calling me sir,” Captain Rogorg said, turning to look at his friend of over three Earth centuries. “Seriously, what the hell is that about? We’re a team, not a bunch a of filthy savages. Tell me, does everyone have their skin on?”

“Yes, except Lorg, she’s still getting ready. Man, I don’t know how humans where this stuff.”

“It’s just how they hold their guts in. Anyway, you really need to do more to remind your wife of the urgency here. The Yakonians have already infilitrated the Cuban government.”

“They’re playing a short game, then.”

They both fell silent and enjoyed the sight of the stars. It reminded Blorg of when he first asked Lorg to marry him, after they had been dating for months (although it had seemed like many wonderful years already) on Fridnar’s third moon. It reminded Rogorg of their win against the Hyperions in the Hindristic Nebula games.

No team had managed to infiltrate a major power here yet, and Rogorg wanted to know why.


“You mean to tell me that I have to get people’s signatures in order to run for office?” Captain Rogorg was telling the party official. “How many?”

“Well, sir, it depends on the state … ” Mary, or whatever her name was, tapped a few keys on her keyboard, and the Fridnarian knew it was a delaying tactic ” … but in total…about 900,000 in order to get on the ballot in each state.”

“What the hell are you talking about? In my home country, anyone can run for office! A child can, of course he won’t be elected, but he can do it!”

“That’s very cute, sir.”

Rogorg grunted and left the building. He called Blorg with his cell phone. Human currency was easy enough to print for themselves, at least. “Any luck getting a job with the agency?”

“Ro, they want to do background checks! They want my family, my friends, all of them to testify against me just to get a job!”

“What kind of untrusting people are these? This is going to be harder than I thought. Damn, I heard the Yakonians are working with Venezuela now.”

“And the Klepers are already moving on from Ghana to Gambia.”


Rogorg knew it was unethical, although not technically cheating, to assume the bodies of whoever they were invading. He didn’t see another way, however, and a win was a win. He sat in the Oval Office, sure that in this position of power the Scalpels would win within a week, or perhaps a day or two.

Blorg stood in the corner, continually scratching himself. “It’s this skin, how can they wear it?” he’d say when Rogorg or Lorg, who sat in a chair staring at a tablet, would complain about it.

“What do you mean you can’t get the votes?” Rogorg said angrily into the phone. “I’ve literally developed an engine that can go faster than the speed of light, and still you can’t get enough votes to approve a Martian colony?”

The gift of technology was something else that was traditionally forbidden in the Invasion Games, but technically not considered cheating. Rogorg had had enough.

“I know…I know…ethical concerns, taking care of Earth infrastructure first, all that, of course. But an off-world colony is the first step to any unified world government. What do you mean New World Order? Actually yes, that’s a good description of– What are you talking about? Why shouldn’t I talk this way? Just get the votes!”

“Easy, captain,” Blorg said after Rogorg slammed the phone down on its receiver. “We’ll find a way, just got to keep trying.”


“Peace is what brings us together, not war! Peace is what makes a man a man and a woman a woman, not war! Peace is what we must have, for one world must have one government!”

All the political representatives cheered Rogorg’s speech in the joint session of congress. He was sure that people all over the country, and even the world, were ready now to become one. Then the Scalpels would declare victory for the third time in as many centuries, a record that few could match.

A senator, whose name the captain didn’t know, spoke in his ear, “Sir, it still has to go through both houses.”

“Whose houses?” Rogorg said above the ongoing cheers.

“I just want you to know, there are still those of us who oppose you in the Senate. We’ll filibuster this if you try it without negotiating first.”

“Filibuster?” the Fridnarian had heard of that term, and he knew what it meant. “No…” he shook his head as the cheers quieted “…no…” he writhed around, dense internal hands pushing against the flimsy skin “…no…” Blorg tried to stop him, but it was too late.

A twenty foot tall tentacle monster stood before the Congress. Its orange skin rippled like oil in a breeze, and its dozens of eyes stared everywhere at once. Talons popped out of its tentacles and began whipping at everything in the room.

“I’M INVADING YOUR PLANET, YOU SHITHEADS!!!”

Blorg looked at Lorg among the ripped and gored carcusses of those who so recently had been clapping for their killer, and said, “Well…I guess this means we lost.”

I am a Bot in Heaven

The story below is based on this reddit word prompt:

So this is it, huh? I thought as I floated through the tunnel of light and into the sky. I’d lived an alright life, I guess, having only killed two people and stolen nothing. Ninety two is longer lived than most, and I guess I should have been pretty happy with that. A long life is a good life, right?

I settled in a brightly lit room after the tunnel ended. My body was gone. A quick glance at my surroundings revealed four walls, a floor, a ceiling, and nothing else.

“Here, ye be judged,” a voice boomed. It came from inside my skull and from outside the room. It was everywhere. “Let us weigh your sins against a feather and see which rises.”

I could only see the room. Nothing else was around and I worried about this judgment. “Hey, now,” I called out. “All my life against the weight of a feather and I’m not even allowed to witness the scale?”

“Fuck off,” the voice boomed. I thought that comment a little crude for Heaven, but figured what the hell do I know? I let it slide.

“You have passed,” the voice called out. A doorway opened in one of the walls, revealing an even brighter light that I worried would damage my eyes. “You may enter Heaven.”

I walked through the other side, and the bright light slowly faded to reveal grassy meadows that were carpeted with flowers, mountaintops that were covered in snow, and forests that were filled with singing birds and other wonderful creatures. The air was so fresh and clean that I felt as though my very soul had taken my lungs’ place, with each breath cleansing my once sinful mind and purging all the problems of my previous, earthly life.

“Hey over there!” a woman shouted from the edge of the forest, perhaps two miles away. It amazed me that her voice crossed such a distance. I didn’t think to call back, but instead made my way toward her and was there in mere seconds.

“Hello,” I said to the beautiful woman in front of me. “This is Heaven.”

“It is, isn’t it?” she said, the wind gently shuffling her golden hair. “We can reside in peace here….or take another kind of leisure?”

Her smile said more than words ever could, and we made love to the tune of sparrows and owls. An hour or a month may have passed in those moments until my new companion, whose name I didn’t know and cared not to learn, said, “There are only a few of us here.”

I laughed and said, “In all the millions of years and trillions of human lives spread throughout our galaxy? And the hundreds of trillions of alien lives that are known to exist throughout the neighboring galaxies?”

“Is it so many, now?”

“Why yes! And there should be at least billions, if not trillions, populating this place after death.”

“You bring our number to sixteen.”

“Sixteen billion? That’s all?” I was incredulous, shocked, that so few throughout history had failed the test of the feather. Was life really so sinful?

“Only sixteen. One, two, three, and the rest until we are now sixteen in number. I come from Hellas, and was the fourth.”

“This can’t be! It can’t!”

“Shh…” My angel rolled over on the grass to face me, with her head resting on her elbow. “It is not so bad. We have each other, and you must learn to make peace with that alone.”

“No, no!” I stood and backed away, as though my angel had become a demon. Perhaps she was, if only in my mind. “But why? Why us?”

“That, my love, is a question that no one has an answer to and is therefore best left unasked.”

The idea of such eternal loneliness crushed my mind and frustration screamed out of me. I ran with no direction and eventually no sight, for all became black.


I woke eventually, back in the judgment room. “Wha-what’s going on?” I asked. The intense stress of the first judgment was too much for me to take a second time.

“I had a feeling that a human so far advanced in the simulation would not be able to live well in the afterlife,” the booming voice said, again with no discernible source. “You have no safe home, and for this I am sorry.”

“What? A simulation?”

“Yes, and although it is very rare, so rare as to happen only as eons are measured, there is sometimes an awakening. A bot will suddenly gain a soul, which was certainly not the intent of the program. When that happens, they are placed here, in Heaven.”

“A bot? You’re saying that everyone I knew and loved in life: my parents, my wife, my children, and the few friends who stuck with me over decades…all of them….all of them were…”

“Bots. Simulations. Unreal, computer-generated automatons. Only you were real, and the same goes for the fifteen who now live in Heaven. I cannot place you there, and I cannot once again give you life.”

“So…what happens?”

“You will be lifted to our world, or destroyed. You must undergo the trial either way, but it is your choice as you may succeed or fail that trial.”

“Well…I guess wish me luck.” I was nervous and worried, but mostly just empty. Dying and finding out that I was the only real person throughout my life just made me…tired. “I’m ready for anything at this point.”

“Good luck,” the voice said. A doorway opened, revealing darkness.

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I don’t know….

He was a furry dressed in a lion suit with blood on his claws.

“Hey,” Tom said to him. “What’s that blood from?”

“Oh, uh…” Mike starts to say, but interrupts himself with a long scratch of his balls. Blood smears across the crotch of his pants. “That’s, uh…from when I killed a man earlier.” He yawned and sipped a sip of his ale. “I ate him.”

“Oh, cool,” Tom said. He was dressed in a seal suit. A seal whose face was bruised and skin was the color of stone. “I like to eat fish, though.”

This is what goes on in the privacy of a rough draft:

The below is wholly unedited. Good luck reading! Thanks!

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“There was something else that happened that you might be interested in.”

Mary leans in, whispers, tand they are close now, their noses within millimeters of touching each other’s hairs, “What was that?” she cocks her head a little bit, pretending to be uninterested, setting the lure…

“There were some shadows, people say…”

“Shadows? Like…on the wall?”

“no, shadows that were<‘ and the children look from the holotube to the bartender with jutted mouths, drooping faces, and empty drinks. They are a hairy bunch, their faces covered with tumor and beards growing from their eyes, and mustaches instead of eyebrows. Just think of the smallest, fattest, sweetest baby you have ever seen, like quintuple size it proportionally, and add a bunch of fucking hair all over it, and a couple of tusks jutting from the mouth, and then you have these children.

“Shadows?”

“Yes, and we must beware of the children.” The bartender looks over at the children, and so does Mary, and then the bartender gets them more drinks. “That’s better, now, let me lean in close to you, dear,” and the bartender does, right into mary’s ear, almost, whispering into the canal of wax and dry skin…

the bartender says, “the Shadows, they were moving around, like they were solid, and they were going after people. He killed two more others, that the action squad didn’t see and didn’t care to find.”

“There was…” mary drinks her beer, orders another, drinks it halfway down. “There was another dead? More dead? More than one?”

“Oh, yes, more than one, aren’t there always? We all know about the Shadows, around here…” The children look up at the bartender, and she gives them more shots of whiskey all around, and more beer for Mary, who had finished hers already. “They pervade our lives, they do, and they come after us. Now, if you don’t midn,” she whipsers into mary’s ear, almost tasting the low haning lobe.

“Right,” Mary finsihes the third beer and drinks a shot, orders another beer. “The children, we have to think about them.” on the holotube, there is a man shooting another man in the face on this week’s duel matches at the dueling stadium. The head and brains go everywhere, and Mary can almost feel a speck of flesh land on her cheek.

What is Writing?

It’s what you, or one other person, wants. Write for one person.

I want to go to the river with my wife. I’m there right now, and the trees are brushing each other from the wind. The leaves are grown now, having take their time through this indecisive spring. We watch as the faeries dip into and out of the water, swimming in the current and laughing.

And it makes me think of John. His wife died, and he’s at the river too, now. He’s sitting at the boat launch near Old Angler’s inn, where the corpse of a tired swimmer will wash up every few years or so. He’s praying to the dead and wishing that they will rise, so that he will not have to fall.

Just write for one person. Think of what they want. Write it out.