“This is an act of war!” The Admiral thumped the table, two pencils tectonically shifted 2cms to the right. “We MUST take ARMS!”
“Yes!” confirmed the Colonel, from the other side of the wide conference table. “Their grasp is extending their reach, they are getting too far ahead of themselves!”
“As are you,” said the President as she entered the War Chamber with several assistants heliocentrically gravitating around her. The 12 top military commanders who comprised the War Council all rose to attention as the most powerful being on Mars took her position at the head of the table.
“I am glad you got started without me, now, if you wouldn’t mind going right back to the beginning again, and we will all be calming down!” They sat when she sat.
The Admiral cleared his throat, “Madam President, we have to inform you of a serious threat to homeland security. A threat which we believe poses a greater risk to Mars than the potential re-invasion of the Satyrs!”
The President frowned sternly. “You have my attention Admiral. What is this threat?”
The Admiral cleared his throat. “Humans, Madam President.”
“Humans?” She said the word is if it were the first time she had ever heard it.
“Humans.” Confirmed the Admiral seriously.
“Admiral,” asked the President unable to believe her ears. “We are talking about the same species, aren’t we? Those monkey-minded little fools’ on Earth?”
“We are.” Said the Admiral fiercely.
The president paused and tried to make sense of what she had just heard. “Have they made some advancement I am not aware of? The last time I had any reports from that water-logged zoo the humans were still getting excited about predicting weather!”
“All due respect, Ma’am,” Said the Admiral, pulsing like a nuclear threat. “But they have been spying on us with their roaming camera technology since 1965! And they got to the moon!”
“Admiral,” Conjectured the President sternly. “I think you are underlining my point, here. The moon is hardly more than a daytrip from Earth! Only humans would think rocket science is difficult! Secondly, referring to that space junk they have floating around our planet’s surface as ‘technology’ is like referring to the contents of a landfill site as ‘art’. I think I need a little more convincing of this ‘threat’ before launching the fleet into a full invasion.”
“Very well,” said the Admiral removing three photographs from a brown file in front of him. “Perhaps you should have a look at these Madam President.”
The Admiral passed the photographs across to his President.
She glanced through them. “What is this?”
“A human probe, Madam President. Potentially lethal.”
“This?” She did all she could to repress her laughter. “This is a toy robot, Admiral, my son has one of these.”
“But I doubt your sons toy came from Earth, Madam President.”
“And we are sure this did?” She said, dismissively throwing the photographs across the table.
“We are.” Said the Admiral standing his ground. “It was found upon the planets surface and it has human writing upon it. Our linguistic department has translated four letters, NASA. We are as yet to decide what this word means, but if we do not take this as an act of war we may live to regret it.”
The President sighed and unconvinced sigh, sometimes it was impossible to take the martial out of the Martian. “And you agree with these reports, Colonel?” She asked, deferring to new council.
“I do,” said the Colonel stoically. “One cannot forget what happened with the Satyrs!”
The President widened her eyes. “Colonel, the Satyrs have trans-warp capabilities and have weaponized black-hole technology. The humans are still struggling to find a way to make telephone calls in tunnels. Am I the only one in this room to see the slight disparity in risk here?”
“In risk, perhaps, but not in intention Madam President.” Said the Colonel briskly.
The President raised herself. “Intention? And what intention can you deduce, precisely, from this malaise of slingshot amateurs? They haven’t even begun to plunge to the bottom of their own seas! Our ancestors inhabited this planet long before the dinosaurs of Earth, so why should I be afraid of the intentions of these sleepwalking carbon bipeds now?”
“All due respect, Madame President, but why would they probe us if they were not intending to invade?”
The President was stumped on this point. Her predecessor had ignored the warning signs with the Satyrs, which resulted in a long and bloody four-year war. Her election relied on her promise to keep the peace, but her council were taking no more chances.
She concluded, “ I need more evidence. How do we know this is nothing more than a peaceful gesture?”
“Because, Madam President” stated the Colonel bluntly, “this species would not know a peaceful gesture if it bought them a drink at a bar! Since their first flyby not so many moons ago, I have been watching this race closely, learning of its history, observing its conduct. You are not going to like what I have to report.” He took a long drink of water and continued.
“There is a tale in Earth’s history that tells of an explorer who found a land called America. No one from this explorer's home believed America existed, they thought this pioneer was insane to travel so far from home. But he sailed the seas for months and months until and incredible stroke of luck delivered him to the alien shore. The moment he set foot on this land he claimed it for his King, having no idea this land was already occupied by peaceful native warriors who had lived there for thousands of years.”
He let the similarities of the tale soak in to his audience, and continued. “Time passed, and travelers following in the explorer’s footsteps landed on the new American shore in droves wanting to make a new life for themselves, but when they arrived it was winter. They would have surely died out in two generations if the peaceful warrior natives hadn’t shown them such gracious hospitality, sharing their food and survival skill...”
“Well,” interrupted the President. “That hardly seems like the kind of people we need to be afraid of.”
“Allow me to finish Madam President. The new Arrivals in America became known as the White men. And the White men, once established in America, did not rest until each and every one of the native people who helped them settle were systematically destroyed. They poisoned them with lies, false agreements and alcohol, hunted and massacred their livestock and killed millions of women and children. Now all that is left of the beautiful native culture is a few casinos and gift shops. The worse thing about this story is that today the new White men of America, instead of showing shame at their ancestors’ brutality, celebrate their hypocrisy in a yearly holiday they call thanksgiving.”
Every member of the council sat in cold, horrified silence.
“Is that true?” Asked the President.
“Every word,” confirmed the Colonel. “If they do that to members of their own species, imagine what they would do to a species that was alien to them!”
The president was beginning to feel persuaded by the human threat. “Not even the Satyrs would stoop that low.”
“This is not the only story of holocaust littering the human history books. Today, millions upon millions of humans are being killed, torture, maimed and tyrannised by the few that hold power.”
“But why?” Asked the President.
“I believe it is because they are a rampant virus without a cure.” The Colonel could not curb his dyspepsia. “However, they seem to think it happens because of God’s Will.”
“Who is God’s Will?” Asked the President with a sudden new interest in her potential adversaries.
“Ah,” admitted the Colonel. “This is where it starts to get a bit tricky.” There was no way he could say what he was about to say without appearing foolish and dramatic. “Some of the humans believe that everything in this universe, and all life, is the creation of an invisible omnipotent giant called God. They believe it took him six days to make everything, and then as you would imagine, on the seventh day he rested. Why they would choose to worship him and call him forth on his day off remains a mystery, yet, every Sunday they gather in buildings and tell stories and sing songs about what he can do.”
“And what can he do?” Asked the President as perplexed as a village idiot.
“Well, that’s really up to how you please him. There is another red giant that they are all afraid of and they call him the Devil. If you do what the Devil wants you to do, then God will be unhappy and bad things will happen to you. Apparently, according to human myth, these giants fell out a long time ago and haven’t seen eye-to-eye since.”
The President had now heard it all. “Surely those in power don’t believe such nonsense.”
“Actually, it’s pretty hard to get into a position of power if you don’t believe this. They believe it is the will of this invisible giant to put certain people in power.”
“So they can fight the Devil with him, Ma’am.”
“But, I thought they believed he could do anything?”
The Colonel paused. “Apparently he needs their help with this. ”
The President was flabbergasted. “Surely,” she insisted, “they must be conspiring in a joke! How on Mars did they come to these ridiculous conclusions otherwise?”
“Because of books, Madam President. Books that their even-more primitive ancestors wrote in times when it was believed that their world was flat and slavery was OK.”
The President took a moment. “You have convinced me that these ignorant beings are a threat to themselves, Colonel. But with beliefs like these it is going to take them one million years to get to Mars, and probably another 500 years to find where we are on the planet. Martian children need not fear tonight. I think we need a five minute recess.”
As the council took a breather, a deputy Martian entered the chamber carrying a large duffle bag and approached the Wing Commander. The Wing Commander had been silent throughout the proceedings, but the arrival of the bag was soon to put an end to that. His assistant handed him the bag and a file, saluted, and left the chamber.
The President reconvened the council.
The Wing Commander’s raised his hand and the President recognized his request to take the floor. “You have something to add to this debate Commander?”
“I do.” Said the Commander, standing to an exclamation point. “So far we have heard the depths of the depravity that humans can stoop to. We have believed that their threat was localized, and provincial. But Madam President, I have some new found evidence that may bring an extra dimension to this story.” He paused for effect then continued, emptying the contents of the duffle bag out onto the table. The council were not sure how to respond.
“What are those?” asked the President leaning in to examine the evidence.
“This propaganda, which for some unknown reason the humans call ‘blockbuster DVD’ out lines clearly their ominous intent! Many Martians have lost their lives smuggling what the humans’ call ‘home entertainment’ out of Earth. I have had many more Martians working around the clock to try and decode this material, and from their findings I have taken the liberty of putting together a small holo-report for the council’s assessment. But may I warn you, some of the images may seem ridiculous.”
The lights in the wide chamber dimmed, and a clear Holographic image from War of the Worlds appeared. “My agents tell me this human is called Tom Cruise. He alongside various other humans such as Wil Smith, are now considered as Public Enemies of the Martian State! This file,” he said, presenting the document his aid had passed him moments earlier. “Contains a list of 100 names, each of them highly trained and well groomed ringleaders in what I consider to be a plot to annihilate life on Mars.”
All council members watched as a series of stills from action films were presented to them.
The President raised her hand. The Commander paused the show. “Please, Wing Commander, I am a little unclear as to where the lizard-creatures are supposed to come from.”
“This is how the humans believe we look, Madam President.”
“Are they serious?” Asked the President, scrunching her face in disgust. “If my stylist saw that he would want me to bomb them for defamation!”
“Indeed,” said the Wing Commander allowing himself to smile. “This is just one of the tricks of the trade as far as propagandists are concerned ma’am. Make the enemy appear grotesque, and the population will get behind their extermination. Our own council, if you remember, took the same approach with the Satyrs.”
“Indeed,” said the President shamefully.
The Wing Commander pressed on. “However ma’am, on a more serious note, somehow the humans have found out exactly what our military capabilities are. In every single clip,” he flicked quickly through several stills to illustrate his point “They have managed to piece together top-secret developmental projects in both early and pre-developmental stages. They have images that are so exact we are staggered at the accuracy of their replication.”
“How is that possible?” Asked the Colonel.
The Wing Commander stared dead into the Colonel’s eyes. “I can only assume that they have spies among us already.”
The thought had not crossed any of the Council’s minds, the atmosphere in the room hardened to marble as new lights began to dawn. The President gulped, “do you have someone looking into this?”
“Several someone’s Madam President! Rest assured, if there is a human to be found we will rat it out and race it back to where it came from in five million pieces!”
“And if it is an inside job?” Asked the Admiral as the lights raised.
The question was left hanging as all eyes fell on the President. “If a Martian wanted to overthrow this government, Admiral, I can think of stronger allies to reach out to.” She had never fallen victim to peer pressure in her life. “Your evidence is persuading Wing Commander, I do agree something must be done. But do you really think the human’s could conquer us in battle? Even with our specs, they can’t surely believe Tom Cruise would be able to stop us?”
The Commander almost pleaded. “Forgive me Madam President, but isn’t this precisely what the Satyrs did before they launched their attack? Didn’t we highly underestimate them and consider them to be harmless? While they were developing their armies on the one hand, they were signing our treaty with the other! Imagine how many Martian lives may have been saved if we had acted on our hunches sooner!”
The President gave serious pause. “Very well. But I will not condone a full-blown invasion, our response must be proportional, I do not spit on a rock and expect a waterfall to land on my head!”
She paused. Her thoughts were deep and personal and far out of the reach of any of her council for three minutes. They waited, swapping glares and nostril flares.
The President composed herself dutifully. “Do you have any particular target in mind, Wing Commander?”
“I do.” Said the Commander reassuringly. “Highly trained agents have discovered where the cell responsible for these blockbuster DVD’s is located. I suggest we cut this propaganda machine down at the root and show them we mean business. If they fail to heed that advice, then we attack in full force.”
The Colonel and the Admiral both nodded in agreement.
“Very well,” said the President. “What is our target?”
“It is a place called Hollywood, Madam President. As luck would have it they are holding a ceremony for some Golden God they call Oscar tomorrow night, all of the targets on our list will be attending.” Said The Wing Commander.
“I want this done quietly, and effectively. Do I make myself clear? Not a single Martian is to know of it, absolutely no leaks to the press, on pain of banishment! I want this Hollywood silenced so we can try and live happily for some time after!”
“Yes Madam President, I have two elite squadrons waiting your command. Just say the word and Hollywood will be gone.”
She paused. “Do it.”
And it was done.