When I stepped out of Starbucks, latte in hand, and spotted the alien in the street, my first thought was Oh, please god no.
My second thought was Great, now I’ll have to explain to my boss why I’m late. Why do I have to live so close to the ground zero?
I knew why, of course. My bank account was distressingly low, and rents were cheap around the alien’s landing sites and established bases on Earth. No one really wanted to live next to our overlords, be constantly reminded of how our people had been conquered.
Besides, I thought as I watched the alien shamble up the street, bellowing out tinny commands through a small metal box clamped in amid the green tentacles, our alien overlords turned out to be real jerks.
I started to turn away, hoping to maybe duck up a side alley so I could still make it to my office on time, but the alien caught the movement and gestured to me with a tentacle. “You, Human!” it rasped at me from that tinny little box. “You Will Bow!”
“Can I not?” I asked, knowing that it was no use but giving it a try anyway. “This coffee is really full, and I don’t want to spill on my new pants-“
With a bellow, the alien reached into its nest of tentacles and produced a large laser cannon, which it hefted with considerable difficulty. “Puny Insect, Do Not Test The Might Of The Kalaxaranian Empire!” it bellowed, its eyes waving with agitation at the end of their stalks. It leveled the weapon and squeezed off a shot.
Unfortunately, stalked eyes are not good for sighting down the barrel of a weapon, and the shot went wide. Ten feet away from me, a parking meter exploded in a shower of quarters. “Dammit!” the alien growled, trying to adjust its wildly fluctuating aim.
I knew that this would just take longer, add to my delay. “Okay, okay, I’m bowing,” I called out hastily, setting down my cup of coffee on the ground beside me. I got down on my knees and waved my arms forward towards the alien, the weird gesture that these idiots insisted was a sign of honor.
The alien put away the laser cannon quickly. I couldn’t read tentacle gestures, but I would have bet that it was signaling relief that it didn’t actually have to shoot any more. Really, the whole thing was embarrassing.
The aliens had arrived a few years previously in a giant horde, all set to invade us, their ships blistering with weapons. Unfortunately, although the monsters had cracked the cold fusion barrier and carried technological marvels, they had simply no sense of tactics or skill in battle. They simply landed and started blasting away at trees and squirrels, succeeding only in causing a few scattered forest fires.
The Powers That Be, however, decided that, to best explore the tech of these new invaders, it would be easier to just surrender, rather than crushing them in a fight. We give the aliens some lip service and a few trinkets, our esteemed leaders figured, and in return we get a new leap forward in technology.
Well, that part worked out all right. My cold fusion powered Jetta was testament enough to that. Scientists were already predicting that energy issues would be fully solved by the end of the decade.
But no one had figured on the aliens leaving behind a force to “Ensure Peace And Order In Our Loyal Conquered Subjects.”
So now, whenever one of these big blobs ambled out of their compound into our world, we all had to scrape and bow, pretend that we were subservient. It was, I thought to myself as I watched my coffee cup tremble on the ground, a royal pain in the ass.
But after a few minutes, the alien was satisfied. “Carry On With Your Tedious Lives, Humble Servants,” it rumbled, turning and meandering off down another street.
I waited until it was out of sight before leaping back up to my feet, grabbing at my coffee cup. A small wave sloshed over the edge and caught my hand, making me curse, but I didn’t slow down as I hurried up the street.
I was definitely late, now. Great. Just great.