Aliens, Allegations, and Alligators (Fantasy fiction short story)

I wasn’t meant to be privy to the secret meetings that the Humanity Coalition held. I was not on their war council, their secret service agencies, or even a general in their armies. I should have had no business learning about every little dirty deal and nasty secret.

Regardless, I knew more about the Intergalactic War than almost everyone else, even including most of our leaders.

For the sake of reliable communication and historical accuracy, a stenographer of sorts was required. I had that job foisted on me, even though I didn’t want it.

Now, here I was, listening to the ugliest side of humankind being spilled out.

I heard as they debated upon targets- the enemy had vulnerable hospitals and schools that could be blown up. Their supply trains of medicine and food, those were fine to attack too- but could we steal those supplies? What even was alien medicine? Perhaps it would be more cost-effective to just burn it.

Theft. The slaughter of innocents. I had heard every despicable word coming from the people we were supposed to look up to, and it only got worse as we began to lose. It took the better part of a decade- almost seven years, to be exact, but we were losing planetary control and key spaceports every single standard earth day.

It seemed like humanity was going to be wiped out, but I shed very few tears. I had seen what we were capable of, and it revolted me. I had recorded every sin, and I hoped we would be exposed for each one. I hoped humanity wouldn’t survive. At least, not this humanity. Not under these leaders.

Finally, on what we thought would be the day humanity was due to surrender, a wicked-looking man strolled into the War Room. Every step he took made a sharp noise that echoed across the room.

Immediately, all conversation and bickering ceased, and every pair of eyes was on him.

I felt his energy. His presence. Every General straightened their back, and the fatigue left their eyes. Every politician looked like they were afraid of being spoken to by this…person.

I was not spiritual by any means, yet I was willing to bet my life that this was a true God of War.

“Everyone. General Roudon has apprised me of your situation. I trust you all know who I am.” His dark hair was long and slicked back. His movements were precise and swift. His tone allowed no room for anyone else to speak.

By reflex, I was recording what was being said, my newly-made but old-fashioned typewriter click-clacking away.

The man’s attention snapped immediately over to me. “Not another word.” He warned me.

His gaze bore an intense heat, like I was being scolded by a cruel father. I put both of my hands up, trying to nonverbally signal that I would comply.

“You seem to have forgotten, ladies and gentlemen,” the man orated, as though he were giving an inspiring speech, “the fundamentals of warfare.” He began moving again, slowly circling around the large table which hosted all of our leaders. All eyes remained trained on him.

“You have all read books written by great warriors, I am sure. The Book of Five Rings, The Art of War, the secret diary of Genghis Kahn, yes?”

A muted mumbling of agreements came from most members around the table.

“Yet all of these writers were incomplete. They had wives, children, friends. Even Miyamoto Musashi, may his stained soul rest in peace, had favorite concubines.”

Having finished his slow walk around the leaders, the man now placed himself behind me. I had a feeling he was ensuring I hadn’t continued writing in secret. Feeling him standing behind me made shivers run up my spine.

“You look to your fellow humans for inspiration, yet you should be looking towards your apex predators, instead.”

He placed one his hands on my shoulders. Though I was wearing a coat, it felt as if his hand was seeping cold into my very bones. With his other hand, he pulled free the sheet of paper upon which I had written his opening sentence.

“The Alligator, my friends. The Alligator has been almost entirely unchanged by evolution for millions of years, because it has stumbled upon the epitome of lethal hunting techniques.”

His hand lifted from my shoulder, and I fought to ensure I didn’t breathe a sigh of relief.

“Take your opponent into a place where you can breathe longer.” The man now walked, with his back to me, toward the leaders once again. “If they are stronger, manufacture a favorable environment. If they are smarter, manufacture a favorable environment. If they are winning, flood the arena, because you know you can hold your breath longer than they can. Wash away every difference in wit and skill and strength, and make it a competition of endurance. One you know you can win.”

No one dared to speak, only nod along to the man’s suggestions.

“No one wants to ask ‘how’?” I could hear the smile in his voice. It was lopsided, cruel.

“I happen to have come prepared with an answer, but you must promise me,” he said, the last two words sung in a musical tone, “that you will enact it immediately. No if, no and, no but, you do what I say and you do it now.”

I began to wonder if our leaders were in a trance, the way they nodded along.

“I have…discovered something, about the aliens. To keep it very, very simple, the aliens do not dream. They have no concept of the other realm. So, we introduce a little of the other realm into your realm, this realm, and we simply endure a few strange months while they endure losing their Gods-damn minds!” A note of excitement had begun to creep in.

I had seen enough talks by charismatic, evil leaders. People like Hitler, Stalin. This man knew exactly what he was doing. He was maneuvering himself to be their saving grace, at their darkest hour. He was inspiring fanaticism in the Coalition. If he wasn’t already in charge, he was certainly becoming the de facto leader.

The man laid out the specifics of the plan, but nothing else he said made sense to me. He spoke in terms of physics to the physicist, war to the generals, and politics to the politicians. I allowed myself to stop paying attention, until the very end, when he once again addressed the entire room.

“In order to protect ourselves from the worst of the difficulties, you will all need to learn to control your minds and spirits. You must unify them both, and have your soldiers strictly under control. While the aliens lose their grip on reality, they may become…feral. Even those that want to die will throw up a defense in their last moments. To aid in that, my assistant will provide copies of my guide to everyone in the room. Now, I must be going.”

“Y-you won’t be far, will you?” Asked the Executive Head of the Coalition.

“Have no fear, I am only ever one phone call away. Amandine, the books, please.” With that, the man left.

“Yes, Lord Samyaza.” A woman stepped out from the shadows- I hadn’t noticed her entering- and to each person around the table she gave a copy of the man’s ‘guide’.

The leaders began chattering again. They had more energy now than they had when the war began. I was, once again, sickened. Though I didn’t quite understand, I knew that if this plan worked, humanity would turn the tide- and we would win.

We did not deserve to win.

The woman- Amandine- stopped at my table, and placed a book down.

“For me?” I asked.

“My Lord instructed me to provide one for every person. You are a person, correct?” Her tone was perfectly polite but entirely void of character. Without waiting for a response, she now followed the man’s- Samyaza’s- path out of the building.

It felt like a spell had been lifted, and my hands began to tremble.

I looked at the book across the table and wondered- did I want to know what that…thing had written? Would the knowledge corrupt me, somehow? Or would it help me protect the few people I cared about?

“You’re done, now, Mister Williams.” Called out one of the Generals as she approached my table. “We won’t need you for the rest of the war effort.”

I scooped the book up and held it against my back, with my other arm snapping up into a smart salute. “Yes, sir!”

“Very good.”

I walked a longer path than I needed to to leave the room- but I knew this way, no one would see me leave with the book.

I felt ill. I felt stressed out. I felt tired. But I knew there was much, much more I needed to get done before I could rest again.

As soon as I left the compound, I went through the laborious process of putting on an External Elements Equalizer suit- also called the EEE, and made a phone call from a booth, instead of my personal device.

“Hello?” Responded the sweet, smokey voice I had grown to love.

“Babe. I’m…done work early. Want to swing by?”

I was quiet on the ride back. Yuliette tried several conversation starters on me before I silently put my finger to my lips to pantomime a “ssh”.

She understood.

As soon as we arrived at her apartment, I powered down every device I could find. Yuliette caught on and even brought all the mobile ones into her washroom.

Finally, as secure as we could be, I sat her down.

“We aren’t going to lose this war.”

Relief washed over Yuliette’s face. “Oh, thank God-“

“No. The means we will use to make this win happen are… well, I can’t pretend I understand fully, but they will be monstrous. Every single alien is going to die, and it won’t be a swift death. It’s like some kind of…psychological genocide. You and I need to get off-world immediately, back to Earth-“

“You always want to go back to Earth.” Yuliette objected, a slight grin on her face. It wasn’t that she didn’t understand the gravity of what I was telling her- it was that she was trying to comfort me.

“I’m serious, baby.”

Yuliette chewed on her lip for a moment. “I wish this was just a silly ploy to get us to move in together.”

“Afraid not.”

Yuliette and I had met each other when this job began- I had just graduated from the Military Academy, with the intent to become a staffing officer. No front-line work, just clerical. Approve paternity leave, sign off on medical forms, stuff like that. However, just when the big brass at the top needed a stenographer, they noticed my file.

I was brand new, which they needed. No chance of bias or prior affiliations amongst the Coalition. I had been accepted for full clearance on personnel files, which meant I had passed the psych evaluations for keeping confidential things confidential, which they needed. I could also type at 200 words per minute, which they said was great. I wasn’t told the details, I was just assigned the new position off-world without the opportunity to say ‘no’, and there I was, a few weeks later, on the very edges of humanity’s intergalactic reach, penning every word of their deliberations.

Yuliette, however, had been born on this planet. She wasn’t even entirely human, though the DNA tests had been inconclusive about how much of her was alien. She had been working on inter-species diplomacy before that ship sunk. She went to a bar to drown her sorrows the day the fighting started, and I had done the same. Since that night, we had been inseparable. As each day grew a little darker, we grew a little closer. Now, I couldn’t imagine being without her.

…And the thought that she was even the slightest bit at risk of this new plan of theirs made me sick with rage.

“So, you want to fall back, in case this new weapon of theirs can hurt me, too?”

“Yeah. I-“

I thought about telling her about the book, but Yuliette was a stickler for rules. She’d want me to return it, or throw it out at the least.

“I’m worried. Besides- we’re both out of a job, and you should meet my little brother, and see Earth for the first time. There’re lots of reasons to go, and none to stay.”

Yuliette had lost most of her friendships when the war began- most of her alien friends saw her work as a diplomat to be traitorous, and most of her human friends were now deployed on the front lines. She had no family that she knew of.

“Alright, Mercy. I’ll pack up.” Yuliette said, after a long pause.

Mercy. Her nickname for me. My proper name was Mercurio Williams, but Yuliette never used it.

As she packed, I cracked open the guide that Samyaza guy had written.

I learned three things, all on the first page.

Firstly, dreams were a function of our spirits interacting with the real world. Most of them made no sense because our minds did not hold proper control of our spirits.

Secondly, Samyaza was not human. Nor was he alien. He was something that came from before. He was one of seven of his kind.

Thirdly, this ‘collision’ of the ‘other realm’ and our realm meant that we were, in essence, employing demons to torture all alien life to death.

The fourth thing- it wasn’t something I learned, but something I realized. No way in hell was I letting that slimy bastard Samyaza do this. I was sending Yuliette to Earth, and I was going to stop this, even if it killed me.

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