STORY NUMBER: 39
PROMPT PROVIDER: @jonesthescribe
The object boiled through the clouds over Cairo. Even people who had been excited and positive about its arrival screamed with fear as the dark shape was finally visible to the human eye. It was dark and scarred from space travel. Impossibly ancient and yet far beyond anything humanity could make.
The vast spacecraft was larger even than the city it loomed over. All attempts at communication had failed as it approached. All that came off it was a low hum; a pulse that could now be heard by humans on the ground for the first time.
The disc slowly moved across the city until it came to rest just next to the Pyramids on four stout legs. The rhythmic pulsing of the disc slowed and then stopped.
The UN envoy stumbled out of her car as the army formed a perimeter. They didn’t have to try hard. The ship was exciting and full of hope only when you couldn’t see it. Now it was terrifying. People didn’t want to be too near – but they still wanted to see.
A hole opened in the disc, a long arm extended and reached towards the ground. At the top of the arm something appeared. The gather crowd were silent but for the occasional clicking of a camera phone.
It slithered along the ramp towards the ground. Tiny at first, because the ship was so huge. It moved slowly, a bulbous head on top an array of long flexible arms. Somewhere between a snake and an octopus but far, far larger. The alien reached the end of the ramp and glared at the crowd using its multiple bisected eyes. Its body was augmented with metal that was as dark and pitted as the disc.
“Hello traveller” said the UN envoy nervously.
She had been pressured into not saying ‘welcome’ or ‘please make yourself comfortable’ because some parties had been worried about immigrants taking the literal meaning of the words and moving in. There had been a heated debate. She’d lost, but now she was glad when the alien towered over her.
The alien swivelled its eyes towards the UN envoy. It watched her for longer than would be comfortable and then made a series of noises. Low sound like the vibration of the disc intercut with high pitched yips.
A team of expert translators stationed in Belgium watched over Skype. Between them they could speak almost every language on the planet including many dead ones. They shrugged.
The creature glared at the crowd. It raised a scaled tentacle and touched a few buttons on the metal device it was wearing.
“Very well, we shall speak the tongue of the slave languages.” It boomed. “We have come to the seat of your puny civilisation. We claim this planet in the name of Ta-Pe-Lo-Grrrrrn.”
The creature produced a tube from a pocket and clicked it. The tube expanded into a long pole. The pole was slammed into the tarmac (almost everywhere near the Pyramids is tarmacked these days) and went straight through. The top end of the pole expanded and a strange shimmering material fell out of it and danced in the wind. It was a flag.
“But, but but we live here,” said the UN Envoy.
“In the spirit of mercy, you have one cycle of the sun to leave.”
“We, we can’t do that. We won’t. It’s our home.”
“It is ours now. Do any of you dare challenge us?”
The massed soldiers fiddled with the guns. The alien touched a button in its armour and everyone’s guns vibrated, and then fell to pieces. A nearby tank that was rumbling closer also disintegrated. The soldiers raised their hands. One foolish soldier drew a knife and was instantly vaporised.
The entire crowd was silent. The UN envoy blinked a few times.
A small tabby cat pushed its way through the crowd in the search of tuna. It arrived next to the UN envoy, brushed itself against her legs for a moment and sat down and said, “Meow”
“You dare challenge me?” said the alien.
The cat meeped and then pounced on the end of one of the alien’s scaly tentacles.
“VERY WELL.” The alien boomed at the cat “I shall face your best warrior in the three pure challenges as prescribed by the old ways.”
“What?” said the UN envoy.
The alien shrugged off most of its armour and placed it on the ground.
“The test of growth is first”
The alien wiggled its tentacles and expanded, like it had taken a huge breath. It was noticeably bigger. It held the shape for a while, flexing the whole time. Eventually it collapsed back to normal size because the cat had been leaping on the tip of one of its tentacles.
“Well?” boomed the alien.
The cat was busy happily bapping one of the alien’s tentacles and completely ignored everything else.
“You must answer!” shouted the alien. It slapped a tentacle on the floor making a loud bang.
The small tabby cat jumped backwards, arched its back and fluffed up its fur until it was almost double its size. The alien leaned back and did what would later be incorrectly described as a gasp.
“The second challenge is that of silence. The first to make a noise loses.”
“Meow?” said the cat. The crowd gasped. One of the soldiers sobbed.
A burbling noise came from the alien, it might have been a laugh.
“You may have doomed your entire civilisation with that quip,” said the alien. “The final challenge is the true test of a warrior, a battle to the death.”
The alien drew several fearsome objects from its armour that looked distinctly weapon-like and pointed them at the cat. “You may strike first, as is traditional”
The cat sat back and started cleaning its arsehole.
The only sound across the whole of Cairo (and large sections of the world – this was all televised) was the soft rasping noise as the tabby cat gave its butt a thorough and comprehensive spring-cleaning.
Someone in the crowd coughed and the cat looked up briefly before resuming its important job.
The alien kept its weapons ready, watching for the cat’s first move.
Beads of liquid appeared on the alien’s head.
“You must strike first!” it shouted, the voice on the automatic translator on its chest wavering for the first time.
The cat ignored him and continued to do important sanitary work on its bum.
More liquid poured off the alien and some of its tentacles began to shake. People in the crowd started to back away at the universal sign of someone about to lose it
“You must fight me!” screamed the alien.
The cat didn’t even look up, but steadily, and rigorously worked away making its butt as hygienic as it could possibly be.
The alien ranted and raved and the cat cleaned its butt. A lot of the crowd left at this point, but later they would pretend they had been there the whole time.
Eventually the alien snapped. It roared and fired a weapon towards the cat. The cat leapt and dodged the shot. The alien sobbed and threw down its weapons.
“I have broken the sacred rules of the combat, you win by default.”
“What, what do we win?” said the UN Envoy who was here on work so couldn’t leave even after watching three hours of cat butt cleaning.
“We are now also slaves to your masters,” it pointed a shaky tentacle towards the cat, who was still cleaning its arsehole.
The alien collapsed into a heap sobbing. The cat finally finished cleaning its butt and humanity gained ownership (until the cats wanted it) of a galactic empire.
PROMPT: Aliens make contact with Earth but will only negotiate with cats, which they assume to be in charge.