The S’lvn-L’vs descended upon us, a terrible insectoid scourge from the stars, and all mankind’s technologies and spacefleets were in vain against their inexorable approach. With the last of our great starships lost in the battle off Pluto’s orbit, it was inevitable that the S’lvn-L’vs would attempt a landing on Earth. For it was Earth they coveted, a green and verdant planet to sweep over like the locusts they so resembled. Their technology, so far in advance of our own, and their swarm intelligence made this inevitable.
So it was with little surprise but much horror that the ships of the infernal space bugs appeared in our skies. One of the S’lvn-L’vs dreadnaughts, city-sized, touched down on the broad plains south of Topeka while another moved toward the Mongolian steppe. Military resistance was an impossibility, as precision strikes by the S’lvn-L’vs had devastated Earth’s global defense network. Instead, they were met at the landing site by a delegation of Earth politicians, religious leaders, and common folk selected by lottery to plead on behalf of humanity.
When the great doors opened and the S’lvn-L’vs emerged, none knew what to expect, for their communication with humans up to that point had been exclusively aggressive or disinterested. Nevertheless, it seemed that the S’lvn-L’vs to emerge might engage with the delegation. The great insectoid at the head of the emerging group approached the humans, its compound eyes and mandibles expressionless and unreadable.
Before the humans could say a word, they listened as the seven-foot-tall bug gasped, choked, and exploded under its own weight, coating everyone present with viscous green goo.
For so it had come about, as indeed I and many men might have foreseen had not terror and disaster blinded our minds: the twin terrors of lower oxygen content in the atmosphere and high gravity had taken their toll on Earthly life since the beginning of things–taken their toll on our evolutionary precursors since life began here. But by virtue of this natural selection humans have developed resisting power: to gravity–that which causes exoskeletoned beings above a certain size to explode under their own weight–our living frames are altogether immune. We do not succumb to lack of oxygen as spiracle-breathing bugs do, with our 20% oxygen mix being sufficient where 35% or 40% is necessary for creatures the size of the S’lvn-L’vs.
Already when the delegates watched them they were irrevocably doomed; our gravitational and atmospheric allies had begun to work their overthrow. It was inevitable. By the toll of a billion Barcaloungers and breathless runs man has bought his birthright to his size and oxygenation capacity, and it is his against all comers; it would still be his were the S’lvn-L’vs ten times as buggy as they are. For neither do men lounge nor breathe in vain.
With apologies to H. G. Wells.