Earth was prepared for a conventional attack, with a network of early warning satellites and nuclear weapons on a hair-trigger alert. It was prepared for an all-out alien invasion the likes of which had long been discussed in Earth literature.

Only the Xanthic didn’t attack that way.

Instead, their agents carefully snuck nanogenetically modified caffeine molecules into the Earth’s supply. Everything from coffee to soda pop to energy drinks was targeted and infiltrated. Then, at the touch of a button, anyone with an iota of caffeine in their system fell instantly unconscious.

In one swift masterstroke, the Xanthic had decapitated Earth’s command and control by incapacitating two-thirds of the adult population in the First World. The non-drinkers were not numerous enough to run the planetary defenses by themselves, and the Second and Third World countries without a critical mass of coffee drinkers were not invested enough in the defense network (thanks to their suspicious neighbors).

Every province and state of NATO and the UN Security Council was swiftly occupied, except for Utah. The rest of the world, starved of imports, swiftly capitulated with only local resistance.

The Xanthic celebrated their victory by buying every human being on Earth a nanogenetically engineered latté and by using their new force of slave laborers to build a massive Cola and Coffee Monument out of gratitude to the humble nonsentient plants which had allowed such a swift takeover.

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This post is part of the June 2013 Blog Chain at Absolute Write. This month’s prompt is “Bugs.”

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.

Check out this month’s other bloggers, all of whom have posted or will post their own responses:
Ralph Pines
Lady Cat

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“Don’t you see?” Max’s glasses were fogged by humidity and excitement, his eyes glittering behind nearly opaque screens. “This is a chance to get even with everyone who’s ever pushed us around. It’s our chance to make things fair for everybody and make the town a better place. Hell, the world could be a better place.”

“I…don’t think you’d agree if you could hear yourself, Max,” said Sasha. The…thing…pulsed angrily behind Max, shifting colors from aqua to crimson, and the “veins” that twisted over its surface recoiled with what could only be described as anger. “We’ve seen what this thing will do when it gets bigger.”

“That’s with nobody controlling it, or with someone bad doing it,” Max cried. “With one of us, one of the geeks, in the driver’s seat…it’ll be different.”

“You can’t control it, Max!” Corrie said. “If anything, it’s controlling you!”

More red hexagonal “arms” crystallized from the central, but they were thinner, sharper, than the thick central core of the…thing. “You guys can either get onboard or get our of here,” Max said, a note of menace evident in his squeaky and occasionally broken voice. In school even he laughed at his voice sometimes; no one was laughing now. “If you try to interfere…you’re not going to like what happens.”

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As a non-teenager living in a college town and working at a university, I live in kind of a weird anti-reality bubble. Bizarre trends often get this far and no further, freshmen (and seniors) wander about helpless as neonates, and annoyances pile turtle-stack high for anyone who has a limited appetite for bullshit.

We employees maintain our sanity by viciously kvetching about the kids, agreeing that the whole system would be much better off without them (but please continue paying tuition anyway okay thanks bye). That’ll do for some people, but to maintain my own personal sanity in the face of overwhelming teenagers, I prefer to describe things in theremin tones. Evoking the sci-fi/horror gods of old is way more entertaining than just saying that kids are stupid even though the latter is so true that I think it’s rrisen to the level of fundamental natural force (Strong, Weak, Electronagnetic, Gravitation, and Stupid Teenagers).

So when the trend requiring everyone with more than one X chromosome to wear Ugg-brand boots, even in 104° heat, I didn’t just complain about adolescent sheepmindedness. Rather, I deplored the recent invasion of the Anklions from Sororité Prime who were sucking blood from the evolutionarily vulnerable ankle region. Said blood loss also explained most mid-semester test scores from those so parasitized.

The askance ballcaps and part-popped polo protrusions that still form the unofficial uniform for rampant and unchecked male douchebaggery among SMU’s rank and file? It’s actually a first-stage symptom of a degenerative motor-neuron condition: first coordination goes, then color vision, then human empathy. In latter stages the condition leads to host death through douchbaggery, usually through alcohol poisoning or raging STDs, after which the unfortunate will rise from the grave as a zombie and reserve their former station (assuming anyone even notices). Far more merciful to put ’em down semi-painlessly with metaphorical 00 buckshot when the first symptoms appear, right?

I’m still of two minds on the recent trend of wearing things that are not true clothing as true and major clothing: tights, sweat pants, pajamas, wifebeaters, swimsuits, bras, tracksuits, scarves, shawls, and dozens of their quasi-clothing brethren. On the one hand, it could be a manifestation of a neural parasite from a warm planet. On the other, it could be a warning sign of an emergent human subspecies, homo sapiens inappropriatus.

I guess it could also be parasites infecting a new subspecies, but that’s just going too far.

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