The Arra IV

They call themselves The Arra IV. Their biggest blackest ships, of which there are fifteen hundred and counting, are almost one whole light year long from end to end. There are trillions upon trillions of the human shaped men, women and children on each mothership. They had set out mad millennia ago to start wars anywhere and with virtually anything. Searching. From one galaxy and solar system to another they travel, sending ahead ultimatums to species on planets large and small. “We want your solar energy,” they communicate, “and so as you would no doubt soon realise once we start vaporising your star, we tell you now that you must engage us in a fair battle on a moon of your choosing. We will obliterate you, make you extinct, hand to hand, gun on gun, whatever your level of war machine we will fight with only that. And if you wipe out our troops, we will fly on to a new star system and leave you to ponder. Our ships can negate any attempts to destroy them with nuclear energy, we await your response.” Every so often, but rarely, they lose the troop battles which are a spectacle like out of some Warhammer artwork on Earth … (a planet they are analysing and approaching as the next target for a particular ship in their armada called The Dogon.) When they lose to death every man and woman warrior on the moon, they leave as promised and will follow the progress of the victorious species with interest via AI probes as in some future scenario it could be that this species will attack them. Only on two occasions has defeat led to one of the light year long motherships being blown up, by weapons unknown to the Arra IV before that point – and the explosions were so big that in the Dark Ages on Earth around 1482 AD peasants and lords alike out at night for months had looked upwards to see a brightness so terrifying it became legend. Monks wrote about it on papyrus for decades and Nuns preached worriedly with great spitting venom to the shocked children they taught. The Arra IV usually win the battle and when they do they often completely sack the home planet of the defenders. They eat a certain fungus from a moon in their home system religiously and this sends them into a frenzy of madness and untold adrenaline and violence like Vikings charging en masse up a grey beach in the North of England, hundreds of years ago shouting “YEAAAAAAAH”. Between wars and between the stars they fight each other in arenas in hand to hand submission combat where punches to the skull are brutal. Their best fighters become potential kings or queens when challenges are accepted for a one on one by the current leader when he or she is available. The current champion is a man by the name of Ogre Fishdeadbrain and he is first man out the landing crafts at the start of a battle. He will be wielding whatever weapon would deem this a fair fight – occasionally the technology of the opponents is only a couple of centuries behind and so lasers and plasma cannons are brought in, but often the fight is with clubs, swords, chariots and bolt throwers. Only on those two occasions out of tens of millions of instances have they met a race more advanced than themselves and these were races that had long since decided to stay in their local corner of a galaxy in peace. There are billions upon billions of galaxies the Arra IV have yet to raid. Although there are forces and star spawned creatures and things beyond words and time which they worship, but the thought of fighting them of which they know the full cycle of twelve intersecting vertices on The Wheel is unthinkable. Unthinkable the way a well fed and sane human on Earth would not consider eating alive a twenty four foot crocodile on the banks of the Nile for his evening meal armed with only a bendy piece of reed. It is simply not a possible option with no way to go about it. In fact it is far more than this. And so to do so would break their minds as surely as the crocodile exists. The Wheel is wired into their brains. But The Wheel is cruel in the extreme and cannot be broken, it just turns the terrible full circle to look at the same utter madness from a new perspective as the central perfect nightmare has changed the outlook, indeed the same thing has now become something different. And the Arra IV know it.

*

On Earth in the year 2021 AD a thin, pale, bespectacled man is watching the sky through a powerful telescope in the Mexican mountains. He is thinking about Sally the waitress and the New York baseball teams. All of a sudden a blip shows up on his screen. That should not be possible he thinks with no panic and watches as a clickable box appears. He clicks on it and reads “We have come for you. You will choose the moon of your passing. Send all the armies of your world with all your fire. The moon will be the battleground of our victory. We, the Arra IV, await with banging shields and drums.” a minute later he is shaking thinking it can’t be true, must be some American teenaged boy in Michigan. He hears the ’phone to his boss ring twice, and then it is answered. The man on the other end is immediately awake thinking excitedly it will be a new major comet or maybe a new Plutoid planet at the edge of the Solar System. An hour later the White House is packed with journalists and congress people. The message is simple, the world finds out. The President talks to Japan and the UK and Israel on Skype. Russia realigns Her missiles into devious angles which the Pentagon will see as more aggressive. Syria and Egypt do the same as Mother Russia. The West will quietly respond with equal measures in a matter of minutes including micro-nuclear weapon activity in devastated China.

In the morning the Pentagon pings back out towards Jupiter the picture of the Earth’s Moon Luna as that is as far as they can possibly send troops – humans have still sent only robots to Mars. The ping comes back in scientifically impossible time with a date one month from now. And that is that, everyone is stunned and many go home to an oddly peaceful sleep. That afternoon the Arra ship removes its cloaking and amateur astronomers in the dark half of Earth are greeted with a show of lights stretching out past Neptune into infinity.

The UNs main army of American, British, French, Swedish troops are on the Moon three weeks later armed with guns and artillery and tanks. There are routine words and actions amongst them for a week until slowly a star approaches. It turns out to be one small ship which lands a mile from the space tents of Earth’s army. The President, a man called Mutubutumansalaisi who was born fifty nine years ago in war torn Nigeria and emerged from the chaos there aged thirty, steps out of his tent grim faced and, alone, walks slowly across the beautiful dust of the Moon towards the invaders. He stops a few metres short instinctively at a distance where he might see any throw projectiles in time to dodge them. A hatch opens and out walks a human shaped creature six feet tall dressed in orange finery. But this six feet does not stop at his head; walking a few feet either side of him dwon the black metal ramp are two plainly clothed men holding sticks or bars upwards at an angle. The sticks hold up in place the most magnificent hat seen anywhere. The alien steps down onto the dust and looks across at the powerfully built Earth man whose skin is dark as the deepest jungles. Mutubutumansalaisi is impressed and his brow raises slightly. The hat is alive with captured snakes and birds of paradise. There are rats and octopus in there as well, all moving about somehow restrained from escape. The hat is eight feet tall and the eyes of the creatures are mad. The Earth President sees and eel like creature with fangs.

The two men step towards each other and the Earth watches on in captivation via satellite images. The President says

“You have come for war, and we will not disappoint.”

The alien visibly reels and his human like mouth is agape. He replies

“You. You speak English! Is this true?”

“What is this? We know nothing except the two messages you sent to us.”

A moment of silence. A red light on the alien king’s wrist wear blips to green. The alien raises his hands out towards the two men at his side palms facing out. Without delay they lower the sticks to the ground behind the king and the hat falls backwards in a small cloud of silent dust. The alien king opens his mouth to speak

“Incredible. After six billion years it has finally happened. Our fighting is over. We can finally say this to another creature face to face… Please don’t kill yourself. It’s good to see you’re still with us. Please God forgive me for pulling the legs and wings off that Daddy Long Legs when I was five years old.” the alien man reaches out a hand to be shaken. The president takes a step and reaches out and shakes it, the whole world watching.

THE END

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