art by Ron Sanders
How Earth Narrowly Escaped an Invasion From Space
by Alex Shvartsman
Lieutenant-Admiral Whiskers stared at the ominous planet on his view screen. It was still very far away, a tiny fishbowl with an even smaller moon hanging at its side like a saucer of milk. The view grew steadily clearer as the invasion fleet approached its target.
The sound of the war council entering the room broke his reverie. Whiskers turned and stood at attention as a pride of elderly felines shuffled in. They wheezed as they struggled to climb into the seats placed around a long oval table. Whiskers thought it ironic that not a single one of them was in shape to hunt their own dinner, and yet this bunch of fat cats led the expeditionary force that had conquered over a hundred worlds.
Last into the room was an enormous tuxedo cat. Chairman Meow, Supreme Commander of the Armada, regally carried his nearly thirty pounds of flesh into the swiveling chair at the head of the table.
"You may commence with your report," said Admiral Smudge.
Whiskers nodded to the adjutant, who dragged in a holographic projector and pressed his paw against the touch screen. An image of a blue and white world sprung to life.
"This is Earth," said Whiskers. "The only planet to have successfully thwarted our invasion attempts in the past."
There was a murmur among the council. "Impossible!" shouted one of the cats. "The Armada has never known defeat in its five-thousand-year history." He banged his paw against the table.
"I didn't say we were defeated," said Whiskers, "merely thwarted. The natives of this world are cleverer than they look. Observe." Whiskers displayed a holo-image of huge ape-like creatures using ropes and tree logs to move a stone slab the size of the conference room.