art by Junior McLean
The Pen Is Mightier
by Mik Wilkens
"Supplicant Anseel deCeer, enter the Chamber."
Anseel cringed as the order boomed through the antechamber. The other petitioners glared at him. He understood their anger. Some of them had been waiting for days; he had just arrived.
He walked toward the massive double doors that led into the Chamber of the Overlords, his crest quivering. He smoothed the drab brown feathers into place, his soft, useless flight feathers rustling in apprehension.
The doors swung silently open. Beyond loomed only darkness.
Anseel took several deep breaths and stepped through. The doors closed behind him with a sigh, and pale light shimmered in the nothingness before him.
He started to smooth his crest again, but remembered his nest-mother's words.
You must face the Overlords with courage. Bearing matters far more than appearance. Be brave, little Groundling.
He raised his crest high as the pale light took form.
Although he knew it was not real, his senses assured him that he stood on one of the dark, rocky worlds favored by the Denesh Overlords. Before him, three of them curled their long, reptilian bodies on stony thrones, their ebon scales reflecting the starlight with iridescent glimmers. High above, a fleet of Denesh warships hung silhouetted against the mists of a blue-green nebula.
"We have read your petition, Supplicant deCeer." The Overlord's resonant voice echoed from all directions. "You have requested the destruction of the planet known as Earth across all dimensions. While we relish the challenge, such an endeavor is not undertaken lightly, nor is it without consequences."
"I-- We understand, Lordship." He struggled to keep his voice steady. "However, doing nothing could have even more dire consequences."