Take me to a...
Enter any portion of the author name or story title:
For more options, try our:
Sign up for free daily sci-fi!
your email will be kept private
Get a copy of Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. 260 adventures into new worlds, fantastical and science fictional. Rocket Dragons Ignite: the anthology for year two, is also available!
Publish your stories or art on Daily Science Fiction:
If you've already submitted a story, you may check its:
Not just rockets & robots...
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.

Packing List for the Invasion

1. Multiple Dictionaries. There are more languages on this world than you can possibly imagine, but if you can say "Surrender or die" in English and Mandarin Chinese, you should be okay. (Consult the Galactic Encyclopedia for the other 6500+ languages spoken on this strange world. You might also consider Hindi, Arabic, Bengali, Spanish, French, Russian, Portuguese... oh, never mind. Threatening gestures should suffice for the rest.) You can leave the dictionaries behind if you plan to kill first, ask questions later, but be forewarned that once dead, the natives are unable to answer questions.
2. Dehydrator and Cookbook. The natives are 60% water! (Their brains are almost 75%, which explains why they are a little on the "slow" side.) Invite them to dinner; once dehydrated and flavored with mercury, ammonia, and other spices, they are excellent. The best-selling regional cookbooks are To Serve Man and its sequel, To Serve Woman.
3. Microwave, Probes, and Cages. This will allow you to partake in all three major branches of alien studies--culinary (don't forget the dehydrator!), scientific (specialized tools allow probing of all bodily orifices), and domestication (bring lots of newspaper for the cage bottoms as the natives often make watery messes).
4. Snow Shovel. You'll need it to dig out the spaceship if it is buried in water crystals. Bring warm, waterproof mittens for all your tentacles. Seriously, the precipitation on this planet is insane!
5. Any Sharp Object. The natives have no exoskeleton or any other natural shielding. They are like mushy water balloons with four spindly appendages. A simple thrust of anything pointy into their bodies has a 90% chance of hitting something critical. (Step back quickly after piercing to avoid getting splashed with their deadly red watery insides.) How such defenseless beings dominate their world needs further study.
6. High-pitched Offensive Sound Emitter. The dominant life forms are defenseless, but they often keep vicious four-legged creatures with sharp teeth. But one blast of a HOSE and these furry creatures run away with their stern appendage between their hind legs. The natives have strong emotional attachments to these creatures, and yet they also like to make them hot and eat them, often at games played with a ball.
7. Umbrella and Water suit. Water just falls out of the sky! Really, it's true.
8. Scuba Gear. The place is 70% water, with things that live in the water. Crazy, isn't it? But it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore this rare and exotic underwater world. Have a professional double-check your scuba outfit in advance to avoid deadly water leaks.
9. Prayer Books. You'll want to spend a day at our Area 52 church in Nevada, followed by a night of gambling in nearby Las Vegas. The various forms of poker should allow you to win local currency from the natives, whose visual capabilities do not extend into the x-ray spectrum and are obliviously unaware that we can see their cards. Avoid the slot machines; they are rigged. Be aware that the legendary Mandalay Bay Beach and the mythical Fountains of Bellagio are REAL--avoid at all costs.
10. Hardhat. Frozen balls of water, electricity, and even rocks just fall out of the sky. This place is bizarre.
11. Digital Camera. The planet has many of the best sights in this arm of the galaxy, including big holes in the ground; big puddles of water on the ground; and big mounds of dirt above the ground. (The Grand Canyon, oceans, and Mount Everest are particularly popular.) You'll also want to see the primitive yet quaint architecture (take pictures before turning to rubble), and of course videos of supplicating natives before dinner are always a hit at parties.
12. Digital Scentographer. After the conquest, you'll want to tour the world and take snapshots of the local smells, which will enthrall you in wonder. The natives are masters at mixing the various aromas, creating awe-inspiring symphonies, the best in the galaxy. They collect them in countless smell museums they call "garbage cans." (Make sure to get a snapshot of cannoli, a wonderful native dessert you do not want to leave behind.)
13. Leave the Squirtgun, Take the Can of Levees. The levees might be the only way to keep the excessive water from pouring into your spaceship--this place is crazy wet. Ammunition for the power squirtguns is literally all over the place, like natural weapon depots, but the natives are strangely impervious to water. Better to use a standard ray gun or pointy stick. (Parental beware--they often drink water, right out in public, which could frighten younger tadlings.)
14. Shiny Beads and Baubles. The natives invariably fall for simple trinkets such as diamonds, rubies, and emeralds, and shiny metals such as gold, silver, and platinum. (We have moons made of this stuff!) In their naivete they will trade their most valuable commodity for them. Keep a lookout for colorful clothlike materials, typically about six by three antenna lengths. These items are the most valuable objects in the galaxy, useful in dozens of ways, as explained in the Galactic Encyclopedia. Or skip the trinkets and take the towels by force. If you do inadvertently get wet, towels are excellent for removing moisture, though it's always best to see a physician after water contamination.
15. Nuclear Shield. Out of desperation the natives will inevitably nuke you. When they do, sit tight and wait; their own ionizing radiation will kill these weak, defenseless, and suicidal creatures. After the initial blasts, you and future colonists can bask in the warmth of alpha, beta, gamma, and x-ray radiation. Once the natives have eliminated themselves, you can begin the dewaterization of the planet as the colony ships arrive.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, September 27th, 2022
Become a Member!

We hope you're enjoying Packing List for the Invasion by Larry Hodges.

Please support Daily Science Fiction by becoming a member.

Daily Science Fiction is not accepting memberships or donations at this time.

Rate This Story
Please click to rate this story from 1 (ho-hum) to 7 (excellent!):

Please don't read too much into these ratings. For many reasons, a superior story may not get a superior score.

4.8 Rocket Dragons Average
Share This Story
Join Mailing list
Please join our mailing list and receive free daily sci-fi (your email address will be kept 100% private):