Empire

Empire

A Story by Ron Sanders
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space opera for big kids.

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            Alura is a planet as lovely as its name.

            The air, you would swear, has a sweet bouquet, and among Captain Scott’s ground party, sick to the gills of canned air, there was whispered talk of an aftertaste upon inhalation--something between caramel fudge and hot buttered rum.

            Native Alurans are friendly to a fault. The men are wise and mentoring, the women ample and unabashedly nude. The men can be firm, however, and so for propriety’s sake made certain the damson-toned nymphs arranged their flowing blonde tresses strategically in the company of Scott’s all-male, cabin-fevered, skin-starved crew.

            Alurans are humanoid. They are social creatures, prone to lounging and fond of dissertation. The planet Alura, with its bounteous fields of stellarium-rich photocrystals, has from Day One provided its denizens with long lives of peace and plenty.

            Still, sometimes a prodigious native energy supply can be too much of a good thing.

Aluran males go almost directly from puberty to senescence, fulfilling their reproductive function in a single season, only to linger in decrepitude for decades to come. Aluran woman suffer throughout their lives with that exotic and unpleasant condition known as mammaria vulgaris, wherein supercharged estrogen causes the mammary glands to engorge in the company of males, and to spontaneously engage in profoundly mortifying paroxysms of projectile lactation. The ejected product’s sugar content is so stellarium-enriched that, upon exposure to air, it leaves a most unbecoming veneer of crystallized threads and filmy residue. Very many Aluran women are also cursed with the stigmata of superfluous breasts on the back, shoulders, and underchin--a humiliating condition that, during this, the first meeting of officials from Earth and Alura, caused the Elders considerable grief and embarrassment.

            Stellarium crystals, or stellaria, are not all that uncommon in the Milky Way. They can be found carpeting the temperate zones of most planets; absorbing, storing, and concentrating starlight by way of their unique arrangement of stepped internal faces. Some older crystals have been known to power a medium-sized city for a good solar year. Since their discovery by 23rd Century Earth prospectors, they’ve been the prime energy source in every Solar System project from transportation to military. The natural consequence is, of course, a steady depletion of this hardy but highly exhaustible life form.

            Aluran crystals have a paradoxical relationship with their galactic neighborhood. Alura is a remote, recently uncharted, most unpromising candidate for life of any kind. But its crystals’ struggle for distant starlight produced a vigorous progeny, a high field presence, and an unparalleled ability to photosynthesize. The evolutionary result is a robust, self-contained mini-system; warm, steady, and perennially paradisiacal.

            It was in this setting, on the crystal-rich bank of a perpetually mild lagoon of the Silken Sea, that the Aluran Elders received the bug-eyed Earth crew. After much apologizing and woman-scolding, White the Eldest brought the small talk down to basics, speaking haltingly in the Universal Tongue.

            “There will be no need for the Elders to Counsel, Captain Scott. Your generous offers to purchase stellarium crystals wholesale, as well as to join with Alura in business partnership, are entirely unacceptable. These fields are not only our life-blood, they harbor a deep and timeless spiritual significance. To all Alurans. As you have informed us that you are fully empowered to speak on your home planet’s behalf, I feel honored as well as saddened to relate to you personally that, no, regrettably, we will never comply with this request. We are not for sale.”

            Scott bowed. “I will inform my world’s leader of your feelings in this matter, and return with his thoughts.” He paused as Gray the Elder wheeled his chair up against White’s. The two huddled for a whispered confab. White looked back up.

            “And . . . Captain Scott . . . we feel it best you return as sole representative, that your wonderful crewmen not be forced to endure the unsightly spectacle of our hapless women.”

            A mutinous groan rose from the men.

Eldest White, nodding sympathetically, said with great bearing, “Thank you gentlemen, and a safe and very brief sojourn to you. May time wipe this unbidden, untoward, and disgustingly messy spectacle from your minds.”

 

 

            “How backward can these idiots be?”

The President of Earth zoomed his image up tight, that Scott be irresistibly apprised of his displeasure. “I’ve given you full powers of emissary, Scott. They’ve heard our complete offer? What do they want, jangling baubles and party hats?”

            “It’s like a religious thing,” Scott hemmed. “‘Spiritual’, he called it. Doesn’t want to let go of the past, or posterity, or something like that.”

            “Oh, what a load of crap. Every race has its price. Now you get back down there and you do some fancy talking. You know what’s resting on this project, and you know how imperative those crystals are. If the Third Ring catches us with our pants down this time, we won’t have enough power to send up a surrender beacon. Money isn’t an object--we’re already through the roof on this. I’m authorizing your direct military command of all Group Bases if need be, of limitless and instantaneous funding, of total support from every proxy in the Quadrant. Damn you, man--get it done! If I see your pasty face again without a full work order for the immediate export of stellarium crystals, I’ll bust you right back down to janitor before your pansy-a*s lips are dry. There’s an election coming up back at home, in case you’ve forgotten. Do we have an understanding here, Scott? Now, either you’re gonna make me happy or I’m gonna make you history.”

 

            “I’m so glad you could make it,” Scott whispered, peeking out his quarters while desperately avoiding looking at his guest. He’d leaked word that he needed to meet with the most intelligent of the Aluran women, and she’d tiptoed blushing through the flapping door, her long hair fluffing all around her gently swelling self. He began gathering the strange metallic marbles into a pile.

            The woman plucked one up, turned it before her wide violet eyes. “Pretty!”

            “Telefiles,” Scott said, placing it back in the pile. “I’ve been studying some ancient Earth records, looking for ideas. I’m Captain Scott,” he breathed. “And you are?”

            She spread her arms and giggled nervously. “Shela!”

            “Shhh!” Scott couldn’t help breathing her in:  a sweet musk emanated from her every distending pore, while he grew clammy at the pits and groin. “Shela, I have very important work for you, a mission of the utmost moment. We have discovered that the Elders of Alura are plotting against us. It is imperative that we learn all we can to spare us from disaster. You can be our eyes and ears. You must eavesdrop on their conversations, you must find out all you can about how they manage and secure stellaria, and report back to me.”

            Shela bent nearer, her chest heaving. “Oh, but Captain Scott! Whatever will I tell my friends?”

            Scott’s eyes began to wobble and ache; the taste of peaches in cream came to his tongue. His fingertips grew sticky, and a pulsing gossamer web grew about them. “It’s a secret,” he whispered. “It must be, do you hear? You must come to me here, every night, and report everything you hear. No one must ever ever ever see you come and go, do you understand?”

            The woman’s entire body blushed ripe plum. “But how can I be of both Earth and Alura? In what manner do we merge?”

            She was expanding before his eyes. “I,” Scott gasped, “am hereby deputizing you. You are now an agent of our command. Of my command.” He scooped his tunic off its hook, raced his eyes across the colorful bits comprising his rows and columns of commendations. Cadet Mentor . . . Stellar Emissary . . . Galactic Commander . . . and peeled off the flexy starburst medal for Best Ship’s Hygiene.

            “What are those, Captain Scott?”

            These,” Scott maundered, “are breast badges. They’re the proofs of all my manly endeavors. They’re awards:  what Earth’s elite, political and military, give to officers of merit upon the successful completion of missions great and small.” He demonstrated the badges’ attachment and removal. “They’re just latex suction pads, what we call ‘Peel and Paste’.”

            Shela’s eyes swelled in their sockets, her lips plumping as he stared. “Breast,” she hissed prettily, “badges! But why do they call them that?”

            “Well,” Scott said reasonably, “because they’re worn on the breast. Flashing one of these babies is a great honor.”

            Shela’s eyes sparkled, following the badge in Scott’s rocking fingers. “For me?”

            “Remember--” Scott panted, “our secret.”

            She looked down; left, right, and supernumerary. “But where will I wear it?”

            Scott reached out his shaking hand, his breath hot and moist in his throat. “Right . . . here.”

 

 

            “I bear grave news.”

They were in the Aluran’s command Circle, overlooking the Silken Sea. Scott studied his clenched hands. “It grieves me even to speak it in this fine and lovely place.”

            White the Eldest gripped his armrests and leaned forward, the veins throbbing in his forehead. Immediately his harem gushed to his sides, fanning him with their endless tresses while blushing furiously at their flashing pendulous fantasies. “Speak it,” White urged, “Friend Captain Scott.”

            Scott rose and began to pace, hands clasped behind his back. “Your world, Eldest White, is under the scrutiny of a devious and relentless species.” He raised a hand. “This race, the Klingons, has engaged an assault upon Alura under the auspices of their wicked ruler Kal-El of Oz.” He whirled. “Make no mistake! They seek only your stellarium crystals, and will stop at nothing to get them! No ruse too shallow, no ploy too obtuse . . .” He wagged his head sadly while raising a hopeful forefinger. “I am ambivalent. First:  I, like all good men of Earth, am weighed down by this terrible turn of events in the life-cycle of a great and generous planet. But second, and far more important:  I am overjoyed that we have arrived in time to protect you.” He bowed to the waist. “If you will permit us.”

            Gray the Elder placed a hand on White’s forearm. “Surely we must Counsel!”

            “The moment is urgent,” Scott said. “Proof of this threat, alas, is presently at hand.” He triggered his vocalizer. “Ensign Manson. Do it.” A second later the skies over Alura were erupting with pyrotechnic rage:  Roman Candles, skyrockets, podloads of sparklers and Sneaky Petes. The women jiggled in terror while the Elders gasped and wheeled in erratic circles. The spectacle ceased.

            “That should hold those awful Klingons for a while,” Scott said.

            “Bless you!” White panted. “And bless all you fine men of Earth. Our stellaria are saved!”

            “Only temporarily,” Scott reminded him. “We can’t hold them off forever. I suggest a peace offering; a few carriers of your richest stellaria to keep them at bay while my selfless colleagues desperately attempt to work something out.”

            “Never!” White vowed, and with surprising passion. “We deeply appreciate your kind Earthling concern for our security, Captain Scott, but understand that under no circumstances will we ever relinquish a single rod of our beloved crystals! We are bound by ancient promises--to the beaming fields above and the chiseled roots below. None of this sacred growth shall ever leave our world!” He shakily raised himself half out of his chair, waving away his bobbing nursers. “Never! Do you hear me, sir? Not ever!”

            “But surely, a--”

            White clutched his chest and fell back in his chair. For a minute all was confusion. Presently Gray the Elder freed himself from White’s supporting fleshy tangle and looked over gravely. “I suggest you remove yourself, sir, and with the utmost haste.” There was no doubting his savvy, nor his hostility. “While it is true that Eldest White’s advancement in years may have made him slow and over-trusting, and while the word of the Eldest is final, be advised that,” and his eyes burned across the Circle while he tapped a forefinger on his temple, “his true friends know things, and are a force to be reckoned with.”

 

 

            Shela quietly slipped round the flap, her chest beating hard.

            “What took you?” Scott whispered. “What have you learned?”

            She huddled there, vainly attempting to contain herself. “It is Gray you must fear. He is inciting the Elders to retaliation. Nothing will change him.”

            Scott gripped her passionately. “Shela! You must understand--Gray is a wicked man, bent only on destruction. His one course is pure selfishness--he must be destroyed!”

            She began helplessly sprouting and exuding, so great was her consternation. “But what can we do, Captain Scott? I cannot keep The Secret from my friends much longer.”

            “Take a deep breath,” Scott advised. “Relax.” Peaches in cream. “Now take another deep breath. Relax, relax. Breathe deeper, deeper; oh Shela, Shela, breathe! That’s a good girl. Now, there’s an old Earth saying:  if you can’t bribe ’em, enlist ’em. So I want you to bring all the girls here, the whole gang, every night, and I’m gonna make sure each and every one is deputized with a breast badge!” Her eyes welled. Shela’s shoulders fell and she slowly began to deflate. “No, no, no!” Scott said hurriedly. “They’ll just be your deputies. You’re so smart, agent Shela; you’re smarter that all the rest put together. That’s why I’m promoting you.” He snatched his tunic from the wall and peeled off the Second Place, Three-legged Sack Race badge. Scott leaned forward in a crystallizing haze. “Let’s just see if we can find some more room in there.”

 

 

            Captain Scott strode purposefully into the Circle, flanked by Military Police. The Aluran sky was choking with hovering Earth craft, an awesome and intimidating sight since long before dawn. Every few minutes another carrier landed in a brilliant splash of gravity repellant.

            “What,” White tottered, “is the meaning of this, Captain Scott? And why have we been confined to the Circle these many hours?”

            “For your own safety, sir. The situation is far worse than our original reports led us to believe. It now appears that the Romulans have sided with the Klingons, and are gearing up for a Trump maneuver even as we speak.”

            “These words you use,” Gray said darkly, “are of no meaning to us. By what authority do you impose your military upon our neutral world?”

            Scott met him eye to eye. “By authority of the Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts, Elder Gray. And it is not an imposition. The United Federation Of Planets has declared this planet a protectorate of the Borg Confederacy, and ordered Battleship Earth to her defense. It is we who bear the onus of this venture! Not you, we!”

            “And bless you, son,” White rasped. “And bless your fine people all.”

            “Cease!” barked Gray. “You use these terms, alien and obtuse, to divert us from actuality! What are these things, sir, and what do they imply?”

            A tic worked in Scott’s eye. “You’ll have plenty of time to learn, Gray, in the comfort of our brig. Men, remove this scoundrel.”

            The MPs immediately grasped Gray’s handgrips and wheeled him away.

            Scott turned to White. “It pains me to inform you, Eldest, but Elder Gray is actually an Ent working for the Dark Lord.”

            White paled further. “No . . . I . . .”

            “Yes. I’m afraid you’ve been confiding in a traitor and informant. We Earthlings come from a long tradition of wheeling and dealing with just such rascals.” Scott turned to the cap of Crystal Hill, where the Terran Blue & Green was being raised in a mild breeze. “Look to the future, Eldest! See the Aluran flag replaced by the Terran, so those cruel invaders are made visually aware of their formidable foe. A major battle will be won, perhaps without a single shot fired! Our President has even brainstormed a replacement name for this glorious planet--so that all potential villains know they are one step behind in the game.” He made a frame of his hands and peered through. “Think of it, Eldest White! A grand name, an imposing name, a name feared by all--a name that will give even the Death Star pause.” His eyes grew misty as he genuflected by the chair. “Try it out for yourself, Eldest. Give it a shot.” Captain Scott articulated broadly, running an arm over the gleaming panorama:  New . . .” he enunciated “. . . Earth . . .”

            “New . . .” White mumbled, “. . . New . . .” His sunken eyes rose Scottward. “And this strategy will preserve our precious stellaria?”

            “Absolutely. Our precious stellaria will be unapproachable! Even now drillers are tearing up fields. Loaders are stocking carriers, carriers are unloading in cargo ships. Tons and tons and tons of stellarium are ready to be transported to Earth for safekeeping. I want to guarantee you, Eldest White, that no foreign power will ever get their greedy mitts on our crystals!”

            “I, sir,” White breathed, “am impressed.” He impulsively kissed the Captain’s hand. “Nay, I am in awe! You will forgive my physical impertinence, but your ways of thinking are far beyond we simple Alurans. Please accept our tears of gratitude, and let us know how best we may assist.”

            “It’s all worked out, Eldest; you won’t have to do a thing. Aluran males are even now being rounded up en masse. And since you are civilians in a military arena, we are sworn to protect you in the grand Terran tradition. So all males will be safely ensconced on a special parcel of land in the Deader Desert, where no Orc or Oprah would think of searching. Aluran women will be transported to Earth for protective housing in some of our politicians’ finest mansions, and thereby inducted into the illustrious Great Chambermaids Society. Graduates are highly prized. Who knows--one day an Aluran woman may even bear the coveted Golden Chamberpot.”

            “No . . .” White’s eyes were brimming. “But, Captain Scott . . . the Deader Desert?”

            “No longer, sir. The area has been renamed the Aluran Reservation, in your honor. A ‘reservation’ is a place we Earthmen use to house our noblest peoples. All Elders will be preserved therein with complete security, and provided unlimited supplies of a popular Earth elixir known as ‘vodka’.” He unholstered a flask and had the Eldest sip.

            “It is . . .” White gasped, “fire on the tongue.”

            “Don’t worry, Eldest, you’ll get used to it.” He placed a comforting hand on the old man’s shoulder. “Someday, my friend, this fire will certainly be your dearest and most trusted companion.”

 

 

            “Folks--” the reporter gushed, addressing the hovering cameras while backpedaling up the walk “--you’ve heard about her, you’ve read about her, you’ve seen her wise and beaming face shining as the brightest star in the galaxy--the Woman of the Future, the symbol of success, the highest inspiration for all those yearning young girls, now viewing from home and dreaming of all they can be. So, with the whole Solar System watching, we give you that Stellar Sacagawea, that Purple Pocahontas:  Senator Scott’s Mystery Princess, the Fabulous Aluran Muse who brought us our life-saving stellaria--Earth’s unparalleled Heroine--ladies and gentlemen . . . Shela!

            A camera zoomed right in. Almost overwhelmed by all the excitement, Shela promptly popped off her breast badges, held them high overhead, and smiled into the bespattered lens.       “Latex!” she bubbled, “Peel and Paste!”

 

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http://ronsandersatwork.com

© 2010 Ron Sanders


Author's Note

Ron Sanders
And no, I'm not a misogynist.

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This is very funny and a great use of refrences. The imaginitive story could almost be made into a book or even a script / screenplay. This is definitely a comedy and is written very well for one of those.

I'm not really a fan of future based things, but this had me reading through because of how 'down to Earth' it is. As a result of that, I'm not entirely sure where you would begin to improve upon it. Perhaps this one could be put into an elaborated book or along those lines with more backstory because it takes a while to get into it and it's difficult to make it shorter.

Also, if elaborated it might be useful to start with a bit clearer descriptive parts at the start to set the scene in this fantasy world because it takes a while to get a full picture of what exactly is going on and who is who. Other than that, thanks for sharing, much enjoyed :)

Posted 8 Years Ago


this is incredibly inventive. i don't read a lot of sci fi stuff but I really enjoyed it. Where were you when Avatar was being written? Damn, that movie was a script away from best picture.

Posted 8 Years Ago



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Added on October 16, 2010
Last Updated on December 9, 2010
Tags: women, space travel, extraterrestrials, subterfuge, capitalism, projectile lactation, and Harry Potter to the rescue.

Author

Ron Sanders
Ron Sanders

Marina del Rey, CA



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L.A.-based novelist, illustrator, poet, short story writer. more..

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A Story by Ron Sanders