By Myke Edwards
Copyright 2016 Myke Edwards
By Myke Edwards
Traveling at just over one-hundred times the speed of light, the Overlord A sped towards its first location, while the first ever meeting of the Milky Way’s wealthiest elite had come to order three hours ago. Most of the members of this group attended with the intention to toss around their money, but some peoples’ circumstances were much more dire.
Save for Overlord Zee-Bee’s blathering and an introduction video an hour longer than necessary, nothing much had happened. The Overlords owned everything in the Milky Way and were slowly worming their tentacles into Andromeda, though, so everyone present waited with padded patience. The offer of planets in desperate need of new owners was too delicious to pass up.
Spanlet tapped his foot, watching everyone around him. Identical to a tyrannosaurus rex in everything but size and brain capacity (smaller and bigger, respectively), the armpits of his new but untailored green velvet suit dug into his arms. He readjusted his position on the solid couch, sipping his cold cup of tea. Week-old sewage wafted over from the gelatinous fellow next to him, while a foghorn blew in time with someone else’s breathing.
The past three hours would be worth it, though.
A pan-physical being, Overlord Zee-Bee wore a monkey-like, silicon body-suit with four arms, and stood on a pedestal so all in attendance could see him. He repeated himself numerous time, congratulating everyone on their riches, as well as the rare opportunity that the Overlords were about to bestow upon them.
“And now,” Overlord Zee-Bee said in his sibilant tenor, “we will return to normal space for our first lot.” He waved toward a viewscreen as large as Spanlet’s house.
Spanlet, along with everyone else in the room, focused on the screen. The stars returned, with a solar system nestled in the middle. Information poured down the screen as the ship slowed. A red target appeared over all but one of the six planets in the system, including the star. A green circle highlighted the lone planet, with text underneath it.
“Gentlemen and ladies, behold…Haanaath.” Even with no defined face, Overlord Zee-Bee smiled, and his voice reflected it. “Currently, its inhabitants are on the cusp of a bronze age, about one-hundred years away. Our advisors highly doubt will ever happen, though. Constant volcanic activity along its equator has damaged the land and polluted the environment to the point that any further progress is nearly impossible. Water, plant and animal life are all quickly dwindling.
“We suspect this will take anywhere between one and ten years to reconstruct. With our help, of course, that can go quicker, in addition to how much you wish to change it.”
Spanlet read the information on the screen. This planet would take too long to revegetate, and his people needed something within fifty years. With a sigh, he returned to his cold tea as several others started asking questions.
“How much to remove all life as it exists?”
“Is ore mining is possible?”
“When will its star expire?”
A floating orb of spikes no larger than a basketball zipped around the room, asking questions in a fuzzy hum. Overlord Zee-Bee listened, nodding with every word.
The spiky orb hummed so fast that it resembled distorted white noise. Overlord Zee-Bee nodded and ushered the being to the door. Once gone, Overlord Zee-Bee pushed a button and the computer screen disappeared.
“Yarshinashionziglertraition has purchased Haanaath. His people will either clean it up nicely for themselves, or you may see it on the market within a few years.”
Several of the beings in the room clapped, but Spanlet sat still, teacup halfway to his mouth. He set it down after downing the remnants. A small robot refilled it within seconds. Before he even lifted it up for a sip, the aroma rose to his nose. Even more Aldebaran spark tea. With a grumble, he slumped deeper into the couch.
“Will there be any lushly vegetated planets on this trip?” he asked.
All heads turned his way, Overlord Zee-Bee included.
“Several, yes. Any particular reason why?”
“Just curious,” Spanlet said.
Despite being the largest being in the room, nobody had paid Spanlet much attention. All the others had come with the intent of colonization for expansion and recreation, or to remodel and eventually flip to prospective buyers. Not Spanlet.
The Brynians had destroyed their world. While they had another fifty years, one-hundred if they pushed it, all vegetation and indigenous fauna would be gone thanks to overpopulation and industrialization. Due to having a lower economic base than the other species present, they would need a new place to settle that they could remodel on their own.
He had tried to keep a low profile and his big mouth shut during the meeting. While his people and planet had money, everyone else talked about how much planetary real estate they already owned and could afford to pay. The Overlords offered assistance to anyone, including the Brynians, in remodeling any planet in a short number of years, but for far more money than Spanlet’s people had access to.
“Well,” Overlord Zee-Bee started, hands spread in front of himself, “shall we travel to our next location?”
A positive murmur passed through the crowded room. Within seconds, the Overlord A returned to inter-dimensional space, and the stars blurred again.
The room resumed its cocktail party-like atmosphere as guests mingled and spoke on any number of topics. Spanlet remained in his seat as a heated argument over planetary conquest took place next to him. A brute of a man slammed a fist into either of his other open-palmed hands. Covered in lavender fur and clad in a shining silver suit adorned with colorful jewels, he made quite the spectacle, regardless of his blustery, slobbering voice.
“If the galaxy’th motht powerful worldth would only intenthify their firepower and defentheth, the thtrongest would hold dominanth over their future thlaveth.”
“And yet the thought of underdeveloped worlds one day becoming a major power has never occurred to you?” His opponent, equal in size but orange and scaly, wore only a grassy skirt. “Planetary conquest is fleeb compared with unity. Perhaps one day, all worlds will come together and cease destroying one another, paving the way for new species to grow and develop as well. Fleeb, I say!”
The warmonger waved all three hands. “Bah! We made it to thith level, why wait for anyone elthe to do tho? Thothe who made it before uth had their chanth to take uth out, tho why wait for thomeone elth?”
“So why do you want to buy new planets?”
“We could alwayth uthe yet another training planet. Bethideth, owning it will make it eathier for uth to declare war without the Overlordth bringing uth to trial.”
The scaly man nodded in agreement. Even Spanlet knew that a lawsuit or criminal trial by the Overlords was no picnic, and lasted longer than necessary. Before the two arguers had a chance to continue onto a new topic, Overlord Zee-Bee resumed his place on his pedestal with hands raised.
“We have arrived at our next lot,” he said.
From their outer-orbit vantage, the planet under scrutiny reflected various shades of green. Spanlet straightened in his seat, reading all pertinent information on the screen. While it boasted several thousand species of vegetation, most of them were no more than various grasses. On top of it, no indigenous fauna had ever existed there. His tea forgotten, he slouched back down.
“This planet is rather hilly, with a minimum of water,” Overlord Zee-Bee said. “It would be excellent for—”
“We will take it!” A booming voice filled the room.
Before Overlord Zee-Bee could finish, a round being rolled forward. Eight feet stuck out like spokes from a membranous disk, one side serving as an ear, the opposite as a mouth. It rolled forward with perfect balance, speaking in ship-shuddering tones.
“We need an outlet for our athletes to practice. Hills will work perfectly.”
The scaly peace-lover next to Spanlet leaned closer to him.
“His homeworld is completely flat.”
Spanlet grunted with a nod. The wheeled being left the room to pony up for his new acquisition and return to his ship. Spanlet needed to do the same, and soon, and not just to right his peoples’ wrongs. No one had told him, but on an Overlord vessel, the first drink ordered is the only one offered for the rest of the trip.
Other planets and solar systems came and went, with buyers for each of them, sometimes erupting into cutthroat bidding wars. Young, developing worlds went for the highest sums, while those deemed fit for target practice and military scenarios often contained multiple cultures and varying degrees of technological advancement. Hours went by, and the room emptied, one by one.
Spanlet and four others remained. Overlord Zee-Bee stood atop his podium as the ship reentered normal space.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have one world left on our tour today. If you’ll direct your attention to the viewscreen, behold a partially-vegetated world with plenty of oceans and even a few deserts as well. This is the planet known as Ghanyth.”
As with every planet before, Spanlet read the information as it poured down the screen. Ghanyth had potential for his people, but the vegetation was too sparse. Also, the day/night cycle went by much quicker than his species was used to, and would take too long for them to adjust. The data on fauna looked promising, but not enough to give the Brynians a new home.
The sewage-reeking gelatinous blob bought the planet. Spanlet, defeated and a failure to his people, grumbled.
Overlord Zee-Bee looked around the room. “We can return you to your homeworlds if you do not have your own transportation, or you can feel free to leave now. Otherwise, thank you for coming, and sorry about your luck for not finding anything.”
Spanlet grasped for words as Overlord Zee-Bee turned to leave the room. His world was dying, and he couldn’t let this happen. He needed to say something, anything. He stood up and cleared his throat.
“Excuse me, but is this all? Isn’t there anything else that you Overlords own?”
Overlord Zee-Bee stopped in his tracks and laughed. “Oh, my friend, we own all of it. The Milky Way is ours, as well as one-fifth of Andromeda.”
“Then can’t you show us anything else?”
“This is it. Everything else is either advanced to the point of worlds like yours, or close to it.”
Spanlet sighed. “Nothing? Not even anything close to extinction? Maybe something we can just…nudge a little closer to it?”
Overlord Zee-Bee glared at Spanlet. Despite the featureless silicon suit, Spanlet stood under the gaze of the dirtiest look in the galaxy for close to one full minute. Finally, the Overlord spoke.
“Fine. There is one more planet I can show. They are just a few short years away from achieving maximum technological capabilities. But, we have reason to believe that they will wipe themselves out once they reach it, if not sooner.” Overlord Zee-Bee turned to leave the room, but stopped at the door and regarded Spanlet again. “Oh, I should add, the price just doubled.”
The rising bile in Spanlet’s throat disappeared. He smiled as much as his Brynian maw would allow. His return would be met by applause and endless adoration.
“Spanlet saved us!” they would say. “Make him lord and ruler of all Brynians! All hail Spanlet!”
The lurch of the ship shook him from his reverie as the Overlord A reentered inter-dimensional space at just over one-hundred times the speed of light. If this final planet, the final hope for salvation for the Brynians proved appropriate, all that tea would be worth it.
“Make yourselves comfortable, gentlemen and ladies,” Overlord Zee-Bee said. “This will be a long trip to the opposite side of the galaxy. Next stop, Earth.”
While not working his day job as an interdimensional traveler/adventurer, Myke Edwards can often be found writing about weird people doing even weirder things. Needless to say, he is often found writing, buried deep within his home dimension that looks a lot like Toledo, Ohio. Previous works have appeared in such publications as Crimson Streets, 9Tales From Elsewhere, Bards & Sages Quarterly, Spinetinglers, and many other fine journals. Stay tuned for more stories, some of which might even be true…
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Tasked with finding a new home for his people, Spanlet must withstand much more than he bargained for. Will he arrive home victorious, or let his people die?