The Zardonians have made several failed attempts to enslave humanity, it’s bound to happen sooner or later…
The three craft shot past Neptune.
The first one signalled the others.
‘Maintain stealth formation. We are now in sensor range. Target is the third planet.’
Zardonian fighters are known throughout the galaxy. Two to a ship, the crew do not carry weapons. They are weapons.
The ship signalled again.
‘Begin the attack …this time we will succeed’.
‘Plink’, went Matthew’s phone.
Another follower. It had been sixty eight minutes since he shared a post by the Society for the Prevention of Vaccination. ‘83,421 people are talking about this’ beamed the notification.
A voice distracted him from the screen.
‘Matt, Matt …those people from Kerplink are here’.
It was his wife, Ita, who was also his campaign manager.
The people she was talking about were the reason he was now favourite to win the by-election. It had started with an ad in the sidebar of his Kerplink account. ‘Want to boost your social media profile?’, the ad asked, ‘boost your engagement using Kerplink premium membership, click here for a callback’, it said. So he did. And someone called back instantly.
Matt jumped up to greet the men before him. They were young, athletic, and dressed in expensive clothes. They stood out.
‘Thanks for coming, it’s an honour to have ye here’, he gushed.
Ita rolled her eyes. The whole thing was their idea. Matt would lend his name to a Human Defence Association, and organize its first meeting.
‘Is Danny McCabe here?’, asked one of them, who had carefully placed a sports bag on the ground.
‘Yes, he was keen to speak tonight -he’ll be first up, are ye sure about him? I mean, I know ye know your stuff …but he’s a little, erm, unpredictable’, Matt replied.
‘Very sure, our algorithms don’t make mistakes’, they laughed.
‘Can’t argue with that, this has to be the biggest crowd at a political event since the war of independence’.
‘The what?, is that a new thing?’ asked one of the men.
‘Matt, it’s eight o clock, you better make a start’ interrupted Ita.
‘Oh, sure; sorry lads …sit wherever you like, I’ll chat to you after, and thanks again’.
Matt followed Ita to the top of the room. Through the biggest crowd the Loftis Hall in Ballymote had ever seen. She leaned in towards him as they walked.
‘Hope you’re happy. I know you wanted to make a difference, but this…’ her voice trailed off as she looked around.
Eleven different groups were represented in the crowd. Some carried flags. Others wore printed T-shirts. Others still had plastic Guy Fawkes masks on their faces.
All were invited through Kerplink social media -which was now streaming the event live.
Only five of the people in the hall were there to raise local issues. Veteran local campaigner Rosemary Higgins was one. She tugged at Matt as they walked past.
‘I need to talk to you about the seagulls. I can’t hang out a wash without it being ruined by droppings. And the council does nothing.’
‘Erm, thanks for coming Mrs.Higgins; there’ll be time for questions after the speakers are finished’.
‘How long will that take? I’ve just done the shopping and there’s a frozen chicken in the bag’.
‘Oh, uh, shouldn’t be long …if you just hold on for a few minutes I’ll raise the issue myself’
‘Thank you Matthew’, she replied.
The crowd hushed as Matt stepped behind a small podium facing the crowd. A large banner with the words Human Defence Association had been attached to the wall behind. Ita slid some notes into his hand and he spoke into a microphone.
‘I’d like to thank you all for coming, especially those who have had to travel’, he paused, ‘and I appreciate your support in this campaign. Together we will bring about change. I’ve invited three people to speak to you about this change. Tonight they will explain how we can defeat alien invaders, correct the law of gravitation, and prevent mass brainwashing from the latest generation of communication towers.’
The room was silent apart from the ‘plink, plink, plink’ of phone updates. Ita nervously covered the microphone and whispered into Matt’s ear. ‘You don’t have to do this, you know, god knows what Danny’s about to say …ya know he’s up in court next week for threatening that guy with a hammer, your name is going to be associated with it’.
Matt brushed her off and spoke again, ‘you are now going to hear from someone who can share some first hand experience of the threat from extraterrestrials, some of you who live locally will already know him, his name is Danny McCabe, and he has single handedly defeated several invasions’.
The three representatives from Kerplink corporation jumped to their feet and gave a loud applause. A large middle aged man dressed in jeans, boots and army jacket shuffled to the podium. Ita put her head in her hands.
‘Spacemen are absolutely useless at hand to hand combat’ he stated, before pausing to see the reaction from the crowd. Nobody spoke. ‘I was jumped by three spacemen at the five crossroads last Wednesday and busted one of them open with a spinning kick. I’m telling ye, it was like knocking over skittles …and I thought to myself, they’ll not be coming back. But they did’.
‘What do they look like?’, asked a reporter from the Ballymote Herald, he had arrived early and placed himself next to the podium, sensing a good story.
‘There’ll be time for questions afterwards’, interrupted Matt.
‘Baldy headed with red and black tracksuits …ya can always tell they are spacemen because they never look you in the eye’, answered Danny.
‘I saw a group like that on the way in’, said someone in the crowd, ‘I figured they were heading for the meeting’.
‘The fuppers, they just won’t learn -right, I’m off for the shotgun, this’ll be their last time’, snarled Danny, who then speed shuffled his way straight out of the hall.
Ita stared over at Matt, ‘how in the name of God did that fella get a gun licence?’ she mouthed. Matt just stood up and stepped over to the podium.
‘Erm, we’ll now have a speaker from the Flat Earth Society’.
Rosemary Higgins put up her hand.
‘Can’t I just ask that question about the seagulls, my chicken is starting to defrost?’
‘Shortly, Mrs.Higgins, we just have two more speakers’.
‘Soon, in a few minutes Mrs. Higgins’
‘You said that before’
‘Please, just be patient, you’ll get a chance to speak after’
‘What about the chicken …if it is spoiled I’m going to hold you responsible’
A sound, the sound of eighty year old wooden doors splintering on their hinges filled the hall.
Behind it cartwheeled two men in red and black tracksuits. Two more rolled in until they flanked the entrance door in pairs. They then adopted a martial arts stance. The flash of several dozen phones greeted two more tracksuited visitors.
‘Surrender, humans. Your Defence Association is useless against our fighters. This planet, and everything on it, will submit to the will of Zardonia.’
The crowd, at least those who had not started filming, were unsure of what to do next. Most began to cower and back away slowly from the intruders. Apart from Rosemary Higgins, and the three Kerplink executives, none of whom seemed surprised. One of the Kerplink men lifted his sports bag from the floor. All three started to laugh.
‘Watch out, there are Jupitarians here’, shouted one of the fighters flanking the door. The three Kerplink men turned and faced him.
‘Now it’s your turn to surrender Zardonian’ shouted one of the executives. He then removed a cylindrical device from the sports bag and pointed it towards the door.
‘Fall back, he’s got a blaster’, shouted one of the tracksuited fighters.
‘Don’t you move, it’s fully charged and ready to fire’, said the executive, ‘it’s taken us many solar cycles to lure you here, and we’re not about to let Zardonia’s elite fighting force just walk away’.
The three men moved to the middle of the hall. Everybody else was now hiding behind chairs. Except Rosemary Higgins, who was busy gathering her shopping.
‘I didn’t think it’d be this easy’, laughed the man holding the cylinder, ‘humans are stupid, so fooling them into organizing this little ruse was easy, but Zardonia’s finest should know better. Now both planets will bow to our superiority’. He gestured towards the men at the door, ‘stand down, or get a taste of Jupitarian weaponry’.
‘Excuse me’, said Rosemary Higgins sharply, as she brushed her way past the three men.
‘Do not move human’, snapped one of them. The cylinder began to emit a fluorescent green glow.
‘I will so move …I have shopping that is defrosting as we speak, and unless you’re going to pay for it you can get out of my way’.
‘Just do as he says Mrs.Higgins’, came a voice from the top of the room. It was Matt.
‘I will not, and you can forget about getting my vote’, she called back, ‘there’s not one person in this room fit to do something about the seagulls. I’m going home.’
‘Halt’, yelled the man with the cylinder. A bolt of green light shot from it and enveloped Rosemary. Her shopping fell and spilled across the floor. For several seconds she was covered in a haze of green. Then she gave a cough. And farted. The light began to dissipate.
‘Are you okay Mrs. Higgins?’ called Matt again.
She didn’t reply, but just bent over for her shopping. Her hand rounded on an onion. Which was quickly dispatched in the direction of the man with the cylinder. This was followed by another, and then another. She had surprisingly good aim for her age. One of the vegetables made contact with the cylinder itself, which fell to the floor and broke into pieces.
‘The blaster has been deactivated, resume the attack’, shouted one of the men at the door. All six tracksuited men advanced towards the three executives, who were too busy dodging vegetables to notice.
A sound, the exact sound of an eighteen hole boot making contact with an already weakened wooden door filled the room. The hinges had now had enough and the door crashed inwards. Behind it shuffled Danny McCabe, with a shotgun in his hands. He thrust the muzzle towards the men in tracksuits.
‘I have ye this time spacemen’, he yelled, and pulled the trigger. The shot missed. Instead it destroyed several of the ceiling tiles and showered the room in dust. Most of the crowd fled in the frenzy of shouting and scrambling that followed. The spacemen were first out the door.
Then the room fell silent. Matt stepped away from Ita, whom he had been sheltering during the invasion. The pair paused to take in the scene.
‘Well, ya wanted to raise your profile’ said Ita finally, looking around at the mess, ‘…be careful what you wish for’.
The microphone on the podium hissed. Behind it was someone wearing a white T-shirt with a picture of a black tower covered by a red X.
‘Good evening, ladies and gentleman’, they said, ‘I’d like to thank Matthew and the Human Defence association for this opportunity to talk to you about the dangers of 5G’.
Several abandoned phones ‘plinked’ from beneath the upturned chairs.