Skirmishes on Earth

    A sluggish form of thought, millions of years old and beyond the comprehension of any life form in the known cosmos, thrummed deep within the puckered geo-mass. The thought was simultaneously a simple craving, yet an infinitely complex understanding of all that was. The thought was both singular and myriad. Impossibly, the thought was of life at any price.

    Through countless milennia, the thought had sailed the shifting seas of space, sowing life at cataclysmic cost. Vibrating now in its seed in the frozen vacuum of Cargo Hold 8, the thought vaguely registered the scramble of simians.

It craved.

     *                                   *                                *


     "I bid you be ready, my Pantherian lovely. Our Zirkonian visitors are bearing down on us at long last," said Telimar matter-of-factly, looking directly at the sun through a veil of ice that he had snapped off a jumble of hillside rocks. "The speed of light isn't what it used to be."

    Behind him, Amut'a grinned widely and clicked a game and happy affirmative.

    "On the troubling side of the equation, I'd venture an estimate of a couple thousand," he continued. "While on the happier side, I surmise them to be moving at a slower than top speed. Weary, I'd venture."

    He chuckled at Amut'a's assertion that the odds seemed fairly even, and nodded absent-mindedly as she again went over their meagre battle plans. Despite his comical outfit and eccentric moustache, the Seen warrior well understood Gunnar's instructions that the sun and the snow would be their weapons, along with the hyper-reflectors Finalta had automuled them. Fire with fire, Gunnar had explained; same as giving a human too much oxygen.

    Telimar scrawled a terse update on Reptoc's leathery underbelly, tugged dramatically at a leather suspender and turned to face his fellow combatant. "Twelve minutes, I would estimate," he smiled. "We might want to assume positions presently."

    As Amut'a sprang up from her makeshift cushion of moss and took a step towards the cavern entrance, her smile suddenly curdled and her eyes flew painfully wide. She grasped at the sides of her head and staggered into Telimar's arms.

    "What is it, Amut'a?" he cried.

    From her voiceless throat came a single swallowed syllable.


 *                                   *                                  *                              *

    Not far from the shores of the Trondhjem Fjord, a phalanx of Amenorites lurched across the stony ground, following the image of Velindor Vll that shimmered and flickered before them like a watery mirage.

     "The Engelswyrde," it droned in liquid tones. "The Engelswyrde must be heard."

    Unable in his Pre years to fully control his telepathic powers, Tor's panicked thoughts flew from the family home's holi-tower where he stood watching the troops in neo-flex gowns approach. He tightened his mouth with personal chagrin at upsetting his mother, but set aside his embarassment to calmly message to his sister Sif that two dozen invaders were approaching from the west.

     While instructing her to cellar the youngest of their siblings and prep the traps, he watched the Amenorites' lead pair march forth and suddenly freeze in a cringing nano-second before disappearing into the first of the death-pits he'd dug deep into the rocky ground.

    Tor barked a triumphant laugh and holi-vated to ground level, drawing the curved Prothanian dagger that his father had never noticed missing. He weaved his way into the near stand of wind-whipped firs.

    Nor far away, the image of Velindor Vll grew stern before the dead-eyed troops that stumbled after it.

    "The Engelswyrde," it gurgled. "Infidels interfere. The son shall pay for the sins of the father."

    The image grew milky and then recrystallized as the black and  blazing face of Tor.

    "The Engelswyrde says take him," it commanded muddily.

The End

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