Literary Impulse
Published in

Literary Impulse

The Universal Tyrant

A big black mysterious structure in a silent planetary system

Art by Jim Overbeck (who authorized its use here).

“Who do you think built this? Extinct aliens?”, asked Rod while looking at that big, black, technological structure that looks like a thick spider web, but three times the size of the moon, and behind it a very green planet full of forests.

“I really don’t know…” replied Kat while monitoring the navigation.

Rod, “this structure’s pointy details may indicate it belongs to a religious tyrannical society. Or it’s a technology we don’t understand yet… But the chance to get killed here is still great.”

Kat, “oh, shut up.”

“It will all depend on what they take as proof of…” Rod is interrupted by an ominous sound emanating from the big structure. It makes both Kat and Rod very uncomfortable. “Goodwill!”

Kat, “we lost control of the ship! It’s saying here they have a message for us?! They want to know if we accept to chat!”

Rod, “yes! Just say yes!”

Everything went dark and the ominous sound disappeared.

Small pieces of light fell in front of them like tree leaves but gathering together and forming the image of a person.

“It looks like we are of the same race,” said the hologram. “But we have a few different characteristics: the size of our organs, the carbon type of our molecule structure… Oh! And I know everything there is to know about you guys. That’s why I can speak your language.”

Two other crew members stepped up, finding Kat, Rod, and the hologram. “What’s happening?” One of them asked.

Rod, “we are having a meeting with a holographic alien.”

“Oh! Okay.”

Kat, “our species is probably preparing for war since our ship seems to have disappeared for them. Are you okay with this?”

“I send them a message telling ‘we are chatting’, but I have no reason to be afraid of your people,” replied the hologram.

Rod, “so, what do you want from us?”

“Since I began to rule the future of my entire species alone, all I want is universal supremacy.”

Kat, “so you are a tyrant, and you are being honest about it?”

“Yes, I have entire armies inside planets from here to Andromeda and beyond. I have people of your own race working for me right now. And as I said, I have no reasons to hide anything from you.”

Rod, “so, you want to keep growing your supremacy in this sneak fashion of yours because we may not be a threat to you, but there may be other races that are.”

“Precisely. Almost all information about any species is being transmitted by light (like a movie projection) to other areas of the universe. When this superior, ethical, and religious race saw the history of my society (of how I became a tyrant) I began to be chased. I lost 30% of my universal fleet.”

“Quite reasonable, I think,” said Kat.

Continued Rod, “pardon my colleague… But if you are afraid of other people, aren’t you afraid we might give some sort of signal to them?”

The tyrant smiled and said, “No. I have everything under control.”

Rod, “So why you are here? Why you didn’t blow us up? “

“You are here because of a mistake. You decided to look and investigate a part of the universe you shouldn’t. That’s all.”

The tyrant and the big black structure vanished out of thin air.

A few hours later, Rod, Kat, and the others two members of the crew are in the living room having dinner.

Kat cuts everyone’s good mood with a heavy subject, “you guys think we should talk about it back on earth?”

Rod, “we recorded and transmitted everything. People back on Earth will decide what to do.”

Kat, “yes, but he said he has people working for him. What if it’s the entire army working for him?”

“There is nothing we can do about it, and we shouldn’t be speaking about it too… I’m one of them,” said a depressive engineer, Kurt.

Rod laughed. “You are kidding, right?”

Kurt shows a gun, “so how I was the only one allowed a weapon?”

Kat, “shit!”

“If anyone here tries to send any message back to Earth everyone gets killed.”

Rod, “why are you doing this?!”

“I have a family. I have a son and daughter, and I don’t want to die. So we are going to let the army do whatever they want without our interference.”

Kat, Rod, and Trent move quickly, disarm Kurt, and knock him out.

Kurt awakes tied, and now it’s Kat, Rod, and Trent telling him what to do.

Kat, “we have decided, and here is what’s going to happen. During the next 20 years of our travel back to Earth, you are going to be our prisoner. So Trent, Rod, and I are going to enter in molecular induced sleep and wake up in shifts of a month, or a night each, but you won’t.”

Kurt, “did you guys send any message?”

Rod, “everything is being recorded. We didn’t have to worry about this.”

Kurt seems relieved, “No, it’s not… Nothing is being recorded. The military was very serious about this.”

Kat, “shit, Rod… What we should do?”

Trent, “I don’t feel safe with him here.”

Rod, “don’t worry guys, let’s stick with the plan. He is our prisoner now.”

Rod, Kat, and Trent begin to work on shifts, and Kurt follows all orders like a perfect prisoner for months.

After many months of peace, when it was Trent’s turn to look at the prisoner, he tied up Kurt, so he could make physical exercises.

Kurt, “you want to know how I became one of them?”

Trent, “you shouldn’t have to bring a gun here.”

“They made me see what Spain did to pre-Columbus civilizations: Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas. They made me watch everything Europeans did to native Brazilians and Native Americans of the North.”

“So what? Why they did that?”

“After everything that happened on Earth during European colonization… If everyone in the universe saw that we don’t stand a chance against them. They probably hate us. And I think they are right.”

All of a sudden the depressive engineer takes the gun and kills himself. He wasn’t well-tied, and the gun was on a table while Trent was exercising.

Now all the crew can sleep until they get back to earth.

The crew wakes up while the ship was about to enter Earth’s atmosphere.

Kat, “should we worry?”

Trent looks depressive now. “I don’t know…”

They land on a military base.

They are all killed.

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A.P. Bird

M.A. in Philosophy. Fritz Lang's Metropolis, and a King Kong graphic novel got me into science fiction when I was a kid. alexand3r.bird@gmail.com