The crew of Lethac the living ship has left the Earth. Despite the fear I’d created in them of Earthlings with my brutal use of technology, they stayed long enough to stock up on a shitload of food. I paid. I didn’t know much about their crimes or what sort of people they are, but I’m giving them a chance. It’s likely my trust won’t be rewarded, but that’s the trust of being scary.
They got their second chance. And I got to walk into the United Nations with a present for the whole world. Maybe not the few remaining alien diplomatic parts who hadn’t been shrunk, but the humans, at least. And just to make a point, I was flanked by a guard of Exemplar soldiers with Medusa and Venus in power armor. In my hands, I held the orb. That sounded ominous. I held the crystal ball with a tiny fleet of ships holding steady in it.
“I demand you us our people back, barbarian!” one of the quill Grau said. He or it or whatever was taller, thinner, and dressed in a dark jumpsuit. I think the cape was for intimidation factor.
“That’s not really my decision,” I pointed out. “What, exactly brought your people here anyway?” I held up the crystal ball. “What was so important for your people about this speck of dust, suspended in a sunbeam, that we call home?”
“That is for your betters to discuss,” the caped alien said. I didn’t need to guess at his fury. I think the idea of a primitive holding his people’s welfare over him and being in a position to demand answers got to him.
I was, of course, quite angry at the whole thing.
“I think you’d better answer the woman,” said a blue and orange-skinned figure in a nice suit. Hey, Titan’s here. Not as a delegate, of course,
“Were we addressing the wrong people? I spoke with the political leaders of Earth when you are all the slaves of those aberrations who threaten your lives every day because of the powers they stole from the universe?” That outburst from this guy also brought murmurs among the UN delegates, many of whom had direct lines to their leaders in a situation like this. This alien knew a thing or two about playing us, or maybe people just weren’t that different across the universe. The fact that this guy’s such a supreme asshole seems to prove it.
That’s when a Black delegate stood up. “You have come here full of yourself and your demands in the manner of someone who holds himself our superior based on your own perception of privilege as more advanced than us. Even your selection of who to speak with betrays your belief not in the equality of peoples but in the superiority of some to decide the fate of others. This body was created to give all of us a say in the affairs of our world. Humanity, in its entirety, deserves to know why you have come to us.”
“Fine! Fine,” he declared. Ooh, arrogance and anger were easy to detect in these Grau, too. “Just give me a few seconds.” He, because I keep slipping into it mentally, turned his back and gestured to one of his underlings who had feathers around its head and carried a small black case. That one brought it over and opened it. Several nearby people strained to see it, most of them looking back and forth at each other and talking as they tried to figure it out. Some reached for guns when the assistant pulled out a device like a gun that glowed on the end, but then it hooked the device up to something. There was a gurgling sound, and then a bunch of smoke rose into the air. The Grau in charge turned back to face me, giving me the barest glimpse of some sort of glass tube back there.
The Grau delegate opened his mouth… and started coughing. He stopped after a moment and shook his head, then began speaking, the French accent fading away. “Alright, the truth is, y’all got to stop all the crazy shit up in here! You got gods doing crazy shit, changing timelines. Time travel on top of that, and we don’t even know what to keep track of out there. You done raided other planets, and sometimes we catch y’all hiding in ships or space stations like pests. People are out here afraid they’re going to have a human infestation. How many holes in the universe do you have on this one planet alone? You know how many we have in the entire Consortium? None, because we span twenty solar systems and we got there by not fucking with the fabric of the universe. You broke the universe. You have permanent holes, and that didn’t teach y’all anything?! There are people who throw black holes around and one of y’all ate a star. Who eats a damn star?”
…Ok, I expected this whole thing to play out differently. I got a lot of stares from a lot of people, too. I might have had something to do with some of those situations. But in fairness, there might have been other people doing stuff like that.
“Setting aside that you broke existence… you broke it, that’s just how it is now. None of us know how to fix it so get used to it. But there are worse things out there than Trobogorians. We know you encountered one of them already, but the more times you break reality, the more you let in powerful monsters that wanna fuck shit up even further. We’re here because you are like children, and we’re not really your parents, but you’re screaming and breaking things and that’s bad. And now imagine if you keep it up and your planet gets invaded by unstoppable monsters you can’t contain or kill, beings from outside all context of existence with their own warped morality. That’s happened before.”
Well that’s just passive aggressive there. Or maybe not so passive.
The Grau calmed down some. “Look, I know I came here throwing stuff around, but that’s just who we are. We don’t know who you are, except you’re messing everything up, being assholes, and one of y’all tried to blow some of us up. Now, ma’am, I thank you for saving those people, but we all know you’re going to use their lives as a bargaining chip. I can’t think that’s nice. I just can’t.”
“You’re right,” I said, holding up the crystal ball. I handed the crystal ball to Medusa. “Here you go. I’m no longer holding this bargaining chip. Let me know when you want them restored to their proper size.”
I turned and portaled out, leaving the person they wanted for attempted assassination in charge of the orb. She knew I was going to do this ahead of time, and I was ready to intervene if necessary. Until then, I was seeing to the size-shifter gizmo. Oh yeah, I had that thing ready to go and everything. I built a command console in the base, connected the cooling hose, and had the power hooked up. Venus called to join me so I portaled her in as well. “What’s on the menu?” she asked. She looked around. We were on an asteroid with a thick, clear crystal wall that gave us a view of outer space.
I pointed to a very small copy of myself nearby. “Figured I’d restore the fun-size version of me.”
“Cool. I like the proportions,” my wife said. Unlike the body at the UN, I was here outside of my armor. It was really thick crystal in the asteroid. She walked up behind me and wrapped her arms around me. Mmm, she felt so strong in her power armor. And, of course, she touched my belly. I didn’t mind it so much this time. “I don’t mind your other proportions.”
I fired up the size-changer. The lights lit up in a sequence for some reason. “So the weird thing about this is it isn’t computerized. No connection. Mechanical and chemical, though.”
Since Isabella hadn’t seen it hooked up, she didn’t notice the unusual whine. And this was just it being on like back at the ship.
“Oh, does this go to anything?” Venus asked, picking up this weird crystal I’d left laying around. It was the one that had been given to me by Torian as a favor to be repaid later. Lots of those debts accumulating lately. Venus grabbed the crystal and slotted it in near the base. The device went back to normal and instead, I got that other body restored. No giant explosion that would have grievously wounded someone or something. Torian never actually told me what the crystal was for, so I left it all over the place in case I needed it, and I guess this was the time. I imagined explosions occurring if it hadn’t been there, but I don’t know for certain.
“Hey, babe, the aliens want their fleet back,” Medusa radioed in.
“I’m ready,” I responded.
“Wait… ok, first they’re looking to see if there’s a hole or opening in this orb they’re in. Orb sounds too ominous, doesn’t it?”
“I think so, yeah,” I told her.
“Do you know anyone who builds ships in bottles?” she asked.
“Why would that matter? They’re spaceships, they can just fly out if there’s a hole.”
“Yeah, and they’re pretty sure there’s no hole. They said they’re just going to put it where it needs to go and then break it.”
“I’ll handle that, don’t worry,” I told her.
I portaled the orb away from her and into my hand. “Everyone in there, I’m about to start resizing you, so when you notice you’re growing, you all need to pick a different direction and fly that way so you don’t crash into each other, ok?” Then I portaled a little typewriter hammer in, because some guy once invented hammers for people to type with, and I broke it. All the little ships tried to flee instead, but I dumped them off past the moon. There, I embiggened them!
They followed my advice. They all picked directions and flew.
There were some crashes. 99% of the fleet made it out just fine. Meanwhile, Venus was on comms with me, “If you want to come back, this guy’s really pretty chill once he smokes whatever he smoke. He let some of the rest of us try it. One of their aides agreed to drop everything against Maia and I, and we were all invited to a celebration tonight if you want to go. Maybe you shouldn’t be partying, though.”
I turned to Maia and told her the good news and the party news. Then I turned to the more buff, taller body. And it said, “Oh fuck yeah, let’s do it again!”
One party worthy of an Electric Callboy song later, I can report that it’s the quilled Grau are males and feathered Grau are females. I tested both at the same time just to be sure, one of whom was the fangirl who knew me from the space opera.