General Ford's lips trembled slightly as he stood at attention. “I've failed, sir,” he said. “I await execution. My life is in your hands, as my service has been by your grace.”
“Nonsense,” answered Washington. “The rebellion in the south cost over a million and a half lives, easing the population problem at least a little, while doing nothing to us except make us look good. And I've come up with the perfect plan for taking care of the Martians, the Earthians, and...” he chuckled, “those southern assholes. Notice how it's always the southerners who cause trouble? We're going to lose a lot of southerners, and it's going to look like it's the Martians' fault.”
“But sir,” said Ford, “may I ask how that's in any way possible, considering how much more technologically advanced they are?”
“No, Ford, you may not. There are Martian spies about, I'm sure of it, although I haven't been able to figure out how they're planting bugs. They've obviously actually been inside the palace itself.
“This is strictly on a need to know basis, and I don't want to put you in jeopardy. You're far too valuable.
“Dismissed, Ford.”
“Yes Sir” said Ford, saluting.
Zales and O'Brien were watching from millions of kilometers away. “What do you make of that, Sarge?” asked O'Brien.
“Dunno, but it's especially worrisome considering all the rockets they launched today. It's also worrying that they've started to suspect that we can see and hear them. It's good, though,” the Sargent said, “that they think we have spies actually on their planet and don't even suspect that we can see them on these screens, from all the satellites that we have orbiting Venus as well as the telescopes we have aimed at them from here and from the various Earthian La Grange points.
“Of course they can shoot a few satellites down once in a while, but our tech just moves too fast for them to do much damage to the umbrella. They're still using chemical rockets, for Galaxy's sake!
“It's a good thing they have such small imaginations, or they'd realize that the way we hear them is by having computers read their lips, and we can see right through their walls!”
“How far have the rockets gone? Are we going to shoot them down?” O'Brien asked.
“Lieutenant Maris says no, damn it. He says they may not be heading for Mars. In fact, he says they may be heading away from Mars, using the sun as a gravitational slingshot. That's what Maris says, anyway. Me, I think they're all just stupid and did the math wrong and they'll wind up smashing into the sun. I want to see that!
“The Lieutenant has sent a message to the Titanians, who will probably ignore it like they always ignore us. Maris says he can't figure out why they'd be sending rockets to Saturn unless they're planning on attacking the Titanians, but that would be senseless. Venusians can't live on Titan!”
“Hey, check this out, Sarge,” O'Brien said, “Ford seems to be just aimlessly walking down the street.”
“OK, Johnson, you watch Ford. O'Brien, keep track of Washington. The rest of the team needs to be watching, too. I don't like the looks of things.”
“Shit, those guys are just plain evil! Look at this!” Johnson said as Ford decapitated a bystander.
“I can't, I'm too busy watching Washington.”
Johnson watched Ford saunter down the street whistling, the ever present ugly, evil look on his face.
To a protohuman, a human Amish would look goofy, almost clown-like with their funny noses and ridiculously wide mouths. Martians would look even goofier, with their skinny legs and strange chests and large heads and comically weird faces. But one look at a Venusian would make your blood run cold. They looked evil. And they were.
As the second most powerful man on Venus walked along, passers by would salute and yell “Hark!”
Ford put a coker in a pipe and inhaled deeply, smiled an evil shit-eating grin, and laughed a chillingly evil laugh.
Cokers were processed from what was thought to be a native Venusian plant that had slight stimulant properties when chewed, but strong effects when processed and smoked. The plant was thought to be native to Venus, because it only existed on that planet. Of course, all life in the Milky Way started on Earth; life is an incredibly rare thing that appears in few galaxies.
Cokers combusted on inhalation. Ford burned another rock, and glowered. Cokers made Venusians more Venusian than Venusian. Ford loved his cokers.
And as Venus' second in command, he could have as much as he wanted of anything he wanted. Including coke rocks.
He burned yet another. His evil grin became even more evil looking as he stepped into the Dick and Pussy Saloon.
A group of teenagers was fist fighting in the corner, and Ford microwaved them, grinning as they burst into flames. The teenagers ran out of the door screaming “Hark! Hark!” at the top of their lungs before collapsing in the street, still on fire.
“Hark!” Yelled the bartender, snapping to attention. “Hark!” all the patrons echoed, also snapping to attention.
“At ease, boys, I just came for a little pleasure. Barkeep, give me a bloody Martian.” he laughed an evil laugh. “In fact, kill all those damned wimpy Martian nerds and I'll have a real drink made out of real Martian blood! My grandpa says that those chalkies are really tasty, especially their blood.”
The bartender laughed nervously. “Yes sir,” he gibber-ed.
“What the bullet are you laughing at, idiot? Are you laughing at ME?!”
“N-no, sir, of course not sir!”
Ford drew a weapon, pointed it, and the bartender's head exploded. “Well, you should have, moron, that was a joke! You,” he said, pointing at a patron. “You're the new bartender.”
“B-but sir,” he stuttered, “I don't know how to tend bar!”
His head exploded as well. “Anybody else in here that's not a bartender?” Ford said, sipping the drink the now-late bartender had concocted.
He looked around at the crowd. A group of wet-eared kids stupidly laughing, a couple in what was obviously the beginnings of a romantic interlude at a table, and... hey, he thought, she's damned good looking. Not to us, of course, but to a Venusian...
Ford sat down at their table. “Hey, beautiful, how about we get nekkid and fuck?”
The man's skin became as pale as aluminum and the woman's face blushed a copper color; a Venusian's metallic-looking skin's colors changed with his or her mood. “This man is my husband!” she objected.
Ford laughed an evil laugh. “Not any more,” he said as the man's head exploded and the woman screamed.
Ford holstered his pistol and said “You know, up close you don't look so good. Keep your clothes on, bitch.” As he walked through the exit, he said loudly “Drinks are on the dead bartender. I'm getting out of this boring fucking place, losers.”
As he exited the bar he ignored the children who were eating the corpses of the bunch he'd set on fire earlier.
A very attractive (to a Venusian, anyway) woman followed him. “General?” she said, “That bitch was stupid, I'd love to get naked and fuck!”
“Slut!” Ford exclaimed, as her bloody, headless corpse hit the sidewalk and laid there quietly with blood spewing out of its neck and urine running down its leg.
He didn't just want sex, he wanted foreplay – which included, of course, killing her already established man. If she had no man, why would the second most powerful Venusian on the planet want her?
“Hark, beautiful one!” a woman yelled. Ford turned. Not bad, he thought. Her man looked formidable, too. This might be fun.
“Get lost, loser,” Ford said as he drew his gun, which went off at the same time as his opponent's weapon discharged. Ford's unfortunate opponent's chest exploded and he fell to the ground, blood spraying everywhere from the gaping hole in his corpse, as his bullet ricocheted from Ford's carbon fiber suit.
“Ow!” Said Ford. “Your man shot me! That was hot!”
“Oh, Venus' penis!” she exclaimed. “Oh, your worship, what can I do?”
“You can die, bitch,” he said before her head exploded and her corpse hit the ground, blood spewing from its neck and its body flailing and twitching on the ground.
Sadly, all this was all perfectly normal behavior for a Venusian. Private Johnson was on Mars, and he and O'Brien had to watch this horror show.
“I need to look for a new job,” Johnson said to himself. “This sucks. I hate it!”
Such was the life of a Martian military man. He had to watch this disgusting horror, but at least he didn't have to be there. Galaxy, would this shift never end?



7 - Stratodoober Madness
9 - It's the end of the world

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