MOONJACK! Act Two

Act Two

You don’t think the cloak is a bit much?” queried Ferret, wishing they’d had the foresight to install a mirror in the launch bay.

Knucks came around in front of him. “Will you stop blathering on about how you look? I swear, one question about how big your butt looks and I will deck you.”

You need me. For the plan. And a bruise will spoil my carefully prepared alien visage.”

I’ll give you a nice black eye under that patch of yours. Now, shut your moaning. You’ll do fine.”

He sauntered over to the escape capsule and reached up inside his jacket sleeve. He started wriggling about a bit, the way a woman did when trying to that trick of taking off her bra without removing her outer clothing. Ferret glanced away: he never liked to watch that bit. Instead, he focused on adjusting his cloak once more for good luck.

The comms chose that moment to ping. A voice like a troll gargling pebbles came through on speaker. “We’re in position now.”

Knucks tutted and rolled eyes at the ceiling. “We’re in position now, what?”

Sir.” The voice’s owner accompanied his respect with a resentful growl.

Maintain position until we’re ready to launch.”

Aye. Sir.”

The channel blipped off.

Ferret shook his head and whispered, “I don’t know why we had to work with those guys.”

What’re you whispering for? They can’t hear you and anyway don’t be such a pansy.” Knucks gave him a look of withering disapproval. Ferret shrugged an apology. He couldn’t help being nervous around them. They were stupid, but they were much bigger than him. The same might be said of trucks and Ferret would just as equally give them a wide berth if he saw one coming at him. “I’m not especially happy working with them either. But they were cheap, they look the part and we don’t need them for the brains part of this operation.”

If you say so.”

Luckily, I do. Now, shut your moaning and go get em, Ferret. These people won’t know what hit em.”

Ferret finally left his cloak alone. “All right. I’m set. Is everything in place?”

Not quite.” There was a pop, an electronic hum and a hiss, all coinciding fairly closely. Ferret looked over to see the cockpit open and Knucks reaching inside with his right arm, tucking a device down inside the capsule like he was putting a baby to bed. He turned his head to favour Ferret with an evil wink. “Don’t forget to take this with you. I wouldn’t want you going unarmed.”

***

Ferret stood at the head of the table. Or what he liked to consider the head of the table, since they’d been awkward and made it circular. He felt like he was addressing a room full of kids, the way the Moonbase officers looked lost in their oversized chairs and were all desperately trying to sit up further and further in order to see over the table. Ferret decided to take a seat himself in case that helped mitigate the impression any. It didn’t.

“Well now,” he said, adopting the patronising tone he reserved for all children and people who were smaller than him. “The good news is that we, the Guardians of Earth, have been doing more than just look after the place for you. We’ve managed to clean it up a bit too.”

“Clean it up from what?” Commander Braun leaned forward, propped up on his elbows in a manner that suggested his bottom wasn’t touching his chair.

“That’s where the bad news comes in. There’s no delicate way to put this, but basically some time after the Moon was ripped out of orbit, the Earth suffered a massive global catastrophe.”

Henna Rousseau lowered her head, nearly disappearing altogether below the table’s edge. She looked up again. “Tidal effects, of course. Without the Moon’s influence, the seas – ”

“Oh no no, nothing like that. Ha. We wish. No. Nuclear holocaust.”

“What?! Oh my god!” Shocked glances quickly passed around the room with the speed of a ticking package in a game of pass the parcel.

“Sorry,” said Ferret. “I said there was no delicate way to put it. Don’t shoot the messenger, okay?” He raised his hands and smiled. “Anyway, long story short, the entire world population was wiped out. Except for the ones who were horribly mutated. Most of whom wandered into the radioactive wilderness in search of animals to breed with and repopulate the Earth.”

“Ugh! That’s revolting!” said Henna, her features attempting to curl in disgust but never quite finding the flexibility.

“Oh it’s okay, they never got very far. A lot of the wilder animals had mutated into monsters and were entirely disagreeable to any, er, romantic overtures made by the human mutants.”

“So what happened to these people?” said the Italian-looking one in the green blazer. Verdigrease, as Ferret had come to think of him since the Commander had made the introductions.

“They got eaten. And the animals soon got a taste for cooked meals so they started going after the humans who hadn’t propositioned them. And that was pretty much it for the humans.”

Horrified looks were fixed on every face. Henna was doing a brilliant impersonation of Munch’s The Scream. “So the Earth is populated by monsters?” asked Braun.

“No, no. Like I said, we’ve cleaned the place up. Global decontamination and we rounded up all the monsters and put them in a sort of interstellar ark and launched them off into space. It seemed the most humane solution.”

“Wait a minute, cobber,” put in Cardinal. “So where the hell did your lot come into this?”

“Ah well, you see, as well as those who were horribly mutated, there were those of us who were beautifully mutated.” He spread his palms, allowing them to get a good look at himself.

“Do I look like a Matilda to you?”

“No.”

“Then don’t bloody waltz with me.” Apparently the man suffered with some sort of nationality-related insecurities that meant he had to reassert his Australianness at every available opportunity. Whatever his affliction, he wasn’t happy. “That’s a crock of koala dung and you know it. Strewth, that kind of mutation happens over thousands of years. And you’re saying humans evolve swan-heads on top of their heads? I’m not buying that for a minute.”

“I’m not human. I’m a meta-human. We’ve evolved into an entirely different species.”

“Well, you weren’t wrong when you said there was bad news. It’s horrific to think what the Earth has been through while we’ve been roaming through space.”

“I know. And that’s not the half of it.” Ferret leaned forward, pursing his lips as he prepared to drop the biggest bombshell. “You see, the awkward thing is, the monsters have come back. Naturally, our people would love to see you installed back on Earth where you rightfully belong. But I’m afraid there’s going to be some stiff competition.”

“What? From the monsters? But – ”

“Who do you imagine owns that battlecruiser out there…?” said Ferret and he let the full import sink in. They all looked ready to slide out of sight under the table.

The comm buzzed. “Commander!”

“Maroon, what is it?”

“There’s something you should see.”

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1 Comment

  1. […] Two: 5) Here. Alien visitor Zanac also brings something else with […]


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