War doesn't need to be fought on the battlefield all the time...
Prompt: "War. War never changes"
War was inevitable. It could’ve been stopped, should’ve been stopped but no one bothered. Everyone turned their back to reality, pretending that nothing was wrong, that things would be alright if you just ignore it. But things don’t happen that way, not even five hundred years after the war that was to end all wars. So when the prime minister of Earth’s Republic, John J. Xavier, called for a press conference inviting reporters from across the galaxy, everyone knew. War is coming.
But why? People were happy with everything. No one complained when one of their families was either beamed up or taken away at the point of some weird looking guns. No one protested when the homeless disappeared and reappeared after some good span of time having less human organs and more mechanical ones, when they wormed into security facilities, killed armed guards and stole weapons. No one bothered to speak up when houses were set on fire with some invisible beams that had its sources somewhere beyond the ionosphere.
When you can’t fight it, accept it. There was no way Earth had the power to fight the aliens, whoever they were. History had the proof of it. During the last invasion, peace was bought at the cost of two hundred thousand lives. People feared that there would be no human left to reap the fruit of freedom. But the invasion was averted and Earth was saved.
But was it?
There was danger everywhere. People were abducted, houses burned, security breached and armed forces hunted and killed.
Earth was at covert war.
Xavier proposed moving out. Let’s spread out to other Earth colonies. Its always easier to protect small closed groups than overflowing huge population.
But no. No one was willing to leave behind their past, their roots and dear old Earth.
Everyone was happy. Or so it seemed.
As days went by, threat to the citizens heightened. Lives became vulnerable. John Xavier put his foot down and issued a fair warning against any non-earth entity that if they raise something as little as a finger against Earth, they would be annihilated.
Next day, his secretary was transformed to dust, on his way to office. Obviously, Xavier’s warning had fallen into deaf alien ears.
After that day, Xavier had remained quiet.
But now that John Xavier had called for a conference and the enemy would declare war, how would the common folks defend themselves? Did Earth have enough resources to resist the forces from space?
No. Everyone was certain that Earth would burn and suffer in the hands of the extra-terrestrials and die.
So even before the reporters from far away planets could arrive, people of Earth started to pack their bags, embark on their little pods and show up at the nearest Transit Port hoping to depart before the war started.
And then it happened.
The North Dunten Transit Port was cramped with about half a million of emigrants when it was struck by lightning. No, not the natural one but one made by some distant lifeform who had been hovering just beyond the range of Earth’s alien scanners. Within a fraction of a second, the once spilling transit port was transformed into a desolate station of bygone age. Except for some scrap of papers floating in the wind and the still functioning machineries, there was nothing left.
Citizens were awed, stunned and scared.
Xavier just raised a brow.
The same thing was repeated again twice at the South Transit Port and East Transit Port. The number of people this time was much higher.
While the citizens started to panic, Xavier drew himself away from all public sightings.
People said he had failed and had gone into hiding.
Five smaller ports were hit and more people vanished from the face of Earth. No one claimed responsibility. Everyone, every planet, colony was watching the other like hawk. The illegitimate organisations, the depraved companies, the aggressive invaders went on high alert. This unknown attacker could claim lives from anywhere, anyone.
The day of the conference neared and people heard less and less of the minister.
On the morning of 22nd September 2323 there were only ten million people left on Earth to witness Xavier’s speech.
Reporters and representatives from other worlds, colonies and civilizations started streaming in.
By noon the auditorium was cramped with visitors and invitees. The number of footfall was counted to five hundred thousand. At the strike of noon Prime Minister John J. Xavier walked in in assured strides and head held high. If he was worried about seventy percent of Earth’s population being vanished, he didn’t advertise it on his face.
As everyone settled, Xavier took his place on the floating podium that could take the speaker around the stage or even through the audience. He was a little older than forty, six feet tall and average built. His silver hair was always back brushed. People said he was a shrewd man who would do whatever it takes to achieve what he wanted. For some, it remained to be seen.
The Prime Minister stood there for a moment taking in the crowd and then cleared his throat.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he spoke into the microphone that took his booming voice across the auditorium. “Friends and guests. Thank you for answering to my call. I really appreciate it that you still have confidence in me.”
A little pause.
“I’ll cut the matter short,” he said. “I know you have been worried and wondering about the disappearance of the people.”
“Seventy percent of the population is gone,” someone said from the crowd. The spotlight swept across the auditorium and found the man in red jacket. “Vanished without trace.”
“Seventy two percent, to be precise, sir,” Xavier corrected. “And not, I repeat, not without trace. But that can also be arranged.”
Gasps and murmur followed the statement and the minister waited to regain his audience’s attention.
“Before I go into the detail I would like to call on stage my chief guest for the night.”
As he said and showed his arm towards the wing, a large man surrounded by eight heavily armed guards walked onto the stage.
This time the reaction from the audience was explosive. Compared to what and how, why was the major question.
The man was eight feet tall and was as wide as four men standing abreast. His arms were wider than the trunk of an full-grown tree. He was a conglomeration of toughened muscles over a robotic endoskeleton. His eyes were small and always glowed red under the heavy brows. The guards made him sit and stood behind him, their weapons trained at his head.
“Please welcome,” Xavier said. “Yanis, the living plague.”
The auditorium remained silent. Even the breathing of the five hundred thousand plus men and women was subdued. It would take them more than just minutes to accept the fact the very Invader who had tried to take over Earth not once but three times and had nearly succeeded in doing so was the chief guest of the evening.
“Thank you Yanis, for accepting my invitation and I apologise for the guards but there are certain protocols that I am obliged to follow.”
Yanis acknowledged the minister with a grumbling sound from his throat.
“Now,” Xavier turned to the audience. “I have some very exceptionally marvellous news to share. We know where the vanished seventy-two percent of our population is.”
He turned the podium to face the wall behind him which had come alive with a collage of several screens showing people gathered together. They were all smiling and waving and blowing kisses.
“As you see,” Xavier continued, “your fellow citizens are safe on other Earth colonies.”
First surprise and then eruptive cheering filled the auditorium. It took more than three minutes to clam the crowd.
“But those attacks…” a man began but stopped as Xavier raised his hand.
“Those were not attacks,” Xavier clarified. “Those were LDTs or Long Distance Teleportation. Our scientists had been working on it for years and have successfully transported these people to other Earth colonies.”
There were shouts of congratulations and well wishing from the crowd. One man raised his hand.
“Mr. Prime minister. I am very happy to find my fellow citizens safe even if its so far away. But I still fail to understand why is this…” he checked himself as Yanis narrowed his eyes and instead said, “this man here.”
Xavier smiled and turned to face the invader.
“He is under arrest,” he said calmly. There was no immediate reaction from either the audience or Yanis. Then Yanis burst out laughing. The vibration that it created in the air made the walls tremble.
Mr. Prime minister waited patiently for his chief guest to calm down. Yanis jumped up from his seat and took a step towards Xavier before he was stopped by three guards, the muzzles of their guns burying into his barrel chest.
“Don’t believe that these puny guns can save you,” Yanis grumbled like rolling thunder. “I’ll snap your head…”
“Show him,” Xavier said rudely interrupting him.
One of the guards stepped out and fired at the sofa Yanis was using a moment ago. A flash of light hit it and it disappeared. He pointed at a space on the opposite side of the stage and fired again. The sofa reappeared.
People gasped and then clapped.
Yanis yelled in anger and jumped for the guard when Xavier cried through the microphone. Yanis stopped midway, his fingers bent into claws.
“Yanis,” Xavier called again. “remember we can make things appear in void space. Imagine what it would feel like to reappear in space devoid of air.”
Yanis smiled and pressed a button on his wrist. Nothing happened.
Xavier shook his head in mock disappointment.
“Do you take me for a fool? Your ships and crew has already been taken care off.”
For some long silent moments Xavier and Yanis watched each other. Then Yanis made his last move. He leapt for the Prime minister when the guards fired together. All eight lasers merged together over Yanis making him glow before he vanished.
Now it was the matter of Xavier’s decision to where to make him reappear and he didn’t seem to be in a hurry to do so.
He turned his podium to face the crowd and floated high for all to see.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he said keeping his voice steady and serious. “This was but a simple demonstration of the power the LDTs has and that Earth possesses. Two setups of LDTs are already built on Earth and on each of other Earth colonies. We can function individually or as a whole. In either way we protect each other. So this be the final warning to all lifeforms out there that if you raise as little as a finger towards Earth, you’ll be annihilated, without warning.”
The silence could’ve been broken by a fallen feather. A hand rose.
Xavier saw it was alien.
“Yes,” Xavier said.
“This is insane. Others would develop similar weapons…”
“This is actually MAD or as my battle strategists put it, its mutual assured destruction. You and I have similar weapons and if one of us attack the other would launch a second strike with much bitter force. It was designed in 1940s but it’s quite effective in 2323. Peace gained by MAD might be tensed but stable.”
It was hard to say how public would take the matter but for the moment Earth was safe. It was still in one piece, going about happily around the sun and, most importantly, all of its citizens were safe. Xavier watched the auditorium empty and heaved a sigh of relief. Seven years of hard work and patience had finally paid off. The long standing war was finally averted.