Sunday, April 6, 2014

invasion 1977, conclusion

by fred flynn

illustrated by danny delacroix and eddie el greco

originally appeared in the may-june 1947 through sept-oct 1947 issues of the magazine of excitement and illumination

part three of three

for previous episode, click here

to begin at the beginning, click here

lieutenant bud bradley felt a slight flutter of apprehension as he took a seat on the long bench in the corridor outside the conference room. colonel moresby had jetted back to defense corps headquarters to report back directly to general hawes, and sent bud on ahead to spaceport 1, in case president harrison and professor wetherall wanted an immediate update on their trip to lake tanganyika to check out the alien spacecraft.

bud expected the colonel to arrive on time to brief the president. in fact, the colonel had suggested that bud bring a book or magazine with him, as he might be cooling his heels for a while.

but bud ignored this advice as he had plenty of think about as he sat there. what a day it had been!

an invasion! at last! no sooner had the blue light flashed on his 2-way wrist radio as he had stood talking with florinda farquharson at spaceport 3-a than he and colonel morseby had been on their way to africa.

colonel moresby had not even finished his drink at the spaceport bar. on the jet he joked to bud that it had been the first drink he hadn't finished in fifteen years. bud had smiled politely at this, but florinda had laughed out loud.

florinda! for she had tagged along. when she had insisted on going along, bud had tried to tell her politely to get lost, but the colonel had laughed and said it was easier to just let her come along, so she had.

bud still didn't know what to make of the alien invasion site.

he had expected a scene of confusion - loudspeakers blaring, searchlights searching, planes buzzing overhead, troops and tanks massing for battle in all their glory.

instead they had touched down at a small airstrip in the middle of nowhere without another spacecraft or plane in evidence.

a local policeman had driven bud, the colonel and florinda in a battered jeep out to a desolate waterhole on a flat plain with only a few large trees on the horizon.

the sun had been going down.

two more policemen had been standing beside a small bush at the edge of the waterhole, along with a small man with a goatee and a pot belly who had introduced himself as professor albert, and described himself as "taking a life-long interest in termites".

later bud would learn that professor albert was in fact the world's greatest authority on termites.

"careful, young fellow," were professor albert's first words to bud as he got out of the jeep, "or you'll trip over the intergalactic invasion force."

bud looked down at his feet, and there, almost under the bush, was a dark but slightly shiny object that looked like -what ? bud thought it looked like a toy bathtub battleship, except that the bottom of it was rounder.

"gosh, i almost stepped on it!" bud exclaimed.

professor albert laughed good-naturedly, and gestured at the object with a short-stemmed pipe. "not much chance of that. go ahead, try to step on it."

bud hesitated.

"go ahead," professor albert repeated with a smile.

bud aimed his foot, not too hard, at the object - the space ship, he guessed it was.

his foot stopped inches short as if it had hit a rock! he moved his foot around a little but he could not get it any closer!

"that's how it's been since the police and military got here," said the professor. he took a puff on his pipe. " the creatures from it had been outside, apparently communicating with the termites from that mound over there."

bud looked over but could not make anything out in the deepening gloom.

"once the police arrived, they went back into the ship," the professor continued. "of course, there may have been no connection. maybe they went back in because i was looking at them. or maybe they are getting something to eat or just taking a nap. we can't say for sure."

florinda had her notebook out. "and these creatures were termites?" she asked.

"well, miss, they had some resemblance to the termites, which is why i was called in. they were smaller, about three quarter size, maybe. it is pretty unlikely they are actually termites, of course." the professor took another puff of his pipe.

suddenly the sun went down, leaving them in complete darkness.

one of the policemen went over and turned on the headlights of the jeep.

"and could we have a lantern also, please?" the professor asked.

"sure, boss."

colonel moresby cleared his throat. "can i ask you a question?," he asked professor albert.

"of course."

"where can a man get a drink around here?"

now, at spaceport-1, bud looked down the shadowy corridor. with his eyes adjusted to the gloom, he realized someone was sitting at the far end of the long bench.

the figure turned and he and bud saw each other at the same time.

"bud bradley! "

"jack jackson!" jack had been a classmate and chum of bud's brother jud. he had opted to stay in the explorer corps and now had the rank of commander.

"it looks like you are all growed up, you scalawag! what are you doing here?"

"probably the same thing as you, jack." bud got up and started to move down the bench but as he did the president's robot suddenly appeared.

"which one of you two officers is the one who went to africa?" the robot asked.

"that would be me," bud told him.

"then the president will see you first."

bud hesitated. "jack here outranks me."

the robot stared bud down. "did you go to africa? not to kansas?"


"then the president wants to see you first."

with a glance at jack, bud followed the robot into the conference room.

president harrison, with a big smile and an extended hand, got up to greet bud.

as he did, bud heard a voice behind him.

"there you are, bud bradley! thought you had lost me, did you?" it was florinda, waving her notebook.

when they had got to central terminal from africa, florinda had gone to the coffee shop and had missed the flight to spaceport-1, although colonel moresby had told her she could catch it if she were on time. gosh, had she expected bud to try to hold the flight for her?

now she tried to follow bud into the conference room but the robot stuck his big arm in front of her. "i'm sorry, miss." he told her. " i don't know how you got this far, but you are definitely not authorized past this point."

"out of my way, you big hunk of flashing electrodes, this is the story of the century and i mean to get it!"

the president laughed. "let her in, ram. if she had enough sand to get this far, she deserves to get in. and give her a cup of coffee if she wants one."

"i would like one, thank you."

the president pulled out a chair for florinda. "would you like a cookie, miss? they are quite good. what did you say your name was?"


after some discussion, and over the strong objection of general bert murchison, it was decided by president harrison and professor wetherall to wait and see what the aliens did, and make no effort to get through their defensive field. they also agreed to create a program to investigate ways to smash through the defense, if it were ever determined to be necessary.


twenty-two years passed.

it was the year 1999. the human conquest of the universe was almost complete.

galaxy after galaxy fell under the peaceful sway of earth's empire.

president harrison retired when his term was up, and was succeeded by president sam t wilson, who was succeeded in turn by president dan farlowe and president john philip adams.

the arts and sciences flourished.

wedding bells rang for bud bradley and florinda farquharson. they had two children, a boy and a girl.

bud was eventually promoted to commanding general of the defense corps.

through it all the alien ships in kansas and africa, and a third, smaller one discovered on october revolution island, remained in place. the inhabitants never emerged, and were watched over by an increasingly bored defense corps.

on september 15, 1989, a fourth ship was discovered outside a village in bolivia. the inhabitants were never seen to emerge, and it remained a mystery how it had traveled through space and landed without being observed by the wide-ranging ships of the empire.

strangely, no other intelligent races were discovered in any of the newly explored and colonized galaxies.

nor was any world discovered which seemed to be the home planet of the invaders who had landed in africa and kansas.

the year 2000 approached, attended by prophecies and predictions of religions old and new. as freedom of religion was strictly guaranteed throughout the empire, these predictions were treated respectfully by the imperial government, but regarded lightly by professor weatherall and his colleagues in the scientific community.

professor weatherall retired. he declined any elaborate awards or ceremony, but was given a small farewell dinner attended by president adams and all living former presidents, and all members of the imperial general staff and the academy of science and exploration.

a week after professor weatherall's retirement, on march 13, 1999, the four alien spaceships which had been in place for so long simply disappeared.


general bud bradley and professor weatherall stood on the spot, where, twenty-two years earlier, bud had first seen the alien ship.

they were accompanied only by a driver, and by bud's fifteen year old daughter jennifer, who had taken a keen interest in the aliens, and was not to be denied the trip.

bud looked up at the cloudless sky. "i wonder if they will ever return," he muttered. "or if we will ever know what they wanted."

the professor just shrugged.

"i have a feeling," bud went on, "that we will never know."

"dad!" exclaimed jennifer. "what kind of attitude is that? do you think the human race is just a bunch of quitters? you should never say never! "

"no," said the professor, taking a puff of his ever-present pipe, "i am afraid you may be right, bud. there are some things - some things humans were just never meant to know."

and he looked up at the empty blue sky.

the end

No comments: