|20.20|21|22|22.2|22.22|22.222|23|24|25|Those Extra Four…|1|2|3|4|Back Cover|
The Final Chapter
“This may be the final chapter of my career. One must cap the saga sometime, pass the reigns. Are you sure you’re not trying to receive them, Captain? I’ve never before witnessed someone climb through the ranks as fast as you have.”
“I’m decidedly sure, Admiral. I greatly appreciate everything you’ve done for me; reviving me, training me, reviving me again… through the handful of solar cycles I’ve known you, you’ve saved my life in more ways than I know, and on more than one occasion. But soldiering isn’t my thing; I will gladly help you wrap up this mission, but after that, I have some loose ends to tie up. They don’t really involve the
After a moment’s pause, Captain Wolf adds, “Well, they might, one should never say never. I am a hybrid, after all. I just don’t see y’all returning to Earth any time soon, and I sure as shit don’t see myself leaving.”
“Very well… okay, Grunts! Captain Rex! Time to lock and load!
The Grunts all sound off, priming their weapons in unison. The camp is packed up, the teleporters are readied, and since he never heard back from the Council of Life, Admiral Derrick Bolt is ready to embark on his final mission.
It is time to find the anomaly.
Admiral Bolt’s exploration team has quite the journey ahead of them – there are no less than four large, mountainous… mountains between the sight of their camp at the far end of the Wanapo and the anomaly near the dam. It will be a long trek, and a fairly monotonous one at that. Admiral Bolt lets Captain Wolf take point for the hell of it, since it’s his planet and whatnot.
Zerocian Pre-Invasion Reconnaissance Force gets about five minutes into their hike, which is right around the time the bagpipes start playing at the memorial service that Treering’s finest resident Plug Houkkachuki set up to memorialize Jack Monta, which is hours before the New Manhattan memorial service Sean Hymarc set up for the handful of consumers that were lost on Tuesday and Friday, before Captain Wolf is distracted by a deer that seems to be having a seizure on the trail.
Captain Wolf and Admiral Bolt both rush to the deer’s side for very different reasons. Wolf attempts to grab the deer’s tongue and prevent the poor creature from swallowing it, and he’s prepared to grip that deer tongue for hours, days if necessary.
Fortunately for him, it won’t be necessary.
Admiral Bolt, having seen these symptoms in a lower lifeform before, pulls out a scanner and waves it over the deer’s brain.
“Yep, just as I thought. This deer is experiencing symptoms of neurotoxic shock.”
“What?!” Captain Wolf shouts, his tone of voice expressing the fact that that’s the most ridiculous shit he’s ever heard. “What could this deer have possibly eate– oh what in the fuck, it’s back up!”
The deer is indeed back up, and it doesn’t even run away. It just stares Captain Wolf in the eyes for a few moments until the man relinquishes his hold on its tongue. The deer then sniffs him, then it proceeds to sniff and be petted by all of the
Zerocian Grunts; even Captain Rex gives the lil’ tyke a scratch behind its ears.
Captain Wolf, dumbstruck as a truck driver tucking a nut bar into his tuccus, looks to Admiral Bolt for an answer.
Zoral Tryptamine, I’m afraid. A very potent hallucinogenic compound that was once produced by various now extinct species of vegetation that grew from the soil of planet Fuego, the homeworld of the Zeroc. The majority of my species, in fact, the majority of the Grunts in this squad, even, believe that, once the drug is ingested, it allows the ingester to ascend to a higher level of consciousness and interact with Existence in a very different way than normal, sober consciousness does.”
“What…?” Captain Wolf says, looking at the nodding
Zeroc. Then, to Admiral Bolt, “What do you mean they believe it does that? That seems like a pretty cut and dry argument, like, either the shit works or it doesn’t.”
“Well, I’ve only ever experienced the effects of the sauce once, not even directly, and it led me to do something that fundamentally changed who I am as a being. I never looked back, no matter how hard the teams I’ve trained since then have prodded me. There are rumors the
Zerocian brain produces the compound endogenously at moments of extreme stress, such as birth and death, and possibly when one dreams, and allegedly on command if one trains for it, but said claims haven’t been verified. It’s tough to peer into the brain of a living being, after all.”
Captain Wolf is totally lost right now. “I… okay, whatever, I’m not even going to try to probe any further into that. Riddle me this though, mo’fuckah: you said the die-fuh
zoral-whatever-you-called-it was made in now extinct plants native to your home planet, which is lightyears away. So how did it get here and into the system of this deer?”
“That… is a fantabulous question, Captain Wolf. This is why I promoted you to Captain. You know, if you return to Fuego with us you could attain ChairSeat statues in early as four hundred twenty solar cycles, I’m sure of it.”
“Hard pass on that… hey, what’s the deer doing?”
The deer seems to be hopping up and down like bunny.
“I think it’s trying to get our attention,” Captain Rex says with a hand on his gun. “Should I put it down?”
“No,” shouts Admiral Bolt, disappointing his most bloodthirsty subordinate. “Let’s follow it.”
The deer, named Spike of the WhiteTail Tribe by the way, makes that weird mleerp sound some deer occasionally make and takes off, prancing down a game trail that none of the highly aware
Zeroc soldiers had noticed until right now. They follow the deer down into the valley behind the tallest mountain in the Windbeam range where they find a magnificent grove of sprawling Mokka Trees, many of which bare the pinkish-white rind of the Mokka Fruit, the extremely psychoactive and Df ZT-heavy holy fruit of the Quatchfut… well, it was the holy fruit of the Quatchfut, before their entire species was decimated by an angry old white-skinned human, that is.
How else did you think Tiny Tim was able to do all that mystical shit? I referenced “the Grove” on three separate occasions, like, fuck.
Admiral Bolt, his normally trembly voice trembling even more as he speaks into his communicator, says the following string of words to Chairseat Jolon of the
Zeroc Council of Life:
“Sir, I believe we’ve located the anomaly.”
A Stoned Ape
And thus the aliens, with their long sought after sustainable source of naturally occurring Psychedelic drugs secured, wrap up the first (and likely last) official extraterrestrial invasion of human-infested Earth, not with the thunderous clap of a planet-wide vaporization ray, nor with the whistle of an atomic bomb being dropped on a major city, but with the wispy trail of smoke drifting from the spent wick sprouting from the molten waxy remains of an herbal candle, the flame extinguished by the grayish breath originating from within the polluted lungs of a stoned ape, pipe in hand sitting lotus in the back of its cave that it built out of wood, hoping the divine voice in its head that it’s listened to up until this point has led it somewhere good, because this cave took a lot of effort, a lot of sacrifice, and, most importantly, a whole lot of time to build, time that would have otherwise been spent doing nothing at all.