This is part four of the story. The beginning of the story is here: http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-dog-days-part-1 and Part Two is available here: http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-dog-days-part-2 Part 3 is avalable here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-dog-days-part-3 The story will conclude with part 5
In actual fact, back in Texas Gene’s preacher was talking about killing him at that exact moment, and he wasn’t entirely joking. Gene’s previous two preachers were beloved and good men, and both had been his close friends, as Gene was a very moral man. The first had moved on to a job in a bible college, the second – an immediately engaging Georgian fellow who left his first career as a Jazz saxophonist because he felt compelled to do the will of God – had died abruptly of liver cancer about three years before. His replacement – a far less charming Georgan named Bob Clarkson - in the church Gene frequented was a wife-swapping drug-addled con man, though most of the people in the church hadn’t caught on yet. Neither had Gene, for despite his long and distinguished career as an astronaut, he was blindly trusting of religious authority figures.
Clarkson was, at that moment, railing on to some of his freemason buddies about how they ought to use their secret freemason powers to blow up the alien ship, and put an end to this once and for all, and though he couched it in what he felt was a humorous rant at the lodge, he did actually believe that the Masons had all kinds of secret economic and military powers they could unleash if they needed to. Clarkson was one of those people who believed that the Free Masons ran the world, and though he was mostly joking about killing Gene, he was pretty serious about blowing up the alien ship. In this he was completely wrong: the freemasons did not run the world, and had no particular powers beyond a reduced rate for lap dances at the Cleremont Lounge when the lodge visited as a group. (Where, though not commonly known, Clarkson’s own mother had been a dancer forty years before)
In all fairness, however, lying evil manipulative son of a bitch though Clarkson was, he can’t be entirely held accountable for his xenocidal rage: in fact, the entire world was going batshit.
On Sunday, Gene had called Houston to make an announcement that had been contacted by aliens, and after some discussion they had all decided to abandon their mission on Mars and take up the alien’s kind offer of returning to earth on the alien’s starship. They expected to be there in a week. Gene had intended to retire after this mission anyway, and for the 59-year-old “Hero of Skylab,” everyone in the media agreed that this was the perfect final jewel in his crown, career-wise.
At 9:01 AM, the stock market crashed. Actually, all of them crashed, around the world, with investors selling off everything they could in a panic, not knowing what effect the aliens would have on the global economy, but naturally assuming the worst. In Rome, Pope John Paul II issued a bizarrely incoherent and clearly frightened rant about how the aliens were children of God, and that humans must treat them well. He was speaking ex cathedero, which meant that what he said was to be considered straight from God’s Mouth to Catholic’s Rule Book, and could not be taken back. In the speech, he named the aliens “Intercapedo Canis,” a name which only partially stuck.
Meanwhile, as is traditional in times of duress, stock brokers in New York were hurling themselves out of skyscraper windows. President Bush (the first) issued a statement about how he intended to issue a statement soon.
One of the alien translators – whom the press took to calling “Goldie” – said that on behalf of Great^6th Grandmother Alice, the aliens were looking forward a long and mutually beneficial series of cultural exchanges with earrrth.
By 5 PM, when the NYSE closed, open rioting ensued in the city, as it did in Hong Kong a few hours later. The president sent in the National Guard to contain the situation, which, as is also traditional when the National Guard is sent in, utterly failed, and thirty six brokers died. At least fifteen of them had been intending to kill themselves as soon as they found a tall building, however, so that mitigated the tragedy somewhat.
On the space ship, Beauchamp woke up for the first time, tried to escape, was effortlessly re-captured, and met with the others in Alice’s study. Shortly after that meeting, Goldie contacted the earth on behalf of Alice, to hold a kind of question-and-answer session at Beauchamp’s suggestion. It was an agonizingly slow process, given forty-five minutes of light-speed lag time between the asking of a question, Goldie translating it to Alice, Alice answering it, Goldie translating and repeating the answer, and then the signal traveling back to earth, and again, one can easily plot the times responses were given by looking at the times the stock markets surged and crashed.
During the interview, it came out that the Intercapedo Canis (Who were already being called “Tractus Canis” in the press) were essentially capitalists with a particular penchant for peace, femininity, veganism, and didn’t believe in any God or gods. Also, Blackie was introduced, who sang a little song in the Tractus Canis’ native language about Fruit for some reason that probably only made sense to the dogs themselves.
Before the interview was even over, of course, the global stock market was rallying with heavy sales in industries that were suspected to be ones the aliens would be interested in, including fruitpacking. At roughly the same time, the Pope II issued yet another bizarrely incoherent and clearly frightened rant about how the aliens were demons from hell, and that he was again speaking ex cathedero, in addition to shaking violently and randomly switching back and forth between three or four languages mid-sentence. This was the first time a pope had ever made two definitively mutually-exclusive statements on behalf of God – at least publicly - which led to an immediate schism between the Liberal and Conservative wings of the church.
It was this night when Bob Clarkson started talking about killing the aliens.
It should be mentioned that at least half the world didn’t believe the dogs when they said they were peace-loving extraterrestrial vegetarians who only came to our solar system for scented bath oils and Cocteau Twins CDs. Many people and governments felt this was simply a lie to distract humanity until it was too late. In the Islamic world, many felt these aliens would ally themselves with the Christian democracies and then enslave the rest of the world. (To be fair, President Bush and Queen Elizabeth II pretty much hoping this was a fair bet as well) Having read the War of the Worlds, and realizing they’d have no chance against alien superweapons, the president of Pakistan decided their only hope lay in grabbing as much territory as possible before the aliens arrived, and ordered his nation’s military to invade India (Again – it had been done three times before in the previous 42 years) and conquer it once and for all.
In the united states, President Bush gave a stirring speech that tied in the promise of the coming aliens with his own “Thousand points of light” motif, and while it was a very good speech well worth the two days it took for someone to write it for him, it completely failed to address the India/Pakistan situation, and when a reporter asked him about it immediately afterwards, he gave no reply, which resulted in minor riots in all US cities with a substantial Indian population. It should be mentioned that the Pakistanis were really kicking ass, too, and by noon they were a hundred miles into India, with tens of millions of dead behind them.
China was the only country to address the Indian/Pakistan situation; by saying they were putting their nuclear forces on alert. The US and rapidly-disintegrating Soviet Union reluctantly put their forces on alert as well, while in Ireland and France, there were small riots between Pro-Alien Liberal Catholics and Anti-Alien Conservative Catholics.
The stock market rallied higher than it had been at the start of business the previous day, meanwhile Madeline Murray O’Hare gave a long, particularly angry and gloating speech about how, basically, she was right all along and that there was no God, as the aliens had proved it.
Blackie mentioned on TV that they had not in fact proven the nonexistence of God, and that it was theoretically impossible to prove a negative, and that God simply was not something they believed in citing a lack of rational proof. O’Hare paid this no nevermind, and went on with her Godbashing rant, making literally hundreds of statements during the course of the day about how stupid theistic people are. Hundred of other luminaries ranging from Carl Sagan on down the list to The Amazing Randii issued similar statements, many of them quite vitriolic. The Dali Lama attempted suicide (Though this was later covered up), and Pope John Paul II actually did commit suicide, so badly shaken were his beliefs.
In Norfolk, Virginia, there were PeTA riots, where hamburger joints and non-vegan grocery stores were burned, in an overwhelming outpouring of pent-up (And almost insane) aggression towards people with differing viewpoints than their own. In San Francisco and New York and Los Angeles, lesbian gangs went around forcibly castrating anyone unlucky enough to wander into their area. Fuzzies with a thing for dogs came out of the closet and started openly doing things to dogs in public that it is not seemly to describe here. The NOW and various militant Pro-Choice groups drafted a statement and had it transmitted to the alien ship.
Around the world, people who felt their wrongfully-suppressed viewpoints had been vindicated lashed out with what they felt was vindicated anger at those who they felt had wronged them. Conversely, those who felt their long-cherished beliefs disproved either fell into deep depression and possible suicide, or else completely threw aside their morals and fell into a few days of wonton excess.
First thing Thursday morning, India’s surprisingly extensive nuclear arsenal fell on Pakistan, and the country more-or-less ceased to exist. The stock markets around the world plummeted again, while India drove its way back to the Pakistani border, being utterly brutal to the enemy forces that tried to surrender. Not a one of them was left alive. In the north, China invaded Pakistan using paratroopers. Soviet Forces in Afghanistan were quickly overrun by hundreds of thousands of Pakistani refugees flooding into the country. The Politbureau contemplated sending paratroopers into Pakistan as well, but lacked the available manpower and funds to do it. The Soviet economy – somewhat isolated from the rest of the world – had weathered the chaos of the past few days a bit better than the western democracies, and was contemplating using it’s nuclear weapons to hold on to that advantage, but open riots broke out in Poland, East Germany, and Yugoslavia.
Syria threatened to invade Israel, but Israel threatened to do to them what India had done to Pakistan, and Syria backed down. Meanwhile, in the west no one seemed to give a damn about the death of ten million people on the subcontinent: they were more concerned with the kinds of music the aliens liked (Mostly New Wave and Post-punk), and the democratic party issued a statement that it had always been the party of pacifists, atheists, liberals, feminists, lesbians, abortionists, and vegans. This wasn’t strictly speaking true, and it was intended only as propaganda to take advantage of the maelstrom caused by the aliens, but it was still truer than anyone wants to admit today.
Chinese and Soviet forces were openly fighting in Afghanistan, and along the long Siberian border. The stock market rallied as the Aliens said they had medical technology that should make human life-extension possible, and that people should be able to expect lives in the range of 180 or so years, based on the tests they’d done on the Mars Probe astronauts. Unfortunately, this news caused an immediate collapse in the Life Insurance Industries around the world, and every American insurer issued an immediate freeze on all life policies and assets.
President Bush unwisely issued a statement that if it came to nuclear war between the PRC and the USSR, then the US would be backing the soviets. Meanwhile, in Rome, Pope John Paul III took office, just in time, he said in Latin, for the end of the world.
Again the stock markets went crazy, with State Farm insurance declaring that the activities of the last six days had exhausted its financial resources, and declaring bankruptcy. There was a massive spike in farm-related sales.
For no reason anyone could discern, but which probably made sense to the people involved, South Korea and South Africa declared war on Australia, meanwhile the Aliens explained how their whole-body entertainment systems worked, and everyone was eagerly anticipating trying them out, as they could apparently be rapidly-adapted to existing films. You no longer had to watch Star Wars, or Gone With The Wind, you could be in the film, playing the part of any character, or watching from the sidelines. It worked for books, too, and Zondervan Books contacted the alien ship to see about licensing it for the bible, which, despite the leftist explosion of the previous week, was still an undeniable best seller.
The alien ship entered orbit. It was ungodly huge, big enough to make out major details from the ground, even in daytime. So huge, in fact, that Bob Clarkson, standing in the parking lot of a Krispy Kreme could see it well enough to recognize the error of his ways.
“People of Earrrth, on behalf of Grrreat-Grrreat-Grrreat-Grrreat-Grrreat-Grrreat Grrrandmother Alice, I have been instrrructed to inforrrm you that on second thought, you arrre not the kinds of people we wish to associate with. We will not be interrracting with you afterrr all…”