I'm going to tell a tale that's classic in its tragedy, about the foibles of Mankind and how he destroys everything he holds dear, all in a quest of pride to prove himself superior over the Universe. I ought to know best how to tell this tale, for I shall help destroy it. Our faith, our hope, our vanity—Ha! I shall certainly destroy our vanity!
I am the last Saint George, fifth in a line of great Keepers of the Dragons. Officially, we call them Spitfires. They have a name they call themselves, at least I suppose they do, if anyone can figure out what their gobbledygook swirls mean when they paint the word for it.
I would suppose that they like the name Spitfire. After all, the Brits named a fighter plane for them.
I call them frogs when I’m able. And stinking bastards under my breath. I always knew we should never have trusted them. All meek and mild and sweet and benign, letting us lead them around on a leash. Yet they weigh in at one thousand kilos! They’d eat us like chicken if they weren’t so fond of fish. And that’s all they really want, so said they say, as their fine Prime Minister Churchill relayed to our Mr. President Roosevelt, when he passed their bounty to us. Just let them eat as much fish as they please, and live on the bottom of the ocean.
Great. Thanks a lot, Great Britain. Now The United States will shoulder the blame for destroying the world. Of course though, truth is, we all played a part. Notions like nations and governments and laws don’t matter much when its planet pitted against planet.
At least, I think the Spitfires have their own planet. They must have had one at one time, before they started tesseracting through the galaxy. It's hard to get any kind of useful information out of them other than what they want to give us, with them being so silent and slow and ancient. I mean, I am the fifth in a long line of Saint Georges, but there has always been just one Spitfire named Saint Charles, because they live for centuries.
Well, they used to anyway, because not anymore they won't.
I’m going spend my last few days writing these memoirs of sorts. I’ll lock them away someplace sacred, where I hope they will stay for the next hundred years, because if those damned frogs ever drop from the sky and land on our heads a second time, it won’t be until then. One hundred years to a Spitfire is like next week for us, and I want the truth to be told should they come knocking on our front door again!
I will start with myself. The first Saint George was Prime Minister Winston Churchill. He met the very first Spitfire, but he doesn't really count as the first, because officially there was no Saint George until there was a Saint Charles. Now, almost a hundred years later, I—United States Air Force General Leon Michael Porter—will, God and the Good Lord willing, be the last Saint George.
We must pray that the Spitfires don’t believe in vengeance. For what hope do the godless have when the Devil has already taken from them everything they hold dear?
I will next recount my first contact with these beasts. My call to duty came a few days after I re-upped my enlistment for the fifteenth time. It was a solemn moment that came at six hundred forty-five hours.
“Department of Defense. National Security.”
Those frog lovers never use names. “Yes sir?” I said again, this time sounding confused.
“We’d like to talk to you about your new assignment.”
When the Defense Department calls to talk about ‘your new assignment’ and you’re a career officer in the military, there’s only one thing you say.
“Yes sir! Right away, sir!”
I’m going to guess I wasn’t their first choice to be the next Saint George. In fact, I’m going to guess that the big brass at NSHQ had a second and third choice in mind before they finally got to my name on the list. I’ll never really know though, and it doesn’t matter anyway. What got me the job wasn’t my people skills, or any diplomatic finesse, that I will say for sure. What got me the job was my goddamned ability to understand the frogs’ stupid language. I mean, it’s not even made out of words, or sentences or any sort of structure. You just swirl a bunch of plasma in the air, and get it to make colors and pretty shapes. At least, I think we use a plasma stream. I’m not much of a tech geek, but the way you talk to a Spitfire—if talking is a word you can use—is by controlling a cloud of particles ionized in the air, making them dance for you.
We have a machine the size of a bus to make the jets of plasma we use. The Spitfires make theirs with a tablet they wear around their neck. They poke at it and click on it with their claws, and all these colors and shapes fly out, bouncing around everywhere, swirling in the air. I don’t know how Winston Churchill did it or understood it, almost a century ago. I have a stinking feeling that he just nodded a lot. It makes better sense to me then as to how we got into this mess.
My first lesson for learning their language seemed like a parlor game. I’d guess at the sparkles and swirls as they stormed forth from our bus-sized machine. At times, a human voice would accompany the swirls, until I got the hang of it. Now, a human voice booms out only when a Spitfire wants to make a point of emphasis.
Or when someone in a control room far away thinks I might get us killed. Swirling superheated jets of plasma can be life-threatening at times.
Anyway, it was fun for a while, learning their stupid language. It goes something like this:
A column of brown smoke, unmoving.
COMMAND! Like, an order is coming soon.
Flecks of blue spark from the brown.
(We) WANT. The next swirl will be an object.
The blues sparks flatten out, and sit atop the brown.
OCEAN. Water in huge amounts.
The blue then curls down and envelops the brown in a rotating ball.
EXIST, meaning a place to live.
“We want to live in your oceans.” That's what that one means. It was pretty much all they ever say, except when they want to eat fish.
Mastering their language made me very useful. In fact, the Earth Control Unit of the National Security Department gave me the obtuse title of a Super User. I have access now to all the secrets in regards to the Spitfires. I know more than the President, the Speaker of the House and the Director of National Intelligence.
After I became Saint George. I met Saint Charles for the first time. It was six months into my training, and I'd already gotten quite used to talking to the Spitfires who officially reside on our planet, the two in Washington, D.C. Saint Charles lives in New Mexico, you see, and nearly nobody knows about him, at a place code-named Silene.
It actually lives in Utah. Our base is in New Mexico. Its existence is so darn secret that we even lie about where the bastard is housed. It makes sense when you think about it. There is that big Salt Lake, you know, so it's easy to create an aquarium large enough for it to live in. It’s actually a terrarium, I suppose, if that's what they’re called—a two hundred million liter fish tank that has a beach it can crawl onto if it wants. It’s a good thing the beach is there, because it’s nearly impossible to understand the gobbledygook it swirls when it paints its words underwater.
"(I am) SAINT CHARLES" it swirled at me the first time we met, in the air above its tablet. It clutched it in its left front paw while tapping with its right.
“Yeah, I know that,” I said to myself under my breath, in good old plain English. God, those frogs were huge. "(My) HONOR (is to be) SAINT GEORGE" was what I swirled back that day.
We became friends, I suppose, more or less. No. On second thought, we really were. The beast did come under the guise of saving us lowly humans. That’s why we called it Saint Charles—a prominent figure from the Reformation. It thought of us as children, I suppose, or more perhaps as its subjects, since Spitfires don’t really have families. We were certainly its students at our first Sunday school lesson. Every day back then, when we could figure out what the heck it was swirling, we learned more horrible truths.
With no family structure, the best way to describe their society is a hive. A military caste system of sorts, like bees or ants, though more sophisticated. And if the bees living in the hive were the size of orcas. Each individual in their society has a tablet personally tuned to their biorhythms, telling that individual everything their caste was allowed to know.
Saint Charles was a big bee in its hive. It had access to almost everything. When it purposefully crashed its ship in the Chihuahuan Desert near Roswell, it tricked its fellow bees into thinking it had died. Now we little humans know what the intentions of its species are, because this frog, in a singular act of humanity, has betrayed its own kind.
I should pause now, and not call them frogs for a while, because that's not what they look like at all. They look like dragons out of Chinese folklore, though gray rather than green. They have six limbs, like a bug, walking on four of them when on land, with two arms on shoulders beneath a long snake neck. Walking is kind of a general term, because being water borne creature from outer space, walking is impractical and almost impossible. But they do crawl while clawing the ground with their long talons, and their belly scales reticulate like a snake, from their chins to the tips of their tails. In fact, when they have a mind to, they can move quite fast. At last, so I've been told. They rarely do, you see, as they prefer to do everything slow.
Two tentacles sprout from their snouts, each at least four meters long. Their only useful purpose, it seems, is to crack in the air like a bullwhip, for emphasis or when seeking attention. They're probably an antiquated defense mechanism, because they could snap an arm off with one if they cared to. Or maybe they'd use them grab you by the throat and drag you into their razor sharp claws and spiked teeth.
They also use them, I've been told, to eat with sometimes. I've never watch them do it though. It's gross.
Everything about them is surprisingly surreal. I still swear to God they want to eat us. "(They) COME DOWN" Saint Charles once swirled to me while standing on the beach of its terrarium. "(To) STEAL (your) OCEANS" it added soon after.
I had been briefed on this prior to our first contact. I learned about the plans the Spitfires had for our oceans while training to become Saint George. Wreck is a better word to use, I suppose, for what they want to do. It turns out that the reason why the world has ten thousand nuclear weapons is because all that fissionable material will one day be used to raise the temperature of the oceans by ten degrees Celsius.
Stupid frogs are cold blooded, you see, and our world is too darn cold. That's why they wear those big metal suits, all shiny and irredescent. They're a source of heat. With Saint Charles help, we now plan to use those weapons to betray its kind. Unknown to all the other Spitfires, and probably to Saint Charles as well, the missiles we point at one another in a feint of a nuclear holocaust have dummy warheads on them.
Empty, just like the frogs’ empty promises of living with us in harmony. There is nothing in them.
That fissionable material they taught us how to make is being used for our own evil intent—basically just one gigantic atom bomb, fitted on a mag-lev rocket, now in Lagrange Orbit around the planet Mercury. We'll explode it near the Sun when the frogs fly out of it to take our planet away from us, frying their invading fleet in a nice big bright solar blast.
It'll cook them as they swim in their cans. Then in another day or two, all that ejected plasma from the Sun will reach our dear Mother Earth. At first it will just be a freak show, as auroras light up the sky. Then it’ll melt the transformers at half the power stations on the planet, and knock out anything that runs on a chip. About ten days after that, it'll start killing us. At least, I think it will. The geeks keep that side effect of the plan sort of a secret from us.
But that fate awaits just the people who are standing on the planet. Saint Charles, you see, in a second act of infinite benevolence, gave us the plans and means to build spaceships of our own. We'll use them to hide our children from the Sun in the shadow of our Earth.
Saint Charles and the Children from the Sun. It has a nice ring to it. Someone should write a book.
And I guess that someone is me.
- Upright. In the Den.
- Sci-Fi Action Adventure, propelled by a little Romance.
Hello! Who's there? A maiden pure?
Tis me! To be, for you.
Please let me in, O doleful Sir,
To do the things I'll do.