Confuscius–winded from a tangle with a Bengali tiger which he had grabbed first by the tail, then the ears, and finally the head before dispatching the beast–was cresting a small rise on his stroll through the metropolitan zoo of Sung. He was decked out in his finest serge and skins, his belly full of acorns and chestnuts. In this pleasantly sated mood, a sight confused Confuscius: Holy men, with rods of chastisement, beat two young men.
“Pray, good sirs,” Confuscius inquired of the holy men whom Confuscius belatedly recognized as his own disciples, “explain your behavior.”
The disciples, who did not recognize their master, said, “These two brothers were bruising each other in their rough-housing and enjoying themselves. Their motive for doing this–since we do not understand such motives except as outsiders–must be anger and power; therefore, even though Confuscius never forbid such behavior, it is wrong and should be punished.”
Confuscius’ puzzled expression cleared, and he nodded. “You were quite correct to do so. Please, allow me to examine your rods of chastisement, They look impressive.” When they handed them over, Confuscius whirled them through the air until they sang. “Yes, they are impressive.” He handed the rods to the brothers. “Please, at your discretion, use these on the holy men, for clearly these rods were meant to be wielded on those who revel in anger and power.”

The Black Goat of the Woods, Shub-Niggurath, pranced obscenely through the red-litten clearing, its worshippers copulating frenziedly beneath its myriad udders. Soon, they would seize their obsidian knives and begin to slash at one another in an ecstacy of sanguinary lust. Shub-Niggurath would feast, but would take the best bits home for its Thousand Young. Especially its favorite, Shubbie the 422nd.

The Vermilion Gopher of the Plains, Aug’-Durlett, popped menacingly from one of its myriad holes. A nitid effluent of its malevolence poured forth, blotting out the sun. Traffic on I-70 came to a halt, and there was much rending of metal and spilling of entrails. Aug’-Durlett’s 230 Wives and 1973 Young would eat well tonight in yellow-litten Yah-Squireel.

Hamstur the Unspeakable, Tawny Gerbil of Doom, raced disturbingly upon the shrieking Wheel of Abomination. The slumber of sensitive souls was disrupted across the globe by a myriad ear-piercing squeaks, and even the mighty wizard Fak-bel Knaplung vainly pressed its withered hands to its shockingly hairy organs of audition.

The Ebon Cricket of the Sinister Bamboo Palace, Shrikk the Inaudible, played upon its shockingly malformed limbs a paean of charnel desecration and soul-destroying horror. Dogs throughout east Asia howled in anguish, annoying the just and unjust alike. Yabu Dabi-Tzhoo, Lord of Kay-Na’ein, lept through a foul depiction in stained glass of the Vivisection of the Myriad, and vanished from mortal ken, leaving behind an appalling stench.

Myriads flooded the streets as the Sigil of Unpleasantness, alluded to in the Pleistocene Upchuktic Manuscript, fulminated and was not consumed in the sky above Lichtenstein. Interminable was the wailing and many were the unattractive facial expressions manifested on the green-litten visages of the unhappy Lichtensteiners, for they could feel the fat profits from the tourist trade sublimating from their wallets, retail establishments, and entertainment facilities in the abhorrent effulgence discharged by the Lime-Green Sign.

Much was the inadvertent discharge of bodily fluids and other organic substances as the myriad Calamari of Chaos floated to the surface of the Pacific Ocean, broadcasting their unhallowed and vile thoughts to all within line-of-sight and, after nightfall, those reachable by reflection from the Heaviside layer.

As the human race, insignificant pustule on the acne-scarred backside of Planet Dirt, wailed, moaned, and perished, the Great Old Ones, including Retrievotep, He Who Inexorably Returns, and Nemah-Toad, She Who Burrows Within, began to feed.

And short-lived but heartfelt was the lamentation engendered therefrom.


The would-be invaders of Earth fell victim to gross miscalculation. Vast technological development for a full scale attack nullified by last minute language research.

Bad intelligence. Nothing more.

The fleet’s pilot ship punched through the atmosphere and zeroed in on Silicon Valley. They found empty parking spaces outside the Googleplex, and set down across two of them.

The ramp descended and Admiral Lulz, flanked by a dozen armed elite soldiers, stepped out onto the tarmac, next to an extremely large Honda Fit. Another miscalculation: Lulz had expected Earth vehicles to be smaller.

Humans, gargantuan in size, streamed out of Google, rushed to the ship. In moments, Twitter was abuzz with blurry iPhone photos of the craft and its diminutive crew.

“Look,” said one woman. “They’re so cute!”

Lulz couldn’t understand the words. “WTF?” he said.

ZOMG! Big ppl iz big!” Commander 2ch said.

“Shud tlk 2 thm,” Lulz said.

“And they make cute little squeaking noises,” the woman said.

The soldiers set up a holoscreen so the humans could view their words.

Oh hai,” typed Lulz. “I cn haz talk wif ur leedr?”

The people read the text, then began to giggle. Lulz realized he was being taunted.

There was a foolproof way to get them to give in. He cracked his knuckles then typed, “All your base are belong to us!” He grinned maniacally. The soldiers leveled their blasters at the crowd of people.

Another woman leaned down and hugged two of the soldiers. Stunned, they dropped their weapons and squirmed. “Aren’t you just precious,” she said.

2ch was furious. “Hw cn thy do tht? R troops r l33t!” he said.

“Attack!” Lulz said.

They fired their weapons, resulting in clicks and one embarrassing pop and fizzle. The soldiers stared in silence at the lack of death and carnage.

One Google guy leaned down and picked up a blaster. “Doesn’t work?” he said. “Need better QA, guys.” He turned to the woman who was now tickling the two small soldiers.

“What a wasted trip,” he said. “Maybe they should have just texted us.”

He turned around and walked back toward the building. The others followed.

4 teh Lulz!” 2ch said, and rushed the retreating humans.

Google guy turned around and pointed the blaster at 2ch. “LOL Wut?” he said, and 2ch screeched and retreated in fear. The man, laughing, headed back to work.

Lulz facepalmed, then returned, dejected, to the ship. His soldiers, useless without functioning weapons, followed.

The ship rose above the Bay Area and rejoined the fleet. For several days they monitored the intarweb, trying to decipher societies more complex than anticipated.

Reports of the incident in Mountain View flooded in. Many were scared. Some were fascinated by the prospect of new technology and otherworldly life. Some religious fanatics claimed the beginning and/or end of the world.

Mostly, people just thought the cute little aliens were funny as hell.

People uploaded remixed videos and Flash animations to YouTube and NicoNico Douga, Weezer planned to include the footage in their latest music video, and a Korean schoolboy figured out how to make a functional alien blaster in his parents’ basement from the pics and specs Google guy uploaded.

Humiliated, Lulz pulled up the universal browser, located his destination, and clicked the “I’m feeling lucky” button to take them home.

It was the old, old story, he felt: handsome stranger comes to town, walks in on a feast complete with pretty (and pretty interested) girls, has a great time—and wakes up a night later about to be brutally sacrificed in order to save the village from a terrible drought.

“Seen it a thousand times,” he said aloud, trying to get more comfortable in his bonds.

“No you haven’t,” he answered himself. “Before this, you’d never walked more than three days from home.”

The priest came, carrying a horn. He sat down next to the stone.

“Sunrise soon,” he said, turning to look at the stranger.

“I’m aware of it,” agreed the stranger.

The priest lifted the horn. “We give the sacrifice a forgetting drink, if he wishes.”

“No, thank you,” said the stranger after a while.

The priest shrugged.

“I’ve had all night to wonder,” said the stranger. “What is the point? What is the point of killing a perfectly healthy young man who would be much more useful begetting strong children and fighting off wolves and catamounts?”

“Hopefully you’ve already done the first thing. Feast, remember?” Said the priest, raising the horn.

“Not much of it,” replied the stranger, smiling though he had begun to shake.

“Things are bad,” said the priest. “You saw.”

“I did,” said the stranger, remembering how thin the women had been, how easily tired.

“It’s how we’ve always done it,” began the priest. There was a sound like a gourd dropping. The priest sighed.

The sigh went on for too long; the priest folded over. A bony young woman stood over him, the butt of her hunting knife in her hand.

“Not anymore, not anymore,” she chanted while she cut the stranger’s bonds.

Two more women stepped from the edge of the grove. They looked at the priest, nodded at her.

“The sacrifice went well,” said one.

“No! Not a sacrifice!” snapped the young woman.

“Joke,” said the other, waving her hands.

“Time to go,” the young woman said, holding out his belt and kit.

He looked once over his shoulder, to see the two women gently lifting the priest; the woman tugged his hand over the hill. On the other side, the sun was rising.

“That is the most fine and beautiful sight I have ever seen,” he said to her.

She smiled at him. “Like every one we get,” she agreed.

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