Hostile Takeover

By William Hughes

The Thing

Deep within the darkest reaches of the great sea of stars, a single, solitary object floats through the void. If their had been anyone to observe its slow, eternally tumbling progress across the heavens, they would have disregarded it as nothing more than space debris. It radiated no energy, no light, nothing to indicate that it was anything more than another rock spinning in infinity. If the observer was an Earthling, however, they might have commented upon the object’s resemblance to a porcupine, albeit one that had experienced some rather strange deviations upon its evolutionary course. It was covered with spiky outcroppings, protecting the central portion from anything that might intersect its course. In the center of the "body" was a strange pattern that our Earthly observer might have regarded as a gaping maw, if not for the impossibility for anything living to survive in the inky darkness between the stars.

A long-term watcher would have noticed slight variations in the thing’s flight plan, movements seeming to direct it toward a spot far past the range of the naked eye, save for a single pin prick of light in the distance; a star of little importance to anyone or anything besides its inhabitants… and the Thing which sought it. Slowly, the strange pattern opened, up, part eye, part mouth, and let out a scream, inaudible in the darkness.



Deep within the monstrosity rapidly approaching the unsuspecting planet, behind several cubic feet of armor, sat a creature. It was man shaped, vaguely, with a humanoid body, the typical number of appendages. But there was something subtly wrong about it; the limbs were too long, the eyes, cold, cruel, and utterly alien. To its left and right floated two pods, radiating energy which they fed to the now dormant creature. When it awoke, and the task begun, they would serve as protection measures, keeping the all too important manipulator portion safe, the left providing immediate healing and a defensive shield, while the right maintained offensive strength, and more importantly, the crucial life support systems which allowed the collective creature to respirate like other creatures upon its target world, transforming harmful wastes into useful resources.

But all that would come later. For now, other preparations were to begin. The consciousness of the humanoid extended far before it, making in a few seconds a journey that was going to take its body several thousand years. The creature’s mind began to slowly alter the course of evolution upon the world. The timing was excellent, as this planet’s population was only now emerging from the oceans which still covered most of the world. The creature had been spawned on a planet much like this one, and had been bred to instinctively perform its next action. It slowly altered the dominant species’ evolution, reaching into the creature’s primitive, defenseless minds and coercing them to breed the proper traits to create what the creature needed: cattle. Two races slowly emerged as the dominant creatures upon the planet. One was physically strong, but weak within the mind, while the other, a more reptilian race, advanced in the mind but with less raw strength at their disposal. These would make fine meals, when the time was right. It knew instinctively that the two breeds would never coexist, they had been bred for survival of the fittest, but the beast had no care for the loss of life that would occur when war broke out between the two, as the victor race’s lives would be all the more nourishing when the time came for the Slaughter. Judging that its work for the moment was finished, the consciousness returned to the spiked shell coming ever closer to the increasingly turbulent world.



Without realizing it, the creature had undergone an evolution itself. When it had began its task of "seeding" the planet with its influence, it had been following nothing more than a deep, primal instinct which stated, quite clearly, that it would be obeyed, or the creature would die. But as it had progressed along its course of action, emotions had begun to seep in: pleasure, rage, desire. It began to feel a strange joy at the thought of its two pets clashing with each other, squabbling, fighting, warring between each other. It began to marvel at the abilities it possessed, to wonder at how he could use them to sew chaos among his "subjects, " pondering on how to cause the most pain, and where.

Little did it realize that these feelings as well were instinctive ingrained in its very genetic code. This was a creature that was both predator and parasite, farmer, and weasel, and pity is no trait for something that is designed to destroy its own creations. Pulling out of its reverie, it noticed that the time to begin was very close. It returned to its dormant state, and prepared for the next phase in its life cycle.



Upon a bridge, high within a keep, the last battle between the two races was played out. The mammals had been victorious in the end, had triumphed over there fellow creatures. But victory was short. The reptiles leader, in his last moments, revealed the truth of the strange red star which had haunted the sky, that it was no star, nor a meteor, but something far worse. He expired in something nearing happiness, knowing that he and his people would be saved from the half-mad being’s horrible destruction. One of the survivors, of the race known as the humans, muttered a word formed by a combination of two from her own culture; the words for "big fire." Lavos. It fell with a sound like the closing bars of a cell, trapping those that survived within its cage.

Lavos, as the creature came to be known, burrowed quickly into the ground, already beginning to feed from the energy deep within the planet, constantly refueled by the lives and deaths of those who walked far above the humanoid’s dark, strange head. Here, it could lay dormant for thousands of years, waiting for the right time to emerge, when it had pulled enough strength from the slowly dying planet. Unaware that even now those who would prove its undoing walked above it, it once again marveled at the destruction, the death, the pure chaos that it could create. As the human’s evolved, they become more resistant to his coercion, but under he right conditions, with the right mind to work with, it could gain control again. A little mayhem before the slaughter, a light drizzle of strife before the torrent of death. Nothing said that it couldn’t enjoy itself before performing its instinctive task.

It waited 638 million years for the right mind to come along; a mind full of pain, of hope, of a wish for power to help the grieving of her people. It was a royal mind, suffering from the loss of a loved one. All these things, all these grand ambitions, no matter how noble, all these could be corrupted to the side of chaos, the nobility stripped away, leaving only the desire for power. And Lavos could offer power. It was his stock in trade. Lavos grabbed upon the mind of the Queen of Zeal, and all history gave a slight jerk as he slowly, gradually, pulled from it the soul, leaving only a shell he filled with his own, mad essence, and the promise of power. Under his commands, the Kingdom of Zeal entered a dark age, hid by seeming prosperity. He attached a string of dependence to every heart in the kingdom, tying all their powers to him, a more gradual process than the one he used upon the queen, but just as effective.

Deep within his shell, Lavos, a mad puppeteer, laughed long and loud as he tug the pretty little strings which controlled the people, his people, forming their hearts in his own chaotic image. And all of history danced to his terrible pull.


Authors Note: I’m extremely tired, so I’ll make this short and sweet. E-mail me at for comments, ideas, or any other kind of feedback. Thanks for reading. All characters copyrighted Square, etc.

William Hughes 7-7-99

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