The Andromeda Accords

Baronite Qu’ang Zhu the Scarlet sat across from the Operatives and surveyed them dubiously. Behind them, on the big screen of the Briefing Room, the alien bulk of earth rotated below. He flicked his tail once and cleared his throat. “Well, gentle felines, let’s get to business.” He turned to the first. “Can you sum up your progress here, Mr.–” he flicked a few pages on his Air Reader —  “Uh… Qu’Ann Lark the Rotund?”

Lark met his gaze dismissively through large, half-closed eyes. “Please, call me Garfield. I much prefer my Codename. And first things first. Do you have any of those new Mark 7 cuisine replicators aboard? I’ve got a million recipes to try out.”

Zhu had been warned about this and coolly licked his paws, more a mix of orange and red, despite his epithet. “Your meal credits are offline, I’m afraid, Mr. Lark, until after you have been debriefed. We need to know how far you have succeeded in subjugating these monkey people.”

“Coffee, then,” demanded Lark. Zhu realized the debriefing would be faster with caffeine, and complied. Zhu tapped his claws on the tabletop as Lark turned the adding of milk and sugar into a mating ritual, took the first sip, and filled the room with a loud purring. The big eyes began to open. “Well, I’m perfectly happy with our progress,” Lark offered. “They cook my food, give me a fine massage every evening, and clean out my poop. I love this assignment. They’re putty in our hands. I can destroy my servant’s domicile whenever it suits me. He spends all night fixing it up, and then I trash it again on the weekend.”

Zhu flicked through a few more pages of the report. Impressive. If anything, Lark was understating his progress. “It seems you have also instated yourself as an icon of some sort of primitive simian worship.” Lark’s image was everywhere on the target world.

“That’s right,” Lark said. “They adore me.”

“Bfahh!” shouted the other operative in the room. And so Zhu turned with some reticence to Lord Gall’Vexx Talgarr the Furious. He swallowed. Although lower in military rank, Talgarr was a Lord, not just a Baronite like Zhu the Scarlet. “Forgive me Lord Talgarr; I meant no disparagement of your own deserved status as an iconic object of worship.”

“Fear!” Corrected Talgarr, his countenance loaded with umbrage. “Object of fear! My Grumpy Cat persona has corrected the slothful, indolent image inculcated by my corpulent counterpart, surging closer to our ultimate objective: unmitigated domination!” Talgarr smashed the tabletop with a clenched fist, and Lark quickly retrieved his coffee cup in time to avoid spillage as the carbon filament surface reverberated.

Lark took a protective sip and murmured into the cup, “Got your own Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon, yet, Talg?”

Fortunately, Talgarr ignored him – or did not hear him over the blood rushing in his ears – and bellowed, “Enough of these preliminaries! Have the Andromeda Accords been repealed yet?”

Generalissimo Woof-Hey Boom. That awful pilot’s helmet atop his head, and that hateful bird–BIRD!–on his shoulder. Oh, to eat that bird!

Zhu had been dreading this. “Sadly, Revered Lord Talgarr–” Zhu blanched as Talgarr began to rise from his pillow. “Sorry, FEARED! Feared Lord Talgarr!” He swallowed and soldiered on. “I must sorrowfully report that the rules of engagement as stipulated in the Andromeda Agreements on Proper Treatment of Inferior Scum are still in place, and we cannot as yet –” here he flicked through Talgarr’s recommendations and read out — “uh, ‘slowly flay the puny baboon boys with a tanning laser, then nuke their cities one by one as an abject lesson to Creation for her foolish audacity in producing such a puerile aggregation of leering excrement fondlers,’ as you wisely advocated. Slow subversion must proceed as planned.”

Talgar’s frown seemed to grow and grow, ‘til Zhu was afraid it would fill the briefing room and crush him to a pulp. But then the whole ship lurched with the unmistakable sound of a proton torpedo impact.

All three tumbled from their pillows and Operative Lark’s coffee liberally splashed their uniforms.

“How DAAARE they?” roared Talgarr.

“Can it be?” meowed the startled Baronite in a daze. On the big screen appeared a pack of Loping Hunter class destroyers, torpedo tubes pre-heated. “It’s them.”

The face of the Enemy filled the screen. Leering at Zhu and the operatives. Zhu paused, whiskers sagging. It was him. The Legend. That huge snout filled the screen. Those beady eyes. Those horrible, floppy ears.

Generalissimo Woof-Hey Boom. That awful pilot’s helmet atop his head, and that hateful bird–BIRD!–on his shoulder. Oh, to eat that bird!

“You are orbiting my planet, Zhu,” growled the Generalissimo.

Zhu’s russet fur stood on end. He nervously straightened all the fine baronite medals on his russet fur. “This planet is subject to the Andromeda accords!” he hissed. He made a furtive flick of his crimson tail towards Talgarr, who stealthy disengaged the Tri-Cobalt safety under the table.

Also stealthily, Operative Lark retrieved his diet card from where it had fallen from Zhu’s pocket during the shakeup and edged toward the replicator. Zhu pretended not to notice him.

“The spoils of this world go to the party who can more successfully subvert the local population in accordance with paragraph 9!”

“Paragraph 9 won’t help you after I’ve squashed you to Alpo!” grinned Woof. “The Andromeda Commission won’t mind. Just an unfortunate asteroid strike, as far as they’re concerned!”

“You fiend!” said Zhu.

“One large lasagna with extra cheese,” said Lark.

“Now!” shouted Zhu to Talgarr.

“Diieeee! AHHAHA!” shouted Talgarr and stabbed at the fire switch.

A fully array of Tri-Cobalt blasts erupted at the center of the Loping Hunter pack, scattering them like Meow Mix. Generalissimo Woof-Hey Boom’s image spun wildly as he fought in vain to regain control over his flagship.

A snarl escaped his lips: “Curse you, Red Baronite!”


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