In the year Blarg -0.48, the pilgrims came to Earth. Some came to escape religious persecution on their home planet. Some came for new trade routes. Some were interested in iron ore deposits, bringing a great many workers from a Martian moon. Others still, came for adventure. They’d heard rumors that Humans worshipped sky people. So as a show of good will, the pilgrims arrived dressed as the human gods of antiquity. They shaped their bodies into old men with long, white, flowing beards, wrapped themselves in gold skins, and wore wings made of steel feathers. They’d even whipped the clouds into outerwear resembling togas and produced an audio-visual simulation of the human apocalypse (as described in the human gospel of Revelations) to drive the point home.
The pilgrims were greeted warmly as heroes. Just days before, there had been a great war—“the World War to end all World Wars.” By the end of it, only a scarce million scattered humans were left. The Christian Science Monitor, the only surviving newsource on Earth, ran this headline the morning of The Great Arrival: “TRIUMPH! Christ Returns! The Second Coming is here!” No one disputed this profound truth. After all, the humans had already endured the last World War and an apocalypse. Wasn’t a return to divine order the last logical step? To fulfill the old-time, end-time, biblical prophecies?
Magdra certainly thought so. She was smart for her age. Top Blarg. She even gave the invocation at her Blarg-school graduation: “Ours is a rich history,” she said, “one of great advances for civilization. Without our contributions, the galaxy would still be in the dark matter ages!”
As far as Magdra was concerned, the conquest of Earth was manifest destiny—one that benefitted both the humans and the pilgrims. For it had also been prophesized on Planet MeatLord many light years ago, that one day the people of MeatLord would meet the people of Earth, and their progeny would fulfill a great destiny together. Unfortunately, it didn’t start out so well… for one thing, the humans were weak. Their immune systems couldn’t acclimate to common space germs. Firewarts. Black Pox. Sudden Brain Death Syndrome. Within days of first contact, there were reports of human zombies roaming the streets in packs, panicked by space sickness. For this reason, many humans had to be put down. It was for their own safety and the safety of Earth itself!
Thankfully, the surviving humans came to their senses. By winter, what remained of the Human World Government called for an international feast of Thanksgiving to celebrate the arrival of the new gods on planet Earth. They voluntarily dissolved their government, asking only that the MeatLords help them save their planet from themselves. The first step in saving the planet, the humans assured their gods, was to punish them—at least those who had resisted liberation. With this counsel in mind, General Secretary Ustis von MeatLord passed a decree: half would be taken to the iron ore plantations or as servants to contribute to their salvation, and half would be destroyed to decrease mankind’s carbon footprint on Earth and (as promised in the human gospels) presumably went to Heaven.
Of course there were critics of this story. Those who thought The Great Arrival was not so great after all. Some even claim that atrocities against humans still occur today. But every real MeatLord knew that was impossible. Humans were the most treasured and best-treated pets in the galaxy.
What made humans so unique was their ability to whistle. No other beings in the known universe could create such beautiful music with just their mouth hole and some air. Within a few decades, an entire niche market developed around whistlepunk—a new subgenre of Blargfolk. If you trained your humans right, you could even tour the galaxy with your own people orchestra!
It came as a great shock to everyone when reports started coming in that humans were running away from their masters. Some were caught hiding in the wilderness. Rumors spread that they had attacked MeatLord settlements in the night, slaughtering MeatLords in their sleep and collecting their gold scalps as trophies… but neither the government nor the press would confirm this. The General Secretary himself regarded any violence between humans and MeatLords as a hoax, a desperate fiction invented by intellectuals to scare real MeatLords into giving up their rights!
So that night, when Magdra awoke to find her human standing over her bed, she had no reason to fear.
“Girl, go lay down,” she said and turned back to sleep. But Girl didn’t move. She swung there idly, a smile on her face.
“Girl. GO lay down,” Magdra said again. But Girl would not.
“I wrote a song for you,” she spoke at last, in perfect Blarganese, “Do you wish to hear?”
Magdra blinked—once, twice—staring into Girl’s eyes, scared for the first time in her life.
Girl began to whistle.
Magdra could feel the hair stand up on her neck. She couldn’t move. The mystifying melody of Girl’s song had paralyzed her with it’s sweetness.
Girl wasn’t smiling anymore. She was very close now. Magdra could smell the dirt beneath her fingernails. Girl, stronger than Magdra ever knew, clutched her blargtails in a single hand.
“W-wait…” Magdra tried to say but could not. Too weak to struggle, unable to unhear what she’d heard—that wonderful, terrifying, mystifying pitch…
“I think you’ll like how this song ends,” Girl said at last, tightening her grip. “I call it—a song for freedom.”
Written by Pancho Morris
Illustration by Marika Stephens