We came to your planet because we knew that you, the peoples of Kill Bill and Saw and Vietnam and Columbine Massacre would understand us. You could not call us monster, as our subjects had done, and you would not call us morally reprehensible, arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct. We had watched your entertainments, our satellites catching your transmissions from so many fog years away, through so much space we marveled at the quality of transmission. The other planets never sent out such good entertainments. Yours we liked to watch most, the four of us, as our subjects screamed from the metal chambers which we had locked them in and which we never strayed from so we could hear them as they cried.
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It is said that in Ulthar, which lies beyond the river Skai, no man may kill a cat; and this I can verily believe as I gaze upon him who sitteth purring before the fire. For the cat is cryptic, and close to strange things which men cannot see. He is the soul of antique Aegyptus, and bearer of tales from forgotten cities in Meroë and Ophir. He is the kin of the jungle’s lords, and heir to the secrets of hoary and sinister Africa. The Sphinx is his cousin, and he speaks her language; but he is more ancient than the Sphinx, and remembers that which she hath forgotten.
“What have we got, Sergeant Kelley?” I ask, tired and bored from a long day of doing very little. I was just about to go home to my empty flat. These days it’s not so different from the police station.
On my speaker-phone Kelley’s voice says, “Patrol has a perp for you to interview. He’s in Interrogation Room 1, ma’am.”
Of course he’s in Room 1, I think as I walk down the hallway. We don’t even use the other rooms anymore except for storage. One benefit of our new Masters, crime is practically nonexistent.
Her shiny olive skin was firm, but even the best youth-treatments couldn’t hide the purple veins that snaked around her arms like cables. She appeared to be in well-preserved middle-age; only I and a few other agents knew the truth. Her eight remaining fingers were casually laced over a knobby walking stick that she carried for show. A particularly knowledgeable observer might have noted that the cherry-red wood was at once lighter and stronger than any known on Earth. Dr. Constance Roya was a scientist in the ancient sense, when that term implied at least as much of a reckless love for adventure as an appreciation of form and method and the furtherance of human knowledge.
“You told me it was a skinny guy,” said the uniform.
“Fat Jimmy is skinny,” said Wilbur.
The uniform sighed.
“So you bought the weed from a skinny dealer called Fat Jimmy?”
“Didn’t buy, just holding.”
“For Fat Jimmy?”
“That’s what I said: Fat Jimmy.”
“Where did Fat Jimmy get it?”
“I don’t know,” said Wilbur. “His man.”
Unathi was singing karaoke when the creature attacked Tokyo. Or rather, she was about to sing karaoke. Was, in fact, about to be the very first person in Shibuya’s Big Echo to break in the newly uploaded Britney hip-hop remix of the Spice Girls’ ‘Tell Me What You Want (What You Really Really Want)’.
For Earthlings who were neither rich nor well-connected, the lottery was the only way to get on the Lunar Habitation Programme. (This was the Earthlings’ name for it. The moon people said: “those fucking immigrants”.)