Superstitious Alien Cult
"Sir, the android monks are writing names again," Reynolds said.
Instead of losing control, I put a grip on my anger. I put the cap back on my pen, then placed it on my desk. Finally I looked up at Reynolds and said, "I've given them three warnings, haven't I?"
"Yes sir," Reynolds said.
"Then let's go and show them the folly of not following my commands," I said. "Have the troops ready at the gate in five minutes. Dismissed!"
"Aye, sir," Reynolds said and left.
I got out from behind my desk and strapped on my gun belt. Body armor wasn't necessary because of the simple expedient that the android monks were pacifists. I left my office and walked down the corridor into the gate room. There I was joined by Reynolds and the thirty men who made up my platoon. They were armed to the teeth, and all of them looked eager.
That was good, I didn't need any problems from the ranks when it came time to issue discipline against the android monks.
"Let's go!" I shouted, walked up to the gate and stepped through. My men followed me.
On the other side of the gate it was night. Unlike earth though the sky was bright. This close to the center of the galaxy the other stars were closer and could even be seen during the day. The exception was a big black spot in the densest collection of stars. Yes, this was the black hole at the center of the galaxy.
The leader of the android monks, the android abbot was on the other side when we came through. It was alive, but looked like a robot in a monk's robe. Around us were a dozens of gates. Earth just had the one gate, and the android world was the nexus of our growing corporate empire. Beyond the gates was a large rectangular structure which was the android monastery factory.
"Please, we are writing the names for the good of everyone," the android abbot said. "In order to meet your quota we've fallen so far behind in our mission."
"We clothe and feed you," I said, feeling disgust. "All we ask in return is that you make android prayer wheels. But you're too lazy to work!"
"Our mission is to keep the galaxy stable, not make ten thousand wheels a day," the android abbot said. Its voice took on a pleading air, "Can't you understand what we are trying to do?"
"Destroy that," I said, pointing at the android monastery factory.
"Rocketmen, front and center!" Reynolds shouted. "Fire at the factory!"
"You wouldn't dare!" the android abbot said. "Every other android monk is in there!"
As the rocketmen began to set up their gear, I turned on the android abbot. "I gave you three warnings," I snarled. "And you ignored them. That makes me look weak, it makes my men look weak, and it makes the United States of the Galaxy look weak."
"You aren't weak," the android monk said. "Please don't do this!"
"You had your chance," I gave a bitter laugh. "Don't worry about the prayer wheels. I've heard android bones can make a tidy profit too."
"Do what you will with my body and bones instead," the android abbot begged. "But if you destroy our factory and kill all the other monks, the galaxy will not last!"
"Stupid android superstition," I shot back. "Fire!"
The rocketmen fired their weapons. They were good at their job, so when the android monastery blew up, none of its debris landed anywhere near the gates. The men under my command cheered.
"What have you done?" the android abbot whispered.
"Ended a superstitious alien cult," I said with pride. "Alright men, dig up the bones but remember, a quarter of the take goes to me."
As the men rushed past forward to pick up a fortune, the android abbot, last of its kind sat to the ground began moaning.
"At least you're still alive," I said, patting its shoulder with what I have to admit was mock sympathy. I was happy. While I wouldn't make any more money on the black market selling prayer wheels, the bones were worth a lot more. Also, I could sell tickets to see the android abbot, last of its kind.
"Not for long," the android abbot said, pointing up.
"I'm not listening to your superstitious nonsense," I said. "Now get up, I'm taking you to Earth to put in an exhibit."
"Yes, that's a good idea," the abbot said eagerly. It got to his feet. "Earth is far away from here. Please take me right now!"
I paused. This was strange behavior. The only time androids showed any aggression was when you tried to take them off their world. Then I shrugged. "Let's go through the gate."
The abbot didn't wait for me. It ran to the gate back to earth and jumped through. I shrugged and began to follow the stupid fellow.
"Hey boss!" Reynolds shouted right before I went through. "When you go over can you send back some lights?"
I stopped and turned to look at Reynolds. It was kind of hard to see him, the light was half as much as what it had been. That made no sense at all. Then I remembered the abbot pointing at the sky. I looked up at the night sky.
The black hole in the middle of the galaxy had grown. It was twice as large. And it was swallowing stars as I watched. It would be here in minutes.
I ran for the gate back to Earth.