The Conquering

Rumour had it that the Colhasses liked virtual reality. They were good at it. And that was their curse for they spent their days within those worlds. Large glass coffins filled with a watery green liquid sustained their bodies. Their brains were jacked up to a supercomputer that handled all the virtual realities. Every five years an engineer would wake up, check the systems, and go back to sleep if everything was alright — it always was.

Zorathus, the legendary conqueror, decided to invade their planet. It looked easy to invade, the inhabitants were all almost asleep, and his army was unstoppable.

“Fellow Amphelans,” he said, “we need to expand further. The cities are overcrowded. We need new land.”

He said it on the national holographic channel. And the statement carried far and wide to each of the nine planets that Zorathus ruled with an iron fist.

There were no protests, no opposition. The Amphelans knew that it was unwise to question the great conqueror.

An army of combat-ready battleships gathered at Zorathus-I — the capital planet of the great Zorathan empire.

“We are to invade Colhas. It is the planet of the unreal. They live in virtual reality,” Zorathus said to his nine Fleet Commanders.

“We have heard of them, your Majesty,” said the commander of the First Fleet.

Zorathus sneered, he wasn’t in the habit of being interrupted. The Eighth Fleet Commander, a grey-haired man, bowed down and apologised for his comrade, who followed suit.

The clenched jaw of Zorathus loosened again as he said, “Yes, you have heard of them. Then you should know that they don’t live in the same reality we live in. They live in the virtual world. No matter when we attack them, they will be asleep.”

“They will be asleep, yes. So, your Majesty, when do we attack?” the Eighth Fleet Commander asked.

“When?” Zorathus laughed. “Why, we can attack any time we want to. And you know, the best time is now.”

There was no strategy, none from the conqueror that is. The fleet commanders had decided on the attack shape — circling the planet from eight directions and the centre. And that was it. The battleships readied for takeoff and set the course for Colhas — the tenth planet to be.

When the ships entered the Colhas atmosphere, unbeknownst to the fleet commanders, alarms set off in all of Colhas. People stirred from their virtual dreams and staggered to their feet. They shook the green liquid off, took a bath, and picked their weapons up.

Soon, the invading armies spread in all directions like a rash. But the Colhasian soldiers were there to meet their challenge. They used their iron claws, grappling hook, sword hands, and sword legs, to kill the Zorathan invaders.

The First Fleet commander, a greenhorn, was caught in the heat of the battle. He made the mistake of leading his men as they did in the movies — from the front. The experienced commanders held no such romantic notions. But the First Fleet commander did, and he found himself face-to-face with a Colhasian warrior whose skin was made of steel.

“Why are you fighting us?” he asked the First Fleet commander.

“We are here to claim this land as our own. We come for war.”

These words angered the Colhasian warrior who lunged forward with a massive boom and decapitated the First Fleet commander. A large hole was left on the ground from where the warrior jumped. Atomic arrowheads followed — arrowheads that destroyed the remaining fleet.

Zorathus saw the First Commander’s blip disappear from his screen and he recalled his men. He wasn’t stupid. “Those bastards must’ve been in a combat simulation,” he muttered to himself.

But no worries, he only pressed a button to start the large air purifier that now hovered in the Colhasian atmosphere. It changed the ratio of gases in the atmosphere. Sooner or later, even the toughest of Colhasians would die. There were multiple ways to skin a cat or to conquer a planet.

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