Available December 3, 2013 from DAW Books In all the time man has been on our good planet Earth, we’ve stared at and striven for the stars, at least in some way.
Or so they tell me. Frankly, my experience has been that what a goodly number are doing is staring at and striving for more wealth and power. And since aliens joined us on Earth, they’ve been striving even harder to control all of them. Presumably to use them to get even more wealth and power.
I’m talking, of course, about the first time the aliens joined us for an extended stay, in the 1960’s. Not the several times in the distant, ancient, and super-distant past when a variety of aliens did flybys and, from what we can tell, evolutionary experiments here. No one was trying to control any of them. At least as far as we know.
Nope, I mean when the gang from Alpha Four in the Alpha Centaurion solar system came to live here permanently. Okay, not all of them came. Just some of them. Religious exiles with some sympathetic and marrieds-in coming along.
They looked enough like us that they could hide and blend in. Well, mostly blend in. Because all our A-Cs, as they call themselves, are drop dead gorgeous. Maybe it’s the double hearts. Having two hearts makes them all speedy and strong and quick to heal, why not have it make them total hotties, too?
Sorry, back to the more solemn recap. The A-Cs hid and blended in, known only to a few Earth governments and those with a high enough security clearance.
But, you know, they had jobs. Math, science, medicine, killing parasitic superbeings. Mostly done in secret, because they also had talents that would allow them to alter what humans thought they saw, in more ways than one, but only for the safety and peace of mind of the humans not in the know. Well, most of them were trying to keep the humans safe.
Some of them, of course, made a real love connection with other megalomaniacs and really did their best to destroy humans and their own people seemingly indiscriminately, for whatever reason looked good on the daily menu at the Evil Super Genius Bar and Grill.
And then I came on the scene.
In the short three years since I’ve discovered that aliens, and lots of them, were living on Earth, a lot’s happened. For me, I fell in love with and married one, we had a child, and I inherited some mutated alien genetics. I also became a superbeing exterminator and the Head of Airborne for Centaurion Division. Then, somewhat against my will, I became the Co-Head Ambassador for American Centaurion. And then, truly against my will, I ended up the wife of a Congressman and American Centaurion’s Head Ambassador.
Fortunately, I’m adaptable.
Of course, along the way through all of this there were a couple of alien invasions that weren’t so friendly as the one in the 1960’s. One of them we kept off the radar. One of them, however, changed the world. But through it all the A-Cs were there, protecting Earth and everyone living on it. Well, you know, other than the ones that weren’t. But there are a lot less of them, especially since I’ve gotten rid of a bunch of them over the past few years.
Yet there are those who’d still rather make a buck off of doing terrible things to humans and aliens alike. Those who want money and power and all the perks that come with it, especially perks that let them amass more money and power.
Now, before you start to worry, I’m not anti-business. As Oingo Boingo likes to remind us, there’s nothing wrong with capitalism. Unless said capitalists are actually evil megalomaniac scumbags intent on destroying everyone you care about and probably the Free World As We Know It. Then they need to be taken down, in the most extreme way.
But never fear, good citizens -- Megalomaniac Girl is here!
Huh, you know, after the last three years, you’d think I’d be hearing a lot more clapping and cheering and lot less of the sounds of silence broken only by the quiet sound of crickets chirping. So, let’s try this again. I am Megalomaniac Girl, and I have Poofs and Peregrines with me to help save the day!
Yeah, okay, that’s better.
“Ambassador, would you please tell the Committee your full name?”
“Katherine Sarah Katt-Martini.”
“Do you know the whereabouts of one Herbert Gaultier?”
“No.” My bet was Hell, but the Committee probably didn’t want to hear that.
“Do you know if he’s alive or dead?”
I hesitated. I was under oath. “I think he’s dead.”
“Do you?” The Senator in charge of the hearing leaned forward. “Is that because you killed him?”
“No. I didn’t kill him.” Christopher White had killed him. But he’d had to.
“What about Leventhal Reid?”
“Nope, didn’t kill him, either.” My husband, Jeff, had killed Reid. To save my life.
“LaRue Demorte Gaultier -- did you kill her?”
“No. Esteban Cantu killed her.” Accidentally, of course, but that one wasn’t on me. “Then he was arrested. And I didn’t kill him, either.” Other bad guys had killed him, before we could get information from him.
“Nope, didn’t do him in, either.” Charles Reynolds had killed Cooper. Again, in self defense, defending me and himself.
“Ronaldo Al Dejahl, who killed him?”
“Um, everybody and nobody. Because my bet is that he’s still alive. But lots of us have tried to kill him, and you should be grateful.” James Reader had used the first guy we thought was Ronaldo for a body shield, Jeff had beaten up the real one, but he’d escaped, and my bet was he’d survived the beat down he’d gotten during Operation Destruction, too, and was out there somewhere, waiting to strike.
The Committee didn’t seem impressed. I didn’t look around, but the room was huge and it seemed filled to capacity with a blur of official looking people in politically fashion-forward suits, all of whom were giving me the Frowny Face of Displeasure.
“The entire former American Centaurion Diplomatic Corps?” the Senator in charge went on. “What about them? And Howard Taft? Antony Marling and Madeline Cartwright? Ronald Yates? And Beverly, that women who had the most boring speaking voice in the world. Did you kill all of them and many others, including Gregory from Alpha Four, and Uma from Alpha Six, and the Mephistopheles in-control superbeing?”
Now, these were not so easy to not lie under oath about.
“Yes, sort of, well, yes, really in the case of Beverly and a bunch of the others. I didn’t do Gregory in, though.” Tito Hernandez had done that. “I took out Moira from Beta Twelve, though.” Jeff had handled her mate, Kyrellis. Just barely, but he’d managed it. “They were all evil and trying to destroy everyone good and the Earth. By the way, how did you know Beverly was Miz Monotone?”
The Committee looked at me derisively. “We’re in your dream,” the Senator in charge said. “And we agree that whoever thought it was a good idea for you to be in such a public position was an idiot.”
“Can we sentence her yet?” one of the other Committee members asked. “Or at least ruin her husband’s budding political career?” The rest of the Committee nodded eagerly. They were all over the idea of disgracing Representative Martini.
“Can I wake up now?”
“Do you want to?” the Senator in charge asked.
“Am I hanging out with a Congressional Grand Jury when I wake up?”
“Not as far as any of us know. Today. Tomorrow? Who knows?”
“That’s the story of my life. By the way, as far as dream men go, none of you are what I’d like to have the next time I have a horrible nightmare.”
“Who would you prefer?” the Senator in charge asked.
“Billy Zane would be a good option, he doesn’t get nearly enough work. Hugh Jackman. Chris Evans. Really, anyone who starred in The Avengers would be acceptable. Tom Cruise, Will Smith, Nathan Fillion, pick a hot leading man of choice.”
“Sorry. You already live with the best looking people on Earth. You’re stuck with us. See you next time, Ambassador.”
The Senator in charge nodded. “Tomorrow night will come soon enough.”
“As near as I can tell, only if I keep on killing bad guys.”
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