At eighty years-old, Nulf was considered a toddler on Venus. The average age among Venusians was 1,000 years-old.
He was an energetic kid who loved to collect things like artifacts from other planets, and other life forms. He was especially fond of finding a new species to put on display in his room.
Each specimen was displayed in the exact environment they came from. Servants came by Nulf’s room once a day to feed his collection, and to clean out the cubes waste.
Artoin Nes was excited. His spacecraft was entering a new solar system to conquer! After relaying his discovery to his commander in Utunal, he instructed the navigator bot to chart a course to the nearest planet.
Plan in hand, Artoin Nes ordered his fleet to battle stations. The flotilla of space-fighters were locked-and-loaded well before they attacked Mercury. It took the Utunalians two days to overwhelm the crude technology that the Mercurians tried to defend themselves with.
As in the other conquered planets, the inhabitants were forced to pay a ransom; whatever natural resources the Utunalians deemed useful. The inhabitants had to meet a yearly quota. If it wasn’t met, savage destruction would follow.
The invading Utunalians were met with much stiffer resistance when they attacked Mars. Not only were the Martians fierce fighters, but their technology rivaled the attackers.
Nulf knew something was wrong when a servant came to his room and summoned him to his parents quarters. For the first time in his life, Nulf’s parents didn’t have calm faces.
Nulf’s father came right to the point,”Our allies on Mars are being attacked by unknown enemies. We must honor our pact with the Martians and attack their foe.”
“You know what that means Nulf,” his mother said. “There will have to be a mind meld.”
Nulf couldn’t help but be excited. He’d never seen one before. Only in times of dire emergency did the 17 Great Lords gather in the great hall.
Despite the Martians bravery and technology, the Utunalians massive fleet was causing considerable damage to the planetary shield wall. Commander Artoin Nes directed the bombardment.
It was interesting when planets fought back. Artoin Nes saw himself as an omnipotent conqueror and each planet his private playtoy. The victory was always sweeter if the victim struggled.
One of his Ranger squads finally broke through a section of the shield and instantly honed in on the Golden City of Tandia. Deadly laser beams set the great city on fire. It’s inhabitants panicked. They’d never been exposed to violence of this magnitude.
Nulf’s father, Din-al III, was sitting at an alabaster round table with the other 16 Lords of Venus. They were chanting. One-by-one their eyes rolled back in their head. The incense burning in the room made Nulf dizzy, as he watched from nearby.
Utunalian’s throughout the fleet were holding their heads and crying out in agony! The fighters started spiraling out of control. Ships slammed into each other and exploded. The mother ship with Artoin Nes hurtled down into the Martian landscape, crashing in the Red Desert of Xoon.
The Martian militia took the survivors from the crash and locked them up in electrified glass cages.
A week later, to celebrate Nulf’s 81st birthday, his parents took him to the auction house to get a new specimen for his collection. One – who was screaming and pounding on his cage caught Nulf’s eye.
He looked like a lively source of amusement for years to come. The auctioneer gave a brief bio on him, and said his name was Artoin Nes.
As It Stands, irony is one of my favorite themes.