One-Shot Week Part 6: Alipuns
To round out “one-shot week”, I decided to post this, my pick for the single worst thing I have ever written and shown to anyone else. It was conceived years before I wrote it down (complete with the punchline and several of the more egregious gags) both as a parody of Aliens and a response to Piers Anthony’s Xanth novels. I finally wrote and published it as a fan fiction after completing Aliens Vs. Exotroopers, and in hindsight I think it represents part of the evolution of that project. I also have to say, I always felt quite a bit of sympathy for the crew here, broad strokes that they are, and I think there’s a kind of horror in their story. Call it the existential terror of one’s life being someone else’s joke.
On the planet Ptero, actually a moon of the planet Xanth, a squad of space marines advanced through the intact yet apparently empty structures of a colony. “Talk to me, Pax!” Sgt. Pong said .
“Nothing moving in here,” Pvt. Paxt said. “Whatever happened here, we missed it.”
“Check your scanner. Damn it, I just want to kill whatever’s in here and go home,” said Pvt. Vista.
“Let’s all just keep our cool,” said Cpl. Dix. He frowned when he realized they were at that moment walking past a tank of anti-freeze.
“We’re approaching the colony’s central computer server,” the sergeant said. He opened a door to reveal a large room lined with giant spider webs.
“A web site?” Dix said.
The four other squad members, Privates Sandwich, Brunch, Extra and Butters, trailed in behind. “I have an infrared reading in there,” Pax said. “It looks like there’s a human in there, not moving.”
They found a woman, hanging from one of the webs. She raised her head and opened her eyes. “Please,” she said. “Kill… me.” Then a worm-like creature burst from her chest, waving her heart about.
“Heart worm!” Brunch groaned. Then she screamed as she was wrapped up by vines that shot out from behind the webbing, and devoured by toothed flowers.
“They’re coming out of the walls! They’re comin’ out of the goddamn walls!” Pax said.
“Wall flowers,” Pong snarled. Then a floating yellow head came out of a computer screen and ate him.
“Pac Man killed Pong!” Dix cried out.
“Yeah,” said Pax, “and an apple’s beating Vista!” Sure enough, Pvt. Vista was being pummeled by a giant fruit. Pax and Dix blasted it.
Sandwich was first out the door, but was attacked by an oversized floating fist. By the time the other marines blasted it, it had already beaten him to death. “A knuckled Sandwich!” Dix said with a shake of his head. Extra screamed and ran down the corridor. He was run through by a giant floating eyeball with a pair of antlers. More eyeballs swept toward the marines.
“Buck eyes!” Pax screamed. He brought them down in a frenzy of rifle fire. Then a jar thrown by an unseen enemy broke on his helmet. Red ooze poured over his helmet and uniform.
Vista looked at the ooze. “It’s spaghetti sauce. There’s still a label on the jar…”
Dix read it and rolled his eyes. “Pax Romano!”
A horde of sight gags pursued the marines as they retreated to their ship. “Where’s Butters?” Dix shouted.
“I’m coming,” Butters said as he ran up the ramp.
Dix was almost raving as the ship took off. “There’s too many of them! We have to nuke the site from orbit!” he said.
“I don’t think so,” Butters said. He raised his rifle. Before he could shoot, Vista blew him in half with a shotgun blast. Wires spilled out of its belly.
“It’s a robot,” Vista said. “It must have taken Butters out and replaced him.”
“I can’t believe it’s not Butters,” Dix said.
The nuclear explosion shone as a bright flash. The marines cheered. “The puns are all gone!” Dix sid.
“Yeah,” said Pax. “You might say they’ve been expunged. Get it?” Dix and Vista raised their guns. “Uh-oh….”
David N. Brown