interferon

Illustrated by George Karagiannis


Proson was not led to the pretty blue and white planet currently revolving beneath him by radio intercepts from Voyager or any other artificial means. He quite simply was out exploring and this was the only viable choice in this somewhat interesting but otherwise rather inhospitably uninhabitable system.

It took him considerable time in orbit to decipher the horrible mess the natives had made of such a nice place. He of course had been spotted by several agencies who demanded he identify himself, which for various reasons, he deigned from doing.

His translator device struggled to clarify so many different languages, but it was clear that the locals posed no threat to him. He had a stealth mode, but that option worked both ways, making it a defensive last resort only choice. He could be in geosync orbit in minutes and they had nothing that could go that high within hours.

He stayed in the clear, ignoring all calls and sorting out this fractious horror. Proson assumed the competing sides all had killer satellites in orbit and stayed well away from any other large object near his trajectory, which had been chosen to avoid space junk.

The big story of a UFO drowned out all other news, so it took him longer to sort things out. This was not unusual. Only so much could be gleaned from broadcasts monitored in the few hours spent on the way in. One had to be close to tell propaganda from legitimate information.

Proson was not a nice guy and was not there to help the Earthlings. He was a lone scout from a race of conquerors, sent out to find suitable targets. There were any number of variables involved in defining suitable. Hostility was a biggie, resources another.

Earth had too much of one, was using up the other at an alarming rate. Not just the land, but their oceans were trash cans. Fortunately, the other planets had plenty of untapped minerals and other goodies and offered no resistance.

Proson decided to see what he could do about the virulence factor. The first target was Vladimir Putin, who was in his mistresses' bed one moment and in a Free Syrian Army outpost under siege by Russian warplanes the next. A message was transmitted just in time to call off the bombing.

The next day, Raul Castro went to the same Miami prison that had once housed Manuel Noriega. Proson found it appropriate.

He also found it on Google. Sure made it easy.

The day after that, Ayatollah Khamenei woke up in an Israeli prison. If there hadn't been a worldwide uproar before, it now got plain seismic. There was only one legitimate culprit, but that did not stop accusations from being made. Dire threats drowned out diplomacy in the effort to find out just who was doing this. The nearly unanimous speculation as to who was next turned out to be right on. Proson was not swayed by this, the pick was all too obvious. Try as they might to hide him, Kim Jung Un did visit a South Korean prison the next morning.

That was enough for now. The alien waited to see the fallout from his meddling. He left Fidel alone, since it was only current despots he was interested in. That was the message he hoped these primitives got. Apparently, as usual, the human race got it wrong. Faraday cages were suddenly a hot item. For everyone, not just creepos.

Raul was returned to Cuba. That news was overshadowed by the deliberate timing of Bashar Al Assad's appearance in Ramadi, an ISIS stronghold at the moment being hotly contested. The Faraday cage had been ineffective. As live video was being shown of his imminent beheading, the Syrian president was beamed to a Turkish prison.

Safe to say that neither would have made his wish list.

Every world leader was naturally worried sick. El Sisi announced reforms, political prisoners were released, Myanmar changed its name back to Burma, there were several resignations and a space meddler got a big laugh out of it all.

Despite a lot of saber rattling and claim/counterclaim, basically nothing happened as they waited to see who was next. After a lull, a summit was announced to see what to do with the deposed despots. That concept gained traction when Raul found himself on Calle Ocho three days after he was returned to Havana. Putin's demanded ransom was still being negotiated when he agreed to withdraw from Syria. It was not to allow him to attend the conference. Speznaz had failed to rescue him due to repeated equipment failures. The price for his release was rather high and he went straight to Moscow.

The result of the meeting was that something needed to be done about the obviously hostile presence above. Despite dim prospects, a nuclear-tipped missile was prepared for use against the aliens.

It got about a hundred feet off the pad.

The Russians had been working on a new top secret design. When a "test firing" was conducted a few days later, the control module appeared in NASA's Ames Research Center's parking lot. It was clear no one was getting into orbit without permission.

It was also abundantly clear they were being monitored. An agreement was reached to unite in defense against any invasion and use small tactical nuclear devices only against an alien ship if it was engaged in aggression.

Proson had learned enough. As malignant as their political structure was, his kind had no use for a planet that would be largely destroyed by its inhabitants rather than be conquered. He had noted the example of Japan, which only surrendered when helplessly facing total annihilation. There were over seven billion possible defenders below, many armed to the teeth.

There were easier targets to be found. Ones that did not have over two hundred divisive states, some of which seemed to constantly at war with someone.

He left these oppugnants alone to sort out the mess he left behind, never once identifying himself. On the way out of the solar system, he did stop off at Jupiter's rings to refuel. The place was practically an interstellar gas station, reaction mass conveniently located in orbit. Saturn next door had even more perfectly sized chunks of material available.

This pitstop was noted by Kepler, which showed an insignificant amount of material gathered.

Proson's message sent home would include all this, everything he had done. It would be up to the warlords to decide how to proceed. He would have no personal input, but if his opinion was a part of the infobeam, it would just be the same obvious conclusion that his supervisors would get from his gatherings.

These Humans were no challenge now.

But if pressed for more insights, he would have to say that give them some time and if they don't blow each other up, watch out.

Political will was a huge part of Proson's training. The ship basically ran itself, recycling material with help from the large planet.

He had done his part. Standard procedure was to motivate those sapients who needed a boot where it hurt.

Now it was just a matter of when.

When to do a follow up check.

Proson had a sneaking suspicion it might not be a pleasure.

end

CONTENTS


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