1957: Menace of the Brass Monkey
“Awaken, ugly space chimp.”
The Gray alien slowly opened his huge eyes. He was in pain, and he was groggy. Was he drugged, or dying? When his eyes focused he saw a bulky metal figure standing before him.
“The Brass Monkey,” the alien said, “or should I call you Lord McAllister?”
“Brass Monkey will suffice. Only my friends call me Lord McAllister.”
“So, that would be who exactly? Nobody?”
The Brass Monkey laughed. “You are a spirited one, I see. I expect more from you than I got from your fellows.”
The Gray looked about the dingy room. It was littered with the twisted corpses of his crew. “I see you deserve your reputation for cruelty.”
“Actually, I think that characterization is unfair. I get no joy from killing. I just find it to be a useful skill. Aside from that, you speaking to me about cruelty is somewhat of a kettle-pot situation. Don’t you think?”
“Those cattle you eviscerate and leave for the birds to pick at. Poor dumb beasts.”
“You’re joking, of course.”
The Brass Monkey shrugged.
“Okay,” the Gray said, “let’s quit with this childishness and tell me what you want.”
“I would love nothing more, but first a warning. If you ever again speak to me with such a tone, I will begin ripping off your arms and legs. As to your question, I have what I want. I have your spaceship.”
“You are welcome to it. Have fun learning its secrets.”
“I shall. Especially now that I have discovered and disabled the self-destruct device.”
“Well, you're more clever than I imagined. Fine. You have what you want. What then is the purpose of this conversation?”
“Your technology is truly alien. I shall unfold its secrets more quickly once I have your help.”
“Do not count on my assistance. You will find you have no leverage with me. We are trained to think of ourselves as dead when we are captured. Dead men tell no tales.”
“Perhaps. Perhaps not. Your fellows certainly screamed enough for dead men. Despite your defiance, I’m sure we can strike an agreement.”
“I see no profit in helping you achieve your ignoble goals.”
“Ignoble? Ignoble? How dare you, you nasty creature. I have the most noble of intentions. I plan to bring order to the world so that mankind may enjoy a golden era of peace. The best way to achieve this, of course, is to amass a truly unanswerable level of destructive power, and prove willing to use it.”
The alien laughed. “What a primitive creature. You are far too ignorant to see your own insignificance.”
“I warned you about your tone.”
Moments later the Brass Monkey was bandaging the open wound where the alien's left leg once joined the hip. “Your fellows screamed far more after suffering less than this” the Brass Monkey said. I'm impressed.”
The Gray's massive forehead was covered with cold sweat. “Have you no humanity left in you? Why don't you just kill me?”
The Brass Monkey chuckled. “That reminds me of a joke. I won't tell it as I have never been able to master that art. For what it's worth the punch line is: 'a pig that good you don't eat all at once'. No, my friend, I see worth in you. I intend to have your service even if there is nothing left but a severed head attached to a machine. Yes, I know how to do such a thing.”
The gray alien could not imagine a worse fate than being so entirely dependent upon a cruel being such as the Brass Monkey. Such a fate he would avoid if he could, and he quite possibly could.
“Which self-destruct device did you disable? What was its nature?” the gray alien asked.
The Brass Monkey stared at the alien for a moment. “It was designed to activate the deep space drive and redirect that power into the ship. Why?”
“No reason, just making conversation.” The alien closed his eyes and began to control his breathing.
“There is another such device? Tell me. Tell me now.”
“Hush, Lord McAllister.”
“What are you doing? Are you making telepathic contact with your ship?”
“Don’t be silly. Only the ship’s captain would be capable of such a thing.”
“Stop it. I demand that you stop it now.”
Outside the dingy room, hidden under a camouflaged tarp, the alien vessel began to power up.
“This is why nobody likes your kind. You are so unreasonable!” The Brass Monkey grasped the alien’s head in one of his massive metal hands. “Stop it! Stop it now!”
“Too late,” the alien said with a smile. That expression was foreign to him, but he wanted it to be the last thing the Brass Monkey ever saw. The space ship exploded with an enormous flash of light.
Later, the Brass Monkey found and reattached his head and then hobbled about the still smoking crater in search of his left hand. It would be a bonus if he stumbled upon his missing right foot in the process, but the hand was far more valuable. He had to hurry. Even in this far corner of the world it would not be long before the authorities arrived, possibly even Justice Patrol. He was in no condition to deal with such a nuisance.
To be so close to technology such as the space ship only to have it snatched away was galling. Nothing less advanced than that would suffice now. His plans were to grand for anything else.