“I think I see where we went wrong,” Globflorb said, wiggling his tentacle at the monitor. “Right here, we should have put some sort of box or something there.” The human test subject had broken their invasion simulation, climbing up through a hole in the ceiling and walking over all of their carefully planned defenses, instead reaching their castle-like, brick ship and raising the flag of victory without a scratch. They had been outsmarted, but thankfully only in a transmitted simulation. The humans merely thought it a “video game,” as they called it.
“Where?” Blastglarp said, his eye-stalk lifting up off his green, rounded head and slapping loudly against the screen, his eyeball rubbing against its glass. “I don’t see it.”
“At the top,” Globflorb said. “Right here, where the Mario jumps. There’s an opening that he just wanders into, using the clouds to lead him to victory.”
“What’s a ‘the Mario’?” Blastglarp said.
“That’s what the humans call their avatar, a Mario. They think he is a plumber or something, not a simple test dummy.”
“What’s a Plumber?” Blastglarp said.
“I think it’s something that eats lumber in ‘P’ shapes.”
“And lumber is?” Blastglarb said, blinking out of synchronization. He closed his left eye first, followed by his middle eye, then his right eye, and finally his northern most eye. The remainder did nothing. Globflarb had come to recognize that behavior as his “I have no idea what’s going on” twitch, which seemed to happen a lot these days.
“Forget it,” Globflarb said, wiggling his tentacle at the monitor again. “Focus. Right here, this is where he jumps over our defense plants and attack turtles, instead disappearing into the sky.”
“I see,” Blastglarp said. “What was your solution again?”
“We should put a box right where he jumps up, so Mario can’t disappear into the skybox.”
“Good idea,” Blastglarp said. “Just to confirm, what is a box again?”
“Didn’t you do any research into the human vernacular? You speak it well, but you have no grasp on the concepts.“ Globflarb rolled most of his eyes and carefully slithered over to the far corner of the shuttle, his tentacles slapping against the ground as he strolled. He stopped in front of a small, cubed object, then smacked his face directly onto it. “This is a box,” he said, his mouth pressed up against its metal exterior.
“Oh, like a slatankaxaiog?”
“Exactly, a box is what humans call a slatankaxaiog.”
“Great,” Blastglarp said. “So, I have another question,” he said, his eyes again blinking out of order.
“What?” Globflarb said, slowly slithering his way back over to the monitor.
“The human avatar, the Mario, he breaks slatankaxaiogs with his head. Sorry, I mean boxes.”
Globflarb paused, his left-most tentacle lifting up to his rounded head and softly rubbing against it. Blastglarp had a pretty good point, the Mario was great at breaking boxes.
“What about if we put, like, some sort of metal box there?” Globflarb said, turning toward the ships cockpit and staring out at the tiny, blue planet in the distance.
“Like some sort of golden box with a question mark on it?” Blastglarp said.
“Yeah, exactly.” A small, black rock flew past the cockpit window, vanishing into the infinite emptiness of what the humans referred to as “space.”
“Don’t the humans derive power from our gold boxes,” Blastglarp said, a thick line of liquid seeping out from his eye-stalk. He had such poor manners, always venting his Glarkanax in clear view of anyone. It was simply disgusting. Still, Blastglarp only had three fathers, so Globflarb did his best to ignore it. He couldn’t choose his upbringing.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” Globflarb said, his tentacles again returning to his soft, round head. He stared up at the ceiling to try to give Blastglarp what little privacy he could while his Glarkanax vented.
“Wait, I have an idea,” Blastglarp said, his eye-stalk spiraling out of his head and coming to a stop just before the glass of the monitor, liquid splattering against the screen. “Right here.”
“What?” Globflarb said.
“We can put several slow moving Lastaxious here.”
“Goombas,” Globflarb interrupted. “Use their words so we’re comfortable communicating when we achieve victory.”
“Sorry, Goombas. We’ll put like six Goombas on the ground, just under these blocks. So when he tries to jump up on top and disappear into the clouds, he’ll instead die. It’s flawless.”
Globflarb stared at the monitor, his head tilted slightly, six of his tentacles tapping against the ground. They could certainly fit a few Goombas in there, but was it too cruel? They hadn’t been tasked with obliterating the human race, just with enslaving them. Unleashing even more Goombas onto them might result in their extinction, just as it had with their people.
It was still fresh in Globflarb’s mind, the attack occurring only seven hundred Earth years prior. A handful of Goombas had escaped their enclosures, wandering in a straight line and reaping chaos on their planet. Within a few hours, almost everyone had been killed. The Xaeganian people, unable to jump and move in three dimensions, were all but wiped out, with only several ships managing to take off and fly in a straight line toward the hope of salvation. They needed the Earth, needed to harness its people and its planet, to try to recover their species from the edge of collapse. Still, it didn’t feel right to subject them to the same fate as the Xaeganians.
“Is it too extreme?” Globflarb said. “I mean, six Goombas? There’s already, like, eight of them there. Four took out our race, imagine what they’d do to them.”
“They asked for this when they glitched out of our simulation,” Blastglarp said. “We can’t risk our colony’s future. We need to put ourselves first.”
“But can’t humans jump?” Globflarb said. Their research and simulations suggested humanity had evolved the ability to move in vertically , but—thankfully—didn’t seem to be able to move in any directions other than forward and a few feet backward, like the Xaeganians. He hoped to Yglaxiouxziu, Destroyed of Worlds and Eater of Galaxies, they were right.
“Yes, but six times in a row? Be realistic.”
Globflarb sighed, his right-most tentacle slithering toward the monitor and drawing out the path The Mario had used to escape their prior simulation, hopping up over their boxes and into the sky above. Goombas would certainly cut off his path. Once humanity had been dealt with, they could simply wait out the relatively short lifespan of the Goombas from within the ship.
“All right,” he said. “If we must.”
“Great,” Blastglarp said, wandering over to the corner of the shuttle. “Let’s suit up, we’ve got an invasion to start.”
“Here we go,” Globflarb said, staring at the green, scaled space suits hanging by the ship’s door. They wouldn’t be able to breathe in the Earth’s atmosphere, but all their research suggested their suits should hold up. He watched as Blastglarp slipped into his, the yellow torso fitting snugly over his engorged frame, its long, white face with red resistance thread poking out at the top. The green, spiked air tank looked heavy and cumbersome, but it was their key to survival. He just wished the tailor had gotten their names right on the badges, instead of mangling them as “Bowser” and “King Koopa.” They hadn’t even gotten close.