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The Rise and Fall of Bob

Astronomers all over the Earth said it couldn't be happening. They said it was like watching a pile of broken glass on the floor leap up to a table top and assemble itself into a tumbler. They watched the balls of rock gather themselves from all over the Solar System, even from as far away as the Oort Cloud where comets originate. The asteroids were congregating at the L1 libration point between the Earth and Sun, a scant million miles distant. Fortunately not one rock struck the Earth, although there were close calls.

By a mechanism unknown to Earth science the yellow-hot liquid rock cooled almost instantly to red, then became a nearby twin planet. From it's position at L1, it permanently eclipsed the Sun. The only light came from the sun's thin corona and the meager reflection from the moon. Temperatures immediately began to fall all over the Earth.

The UFO cultists said it was a sign the Mothership was coming to beam up all True Believers. The Christians said it was God come to punish the Earth with destruction for allowing all the gays and lesbians and liberals and treehuggers and evolutionists to live.

Unbelievably, a spaceship was dispatched to Earth. From the planet, radio broadcasts were sent to soothe Earth's fears. They said, in broken English, "H'Trae attack not you."

No one knew exactly why everyone in the little town of Cascade, Maryland was dead, Maybe it was a viral outbreak. Maybe a toxic chemical leak from a passing train. But the alien ship made straight for Cascade and landed in a parking lot in the center of town. An alien emerged from the ship and saw that there were forty-six bodies strewn around the parking lot. By the time the media arrived, the alien had already revived half of them, and they watched as the rest of the town's population was revived one by one with a bright yellow ray.

He was remarkably ordinary. Humanoid. Brown hair, brown eyes, bronze skin. His face looked like the sum over average of all ordinary faces. Even his clothes were ordinary. He wore a gray suit. His jacket and slacks were light gray, and his shirt was dark gray. Black shoes. Only his red tie lent any color.

He uttered a dire prophesy. "Yet five days more, and the Earth shall be destroyed!" When the reporters asked if he was Jesus, he said, "No!" When they asked if he was Elijah or Moses, he said, "No!" Finally they asked, "Who are you then?" He replied, "I AM LORD TREBOR!"

But the reporters saw the townspeople, who had been dead and were now alive, and they hailed Trebor as "The Friend Of Mankind."

The National Security Agency had been alerted right away, and in consultations with the President had decided to supply an agent to act as a liason with the intruder. Agent Robert Drol was chosen as the person Lord Trebor would feel the most safe with. "You're the spitting image of him," they told Robert. "You even have the same taste in clothes."

Trebor accepted Robert as his liason officer, and repeated his warning (for the record) that in five days, the Earth would be destroyed.

By ten AM Robert wrote a report of Trebor's belief on his laptop computer and transmitted it to his supervisor via the NSA intranet, who accepted it.

The head of the NSA herself, who had browsed the report, offered Trebor a position at the agency as a GS-13 analyst. Robert objected that Trebor wasn't even an American citizen. The National Security Advisor just smiled and said, "Things have been set in motion to correct that little oversight."

At 11 AM the President himself summoned Trebor to the Oval Office, where he conferred upon him American citizenship "from a grateful nation." Robert was delighted, and invited Trebor out to lunch.

When they were seated by the waiter immediately after being greeted at the door, Trebor spotted a five dollar tip that had been left by someone and pocketed it.

Robert watched in disgust as Trebor vomited up pieces of steak one by one and arranged them on his plate. He gave the plate a quarter-turn and pushed it halfway across the table toward Robert.

Robert accepted the plate and pulled it toward him, giving it another quarter turn. Trebor watched in disgust as Robert devoured the pieces of steak one by one.

Robert reached into his pocket and found five dollars, which he left as a tip. The waiter escorted both of them out of the restaurant immediately.

At 1 PM the President himself summoned Robert to the Oval Office, where he stripped away his American Citizenship for "ingratitude to the nation."

The National Security Advisor called Robert on the carpet and she told him, in no uncertain terms, that since he had lost his citizenship his employment as a GS-13 analyst was to be terminated immediately. "Please clean out your desk and check out with security."

By 2 PM Robert's former supervisor sent back his report with a single word appended to it: REJECTED.

Frustrated, Robert erased the report of Trebor's prediction of the Earth's destruction from his laptop.

The National Security Agency, after consultations with the President, directed agent Trebor to stay away from Robert. "You look too much alike," they told him. "That could be dangerous."

Robert was vilified as a fraudulent messiah by the reporters. "Trebor is the Enemy Of Mankind!" one of them yelled. Robert realized that his brown hair, his brown eyes, his bronze skin, his average face and even ordinary clothes had caused them to mistake him for Trebor. He wore the same gray suit as Trebor. His jacket and slacks were light gray like Trebor's, and his shirt was dark gray. Black shoes. Only his blue tie served to differentiate him from the alien. In a loud voice, he screamed, "I AM NOT TREBOR!"

Robert denied Trebor's prophesy that the Earth would be destroyed. "Yet five days more, and the Earth shall remain!" But the reporters lost interest in this un-prophet who was "predicting" what was *NOT* going to happen.

Therefore Robert began killing the curious residents of Cascade, Maryland with a bright yellow ray. Twenty-three bodies lay strewn around the ship. The reporters figured he was doing this to get attention. Although he had killed half of the town's population, the media, with a collective yawn, left to hunt bigger stories. Some of them told their viewers it was probably a toxic leak from a passing train. Others said it might be a viral outbreak, but no one knew exactly.

Unbelievably, Robert fled to H'Trae in the spaceship. From the planet, radio broadcasts were sent to placate Earth. They said, "You not attack H'Trae."

The UFO cultists said the Mothership had been diverted to Eta Cassiopeia and would therefore be slightly delayed beaming up all True Believers. The Christians said all the gays and lesbians and liberals and treehuggers and evolutionists who had been put to death had appeased the LORD so His judgement was to be slightly delayed.

By a mechanism well known to H'Trae science the Earth glowed yellow-hot, then instantly became a boiling collection of liquid rock that splattered across the sky. Astronomers all over H'Trae said it had been inevitable. They watched the Earth shatter as if it were a tumbler falling off a table top to become a pile of broken glass. They watched the red-hot asteroids that were pieces of the Earth fling themselves even to as far away as the Oort Cloud, where comets go. Fortunately not one rock struck H'Trae, although there were close calls.

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