The Flea People had always lived in relative peace, jumping about from their job to their house and back again, and then jumping wherever else they desired to go. Valuing space and privacy, they lived far from each other but in a jump or two could go visiting with their neighbors. They always had many friends. But north of their kingdom lay the desolate swamps of the Mosquito Men, vicious flying pests who spent much of their time managing blood banks, running emergency blood drives, and invading other nations in order to steal their alizarin, ferrine nectar.
Of course, the Flea People had always known they would be targeted at some point.
It was only a matter of when.
Corporal James Fixen gave his commanding officer a tour of the facility which was producing their most secret weapon.
“It’s completely classified– we’ve had psychologists, engineers, electricians, and inventors working on this thing for months. It will be the most powerful mosquito-destroying device in history. And it’s finally near completion.”
“It is impressive, all right,” replied the commander, in awe of the machine, a hundred-foot-tall glasslike rod surrounded by a sturdy metal grate with holes large enough for mosquito people to fit through. It had a few large sacks of aromatic materiel hanging at various points from the grate. He had the feeling it would be awesome when turned on.
“But do you know that it will be ready in time? I have heard bad news from the North,” said the officer somberly.
“I am not sure,” the other man was forced to admit.
A hundred miles northwards, in the diminutive town of Fleafersson, the villagers slept in damp, musty beds, windows open to the humid sanguine air. One of them, Carl, stirred in the midst of a bad dream.
“Something feels wrong,” he thought to himself, hearing a very low-pitched droning off in the distance. “But it doesn’t really sound like mosquitoes…”
The town was only twenty miles from the beginning of mosquito territory, and in it, small outgrowths of swamp fought aggressively to usurp the drier land.
Carl noticed the sound getting louder and nearly overhead.
He was afraid. Carl blinked in nervous anticipation.
A noise like a glugging of a fifty five gallon bucket sounded and the flea man watched as a veritable sea of water fell from a titanic mosquitoan airship above. The water danced slowly, beautifully, swirling into every curve and crevice possible on its way down, then it crashed with reckless force onto the flea houses and destroyed the pristine dryness of the landscape, flooding it almost instantaneously.
Carl saw the aqueous substance invade his house quickly, climbing up foot by foot until it was at his neck. He escaped out of his bedroom window and swum vigorously until he had conquered the depth of the water, his head emerging soaking from it as an idol of his bravery.
“But what about my wife…” he thought, as she had been sound asleep the whole time. A few tense moments later, she emerged from the house as well, waterlogged but alive.
Luckily for that little family, it is nearly impossible to drown a flea.
The flea army deployed a large guard to the northern border after the unsuccessful mosquito water attack.
But the enemy was not finished yet. They had a secret weapon of their own, and it was already primed for use.
A small division of guards waited in the grimy northern trenches. Their job was to observe the no-man’s-land between the two territories.
Mike shot the breeze with his friend most of the time but now he suddenly was silent. There was a noise, more vibratory and sharp then the sound of the previous attack. Mike froze, and forced himself to use all of his will to muster a cry for help.
“Anti-air! I hear planes!” he shouted. One by one, his comrades noticed and the gunners jumped into their two powerful flea cannons. They at last found the opposing assault force, no less than five large bombers.
“This is serious business!” someone yelled. Mike grabbed his gun and fired several times but the mosquito planes had so much agility they were nearly impossible to hit. They came closer and closer, but did not fire upon the fleas or drop any ordinance.
“Wait!” yelled Mike. “They’re not trying to attack us at all!” He ran towards the commander. “They’re coming for another city! If they were going to bomb us, they would have dropped them already!”
Nobody listened to the lone guard, however, as they were all too busy panicking and firing.
Before long, an anti-air gunner dialed in the sights properly and sunk one of the mosquito bombers. Greasy black smoke poured out of it as it sank slowly towards the ground, crippled. The gunner had not intended for it to be landing right on top of them.
The disabled ship fell closer and closer to the ground with screaming velocity.
“Run!” yelled Mike. He leaped two hundred yards out of the way, to safety, but some of the other soldiers were too barricaded-in or too afraid to move. The once monolithic plane shattered into bits upon contact with the ground and its payload exploded outwards in a gargantuan chemical bubble.
All the flea men hit by the chemical “medicine” were killed instantly. Mike and a handful of others looked on in horror and realized that they were the only survivors.
Far from the dangerous backwater hinterland of the northern territories was the capital of the kingdom. Leer, Most Honorable King of Fleas, sat on his brown throne and discussed public transportation with several members of his advisory board.
Suddenly, news came in of a skirmish on the northern border.
“Send reinforcements to the area,” replied the King.
“But they are coming further south. It’s not us that need reinforcing– it’s you.”
“Pah! We’re sufficiently reinforced. I told you once and I shall not tell you again, I am sending you help. Now be satisfied with it.”
The officer on the other side of the radio grunted from dissatisfaction but stayed silent to preserve his job. The King resumed his colorless conversation about various transport-related practicalities, number of collisions per year, (1375) amount of jumps required to travel five miles (the average distance to get to work, 126) and the state of air transportation. (very poor)
King Leer looked out the Royal Window and saw four giant mosquito bombers headed towards the city.
“Tell the army to man the cannons!” he commanded. King Leer knew it was already too late, though. At most they would only down half the planes before they emptied their payloads on the city. He was correct, and even worse, the planes that did get shot down did their share of damage as well.
Gigantic gravity-powered projectiles fell smoothly towards the ground in an increasingly-steeper logarithm curve. Upon contact with the ground, they deployed huge clouds of toxic smoke which overtook the streets instantly and suffocated thousands upon thousands of flea people.
“Lock down the palace!” cried the King. An assistant pressed all the emergency buttons and the windows and grates closed just as the shockwave of chems reached the grounds.
“Just in time,” whispered the King, relieved but still terrified.
A minute later, the final bomber was shot down, but the fleas had payed a terrible price; a tenth of their national population had been decimated in three short minutes.
Riding off their previous momentum, the mosquitoes buzzed towards the town of Fleafersson in myriad numbers.
The local guards and police had set up a few mechanical defense mechanisms in order to try to stem the tide, but they were obliterated by the mosquitoes’ giant superiority complex, a huge rolling machine which fired cannons and lasers and several other indescribable weapons in unfailing succession. The fleas were slowly overwhelmed, and Mike and his wife looked in at the carnage from the edge of the woods. Their enemies were breaking into houses and finding people on the street in order to stick them through with their terrible bloodsucking probisci.
The screaming was awful, and pale bloodless flea bodies littered the street.
“We have to go,” intoned Carl, and the two fleas fleed as quickly as possible, just in time to avoid becoming two more victims of the slaughter.
Wave after wave of flying terrors invaded the land, crushing the border outposts and pouring down further into the riper, less guarded cities of the central province of the kingdom.
King Leer sat pensively on his throne, and there was a knock at the palace door. They let in a very strange-looking flea, who demanded to speak directly with the king. He was escorted over forthwith.
“Who are you?” demanded King Leer.
“I am a messenger of the Most Gallant and Brave Mosquitoes, and I have come to negotiate terms of surrender, for we have already taken over nearly half of your kingdom.”
The creature handed King Leer a piece of two hundred pound weight cream paper engraved with elaborate script. The King read it over, to the dismay of his advisors.
“I do not agree with these terms, and I must speak to my advisors.”
“I am not allowed to give you much time to make you mind up. I need a decision in two hours,” replied the pesky messenger.
“I will tell you by the close of the deadline,” replied King Leer. “Now go.” He shooed him off. The King and his panel argued over what to do, whether to surrender with high benefits or fight to the bitter end or compromise. They received news shortly of yet another city being overrun and sacked by the bloodsuckers. King Leer rubbed his aching head and sighed.
At the appointed time, the flea/mosquito messenger arrived for his second visit.
“Have you made up your mind?” he inquired.
“Yes,” replied the King. “We will accept surrender with heavy beneficial provisions. If you do not agree with these terms, we will keep fighting until we cannot fight any more.”
“And what are these terms?” asked the messenger, irritated. The King and his panel explained them all, and was countered by opposing propositions. Slowly, they worked through the details and ended up with a tolerable document.
The messenger slid the paper to the King and handed him a pen.
One last time, he read over the words, and the started pangs in his heart. But reluctantly, he began to bring pen to paper.
Then a man recognizable as the research-and-development corporal appeared at the front door and ran in an urgent rush towards the King. He stopped signing.
“King Leer, sir! We have completed the project!” he said, smiling.
“I do not believe it!” The King stopped the pen instantly.
“Yes, it is ready for deployment right now. Who is this fellow here?” he asked, meaning the strangely-dressed messenger.
“He need not be here. He is a vassal of the Mosquitoes.”
The corporal’s jaw dropped. Knowing he had no other choice, not about to wait around for the others, he pulled out his pistol and fired three times at the messenger, who tried to jump away but was executed promptly upon landing by the palace guards. The King tore up the surrender document.
“Give ’em hell,” he ordered, grimacing.
The gigantic secret weapon was rolled out by a thousand fleas onto the largest public park in the capital. It was difficult finding a 480-volt plug to conduct the power, but with the help of creative thinking and a dozen extension cords, the corporal was able to pull the power lever. The machine turned on in a beautiful hazy purple light. A frenetic electrical pulsation began. Already, nearby mosquitoes found themselves attracted to the machine.
“So what exactly does it DO?” asked the King, who could see the faraway device from his throne room.
“I’m not sure,” replied an advisor.
Then the King observed a wispy little mosquito moving closer and closer to the device as though it was on autopilot. when he finally hit it
he was electrocuted and fell hopelessly to the ground, dead and shriveled up by the grievous shock. The bait pouches were working perfectly; before long every enemy in a ten mile radius was on their way to certain destruction. The King smiled widely and joy welled up inside him every time he heard the telltale clamorous sizzling.
An infantry counter offensive was created and the rest of the enemies were pushed back and eliminated a day later.
The fleas had won, and the Kingdom was free, due to the all-powerful bug zapper.
And far to the north, Carl and his partner observed, from the wilderness, every occupying mosquito be pulled by some invisible stimuli or order towards the south.
Knowing it was now safe, they entered their town, which was a ruin from all the fighting and maiming that had occurred so recently. Bob, Jane, Tristan, Larry, Peter, Paul, Rob, and Wendy were all dead, laying there in lifeless piles. And those were just the ones Carl could quickly identify.
There were just as many crushed, limb-filled mosquito corpses.
“All this so they could feed their kids,” he said wistfully.
There was a moment of silence.
“That is the cost of war,” replied his wife.