The Tales of Future Past Short Story Contest!
A Matter of Scale
"Hold fast, men!" shouted the high commander, seizing the edge of the grand cannon as it swung in the lunar wind.
"Sir, the Magarian saucer has damaged our shields! We can't take another direct hit!"
The commander looked between the swaying scaffolding and the ship that loomed above them. "We cannot abandon our ultimate goal! We must stay the course! Power up the grand cannon's mega-gun!"
"Stand together!" he called. "And stand tall! Remember this day, when the Magarians fell and the blue planet trembled at the scope of our power! Soon all will know the Harumvar, and cower at the name!"
"Harumvar!" The mighty roar went up, and the commander smiled grimly. The Magarians had been standing between the Harumvar and their conquest of the universe for too long now. But today, all that would end. He would use the grand cannon, first to take care of the Magarian fleet, and then to boil away the blue planet's water. The creatures of that planet would have no choice but to bow to his wishes. No longer could they ignore the Harumvar, hoping the Magarian dogs would protect them.
"Sir! The saucer is powering up its electro-magnetic ultra-disruptor!"
"Where is my mega-gun?"
"It's only at thirty-nine percent!"
"Prepare to fire anyway!"
The machine thrummed below his clawed feet as the sparks began to snap between the great electrodes. The saucer's disrupter glowed a threatening red.
But before the focus crystal began to glow, the saucer's disrupter sparked to life, its red electricity illuminating the landscape and reflecting in the Harumvar's huge eyes for the instant before it smashed directly into the crystal with an explosion that rocked the ground and shook the Harumvar off their feet. Those in the forward post were thrown backwards in the blast, some burning away in the heat of the disrupter ray. The commander clung to the scaffolding as the cannon rocked back and forth, and the grand army began to scatter. "Hold your posts! Stand firm!"
The saucer spun above them, coming in for a second blast, when suddenly it jerked aside, as if noticing something. The commander stared, and realized his panicking troops were pointing not at the ship, but at the huge dark slab that loomed above it, blocking out the sky, spreading from horizon to horizon. To his horror, he saw that it was dropping slowly down towards the base, the grand cannon, and the Magarian ship. There was no escape. With a sudden shock of terror, he abandoned his post. "Run! Run for the underground caves!"
They wouldn't make it. The saucer was racing for the horizon but it too was doomed. What manner of villainy was this? He stopped. The blue planet. The blue planet had betrayed their Magarian allies and come to destroy them all. He nodded, realizing now that the blue planet's inhabitants were the brilliant ones, that they had silently bided their time until this moment. What a fool he had been, to underestimate his enemy! He stopped and straightened, standing tall before the end, watching his troops scatter in fear before the conquering weapon of the blue planet. The conquest of the universe would continue, but without the Harumvar.
The saucer was struck by the slab, and careened out of control and into a mountain, which crumbled beneath the slab's rippled surface. It blocked out the sky, the planet, the horizon. The grand cannon buckled. The commander squared his shoulders as the terrible weapon of the blue planet dropped to the surface, crushing him, his army, his people, and his enemy. Dust billowed out on all sides, and silence fell, save for a distant voice from above, like the utterance of God Himself.
"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."