When the people of the Galactic Alliance of a Hundred Thousand Sentient Worlds whisper of the species known as the Glau, this is what they say:
which begs the question of course—
what do they eat?
and the answer to that question is always, no matter who is doing the asking,
when the infant in the golden pod crash lands on the underdeveloped planet known as Earth, it already has all its teeth.
(it's such a beautiful thing, that golden pod, smooth and shining and perfect, made to fascinate and entice: pick me up take me home keep me forever)
(forever forever forever)
Here is what else the people of the Hundred Thousand Sentient Worlds say when they speak of the Glau:
on that backwater planet, there is a bird known as the cuckoo who lays its eggs in the nests of other birds
our baby can fly, says the woman who takes the infant from the golden pod
(there's a cuckoo in the nest)
The infant, renamed Wayne Scott by the woman who takes it from the golden pod, refuses to eat and it screams and it screams and it screams and it will not be satisfied until the day she's holding it in her arms and singing to it and it turns its head and
she buys blood from the butcher and mixes it with milk and the child eats and laughs and smiles with all its teeth.
(after her surgery, you can hardly even see the scars)
And this is what the Hundred Thousand Sentient Worlds say of the attack that ended the war against the Glau by pulling the entire quadrant of space infested with them into an artificial black hole:
It was self defense.
The Hundred Thousand say of the species known as the M'ega (when they bother to talk of them at all): they are delicate, timid, and of no particular historical importance.
there was a saying, on M'ega, when there were yet M'ega to say it: never fight when you can run.
(but you cannot run from a black hole.)
(the incidental destruction of the planet of the M'ega during the Glaupunkt Quadrant Black Hole Event is termed a regrettable necessity by the Hundred Thousand and swiftly forgotten.)
The blue infant who crash lands on the planet known as earth (in a pod cobbled together from scraps and hope and desperation) almost dies of the common cold six separate times in the first year alone.
The warden of the Metro City prison spends a lot of time in the prison infirmary that first year, looking at the exhausted blue body hooked up to tubes and monitors, watching as the skinny chest rises and falls, rises and falls, certain that each new breath will be the last
come on kid he whispers
across the city, another infant with too many teeth drinks milk mixed with blood and laughs and grows strong.
(across the expanse of the stars, the military officers of the Hundred Thousand are busy with what they term the 'mopping up' stage. The Glau have officially been classified as too dangerous to live, and orders call for a complete eradication.)
what a beautiful son you have, people tell Lady Scott, who smiles serenely (you can hardly see the scars). She never feeds her son in public.
(no one mentions the way there seems to be something subtly off about the child, something you see out of the corner of your eye and sense in the back of your mind but can't quite put your finger on)
(humans are unaccustomed to feeling like prey)
The blue child and the child known as Wayne Scott sit on the brightly colored story rug in the 'Lil Gifted School and listen as the teacher reads a story about a wolf in sheep's clothing, and the blue child's wide green eyes fix themselves unerringly on the child known as Wayne Scott.
(the M'ega are accustomed to feeling like prey)
Later, the blue child stands against a wall as the child known as Wayne Scott shows the human children how to throw the dodge balls really hard. They throw until the blue child falls down.
When the blue child rises again
(falls and rises falls and rises)
it has a long red scrape down its arm.
That afternoon, Wayne Scott sits at the kitchen table and eats a snack of blood and milk and oatmeal cookies and for the first time, does not feel satisfied with this meal.
The next time the class at the 'Lil Gifted School plays dodgeball, the blue child falls down once more and rises up with bloody scrapes across its palms and Wayne Scott stares at the
red red red
in a fascinated way and licks his lips
Here is what else they say of the Glau:
they like to play with their food.
there was a saying, on M'ega, when there were yet M'ega to say it: never fight when you can run.
(this bit of wisdom offers no guidance as to what you should do when you cannot run)
(come on kid, fight)
The Hundred Thousand say that the M'ega are delicate
(falls and rises again bleeding, but it rises, it rises)
and they say that they are timid
(challenge me if you dare)
and they say that they are unimportant
(you are destined for—)
destiny's a funny thing.
Metro Man is always hungry. He eats steak tartare and blood sausage and breaks the bones of roasted chickens open with his strong white teeth and sucks the marrow from them with gusto and he is never satisfied.
"Wow," Roxanne says dryly, seated across the table—their first meal together, after an interview— "you're pretty hungry, huh?"
Metro Man smiles at her
(too many teeth)
"You have no idea, he says.
Metro Man sees Roxanne as almost a friend.
(He only thinks occasionally of tearing her throat out with his teeth.)
Here is what Metro Man knows, down in his bones: one day, he will tire of this game he plays with the prey that now calls itself Megamind.
And on that day, the day that he becomes bored at last of playing with his food, he will turn his head and he will
and that will be an end to it.
but oh, destiny is a funny thing, and on that day, the day he tires of the game, Metro Man thinks to end it in the swift red strike he has pictured for so long
and the thought
(yes, destiny is a funny thing indeed)
Later,when the hybrid creature that calls itself Tighten takes Roxanne up to the top of Metro Tower and tells her to beg her hero to come for her, he looks at her as if he's hungry, and something about that expression terrifies Roxanne on a number of levels, only some of them conscious)
But of course her hero comes for her
(you dare challenge Megamind?)
And he wins.
The people of the Galactic Alliance of a Hundred Thousand Sentient Worlds do not have an official name for the underdeveloped backwater planet known to its denizens as "Earth", though the Commander of the military vessel charged with tracking down the last surviving member of the Glau race refers to it, in conversation with his Lieutenant, with a term that translates roughly to "horrible little shithole".
The mission goes smoothly—the Hundred Thousand Sentient Worlds have had plenty of time to develop a weapon that successfully incapacitates a Glau without having to resort to generating another black hole.
There is a small stir when the local inhabitants of "Earth" gather around the landing party to protest this treatment of the Glau prisoner, and another small stir when the landing party discovers that, among the local inhabitants, there is a M'ega.
The Commander, who is old enough to remember the M'ega and their splendid essential cooperativeness with authority, steps forward to talk to the delightful blue creature.
The M'ega glares at him, which makes the Commander blink in surprise.
"What are you doing?" the M'ega asks, the universal translator relaying the message into Basic for the landing party.
The Commander explains.
"No," Megamind says.
The Commander looks at him in astonishment.
He explains again.
"Yes, yes, I got all that, thank you; I'm not stupid, you know," Megamind says impatiently. "But you can't have him. Sorry."
He does not, the Commander thinks, his astonishment increasing, look particularly sorry.
(The Commander's homeworld did not have rabbits, but if it had, he would have felt as if one had just growled at him.)
"It is a monster!" the Commander cries, "It eats!"
"Everybody eats," Megamind says, raising his eyebrows superciliously.
"It eats people!"
"Wayne," Megamind says, turning to the prisoner, "do you eat people?"
"No," Wayne says.
"This is preposterous!" the Commander says.
"Have you ever seen him eat a person?" Megamind asks Roxanne.
"No," she says, raising her own eyebrows.
"Irrelevant!" the Commander exclaims.
"Have you ever seen him eat a person?" Megamind asks the Commander, who blusters and does not answer. "Have any of you ever seen him eat a person? Do you have any proof? No? Ah. No. Right."
"Its species eats people! It's a Glau! It's a monster!"
Megamind turns slowly towards the Commander. He's smiling, and the members of the landing party all shift uneasily at something in his expression.
"You want to be careful," Megamind says, "calling people monsters around here."
With a start, the Commander notices that the M'ega has a weapon in its hand, as does the female human who stands at its side—and that the other humans are—much closer than he thought, and there really are quite a lot of them, and that Minion-fish in a robotic suit looks rather—potentially violent.
"I don't know why you insist on turning the ray gun sideways," Megamind comments to Roxanne, "it throws off your aim."
She rolls her eyes.
"It is point blank range, Sir," Minion points out, "to be fair to Miss Ritchi."
"Yeah," Roxanne says, "it's not like I'm gonna miss from from here."
The Commander gulps.
In the end, she doesn't have to shoot anybody; the Commander surrenders and Wayne is freed and the ship takes off (after it has been stripped of everything Megamind deems useful or interesting, which turns out to be almost everything.)
"We'll be back!" the Commander says, face flushed with rage.
"Well, I'm afraid, that would most likely be a mistake," Megamind says, still smiling.
(how did he never notice before, the Commander wonders now, how very sharp the M'ega's teeth were?)
"You see, I've removed your faster-than-light hyperdrive, so by the time you get back to your Galactic Alliance headquarters, I'll have been able build some really big guns. Mounted on satellites. Also—" he continues, eyes lighting up, "possibly giant robots! Ohhh yes, giant robots;—Roxanne! don't you think giant robots could be useful for a space defense? I think—"
"Hmm, yes," Roxanne says thoughtfully, "and Megamind—this would probably be a good time to mention that you know how to infuse humans with—what did he call it—oh, right—Glau genetic material. And that experimental results verify that test subjects develop all Glau defensive characteristics." She smiles. "Isn't that interesting? I think that's interesting."
The Commander goes pale with horror.
Megamind beams at her.
"You know," he comments to Roxanne as the ship leaves the atmosphere, "it was only the one test subject; not really statistically viable."
"I do know," Roxanne says, leaning towards him, smirking, "but he doesn't."
"I don't understand," Wayne says blankly, and they both turn to look at him.
"Don't understand about statistic viability?" Megamind asks.
"I don't understand why you saved me! I was a—a bastard to you! For years!"
"Eh," Megamind shrugs dismissively, "seeing as you were apparently fighting against an instinctive urge to eat me, I've decided to give you a pass on most of that."
"I did want to eat you!" Wayne snarls, looking, for once, even less human than Megamind, "I wanted to eat both of you! I still want to, sometimes."
"Yes, well, we all have our little quirks," Megamind says absently, looking over at where the machinery stolen from the ship is arranged haphazardly beside the city fountain, "sometimes I still get the sudden urge to throw myself off of high buildings for no apparent reason. Hits me right out of nowhe—does that look like a matter replicator to you?"
"I think it's a transporter!" Roxanne exclaims.
"What is wrong with both of you?" Wayne bursts out. "I just told you that I sometimes want to eat you; doesn't that bother you?!"
They both turn to look at him, blinking, and then both of their expressions soften into something like sympathy.
"Oh, Wayne," Roxanne says.
Wayne sits down abruptly on the ground.
"Don't be stupid," Roxanne says.
Megamind pats his shoulder reassuringly.
"Look on the bright side!" he says cheerfully, "so far, you have a one-hundred percent success rate of not eating people!"
"Which is very impressive!" Roxanne says, and gives Wayne a friendly, glancing punch on his other shoulder. "Great job!"
Wayne puts his head in his hands.
"You two are the worst," he moans, "why am I friends with you?"
Minion comes over.
"Sir, I've been looking through the—what's wrong with him?"
"He's having a moment," Megamind says.
"My life is a lie," Wayne wails.
"Oh, that kind of a Moment," Minion says, and clears his throat. "Well, Mr. Scott, I've always said that it's not what you are that matters so much; it's what you do. And you've never actually—eaten anyone so—"
"You're as bad as they are!" Wayne accuses.
"That's the spirit!" Megamind says encouragingly, "now stop having a crisis about being an eldritch abomination and come and help us figure out if this thing is a transporter beam or not."
Wayne groans and gets up off the ground.
"I hope it's a matter replicator," he mutters, "I'm hungry."
He realizes what he's said a moment too late; he whips his head up to stare at Megamind, Roxanne, and Minion in terrified silence.
They all burst into laughter.
"Oh my god, your faaace," Megamind wheezes, clutching at his sides.
"His face!" Roxanne agrees, leaning her weight on Megamind and cackling.
"Heh, I'll go with you to get a snack, Mr. Scott," Minion says, chuckling.
"Crazy," Wayne mutters. "You're all crazy."
"Honestly, as a fellow carnivore," Minion says to Wayne, leading him away from Megamind and Roxanne, who are still laughing as they race over to the thing that may or may not be a transporter beam, "I can tell you that I get those sort of—ahem—urges, as well, though I've found that they're lessened by a steady intake of protein—have you tried eating more frequent meals? No? Well, I'm not saying it'll definitely work for you, but it's worth a shot and I could help you work out a meal plan if you wanted—"
The Commander of the ill-fated vessel charged with dealing with the underdeveloped backwater planet known as earth to its denizens is extremely—accurate—in his report.
Subsequently, the formerly insignificant planet of 'earth' receives an impressive reputation among the people of the Hundred Thousand Sentient Worlds, along with an actual official name in the records, which—
—well, it translates roughly to 'perilous and full of crazy people; do not go there.'
When the people of the Galactic Alliance of a Hundred Thousand Sentient Worlds whisper of the species known as the Glau, this is what they say: they eat.
which begs the question of course—
what do they eat?
and the answer to that question is, at this moment—
—Wayne tears into a slice of extra-meat pizza as he sits next to Minion, both of them watching Megamind and Roxanne play around with a stolen transporter beam, and Wayne shakes his head and laughs and smiles with all of his too-many teeth and he feels happy and—satisfied—for the first time in years.