Origins of Marv

(The Illustrious Crackpot)

Alexandra Kaylin was no ordinary girl. Not by galactic standards, and certainly not by Earth ones.

Not that you could tell by her appearance, of course. She had short, wavy red hair—an unusual shade of red perhaps, but that was easily dismissed, as was her small stature. So were her dark purple eyes, though it was these eyes that made her so unique, and not just in superficial appearance.

You see, Alexandra could see extraterrestrials.

And not just in the normal way, either, where someone yells, "SPACESHIP!!", faints, and then swears that they were abducted by aliens. In order to make this clearer, a small explanation is needed: the reason aliens have evaded the government for so long is that all their spaceships have cloaking devices that render them completely invisible to any sort of machinery more primitive than theirs. As the sale of sufficiently sophisticated machinery has only reached about as far as Alpha Centauri and, only recently, the Dog Star Sirius, Earth has been embarrassingly obsolete in terms of technology.

Now back to Alexandra. Her unusually colored eyes were the result of a slightly odd rung in the ladder of her DNA. This mutated the genes used to create the pupil and even spread to the iris, changing the pigment, but stopped short there. The amount and refractions of light that entered her pupils was dramatically altered, allowing her unaided eye to pierce the camouflage of passing flying saucers at the price of normal everyday eyesight. Therefore, she could see flying saucers that even the most sophisticated machinery on Earth couldn't detect, she still needed glasses. From the day she was born twelve years ago until now. Ironic, isn't it?

Nothing seemed special about this night to Alex. Nothing special in a good way, that is. She was fuming.

"You jerk!" she yelled at her older brother, a gawky sixteen-year-old with dark hair, freckles and braces. "You can't do that to me!"

He smirked. "Just because I 'forgot' the show time of your cartoon..."

The rage continued to boil up in Alexandra. Her brother the creep, he was always doing this to her, he never listened, always conveniently skipping her own small desires...

"I mean," he continued, amused by her anger, "I can't help it if the movie guidelines just didn't show it...It always seems to not show it whenever you want to see something..."

She was on top of him in a minute, flailing out with fists and kicks until her father, hearing the noise, came in. Understanding immediately what was going on, he quickly strode to the center of the living room and hauled his daughter up by the armpits, still thrashing wildly.

"Alex," he said sternly, looking her full in the face even as she continued to squirm, "go to bed."

"HE—" she started hotly, but her father broke in in a gently menacing voice.


Grumbling and steaming, she nonetheless realized that it was futile to argue and slouchily shuffled up the stairs.

About an hour later she was physically in bed. He didn't say anything about when. One of Alex's specialties was loopholes. Years of her father sending her to bed early had taught her this technique. At this thought she was angry again. YEARS of it. Dad ALWAYS takes that jerk's side!

She couldn't stay angry for long, not on such a nice night as this. Her bed was perpendicular to the gigantic window in the eastern wall of her room, and the head of the bed rested against the sill. When she looked up, she saw a starry night above her head. A lone flying saucer skirted the treetops. That was normal. Generally there were one or two a week flying by. Alex had learned long ago not to tell anyone when she saw this sort of thing, because if she did nobody believed her. Their loss. As she kept watching, the same saucer, mottled green, swerved by again—closer to the window this time. Now that was odd.

In a moment a bridge from the spaceship had extended through the window as if it were no more than a sheet of water. Nothing broke; the window just rippled slightly as the bridge flowed through. Alexandra closed her eyes and pretended to sleep, but she was extremely curious as to what was going on.

After a few seconds she heard shuffling sounds as something (Alex guessed it was biped; at least it didn't sound like more than two feet) descended the ramp into her room. She could hear whatever it was muttering to itself as it not only entered the room, but actually sat itself on the corner of her bed! The throbbing of her heart seemed like twin drums thumping madly. She marveled that this alien appeared not to take notice of her existence, with all this noise resounding so.

Cautiously she opened her magnificent eyes a slit and peered out. The alien seemed to be no more than a few feet tall, with dark skin bordering on black. It had what looked like a feathered hockey stick pointing out of its helmet, which was a dull green. It also appeared to be taking notes on a clipboard, and was still muttering. Suddenly a snatch of what it was saying drifted over to Alex: "...if the thrusters could be readjusted..."

She sat bolt upright, less surprised by what it was saying and its amazing tone of voice than that it was speaking words she could understand. With her sudden movement the mattress jerked, startling the alien into a frightened yelp. It sprang a good foot or so into the air, fumblingly juggling its clipboard and turning around to face her. Alex held back a small exclamation of shock; its head was completely round with no distinguishable features except for two very large and very expressive eyes. On stubby legs moving at a prodigiously high speed, the strange creature attempted to run up the still-extended bridge and into its spaceship. However, in a quick movement Alex clambered on in front of it and blocked its path.

The alien was clearly frustrated as it vainly attempted to maneuver around her, and began muttering to itself again. "Oh, this Earthling is making me angry. Very angry indeed." Upon this hearing of its voice, Alex decided that, unless she was very much mistaken, this otherworldly creature was male.

In a spasm of courage, she retorted, "Who's making whom angry? This is MY room. You're trespassing."

He scoffed, straightening up as though this could make up for the difference in their heights. "Trespassing? So very rude of you. Trespassing!" He threw his arms into the air. "Earthlings don't own the entire galaxy, you know."

"Well, it was rude of you to park your spaceship right outside my house and then to extend your bridge through my window without asking first," Alex replied pointedly. "That about evens it out, doesn't it?"

The alien blinked in surprise. "Logic," he mused. "Such an unusual tactic for an argument such as this one is. You are not quite what I expected of Earthlings."

Alex gestured to the diminutive creature's shoes, which looked almost exactly like tennis high-tops. "You aren't what I expected of aliens either."

He angered visibly at that. " 'ALIENS'? I was right the first time, Earthlings are incredibly rude. At least please have the decency to say 'Martian'. 'M'arviana of Mars', to be even more polite. But then," he paused, "Earthlings are never polite, are they?"

Alex resisted the temptation to roll her eyes. "Look, I'm sorry...M'arviana." She made sure to stress the name. "What did you land here for, anyway?"

Visibly calming down a little, the Martian waved the question away. "The thrusters of my ship failed on my way down here. I was so very peeved to not be able to complete my mission on their account."

Her curiosity was piqued. "What mission?"

"Oh, just the small matter of destroying the Earth," he replied casually.

Alexandra had a double-take. "WHAT?!"

"Indeed!" M'arviana continued enthusiastically. "You see," and he gestured with his hands, "Astro-soccer is so very hard to play with limited space, and if the Earth were demolished there would be perfect room for a field stretching from here to Venus!"

"But—" Alex stammered, "but—"

M'arviana cocked his head at her. "You could be spared, of course. The fact that you can see spaceships makes you very special indeed. You might even become one of the High Senators on Mars, or, if you wanted, warden of the Astro-soccer field that will begin construction on this very spot!"

Alexandra was aware of the Martian's expectant stare. Ideas whirled around her head in turmoil. Her brother, the jerk...her father, who always pinned all the blame on her...all the people who had laughed when she'd pointed out flying saucers that only she could see...all of them could be destroyed, leaving her the last laugh as the only survivor from Earth.

And yet...

"No," she replied. "I wouldn't be able to do that."

" 'NO'?!" M'arviana was clearly in shock. "My, you are indeed an odd human," he murmured, stroking his chin (or at least a stretch of space beneath his eyes). "Still, your wish is yours. It is rather a shame, considering your gifts, but you will have to go down with the rest of your civilization when the destruction crew moves in."

Think fast, Alexandra told herself. "Wait a minute," she said aloud, blocking the Martian as he once more tried to ascend the bridge into his spaceship. "It could cost a hefty some of...uh...Martian currency to send in a team to blow up the Earth, right?"

M'arviana stiffened in mid-stride, trying to feign indifference even though he was obviously curious. "And what might you be getting at?"

"Well," Alexandra continued, moving at a brisker pace now that she had her momentum, "what if you could find a place equally well-situated and close to home that wouldn't involve destroying things? I've heard that there might be a lovely spot outside the asteroid field between Jupiter and your Mars that's practically begging for a recreation center!" Encouraged by the dawning realization on M'arviana's face, Alex continued to make up positive arguments as fast as her brain could process them. "And plus, that way it's accessible to fans from Jupiter and, to some extent, Saturn as well! You could also have room for snack bars, souvenir stands and whatnot..."

M'arviana jumped in the air and clapped for joy. "Goodie! You are surely a star among Earthlings!" He grasped her hand and shook vigorously. "The Queen will be very pleased!" Once more he attempted to ascend the bridge, and this time she let him pass. She waved farewell as the ship took off, its thrusters reenergized by the wait. Before the ship finally disappeared from view, she was sure she distinctly heard him shout, "Come visit Mars someday! I'll be waiting!"

As she snuggled back into bed, that fact oddly calmed her. Yes, M'arviana would be waiting. And there was no way she wouldn't get there.

A year or so later, one Charles M. Jones, a high school buddy of her father, stopped by looking for an idea he could use in his latest animation project. Six months later he amazed the world by introducing the first of a long line of adventures starring Bugs Bunny and his diminutive, morally-challenged and easily-fooled nemesis—Marvin the Martian.