Author's Note: This is hopefully a prelude to a major storyline I have planned for the sixth season of Calvin and Hobbes: the Series. If there is one, I mean. I promise nothing. If there is, fine. If there isn't, you can read this to get an inkling into what I myself am/was planning. But something is coming to Calvin & Hobbes world. Something that will turn their entire world upside down. This is so hugely secret even my co-author doesn't know what I'm talking about. Maybe I don't either. But this is part of a storyline that I plan to weave into seasons five and six. I've been wanting to do it for a while now, so I'm planting the seeds for it here and there. I hope something decent grows out of this.
The table was long and rectangular. It was cluttered with old, dusty papers that contained half-written half-scrawled terminology and statistics and equations that were ancient and pristine at the same time.
Several lamps lined the table as well, but they were all different kinds. One was a regular desk lamp with a switch on the base. Another was a Day-Glo lamp with a pink light. Another was a long cylindrical lamp on a long neck with a chain. Another was a regular lamp on a tall stand and a stained glass shade.
These lamps were necessary, seeing as how it was so dark in the room. There were no discernable objects within. There were probably walls, but from the dim lighting, you couldn't quite make them out. No windows, no shelves, no posters, no disco, no fooling around, and almost no service.
Just a long table, some dusty papers and a bunch of lamps.
And a whole bunch of weird-looking aliens sitting around them in various chairs.
They all took on various forms and such. Some had tentacles. Some had arms and legs. Some had two heads. Some had compound eyes. Some had razor-sharp teeth. Some had no clothes on, but it was hardly offensive.
What they all had in common were the badges they all wore. Badges that contained a large golden letter "C" against a red background.
They were all sifting through their various dusty papers, revising and revising again, making preparations. Same as they did every day. Same as they had done for the past two thousand days. And not all of them went by humanity's definition of time, so it may have been longer, actually.
They were just comparing their various data and facts and figures at this particular moment when they received word that their leader was approaching.
Well, I say it was a word. It was more like a burst of bright white light spilling from one of the farthest sides of the room. For approximately 5.345 seconds, all those with sensitive retinas (or with retinas at all), flinched slightly as the tall-silhouetted figure strode inside on his gangly long legs.
Their leader approached his chair, pulled it out and sat down on it. He folded his long arms on the table and interlaced his fingers, setting his joined hands on the tabletop. He observed his fellows, watching them observe him right back.
It was a very tense ten seconds.
"What news today?" he asked in a thick heavy voice.
The question was hurled into the air and hung there for a moment before one of them finally decided to return with an answer.
"It is still not time, my lord," a creature replied. It was a creature with compound eyes and a mostly humanoid body.
"Indeed… Our superiors still slumber," their leader replied. "What news of the chosen one, however?"
"The lines are still converging," another creature piped up. It was a creature with razor-sharp teeth and a head of black frizzy hair. He drummed six of his eighteen fingers on the table idly. "They are nearer now than ever."
"You said that yesterday."
"I did indeed, and it's as true as ever."
The leader growled but conceded to the annoyingly good point. "Any change in direction? Anything particularly of interest?"
Some of the participants went through some of the papers, some turning their lamps to get a better look.
Finally, one spoke up. She had red eyes, a soft voice and a long spiky tail. "It would appear, my lord, that the lines of the universe are converging on one spot in particular. It's nothing definite yet, but we're finally beginning to get a lock on with a section of space."
"Indeed? And where might that be?"
"Well, there are several different galaxies left to comb through, my lord, but one in particular seems to stand out the most. It has no name in the official records, but we have heard two words associated with it."
"And they are?"
A silence descended down upon the black room for another five seconds.
"…Why?" their leader finally asked, unable to think of anything else at the moment.
The creature shrugged. "I'm only the messenger," she replied.
Sighing heavily, their leader rooted through some of the papers before him. "And is there any data about this…Milky Way?" he asked, sounding rather unimpressed by the term.
Another creature with a long nose, buckteeth and something we hope is a goiter spoke up. "It contains a number of planets, the exact number of which is often disputed in the official records. Only one has any thriving life upon it."
"Which planet is that?"
"It has no official name. It's on the very edge. Cold place. It's called Gobstopper."
"Who's naming these blasted places?"
"Well, we all put it to a vote and – "
"Oh never mind… Are the universal lines converging there then?"
"No, actually. Surprisingly enough, they're headed for a smaller dying world closer to the galaxy's resident sun."
"Hang on," interrupted a tentacled alien with blue skin. "Let's get the techy-tech stuff working again."
He pressed a button on his lamp and pointed the shade downwards, and the light bulb's light rays reconfigured themselves into a holographic starscape. The stars went racing past them and hurried past various planets and neighboring galaxies before homing in on the Milky Way and zooming past several planets of varying colors and sizes, zoomed through an asteroid belt, zipped past a red planet, and then it finally settled on a blue, green and white world with one little moon floating around it.
"That's the one," the bucktoothed alien.
Their leader leaned in closer to get a better look. "What a sad little world," he remarked.
"Yes, my lord, it is on its way out," said the blue alien.
"And you say the lines are converging upon it?"
"Most of them, yes."
Their leader leaned back again, staring at the planet with disdain. "Does it have an official name?"
"Actually, yes. One of our deserters has been repeatedly trying to invade it successfully, but to no avail. According to the reports we've intercepted from his new world, the planet's Supreme Potentate has been protecting his world."
Their leader tutted softly. "So much effort for a dying world. Almost admirable. And the name of this planet is…?"
"Earth, sir," the female with the tail said.
"…Meh. I give it a five," their leader said, waggling his huge hand in "so-so" gesture. "So what of the Supreme Earth Potentate? What sort of creature be he?"
"Well, the dominate species of the planet would appear to be the humans," another alien said, with six eyes two noses and no ears that they could see. "But that's only because the creatures known as the dolphins didn't want the job."
"Can we get an image of this human?"
"Er…well, we've gotten one so far, but the quality is a bit iffy," the blue alien said.
"Put it up."
The alien pressed another button on his lamp, and the hologram clicked and flashed as several different still photographs went flashing by until finally it found the correct one.
They all looked up at the hologram of a six-year-old boy with blonde spiky hair, a red t-shirt with black stripes, black shorts, purple and white shoes and mad look in his eye as he aimed a CD player at something they couldn't see.
"What sort of human is he?" their leader asked, intrigued.
"We believe he to be of the youthful clan of humans," said the female with the tail.
Their leader whistled. "These planetary leaders just get younger and younger…," he mused. "So are the lines converging on him? Is he the one?"
"Well, a few lines are on him, so he is a part of it," the razor-sharp toothed alien said, looking at the papers before him. "However, there are more lines converging on an associate of his. An associate of another species in fact, known as a feline."
"Er…we've got a group shot somewhere in here," the blue alien said, clicking the button his lamp a couple more times.
The hologram went through various pictures again, and after a few seconds, the correct one was displayed.
"Ah-ha! Found it!"
The picture was of the boy from before along with four other creatures. One of them was obviously another human, a little older and with brown hair, a red checked shirt with a lack T-shirt underneath, a pair of jeans and white sneakers, and upon his shoulder was a small round ball of fur with an annoyed-looking face in the middle of it.
Also in the picture were two identical creatures. Both were tall and a sort of yellow-ochre color with black stripes, fuzzy with white faces, bellies, and paws, and they had long stripy tails. The only distinguishing feature between the two was that one of them had red stripes on his tail while the other had normal black.
The image was of them in a forested area with lots of foliage and a clear blue sky, and they were all wearing masks, clearly running away from each other. The Supreme Potentate was carrying a white ball, one of the felines was holding a flag, the other was holding a water balloon, and the other boy was in the process of ducking out the way, while the fuzz ball clung to his shoulder.
"Some sort of strange ritual," the blue alien concluded. "Curious activities."
"Well, which is it then?" their leader demanded. "Which one are we looking for?"
The six-eyed alien spoke up again. "Well, my lord, the ancient texts say the one shall be marked. He or she will hold a unique distinction, setting them apart from the rest of their kind."
Their leader sighed heavily and set about examining the hologram. He looked long and hard at it. He examined every detail, ignoring the odd bloop in the holographic program.
Another tense ten seconds passed as they all waited.
Then…a smile spread across their leader's face.
"My lord?" the blue alien asked, tilting his head to see better.
Their leader pointed a long red finger. "That one."
They followed his finger and saw that he was pointing at the feline holding the water balloon.
"What do we have on him?"
"Not much to go on about that one, my lord," said the bucktoothed alien. "All we can tell is he's got a thing in his head."
"I see… I wonder what this thing could be… Follow his movements! We must keep tabs on him and his friends! Our superiors will awaken once all the lines have converged! I want all of you to study this world! Find all you can! Every book! Every piece of entertainment! Every last detail, you must absorb into your minds! We must prepare! When their planet has circled their sun two times, we shall be ready!"
"Yes, our lord!" they exclaimed together.
And with a very impressive flourish, their leader turned around and strode out of the room, momentarily lighting up the featureless room for another 5.345 seconds before it shut again.
The hologram flickered off, and the blue alien redirected his lampshade back to its original position, and it became a normal lamp again.
"Back to work!" he declared.
And wordlessly, they all resumed their work.
Papers were shuffled and passed about the long rectangular table under the dim glares of their respective lamps.
No one was sure how long this planet took to go around its sun twice, but they hoped it would be a couple of years at least.