SHARK HORSE: PART 23
SHARK TO THE GREAT BEYOND
“If we cut up beasts simply because they cannot prevent us and because we are backing our own side in the struggle for existence, it is only logical to cut up imbeciles, criminals, enemies, or capitalists for the same reasons.”
“Look at all these little things! So busy now! Notice how each one is useful. A lovely ballet ensues, so full of form and color. Now, think about all those people that created them. Technicians, engineers, hundreds of people, who will be able to feed their children tonight, so those children can grow up big and strong and have little teeny children of their own, and so on and so forth. Thus, adding to the great chain of life. You see, father, by causing a little destruction, I am in fact encouraging life. In reality, you and I are in the same business.”
– Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg
“Ein Schrei wird zum Himmel fahren
Schneidet sich durch Engelsscharen
Vom Wolkendach fällt Federfleisch
auf meine Kindheit mit Gekreisch.”
“Kill one man, and you are a murderer. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill them all, and you are a god.”
– Jean Rostand
The planet Earth glittered beautifully in the distance, its troubled history invisible through the vastness of space. It stood as a reminder of from whence we’d come; from a primordial ooze to a mighty empire, the best and brightest of whom now populated one-hundred-and-one spacecraft of all kinds. There were space-freighters, space-yachts, space-barges and space-cutters. Among this grandiose fleet of travelers were space-canoes, space-warships and even a space-pontoon or two. But the largest, and most impressive vessel of them all was the Pilgrim Spirit, the Imperial Flagship of the Fourth Reich, commanded by Captain George Clooney himself and boasting the presence of Der Führer and his cabinet.
Built by the company Blohm und Voss using revolutionary nanotechnology, the Pilgrim Spirit was a living, sentient marvel of Terran achievement. From stern to prow it stretched nearly eight-hundred meters; it boasted a crew complement of nearly two thousand augmented men, beasts, and (to a much lesser extent) women who had been selected by the Fourth Reich as the pinnacle of Earth’s capabilities. Every part of it, from its indestructible hull to its magnificent dining halls, was constructed of microscopic, cellular machines; each system was capable of miraculous self-repair, and its incalculable energy demands were met using dark matter drawn directly from the Selachimorph Dimension.
The mighty flagship of the Fourth Reich was now hovering majestically just beyond the Earth’s orbit; the hundred-strong fleet floated just beyond it. Aboard the myriad ships that built up this fleet, there were those deemed to be the finest Planet Earth had produced. Carefully selected to conform to DolphiNazi overlord Lawrence Sigo’s eugenics program, the fleet was crewed by a motley of beings. Not only men, but dolphins, vampires, sharks, vampire sharks, horses, hamsters, and raccoons all served as crew members.
One of the crew members was a Shark Horse.
As the son of the Führer and Crown Prince of the Fourth Reich, the being that was once the sworn enemy of the Nazis beamed as he stood at his fascist father’s right flipper. Though he could never have imagined such events taking place, everything now felt right. There would be a ceremony for the maiden voyage of the Imperial Fleet, and then the century of space-craft would be launched beyond the stars; bound for the Andromeda Galaxy to moot with beings that were heretofore unimaginable and unknowable. This was a glorious day.
Führer Sigo, with his toothbrush mustache carefully combed and clad in a bespoke dolphin-shaped Hugo Boss suit, raised his beak high and, in his commanding chatter, was giving a rousing speech to his men.
“Ich bin eine verrückte Person, die für Millionen von Toten verantwortlich ist. Als ich schrieb Mein Kampf, Sie alle ignoriert die Worte und es führte zu der schlimmsten Tragödie in der Geschichte der Menschheit. Ich bin überzeugt, Sie werden nicht die Mühe, jetzt zu hören, und so Milliarden von Menschen werden sterben. Das amüsiert mich. Ich bin nur ein verdammter Delphin, der sprechen kann, aber Sie sind alle sehr dumm und haben mich als Ihren Führer. Als Ergebnis werde ich alle hier umbringen!“
Here Sigo tilted back his fin and the crowd cheered. No one had any idea what he was saying, but it sounded like a hell of a speech just the same.
“Bitte denken Sie daran, dass die Hälfte meines Gehirns ist, dass von einem toten Maniac. Der Mann, dessen Stimme spricht zu mir begann eine schreckliche Krieg, massakriert Millionen von unschuldigen Menschen, und sogar ermordet seinen eigenen Hund! Dieser böse Mann sagt mir was zu tun, und Menschen verletzen will, so dass ich nur sagen ‘Furz’ und ähnliche Worte, denn ich bin wie ein Kind. Furz! Kot! Schamhaar! Scheisse! Schlampe! Ich bin so ein verdammtes Genie!“
The crowd roared like the wild animals that many of them were.
The Supreme Commander of the DolphiNazis then called for a line of communication to be opened between the fleet and Earth. There was the rustle of static, and then, onscreen, appeared the misshapen features of Shark Horse’s other hero, deputy Führer John McCrea. McCrea, still in the body of Sea Wolf, was standing in front of a vast, writhing and energetic throng of people. Millions of beings had gathered outside NAZA headquarters on Earth to wish Führer Sigo and his Imperial Navy a safe voyage. When McCrea spoke, it was in his unmistakable deep monotone.
“Sieg Whale!” he shouted, tilting his wolf-paw up at an angle.
“Sieg Whale!” Führer Sigo answered.
“Sieg Whale!” bellowed everyone else aboard the vessel; and everyone in the millions-strong crowd standing behind McCrea repeated the refrain.
“Mein Führer, let me be the first to wish you and your constituents a safe journey to Andromeda,” said McCrea, his voice coming in a tad scratchy through the distance of space, “May your journey be free of incident, and may the inhabitants of that distant system greet you as the grand King of all Kings that you are.”
“Thank you, Deputy,” said Sigo, “I could not have ever come so far as I have without your aid. Without the aid of every being standing behind you! Ich bin Ihnen sehr dankbar!”
The crowd cheered. Sigo went on.
“Mein synaptic patterns are deeply interwoven with those of Adolf Hitler’s. We have been merged for so long, I do not know which thoughts are Hitler’s and which are Sigo’s. Es macht mir nichts aus. We are one. And with our two minds in this grand union, we have advanced the cause of Earth farther in a few years than it has been advanced in millennia. Now we seek to spread our grand vision of equality for all among the stars!”
Again, the crowd cheered.
“Führer, it is a great honor to be here to witness this historic day,” said McCrea, “We have all fought for equality here. For the elimination of war, disease, poverty and suffering. I hope that you are not gone too long, mein Führer, but rest assured I will take great care of the Earth and her inhabitants until you return.”
The crowd on the screen began to cheer again. Sigo raised a flipper to silence them.
“Mein Führer? I have misunderstood?” McCrea was plainly bewildered, even viewed from a million miles away.
“Ja,” said Sigo, “For ich habe keine need for you to look after Earth while we are gone.”
McCrea looked crestfallen; no doubt at the thought that he was being demoted.
“Uh, Mein Führer? Not to question you, Your Greatness, but… who will look after the Earth?”
Now Führer Sigo was gliding toward the Pilgrim Spirit’s control panel. Using a flipper, he popped open a simple cover, revealing a plain red button. What is my father doing? wondered Shark Horse, but he stayed at his post while his father continued to address John McCrea and the other denizens of the Earth.
“Niemand. Keiner. No one,” said Sigo, “Die Sonne wird einsam sein wenn ich bin hier fertig.”
“Sir?” said McCrea, confused.
“Haven’t you guessed it, McCrea?”
Shark Horse narrowed his soulless, doll-like eyes. Guessed what?
“Guessed what?” McCrea said, echoing Shark Horse’s confused thoughts. Behind the singer, the throng that had turned out to cheer the space fleet had fallen silent.
“We have always sought no less of a goal than Universal Peace,” said Sigo, “And you have done much to help us achieve that goal. The technology that you have helped build will bring peace not only to the Earth, sondern für das ganze Universum. You have done a great, great thing, John McCrea of CAKE. The Reich thanks you for your service. But we have no further use for you. Sind Sie bereit für die Reise ins Nichts?”
That sucks, thought Shark Horse, is my father… firing John McCrea?
Then Sigo continued, “You have helped me to eliminate the sick; the weak; and the stupid. The people we collectively termed to be ‘assholes.’ But it’s not enough; for life itself will always be full of Unzufriedenheit und suffering. There is only one way to have true equality. Only one thing can bring an ultimate, lasting peace: und, dass eine Sache ist der Tod. Do you understand?”
“Sir? I do not understand,” said McCrea.
“Allow me to show you,” said Sigo. Then he clamped his flipper down on the red button.
The Pilgrim Spirit rumbled; the lights darkened; there was a blinding flash of red. The face of John McCrea, and the faces of the millions behind him on the screen, lit up with the purest terror as they realized what was happening. And then, in an instant, the sparkling pale blue Earth silently vanished in a hail of glitter and flames. A collective gasp traveled from one end of the space fleet to the other; Shark Horse himself stood frozen with utter shock. Billions of tiny voices had cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.
After the initial shock faded, there was much hubbub and fuss; people were rushing about, wailing and weeping. Billions of people had been wiped from existence in a moment; the survivors, less than a hundred thousand strong, had had their families ripped apart. But the chaos was swiftly put back to order; the loyal DolphiNazis had violently quelled any signs of rebellion in an instant.
All Shark Horse knew was that he’d lost his lunch; he was forcefully puking chum all over the bridge of the Pilgrim Spirit. How many friends had he had on Earth? What was left? Oh, God, Santa Ana was gone… Oh, God, I just saw CAKE die a second time! His own father had committed genocide on a scale that made Jon Hammster look like… well, like a harmless hamster. And now the ships were moving; Shark Horse hadn’t even had time to collect his thoughts when the fleet had shot into warp drive, barreling towards the Andromeda Galaxy at one billion times the speed of light.
It was only then that Shark Horse could react. Practically slipping in his own upchucked chum as he dashed, he ran towards his dolphin father as quickly as he could, his rows and rows of murderous teeth screaming for blood.
“Son?” said the Führer, “Warum kämpfst du mich? I thought you above all would support my cause. Es ist zeit für rache! Wir müssen alle lebewesen ausrotten!”
But Shark Horse kept dashing towards his crazed father, with no thought but murder in his Sharkly heart. Alas, it was not to be; for the Pilgrim Spirit itself was alive, and completely subservient to the mental commands of its Overlord Lawrence Sigo. The deck upon which Shark Horse dashed rose up around him, changing its shape like a molten metal hand which seized Shark Horse. Still, despite the fact that the ship was stronger, Shark Horse struggled to free himself. His dolphin father floated up to him and, avoiding his gnashing teeth, softly touched his nose with a flipper. From his beady little dolphin eye, a singular salty tear fell.
“Es tut mir leid, mein geliebte Hai Pferd,” der Führer said sadly as he stroked his son’s rough grey skin, “Aber ich müssen der Himmel zerstören. Mit oder ohne dich.” Then he gestured with his flipper and in a single moment, Shark Horse was pulled through the deck of the ship. And then down further.
And then he was jettisoned, spit through the hull itself into the vacuum of space. In that instant, all Shark Horse knew was that it was cold. Cold as death. And black. The last thing he saw was the familiar red and black flag of the Reich painted onto the back of the mighty living flagship. And then he felt a familiar sensation; the same sensation his father sought to bring to all life in the Universe.
The non-sensation of nothingness.
He was groggy when he woke up; and Shark Horse looked about himself, wondering what the hell had just happened. He was lying in a Shark Horse shaped pit he’d left in some rocky, barren soil. The sky above him was purple and glowed with strange, wondrous energy. Nearby, he thought he could hear the clop clop clop of hooves, but… no, that couldn’t be right. Where am I? he wondered, How did I survive?
“You are on the Planet Phlegethon. I saved you,” came the answer, seemingly reading his thoughts, “For here, I am God.”
Shark Horse looked around. Who are you? How do you speak English?
It took him a moment to realize that he had not said the words aloud, but by the time he realized this, the answer came, just as the owner of the voice came into view.
It was a horse. Scrawny, emaciated, pale and green.
TO BE CONTINUED!
SHARK HORSE WILL RETURN IN:
WORLD WAR HORSE!
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