"Flying octopuses?" The President of the United States is incredulous. Sure, there are octopus-shaped spaceships hovering over several Latin American and European cities, but that's no reason to use bad grammar. And her Chief of Staff says so.
In reality, octopuses is an acceptable plural form of octopus, but neither one seems to know that.
Thelma Abbott looks at her dog, affectionately named Toby (after her dead husband's brother's first cat, which disappeared after seeing a horned grebe waddle across his lawn... not that such details are important), and pulls the last cigarette out of her 100th pack of Camel Turkish Silvers. She's only been smoking for 100 days - a vice she gifted herself on her 57th birthday because, well, why not? - and the pack-a-day habit makes her feel like she's accomplishing something.
"Whaddya think, Toby?" she asks, her once-silky voice now as raspy as sandpaper on asphalt (just a note: her voice was silky a mere 101 days ago).
Toby looks up at her and replies, I'm thinking I wish I still had my testicles, you righteous bitch. And your voice makes my left hind leg twinge. Do you know how fucking hard it is to scratch a hind leg? I have to use my teeth! My teeth! Wouldn't be so bad if you picked up my shit every day, but nooooooo... I wind up stepping in it all the time. And then I scratch my legs with my teeth! Gross. You righteous bitch.
"Oh, who am I kidding, eh? Canadian dogs can't talk." She sucks on the end of her emphysema stick and blows a couple of smoke rings, which strangely don't form rings at all, but arrows pointing to a hill behind her shack in the outskirts of Toronto.
"Hmm," she hmms between hacks. "I wonder what's over there."
Curiosity killing her (her middle name is Catherine, by the way... Cat, get it? Oh, never mind), she lifts herself out of her rocking chair on her shack's "cozy" porch (cozy is what her relatives say to keep themselves from insulting her) and trundles her way in the direction the smoke rings that were smoke arrows pointed. She didn't take notice, but the smoke arrows shifted themselves into looking like middle fingers.
"Come along, Toby. We're going on an adventure."
All of 47 feet later, Thelma finds herself winded and takes a seat on a stone that looks strangely like a box. Probably because it's a stone box.
Hey, righteous bitch - Toby only calls her that because he can't pronounce "Thelma" with his elongated jaw and tongue - you're sitting on a box.
"Well, I do declare, eh? I believe I'm sitting on a box."
Upon opening it, she finds silver plates that contain the Fourth Testament of Buddha (causing brief wonderment of where the first three are hidden) and strange symbols on what appears to be a gold-plated record with "Fuck Voyager, Deep Space 9 was much better" on one side.
"Mr. President?" The Chief of Staff is incredulous. Sure, the President is a woman, but she insists on being addressed as "Mister." Something about equality in language.
"What is it, Cos?" The President finds the joke funny. They are, clearly, not cousins, but 9 years in the Air Force made the President fond of acronyms.
"The Canadian PM just called. Some woman near Toronto found some plates that appear to contain the language of the flying octopuses."
"I thought they were octopi?"
"What does the message say?" John Travers, an assistant lead researcher in charge of sub-projects of larger projects in the secondary division of SETI's listening section, asks of his assistant lead translator, Jenny McFarlane, who is currently on loan to him from the adjunct office of the Vice President in charge of Vice Presidents of SETI.
"That's it? Um?"
"Can I finish? It says '... allow us Garghouls to join your planetary league of Suckerball, or behave to feed you your brains to us...' or something to that effect."
"What the Hell is Suckerball?" The President is still incredulous, but only because calamari is scheduled for the White House dinner.
"I believe the rest of the world calls it football, Mr. President."
"So, what? Rugby, then?"
*To be continued...
Art by Half-Moose.