The Plain Man’s Guide to Alien Invasions
1. The best way to deal with alien invasions is not to get mixed up with them in the first place. Find a nice, quiet corner of the universe and stay there. This isn’t always possible. (You need a planet with the right kind of distractions – things worth taking, drink, and pretty girls, and they’re hard to come by – I should know.)
2. Aliens come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them even look like humans. Don’t let that fool you. You can’t trust any of them.
2a Except, obviously for the friendly, nice-looking, telepathic ones from places like Auron. (Can you let go of my ear, now, Cally?)
3. In the event of an alien invasion, run like hell. If you can find a spaceship and put half a galaxy between them and you, so much the better.
4. If you can’t run, hide. Failing that, stand behind someone bigger than you.
5. I hate violence, but sometimes there’s nothing else to do, except die, and I like that idea even less. So have a weapon handy. Make sure it’s powered up or loaded. Don’t drop it, and make sure you’re holding it the right way round, or the aliens will laugh. Probably eat you while they’re at it, and nobody wants to finish up a laughing stock. (Laughing stock. Get it?)
6. If that doesn’t work, introduce yourself, using your natural charm (if you have any). It’s going to be wasted on most of them, but it might confuse them enough for you to get away.
6. a) This never works on big, blobby things, or giant insects. Or Avon. (Why did I have to mention giant insects? I think I’m going to have nightmares…)
7. When running for your life, avoid all tunnels and dark corridors. And damp caves. And jungles. And abandoned space-craft drifting about in space. These are the places your real nasties like to hang out. One minute you’re stumbling about in the dark, wondering where the light switch is, then there’s a creepy rustling nearby, and next thing you know you’ve got a tentacle wrapped round your throat choking the life out of you. And that's if you're lucky. If you're not, it'll be something worse. With big teeth.
8. When colonising or visiting new planets, make sure you check really carefully for life-forms down there. It’s amazing how easy it is to miss something large, blobby and vicious, or small, fast and vicious. Or just vicious, generally. Or you suddenly find the whole planet is alive and not very pleased to meet you. Nothing makes aliens madder than finding out humans are invading them. They’ll lurk about your settlement and pick you off one by one, just for fun. I’ve heard horrible stories about that sort of thing. Happens all the time, I tell you. This is why people should stick to civilised worlds.
9. Finding allies to fight against the aliens with you (or, better still, for you), is great, but once it’s all over, run away fast. Otherwise, before you know it, your new ‘friends’ will be stabbing you in the back when you’re not looking. These violent types are all the same – can’t get along without an enemy to shoot at, and you don’t want to be that enemy.
10. If none of the above works for you, get drunk and die happy. Why not?
“I had some paper,” said Blake, finding Jenna on the Liberator’s flight deck. “Old-fashioned of me, I know, but it’s gone.”
Jenna frowned. “That’s funny. I’m sure Cally was missing a pen earlier.”
“And I,” said Avon, arriving from the opposite direction, with his usual timing, “am unaccountably minus my electronic dictionary. Who is the culprit is, I think, fairly obvious, although why is beyond me at this moment.”
Blake folded his arms. “Vila?”
“Exactly,” said Avon, and swept off in search of the thief.
Jenna leant towards Blake, amusement dancing in her eyes. “So that’s what Avon reads at night.”
“Explains a lot,” returned Blake with an answering smile. “The only book where the words are in a logical order.”
“With no untidy surprises at the end,” added Jenna. “We should have guessed.”