There had been many stories written about alien invasions. Starting with The War of the Worlds, and going on from there. Tales of heroism, of last ditch efforts and (for most) barely one victory. But none of them could have prepared humanity for what would happen when reality and the greater universe came knocking.
They called themselves the Oni, and they sure looked the part. Apparently they had visited the planet before, hundreds of years ago, but decided to come back later. Only this time they came as a mighty empire, with Earth being the latest world to add to their Galactic Kingdom. But the Oni had this strange sense of fair play. Before they would invade, they’d have a contest between a randomly chosen human and their Empire’s princess. A game of Tag of all things. Where if the champion managed to win, the Earth would keep her freedom. A single duel to decide the fate of the world.
“Oh no! The timer just ran out! Earth… Earth has lost the tag race!”
The champion stopped, eyes twitching. His hands were mere centimeters from the Princess’s horns, another split second and he would have grabbed them.
The Princess, meanwhile, grabbed her bikini top from the boy and put it back on. “Well that was fun!” She said. "Bye bye! I hope we can play again sometime!"
Boy, it sure did suck when the Oni picked Ataru Moroboshi of all people to represent Humanity..
Needless to say, it was a slaughter. Well, a slaughter in metaphorical terms. There were, bizarrely enough, no casualties in the Oni’s conquest. They didn’t need to kill any humans. Not when they could use their advanced technology to neutralize any threat they tried to level against them. How the giant magnets they extended from the bottom of their flying saucers only attracted firearms and ammunition is a question that Earth scientists didn’t have the answer to. Explosives fizzled uselessly against their force fields. They played music that made soldiers dance to exhaustion. Even Nuclear weapons simply failed to go off. Several assassination attempts were foiled by time travel. The Oni had already won, and were now writing the history books.
It has been six months since that fateful day, and we find ourselves in the small Japanese city of Tomobiki, where Earth’s fate had been decided. Six months in, and humanity finds themselves already beaten, under the thumb of new and strange rulers.
To start with, everything actually looked pretty normal when the sun rose. The buildings were intact. Pretty typical looking Japanese fare. But then people started coming out of their houses, and it quickly became apparent that all was not normal.
With new bosses came new fashion. Once Earth became Oni territory the gates were opened for galactic trade, and the fashion labels descended down. Somehow, despite the fact that the women coming out of their homes were wearing what amount to bikini tops, mini skirts, and other such revealing items, the advanced tech used to make them somehow kept the entire body at the perfect temperature. Also they were all tiger print, marking them as property of the oni. The men wore a mix of more covering body suits or tiger print shorts.
Only one girl walked out not dressed in this new fashion. Wearing her old school uniform. It was a symbol of resistance. Of pride. She refused to be corrupted by everyone else! Shinobu Miyake would not submit to the aliens even if all of Earth’s governments had already surrendered! Even if alien police were around every corner now! She would resist!
She just, you know, needed to find a resistance group to join. Right now though, she was heading down the street to a house. The house was mostly normal, except it was covered in graffiti and people threw a rotten fruit or vegetable at it each time they walked by. There were some people who had set up stands to sell old produce nearby. She didn’t buy one, she walked past the usual sneering mob. (Hypocritically wearing the uniforms of their conquerors!) Reaching the front door, she knocked. The door opened, revealing a frazzled looking housewife. “Ah, good morning Shinobu.”
“Can I come in?” She asked.
He heard knocking at the door. He flicked a switch, turning on the light to his room. The windows were boarded up, and a mattress covered that for extra sound proofing. A steel drum with a heater attached had been set up in one corner, and a small fridge with leftovers in the other corner. Homework and comics scattered around.
And plastered on the walls were pictures of her. The cute, smiling, happy looking girl in a tiger print bikini with go-go boots. His enemy, his source of humiliation. Ataru Moroboshi didn’t know why he was so obsessed with Princess Lum. But he knew that one day he’d beat her again. She had even made the offer herself! Still, for now there was the issue of someone at the door. Could be somebody trying to kill him. That had happened a few times. Could be Cherry. Or that niece she keeps threatening him with. The one with the appetite that makes his look small. “Password!” he shouted.
A sigh from the other side of the door. “I’ll go out with you Ataru.”
There, a phrase no woman would say any more! It was Shinobu! Ataru went over to his door, undid the twenty locks over it, pulled open the steel security door and unlocked ten more locks before opening it to see Shinobu. In her school uniform as usual these weekday mornings. “Good Morning Shinobu!” He said, a smile on his face.
“Good morning Ataru.” Shinobu said, walking into Ataru’s sealed bunker.
“Right, you here to pick up my homework?” Ataru said. He had not left his room in six months. Not since he had lost.
“Yes.” Shinobu said, watching as Ataru ran to his desk, threw aside a dozen pictures of Lum holding an oni baby, and handed her the stack of perfectly completed homework. Ataru’s grades had become straight A’s once he stopped coming to school. “Err, Ataru?”
“Yes?” Ataru glanced up to her.
“Err… you want to go see a movie?” Shinobu asked, swallowing nervously.
“...why? Why not find a guy to date who didn’t fail humanity.” Ataru was in a flash on his futon, rocking back and forth. “Until I find her and beat her in tag to get us back on track I can’t!”
“You do realize that Princess Lum is regularly in town, right? You’re not going to get at her if you just huddle in your room.” Shinobu sighed. She hated what had happened to her boyfriend. He was obsessed with Lum, somehow thinking if he can beat her this time humanity will magically be freed. But he never left the room, and considering there were regular effigies of him burned outside his house that was probably not quite a bad idea. But there had only been three angry mobs chanting for his death this week! And each one lasted just a few hours! Much better than when it had been constant. She needed to get Ataru out of his shell! But how? Everything she'd thought of, everything she'd tried... It hadn't worked! She was long since out of ideas.
"Your visits are the bright spot of my day," Ataru sighed. "Seeing you there in your school uniform, I can almost pretend that nothing's changed."
Shinobu clenched her fists. There had to be something, anything! “Th-things have changed!” Shinobu said, reaching into her school bag. “This… this is our class photo!” Tears in her eyes, she shoved the picture in Ataru’s face. “See, Ataru! Things have changed! Things are worse! Sure they put on this show of being mad but it’s clear that they’re all just submitting!”
Ataru stared at the picture. “Are… are the girls wearing…”
“Yes! It’s disgusting! They’re all just going along with what the aliens want! Dressing as them, acting as them… it won’t be long until the human race is just a footnote in history!” Shinobu clutched his shoulders desperately. “We’re just two teenagers, but I know we can resist and lead a charge to a chapter of-”
“They’re wearing those super cute bikinis and boot combos!?” Ataru said. “All this time I’ve been sulking around and girls everywhere are dressing like that!”
“...uh…” Shinobu blinked. “Ataru, dear, that’s not the point. It’s about submitting to-”
Ataru threw off his clothes and dived into his bathing drum. “Shinobu! Go tell mom to get my lunch ready! I’m going to school!”
Shinobu’s eye twitched. “I… I…” All this time. This is what finally got him out and moving!? Her body went slack, “Fine…” She said. Whatever. If Ataru’s dick is what finally drove him to action, well, it wasn’t that different than anything else he had ever done? Shinobu would make do, she always had.
Lum, Princess of the Oni Empire, Conqueror of Earth, was bored. It had been a month since any human tried anything! Honestly she had been hoping for a group of decades long resistance cells. It would be so much fun playing with them. Lure them into games with Earth's freedom on the line. They could have had years of fun, even maybe let them set the terms for some of them to see how creative they could get.
But no. They fell in line depressingly quickly. What was the problem exactly? Was it that humanity wanted to be ruled, or that the Oni were doing a better job of it than they were? There hadn't been any conflicts amongst themselves, the crime rate was down, quality of living had gone up and up and was continuing to go up as they adjusted to using Oni level technology.
"Maybe... we weren't tyrannical enough?" Lum mused. "Hrm... Trying to emulate their movies is pretty tough. We don't want to actually kill anyone, where's the fun in that?"
It was at that point the door to her room opened. “Ah, Princess!” The man stode in, “How fares you today?”
Lum’s eye twitched. “Just… fine. Mr. Mendo.”
Shutaro Mendo made a dramatic bow. “Glad to hear it.” The Mendo family was one of the richest on Earth. They had sent a missive to the Oni to try and bribe their way out of being taken over early on. But when Lum had arrived to negotiate Shutaro had spent 30 seconds looking at her chest before declaring the Mendo family as earnest supporters of the Oni Empire. Her dad had thought it a great idea to have some humans on the take over team, and so Shutaro had been made Lum’s right hand man. It was a decision that Lum had not quite forgiven him for.
Lum had not forgiven her father because, to be blunt, Shutaro Mendo was insufferable. He had this sort of insane unearned ego that came from being born rich. Sure, Lum had been born rich and the future ruler of an empire, but she had been sent to regular public school like the rest. Her dad didn’t even tell her they ran the Empire until she was fifteen! Also, Mendo thought that he was the smartest man in the room at all times. Reality kept proving him wrong but he continued to believe. Lum counted four times thus far the Time Travel squad had to undo some of his mistakes. (Those were just the ones she remembered, the nature of the Time Travel squad made accurate record keeping difficult.) And, most annoying of all, he was constantly hitting on her. He put on this annoying “Oh my noble princess I am your knight” act. All the time. She almost preferred Rei at this point. At least when he was annoying it was easy to shut him up!
“I’ve been looking at the economic index, and I’m a bit concerned about the price of gas. It’s been collapsing.” Shutaro said. “And the Mendo family has substantial-”
“Mr. Mendo, you do realize that with Zero Point Engines fossil fuels aren’t needed for anything anymore, right? The reason the price of gas is collapsing is because people are getting rid of their old cars.” Lum said.
"Getting... Rid... Of their old cars?" Mendo repeated. "I'm terribly sorry, but I do not understand what you mean."
"I mean that the fossil fuel industry is a dead one. “ Lum said, “I mean, burning stuff for fun is nice, but using it to actually try and power things? Why bother? And it’s sooo messy. You have to dig into the planet and pull up dead plants and animals. Process it. And then there’s all the messy pollution and spills to deal with… just not worth it.”
“No. No. Princess. It’s not dead. Just resting.” Shutaro twitched, “If… if we get rid of the fossil fuels… than the hippies win Princess! The bleeding heart pot smoking limp wristed hippies win!”
“It’s dead Mr. Mendo.” Lum sighed. "It's stone dead. It's kicked the bucket. It has shuffled off and joined the choir invisible. This is an ex-industry." She brushed her hair aside, “Seriously, fossil fuels are so worthless in the greater galaxy that I doubt you’d be able to use the entirety of Earth’s supply of them to pay for something trivial like, oh I don’t know, cab fare?”
Oh right. This was the second worst part about Shutaro Mendo. When something popped up that disagreed with how he felt things Should Be, he vanished into a little world of his own denial.
She really needed to get out some more. She couldn’t remember the last time she had just hung out with friends. Benten, Oyuki... Ran to see what sort of fun revenge games she came up with. But no, at the very least she was off dating Rei. By dating she meant feeding him dates. One of these days Ran was going to try and do more with Rei and Lum just knew she’d be blamed for when it failed.
Blip. One of her news alerts blinked. She pulled up her cell phone and glanced at it. To think, humans didn't even have these until five and a half months ago! Now they barely put them down. If they hadn't eased them into some of the other technology that was available... Ooh, it made her shudder to think.
"Earth’s Greatest Failure Ataru Moroboshi seen first time in six months! Heading to school with a girl in old Earth School Uniforms!"
Oh yes. Him. Lum remembered Ataru Moroboshi. He had been… interesting. A fun opponent. One of the more unique and interesting people she had met, let alone humans. There had been something there, a spark she hadn’t felt since. But with all the problems of taking over and running Earth she hadn’t had a chance to check up on him. But now that things were settling down a little, why not go check up on him. “Oh, Mr. Mendo.”
“Y-yes My Lady?” Mendo was snapped out of his denial that he was about to lose 15% of his fortune from technological obsolescence.
“I’m going out for a bit. I want to see how my Tag Opponent is doing now.”
“That… layabout... Moroboshi boy?” Shutaro said, “What would you want to do with such a miserable failure of a child?
“Aren’t you the same age as him?”
“Only physically, Princess.”
Lum rolled her eyes, “He almost won, you know, if he had been a split second faster…”
“Oh, I shudder to think of what my life would be like if I hadn’t been able to serve you Princess.” Mendo said.
Lum barely managed to repress a nasty comment. She probably should at least shock him a little bit to remind him that she didn't much care for that kind of toadying attitude. Instead she had a better idea. "Could you be a dear and bring me a bottle of that yummy Reaper Chili sauce?"
"R-Reaper chili?" Shutaro calmly said. Though inside, she was rather sure he was anything but. "Don't you keep that in the deepest, darkest part of the storage bay?"
"As it happens, yes," Lum said, coldly inspecting her fingernails. "That isn't a problem I trust?"
"Not at all!" Shutaro said, a hint of creeping madness and laughter in his voice. Honestly, one day she needed to find out whatever had put such an intense fear into him, it must be a truly terrifying and ugly monster.
As Shutaro left, Lum floated up to her computer. She pressed a few keys and quickly found the school that Ataru Moroboshi went to. One Shutaro came back with that delicious Chili sauce (Humans had the most amazing spicy food, the best part of taking over Earth in Lum’s opinion) the two of them would go see how her old rival had been doing. Maybe she’d see if she could reignite that spark.