Bad Alien Boss (Royal Aliens 6)

Page 5

“When you disobey, or when you speak with anything less than the utmost respect, you will be punished. Painfully.”
“I don’t agree to that.”
“Ah, I understand the confusion. You think what you agree to matters. It doesn’t. The only thing that matters on this ship is my word — and that of the king.”
“Which you’re not.”
“I’m not what?”
“The king. You’re not the king. You like to be in charge, but you’re not really in charge.”
She unerringly finds what might perhaps be my only button. I would be impressed, if I had any interest in being impressed by such a creature.
“Royalty is decided by blood. My position is decided by valor.”
“Uh huh.” She rolls her eyes and sucks on that infernal thing again. I am done entertaining or allowing this human’s disrespect and filthy habits. I grab the vaporizer out of her hand and render it nonexistent with a little vaporizing technique of my own.
She’s shocked by my ability to destroy matter in an instant, but she seems to lack the foresight to consider what that might mean for her if she continues to displease me. Humans are very much a learn by having terrible things happen to them, species.
“Listen, Lucky. You are aboard King Tyrant’s vessel, and you are under my command. You will be expected to learn your duties, and to obey me in all things. If you do not, you will be punished in a manner I can assure you, you will find deeply unpleasant.”
Her eyes narrow at me, and she makes one of those human utterances designed to do nothing but hurt another’s feelings. “You’re awful.”
“No. Awful is the navigator. I am Terrible.”
“Is that supposed to be some kind of joke?”
I give her the blankest of all possible stares.
“Guess not. Anyway, give me the goddamn vape back. That wasn’t cheap. I stole that off Emmet, and he paid almost a thousand bucks for it.”
“That disgusting device has been decomposed into its composite elements, all many trillion of which will find more productive things to do with themselves.”
“God, you’re a real dick. I thought Emmet was a dick.”
“Emmet is the one you were screaming at when I removed you from your world?”
“Yes. He was throwing me out of my house because…”
“He’s a dick,” I finish the predictable sentence.
“Yes! You’re starting to get it.” Her expression brightens as she imagines we have reached some place of accord.
I have already decided that I am going to punish her. She needs it. If I am stuck with my human choice — and the many light years between us and the plant Earth, not to mention her having seen more than she should ever have seen of us and our vessel make that necessary, then I may as well come to an understanding with her.
“How old are you?”
“Twenty-seven. Magic number.”
“In what way is that a magic number?”
“Twenty-seven is where all the good ones burn out. I reckon I’ve burned out. Hey. Do you have Elvis on this ship?”
“I have no idea who Elvis is.”
“Poor fucking you. What about Tupac?”
“Well, maybe they're on other ships? Anything is possible.”
“Yes,” I agree. “Almost anything.”
“Am I ever going to go home?”
That’s a question I would have expected to hear earlier. Her priorities aren’t exactly what I would have expected them to be. She cares more about the plastic poison device than she does her own life and what is to become of it.
“No. It is not safe for humans who have experienced life off-Earth to return. The knowledge you have gained already puts you in grave danger.”
I brace for hysterics, which humans are so fond of. The oh no’s, the you can’t do this’s, the how dare you’s.
“Oh. Okay.”
“You are not going to panic and writhe and complain in human fashion about that?”
“No. Never liked Earth anyway. We’ve kind of fucked it up. You can’t go anywhere without getting sick, you can’t buy a house, and if you do buy a house they tax you on it until…”
I make an involuntary growling sound at the mention of taxation. We have had unpleasant dealings with agents of taxation, indeed, we sacrificed almost our entire fleet in the war against DICK.
“You need say no more. You and I agree on a surprising amount, it would seem. Though, to give your people their due, it is not uncommon for an advanced species to defile their cradle before they break free of it.”
“You reckon we’re going to get off Earth?”
“Probably not. Your species is just a fraction too…” I search for words.
“That’s not the word I would have chosen, but it is apt.”
She shrugs, and changes the topic of conversation. “Am I going to be able to get hair dye here? This blue is going to rinse out and then I’m just going to have boring brown hair.”
“The color of your hair is the least of your worries. The metal in your face will be removed.”