May. 9th, 2011

Captain Corder stopped and gaped. The trees, the beautiful trees that lined the arcade of the Reflecting Pool of the National Mall, were being systematically cut down. Zotorran engines with reciprocating blades and heavy claws were mowing through the elms, which had survived three hundred years of fungal infections but couldn't withstand an alien invasion.

"What the hell?" Corder gasped. Corder's companion, a towering serpentine Zotorran, shook his head.

"I don't like it either, Corder," said the dark, spade-headed alien wearing the dull grey chainmail of the warrior caste. "It destroys the sanctity of the place."

"But why, Samfir?" Corder turned back to appeal to his friend. "There's no point. Beautiful trees, being chopped down for nothing!"

"Not nothing," grunted Samfir. "Something about them blocking sight lines. I don't know; movie guy talk." Samfir kept undulating towards the Capitol. Corder looked stricken, but he followed.

"Samfir, you know I love you like a brother," said Captain Corder. "We share a common bond. I could never have surrendered to you here, five years ago, unless I trusted you, one fighter to another."

Samfir cocked his hood aside. "You know I love you too, Corder," said Samfir in his hollow basso profundo. He regarded Corder kindly.

"I trust *you*, Samfir," said Corder fiercely. "Not these film-makers. I'm not sure what they're up to, but I have a bad feeling."

"We don't have much choice in the matter," said Samfir matter-of-factly. "The truth is, we're just players in this production of the Zotor Art Directorate. They wanted – what's the word, where things are like the way they are supposed to be?"

"Versimilitude?"

"Yes. They wanted the warriors who did the fighting of the Battle of the Capitol for their picture. But they only want us for who we are, not what we do or say or think." Samfir draped his forked tail across Corder's shoulders.

"Come on," urged Samfir, smiling sadly. "Let's go recreate your planet's defeat."

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