WIW S3 e11
rating: +9+x

Have you ever stopped to contemplate the role of chance and choice? The split-second decisions upon which the history of humanity have rested and resided. Have you ever asked yourself: What If?

The limitless infinity of possibility can be overwhelming. What if Oppenheimer did not invent the atomic bomb? What if mermen helped Kublai Khan successfully conquer Japan? What if Tiffany won the heart of Flavor Flav in the first season of Flavor of Love?

You are here because you are brave enough, or foolish enough, to ask these questions.

Before you stands a large armoire. It's built of oak, mahogany …or some other sort of wood you can remember from your days playing Runescape. You pull open the doors, and instead of the smell of mothballs, are greeted by a passageway to the unknown.

There's no Narnia where we're going, but something all together far more counterfactual.

Prepare to enter…

THE WHAT IF WARDROBE.


Season 3, Episode 11:
"Invader's Sin"
Written by Rodman Agnew

Look outside your window, and count the many stars that litter the night sky. If it's not dark, well, repeat this exercise in a few hours. Or just imagine. Whatever works for you.

Now ask yourself a question humanity has asked since its inception: are we alone in this universe? Are those stars home to other peoples, other life? Are they friendly? Are they hostile?

Would they ever come visit us?

Now ask yourself this: what if they did?

Witness, if you will, a warlike, brutish people in a far off galaxy. Portrait of their leader: tall and humanoid, with skin as red as the rage that swells beneath it. The name of this commander strikes fear into the hearts of a thousand alien races, and makes the mightiest of cosmic gods tremble. Unfortunately, it doesn't translate well into English, so we shall call them…Leonard.

Let us watch now together, as this aspiring conqueror learns the hard way that they have committed an Invader's Sin…

A fleet of starships hover in space, stretching out as far as can be seen. At the front, leading the pack, is the largest ship of them all. Inside, Commander Leonard sits in the captain's chair, their head rested on one of their four arms. With one of the others, they lean forward and presses a button on the dashboard in front of them. They survey their fleet via a projection in front of them, and begins to speak.

"I know how long we have waited for this moment. Waited for a true war in which we can demonstrate our might. Our superiority. Our ability to carve our own way in this universe. Today we show our ancestors, our families, our children that their faith in us is not, and never will be, misplaced. Today we show ourselves that faith is not misplaced. Today, we take our place amongst the stars and cement our position as legends. Today we go to war!"

"Err, Sir," a meek voice pipes up from the senior officer stationed to the left of Leonard, "you're on mute."

"I'm on mute?? But I pressed… well what was that button I pressed then?"

The officer shrugs. Through the portholes behind them, recently jettisoned prisoners can be seen gasping for air.

Leonard sighs with all five of their lungs, before pressing the correct button.

"Hi all, technical error there… we're now running behind schedule so I'll skip the speech. Our target for today's conquest is a great little planet in the ΩX-3 sector called…"

A dramatic pause ensues.

"Earth!"

The fleet fire a brief salvo of their weapons in a display of excitement, before charging their warp drives. One by one, in a flash of blue light, they vanish as they jump through space and time to their destination. It is not long before a garbled message comes over communications to Leonard's flagship: "Commander… *static* come quick! We *static* you!"

Leonard's response is immediate. "My forces need me! All systems go, warp jump to Earth!"

A fantastical array of colours surround the ship, as it stretches the fabric of reality to reach its destination. The flagship arrives upon a scene of chaos: landing crafts descend upon earth, filled with merciless troops. Fighter ships dart across the globe, firing at Earth's defences with energy rays. An alien cruiser hangs in orbit, torn in two by experimental human technology.

The entirety of Leonard's fleet wait on the side-lines, entirely unsure how to respond to the invasion already in progress by another alien force.

"Who on Earth is this?" Leonard shouts as he leaps up from where he was sat. "Literally, who is on Earth invading it right now? I've had this conquest booked for months! Officer, open communications with that fleet's flagship right now!"

The officer types ferociously, and a large screen descends from the bridge of the ceiling. A luminous blue amorphous blob, with a large yellow eyeball floating in the centre of its mass, appears upon it, and speaks. "Oh wow, Leonard my pal! How you holding up? Come to witness my glorious ascension?"

Leonard hurriedly hits a button on the dashboard in front of them and turns to their senior officer. "Glarbknorp? Oh not this guy, biggest arsehole this side of the Cayuga Schism. Slimiest fiend I've ever met, and I'm not saying that because they're made of slime."

The officer blushes as blood runs to their face — a futile display of emotion, given their red skin. "Err, Sir — you're not on mute this time."

Leonard stares at the officer in disbelief. "You really, really need to start interrupting me when this happens." Through the portholes behind the officer, a recently jettisoned torpedo can be seen careening towards, then exploding into, another ship in the fleet.

Leonard swivels on their chair to face Glarbknorp, ignoring their faux pas. "I am here, on behalf of my people and ancestors, to claim this puny planet for my glorious empire. I am here to conquer Earth!"

"Wellllll, no you're not," Glarbknorp emits a wet squelching sound, analogous to a laugh, "I'm conquering Earth."

"Glarbs, this is ridiculous. Where's your paperwork?"

"Where's your paperwork?"

Leonard orders a nearby lieutenant to fetch evidence of their invasion request, as Glarbknorp taunts further. "Well you know what Leonard, why don't we call up the High Commander of the Galactic Alliance and see what they have to say about this?"

"Oh I'm sure your father is sure to be completely unbiased in this matter."

"I think you meant to refer to them as the High Commander."

"Your Father."

"The High Commander".

"Your Father!"

"The High Commander WHO HAPPENS TO BE my father, will give a completely unbiased judgement on this matter! Ah — looks like we have no need." A second amorphous blob rolls onto the screen, with a ream of damp papers, getting damper by the moment, bobbing about inside its mass. They collide with Glarbknorp, and the papers transition from one blob into the other.

"Yep, here we go: 'The Galactic Alliance authorises Glarbknorp the Moist, first of their name, to invade and conquer the planet Earth, sector ΩX-3, and to enslave, employ, eat, or otherwise treat as they see fit, the planet's inhabitants.' Seems pretty clear cut to me, fella! What have you got over there?"

The lieutenant runs back onto the bridge and passes Leonard their faction's authorisation documents, which are promptly read aloud. "Well would you look at this, seems we're seeing double! 'The Galactic Alliance authorises Leonard the Unholy, Terrible, and Grubby, five-hundred-and-fifth of their name, to invade and conquer the planet Earlh, secto'- wait…Earlh?"

"Earlh? Earlh? The molten slag planet infested with space crabs, that Earlh? Oh Leonard, oh Leonard this is too good!"

"I must have… I must have made a mistake in the forms." Leonard frantically shuffles through the papers in their hands, looking for some small salvation. "This, no… it's not fair! It's not fair at all!"

"Look Leonard buddy, I'll tell you what, I'll cut you a deal here. We're not completely done on Earth yet, still got a pocket of resistance here, a pocket there. I'll throw you a bone, you can conquer one of them if you've got the inclination. Sure it's not a whole planet, but still something you could work into a poem — just not an epic one."

Leonard withholds their answer as they ponder, then question, the offer. "Well err… which part?"

"There's a lovely, lovely little peninsula on the western hemisphere. Natives call it… now hold on, where are my notes… ah, here we go: Florida!"

All those stationed on the bridge of Leonard's ship take a sharp intake of breath, then look at their commander and shake their heads rapidly.

Their lack of enthusiasm is matched by Leonard's response. "We'd love to, really, but err, no it's fine. It's fine. You should finish the job you started. My officer here needs to… err, needs to wash their hair."

Leonard gestures at the completely bald officer standing besides them. If an amorphous blob could demonstrate emotions, Glarbknorp would have looked utterly bemused. "They need to wash their hair?"

The blob's words hung awkwardly in the air for far longer than they should have, before Leonard muttered a muted response. "Yes."

"Oh Lenny, you're a good sport. Safe journey back and all that. Be sure to tell your buddies, tell your loved ones et cetera, what a good job I've done here! It's been a real," Glarbknorp bashes their mass into a button to their side, "BLAST!" A death ray fires from Glarbknorp's ship, straight towards Earth. The planet glows a bright orange hue for a moment, before exploding into a thousand pieces.

Leonard sits silently, purveying the ruins of their intended prize, head in all four hands. Their senior officer approaches them. "Sorry Commander, but the forces are asking- they're asking a lot of things. What do you want me to tell them?"

Leonard brings their head out their hands, wipes a tear from their singular eye, and stands up from their chair. "I guess there's only one thing to do. Could you ask the troops if anyone knows how to get to Earlh from here?"


So pray viewer, before this journey, what did you think would be the Invader's Sin? Bloodthirst, rage, narcissism?

No, this invader's Sin was something far more commonplace — a typo. One cannot strive to conquer worlds if they cannot conquer their own keyboard. And, whilst Leonard originated from the other side of the universe, this moral is universal.

You came to the wardrobe perhaps looking for a warm winter coat or a collection of illicit magazines on a top shelf, but you have left with something far more significant: a lesson.

As per your request, we have delved into the world of Alien Invasion. What horrors and wonders could we witness next? What if Napoleon did not invade Russia? What if all humans had… four heads or something weird like that? What if there was a fish in the percolator? What if Tiffany won the heart of Flavor Flav in the second season of Flavor of Love?

There is only one way to find out. Join us next time, as we return to…

THE WHAT IF WARDROBE.

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