Humans are weird: The clever man is the most dangerous
The Draxic were a large reptilian species, resembling humanoid lizard people. Their homeworld Morth is nearly 85% water with the landmasses being scattered island croppings. The waters surrounding each island were infested with large monster like creatures that for generations made travel across the seas impossible.
But as time past the Draxic adapted themselves and evolved into a strong warlike species that would have entire clans diving into the deep to slay the monsters. As the generations passed they slaughtered all of the creatures on their planet and gained dominance. Shortly after they were discovered by a group of alien explorers. The Draxic were hesitant at first of the new comers but realized they had technology they could never reproduce, so they feigned hospitality with the new comers and over the coming years secured their own space worthy technology and began settling their star system.
They never lost their war like nature though and were eager to find a new foe. As they had entered the galactic stage they found many such opponents and selected Humanity as their next target, if only for the reason they were a small pocket empire much like the Draxic and the average human was 3 feet shorter than a Draxic warrior and fare less toned with muscles.
Ugolith marched into the human embassy on Morth flanked by two warriors. The human guards had attempted to stop him from entering the building armed but he had picked the human “soldiers” up and threw them aside into a nearby wall.
Reaching the ambassadors office Ugolith kicked in the door causing the doors to blow inward off their hinges. Ambassador Franklin rose from behind his desk at the sudden outburst as Ugolith entered and the two warriors took post outside the door.
“Ambassador Ugolith!” Franklin shouted, “If you wished to speak with me you could have contact me and setup an appointment, not storm my world’s embassy and kick in my finely carved doors!” Ugolith bared his teeth and moved to the desk, grabbing it with one hand and casually throwing it aside like it weighed no more than a paper weight.
“And now you’ve ruined my desk as well!” continued Franklin. “That was imported from Earth at great expense to myself and if you think you will be leaving without compensating me for this loss you have another thing coming!”
The human ambassadors calmness was beginning to insult Ugolith. He had been expecting some look of fear or cowering at least. He could see the ambassador was attempting to appear calm, but the slight twitching of his right hand told him that he was barely containing the fear. Ugolith looked down at the human ambassador and growled.
“You will relinquish control of the following worlds. In your tongue they are called Haven, Jotunheim, Avalon, and Thule. You will release all of these worlds to the Draxic and give up any claims previously staked on them.”
Franklin stared blankly at Ugolith. “Why on earth would we ever do that?” “These worlds have long been under the protection of the Draxic and you have trespassed on them, setting up illegal colonies on our worlds.” Franklin threw up his hands in disbelief. “There have never been traces of the Draxic people on any of those worlds and you know it. We will not just give them up and forsake the brave men and women who left their lives to the new worlds.”
Ugolith smiled. The human’s reaction was just what he had been hoping for. He reached behind his back and withdrew a long sword. He brought it up as if to strike Franklin causing him to retract quickly and fall over before Ugolith threw the sword down between them it buried itself deep into the stone up to it’s hilt.
“Then by the right of the ancient laws of Draxic my government challenges you to a duel for ownership of these worlds.” Franklin steady himself back to his feet. “This is madness Ugolith! Please stop and consider your ac-” Ugolity leaned down so his head was at Franklin’s height. “Failure to accept this duel will result in an open declaration of war between our peoples.” Franklin was at a loss of words for several moments before sighing. “Before I make a choice I must know the rules of said duel.” Ugolith returned to his full height and looked down. “It will be a one on one fight with each warrior allowed only one weapon. No others may assist the warriors once they have entered the arena. They fight until the other admits defeat or dies.”
Franklin paused to consider the proposal. “So you get the planets if you win, but what does humanity get if we win?” Ugolith laughed for several minutes at the remark. “Not likely to happen, but I will humor you. What would you like?” Franklin straightened his suit and looked at Ugolith right in the eyes. “We want your homeworld.” Draxic was taken aback by the boldness of the human. “Very well, I accept these terms.” Then we accept your proposal for a duel.”
“The specifics of time and date will be sent to you by the end of the day.” Ugolith moved to leave the room but turned around just as he was about to exit. “I will enjoy watching your species fail on the fields of honor.”
Two weeks later.
A large arena had been constructed on Yalta 4, a planet that bordered the Draxic and human controlled space. It was packed to capacity with both species and was being broadcast to several dozen planets.
Ugolith stood on the edge of the arena with their chosen warrior. A giant of a warrior even among their warriors, his hide was as thick as tank armor and his claws sharp enough to slice through stone like it was water. His weapon would be given to him at the last second, but it was a razor sharp spear laced with the deadliest of poisons. The reason it was kept secret until the last second was a trick to ensure the humans couldn’t change weapons to counteract it, not that even if they could it would do them any good.
Ugolith gazed across the arena and saw Franklin speaking with their warrior. A small frail looking human wearing a combat suit. Judging from his exterior Ugolith could tell the human warrior was not well muscled, though the suit he was wearing could be some new special invention.
An announcement rung out across the field. “Would the warriors please step to the center of the arena!” Ugolith left his warrior and took his place in the suite overlooking the arena. He saw both warrior step into the center and gaze at each other, sizing themselves up. “Choose your weapon!” Ugolith’s warrior motioned behind him and his spear was thrown towards him landing just at his feet. The crowd cheered as he picked it up and held it over his head, letting out a roar that even shook Ugoliths seats.
Instead of seeing the human warrior shrinking away in fear, he saw him clapping his hands together with the crowd and cheering as well. As the cheers died down the announcer said again for the humans “Choose your weapon!”.
The human didn’t look behind him or to any other edge of the arena. Instead, he just pointed skywards. Ugoliths warrior looked at the human and began laughing, so did portions of the crowd. The laughter only died down as a loud buzzing sound began growing, as if the source was coming closer and closer. Ugolith finally looked up and saw a massive shadow cover the arena.
Four human flying vehicles were carrying a massive form between them. With a loud clanking sound the cables holding the figure released and the shadowy figure dropped into the arena just behind the human causing the entire structure to shake. Ugolith was thrown from his seat by the backlash of air and as he regained his feet he saw the figure more clearly.
It was a massive war machine in the shape of a human easily towering five stories tall. It resembled a “knight” as what humans called it in their histories, but without any weapons. Ugolith saw a small cable descend from the midsection of the tall mech and the human warrior standing on the ground grabbed hold of it before being carried upwards. Upon reaching the midsection a hatch opened up and the human entered it before the hatch closed again. A few seconds later a strange light began emitting from the mechs joints and it began moving like it was flexing.
Realizing the danger his species was now in he grabbed hold of a device in his pocket and shouted into it, his voice amplified. “DISHONOR!!!” Ugolith cried. “THE HUMANS BETRAY OUR SACRED RIGHTS!”
“A point of order if I may?” Ugolith heard ambassador Franklin’s voice respond. “But humanity has not violated any of the rules you gave me for our duel. Please explain why you are stopping this match?” Ugolith pointed towards the towering mech. “The rules stated each warrior may only have one weapon!” “Yes they did” Franklin cut off Ugolith, “and as you can see our warrior has chosen our latest mech assault battleform as his weapon after removing all other attached weapons such as the missile launchers, chain guns, and anti personnel grenades.” “This is not fair!” Ugolith shouted.
“Fairness was nowhere stated in the rules you gave me ambassador. The rules you provided stated only that each warrior have one weapon with them when they fight. They did not say if the weapon they picked would be familiar with them, if it would be something they could wield, if it was the same as their opponents, nor any other specification. You stated only that each warrior pick a single weapon and then fight, and that is what we have done. The mech before you can only be operated by one person so it still is classified as a single person weapon.”
Ugolith was in shock. He had never considered that, how could he have considered this?!?
“Shall we have the match continue now?” Ugolith could find no way out of the situation. As the gong sounded and Ugolith’s warrior looked up at the fast approaching foot of the mech Ugolith realized he had just cost his species their homeworld.
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A memory came back to Aziraphale, one that perhaps should have been miserable but could no longer be. They'd talked and fought again and made up and time had passed and now Crowley leant against his side quietly and the memory couldn't be anything but good because this was the ending.
Alpha Centauri wouldn't have worked. They'd've maybe bought themselves a few years while the war raged, but then the victorious angels would have found them and they wouldn't've had the prophets words to guide them and that would have been that. So Aziraphale generously, and silently, congratulated himself on being right yet again.
Crowley shifted, he was never still, not even in his sleep. Not that he was asleep now, no, he was still breathing. The first time Aziraphale had found him asleep, back in BC 178 it had scared the wits out of him, not that he had admitted to it. But now he found an amusement in the dead-adjacent form. Somehow still rolling in discomfort while his lungs didn't breathe and his heart didn't beat.
Silly, these human forms.
Anyway, Crowley was awake now. They sat on the couch together, Azirpahale staring at a book as he wandered down memory lane, and Crowley shifting his feet into various different shoes.
A moment occurred to Aziraphale and he huffed a laugh.
"Wha'?" Crowley mumbled.
"You think I'm clever," Aziraphale teased, still doing himself the service of pretending to read.
"You do, you said so."
Crowley's foot shifted in a heeled boot, a style that reminded Aziraphale of a pair he'd once owned.
"Never said that," Crowley muttered.
"But you did, dear, you said, 'You're so clever! How can someone as clever as you be so handsome.'"
"Stupid," Crowley corrected.
"Aha!" Aziraphale put the book down with a light bang, a punctuation point to his success. "So you admit you think I'm clever!"
Crowley tilted his head back and met his eyes. "No, I admit I said you're clever, doesn't mean it's true. 'M'a demon. Demons lie."
Aziraphale shifted away from Crowley slightly so his head could land more comfortably in his lap. Crowley shimmied into place, his hair catching on Aziraphale's woven pants and flaring out.
"I distinctly remember you insisting that you wouldn't lie to me," Aziraphale said.
"I don't know where you're getting this balderdash from."
"Besides," Aziraphale continued, ignoring him, "you think I'm clever, you said as much."
Crowley grumbled wordlessly for a moment, scowling up at him. Then, "Called you stupid in the same breath."
"No, I think you took a breath at that point."
"Aziraphale, you're so clever," Aziraphale misquoted. "How can someone as handsome as you be so clever." He took an exaggerated breath, which Crowley used as an opportunity to speak.
"Don't remember calling you handsome, doesn't sound like-"
"You may be stupid in some areas," Aziraphale continued to mock, "but your fine arse more than makes up for it."
"And it does!" Crowley agreed. "But I definitely didn't say that. I seem to remember wanting to cry in that moment, I don't think I was flirting."
Aziraphale had begun to pet Crowley's hair, and now he let his fingers fall deep, pressing against Crowley's scalp warmly. "You were asking me to run away with you, go romantically off into the sunset together and live on a planet that rains glass and grows arsenic trees or something ridiculous."
"Wasn't romantic, it was desperate!" Crowley said. There was a moment of quiet as Aziraphale let himself grow distracted by Crowley's hair.
"And I've never wanted anything romantic with you," Crowley continued. "You disgust me."
Aziraphale laughed and met Crowley's eyes disapprovingly.
"Fine," Crowley complained. "Maybe, maybe! I'm maybe open to some romance."
"Admit you think I'm clever," Aziraphale suggested magnanimously.
"I will dig this hill and die on it if I have to."
Aziraphale leaned, curling in so his face hovered just above Crowley's. "One digs ditches, not hills. One being the royal one, being you."
Crowley frowned. "Not sure it's royal. Besides, this time I'm digging a big ol' metaphorical hill."
Aziraphale let his lips hover over Crowley's. "Admit you think I'm clever."
"Bastard," Crowley breathed. He could close the distance, they were barely a millimeter apart, but he knew he wouldn't get a kiss. Aziraphale smiled. It was nice to see his intention so quickly understood.
"Crowley," Aziraphale sighed, "my love, I want to kiss you."
"I'm not stopping you," Crowley breathed.
There was a whimper in Azirpahale's throat, a small, needy sound that was forming far before its time. But Aziraphale wanted it now so he hurried it, he felt the want, his desire for Crowley. It filled him and overflowed and he whimpered with it, his lips brushing Crowley's delicately.
Crowley's tight, desperate breath hit his lips. How very intimate.
"You're clever," Crowley said. "Of course you're clever, you know you're clever."
Aziraphale smiled. "Now," he said gently, not yet kissing his demon. "Say that you think I'm clever."
The second of Crowley's breaths that Aziraphale felt on his lips was less wanton, and more exasperated.
"You're not stupud in the slightest," Crowley said, the edge of want gone from his voice. They stayed close but it was more in love than lust as Crowley's tone strayed into lecturing. "Never have been. And you have a fantastic arse."
"As do you," Aziraphale whispered.
"I don't lie to you," Crowley insisted. "You're right. And you were right about Alpha Centauri, although I'm not sure about the glass rain. And you're so unbelievably handsome, I've always thought so."
Aziraphale's smile was enormous and full of that lovely sin, pride. "And you think I'm clever," he encouraged.
"I don't just think you're clever, angel," Crowley said quickly. "I know you're clever. You amaze me with your cleverness, it's sexy just how clever you are! You're brain is bigger than any whale I've ever-"
At this point Crowley stopped speaking because Aziraphale decided to show some kindness and not let him paint himself into a new corner with whatever that whale comment was turning into, and so interrupted him with a kiss. A well deserved kiss with lots of clever tongue action.
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