i zygon

Being a manuscript of the final transmission to the Zygon refugee fleet from the survivors of the exploration vessel Hiskarasa; the final testament of Grotton, bound squire to Commander Broton. Found on Earth in 2357 and verified authentic by the cultural council of New Zygor, 51 Pegasi. 

There was a human.

It clumsily descended the bank where I sat watching the loch. I heard its apelike grunts cease as it registered my presence. It merited no attention, no interruption of my meditations. Per my custom, I would ignore it if greeted. If pressed, I would answer noncommittally and assume the demeanor of a taciturn local. The human, thus assured I promised no diversion, would continue its insipid pursuits elsewhere and leave me alone. This maneuver had a high success rate; should the unwanted familiarity continue, I had further solutions of a less benign nature. From habit, I patted my jacket pocket. The device was there.

I was displeased when the creature brazenly sat at my right flank. Unused to this level of unwanted familiarity, I was at a momentary loss. The size of the body I wore generally discouraged such violations. I wanted to roar and bruise its flesh, or call that which waits below, but these just actions, given the circumstances, were untenable. I must suppress my warrior blood, I knew, lest I draw attention to myself. There was too much at stake.

I stared ahead and said nothing. I sensed it looking at me, then away, perhaps summoning the courage to break the silence. It exhaled and produced a cellular phone, tilted that I may see the pictures moving on the screen. I ignored them, and it, and studied the water. Beneath its placid surface, I knew, strong currents flowed.

The human grunted in its throat, rudely demanding my attention.

‘So, tell me. Have you seen any monsters out there?’ it asked, gesturing to the loch.

I turned to regard it. It was a male, the physically larger but subordinate human gender. He was large for his type and wore a long yellow raincoat. A camera and sound recorder were slung on his neck. His backpack, I imagined, contained a portable computing device. I deduced from these accoutrements that he was a 'reporter', which is a particularly vile species of Earth researcher. His features were difficult to distinguish; like me, he wore a long beard. I saw my impassive reflection twinned in his tinted eye-wear.

I shook my head once, meaning 'no', and returned to the loch.

He produced a cigarette (a poisonous tube of dried vegetable matter), struggled to light it in the crisp breeze, succeeded and coughed. He offered one to me. Among humans, this gesture is either an expression of goodwill or a wish for the death of the recipient; I remain unsure. I waved it away; the smoke was foul.

He offered his name. I cared not for these ape's individual designations and disregarded it. Then the creature leaned forward and spoke in a conspiratorial voice, ‘You're obviously a very busy 'man'.

I noted the deliberate emphasis.

‘I'm terribly sorry to impose on you like this, but I rather thought we could have a conversation. It's rather awkward to sit here without saying anything, don't you think?’

After failing to intrigue, amuse or befriend, he would now turn to threats.

‘It'll be bad for you if you keep ignoring me. I know people who'd really like to know what I know about you, you know?’

Yes. Finally, the meat. I looked down at him, eyes narrowed, not speaking. I was given to understand this body had an intimidating visage; I decided to amuse myself.

‘Shove off,’ I said.

‘Well, that's terribly rude. “Shove off”, indeed! But you've decided to speak, at least. Will you answer me a few questions?’

‘You may ask.’

‘Splendid! To begin, your name is Dub... Dubgl...’

‘Dubhhlas MacRuiseal.’

‘Yes, that's it. You're the one they call the 'Caber'. You were the Duke of Forgill's gillie back in the seventies?’

‘I served the Duke.’

He pondered. I waited.

‘According to public records, that makes you eighty-seven years old.’


‘Well, you look fantastic for your age.’

‘I maintain this body well. Is this why you bother me? Do you seek to profit from my health regimen, learn my secrets?’

‘I think you know better than that. I bet you aren't even surprised that I'm here, are you, Caber? You didn't hide your trail very well. You begin to irritate me,’ I said, ‘Cease your tiresome circumlocution and explain this intrusion.’

‘Fair enough. Let me show you something.’ he said, pressing a series of buttons and displaying the phone.

On the screen I saw a series of images. A demolished oil platform. A casting of a giant tooth. A dead soldier, his body crushed. A blurred image of a giant creature dwarfing city buildings. Burning wreckage in a quarry. Another shot of the wreckage – behind a group of soldiers a hunched figure can be seen creeping away.

‘Now, this one's particularly interesting. It was years until photographic enhancement techniques picked you out, there,’ said the human. He manipulated the phone and the picture was enlarged. I saw a human bearing away an alien body. The human was me. The alien was Odda, who I missed very much.

Now, in the present, I realized the human had been speaking.

‘I'll repeat the question,’ he said, ‘one more time. I know you aren't human. What are you?’
Reflexively, my finger pressed the button.

‘I am a Zygon,’ I said.

‘Zygon,’ he said, tasting the word, ‘Would it surprise you that I already knew that?’

My hands would easily encircle his neck, I observed.

‘In fact,’ he continued, ‘I know quite a bit about you. For example, I know you recently entered the secure UNIT vaults at Mount Snowdon and absconded with Zygon technology from that ship of yours. Most impressive, by the way. It was days before they noticed.’

I had hoped for weeks. No matter – I had only to keep the human occupied for an hour or so, until sundown. After that, his knowledge would no longer threaten the plan. To use the human expression, I would stall for time. Then, when the signal came, I would slay him.

A small craft cruised past, close enough to shore that I could see the occupant watching us. Far overhead a small airplane left a vapor trail. At the overlook a human couple photographed the loch and each other. All could be agents of UNIT in disguise. One can never trust appearances, after all.

‘Are you here alone, human?’ I asked, not expecting an honest answer.

‘Certainly not,’ he said, surprising me, ‘I have a well-armed friend just over the rise. But he's just a friend, not someone come to arrest you. That's not why I'm here. I'd simply like to hear your side of things.’

‘It would be best if you simply left me alone, human, and forgot everything you know.’

‘I mean you no harm,’ he promised me, ‘and I don't plan on exposing you. I am merely a seeker of knowledge.’

‘Are you? Then we are indeed brothers of a sort. You may remain, then, and I will share my tale with you.’

He smiled. ‘Thank you very much!’ He busied himself, removing a recording device from his pack. ‘Is this alright?’ he asked, and I nodded.

‘Do you mind if I smoke?’

‘Please do.’ I acknowledged.

‘Know, human, that I am Grotton, soldier-scout of Clan Glokon, clutch kin to Warlord Broton Glokon. As first hatchling of a green-shell clutch, I was deemed by tradition to be a Zygon of superior foresight and intelligence. As such, I was inducted into the Clan militia at my third turning. At his urging, I was awarded the honor of assignment as bound squire to my valorous uncle, Broton. On my fourth turning at his side, he was honored to be named commander of the exploratory vessel, 'Hiskarasa'.’

‘Eh?’ asked the human, ‘What's that mean?’

‘In your limited tongue, it is best translated as, 'Swimming sky mother'. Oh, human, she was a fine ship. Her shell was grown in orbit by our finest organic crystallographers, her systems nurtured and trained on the planet below, in the great nerve vats of the Green Miasma.

‘While the components of the ship grew to adulthood, we of the crew trained together. After many turns of attrition, the surviving six of us were overjoyed to learn the time of assembly was at hand. The shell was dropped from orbit and found, once the surrounding rubble was cleared away, to be remarkably intact. This, and the fact that her impact was on an artist's colony, was hailed as an omen of good fortune. I myself supervised the en-shelling and, as First Officer, my blood fed her first conscious computation.

‘Our launching was a great occasion. The far-flung star fleet were recalled and arrayed in a mighty show of Zygon military mastery. Beyond their orderly ranks thousands of crawler ships, those confined to the system, frolicked about in celebration of a new sister.  Body Print Gladiators fed the crowd's bloodlust for a day and a night. The Trilanic Guild led a procession of eighty tumbling Skarasen up the Boulevard of Sacrificial Banners, the ground trembling from their awesome feats. A million agitators were fed to the Skarasen and a million hatchlings drank their milk. Oh, but it was a mighty day! But, human, standing on the dais behind Broton as he waved to the adoring masses, a shadow crossed my mind. A sense of foreboding, so strong I nearly mistimed the ritual salute and ended my career then and there.’