Photo by: Al Forbes

It is a myth that that the sciences of all emerging civilizations advance at the same rate. Energies great enough to power a city can be harnessed by six rubber bands, a soda can, and a quartz crystal. So it happens that the Pfargul people invented warp drive shortly after controlling fire. Those first forays went catastrophically bad, mind you, but they did it.

A mere 3,000 years later, the Pfargul had subjugated four stone-age civilizations and two pre-industrial ones. Admiral Grrup felt good about his fleet of twenty-four wooden-hulled space ships as they approached Earth. Chief of Staff Frrzzu wasn’t so certain.

Aboard the 72-gun first-rater Victorious, Admiral Grrup scowled at Frrzzu, “So what if they have spacecraft! Watch and learn boy!” He turned to Guns Master Blluup. “Give it the full broadside, Master Blluup.”

Thirty-six smooth-bore black powder cannon (Earth’s equivalent was invented 600 years before) fired as one. The communications satellite, owned by Google, disintegrated. It joined the fate of sixteen other satellites.

“You see?” crowed Admiral Grrup. “They are helpless before our technologically superior guns. Empires are built by advancing, boy! Always advance!

Frrzzu gazed through the ship’s telescope. “What about this vessel? Three points to starboard.”

“Hmm. More solidly built than the others I’ll give you. Ooh, it’s got a kind of beam. Perhaps it’s a navigation signal?”

The charged-particle beam of USS Halsey swung about and touched the first Pfargul vessel. The wooden Pfargul ship exploded immediately. Two more ships followed in quick succession. Halsey was still hundreds of miles away from practical counter-fire.  Admiral Grrup’s ships couldn’t even fight back.

“Turn us about, Mr. Prruun,” shouted Admiral Grrup. “Reverse our course.”

“But, sir!” said Frrzzu. “What was that about always advance?”

“We are, boy! We’re Advancing to the Rear!”
Written for Sunday Photo Fiction. Look here for the original prompt and a blue link to many more of this week’s stories:


About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
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13 Responses to Advance!

  1. Since they are blowing up all their ships, I would be advancing to the rear too! LOL! This is another GREAT story, Eric!


  2. List of X says:

    If Pfarguls can make soda cans, I’d say they’re pretty advanced. And if they attack the Earth today, before we have actual military spaceships, they actually have a chance to beat us, as long as they don’t actually land. They can take down all of our satellites, drop small space rocks onto the major cities (“small” meaning 50-100 feet in diameter which could still do as much damage as a small nuclear bomb). We could use ballistic missiles to try to take them down, which we used to shoot down satellites, but a satellites doesn’t move away from its orbit, so trying to shoot down moving Pfargul ships could be tricky.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      At this very moment, yes, Pfarguls could wreak havoc across Earth. They could indeed decimate cities by dropping asteroids on them. However, as soon as they tried to land with their flimsy landing craft and attack with their flintlocks, they’d be woefully outmatched. They may be able to rule Earth orbit, but they could never rule Earth!


      • List of X says:

        I agree – once they land, they’re done. An average US city police department can probably defeat that invasion without any additional help. 🙂 But Pfarguls could cause enough damage that we could agree to pay tribute to make them go away.
        And then actually get prepared for the next visit. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • EagleAye says:

        Interesting angle! That’s quite plausible and history has a number of similar examples. Maybe Pfarguls are what we need to “finally” kick start a practical space program.


  3. mandibelle16 says:

    Smart move at the end! Perhaps one day they will advance to a civilization with technology like earths.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Yep. The Admiral’s confidence doesn’t mean he doesn’t know when to cut and run! If they don’t bite off more civilization than they can chew, they may indeed advance. If Earth happens to capture their FTL tech, though, they might be in trouble. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hah! Great story. Of course, sometimes advancing to the rear can be useful. The Germans did it on the Ypres salient as it stabilised in late 1914 – they pulled back to the high ground. Not only did the British then have to go uphill to attack them, but it meant British trenches filled up with all the effluvium the Germans produced. The Brits eventually responded by lowering the hill – took them 2 years of tunnelling and 500,000 lb of various explosives, all of which got set off in a succession of mighty bangs that obliterated Messines Ridge and every German position on it. I’ve stood in one of the craters – it’s HUGE! But I suspect that either tactic wouldn’t serve the Pfargul too well as they try to tackle a particle beam with muzzle-loading cannons… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Hehe. Thanks Matthew. I saw a documentary about Messines Ridge. That was truly shocking to me. Two years! That’s one of the slowest military maneuvers ever. Can’t argue it’s effectiveness though. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Advancing to the rear. I love it. To just smash through all planets as they go, they have been so lucky.

    This reminds me of a Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game I used to play – SpellJammer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Yep. They got lucky with all those earlier planets, then bit off more than they could chew. They still have no idea how backwards much of their tech is. I played D&D too. When overwhelmed we “Advanced to the Rear” with all haste! 🙂 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. afairymind says:

    Grrup definitely chose the wrong planet to attack there! At least he made the right choice in the end. Hopefully ‘advancing to the rear’ will get him out of range of the particle beam before his ship is destroyed as well. Great story, Eric. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Yeah, he did a major about face after all that about full steam ahead. He’s got some brains to go with his over zealousness. He did make it out safely by engaging FTL. Glad you liked this one. Thanks so much! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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