Armada Chapter 7: Surprise! The Aliens are Real…Kind Of

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Armada Chapter 7

Zack finds that his car has been keyed, and the likely culprit is that turd muffin from school. I hope the aliens kill that dude first. At school, Knotcher and his goons surround Zack, ready to fight! And throw cliche and homophobic insults!

Little do they know that for some reason Zack has a tire iron in his bag?

But none of this fucking matters because before he actually attacks Knotcher with it, a giant space-craft shows up, and everyone is like OMG.

“No way,” I heard someone whisper.

A second later, I realized it was me. It was an ATS-31 Aerospace Troop Shuttle, one of the ships used by the Earth Defense Alliance in both Armada and Terra Firma. And it was about to land in front of my high school.

I know it’s supposed to be the good guys, but how amazing would it be if these were aliens deep under cover? “Oh hello…yes we are the humans and this is definitely our ship and we definitely are not kidnapping one of your child human folks…Speaking of which, where is Zack?”

I’m only partially joking about the last part, because ZACK’S BOSS RAY steps out of the ship and starts asking for Zack. And like no one objects to Zack getting on this random fucking ship with Ray? That is some seriously concerning school security that they didn’t even have to sign Zack out or present some kind of identification. How can we be sure this is not a white van/space ship scenario?

When he spotted me, Ray grinned and started running across the grass toward me like his life depended on it. It was the fastest I’d ever seen him move.

“Hey there, Zack!” he said when he reached me, only slightly out of breath. Then he rested a hand on my shoulder and nodded at the gleaming shuttle behind him. “Wanna go for a ride?”

No, dude, explain yourself first!

But Zack immediately gets in the ship and has lots of Feelings about how Ray has been lying to him about who he is! From behind, Zack’s friends shout interchangeable words of excitement. They are obviously crucial to this story. I can’t even imagine this chapter without them.

Zack, though not at all hesitant to fly away with Ray, suddenly gets very aggressive with him once on the ship, demanding answers.

“Fuck calming down!” I shouted, straining against my safety harness. “And fuck you, too, Ray, you lying sack of shit! Tell me what’s going on, or I’ll lose it, I swear!”

Ray tells Zack that it’s all real. Well, the Sobrukai aren’t real, but everything else is. I don’t know why they made all the ships accurate but fictionalised the aliens. It must have been to avoid intergalactic defamation lawsuits.

Apparently the ship Zack saw was an enemy scout ship. They’re suddenly doing lots of surveilance and obviously being very unsubtle about it since Zack is not the only person who spotted them. What are you playing at, non-Sobrukai aliens?

Ray says he can’t reveal more until they get to the base at Nebraksa and Zack is debriefed. But he can reveal this:

“Since the mid-seventies,” he said. “That was when the EDA first began using certain elements of pop culture to subliminally prepare the world’s population for the invasion. That’s why the EDA secretly poured billions into the fledgling videogame industry back then— they recognized its potential military training applications.” He smiled. “They helped get Star Wars made back in 1977 for pretty much the same reason.”

[…]

“Hold on. You’re telling me that Star Wars was secretly financed by the Earth Defense Alliance to serve as anti-alien propaganda?”

He nodded. “That’s a gross oversimplification, but yeah— more or less.”

But this makes no actual fucking sense. I didn’t watch Star Wars and think the whole point was to make me hate aliens? I have never once come away from watching a film in the franchise and been itching to fight aliens. Darth Vadar was human. I mean, I guess Jabba the Hut or Jar Jar Binks could have planted those seeds of hate, but they didn’t? There were good and bad aliens, humans and robots unless I have fundamentally misunderstood all the Star Wars films for the better part of my life.

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Also loads of video games and movies were made for this purpose without the creators knowing that’s why their projects were being funded. And Zack’s father was following all of this! Speaking of Zack’s father, Ray can’t reveal much except there’s a file on him, and if Zack agrees to become a pilot he might gain access to this file.

Also:

“You possess a very rare and valuable talent, Zack. The EDA has been tracking and profiling you ever since you first played a videogame online. That’s why I was assigned to watch over you, and to help facilitate your training.” He grinned. “You know, sort of like Obi-Wan, watching over Luke while he was growing up on Tatooine.”

“You’re a bold-faced liar like Obi-Wan, too!” I shot back. “That’s for sure.”

Ray’s smile vanished, and his eyes narrowed. “And you’re being a whiny little bitch, just like Luke!”

Oh good, for a second I thought they weren’t going to be compared to anyone else and I wouldn’t be able to make sense of how they were acting.

I wonder if this means there were loads of talented video game players across the world who were offered jobs at video game shops so they could be watched over by adult men with a secret agenda. Food for thought.

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2 comments

  1. Andreas

    Ich guess Ray was just assigned to Zack because he was the closest secret Military trainings guy, but the book makes it sound as if the military decided “hey, there is this young, talented guy, let’s build an arcade/game shop and hope he walks in some day, so we can ninja-train him”.

    The constant pop culture references remind me of “Darmok”, one of my favourite ST:TNG episodes. Maybe these references are actual military lingo in the Armadaverse. Maybe everything HAS to be filtered through pop culture references to confuse the evil aliens?.

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    • matthewjulius

      Now I’m really sad that your idea would actually make this book interesting, and it’s certainly not what’s going to end up happening. I would ACTUALLY have laughed at the Leeroy Jenkins joke last week if that were slipped in as the name of an actual military maneuver in this bonkers-ass world

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