Saturday, June 9, 2012
The Day of the Merger was coming soon, and all of MonSeCo was buzzing with excitement. The accountants shaved and painted their chests with the symbols of battle and victory. The secretaries held a ritual dance, though the time of fertility was still distant. Everyone subtly accented the gifts of MonSeCo in their faces, the protruding brow ridges and thick canines. The vainer managers, mostly the middle ranks who could see the peaks of their careers receding behind them, used spray-on coloring to make themselves artificial silverbacks.
Of MonSeCo himself, little was seen. His apparent absence was of no import. Were they not all MonSeCo's children? Was not MonSeCo in each of them? Everyone knew the great beast was sequestered with the CEO and the Board, being groomed and prepared for battle. Wheresoever be any of thy capital, there too art thou, O Lord.
On the holy Day, the jubilant crowds lined the windows and clung to the ledges of MonSeCo's headquarters, waving banners and singing the hymns of praise. MonSeCo, wise and wily. MonSeCo, keen of eye. Diversified investor, thy foes shall bleed and die. The casks were opened, and MonSeCo's children drank fermented juice and ate exotic fruits with abandon. The acolytes of InterTrans, that hated parasite, did not dare to show their faces before noon for fear they would be torn apart by the bacchanal hordes.
When InterTrans did arrive, it was in one of his famed ships, a vast transport that slid right up to the docks of MonSeCo's city. The fore of the vessel opened like a mouth and disgorged, en masse, the followers of InterTrans. The lowest ranks of MonSeCo's tribe whispered and murmured to see females among the managerial elite. The visiting Board met MonSeCo's Board in the open square, exchanging the ritual cards and handshakes. Intertrans' lowlier followers, silver-skinned and dark-eyed, uncomfortable on land, huddled together like a school of fish.
A team of monkey-armed trainees brought out the Oaken Table of Meeting. The Boards sat on their respective sides to begin crafting the spells of Merger. Paper and ink formed increasingly convoluted patterns as each sheet was marked, folded, and passed to the next signatory, who was not always the nearest man. The whole of the Table seemed a blur of black and white and moving arms. At last, the ream of paper settled back into place, marked and sealed. It glowed with portent.
The horn sounded, and the crowd stilled. All eyes, simian and ichthyoid, turned to the immense doors at the far end of the square, ten stories tall and intricately carved. They rattled under a heavy blow from within. With a roar and a shriek, the heavy metal bar across them bent, strained, and snapped, flaring white hot with the energy of its dissolution. Shrapnel hissed and smoked across the open spaces, and MonSeCo leaped into view. The terrible jaws; the mighty, flexing hands; the rolling, wild eyes; the flaring nostrils; truly, MonSeCo was the epitome of strength, virility, and cunning. Like an afterthought, the CEO rode in a harness between MonSeCo's muscular shoulder blades, clinging gamely to the thick fur.
There was a hush, and then MonSeCo reared up on his stumpy legs and pounded his chest, screaming his wrath to the sky. MonSeCo's children screamed with him, and the wall of sound rocked InterTrans' boat in its moorings. The shadows in the boat's interior flowed and shifted, and InterTrans slithered out to a ragged cheer from its scaly tribe. Where MonSeCo was a proud primate, covered in luxuriant black hair, InterTrans was a slimy-skinned, tentacled monstrosity, oozing and pulsing. Eyes like tidal pools rolled and shuddered, and nameless tubes flapped open and shut in the salty air. InterTrans made no sound that MonSeCo's people could hear, but its CEO waved from inside his plastic bubble, perched between Intertrans' eyes, and the fish people whistled and stomped.
The beasts rushed together with a pounding of feet, and the Merger began.
InterTrans lashed out with a tentacle, aiming for MonSeCo's ankles, but the crafty ape vaulted over this initial foray and closed the distance for grappling. He sank his teeth into a rubbery limb and, with an almost casual toss of his head, ripped it away. The other limbs flailed in surprised agony, and MonSeCo shrieked with glee, lips flecked with foam. He balled his fist and smashed it down atop InterTrans' head. The plastic ball shattered at the blow, and there was a brief, tiny scream from the CEO within.
The crowd gasped at the audacity of the maneuver, but InterTrans barely noticed the loss. MonSeCo's CEO tugged at the matted monkey hair to no avail. The crowd was chanting, singing, dancing in an orgy of bloodlust, for they were MonSeCo and MonSeCo was them. The gargantuan ape waded into the fight with fresh ferocity, only to be met by a storm of sinuous attacks from InterTrans' remaining limbs. They looped around MonSeCo's wrists and ankles, with two for his torso and one for his slavering maw. MonSeCo struggled, then stiffened as InterTrans' hidden beak bit down on the soft flesh of MonSeCo's inner thigh, delivering a lethal dose of neurotoxin.
The poison raced through MonSeCo's body, triggering spasms and bringing searing agony with it. The crowd cried out as they felt MonSeCo's death throes. MonSeCo pulled back with a burst of strength, freeing his mouth from the grasping tentacles, and he screamed once more and for all, a keening cry that started so high it shattered the windows and fell until it shook the very ground. Then, at last, the great MonSeCo fell silent and limp to the ground.
Silence fell again.
As InterTrans' tentacles reached to grasp and devour, as its Board drew their weapons for the purge, MonSeCo's children straightened from their hunches and watched the dark hair shed from their bodies. They felt silvery scales sprouting in its place, and they sighed amid the periodic screams. They would survive the cleansing, some of them. And there were, after all, a great many fish in the sea. Shining, dancing, tasty fish.
They were InterTrans and InterTrans was them, and InterTrans was, today, triumphant.