THE ULTIMATE EVE
By H. SANFORD EFFRON
Her creators had no doubt of her
effectiveness. She would conquer this
planet … the armed might of
Earth would vanish before her.
[Transcriber’s Note: This etext was produced from
Planet Stories Winter 1954.
Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that
the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]
The sun had not yet taken the chill out of the early April morning that broke on the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, when the ship settled to the ground. It was surprisingly large compared to the aircraft native to this planet, and yet ridiculously small to have brought enough men and material to launch an invasion across light years of space.
The landing went unobserved in this fearful year of 1955. The world faced too many crucial crises of their own making to consider the necessity to be watchful for an extra-terrestrial invasion.
Hardly had the craft come to rest, when the outer lock slid noiselessly open and a small ladder-like stairway came down until it too had touched earth.
A man appeared in the doorway, pausing to study the landscape which lay before him. His features, his body, were human. Despite his being too well muscled, and his face unusually handsome, he would never have aroused suspicion of being from another planet.
Grunting in satisfaction, he permitted himself the pleasure of being proud at having landed so near the cabin chosen as his goal. It had been a wise choice, this picking of so well isolated a place as a testing ground for the weapon. A wisp of smoke, a dark smudge against the rich blueness of the sky, attested to the cabin’s occupancy. What he was about to do seemed fitting, for even the scientists of this planet had used animal life to test their own puny weapons. Now he, man, would be the guinea pig to prove the devastation to be wrought against all mankind native to this world.
He turned and spoke to someone within the lock. His language, while resembling no earthly tongue, was not much different than perhaps English to Chinese. It was foreign but not completely alien.
With the ease of a man accustomed to heavier gravity he went down the ladder easily, turning when he reached the ground to look up at the lock.
And then to the edge of the air lock, she came—the weapon! There had been no doubt in the minds of her creators as to her effectiveness—she would conquer this planet. The armed might of Earth would vanish before her. Before the year had ended the invasion would have been accomplished. As a weapon, the Earth’s H-Bomb might well be a mere firecracker. She had been tested against the men of her own planet and found to be irresistible, but now would come the final test against the enemy without laboratory-controlled conditions.
The planet she had come from is unimportant, suffice to say their technology had conquered space over a thousand years ago. For over half that time they had subjugated neighboring worlds until their rule had spread to the borders of Earth. Scouting ships had been spying on Earth for the past two centuries and had brought back alarming reports concerning the rapidly expanding technology of this planet.
Soon after the aliens had discovered the secret of space flight had come the added knowledge planets could be conquered by other than the force of arms. Psychological warfare had been developed to a fantastic degree, making weapons more potent than any bombs of fissionable material.
There she stood, a monument to her creators. Eve, soon to be conqueror of the planet Earth.
To attempt description of her beauty would be an impossibility, for the languages of man do not contain the necessary word-symbols to express the utter perfection of her face and form. To each man she would appear different, for he would see in her the substance of his unconscious desires for the woman he had never dreamed might exist. For this purpose the scientists had labored in their laboratories for nearly a half century, and now she would justify the time and effort spent in her creation.
Gently, she smiled at the man waiting below, and despite the special conditioning he had undergone, and the drugs he took with careful regularity for added protection, he almost surrendered to the impulse to throw himself at her feet; to beg for only the privilege to serve her, to obey her, and to worship her.
Out of the entire space fleet, he, Commander Ydnas, after extensive psychological testing, had been selected for this task. The three months of conditioning had passed rapidly, his response to the treatments had been better than they had dared to hope. In the two weeks of their flight he had been unaffected by her presence, and now upon landing he was beginning to feel the strain he was under. He wondered what would have happened had it not been for the added help of the drugs?
His face betrayed none of the anxiety he now felt. It was an impassive mask, his body was ramrod tense and erect.
She came down the steps gracefully, her litheness would have made the movements of a cat seem awkward and clumsy.
Both had been thoroughly trained in the languages needed to carry out the plan of invasion, English and Russian. First, the large continent of North America would be disarmed at her command; and then they would move across the large body of water to Europe. Russia would be their initial target there. The invasion timetable called for a three month campaign, and then Eve would be removed from the planet before the occupation fleet from the mother world would land. Not a man would be lost, nor a space ship damaged, and yet the planet’s rich potential would be theirs for the taking.
And what of Eve? She was too dangerous to be permitted to return to her creators. Commander Ydnas had his instructions covering the final phase of the invasion plan. When her task of disarming Earth was completed, and the planet lay helpless to defend itself, they would blast off into space together. Soon as Earth’s atmosphere was left behind, she would be slain, her body incinerated through the rocket tubes.
It seemed such a dreadful waste to destroy such beauty of perfection, but the Commander, raised from infancy to be a space officer, realized the need for her disposal. After the need for a weapon has passed, it is safer to destroy it then risk the danger of trying to store it. Even on this world they dumped their poison gases into the seas and did the same with the more volatile explosives.
“Come,” he said, starting toward the cabin. When she would have taken his hand, he brushed it aside angrily. Even the work the psychologists had done to condition him, and the strength of the drugs, could be trusted only up to a point. He feared what her touch might do to the iron discipline with which he kept himself in check.
The only response to his rebuff, was a shrug of those magnificently rounded shoulders, and a lazy half-smile of amusement.
Her creators had considered it a bit of ironic humor to name her so outlandish and yet befitting a name as Eve. For her namesake too had been a temptress bringing about the calamities of mankind, and now eons later another Eve would end the supremacy of man.
At the door of the cabin the commander paused. His eyes sought those of the woman. She stood regarding him strangely, and for the first time he found himself wondering what she must feel about her part in bringing about the defeat of a world? She had no control over her actions. She was conditioned to follow the tenets of the master plan. He wished he had not held himself so aloof from her during the flight. Now there was no time to question what she felt. And after the invasion for her there would be only destruction.
Annoyed with himself, he turned back to the door, his knuckles sounded dully against the thickness of the wood. He waited impatiently, receiving no answer to his knocking. With one hand near the weapon in his belt, he reached out and lifted the latch.
Gesturing for Eve to remain outside, he stepped over the threshold.
A man dozed in the large chair before the still smouldering fireplace. When the cool air reached him he shivered and opened his eyes.
“I am Commander Ydnas.”
The man gazed at him blankly, his sleep-stained face bewildered at the rude awakening. He seemed unimpressed by the military splendor of the commander’s uniform.
The commander eyed the man with mild contempt. This would do as a guinea pig to prove the effectiveness of Eve. Here too would be an excellent base of operations. The man could supply many useful details needed before the invasion could begin.
“Eve,” he called. “Come in!”
She entered the room reluctantly, her gaze pitying the man seated so strangely still in his chair. She waited for his expression to change when he saw her. In a moment he would be grovelling at her feet. Eve hated what she was doing, but the patterns implanted in her brain by the creators made it impossible for her to resist.
The Commander’s stern jaw relaxed, his mouth fell open in shock. Impossible! Incredible! The man continued to remain motionless, regarding them with annoyed perplexity.
The scientists had blundered; earth beings were not creatures governed by their emotions. The data collected by the spy ships had been erroneous, the invasion would fail.
Instinctively he looked to the woman. Eve watched him in open amusement, and he wondered if he had not caught a glimpse of sympathy in her eyes. She knew what this meant to him. No man returned to the mother planet in defeat. If he did not follow the time-honored custom of self-destruction to atone for his failure, he would face a quick death when he returned.
“What—what did you want?” asked the man, annoyance making his voice a petulant whine.
“Nothing, sir. We made a mistake. I’m afraid we came to the wrong place.”
The Commander turned to Eve, his face transformed by a smile for the first time since they had been together.
“I know of an asteroid that is pretty well out of the space lanes. It has an atmosphere and can support life without a great struggle on our part. Do you think you could like it there? Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a world for you to conquer, and I would be the only man to serve you … but….”
She studied him thoughtfully, and then in answer to what he had asked, she took his arm. They left the cabin together, walking very closely.
It must have seemed a cosmic joke to the gods of the universe to see the invader and the woman, who was to have been his weapon, pause and wave a casual farewell to the planet they had come to conquer.
“Asteroid,” the man mused aloud. “What kind of crazy gibberish had they been talking? Must be honeymooners from one of the nearby resorts.”
He shrugged in an attempt to dismiss it from his mind, maybe he ought to ask Helen about it when she got back. Come to think of it she should be back with the supplies any minute now.
There was a strange roar from outside, and the sound of some great object hurtling through the air, but strangely enough the man did not leap from his chair and rush to the door to see what created the disturbance.
He did not move from the fireplace until the chill had begun to fill the cabin, and then reluctantly he stood up fumbling along the side of the chair for some object leaning against it.
When he located it, he grasped it tightly, and then made his way cautiously to the door. He shifted the stick to his left hand fumbling for the latch. Locating it he closed the door.
The invaders had come … and left in defeat. But the victor would never know he had beaten off the first invasion of Earth, saving mankind from slavery and civilization from destruction. To him they were mere voices babbling meaningless words. The splendor of their space ship, the wondrous fatal beauty of the woman never would be known to him … for he was totally blind!#ENGLISH