I'm looking for a story where a vastly superior alien civilization "invades" United Earth space but instead of attacking, they surrender, much to the surprise of the assembled Earth military and dignitaries who were expecting total war or annihilation.

This is what I remember from the story:

A meeting takes place, where two representatives of the vastly superior invading fleet meet with the "Earth Alliance" top brass.

The Earth representatives are assembled; they're nervous and apprehensive. Then these two "Mutt and Jeff" type of characters, one tall and skinny, the other short and fat(?), approach the assembled human big shots. The humans have never seen anything like them.

Before the Earth Admiral can say anything, the aliens surrender to the forces of Earth. Throughout the exchange, Mutt and Jeff talk to the earthlings in normal, almost unconcerned tones and show a remarkably hilarious relaxed and amused demeanor.

Mutt and Jeff then say something like: "We'll have our diplomats contact your diplomats to arrange for adequate documentation, technology transfers and other things customarily done in such cases etc".

The Earth rep just blinks. Then one of the aliens adds that of course, they expect Earth Military occupation forces on their capital planet as soon as Earth can manage, or something to that effect.

All this comes to a surprise to all the humans there.

Formalities concluded, Mutt and Jeff turn around and walk back to whence they came, maybe talking among themselves like two Sunday strollers enjoying a walk in a park. The story ends shortly thereafter.

I don't recall where I've read this, an anthology perhaps - but I do remember that it was a very entertaining little story; been trying to fish it out for a re-read for some time now, but forgot where in my library the darn thing is.

  • 8
    Don't intentionally hide things from your description. It just makes it harder for people to identify it.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 10:12
  • 2
    To piggyback on to the previous comment you can hide text behind spoiler markdown with >! at the start of a paragraph as a way to include spoilers without revealing them to everyone.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 10:13
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    Does the story happen to mention why the aliens do this? Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 11:59
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    The title sounds like the end of the Earth-Minbari War in the TV series Babylon 5, where the vastly militarily superior Minbari are on the brink of totally annihilating humanity when they unexpectedly surrender during the final battle. It's not the same kind of thing as in your story - the Babylon 5 event follows a long crippling one-sided war - but you might have some luck by searching for related things.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 12:38
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    In this story ending, was there a short comment, just from alien-to-alien that they were glad they finally found some suckers so that now they could relax from having to rule the galaxy?
    – NomadMaker
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 22:34

1 Answer 1


This sounds very like a misremembered version of Pardon Our Conquest by Alan Dean Foster. The story is almost exactly the same except that the large invading fleet is a Commonwealth fleet manned by Thranx and humans and the "invadees" are aliens called the Falan.

The Falan are a race on the edge of the Commonwealth world and not previously known to the Commonwealth. They turn up at the planet Drax IV and announce their intention of adding it to their empire when a vastly bigger Commonwealth fleet turns up and this is only a scouting force.

This happened to coincide with the arrival of a fleet of fifty warships, which was considerably more than the two dozen or so the Empire could muster. When informed that this was a scouting force sent to determine the precise nature of the threat that had been levied against Drax, and that the main armada of the so-called Commonwealth had not even been assembled, consternation and despair among the Falan was followed by reluctant but unavoidable capitulation.

Then two representatives of the Commonwealth board the Falan flagship, and they are indeed a tall thin creature (a Thranx) and a short fat one (a human):

When at last the pair finally halted before the curve of the crescent moon, he was shocked by their size. The spindly, big-eyed one he knew from images sent back from Drax. Presently standing on four limbs with another four upraised, it inclined feathery antennae in his direction. A bright blue-green in color, it looked fragile and harmless.

Though bipedal like the Falan, the creature standing beside the Thranx appeared even less threatening. So soft was it that one could actually see bits of its exposed flesh moving after it had come to a stop. A strange white growth emerged from the top of its skull and also covered much of the lower half of its face. It would take little effort, Gorelkii thought, to crush them both, splintering the thranx-thing and smashing its taller companion to a pulp.

It then proceeds exactly as you describe. The Thranx says:

“But,” the Thranx added, “we would be flattered if you would situate some of your forces—completely independent, of course—on several of our worlds. Given the impression the Falan have made on the peoples of the Commonwealth, I’m certain their presence would be both welcome and admired.”

And the human says:

“We would be pleased to engage in cultural and commercial exchanges as well. According to whatever procedures and restrictions your government decides to impose.”

The story ends with the Falan Admiral saying:

Gorelkii looked over at him. “Remind me again: this war. We lost - didn’t we?”

So apart from the huge difference that it's the humans (and Thranx) that have the massively superior force this does sound awfully like your story.

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    Thank you John; that is indeed the short story I've been looking for. By identifying this grossly misremembered story, you've gifted me the joy of rediscovery, as I once more stood in the ceremonial chamber and experienced the remarkable exchange between the Falan's Empire of the Three Suns and The Commonwealth. To the kind folks who added comments, my apologies; seems I failed to configure notifications in a way that would've allowed me to answer your queries in a timely fashion. Again, thank you all for your time and consideration.
    – PopDiv
    Commented Sep 5, 2020 at 4:56

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