Home > Fiction > FF – Beauty is Skin Deep

FF – Beauty is Skin Deep

Here is my story for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle. The photo comes from Roger Bultot.

Copyright Roger Bultot


Dre’gar viewed the scene before him through his suit’s plexiglass visor. Beautiful. Oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere. Water. This would make an excellent planet. Once the indigenous life – human – was extinguished, of course.

He raised his visor, savoured real air and began typing his recommendation for invasion.

Then hacked. Coughed. Vomited. And dropped dead. His body liquefied and oozed out of his suit.

Belatedly, his bargain-basement toxicity sensor began to beep.

Toxins detected! Carbon monoxide. Lead. Nitrous oxide. Sulphur dioxide. Lethal levels. DO NOT REMOVE HELMET!

His scout ship, receiving the information, dropped a plague beacon in orbit and left. Never to return.


  1. October 25, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    The upside to poisoning our planet! Good stuff.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. October 25, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    Get it published worldwide, quickly.
    Too late!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jelli
    October 25, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    OOPS! Probably should have checked the “recall” list on that product. 🙂 giggles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 26, 2017 at 7:16 am

      I guess their military went for the lowest bidder when it came to kitting out their troops 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. October 25, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    The planet is too polluted for alien invasion! 😀 I like the plague beacon.


    • October 26, 2017 at 7:18 am

      Sadly, and also fortunately, yes 🙂 Thanks to the plague beacon we’re safe for another 100 years or so, until we can’t live here any more either.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. October 25, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    Well…with all due respect…good riddance. Not
    I assume the humans are already gone, but since some trees have survived there’s still hope for the place. 😐


    • October 26, 2017 at 7:18 am

      Nah, we’re still here, hardened to the pollution through decades of breathing the stuff in. Hooray!


  6. October 25, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    Dear Ali,

    Damn the luck. It doesn’t sound like there’s hope for either alien or human. Good one.




    • October 26, 2017 at 7:19 am

      Dear Rochelle,
      A temporary reprieve only, that’s for sure.


  7. October 26, 2017 at 2:55 am

    Oh, this is funny. Well, maybe not for Dre’gar. Thanks for the laugh!


    • October 26, 2017 at 7:21 am

      I’m sure Dre’gar would be most put out if he heard you laughing at his unexpected liquefaction 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. October 26, 2017 at 5:32 am

    Oops! Close, but no cigar.

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 26, 2017 at 7:22 am

      It was all looking so promising, too.


  9. October 26, 2017 at 8:34 am

    It seems we might be immune to rapid disintegration as we’re used to our atmosphere. We just die slowly. Maybe we haven’t met other intelligent life forms because another planet “has” dropped a warning beacon. Good writing, Ali. 😀 — Suzanne


    • October 26, 2017 at 9:45 am

      There could well be a probe up there somewhere warning more enlightened races to stay clear! I’m glad you liked it 🙂


  10. October 26, 2017 at 8:36 am

    Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    This could explain why we haven’t met other intelligent life.


  11. October 26, 2017 at 11:45 am

    I expect we must be more or less surrounded by plague beacons by now. Good one.


    • October 26, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      It wouldn’t surprise me. I’m glad you liked it!


  12. October 26, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    I loved the description of dre’gar liquefying!


    • October 27, 2017 at 6:49 am

      If only I’d had a few more words, it would’ve been even more graphic 🙂
      I had to hack this story to bits for the word count but that was one sentence I couldn’t part with!


  13. October 26, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    Great story Ali! He has landed on earth to wipe out humanity!


  14. October 26, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Oh Dear Alaistar, you had me in stitches at the line:

    Belatedly, his bargain-basement toxicity sensor began to beep.

    So nice invaders have those places too!

    Thank you for the laughing session.


    • October 27, 2017 at 6:50 am

      I reckon every planet has some form of “pound shop”. Maybe better to pay a bit more for the safety gear, though.
      I’m glad you liked it!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. October 26, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Good for us.

    Actually, the story momentarily reminded me of the 1951 science fiction novel “Iceworld” by Hal Clement.


    • October 27, 2017 at 6:51 am

      Just looked that up – sounds intriguing.


  16. October 26, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Ha ha, funny one! Finally our attempts to destroy our planet actually save it — well, at least momentarily. And I’m definitely amused that he bought the cheap toxicity suit. Penny wise but pound foolish!


    • October 27, 2017 at 6:53 am

      Yeah, who’d’a thunk it?
      He’d’ve been better off spending more on the suit, but he needed the extra cash for his in-flight premium snacks. Bad decision 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • October 27, 2017 at 12:32 pm

        You have to be true to your priorities in life. Unless your priorities are stupid. And then you should listen to your mother. 😉


  17. October 27, 2017 at 6:37 am

    Well…at least he found out how poisened our planet is become…MOL 😀 Pawkisses for a Happy Weekend 🙂 ❤


    • October 27, 2017 at 6:54 am

      Yep. At least we’re safe from invasion. No-one wants to come here.
      You have a lovely weekend too. And stay away from the big digging machines in the garden 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. October 27, 2017 at 8:29 am

    How ingeniously brilliant of humans to ward off potential alien attacks by poisoning our planet! We are much smarter than we give ourselves credit for….

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 27, 2017 at 3:13 pm

      Poison the well! Poison the well! Hey, wait, what’ll we drink…?


  19. October 27, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Our planet needs no invasion, except we ourselves are chocking it and us to death.
    “…body liquefied and oozed out of his suit.” made me smile.


    • October 27, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      We’re doing very nicely on the destruction front ourselves. No help required.


  20. October 27, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Ha! So that’s been the goal all along. If we humans screw this planet up so massively (as we are on course to keep doing), then no aliens will want to invade. It’s all so clear now. Sadly brilliant, Ali!


    • October 27, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      Yeah, I can’t believe no-one’s thought of it before! Oh, wait…


  21. October 27, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    I loved this! Lesson learned on toxicity sensors!


    • October 27, 2017 at 8:30 pm

      Yep. Save your pennies and buy a really really expensive one. Possibly made by Apple.
      I’m glad you liked it 🙂


  22. October 27, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    lesson learned !!

    nice take and I felt the complete adventure in these few words –


  23. Sarah Ann
    October 28, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    LOL. Buying cheap safety items is a recipe for disaster. Very funny this week, as I can’t feel sorry for poor Dre’gar although maybe I do a little for the plague ridden humans.


    • October 29, 2017 at 6:34 am

      People the universe over cut corners on safety equipment. At least the plague-ridden humans are used to the pollution!


  24. October 28, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    Glad inept aliens didn’t take over the planet!


  25. October 28, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Yikes! Seems the aliens have their own set of problems 🙂


    • October 29, 2017 at 6:35 am

      They certainly need to start buying a more reputable brand of safety equipment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover
    October 29, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    This was a very creative take on the prompt. I loved the shoddy equipment and bringing in how we are killing our planet.


    • October 29, 2017 at 5:03 pm

      It’s the story with everything 🙂 I’m glad you liked it!


  27. October 30, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Well, at least we aren’t going to have any aliens around for a while. Well done!


    • October 31, 2017 at 7:54 am

      No, they know better than to come here and dissolve! I’m glad you liked it.


  28. October 30, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    You get what you pay for … oopsies! Love the dark humour.


    • October 31, 2017 at 7:57 am

      Not the best area to be cutting corners in 🙂 I’m glad you liked it!

      Liked by 1 person

  29. October 31, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Lucky this time, weren’t we… We’ll find a way to do it ourselves, though. Eventually…


  30. Dale
    October 31, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    Bargain basement… proof it never pays to go too cheap…
    This was a hoot. Well, not for poor Dre’gar, but for us hardened humans…


    • November 2, 2017 at 8:05 am

      He definitely should have invested a bit more in his safety gear 🙂
      We’re made of stronger stuff, fortunately. What’s a bit of sulphur dioxide between friends…


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