Hallenstauf was, unlike the majority of the world, too preoccupied to notice when the aliens first landed. The fact was, he'd overslept, and there was only an hour left till dawn. And he was always thirsty when he first woke up, more so when he overslept. He was just finishing with his victim when his friend Renaux came running up. Hall was a little embarrassed; he usually didn't kill humans, but he'd been too thirsty to wait until he got to the club. Tossing the pretty teenage girl's body aside, he asked nervously, "What's up, Renny?"

"What's up? You mean you haven't heard? You didn't see them?"

At first all Hall could think of was that it was lucky Renny was himself too preoccupied to mention the dead girl. After all, it was rather frowned upon among the more civilized modern vampires to kill innocent humans when pigs' blood was perfectly sufficient. But he quickly thought to reply, "Heard? What...who?"

"The aliens! They landed over an hour ago, the whole world's talking about it!"

"Aliens? Get out."

"No, seriously. Turn on any HV or radio to any station. A billion to one they're talking about it. Go ahead."

Hall had never known Renny to be one for practical jokes, but to be sure, he turned on his radio headset, which he never left home without. Sure enough, every station on both bands was talking about the aliens who landed 75 minutes ago. Hall listened for awhile, then turned the headset off and slipped it down around his neck, his face nearly as pale as that of the girl he'd recently drained.

"Holy shit. I don't believe it. This is so awesome. I... uh-oh, better get home. Dawn soon. Wow."

"Man, I might've forgot if you didn't mention it. Jeez." Renny turned away, then called over his shoulder, "Pretty girl, really too bad about that. I wonder if she'd heard. Y'know, you've really gotta get a decent alarm clock."

The next few weeks consisted of little for anyone but watching, listening to, and reading news about the aliens. Except those people directly involved; politicians talking to the aliens, scientists studying the aliens, military securing against possible invasion, and of course, the people in the press who did the talking and writing about the aliens.

They seemed peaceful enough, open about themselves and their technology (to a reasonably limited degree). In appearance, they were very nearly identical to humans. However, due to Earth's gravity being a bit less than their own planet's, and their having denser muscle tissue than humans, they were, on average, about three times stronger than your average human. Our sun, it seemed, was much brighter than theirs, and emitted radiation harmful to them, so they preferred to conduct talks at night and in dimmed rooms. At a special dinner in their honor, where dishes from all over the Earth were served, it was discovered that most of them had severe allergic reactions to garlic. Of course, with these peculiarities added up, everyone on Earth thought of vampires. But it was discovered, upon indulgence by the aliens, that there were no other real similarities (though it was assumed that fire or sharp wooden stakes could kill them, as much as any living creature). They had reflections; crosses, holy water, wolvesbane all had no effect. However, most people found it amusing that they called their home world Ylvania. The rest found it too eerie to be amusing.

A month after the first ship had arrived, a hundred more ships, each five times larger than the first one, arrived. Word that they'd entered the solar system arrived from the Plutonian radar station half a day before the ships reached Earth, and half a minute before word came from the moonbase on Titan that they'd lost contact with Pluto. Fortunately, Titan's base had been there for two years, and was well enough defended that the aliens didn't bother attacking them yet, but continued straight to Earth.

Suddenly, the honored guests of the past month became much less peaceful. They were surprised, however, when they were quickly surrounded in the conference room in Geneva by about 100 fully armed elite guards. They were escorted to maximum security holding cells. An hour later, their ship was in Earth's possession. Another three hours saw Earth's defense forces fully mobilized, as well as those of every base from Luna to Titan. Four hours after that, the Ylvanian fleet reached Earth.

Over every audio and video receiver in the solar system was broadcast their message: "People of Earth, I am captain Morvan of the Ylvanian Empire Military Command Fleet Twelve. It is my duty and privilege to inform you that we are officially declaring war against your world, unless you surrender unconditionally to our Empire's rule. You have one day to transmit your response. We are prepared to send either initial integration parties or military forces at that time, depending on your decision. Thank you."

The world leaders discussed this for hours, but they all knew from start to finish that they couldn't and wouldn't submit to alien domination. There would be war. But they weren't too optimistic about the odds.

It had been exactly a month since Hall had overslept. In fact, few people on Earth had slept enough in the past month. And now they'd be sleeping alot less. Tonight, Hall was at Spider's Club. Everyone there was watching the holovision when the aliens made their announcement. The first week, it had been watched constantly for news of the Ylvanians. The second, they gradually started watching it less. The last two weeks, it had only been turned up for special updates. After this last update, the set was turned off entirely. No one spoke for a minute; they couldn't think of anything to say.

Finally, Spider broke the silence. "Well..." and that was all he could say. Five minutes later he said, "Uh... last call?"

The next night, everyone in the system was in front of an HV when the president of the world council contacted Captain Morvan.

"Captain Morvan, this is President McAllister. It is my duty to inform you that as a people committed to the principles of individual and societal freedom and liberty, we can not under any circumstances submit to impirical tyranny of any sort. It is the deepest hope of my world, my government, and myself, that you will reconsider your position and that war between our peoples can be avoided."

"You would choose the possible extinction of your species over domination by our empire?"

"In a nutshell."


The president rolled his eyes, tried to forget the seriousness of the situation for a moment and replied, "An expression...it means that what I said basically comes down to what you said."

"That is foolish, but I suppose also somewhat courageous and perhaps admirable. I personally have never heard of any world not choosing surrender. I feel a certain respect for your people."

"Thanks. I think."

"Tell you what. You all are so brave and principled, I'll give you a fighting chance. If at the end of a year, we have not conquered your planet, we'll leave, and declare you the winners. How's that sound to you?"

"Better deal than I was anticipating. We might as well go with it. Can we take you at your word? You sure you're even authorized to make that deal?"

"Yes, on both counts, I assure you."

"Well, I guess we've got little choice."

"The war begins tomorrow at this time. And ends, at most, a year from that time." Good morning, Mr. President."

So ended the conference watched by the solar system. So began the conference watched by none but those involved.

"As president of the world council of vampires, I call this meeting to order. I'm not surprised to see that for the first time in over a millennium, every vampire in the world is in attendance, whether physically or electronically. And I'm sure you all know what this meeting is about. The situation is grim not only for the humans or for the vampires, but for the entire world. A motion has been made to reveal our existence officially to the world at large, and to offer our assistance in the war. The floor is now open to discussion."

A light flashed. "Council recognizes member 100,361, in Switzerland."

"It seems to me we have more in common with the aliens than the humans. I'm sure we've all heard the speculation that they could be our ancestors from ancient times. It seems a small leap to see the name Transylvania as that of a colony for a world called Ylvania. I suggest we offer our assistance to the aliens."

"Noted. Council recognizes member 5,061,022, in the United States."

"Of course we've all thought of that, heard that, discussed that. Ad nauseam, I'd say. And the majority of us have long since rejected that as hogwash. It hardly seems likely that they would have been capable of interstellar travel thousands of years ago. And if they had been, why did they lose contact for so long? And why did our people forget about them? And why are there more differences between us than similarities? I say any similarities are merely coincidences, however glaring."

"Noted. Council recognizes member 65,000, in Russia."

"I agree with the member from the U.S. We cannot be related to these aliens. And whether or not we are, we now have more in common with the humans. In the beginning, our ancestors preyed on them for survival. But we have also lived among them all that time, and enjoyed their world. It's been millennia since we needed to prey on humans, and centuries since most of us had any real desire to do so. There are very few of us left who think of humans as being lesser animals than ourselves. I'm sure most of us have at least as many human friends as vampire, even if our human friends don't know what we are- though I suspect some of us may have ignored regulations and told some of our closest friends the truth. At any rate, I say Earth is our world as much as the humans', and we should fight alongside them against the Ylvanians."

"Noted. Council recognizes member 1,000,302, in the United States."

"If we do announce our existence, to either side, there will be no going back. We could just wait the whole thing out, and go along with whatever side wins."

"Noted. Further discussion?" No one could think of anything else to say. "Then we'll vote. For the humans? For the Ylvanians? For neutrality?" After each question, vampires around the world voted via holocomputer. "Computer tabulations are in. Ten million to one million to five million, respectively, with three million abstentions. Motion is carried. We're goin' ta war, boys. Win or lose, the world will never be the same."

The next night, five hours before the war began, vampire president Talaman suddenly and mysteriously appeared in the conference room in Geneva. "Ladies and gentlemen, I've got a surprise for you," he said, before being surrounded by elite guards.

"Do not be alarmed. What I am going to tell you may be shocking, but it is to your advantage."

President McAllister motioned for the guards to let him speak.

"My name is Talaman. I am president of the world council... of vampires. I am here to tell you that we have decided to inform the world of our existence. And to say that we're with you. This world is ours as much as yours, and the Ylvanians are our enemies, too. My people and resources are at your disposal."

"Are you for real?" asked the president.

"How do you suppose I got in here?" Talaman asked, fading into a cloud of mist, then a bat, then a wolf, then a man again.

"I believe you. And I gladly accept your offer of assistance. Much appreciated. Not to mention needed. But I rather suspect a lot of people will be harder to convince, and far less accepting than I am."

The presidents shook hands, and made plans. Five hours later, Morvan called. "As I speak with you, our forces are engaging yours. The war is under way. ...And who is this sitting next to you, Mr. President?"

"I'll allow him to introduce himself. Talaman?"

"Captain. An honor, I'm sure. I suppose you've heard of vampires, and the striking similarities between them and your people?"

"Yes, Earth legends, fairy tales. Stories. What of them?"

"I've a surprise for you, and for this world as well. I am president Talaman, of the world council of vampires. We've only just this evening brought our existence to the attention of the government of Earth. The general populace still hasn't heard of this as yet, though they soon will. Imagine: aliens and vampires in the space of little more than a month. Between us, we're throwing this little globe for quite a loop.

"But what's important for you to know is this: the erstwhile highly secretive vampires are coming out of the closet, so to speak, and we'll be fighting alongside our human brothers."

Quite a loop, indeed. Some people thought, 'What the hell, if aliens, why not vampires too?' Others took longer to convince it wasn't just a hoax. One thing's for sure: the sales of crosses and garlic went way up (though crosses and other religious items in reality had no effect on vampires). But in the following months of intense warfare, throughout the solar system and the world, people soon forgot their shock and fear (of vampires at least), and welcomed any help they could get.

On the second night of the war, hundreds of thousands of vampires showed up to report for duty. Several thousand were already in the military, and had merely to reveal their status as vampires to their commanding officers.

Hall and Renny were in line for assignment to a newly commissioned, all-vampire crewed space ship. Spacefleet was the preferred military branch among vampires, because they could have constant night. Hall couldn't help but think of the night Renny first told him the aliens had landed. Things sure had changed since then. He was glad humans and vampires would be working together from now on, but he was not looking forward to the war.

"We're full. Please reapply for a different assignment," said an officer at the recruiting office. Hall couldn't tell if he was human or vampire.

He was disappointed he didn't get that ship, but in the end he did get on a space ship, the same one as Renny. But they were the only vampires in a crew full of humans. Humans, it turned out, who as yet had little trust in vampires.

"I'm captain Pitting," said the captain of their ship when they came aboard. "I'll tell you just two things: I like you guys about as much as I like the Ylvanian; and I'm gonna be your best friend among the humans on this ship. Good luck."

After he left, Hall turned to Renny and said, "It's gonna be a hell of a long year."