The last President of the United States sat in the purple-strewn ruins of the Rose Garden and reminisced companionably with her Secretary of Defense.

“Do you remember, Dick, how we pulled you out of retirement when we realized the terrible nature of the threat?”

Cheney smiled at the memory, though even that was now an effort. A fading heart and chronic malnourishment were taking their toll: he was a frail shadow of the burly man he’d once been.

“Yep,” he replied, “Turns out those alien colony ships would’ve been easy meat. Great lolloping tubs packed with millions of ET colonists; primitive chemical engines, no weapons to speak of. What did the rocket scientists call them, Michelle, generation ships?”

She nodded, warming to her theme. “It was you we turned to, Dick; nobody else could’ve cut through the Pentagon bureaucracy and restarted Star Wars in the short time we had. As those aliens lumbered into cis-lunar space you were ready for them: orbital lasers, thermonuclear missiles, special-forces astronaut teams – you would have taken them out, no problem.”

Tears glistened in Dick Cheney’s eyes.

“And what a grievous, grievous wrong that would have been, Michelle. I was all set to go too, ready to push that button … and then those first purple spores arrived like manna from heaven, dispersed round the planet, growing on anything, wafting their perfume across the world. I guess it was Revelation, the End Times and the Rapture all wrapped up in one global, purple quilt. All our hatreds washed away. We’re meant to love life, all of it, everywhere. It’s so wrong to kill.”

Michelle smiled her heartfelt agreement, weakly lifting her thin arm to look at her watch.

“They’ll be getting hungry now, Dick, best we get to work.”

Michelle and Dick are on their knees amongst the stems and caps, stuffing the succulent purple fungal heads into their mouths. Michelle mutters worriedly, “I’m looking for the best bits; they’re so very picky.

“Whatever will they do when we’re not here to feed them anymore?”

Slight spoiler alert: a recent film has a theme of alien parasites, the scariest of which affect the host’s very mind: like this.

‘Toxoplasma is a parasitic creature whose definitive host is the cat. Cysts are ingested by a cat, perhaps through feeding on an infected mouse, and go on to survive passage through the stomach to infect the small intestine, where they undergo sexual reproduction and produce further cysts. These are shed with the feces. Animals and humans then eat the cysts, perhaps by consuming infested vegetables, to become infected in their turn.

Infections have the ability to change the behavior of rats and mice making them drawn to, rather than fearful of, the scent of cats. This effect is advantageous to the parasite, which will be able to sexually reproduce if its host is eaten by a cat. The infection is highly precise, as it does not affect a rat’s other fears such as the fear of open spaces or of unfamiliar smelling food.

Studies have also shown behavioral changes in humans including slower reaction times and a six fold increased risk of traffic accidents among infected males allied with reckless behavior. A study of 191 young women in 1999 reported higher intelligence and lower guilt proneness in Toxoplasma-positive subjects.’ [Wikipedia].

Why kill your opponents when you can make them love and serve you?