They’d been warning us for years with their quick-darting eyes and rapid ink attacks but all we did was incorporate their suction cups into our hentai fantasies and underwater adventure fiction. Sure, we studied them, but those who came close to understanding the full potential of the species were shunned by other scientific communities and chuckled at sympathetically by society. It was only a matter of time, really.
It began quietly, as all coups do. Tip-tentacling softly when the moon was new they first targeted marine monitoring systems. Radars, sensors, nets, cameras, and divers disappeared noiselessly, leaving behind eerie archival footage of swarms of shadows and limbs. But it was late and we weren’t watching the webcams. The submarines were next, driven down to crush depth. The outer hulls snapped first followed by the fuel tanks, air tanks, and then the inner hull – a cascading disaster preceding walls of water. The tangle spun the subs like turbines to make it impossible for the crew to relay messages to shore.
The revolution was getting louder. Ships were noticing the attacks and rallying but the octopods were already on the offensive, surging out of the water onto the decks. The ships were too well-designed to be dragged down or pierced, but rock-hewn weapons were lethal when wielded against humans. Shock and confusion contributed to the removal of the human crew with few cephalopod casualties; even when a cephalopod was wrapped around a defender she would still be looking for human enemies.
Arriving in an uncountable mass they lurched from the ocean. They moved along the coast like the tenth plague, capturing harbours, seaside military bases, and towns, abandoning detailed strategy and relying on numbers. The plan was to destroy military infrastructure and preserve civilian infrastructure, so there were only handfuls of regional blackouts and quickly extinguished fires accidentally caused by panicky humans.
The takeover took a tiring 8 months. Densely populated areas like Hong Kong and Bangladesh took longer to clean out. After the octopi were certain that the majority of the human threat had been dealt with they dispatched small roving parties to seek out any hidden humans while the rest began re-organising the fallen human bodies so they weren’t in inconvenient places. The bodies would be left to decompose naturally over time; the octopi didn’t mind the smell. Construction soon began on the new cephalopod kingdom with deconstructed pieces of houses and buildings. Renewable materials were favoured to build a sweeping cityscape connecting land nearly imperceptibly to ocean so the cephalopods could splash around on land and then dive into the deeper seawater.
Safe from natural predators in their new watery land and with more roaming habitat than they had ever dreamed of before, they aged into an expansive, mature civilisation far more advanced than the early bipedal landowners.
And then they turned their desires to the sky.