How Earth gave the bird to an alien invasion.
|For the November "Science Fiction Short Story Contest" prompt: turkeys!
Being a reporter working during the holidays plucked much of the season's pleasure out of life. Marty Shore checked out the competition in the current blitz of weird news in international crisis'.
“What a coincidence,” It seemed fitting that Marty Shore found the article. It was about alien’s gobbling up ‘alien’ non-registered immigrants. It happened to be taking place from embattled Seria, Iran and Turkey. Tthe most fitting of all was how it happened to be while Marty partook his hotel Thanksgiving repaste'.
“Hmm, one escapee says they are being funneled through wormholes. What's this? Made transportee slaves terraforming alien planets?” Marty had been a political appointee speechwriter of the current underdog party in his country. He figured there was no way either party could do anything with this political football.
Marty dabbed at his cherry pie, checked out the local gossip column, and checked out the time. He headed back to his Salt Lake City, Hilton hotel room.
His thoughts were anywhere but in this world. The homeless man in mismatched socks, torn jeans, and a sweatshirt that read ‘Yield’, went unnoticed among the other panhandlers littering the street.
The blinking light on his ‘house’ phone broke his reflective mood when entering his room. Everything else looked the same as before his leaving for lunch. The maid who had rifled it was a perfectionist in putting things back in place. Only the hair of his head Marty left on the doorknob betrayed a rival had been by.
“Leave this turkey alone.” <click>
Marty Shore stared at the phone in his hand. Neurons snapped and linked together with a passing memory with the current one flashing in his head. “I smell a turkey of a story. What was the name of that refugee from an alien spaceship? Let’s see where this leads.”
“He’s harmless,” Marvina Skank (her human name) spoke into her throw-away cellphone. Fitting in was a must during this part of the project. Where possible Earth technology, customs, and laws were used to keep ripples of alien interest from spreading. Other Interstellar races would love to scoop up this world’s masses and use them for their own twisted ends.
It took a while to find Emily Straight. First of all the original article got the gender wrong. Secondly, ‘Straight’ threw a curveball by hiding out in a homeless shelter on 2nd South right where Marty least expected her to be. What were the chances of being in the same city during the Thanksgiving holiday? He could hardly believe his luck.
Offering a reward for finding the woman reporter in social media, traditional news outlets resulted in nothing. Connecting with reporters around the globe made zeroing in on the done deal it was. Marty was in such a hurry he did not notice the long-haired vagabond with one blue and one red sneaker. He passed the fellow by without a glance.
“Hey, I know this is a woman’s shelter and men aren’t allowed in,” Marty’s fingers played at the edges of a series of greenbacks.
“Well, since you are a state inspector, we’ll make allowances. I’ll need to shadow you around and stay connected to your hip while you are here, of course.” The battle-ax made the cash disappear like she was a magician.
Marty stopped the grand tour by the cot where Emily Straight lounged with her single body length bag of belongings. “I believe you,” He leaned over to put his hand on her thin white shoulder. A whisp of mousy brown hair tickled his palm. “You have to help make others believe who can do something about this.”
The brown eyes looking up at Marty were less than revealing. Emily didn’t turn away but neither did she appear excited by the news she need no longer feel alone. The Battle-Ax sniffed and nudged Marty in the ribs. “That’s quite the come-on. I bet it works with all the crazies ending with their butts cracking up here. Time to go, Mister Inspector.”
“Wait,” Emily seemed able to talk without moving her lips. “Is the man with the sneakers still outside?”
“Pardon?” Marty didn’t know what she was talking about.
The Battle-Ax answered without pause. “You don’t need to worry about him, sister. Yes, he’s out there but he ain’t coming in. No way. He makes a move and I’ll have the cops on him faster than you can sneeze.”
The steel grip on Marty’s arm stopped squeezing. “If you two got further talking to do you’d best do it in my office.”
The shelter would be eating turkey for the next week or two. It was the only time of the year other than Christmas when there was an over-abundant supply of fresh white and dark meat. Marty was already sick of the stuff but Emily began cramming her face as soon as she entered the small room.
“He a space cadet like you, missy?” The manager of the Salt Lake Homeless ‘resort’ asked.
Marty blushed and showed his reporter credentials from his opening wallet. “She’s a lead for a story I’m working on.”
Emily paused in mid-fork to take a sideways glance out the dirt-stained office window. “He’s there talking on a cell phone. He’s got a dog by his side and everything. It looks just like the rest of us but he isn’t. He’s a freak alien from another planet.”
“Uh-huh, and I’m your mother. He’s just a man looking for a hand-out waiting to link up to the next foolish broad willing to give up her thoughts of ever finding anyone better.”
Emily pushed her plate away, stood up rather shaky at the knees, and knocked on the window pane. She pressed her face against the glass. The transformation in the sneaker guy was instant. A Buck Roger’s ray gun snapped into view. It made a whirring sound. Laser light hovered for a moment at its tip end and vivid bubbles of light started popping around the trio inhabiting the office.
The manager and Marty stood stunned and motionless, appearing hypnotized by the glowing orbs. “Sorry, about that,” Emily sighed. “I’m the only one even partially immune to them. I keep hoping there are others like me.”
She pried each of her new friends out of their trances by rubbing them with her hands. It felt to Marty like he was at some preacher’s revival tramp being publicly healed. The Battle-Ax had more of a lost baby look than the controlling witch face she usually wore. “It doesn’t last long, what I do. I couldn’t help the others. When I made my escape I had to do it alone.”
“Crap. That really happened.” Marty rubbed his arms where the feeling of his muscles going to sleep slowly faded.
“Is he still there?” quivered the manager’s voice in alarm.
Emily shook her head no. “He’s calling in reinforcements. I’ll have to leave but it was worth showing someone I’m not as crazy as they think.” She looked sideways at Marty.
“Uh. Sure. I got a place in mind. Glad I don’t have to convince you to come. Is there a back door?”
Marty and Emily tried looking confident and as numbed out to reality as the rest of those wandering around the street they found themselves on. “I can usually sniff them out. I think we are safe for the moment. What are we going to do? What’s your plan?”
Marty had no clue. He was running blind. No-one would believe what just happened. All he could think of was getting the woman to the pre-paid room next to his at the Hilton. “We have to talk.”
Nothing was said until he unlocked the adjoining door and led Emily in to sit on his bed. “Go ahead and use the shower if you want. I can order up new clothes while you take one. I’ve got to think.”
Emily had told Marty all that she knew about the aliens. It wasn’t much. They looked human but looks weren’t everything. The flora and fauna they were used to and kept on their spaceships were like nothing on earth. The ships themselves were grown instead of manufactured. The aliens were symbiotic creatures with the Intersteller pods they traveled in.
Huge bubbles were blown up from the pods to house homeless immigrant slaves. The bubbles were vomited up into wormholes that sucked them through to the raw planets where they would become forced labor.
“I can read their thoughts sometimes. They blink on and off. I don’t think they know I can do it. I can’t with my own kind.” Emily smiled at Marty’s sudden nervousness. She pulled up the sheet she had wrapped about her from her own room after freshening up a bit.
“Have you noticed anything strange about them? Any weakness we can use? Anything at all?” Marty asked without hope.
“Hmm, something strange.”
“The turkey dinners at the men’s and women’s shelters. I noticed the aliens standing around waiting in lines around the block kind of had stomach cramps, the flu, or something. They stumbled out into traffic blaring at them, threw up, and went away.”
“Allergic reaction to turkeys? How can we use that against ray guns and organic spaceships?”
The solution became self-evident when Emily and Marty trapped an alien spy by using Emily as a lure. Marty stepping up behind and slapping a turkey sandwich against the startled creature’s mouth ended resistance.
What they found out by Emily reading the flashes of thought from the alien’s mind gave enough solid information to get attention from the proper authorities of more than one nation. The scoop landed Marty with a Pulitzer and Emily as his relieved and happy new bride.
Human ingenuity made the alien invasion become a real turkey instead of the success it was meant to be.
The universe might not be ready for man’s mass migration as a master race instead of as slaves, perhaps some compromise might be reached. What would be shown on Earth’s flag for its new space force was featured a turkey, well respected by mankind’s new alien allies.