Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Sci-fi · #913461
How the aliens might invade.
|The Take Over|
Five generations ago our astronomers discovered a star unknown to the ancients. Hidden behind a galactic cloud of dust, it had been pulsating on the verge of exploding into a super nova for thousands of years. Death, they presaged, would come from fifty light years away. In their simulations the cataclysmic stream of high energy particles would blow away our atmosphere and exterminate every living thing above ground.
At our time of greatest need some emerged to rally the population. They initiated the final project to send some of us to the stars, giving our race a chance to survive.
When the star exploded, we had launched only three arks. Only one in half a million of our race could escape the inferno. The best of our race had been in those three vessels, but not all chosen were the elite. Our wise leaders, knowing our nature, had reserved ten per cent of the berths for those working in any capacity on the project, thus giving everyone incentive and hope.
My great grandfather, given a number in the lottery for his work in security, had won a berth. Making the most difficult decision in his life, he had chosen one of his three children, my grandmother, to live.
A generation ago, radio transmissions from an intelligence orbiting star KW 719 were detected. Immediately, engines were fired and our course adjusted for approach. Although much has been learned studying the transmissions, we needed samples of life from the planet. Some of us have landed there and brought back specimens for analysis by our scientists. From their studies we have come up with a plan.
I am the captain of a small ship. Our mission was to disperse capsules filled with a genetically altered virus in the orbital path of the third planet. Now, all we do is wait and observe.
On the planet.
John opened the screen door at the back of the kitchen and stepped outside. He hoped someday he had a yard as large and encircled with as many trees as this one. Taking a deep pull on a beer, he gazed at the clouds reflecting the light from the Moon. More, many more, stars were visible than in the polluted skies back home in L.A. He recognized Jupiter near the Moon and wished he had a telescope. He followed a shooting star streaking across the sky and grinned, maybe he would get his wish.
The capsule hit the hill at an oblique angle, burying itself a few inches into the dry soil. It had survived its trip through the atmosphere and waited for rain.
The alarm clock rang, but Suzie was already in the kitchen making breakfast for John and the kids. She went to the stairs, put her hands on the railing and projected her voice upstairs, “John, Vincent, Pia, breakfast is ready.”
John was the first to come down. “The pancakes smell great!”
Suzie pecked him on the cheek. “Sit down and eat. Coffee, tea, or me?”
“Mom, that’s so corny.” Pia, their teenage daughter entered the kitchen. “I’m so hungry, I could eat a... a bear?”
Her mother laughed. “Don’t think you’re so clever. We’re so lucky Dad’s boss is letting us stay at his lodge.”
John touched his side where the stitches from the operation were still tender. “Yes, and I’m also grateful to God I’m here with my family.”
Pia hugged her dad. “I’m so happy you’re ok.”
Suzie watched and beamed. She was very proud of her family, but lately she was worried. John had gotten a kidney removed and her son, Vincent, was suffering from seizures again. Well, this vacation would do both of them a lot of good.
Just then Vincent, their seventeen year old son, entered carrying their laptop. “Mom, we got mail from Uncle Joe. He says there’s terrible things happening in Tokyo. Something’s making people into vampires and killing them. He’s joking, right?”
Suzie frowned. “That’s weird, I can’t believe he’s telling the truth, I mean, vampires!?”
John rubbed his two day old beard. “Turn on CNN.”
Pia picked up the remote on the table and turned on the small portable TV on top of the fridge.
From a helicopter, less than an hour away from Ginza, CNN was showing scenes of empty streets in usually crowded Tachikawa. Billowing black smoke from burning cars obscured the view as small groups of people darted across the streets. “A horrific scene form Dante’s Inferno unfolds across this urban landscape of high rise office buildings and department stores. Yes, the rumors appear to be true. Unbelievably, mayhem in the form of men, women, and children turned into vicious mobs killing for blood has turned a peaceful modern city into a hellhole.”
Suddenly the pilot, seeing something, veered to the left. The camera zoomed in. “Oh, my God, some of them have trapped a young family in a small alley. Lord have mercy...”
Pia screamed. She turned off the TV and hugged her father.
Vincent feeling dizzy, sat down heavily. “Uncle Joe wasn’t joking! Mom, what's going to happen to them?”
Suzie visibly paler took her hand away from her mouth. “I don’t know. What else did he write?”
“He said they think it’s spread by saliva entering the wound.”
“Let’s pray for them and I’ll send a reply.”
Rain clouds appeared and the first large drops started falling soon after. Hitting the ground and raising small puffs of dirt, the drops seeped into the soil; the moisture quickly reached the buried capsule, collapsing its shell and releasing the contents. Soon the soil could no longer hold the rain and small rivulets ran down the hill. A muddy stream formed at the base, meandered around large rocks, and finally entered a large pond.
In the pond a virus searched for amoeba. Finding one, it penetrated the cell membrane, and quickly taking over the functions of the creature, multiplied. Commanding the amoeba to release its grip on a protective leaf, it floated to the surface. This self destructive behavior alerted the senses of a nymph, which approached and consumed it. Inside, the digestive juices melted the amoeba; the virus horde swarmed out inside their new host and waited.
The rain stopped and the sky cleared, nymphs climbed out of the water on blades of grass to metamorphose into winged insects, and filled the air above the pond.
At the cabin, John tried to change the jittery atmosphere induced by the horrific news. “Hey, it stopped raining. Let’s go for a walk.”
Suzie let out a deep breath. “Good idea, a nice walk in the woods after breakfast would do us good. We can clean up later.”
Pia turned to go upstairs. “Wait for me! I’m getting the camera.”
A short time later, walking in the woods, they reached a scenic spot. Pia took out her camera. “Hey, this is the perfect place for a picture. Everyone stand in front of that tree... Great, don’t move. Smile.”
The insect landed on a soft shirt, folded its delicate gossamer wings, and crept up the collar. Slowly and carefully it laid its front legs on smooth skin and bit.
The virus floated with the juices from the insect’s glands and flowed into the blood stream of their new host. Invading the cells, they inserted their genetic code, commanding replication in such numbers that the cells exploded, releasing more in a devastating chain reaction. Among them were mutants genetically altered. They easily overwhelmed the defenses and took over the brain.
Vincent smiled and Pia took the picture. He looked up and noticed for the first time how intricate leaves were. As he walked along the trail, all around him, details leapt out: the way the wind felt on his face, the earthly smells of the forest, the crunch of dried leaves underfoot. He had never felt so alive.
Since his brush with cancer, John had relearned the simple joys of life and was enjoying the walk. Suddenly, he saw that his son was about to have a seizure. He grabbed him as he fell forward, breaking his fall, and laid him gently down on the forest floor. Looking into his eyes he was shocked at how small the pupils were, they’d never been that way before. He raised his head to comment on it, when his arm was grabbed and bitten with great force.
Suzie stared at her son’s head rocking from side to side on John’s arm. “John! What....”
John felt a change overcoming his normal perceptions and feared what might be happening. He pushed at Vincent’s head with revulsion. He yelled, “Get away! Get in the car and go for help. The vampire bug, it’s here!”
Pia saw her mother staring, unable to accept the sudden turn of fate, and grabbed her hand. “Mom, give me the keys. I’ll start the car.”
Suzie’s eyes bulged wide, yet she managed to hold back a scream. She turned and they ran. Grabbing the keys from her mother, Pia ran ahead, then looked back. Her father was on the ground holding his arm in pain. Her brother was starting to stand. “Mom! Run faster!”
John lunged, tackling his son. He slammed his fist into Vincent’s back then wrapped his arms around him. Keeping his hold, John rolled and added enough momentum to get them moving down the hill.
Out of breath, Suzie staggered to the car.
“Hurry, Mom, get in! Let’s get help.”
Suzie slammed the door and stomped on the gas. Shaking from shock, she couldn't control the car and it almost went off the road.
“Mom, slow down! We’re safe now, but don’t stop. I remember seeing a sheriff’s office in town.”
“Vincent... John... What’s happening?”
“Mom, remember what Dad said?... I think he was right.”
Half an hour later they came to a road block and the sheriff’s SUV. The sheriff got out and motioned them to the side of the road. “Howdy, folks. What brings you here?”
Suzie leaned out the window. “Sheriff, you’ve got to help us. Have you heard about what’s happening in Japan?”
“Can’t say that I have.”
“You have to believe us. Something is making people very sick over there. My husband and son have caught it. We had to leave them behind.”
With a skeptical voice he asked, “Could you tell me where you left them?”
She paused, thinking the truth was too fantastic to believe, she said, “At the Yagami’s vacation home. He’s my husband’s boss. We need to get a doctor.”
“Didn’t the house have a phone? I’m sorry, ma’am, could I see your driver’s license?”
Suzie pulled it out of her wallet. “Listen, could you please hurry? This is an emergency.”
As the sheriff raised his sunglasses to check the license, Suzie saw his eyes. The pupils were mere pinholes. He smiled. “Don’t worry, ma’am. This won’t take long.”
I monitor the signals from the planet to relay to my commander. I have good news to report. The virus is wonderful.