- by Calumbacha
The morning sky had been a beautiful sight, not a cloud to be seen. The walk to work was like any other day, the birds chirped in the distance as I drank my morning juice. I waved to the old man at the local general store as he was still opening his store, a friendly man who had been in the neighborhood for thirty years. I do not remember what came first, the darkness or the noise but the look on the old man’s face was something I will never forget, I sometimes wake in the middle of the night from the memory. He had been looking away from the beautiful sunrise, which I had been walking towards. Now that I think of it, I may not be waking in the middle of the night from the memory of the old man’s face but the memory of what he had was looking at. When I turned the clear blue sky had changed, and filled with clouds, the clouds began to spread out all across the sky from a single point covering most of our small city. The clouds began to turn red and I could soon make out a large object falling towards the outskirts of the city, the red clouds been caused by the red glow from the base of the object. I looked at the old man and he looked back at me, he motioned towards the centre of the city. I followed the old man down the road as we made our way to town hall.
City hall was the largest building in the city and when we arrived a minute later a crowd was already gathering, there was a buzz of nervousness around the crowd, which was soon wiped out by the noise of the falling object. The windows on city hall started to vibrate from the noise of the falling object, the crowd got louder. The City Mayor emerged from City Hall and from a small podium at the top of the steps started an announcement. I could only just make out his words, he was saying the object was some visitors from the stars, the visitors had originally contacted our mayor who agreed to let them come here in peace; we could mutually help each other out in a big way. The Mayor read out a statement from the visitors, as he began to read I somehow deep down did not believe any of it. The statement was saying that they were friends here to help our people advance in technologies and in exchange, they would setup some factories to help us use our planets natural resources, which would lead to more jobs and prosperity for all, they would teach us many new things on our way to the stars.
By the time the ground shuddered under my feet from the falling object landing in the distance the speech that changed the history of our city was finished. The Mayor began to repeat the speech again, this time we could easily hear what he was saying as the noise had dissipated; everybody listened once again to the speech. After the second time through, I understood more of what was going on; I made a quick exit from the crowd trying to decide what to do. I soon arrived at work and realized my legs had carried me there by themselves, but the office was almost empty, the couple of people that where there where looking into the distance towards where the object had landed. The clouds had only just started to clear and it was beginning to look like a beautiful day again. By Lunchtime the few of us that came to work had given up and decided that, our boss had not even come in so we all headed home. I walked past the store on the way home and the store was still closed.
The next morning I woke and the sky was clear not a cloud or falling object to be seen, I made my breakfast and whilst I waited headed for the front door, nothing in the sky today. I quickly ate breakfast and headed down the road to the store to see if the community notice board was updated. The store was still closed but people were standing around outside reading the community notice board. I made my way into the small crowd until I could read the notice attached to the board. The crowd muttered around me as I read, the notice was warning of more landings over the next few days starting with at least two today in the same vicinity of the first. The notice had some sketches of the landing site and a warning to stay clear as it was a secure area, it was only an hour outside of the city.
The notice continued on to explain what the landing objects were, they were ore extractors, which would get the resources out of the ground deep below the planet’s surface and prepare them for transport to the stars once they were refined. Interviews for jobs at the factory would start in the next few days, on the job training to be provided; it read more like a propaganda article. Before I finished reading the notice, the noise from the day before that signaled a landing object came again. The crowd stirred and I looked in the same direction as the noise the day before to see another object falling from the sky. Over the next few days, the notice warning had been an understatement nearly every hour another object fell from the sky and according to the newspaper reporters at the landing site, they were creating a small base with all different size and shape buildings. On the third day, the noticed at the store changed and was now calling for people to work in the alien base doing mining work, mostly hard labor.
That night someone caught sight of something strange; it appeared to be one of the aliens, as it did not look anything like one of our people. The community notice board the next day had a sketch and a description of the aliens. It had two legs and two arms like us, but stood about 2 meters tall, twice the height of any of us, the alien appeared to work with some tools, the notice was very vague as the person who wrote it could not see then the alien for long as it soon disappeared back inside one of the buildings. Over the next two days, more sightings occurred, more sketches appeared on the notice board, it was a great mystery and every morning people who stood around the notice board began to wonder what the aliens looked like and why they were hiding.
When the interviews for jobs started a day later, people began to queue for hours, most just wanting to see the Aliens. As it turned out the Mayor and his aide where doing the interviews, many people questioned the Mayor what his motives where and some even threw fruit and other objects at him. Once news got out there where no aliens to be seen the queue disappeared; no one wanted to work for the aliens, most said they feared for their lives even though lots of people needed the work but no one wanted to help the aliens. This lack of support for our new arrivals caused more speeches at city hall from the Mayor, he offered large bribes and tax breaks for anyone who went to work for the aliens, but still no one went to the job interviews. Whilst I watched the speech from the crowd, there was an explosion from the direction of the alien base. I ran through the crowd, which frantically ran in all directions, towards my house and closed the door behind me. As I hid in my lounge room peeking out the window I did not think that one explosion would start the chain of events to unravel down the path that has caused me to be where I currently am.
From what I have since heard three days after the first interviews failed, troops went to nearby mines, they soon shut down and the workers directed towards the new extraction facilities. Many workers did not want to go but rumor has it after the first few who refused were threatened and one man executed the rest went quietly. No one found out about it as the reporters were watching the aliens to make a move, but they didn’t leave their base, the workers been force marched to the alien base by our own troops never made community notice boards, threats to people to stay silent followed. Another notice, this time from the Mayor later that day claimed the workers were been guarded by our soldiers, as protection from violence by our people as unknown assailants caused the explosion at the alien base a few days before hand. Many including myself believed this at the time, why wouldn’t we?
As more objects fell from the sky, the notices stopped and changed to large ads calling for workers. I eventually stopped going to the closed store to read the community board as nothing new was coming from it. The first I found out what was really going on was when my front door was kicked in a few days later. A giant alien all covered in some type of black material barged in. He grabbed me with one of his large arms and picked me up as if I were a small child; the alien carried me out to the path. In the middle of the path stood everyone from my neighborhood, the alien dumped me rather hard on the ground, my neighbor came up to me and asked what was going on, as he helped me up, I shrugged; no one seemed to know what was happening. The Aliens surrounded us, and whenever we tried to leave the group, an alien pushed us back in to the group; more people were slowly added to the crowd from the neighborhood. A person from down the street, I still cannot remember his name, made a break for it slipping past two alien guards as they talked to each other. He only made it a short distance when they saw him, the two guards raised the large weapons, which they carried and fired at him one shot each. His body slumped to the ground, after that we all co-operated, I did not get a good look at his body until we were force-marched towards the aliens base. His left arm had been blown off and a large part of his head was missing. We had to walk through some of the blood covering the path; I still remember the look of the footprints people left made of his blood. As we made the rest of the march in silence, I could not bring myself to march quickly to my death and soon found myself at the rear of the group. The guard at the rear kept poking me in the back with a weapon if I started going to slow, that was all the motivation I needed to speed up.
We were out of the city and still a distance off from the alien base when I heard a cough from the guard behind me. Another cough came a moment later, and then another, when I looked around the alien guard was falling behind the group, so I slowed as well. When the guard fell to its knees its black face looked up at me as it was holding its throat, the large weapon rose towards me, it said something to me, which I could not make out. Before I could move towards the group, which was still walking away, the weapon fell to the ground and the alien slumped to the ground, still clutching its weapon, the alien just lay there coughing and wheezing, gasping for air. The Alien fell silent and stopped moving at three hours after sunrise on the eleventh day since their arrival. I tried to pick up the weapon; it was very heavy, too heavy to hold so I dropped it. I looked at the group as it marched on; they had not noticed what had happened, I took this as my opportunity, and ran towards the woods on the side of the road and hid in a large shrub. A moment later there was yelling and two guards from the group ran back to the slumped guard, I was so close I could easily make out what they were saying. Their friend was dead, one of the aliens picked up the weapon and the other picked up the body, then I heard something that made me almost throw up.
“Leave his body here, he is dead, send the medic’s back for him” they moved the body off the path and put it on the side of the path near the woods, they removed the armor and some other things from the body “he will need these when he is revived from the clone vats.” The men moved off towards the group and the forced march resumed. I did not know then what I do now; life means little to these aliens, as with their technology they are almost immortal so a body has no meaning as it does for us. We have strict rituals for dealing with our dead. The aliens get rid of their dead as quickly as they can, and take over a clone, which has been grown for them.
I hid in the shrub for a few minutes until the group was out of sight, I then walked over to the body; the alien had a face now that its black suit was removed. Short brown hair on the top of the head with pinkish white skin, two arms, and two legs covered in some type of goo. I stood for a while looking at the body and realized what ever killed it could help my people. With all my strength I began to move the body in to the woods, I dragged and pushed and dragged some more, then thankfully there was a slope and I rolled the alien body down it. I cleared away the drag marks behind me hiding the trail the alien corpse had left whilst I moved it. I then followed the body to the bottom of the valley where I soon found a hiding place for it in a small cave out cropping. I heard a commotion at road level and I assumed they were looking for the body. The commotion slowly died off in the late afternoon but I was still very careful and stayed hidden in the cave with the body for the rest of the day until nightfall.
Unsure what to do I left the body hidden and moved deeper into the hills, over the next three days I lived off berries and fruits in the woods thinking of what to do next. I eventually got the courage up to go spy on the alien base, to see if I could help any of my fellow people out of there. I slowly and quietly made my way through the woods towards the alien base; the sun had just gone to sleep when I saw it. It was lit up like daytime and guards stood in guard towers all around the perimeter fence, which was almost five meters high. I then saw what gave me hope, a short distance off at one point where guards were not looking; a small group of my people was approaching the fence. They threw some things through the fence and ran back into the woods, a moment later explosions erupted in the alien base. I smiled to myself and headed in the direction the attackers had gone, I wanted to join them, help them anyway I could.
It took me all night but in the end I gave up, I did not know where they had gone so I stopped at a water hole for a drink. I had to find them and tell them about the body I had hidden away. As it turned out they found me, when I came up from my drink there were five of my people standing behind me all of them were armed with spears, one even had an alien weapon of some type. Their leader stepped forward,
“Why are you following us?” I finished swallowing the water in my mouth and stood up.
“I want to join you, I saw you attack the alien base.” The leader smiled.
“We could always use more help, all my men are great fighters, and do you have any fighting skills?” I realized I did not know how to fight; I had never been in a fight my entire life, not even as a child.
“I cannot fight very well,” I answered then it dawned on me “but I have something that can help us all.” The small group was suddenly more interested, “I watched one of the aliens die, and I have its body hidden away.” I spent the next few minutes telling of the forced march and the alien how it coughed, wheezed, and died. Once I had finished with my story, I lead them to the alien body I had hidden. As a group, we carried it through the woods to their hide out, which were some caves high in the hills. When we got to their hide out, we left the alien body with a doctor to examine the cause of death and I was taken to a large meeting where the leader told us of the latest successful attack on the alien base. There were so many of my people hiding in the caves at the meeting I even saw the old man from the store. I told him of the neighborhood and that his store was still safe, he died a while back; he was out gathering food for us cave dwellers and was killed by an alien patrol. A few days later we watched as objects were launched towards the sky. The objects were a lot smaller than the ones that had landed, since the first launch, more launches followed at regular intervals, every hour, and when the first scouts from the alien base returned later that same day, they reported that the launches were the extracted minerals, being sent into the sky.
Over the next few months, more people arrived at the caves, and more of my people died attacking the aliens in attacks launched by our new leader. Word of more aliens dying by the same coughing and wheezing came from the new arrivals. The Doctor examining the alien body eventually found out that the alien died of a common virus, which our people were immune. Our Leader told of a great plan he and the Doctor came up with to poison the food and water supplies of the aliens with as many viruses as he could make in his small cave surgery. I still remember shooting him down at that meeting, I should not of been so brash. I told them all of the conversation I over heard about the clone vats and how when they die they come back to life. No one believed me for days, the doctor worked on his viruses growing cultures in little trays and our leader worked on a plan of attack. It would take many weeks of planning and preparing but our leader knew we could be victorious.
Two weeks into planning another arrival at the caves, who had escaped the alien base told a story of aliens been grown in vats, he told of aliens he had watched cough and wheeze and die, be reborn in the vats. They would then walk out to their dead body and collect the weapons and armor; the bodies were just thrown away into disposals. They all believed me at that point, we had to attack the clone vats as well as poison the food and water supplies. The plan never really changed, our leader just expanded it with another team leaving an explosive surprise that would destroy the clone vats. It meant more preparation time, and getting our hands on large amounts of explosives, but we were very patient.
As we prepared for the big attack, we started with smaller attacks all over the city to draw their forces away from the alien base; we blew up many things and attacked alien groups as they tried to round up our people. From what I remember, they never seemed to do much damage, just annoy the aliens. More of our people died in each attack as not all went well, I remember one time the explosives went off early and I watched as a man blew up next to me I will never forget some of things I saw. One of the final outings before our large attack, we were heading back to our hide out in the hills; we passed through my old neighborhood and where I use to work, they were deserted except for the dead bodies on the paths. It made me weep when I went to sleep each night that we had to leave the bodies lying where they had died.
What seemed to be months and many attacks later, our leader announced that we were ready and our attack would take place that night. I still remember being so nervous, I could not sharpen my spear properly and I broke it. My orders were to guard the men with the explosives, with the clone vats destroyed by them, the aliens would not come back to life once either we had killed them or the viruses in their supplies had killed them. The attack was going to be massive; nearly everyone of our group in the caves was involved. After night fell we all marched out of the caves towards the alien base, we watched another object launched from the base towards the sky. One more object was launched by the time we neared the base but it seemed to have fallen quiet when we neared.
I stood with my team hidden just inside the woods, so close to the alien base I could almost touch the fence. My heart pounded in my ears and when the team leader signaled forwards we moved, I do not even remember telling my legs to move, my body just followed the team. We got quickly through the fence line and made haste for the building that we knew to be the clone vats. We started planting explosives all around the building, we than moved inside through the large door. No aliens were around except for the bodies been grown in the vats the place was very creepy. I watched the door as my team moved around placing more explosives. I could see across the other side of the alien base one of the other teams was getting into the storage supplies. No alarms or aliens had been alerted, I remember feeling relieved that it was working. For the first time in a long time, I could feel we had a chance.
We moved out and headed back to the fence line, we just made it though when the alarm sounded, bright lights pointed towards the storage supplies building. We watched as our people moved out of the building, they tried to run for the fence line but were all shot by one of the tower guards. One of the men in my team grabbed the detonator and pushed the plunger down. The explosives all detonated at once obliterating the clone vat building. The bright lights in the guard towers swung towards our direction and one of them found us almost straight away. I remember the man next to me screaming and when I looked at him there was a hole through his torso with blood all over him, he dropped to the ground dead. The rest of us ran I could hear more shots ring out and felt a shot whiz past my ear. I did not want to die so I hid behind a large rock; I realized as my breathing slowed and I calmed down a bit, that I had dropped my spear in all the commotion.
I heard more shots in the distance and could hear approaching heavy footsteps; they had to be aliens looking for my team. They got closer and closer and I realized I had to run or they would find me, I gathered all my strength, slowly stood and started to run. I probably did not get more than ten meters when I felt a large hand grab me by the neck and pick me up. I was held up as if I was a prize by the alien guard as he yelled out he had caught one of the little terrorists. I struggled for a bit until the alien that was holding me held me up to its face. The voice that said stop it was like the sound of death, I froze stiff and did not move any more, I was carried back to the alien base and thrown into a cell with one window. As the night turned into day, I watched as more objects were launched into orbit. An alien came by my cell and gave me some food for breakfast; the alien also delivered another of my team from the attack to my cell. He was battered and bruised; he tried to smile at me but winced in pain as he did. We sat in silence for hours until he spoke, as it turned out neither of us knew what had happened after the explosion, and if we had been successful.
A day later, the cell door opened and an alien stepped inside flanked by two alien guards, he looked us over and removed his helmet. He smiled at the two of us.
“I am the base commander” he said introducing himself, “I can make your life very comfortable here, if you tell me where your little base is in the hills.” my cellmate and I did not answer we both looked at the ground in silence. “Your attack yesterday accomplished nothing.” my cellmate spoke up with a passion.
“You will all die now, with no clone vats you are no longer immortals.” The guards behind their commander started to laugh. The commander held his hand up and the two guards went silent.
“My dear little prisoners your little attack succeeded in destroying our clone vats and poisoning our supplies, but we have a cure for the viruses on the planet and new clone vats will arrive from orbit tomorrow. You have failed.” At this point, I did not know what to say. “You perceive the world as your small city and not much else; do you realize how large this planet is? We have a fleet in orbit setting up mining all over the planet; your people could have been our friends. So tell me where your hide out is?” We both sat in silence and eventually the base commander knelt down next to us and continued.
“I have been a capsuleer all my life and now my Alliance has given me this chance to prove myself. When Concord lifted the planetary prohibition, it meant that your little planet was now worth more than you could possibly imagine. My Alliance needs this planet it is strategically important, a war is headed this way and we need the resources here to defeat our real enemies. You are not my enemies, so tell me where your base is so we can end this once and for all.” We stayed silent again.
“If your people had been as welcoming as your Government said they would be none of this would have happened, if you had not attacked us we would not have been forced to defend ourselves.” The base commander paused again.
“Come on men I do not have time for these little creatures.” The base commander stood and started to leave the room. “You either work with us or you will die. I will be back in a few days so think about it.” The cell door closed and my cellmate and I sat in silence ‘You have failed.’ The base commanders words echo in my head even until this day, how were we to know how big this was? How were we to know how much of a waste this all was?
The guards are now coming down the hall to my cell; the leader of the aliens told my cellmate and I that we were either work with them or die. My cellmate and I said we would rather die than become slaves for the murders of our race and our planet. My cellmate for the last few months died yesterday. I write my story on the back of this report I stole from a guard last night as I hope someone finds it someday. The guards are now at our door and it is now time for my life to end, I do not have a clone to come back as, but maybe someone will find my story and realize what horrors have happened here. I hope someone fights for my planet, I hope who ever these aliens are fighting win so these aliens die with no clone to come back in; I hope my race survives to see that day. It has now been a year since the dust settled from the first alien landing and with our executions; I hope the fight will not continue much longer.