Charnel House Earth: The Death Of Humanity, Chapter 21: Endgames

The final battle was well planned. Executed to specs, we would possibly never know whether the offworld strikes would work. Everything hinged on it working here on Earth.

At least as far as finding out whether or not the other attacks worked. If it didn’t work here, we would never know. We would not survive.

It was determined that the cure was safe for human and alien use and so, they began inoculating all of us. Slowly. Just to allow our bodies enough time to assimilate the vaccine and replicate its antibodies.

I keep calling it a vaccine. It was more of an antibiotic. Something the parasite could not tolerate.

Something that killed the parasite. Destroyed its ability to control. Its ability to invade.

Behind enemy lines, our carpet bombers were laying the gas down thick, killing any larvae that might be on the ground. Our warcraft and planes were blowing their warcraft out of the skies. Our dirty bomb grenades were killing hosts on contact. Our bullets, too. 

We were entering the final phase of our little war. From here on, it was either success or humanity was as good as extinct. This was our one shot. Our moment of truth.

“We need to send in a monitor of some sort,” I suggested, “to observe when the missile hits the alien ships.”

“I agree,” the general nodded, “and we can set up an observation system to the west to watch those ships as well.”

“Wish I could go,” I averred, “but I am needed here. In case this doesn’t go as planned.”

“Who says you can’t go?” He smiled. “After all, this is your baby. Your brainchild. You should be able to witness its success.”

“Or its failure,” I added.

“Have a little faith in yourself,” he advised, “it’ll succeed.”

“I hope you’re right,” I smirked, “I’d sure hate to piss off an unseen nest of hornets with a bad idea.”

“These parasites are basically vulnerable, Jeff,” he reminded me, “and rely on the infected host for mobility and sentience. They ain’t gonna live through this. Their slaves might, but they won’t. Nor will their hosts.”

“You’re right,” I chuckled, “I was just testing you.”

“”Oh, har, har,” He chided.

“We’ll win this thing,” I grinned, “even if we have to fight to the very last man.”

“Very true,” he nodded, “never underestimate the resolve of humanity. We will either succeed or die trying.”

***

I watched as the alien ships vanished in the blink of an eye. Those headed for the parasite’s homeworld. Those headed for infected worlds. 

I pondered just how well our plan would work as I was sped to the south to observe the southern ships. And since I knew that the ships were basically defenseless, without guns or any kind of main defense, I knew that they were all pretty much sitting ducks.

All of the missiles were launched simultaneously and streaked in every direction. I, of course, could not see this as I had already been taken south, but I closed my eyes and imagined how it would have looked. It must have been a beautiful sight. Streaks of fire spreading out like fiery fingers, reaching for their targets.

Below my position, the carpet bombing continued. Behind me, the same. The armies of the alien parasites were being eradicated. Destroyed.

I felt for the hosts. Trapped. Unable to control their own movements. Unable to break free.

We had discovered that the neurotoxin the parasite used acted as an impulse inhibitor. It selected what it wanted its host to do and overrode the impulse so that it could guide its victim’s movements. They had no choice but to do.

Those who had rebelled had been killed by the parasites. And though it also killed the parasite within, the collective deemed it necessary. It proved to be a very motivating warning to the rest.

Do not resist or you will be killed. That was the parasite’s warning. And after a while, the host was so worn down that they could not resist. 

Aware that your body was being used to do evil things and not being able to control it. It was a sad existence, really. If you could call it that.

I called it modified zombification. Living death. A true example of undeath.

Both living and dead, the host struggled with their dilemma. Unable to stop it, they stumbled on in hopes that some other being could. Most would die when their body could take no more of the parasite. 

I contemplated this as I watched the alien craft to the south of me. My companion tapped my shoulder and pointed. I turned.

There were the missiles. Coming straight at the craft. I smiled.

I watched as the missiles struck each craft. There was a puff as the missiles slipped into the bubble. Then a loud thud as they pierced the saucer. And finally, a boom of sorts from within the ship.

I watched in disbelief as the ships disintegrated before my eyes. I looked behind me at the lines of alien soldiers. They disintegrated as well. 

***

I ventured forth from my place of concealment with an air tester in hand, my guards by my side. There was no sign of any contaminants. No sign of the parasites.

A single blow seemed to have destroyed them once and for all. Still, I was leery. It seemed too easy. Too good to be true.

I was having a hard time believing that it was over. Nothing had ever been that simple before. Nothing had ended that abruptly.

“Jeff,” the general’s voice came over my communicator, “did you see that?”

“Yes, sir,” I managed, “and I am having a hard time believing my eyes.”

“I don’t blame ya,” he agreed, “never saw anything react that way in my life. They just—melted.”

“Yeah,” I averred, “I saw that too. Don’t know what to make of it.”

“Got your sensors going?” He asked.

“Yeah, why?” I returned.

“What are your readings?” He queried.

“Normal,” I responded, “no infectious materials, no toxins, no nothin’.”

“They’re gettin’ the same readings from the area to the east,” he stated, “almost as if the damn things never existed.”

“What of any reports from our alien friends?” I asked, interested.

“Same results,” he responded, “apparently, once the carpet bombing began on the parasites’ planet of origin, they began disappearing from the other planets.”

“So my hunch was right?” I asked. 

“Apparently so,” he acquiesced.

I sat down where I was and put my head in my hands. My gamble had paid off. My theory had been correct.

Sadly, over a third of the Earth’s population as well as the majority of several other planets’ populations had had to die before someone figured it all out. Races had been erased. Planets destroyed. Systems drained.

My mind returned to Earth. What had been Earth’s civilizations, its countries, had been destroyed. We were now homeless. Without any form of government. 

And yet, so many of us had survived from every country.  Perhaps we could out back together what had been destroyed. But why?

That had been why we had ended up being noticed. It had drawn the parasite. Our greed. Our hate. Our fear of the unknown. That had been the death of humanity. That had been why the human race had almost been eradicated.

No, we needed a new government. A new path. Something that would lead us forward. Away from those things that we now knew would cause our extinction.

Charnel House Earth: The Death Of Humanity, Chapter 20: Escalation

“Here they come!” The warning sounded. “They’re throwin’ everything they got at us this time!”

“How are the science teams doing on those dirty bombs?” I asked.

“They’re almost ready to test,” the general answered.

“They better work,” I warned, “because we only have one shot.”

“Preliminary tests in the lab were positive,” he looked at me, “the chemical agent killed the parasite inside the captives we gained from the last clash.”

“And the hosts?” I queried.

“It killed them as well,” he stated dryly, “that was the only drawback.”

“Or, maybe,” I smiled, “it was more merciful that it killed them as well. Who knows what kind of side effects the poor devils would have had if they had survived.”

“Side effects?” He inquired.

“To the alien parasite,” I  clarified, “they could have been crippled from the death of the parasite. Or, perhaps, it wasn;t the vaccine but the death of the parasite itself that killed them.”

“You mean like a toxin released by a dying parasite as a last ditch effort?” He questioned.

“Precisely,” I nodded, “which has been known to happen with certain nematodes here on a rare occasion.”

“Never thought of that,” he mused, “want me to test your hypothesis?”

“Do we still have live subjects to use as a comparison group?” I asked.

“Of course,” he nodded, “and samples from those who died in the tests.”

“Have the scientists run the tests,” I averred, “I’d like to see what they find.”

“Now that you mention it,” he grinned, “so would I.” As if knowing, one of the scientists appeared. He turned to him. “Run an experiment for us. Run tests on blood and tissue samples from both live parasitic prisoners and the ones killed by the vaccine.”

“The purpose?” The scientist inquired.

“Look for any spike in toxins in the blood not related to the vaccine’s chemical makeup. Like some nerve toxin that, when in small doses, allows the parasite to control their victim yet, in massive doses, kills.”

“You mean like toxins released at massive levels due to death spasms,” the scientist nodded, “good call.”

“Did you need something?” He asked as the scientist turned to leave.

“I was sent to tell you that we believe the vaccine is ready for use as a chemical weapon on the field,” the scientist averred, “but that the missiles are not quite ready. Something to do with the remote detonation mechanism.”

“Distribute vaccine grenades to the generals,” he commanded, as well as any other form you might have. They will be welcomed additions to their arsenals.”

***

“Sir,” the scientist returned, “you won’t believe this!”

“Well?” The general looked at the man. “Out with it, then!”

“Your idea about the toxins,” the scientist began, “you were right!”

“Go ahead,” he nodded, “what about it?”

“In the living hosts,” the scientist began, “there is an almost imperceptible level of a foreign toxin. It acts almost like a tranquilizer. This toxin, in small amounts is hard to detect as it seems as if the victim’s physiology, their bodies, absorbs it and breaks it down almost immediately after it is emitted by the parasite and has done what it is meant to do.

“But in the subjects used to test the vaccine, the toxin is in such massive amounts that it is unmistakable. When the vaccine kills the parasite, the parasite involuntarily releases massive amounts of the toxin! In that massive of an amount, it kills instantly.”

“Interesting,” I stated, “now run a test of the vaccine after giving the host beta blockers and immunosuppressors. Let us know what that does.”

“You should’ve been a scientist,” the man responded, smiling.

“I thought about it once,” I replied, “but life just seemed to get in the way of all my plans.”

“It does that, sometimes, doesn’t it?” he asked.

“It sure does,” I nodded, “and you’re never the same after.”

“No, I wouldn’t think so,” he shook his head.

I watched him leave. The man was proving a hypothesis for me. If the parasite released toxins to control, and if it involuntarily released them when it died, beta blockers might prevent that release.

It was worth a try. Especially now that the war had gone into high gear. Perhaps it would prove to be more important than I believed. perhaps….

***

“We need to set up a test of the cure on uninfected humans and aliens from our ranks,” I suggested, “we need to form an extra layer of protection for the men and women fighting out there. We need to know that the cure won’t kill our soldiers while killing the parasite.”

“I would suggest starting with less than a cc of vaccine,” the general added, “then work slowly from that.”

“Understood, sir,”  the scientist averred.

“We don’t need any deaths from among our own,” he warned, “we can’t afford to lose anyone. Not to some experiment.”

“I understand,” the scientist nodded.

“Don’t mind him,” I smiled, “he’s been on edge since things escalated. I believe that what he was trying to say is that he doesn’t want any accidents.”

“Oh,” the scientist mused, “I’m not worried about him. His suggestion about the dosage might be dead on. In fact, I believe that we might have to give small doses to build it up in our immune system slowly.”

“Then proceed as you see fit,” I nodded, “you don’t think that our men are getting residual off the bombs, do you?”

“They might be,” he shrugged, “wouldn’t know that until we did blood tests.”

“Please do,” I requested.

He nodded, saluted, then walked away. I watched him go. We knew that the cure, the vaccine, killed the parasite. We only hoped that it wouldn’t kill everything else. This was why I had suggested the  experiments.

Our cannons and guns were now lobbing dirty shells at the enemy as the war escalated. The smaller air-to-air missiles were the first to be released. These were attached to the converted warcraft and our limited aircraft. 

The larger missiles were presenting a problem. Humanity’s crude technology was hard for our alien allies to work with. The ones that were to be transported to the parasite’s homeworld were not so hard to create.

The cluster bombs were the simplest. They worked on the simple principle that the WWII/Vietnam era cluster bombs worked on. A simple casing holding multiple bombs that  were released in mid-air. These smaller bombs would, then, spread out. Sanitizers, we called them.

These were designed for the parasite’s homeworld. Our extraterrestrial allies would carpet bomb the planet with these in order to cover every nanometer with the cure. At the same time, we would carpet bomb earth and other planets in hopes of eradicating the parasite completely. 

Charnel House Earth: The Death Of Humanity, Chapter 19: A Well Oiled Machine

There would be no more hesitancy from the men. Burying those whose deaths they had caused had humbled them. Made them think.

From that moment on, the troops fell in line behind their generals. Over the weeks that followed, they became bonded to their generals. And to each other.

They now knew that they were fighting for something far greater than themselves. They were fighting to save all of humanity. Even those who were now enslaved by the invaders.

This wasn’t to say that there weren’t occasional bouts of rebelliousness, there were. But for the most part, the mutinous behavior had vanished. The need to dominate had ceased, at least within our army. 

In the days that followed, they fought valiantly and without complaint. Where there had been weakness, there was strength. Where there had been rebellion, only obedience.

Soon, the generals began to gain more respect from the men. Their unerring patience and genteel way of dealing with matters proved to be their greatest asset. Their leadership, unparalleled.

As our forces began to gell, they were able to pick out the plants—those sent by the enemy to weaken morale. Those sent to weaken all defenses. Or to sabotage our weapons.

These were taken prisoner and herded into internment camps where they would sit until we decided what needed to be done with them. Or how to free them from the enemy’s control. But was that possible?

Could we actually free them? Or were they nulls? Would we erase their ability ‘to do’ if we removed the enemy’s control?

There were so many variables. So many unknowns. We weren’t sure that anything would work.

How many of them were acting mindless in order to prove their devotion to these false gods? How many believed that they were going to obtain entrance into Heaven? Or Paradise? Or immortality?

How many were simply foolish enough to believe the lies and think that their daring would gain them princeship? After all, the religious had fallen right in line behind the enemy. They had bowed in worship to these monsters.and less than half had even been ‘converted’ into the techno-slave or involuntary hosts.

There were still millions, if not billions, of religious worshipers left. Most were already mindless due to their prolonged conditionings by their ‘men of God’. some were further conditioned by the propaganda that the former President and his media partners had been piping to them.

These would be willing to attempt sabotage. Or infiltration to cause loss of morale. After all, they had been so willing to kidnap, send pipe bombs, place hate cards in mailboxes, or kill peaceful protestors for the former president, they would definitely be willing to try espionage for their new masters.

They had been so willing to be the reason the country collapsed before the enemy appeared. They would be more than willing to do the same for the enemy. Anything to exact what they perceived as their vengeance.

***

The sandhogs and mudjackers had successfully confiscated the heavy equipment needed to build our underground city. Deep beneath the ground, stretching from Colorado to eastern Iowa, and even as far west as Idaho, Nevada, Utah and eastern California, lay a massive city that the enemy could not detect. Nor would it be able to survive the temperatures down there at the entry points. Not even the human hosts could survive the heat.

Not in the ventilation shafts. These, though small, were left open so the city could receive fresh oxygen. The hot air was cooled by our condensers once the air reached the circulation center. 

The cities, themselves, were kept inhabitable by alien technology that formed a bio-shield that held in the cooled air. This shield filled only ⅔ of the extremely large cavern, the last third being open and inhospitable. This was intentional.

The unshielded portion of the cavern was meant as a trap. Something to catch the enemy’s spies and assassins should they attempt the descent. Here, they would die as they slowly roasted.

The underground city was immaculate. Our alien allies introduced us to generators that could take the heat of magma and turn it into energy. Capacitors were placed to help act as a conduit.this conduit spread the energy out to all the buildings in the city. 

A field was created to create a false sun from some of the magma. Then, two. These were darkened just enough to make the ‘sun’ into a ‘moon’ so that all could sleep.

Water was piped in from the aquifers in the region. This would give those who sought to be the farmers and ranchers who supplied us with food with waters for their farms and ranches. It would give the rest of us a way to bathe and something to drink. 

We had created an inner Earth. And though we fought battles on the surface, this was to be our home for the next four years. Not that it would seem that long. Or that short.

Rather, to some, it would seem an eternity. To the rest, it would seem but a blink of the eye. To me, it would end up remaining my home.

But in the beginning, it was home to all. As it had been intended. At the same time, it was a safe haven. A place we could go that our enemy could not.

Some learned to farm in this strange new world. Some would breed cows, pigs, and sheep. All on the outlying rim of the settlement.

Food would still be plentiful. We would be able to eat, even after the crops topside dwindled to nothing. And they were beginning to do just that.

We were, from that point on, self sufficient. We had no need to resurface for supplies. We had all we needed within our new underworld community.

***

“We’ve perfected the dirty bombs,” one of the scientists announced, “at least as much as we could without actually testing them.”

“Several alien craft were loaded with the vaccine,” another scientist added, “and are currently on their way to the parasite’s home planet.”

“Good, good,” the general nodded, “and are the dirty bombs ready to send as care packages to the enemy?”

“Yes,” the first scientist averred, “as soon as they are attached to a few missiles. Once that is done, we will be able to send them to each of the enemy craft.”

“How long will it take to adapt them to the missiles?” The general sat back.

“A few months,” the lead scientist confirmed, “possibly longer.”

And what you sent to the parasites’ home world?” He pressed.

“Similar to cluster bombs,” the lead scientist admitted, “designed to explode on impact, sending up a dust cloud filled with the poisonous mix.”

“Should we also bomb Earth?” He was concerned. “To ensure that we kill the parasite here as well? Just in case it can survive in the soil.”

“Of course,” the lead scientist nodded, “but we’ll have to close off our air vents when we do. Or design a filter so that the poison doesn’t seep down here.”

“Will it wash away?” He was doubtful.

“Yes,” the scientist averred, “with the first post war rains.”

The Coming Week

Well, I’m not going to be able to make good on my promise. There will be no conclusion to the story tonight. I have to stop and decide how best to end this story. Should I save humanity? Should I wipe it out?

Current events have been invaluable in the writing of this story, though. They have also validated my theme and plot line as well. And the more I observe, the more convinced I am that humanity-or at least Americans-would never be able to survive a world threatening event. We’re too selfish. Too full of ourselves, whether it is our religion, our guns, our politics, or our misinterpretation of our ‘rights’ under the law.

Films like Resident Evil and World War Z and TV shows like The Walking Dead give us way too much credit where pandemics are concerned. Even manmade.

After all, we aren’t bright enough to realize that mask mandates are not about “rights and freedoms” so much as it is about our responsibilities toward our fellow Americans not to spread viruses. YOur rights end when your actions cause me harm…and likewise. We all have the responsibility to do no harm.

A little inconvenience saves a lot of time. And pain. And possibly one’s life.

And movies like Independence Day and shows like V overestimate our ability to pull together, or even to figure out whether aliens are good or bad. We can’t even recognize evil within our own, let alone some being from billions of light years away. Nor could we pull together long enough to defeat an invader.

Anyhoo….

Once complete, the resulting book will drop Charnel House Earth and become simply The Death Of Humanity. From here, I will return to my other projects…and maybe begin another serialized WIP for all y’all to read.

Again, sorry for not finishing the story this afternoon, but I felt I needed to have the end figured out before charging into it. And…..not being quite sure how I want it to end for humanity here…..I need to take a step back tonight and ponder.

Charnel House Earth: The Death Of Humanity, Chapter 18: Like A Wave Crashing

We had been expecting their attacks for some time. And yet, they had refrained. We had amassed our army in the time we had. Or, at least, a portion of it. 

We would be aided by more extraterrestrial races, but only once the battle had been met. Not until we needed reinforcements. Not until we had turned the tide.

At this point, we remained untested. Untried. We had not tasted battle and were unsure of our resilience. 

“I hate silence,” the general stated dryly, “the pain of not knowing is worse than discovery.”

“I agree, sir,” I answered, “the calm before the storm is always worse. But once that wave breaks, we’ll know their full strength—and all their weaknesses.”

“We have already learned much from them,” he affirmed, “plenty that they did not want known. Some that we had our suspicions about.”

“I still can’t get that poor screaming wretch out of my head,” I remarked without warning, “the one from my first vision of how the techno-zombies were made. And that poor scientist who pleaded, through a glance, for me to end his torture of having to attempt the creation of one. Apparently, he was unsuccessful and the aliens took over the process.”

“I can’t get over the first video of that process I saw,” he admitted, “truly sickening. And the video of how they wired up their non-tech non-mindless slaves. God, that was horrible!”

“I wouldn’t wish that upon my worst enemy,” I agreed, “poor saps.”

“Poor saps, indeed,” he nodded, then changed the subject, “I hope our soldiers have taken to your training. When that first wave hits, they will have to seem invisible enough to take out the enemy without being seen.”

“True,” I averred, “I hope so as well, sir.”

“We’ll know soon enough,” he sighed.

“And we will know soon enough if we have spies in our midst as well,” I reminded him, “the minute we send an order and the enemy anticipates it, we’ll know.”

“True,” he nodded, “God knows they can’t get such information from the empty heads of our ex-leaders. The president had never served. The vice president was just as in the dark as the president. And that Secretary of State! How the hell did he get his position?”

“He donated to the president’s campaign,” I snorted, “just like those who got other cabinet positions.”

“Ah, yes,” he mused, “and after claiming that the opposition was the goddamn swamp.”

“In coming!!!!” Came the alarm.

“Well, fuck,” he grinned, “can’t fault them for not trying.”

***

Missiles streaked toward us. They had used our own weapons against us. The act had not surprised me, since I had often stated that any who desired to defeat us would only have to do just that. 

Still, it was a valiant effort. And a failure. After all, they had failed to arm the missiles. 

All were either shot down or fell harmlessly to the earth. Then, again, it could have been a diversion. Thankfully, it had not been.

There was a couple hours’ pause, then they threw their warcraft at us. Their whole fleet. But we were able to shoot them all out of the sky at a safe distance.

Of course, we fought their warcraft with our own. Their hesitation had given us enough time to duplicate their technologies. And even improve upon them.

Finally, out of desperation, they threw their armies at us. Haphazard. Without a cohesive plan of attack.

Surprisingly, they were initially successful and won the first battle. The loss cost us a thousand men, casualties to a small blunder. But even small blunders had huge costs. And ours had cost us lives.

We would not make the same mistakes twice. Our human soldiers would follow the orders of their alien generals, even though they did not like it. They didn’t have to like it. They just had to do it.

We would break humanity’s arrogance even if it was the last thing we did as a race. We would learn humility no matter the cost. Or we would risk our own extinction.

“How did we do?” The general inquired meekly.

“Fifteen thousand wounded,” I sighed, dejectedly, “ten thousand killed. All because of arrogant stubbornness. Two of the worst traits in humanity.”

“How many of those were infected by the enemy?” He pressed.

“Don’t know yet,” I answered, “med techs and the scientists haven’t tallied them up yet. Don’t know whether we will have those numbers until tomorrow.”

“Damn,” he stated under his breath, “fucking fools. All of them.” He paused. “The cause?”

“A seeming lack of willingness to follow alien generals,” I responded, “even though these aliens are far more experienced in the extermination of these monsters.”

“Just exactly what we didn’t need,” he sat down and put his head in his hands, “a bunch of stupid nationalistic bigots. We don’t have fucking time for this shit.”

“Don’t worry, general,” I smiled, “once I am done with them, they will know what pain is. I will knock that bullshit out of them before the next wave.”

“I sure hope so, Jeff,” he looked up at me, “I sure hope so.”

***

“Your stupidity is to blame for fifteen thousand wounded,” I began, “and ten thousand deaths! This is unacceptable! 

“But, sir,” one soldier interrupted, “these alien bastards are hard to understand.”

“Hard to understand my ass,” I snorted, “you don’t want to understand them. And there is where you seriously fuck us up. Your inability to get past the fact that they are human is going to be the extinction of the human race. You will go down in history as being the reason Earth will be uninhabited. 

“Is that what you want? Infamy? Death? Extinction?”

“No, sir!” The chorus of voices rose in the air.

“Then,” I scowled, “get your heads out of your asses! You caused casualties! You caused the deaths of some of your compatriots! All because you didn’t want to take no orders from no alien! 

“Tough! You will continue to take orders from the aliens we have made your generals. Not because you like to do so, but because it will save your lives!

“If you want to die so fucking bad, go out there and show the enemy where you are! I’m sure they have snipers just waiting for a chance to use fools like you as target practice! Or get yourself captured! I’m sure they are just waiting for a bunch of y’all to give yourselves up so they can make more soldiers on their side!”

“Please, sir—” one began to plead.

“I think a night of repairing the trenches and burying the bodies will teach you babies a lesson in obedience,” I started, cutting off the complaint, “it should also teach you ladies a little humility and respect for authority.” I noted their apprehension. “Well? I ain’t runnin’ no daycare, git to work!

The soldiers scrambled over each other to get started. I watched their struggle to become a cohesive group and shook my head. If they were any indication of things, we were fucked. 

“Is this a bit harsh?” An alien general inquired.

“Nah,” I shook my head, “they’re lucky I didn’t have them dig latrines.”

“Latrines, sir?” He/it looked over at me.

“Shit pits,” I clarified, “holes over which an outhouse, a portapotty, is placed. One either digs the initial hole or ends up digging the shit out of the hole or buries the current hole after the building is moved. The least likable job in the human army—aside from KP, kitchen duty or cleanup crew.”

…Sunday…

My schedule at work changed again. Thus, I will be attempting to finish Charnel House Earth on Sunday after I submit the fourth Morrow Family Saga book to an audio producer to be made into an audio book. In the mean time, please accept my apologies for not posting more chapters lately and look eagerly to the near future when the finished novella will be released as a book (hopefully at Halloween).

Charnel House Earth: The Death Of Humanity, Chapter 16: Calm Before The Storm

There is a lull before every battle. A calm that almost makes you believe that there won’t be one. It is almost unnerving.

It can fool you into making mistakes. Or into becoming impatient. It can be a source of false hope.

We had entered that short period of time. And yet, none of us seemed to be fooled by it. None of us let down our guard.

We knew our enemy was building up their forces to the east. We knew they had forces to the west. But would they use them all? Where would they strike first?

I had my bets on a united attack, one that hit both sides simultaneously. But were they really that coordinated? Could they pull that off?

I was unwilling to discount any possible move. Their intelligence relied solely on the intelligence of their hosts. Though sentient, they could not be expected to do anything more intelligent than what their hosts could comprehend.

Thus, with those now infected from Earth, The European slaves would be intelligent enough to coordinate an attack while those that had taken our own president and politicians would possibly not be so inclined. After all, they had been less than unified before their infection. Why would they change?

Still, I knew that Yah and Yam were more intelligent and would possibly be in the lead. Had there been a Yah and Yam in charge of the Euro set? What of the Asian set? Or the African set?

Which aliens would be commanding? Which would hide behind the soldiers and allow their puppets to be slaughtered? Would they even care?

And just how sentient were these parasites? The questions seemed to have no end. And no answers. Yet.

My only hope was that the scientists would find some secret weapon we could shoot into the ships and wipe out these abominations. But they would have to make more than one. But how many?

I figured that there was one ship per capital. Maybe one per large city. Byond that, I had no clue.

Did the scientists know? If so, were they developing something they could easily duplicate? Or were they just as in the dark as I was?

***

“What’s bothering you, son?” The general saw that I was puzzled.

“How many ships landed?” I returned.

“From initial accounts,” he began, “one per capital. Perhaps the parasite believed, and not exactly or fully wrongly, that all would flock to the capitals when called upon to do so.”

“So,” I grimaced, “approximately 195 ships. That means 195 dirty bombs.”

“Yes,” he nodded, “and all sent out as a simultaneous attack.”

“A clean sweep,” I mused, “providing we don’t have any spies in our midst.”

“There’s always a risk of that,” he admitted, “even in the most coordinated and tight knit armies.”

“So What’s the plan?” I asked.

“We release commands every hour on the hour until the first wave,” he stated, “the, when they attack, we begin sending orders as needed. No daily routine. Just every hour.”

“And once the enemy is engaged,” I filled in the blanks, “we allow the field commanders to do what they have been trained to do.”

“Pretty much,” he averred, “but under advisement.”

“With the main orders being simply to defend and hold their ground,” I nodded.

“For as long as they can,” he acquiesced, “then they are to retreat only far enough to regroup. There is a ‘do not surrender’ order included.”

“I doubt they will ever surrender, sir,” I shook my head, “most are determined to either defeat this enemy or die trying. There is no surrender in them.”

“Good,” He praised, “let’s hope it stays that way until the very end.”

“I believe most have the impression that this will not be a brief battle,” I opined, “but an extremely long war. Maybe centuries rather than decades.”

“And they still stand shoulder to shoulder?” He was incredulous.

“Yes, sir,” I nodded in affirmation, “they do.”

“Well,” he breathed, shocked, “I’ll be damned.”

“It surprised me too, at first,” I stated, “but like them, I am not willing to allow some parasite destroy my planet. Not after what some of us have been trying to do to fix the damage we have already caused.”

“I really can’t blame you,” He allowed, “besides. You’ve faced worse foes than these in the form of some of your own fellow humans.”

“Very true, sir,” I smiled, “but hopefully, after this, that will be a thing of the past.”

***

Our objective was to keep our enemy blind to our plans. There were no written plans. No maps. No clue to what we were up to.

Only those at the core of our command knew anything of what we were planning beyond the day at hand. We sent out hourly rounds of commands to our frontlines. Nothing past the hour.

And since the enemy had yet to attack, the front was only concerned with setting up and readying for the eminent attack yet to come. They had been ordered to stand at the ready, but not to attack. Should the attack start, they were to defend,

At noon, the first wave hit. Our casualties were light. Theirs were not.

I had been correct in assuming that the alien parasite army would try a multi prong attack. They hit us from all sides. North. South. East. West.

Their tactics were weak. Their attack, uncoordinated. Without cohesive leadership.

They were using the human slaves as the coordinators of the battles. Bad choice, but apparently the only one they felt would win the war for them. Distrust among their puppets, though, caused dischord and the inability to make a single cohesive strike.

It seemed that the old rivalries, the old political differences, caused the most problem. None of the human hosts could agree on the most direct way of attacking our front lines. Nor could they agree on which weapons to use.

The resulting chaos was both entertaining and a warning. We had to remain cohesive. We had to continue in our trust of each other. No matter what.

Charnel House Earth: The Death Of Humanity, Chapter 15: The Moment Of Truth

War came on swift wings. Like a swarm of hellish locusts, the armies controlled by the parasites swept across the no man’s land that separated us from them. War was upon us.

Though empty, we had been scavenging those deserted cities between us and them for food. Those closest to their territory had been picked clean as had those between the Mississippi and the eastern hills. Those closest to us still held enough provisions to keep us fed for a good ten years while those east of the Missouri were almost depleted.

The loss of land to the east left us with everything west of our mountain haven. But there wasn’t much to the west. Just deserted farms and ranches that held cattle and rotting vegetables.

We reclaimed these abandoned sources of resources and place garrisons of resistance fighters near them to defend them. these, we would guard from both mountain ranges. To the west, along the western coast, in the mountains, we stationed garrisons of alien allies. Here, they would coordinate the western defenses of our territory.

I admit that we were trusting our allies more than we possibly should have, but we had no choice. There just wasn’t enough of us humans to put up a mostly human defense on both borders of our territory. We were forced to give more trust than normal.

But they had not given us any reason to not trust them. They had trained us to use their weapons. They had inoculated us with their vaccines in hopes of preventing us from becoming infected. most of all, they were helping us develop the weapon we would use to wipe them out completely.

After all, they were fighting to free their planets as well as ours. This was not just Earth’s fight. It was for the good of the universe.

If we succeeded, a parasite would be wiped out. If we failed, well, we would be wiped out. And if we were wiped out, the parasite might evolve to the point where it could perceive advanced and evolved races and become a menace to all, not just those unwilling to evolve.

And most parasites tended to evolve at some point, just as most viruses did. It was how they remained able to resist any vaccines or medicines created to prevent them. It was nature’s way.

But had this parasite been intended to be sentient? Had it been intended to become so complex that it could mimic another race’s expectations? Had it been intended to mutate to the point where it intentionally infected races it was never intended to encounter?

I doubted it. I had a feeling that what had been a natural occurrence had become an unnatural threat. This negated all attachment to the natural balance of things.

Thus, it was a threat that needed to be removed from the universe. Something that did not deserve to exist. Like hate, fear, ignorance, and greed. Among other things.

***

“We should expect attacks from both the east and the west,” the general began, briefing us on the current position of the alien parasite armies, “we will have to remember that any ‘human’ soldiers we meet are no longer human. They are infected with the parasite and no longer able to control their own bodies. Just as those who will meet soldiers of their own races will have to remember that they are no longer their comrades.

“It will be difficult to fire upon people you once knew. That is to be expected. But you must view every one that you kill as a mercy killing. You are ending their misery.

“Do not allow them to touch you. I have been told that allowing them to touch will put you at risk of becoming infected. And though you will be wearing body armor, it may not prevent such from happening.

“Remember that you are trying to prevent them from reaching our command center. We cannot afford to allow them to discover what we are developing or planning. Godspeed and God bless.”

“Sir,” an alien ally began, “should we carpet bomb their front lines as an initial contact? Or as a last resort?”

“Carpet bomb to enforce a distance between,” he responded, “in other words do so as an initial attack. Distance between our ground troops and theirs is a must. We cannot allow them to get close enough to spread their infections.”

“So,” One of our own began, “if they can infect just by touch, why did none of us become infected from the soldiers we captured early on?”

“They were not able to infect,” one of our scientists interjected, “The parasite has been evolving and adapting to human hosts. While their first victims had to be intravenously infected while being subjected to electroshock, the first hosts allowed them to begin the adaptation process. This process has made them a contagion that can be passed through touch.”

“Well,” the man breathed, “fuck me runnin’.”

“Can they contaminate the soil?” Another human soldier queried.

“That is not yet known,” the scientist admitted, “so we will have to treat it as if they will.”

“That is why our team of scientists are trying to come up with a poison or a cure for this,” the general answered, “that will wipe out the parasite altogether.”

“Why don’t we just nuke the bastards?” Another human soldier insisted.

“Because they aren’t affected by radiation the way humans are,” an alien scientist answered, “we tried radiation therapies in our first attempts to eradicate their threat on our planets. none of those therapies worked. Instead, the parasite adapted.”

“So,” the first soldier sighed, “it is basically unkillable.”

“not at all,” I stood, “I killed it with anthrax, malaria, and several other earthbound viruses and parasites. It can die from indigenous diseases which it has no immunity to. But it may be able to adapt to and gain immunities eventually. Especially if we overuse the viruses and bacteria. Besides. We also run the risk of succumbing to those viruses and infectious bacteria as well, so it is not safe to use them in mass quantities.”

Charnel House Earth: The Death Of Humanity, Chapter 14: Training Day

The moments before a war are the bleakest. Darkness seems to settle over everything as uncertainty begins to eat away at resolve and courage. This war was no different.

In a way, it was training day. That long stretch where training took up most of our days, where preparedness met uncertainty. Were we going to be ready when the war knocked at our door? Or would we be too weak to win?

Humanity hung in the balance. Earth hung in the balance. Failure was not an option.

We had no real choice. We had to win or we would cease to be. The Earth was the prize.

I knew I would die trying to save the Earth from being overrun by this infection. I had already decided that. I would not surrender.

I had no clue how the others felt. Only the general seemed to be determined to win or die. The rest, well, most had never fought a war.

Most had never had to face much of anything but a pandemic. Correction. Two pandemics.

The first had been a pandemic of hate that had begun the moment the president had been elected. This one was due to a lack of education. A rash of willful, religiously driven, ignorance.

It swept through the religious community like a wildfire, causing the institutions to fall from favor with the vast majority of the people. Arrogance and greed had made them all bloated, yet empty. Devoid of a soul.

This had made them the perfect target of the alien parasites now invading. Their arrogance. Their hate. Their greed. Their lust for power.

It all made them willing to accept a new master, one that offered to make them all powerful. All knowing. And all seeing. None of which, they would really receive, but they had believed it.

The second pandemic had been a viral one. Those who had bowed to the alien parasites had refused to use common sense and common courtesy. They had seen mask mandates as an infringement on their ‘freedoms’. But then, weak minds spawn weak wills. And weak wills generally lead races to their doom.

And humanity was now being led to its doom. Or part of it was. If it survived, it would not remain the same. No, it would be forever be altered.

But would we survive? If so, how many of us would remain? One hundred? One million?

***

“We’re not sending you out as a spy anymore,” the general stated, looking at me, “your last trips have gained us all the information we need. Our team is busy deciphering much of the video and audio that floods in on a daily basis. We know roughly what the parasite looks like, how it reacts to different physiologies, and roughly how it controls its victim.”

“So what is my position now?” I inquired.

“You will be training others how to disappear and become nonexistent to the se parasites,” he responded, “with the help of our alien allies, of course.”

“In other words,” I smirked, “you’re telling me to train ninjas. Assassins. Shadows.”

“Never thought of it like that,” he scratched his head, “but yes. That is exactly what I am instructing you to do.”

“My only question is how many of our current recruits will be willing to drop all animosity and become invisible?” I queried.

“Hopefully, all,” He acquiesced, “otherwise, we’re FUBAR.”

“Not exactly,” I smiled, “even one man with a stick can win the day.”

“Using my own sayings against me, are you?” He snickered.

“Nah,” I chuckled, “just an old line out of a movie.”

“Still,” he turned away, “I hope that all do learn from you and change. It will push the odds of winning more in our favor.”

“It will also make men like you and me obsolete once we win,” I warned.

“True,” he nodded, “but I would rather be obsolete than dead.”

“Same here,” I averred, “I would rather see mankind rise above all that has kept him divided than to die because he resisted change.”

“Change is inevitable,” he shrugged, “I believe you told me that. And that which does not embrace change tends to go extinct. This is our extinction scenario.”

“And here we were so worried about global warming,” I joked.

“We’ll have to discuss that when we emerge from this,” he admitted.

“That is,” I mused, “if we do not learn from our alien allies and adapt their technologies to our needs.”

“We would be wise,” He began, “if we did learn and adapt.”

“When has man ever been willing to learn over his billion or so years of existence?” I tested. “We rise to a certain point, then regress back to the savage we began as.”

***

“Do we know their planet of origin?” I asked one of the aliens sitting in the meeting.

“They originated on a desolate planet in the Sentaire quadrant,” the purple colored alien announced, “we were sending out our science teams to explore and map nearby quadrants. Some had landed on a desolate planet and had returned infected.”

“So,” I began thoughtfully, “your race was the original host?”

“Not the original, no,” it responded, “but the original hosts to spread it from planet to planet. We were the first to study it and try to put an end to it. We almost succeeded when it jumped from our race to another nearby race.”

“And where, exactly, is this Sentaire quadrant?” I asked.

The alien pulled up a holographic digimap and pointed to a remote region of space on the edge of the known universe that had a very old star at its center.

“That is the Sentaire quadrant,” it replied, “why do you ask?”

“So I know where, in relation to my own system, their origin is,” I remarked, “and also so we might combat them at their source through sterilizing the planet to destroy all remaining parasites there. I have a hunch that they use a sort of collective consciousness to both communicate and thrive. Perhaps there is a queen of sorts that keeps them all alive.”

“You mean,” another alien began apprehensively, “like make the planet barren of all life?”

“No,” I shook my head, “simply to put an end to the parasite. I realize that life, or nature, is a balancing act. Everything exists for a reason. Even these parasites. But there comes a time when even that must end.

“My proposition is to find an inoculation of sorts, something that kills the parasite only, then release it in massive doses over their planet of origin,” I explained, “thus ending the threat. No race deserves to be erased from the universe in this manner.”

intermission….

I was going to sit down today, the first day I have had off all week, and catch up on chapters. Instead, I had to do laundry and go help my mother on the farm. Family comes first.

I will be gone most of the day tomorrow, since I will be taking mom to an appointment 50 miles away, so cannot add to the serial. Thus, I will be adding four new chapters to this serial, Charnel House Earth, on Tuesday. I am also hoping to continue to add later in the week as well.