We began finding the bodies not long after Earth’s remnants had collected in the Midwest and western US. The aliens held only the east coast at that point, and we held everything west of the Mississippi River. But the western US was all that they did not possess.
They had all of Eurasia, Africa, and Australia. They avoided Antarctica and the arctic regions since they could not survive the extreme cold. Beyond their intolerance of the cold, we knew nothing about them.
As I stated, we began finding the bodies shortly after those left had collected and begun to train to take back Earth. The discoveries started with the arrival of what I now realize was a slave sent to spy on us. The man looked somewhat normal, though he seemed to have a visor-like cover over his face that seemed to make his face seem pixelated but in HD.
You could see the line where the visor ended, along the cheeks. Oddly enough, the sides of his face, where the jaw was, did not move when his mouth in front did. I found this odd, as all normal humans’ mouths moved as a single unit, not separately.
“Pin him down,” I instructed one of the soldiers nearest me, “something about him is not right.”
“Right, boss,” he nodded and did as he had been instructed.
“I am going to try and remove this thing from his face,” I stated, grabbing what I thought to be a face shield, “and try to free him from his slavery.”
I gave the shield a sudden tug and the slave gave a loud, mortal shriek. There was the sudden sound of suction, then a loud pop. The unit I had taken hold of came loose without warning and I pulled the poor slave’s face off, along with his brain. His head was now completely hollow.
I stood staring, shocked, at the hollowed out cavity that had been the poor man’s head. his brain had been encased in a metal casing that had sheered it off at the base of the spine when I yanked on the unit covering his face.
I had never seen such a thing. The aliens had made humans into permanent slaves, surgically, by removing their facial structure and encasing the brain in a sort of tank where drugs kept them mindles. Their facial structure was then replaced by a sort of monitor where their original face was projected as if it were real.
They were kept fed through a system of intravenous tubes that carried food from some hidden packs within their torsos where a life support system also lay hidden. In reality, they were no longer human.
Of course, we would not discover the hidden life support or IV feeder source until our doctors dissected the poor man’s remains. Such a horrible way to die, made into a techno-zombie. Neither alive nor dead.
Our tech people disassembled the slave’s face to discover how it was constructed. They found that it was no mere television monitor, but a complex mechanism that also housed a small bomb big enough to blow just the unit and the attached brain. It kept the life support going. It kept the brain drugged.
I found the whole thing sickening. The slaves were not alive, at least not by nature’s standards. They were walking dead people.
No mind. No will of their own. No future.
This had been the aliens’ intent for all humanity. It had been the fate intended for all. Not just the handful who had suffered it.
Had the captured scientists suffered this fate? Or had they been the ones force to do this horrendously nightmarish deed? I hated to imagine either way.
The first body turned up shortly after I had destroyed the slave-spy. Like the slave that had entered our camp, its head was hollowed out, but the monitor was gone. Unlike the infiltrator, they had not been attacked by any within our sanctuary lands. Nor could anyone recollect seeing any other slaves. Or hearing explosions.
Had these slaves found a self-destruct switch? Had they committed suicide rather than continue living a meaningless life? Or had they been sacrificed?
I found it odd that there was no mess. The head, or the hollow portion, was still intact. And though the brain and the monitor were missing. Almost as if they had been pulled out as I had done to the spy.
The sight was horrible. I would have nightmares for months after. Had this been the fate the aliens had intended for all? To use, then kill?
I was sure that it had been. Slaves, after all, were only good until they were used up. Had these slaves been destroyed because they could no longer function as they should? Or had they been damaged?
We would find out that it was far less conspicuous. It was not any of those. It was a virus within the system, something planted by the human scientists as a way of causing the self-euthanasia of certain slaves who had been made against their will.
I would even witness such an event not too long after the fifth such body was found. I would be out on patrol with Billy and one of the Russian refugees when it would happen. It would change us forever.
“Jeff, look!” Billy had spotted it first and pointed to the struggling slave.
“Ho-ly shit!” I exclaimed, looking where he was pointing and spotting it. “What the hell is it doing?”
“Not sure,” He returned, “but whatever it is, it ain’t good.
“it’s trying to pull its face off,” Uri stated, looking through his binoculars, his thick Russian accent somewhat screwing with the words,”let me see if I can discover what he, er it, is saying.” He held up the parabolic listening device he had been attentive enough to bring along. “No promises.”
He had been smart enough to attach the device to a sound recorder as well. Billy quickly attached his video camera to the setup and we got both video and audio of the horrendous scene we were now watching.
“Get out of my head!” He was screaming in digital. “I don’t want you there!”
“It’s almost as if he has a battle going on inside his head,” Billy whispered, “he is the first sentient, the first we have encountered who is aware that something is wrong anyway, we have seen. the other seemed to speak only what it was preprogrammed to say.”
“I said get out!!” The poor man screamed.
We continued to watch as he tugged and pulled at the monitor, both sickened and entranced. He seemed to know that the monitor was the answer to his dilemma.
“One more tug and I should be free of you…” he grunted. “ Never wanted to be your slave! I was on to you from the very beginning. Now, out!”
We watched in horror as he pulled the monitor free. The pop was loud enough for us to hear and pick up on the video. The monitor went flying, landing a few yards away. There was a pop when it exploded, and then, nothing.