over the successive days, we learned that we would never see the aliens as they truly were. Without a host body, they were defenseless. Without a host, they died quickly.
the soldiers were not their true image either. Rather, these poor sots were infected members of other races…most from the race that had originally created the armor. Most, when ensnared in our netting, would beg for death rather than suffer at the mercy of the being within them. The general soon ordered that we observe their wishes.
The order only came after we extracted vital information from the last live capture we made.
“What do these aliens thrive on?” The general demanded.
“Hate, greed, all the negative aspects of a civilization,” the captive responded, “they appeal to the religions, the purists, and politically corrupt. Anyone who has not been corrupted does not exist to them. Those who are less evil will seem as ghosts or shadows to them and go largely unnoticed.
“Empty your hearts, I implore you, of hate and greed. Embrace knowledge and wisdom, ridding yourselves of the ignorance that breeds the negative traits. It is the only way to defeat them.”
“Even our hate for them?” He pressed.
“Yes,” it gasped, “rid yourself even of the hate you hold for the invader. Love is the answer.”
“That’s a tall order,” he sighed, “but it is not impossible.”
“Please,” it gasped, “kill me. See it not as killing an enemy, but as having mercy upon a penitent being.”
“Where might we find the being within you?” He asked. “We wish to see what the true alien looks like.”
“It has been growing inside me for centuries,” It whispered, “and is wrapped around my spinal chord. It has complete control of my body, but not my mind.”
“Consider your wish granted,” the general replied, then nodded to a scientist.
“Thank you,” it whispered, a tear in its alien eye.
“It is the least we can do for you,” he averred, then turned and issued the order to the scientist, “make it quick and painless. And when you dissect to find the alien within, be sure to place the corpse in a glass containment pod and do the dissection remotely.”
“Yes, sir,” the scientist nodded.
the alien died quickly and painlessly, an injection of poison administered so as not to destroy the alien within. At least, they hoped that the poison wouldn’t destroy the alien within. There was no telling.
“Careful,” the lead scientist advised, “careful. We don’t need this thing loose in here. The containment pod must remain our safety buffer.”
the incision was made carefully and the outer alien stripped slowly from the invader. I observed from a safe distance. It was hard to imagine that there was a world where viruses and bacteria had advanced to a multicellular semi sentient level, but here was one such evolutionary predator.
The host had lost all nervous structure, the parasitic alien replacing it. The revelation was sickening. No spine. No Nerve branches. Just a brain kept alive so that the host could remain living.
This was what the aliens had in store for most of their acolytes. A living death. Zombification without losing their own consciousness. Loss of control over their own bodies but not their minds.
Horrible. Maddening. Unimaginably sad and painful.
I wondered what happened should the host refuse to follow commands. were they injected with some sort of chemical to put them in a haze? Or could they even fight it?
I didn’t want to really know. I could not imagine living with one of these parasites inside me. And yet, I wanted to know just how sentient these parasites really were.
Had they grown in intelligence with each successive race preyed upon? Or was the sentience an illusion? Something used as a ploy to gain trust?
The more we learned about our new foe, the more we found that we didn’t know or understand. The more we realized just how primitive we really were. And the least civilized.
“Have we had any answer from our SOS?” I asked.
“Not yet,” the general shook his head, “but we’re not giving up yet. We do know that it got through. We also know that it did not call any more of these things. Apparently, this is all there is.”
“That we know of,” I grimaced.
“If we could discover their origin,” he sighed, “we could bomb the planet with whatever vaccine we discover and kill them out.”
“Always worth hoping, sir,” I averred, “but not likely. Not unless the race originally infected comes to our aid.”
“True,” he nodded, “and there ain’t no telling whether any of those survived.”
“Precisely,” I smiled sadly.
“We can hope, though,” He suggested.
“nothing wrong with that,” I shrugged, “rebellions are based on hope.”
“Is that what you are calling this?” He was amused. “A rebellion?”
“Yes,” I admitted, “sort of. They have usurped control. We are revolting to return control to us.”
“Never looked at it that way,” He raised an eyebrow, “but now that you mention it, you’re right.”
“We have a revolution to win, sir,” I smiled.
“I agree,” He chuckled.
“Afterwards,” I continued, “we will have to address the problems that made this all too possible.”
“The science or what?” He was unsure.
“No,” I corrected, “the spirituality, or lack thereof, within our religious institutions.”
“Pretty sure this has been the death of those,” He opined.
“you could be right,” I agreed, “but in case it isn’t, we will need to address the problems within those institutions.”
“After this,” He snorted, “I’d be for shutting them down completely.”
“We’ll have to wait and see,” I offered, “and go from whatever is left.”
“True,” he grinned, “may not be anything left at all.”
“My thoughts exactly,” I smiled sadly, “but I will reserve final judgment until the end.”
“Good idea,” he agreed.
We grew silent as the dissection of the alien parasite began. We both knew that this was likely one of the last peaceful days we would have. War was inevitable.