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.”