Charnel House Earth: The Death Of Humanity, Chapter 13: An Unexpected Ally

The parasitic alien had spread through thirty-six races with ease. The resistant members of each race had been pushed slowly from their planets and their systems by the invaders and had sought to save each successive race from the same fate. These races all lives within a few light years from one another and had been allies. Each fell, with ease, to the parasites.

Unlike the human race, the races before were easily infected…in much the same way humans can get such parasites as tapeworms or malaria. Some were merely bitten by an infected indigenous insect akin to Earth’s mosquito or they merely stepped on a pile of dung that had the alien larvae in it and the larvae burrowed into them. The end result was the same. infection and growth.

But unlike Hollywood’s blockbusters, there was no dramatic bursting open of chests or internal gestation that made an overtly external threat. The larva simply latched itself onto the nervous system of the host and took over all motor functions. the action turned the poor host into an unwilling participant in what the growing larva was doing. IN essence, they became unwilling soldiers, though still conscious enough to realize that they were helpless to do anything, in the parasitic alien invasion.

These unwilling soldiers were used to round up more victims. Or to kill those who rejected the parasitic aliens as their overlords. or to punish the mindless slaves.

But humanity proved to be more difficult. Infection had to be aided. Incubation had to be forced.

Otherwise, the parasite was expelled and the human was left useless or dead. Thus, incubation and infestation became a form of torture demanded of the new ‘Messiah’ and his fellow ‘Elohim’, something these imposters demanded of their worshipers. In return, they promised heaven, paradise, or whatever the worshiper believed in.

It was the remnants of these thirty-six alien races that first contacted us. But they would not be the most unexpected ally. Nor would they be the only allies.

***

“I hear you are in need of allies,” the being before me stated through some sort of translator device.

“Yes,” I nodded, “we have…been overrun by a extraterrestrial parasite.”

“We call them the ‘feasters’,” he/it smiled coldly, “As they eat nearly every being that exhibits negativity. Hate. Fear. Greed.

“Odd that they come to feast on a race so young as yours. They generally feast upon races that are nearing their end in this realm. Your race is no more than three billion years old. At the most.”

“Then,” I gave a puzzled look, “a race nearing its end would be…?”

“Trillions of years old,” it stated, “quadrillions of years old. And still lacking enough empathy to evolve.”

“And these ‘feasters’,” I began, “they avoid those beings that are beginning to evolve?”

“they cannot see those who are beginning to evolve,” it corrected, “they are drawn to negative traits. Not to positive results.”

“Why can’t they see me?” I pressed.

“Because,” it smiled again, “you are in a sort of chrysalis, figuratively speaking, as you are beginning to evolve past what the rest of your race has stubbornly held tight to.”

“Meaning?” I was confused.

“Meaning that you have cast away many of the negative traits,” it grinned, “like hate, fear, ignorance, and greed-your basic love of self baggage-and so have risen above all the rest. Oddly enough, you have had a similar effect on many around you. Very encouraging.”

“So,” I was hopeful, “will you help us?”

“Of course,” it nodded, “but you are in for one hell of a fight.”

“I already guessed as much,” I sat back, ready to sign the alliance treaty.

“Once all formalities are taken care of,” It concluded, “I shall contact my race and request more soldiers.”

“All are welcome,” I averred.

***

I briefed the general on all that had been discussed. The evolution discourse. The alliance agreement. The truth about our invaders.

“So,” the general scratched his head, “These parasitic assholes usually attack dying races.”

“In a sense,” I nodded, “mostly ancient races that have refused to give up greed, fear, hate, ignorance, and love of self. According to our new ally, these traits are common within young races such as our own, but very uncommon in the older races.”

“So,” he assumed, “our best defense, our best weapon, is to cease these traits.”

“Yes,” I nodded again, “the parasites cannot see advanced races who have evolved past those base negatives.”

“Interesting,” he mused.

“Yes it is,” I agreed.

“And the parasites cannot see you because you are more advanced,” he looked at me.

“Precisely,” I averred, “and I have had a similar effect on some of the others.”

“Well,” he chuckled, “of course you do. anyone who isn’t changed a bit by your attitude after being around you has a definite problem.”

“Meaning?” I was now surprised.

“Meaning that anyone who isn’t more positive after being around you has a definite problem,” He grinned.

“Really?” I queried.

“Really,” He affirmed.

“Didn’t know I could affect people that way,” I shrugged.

“Keep doing so,” He winked, “and we’ll all soon be nonexistent to these buggers.”

***

We quietly signed treaties with the remnants over a period of thirty-six days. The rumblings of war were still in the distance, but we needed to be ready. We needed to begin building our legions.

Over the three months that followed, we were joined by at least a dozen more races. Many were from nearby systems that wanted to prevent the spread of the parasite. a few were from more distant systems.

Those who arrived were the advance scouts. They had been sent to weigh the situation and to gather all the information they could, then report back to their leaders. They all realized just how dire the situation was.

All sent warnings home to change. Evolve. All warned that it was the only way to prevent the spread.

All called for reinforcements. We would need as many soldiers as we could get. We would need all the help we could get.

Now, we could only wait. Aggression would only reveal our location. And we could not afford to reveal our location. Not at this point in time.

Charnel House Earth: The Death Of Humanity, Chapter 12: Last Days Of Peace

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.

Charnel House Earth: The Death Of Humanity, Chapter 11: What Horrors Lay Beyond Our Vision

I’d had no trouble getting in and back out of the alien ship. I’d had no problem placing the bugs where they could view all that went on. I’d had no problem making the rendez vous on time.

The new video surveillance was riding the same relays as the rest. That meant that I had no relays to set up. No stops to make.

I had not been worried. I knew the vents in and out of the ship like the back of my hand. I knew the aliens’ habits.

I also knew how not to get caught. But then, the aliens could not sense me. I did not exist to the aliens.

I had also sensed that their slaves could not sense me either. Not once had a captive enslaved politician looked up where I was. Not once had an infected captive looked where I hid.

I had the advantage. If I did not exist, they could not combat me. They could not track me.

Not so much with my contacts. Or my drivers. They had to remain far enough away that the aliens could not sense them.

This made my trek to the rendez vous sites long and hazardous. Not because of the aliens, but because of the animals left without owners. And the wildlife that had already existed.

I killed any alien scout I caught away from the ship. I killed any slave I found wandering out of their zone. I took samples from both.

I hoped that the aliens would never find the bugs. They didn’t need to know that we had been spying on them. Nor did they need to know that we had stolen some of their weapons.

If they found any of those things, we were good as dead. As it was, we had no allies. Our hopes of defeating them was almost nil.

***

Screaming filled the briefing room as we watched, for the first time, how the aliens created their mindless slaves. We watched as the acolyte was strapped to a surgical table, begging for mercy from the alien they saw as an emissary of their God. To our horror, we watched as the subject was not anesthetized before their face was carved from their skull and the frontal pieces of the skull was surgically formed in a dish shape within the now open skull. we watched as they encased the victim’s brain in a shell where we were sure a mass of probes puncture it so that drugs could be pumped in freely to create a zombie.

This brain casing was slipped into a hole in the back of the face-shaped monitor as it was slipped into the fleshy pocket that had been made for it. When the procedure was complete, the monitor came on and the victim’s face appeared, eyes now blank and empty.

“Ho-ly shit!” The general exclaimed. “That was the sickest thing I have ever witnessed and I have seen a lot of sick shit!”

“What we do know,” one of the scientists began, “is that the brain casing is designed to clip the spinal cord if the monitor is removed. we also know that the casing includes a built into it so that nothing is left intact. We assume that this is to prevent any data important to the aliens and their operation from being retrieved.”

“In other words,” the general nodded, “they destroy the black box rather than risk whatever it has recorded from being downloaded.”

“Precisely,” the scientist averred, “which would make it almost impossible to capture one of these slaves to download any information.”

“There is no hidden releases that we are overlooking?” The general pressed.

“We have been unsuccessful at capturing one to find out,” the scientist responded, “the last one detonated itself.”

“We better figure something out soon,” The general scowled, “because the aliens are building for war.”

“Perhaps,” The scientist replied, “more surveillance will reveal some of the answers to some of the questions we have.”

“Better be soon,” the general warned, “because once the battle begins it’ll be too late.”

***

“We’re not sending you out for a while,” The general stated, “we’re gonna let you lay low. Don’t need to unnecessarily run the risk of you getting caught.”

“I understand,” I nodded.

“Do you?” He flashed me a look of bewilderment. “Or are you just agreeing with me?”

“A little of both, sir,” I smiled slyly, “I understand that I run the risk of discovery every time I go in. I understand that my discovery would lead to my capture. It is what keeps me so cautious when I go in.”

“the assassination of the aliens guarding your last insertion point put you close to discovery. I understand that it was a necessary risk, but you cut it a bit close.”

“I’m sorry about that, sir,” I apologized, “it won’t happen again.”

“The problem is that you cannot prevent the inevitability of having to destroy or assassinate,” he sat back, “but we can pull you back and hide you for a while. We know that, though you have the advantage, that doesn’t mean that the aliens won’t soon find a way to sense you.”

“True,” I nodded, “I am well aware of that.”

And well you should be,” He averred, “if you dod not, you would become reckless. A liability.”

“We wouldn’t want that,” I smiled knowingly, “would we, sir?”

“No we would not,” He agreed, “not where you are concerned. You know the most about operations here. After all, you were integral in their formation.”

“Here’s hoping that the aliens remain clueless,” I stated, “until it is too late.”

“Agreed,” he nodded, “though I sincerely hope that they never get a clue at all.”

“Same here,” I admitted, “I want to destroy them before they have a chance to gain too much of a foothold here.”

“You and I both, soldier,” he chuckled, “you and I both.”

“I’ll head to barracks now,” I began, “if we are done.”

“I’m finished,” he smiled, “you’re dismissed.”

Charnel House Earth: The Death Of Humanity, Chapter 10: Storm On The Horizon

“See these links here?” The scientist who had done the video analysis pointed at the enlarged frame to a couple thin silver lines running from the halo-like headband into the president’s head. “I believe this is how the aliens control their non transformed slaves, the ones that are still living and breathing in the conventional sense.”

“What would happen if we clipped those links?” The general inquired.

“There’s no telling,” the scientist admitted, “perhaps nothing. Or maybe death. We have no clue what preventative measures have been taken to keep removal of the halo from taking place. There may not be any. Or…there may be such an intricate preventative measure that we would risk detonating some hidden explosive that would destroy everything within a fifty foot perimeter.”

“Then,” the general understood the scientist’s meaning, “death is the most merciful measure should we have a chance to save these poor souls.”

“Affirmative,” The scientist nodded.

“Alright,” the general sat back, “continue with the next bit analyzed.”

“We also analyzed the video of the laboratory,” the scientist continued, “and though we were relieved to find that this was not the lab where the mindless slaves are made, we found that something much more horrible takes place in that lab. Something that transforms, twists, the individual subjected to the tortures they put captives through into something far more dangerous.

“As we watched, a captive human was hooked to wires and tubes and energies run through him. as these energies were run through him, something else was being done. Upon closer inspection, we realized that one of the aliens was being spliced into the captive. These aliens are a kind of cosmic parasite that feeds upon other races of beings. We, in essence, were intended as their food.

“But while the alien feasts upon its host,” he started the enlarged video so that we were now watching what he was describing, “it uses its host as a way to travel and fight. They are, after all, fairly defenseless when not feeding. And they are far from human in appearance.”

“Can they infect a human without the aid of the energies?” The general pressed.

“If what we witnessed was accurate, they have to be introduced through the tubing,” the scientist responded, shaking his head, “perhaps at a larval stage. Sort of how a mosquito infects us with malaria.”

“So,” the general surmised, “they are nothing more than a giant germ.”

“Yes,” the scientist nodded, “for the most part…though they are far more intelligent than your run of the mill virus or bacteria. or even your average nematode.”

“Can we find a vaccine or cure for them?” The general insisted.

“we are working on that,” the scientist confirmed, “using the dead alien we captured.”

“What is your time table on such a thing?” The general asked.

“Weeks,” the scientist affirmed, “maybe a couple months.”

“Make it your number one priority,” the general commanded.

“Yes sir,” the scientist nodded.

“How are the weapons coming?” He asked.

“We have successfully replicated their rifles,” a weapons tech confirmed.

“And the warcraft?” He pressed.

“It’s proving to be a bit more complex,” the tech admitted.

“any idea on when a replicated one will be ready for testing?” He was not happy.

“Two to three weeks,” the tech nervously replied.

“make it in two,” he ordered, “we can perfect after the first tests are complete.” He turned to me. “I need you to go back in and plant more bugs. Find other vents. See where they all lead. See if you can find the lab where the techno-zombies are created. We need to know how they do it. And how to stop them.”

“Yes, sir,” I saluted, “when do you want this done?”

“Immediately,” he frowned.

“Consider it done,” I saluted again.

“How is the armor coming?” He turned his attention to other issues and away from me.

“Jeff’s armor is ready to be tested,” The weapons tech averred, “as soon as he wishes to test it.”

“I will test it out this round of recon,” I offered, “I am also willing to test the other weapons as well.”

“Good,” the general smiled, “if the weapons work well, and without much difficulty, we’ll expect enough to be made to equip all who are currently here in camp.”

***

I suited up. The armor was tight, but surprisingly light. though tight, it allowed for a great range of motion. The alien rifle snapped into place on the back as if by magnets and yet, was easily accessed when needed. the pistol snapped on the hip for quick access.

Something told me that the technology had not originated with our new invaders, but had been adopted by them when they had destroyed the original owners. Just seemed like a thing an intelligent parasite would do. Steal alien technologies.

After all, man was sometimes just as parasitic. We tended to steal things from others and call it our own as well. And we were a race of beings. Not a walking bacteria.

Once I was all suited up, I boarded the plane. I was ready to go in. I was ready to do what I had been asked to do.

But this time, I was armed with their weapons and was protected by their armor. This time, I was testing their technologies against them if I needed to. And I hoped I did.

“What’s our destination?” I asked the pilot.

“The aliens have expanded their zone,” she began, “so I cannot drop you at the airport where we dropped you the last two times. I can’t get you anywhere near the ship now.”

“What does this mean?” I queried.

“I have to drop you at the abandoned airport in Canton,” She responded, “and you will have to journey the rest of the way either on foot or by stolen automobile.”

“Ah,” I smiled at her, “I get to hotwire a ride. Hope someone left their Harley so I can travel in style.”

“Meet me back at the Canton airport in four days’ time,” she admonished, “and we’ll head back to HQ.”

“Will do,” I replied.

Charnel House Earth: The Death Of Humanity, Chapter 9: Back Into Hell

I was flown to the abandoned airport near Washington, DC again. This time, I was armed with the crossbow and two wireless bugs and several relays. The bugs were to be planted in the air ducts of the alien ship. The relays were meant to be attached to the now idle cell towers that dotted the landscape in between.

I knew that my return to base would be slow, but I didn’t care. perhaps I could glom onto a semi, trailer and all, and abscond with the food that was now sitting abandoned in the stores that lay on my path home. I kind of wished that I had been allowed an assistant so he could glom onto a fuel truck, but I understood why they refused to take the chance.

We knew absolutely nothing about the aliens. How they gained control of their human supplicants. How they detected their victims.

All we knew was that they could not sense me. I did not exist to them. I could slip in on them without warning and leave behind whatever I was asked to leave.

It made me the perfect spy. The perfect thief. And the perfect assassin.

I took aim at the guard the aliens had left to deter me from doing my job. rather than use a large bolt, I opted for the small dart gun on my arm.

the dart hit its target and injected the virus, then disappeared. Perfect hit. The alien guard slapped the back of its neck.

I wondered how the malaria parasite would affect the alien. How quick would it take? What symptoms would be the first to develop, if any? Would it spread through the collective as it did with humans? Or would it ride their psionic connection?

I watched as the alien suddenly collapsed without warning. Interesting. I had not seen that coming.

I slipped into the ductwork of the ship unseen. Unsensed. Unhampered.

It would take time for them to discover their comrade. By then, I would be gone and the bugs would be planted. Hell. I would probably be to my next destination.

I quietly made my way to the conference room. I had but one mission here. I didn’t need any weapons. I only had to plant the bugs.

I was soundless as I went. No need to alert them to my presence. No need to set off alarms.

I smiled. So far, so good. I corrected myself. No need to get cocky. Being cocky caused mistakes. Big mistakes.

***

I slid out of the ductwork on the other side of the ship. Both bugs were now in place and two aliens had succumbed to two different illnesses. I had been very effective.

I had successfully completed another mission. The aliens would never know that I had been there. Not unless they looked at the backs of their soldiers’ necks.

Did they have necks? What did they actually look like? would our cameras catch them as they were? Or as they appeared?

I would have to wait for those answers. Now, I had to make it to the first tower and attach the relay transponder. To do that, I would have to find a car or some automobile.

I was also getting hungry. I hadn’t eaten since I left the base. That had been ten hours ago.

As I slipped from shadow to shadow, I wondered how long it would take for the aliens to program a human to betray me. To help them see me. So far, I had been lucky and they suspected nothing.

But that would come to an end once they realized that I could assassinate them without being detected. I hoped they wouldn’t even try. I hoped that they refused to believe that their comrades had been killed by a human agent.

I hoped that they would believe that their soldiers had accidentally uncovered an old human weapon, some canister of gas, and had loosed whatever had been inside trying to discover what it was. Still, I knew better. Perhaps they might initially come to that conclusion, but they would figure it out at some point.

Then I would be a sitting duck. I would have to hide. I would no longer be able to spy for my own.

It could possibly spur them into finding a cure or vaccine compatible with their physiologies. Or maybe to create a better armor. One I would not be able to find the weakness of.

For now, The mission had been a success. I had proven that they were susceptible to human diseases. I had planted the bugs.

***

I arrived at the last tower and climbed to the top. It was after dark and I wanted to be done. I had spent six days on the road in a truck with two trailers. One was filled with diesel, the other was filled with food.

I had done well. Rather than use the fuel in the tanker, I stopped regularly and siphoned off gas from abandoned tanks at stations. Perhaps I would make more trips to gather more fuel. I didn’t know.

That was up to my superiors. All missions were. As long as I didn’t have to lead, I was happy following orders.

The road headed toward base was a lonely one. Empty. I could remember when the interstate was packed with cars and trucks.

But here we were. A third of the population had fallen into darkness. We were what was left.

We outnumbered them, sure. But we were still without weapons that could kill them outright. Bioweapons didn’t count.

They were dirty. Dangerous. Potentially lethal to us as well.

Their use had to be limited. We could never use them wholesale. It was too dangerous.

BUt what about nukes? We had precision nukes. One that could hit a predesignated target with a 90% accuracy. We also had ‘dirty’ bombs. But how effective would they be?

I placed the relay at the top of the tower, then climbed down. This part of my mission was now complete as well. I went to the truck and climbed in.

Time to head for base. Time to head for bed. And safety.

Charnel House Earth: The Death Of Humanity, Chapter 8: Stolen Gems

I had been fortunate enough to steal ten sets of the alien armor as well as a dozen guns and assorted other weapons. The warcraft I had also stolen would offer an opportunity for the scientists to study and replicate alien technology. The video and audio gave us plenty to observe, but only the audio gave us anything definitive.

For instance, we knew that they planned to make us outlaws. Enemies of the state. And they believed we were dumb enough to fall for their trap.

They wanted us to give in without a fight. Become their slaves willingly. Something that was never going to happen.

“You did good, Jeff,” the head of our intel division asserted, “you got us audio of what they are planning.”

“I felt it was necessary,” I averred, “important. Something just told me to hit record at that point in time.”

“And well you did,” She nodded, “You’ve saved us all.”

“All in a day’s work,” I smiled.

“Now,” she admonished, “don’t get cocky. We don’t want you making a mistake and getting caught.”

“So,” I began, “What’s next?”

“First,” she started, “we allow the science and technology department to study the weapons and armor you brought us to see if they can replicate them. Same with the warcraft you stole. Once they are able to, we wait until they can build you both. Then, we send you out on more recon missions since you are the only one thay seem to not see.”

“And the video of that poor man?” I inquired.

“we will study it to see what is happening,” she sat back, “then, we will run over it with you. We may need you to-plant a few bugs for us.”

“Not hard to do,” I shrugged, “as long as I don’t have to go and blend in.”

“No,” she smiled, “nothing like that. more….ductwork, though.”

“I see,” I nodded, “stealth work.”

“pretty much,” she giggled, “but no theft.”

“See if Tech can design a sniper rifle using the alien guns,” I suggested, “when I have to take on out, I don’t want them to see it coming.”

“Will do,” she promised, “but for now, you will have a crossbow with special bolts.”

“Intriguing,” I uttered, “able to penetrate their armor?”

“of course,” she winked, “and some will carry certain viruses and infectious bacteria in tranq-dart configuration.”

“Chemical warfare,” I mused.

“Yes,” She admitted, “everything from sarin and anthrax to the plague and typhoid.”

“That’s quite a wide range of infectious diseases,” I remarked.

“Perhaps they will spread it through their own community. And their slaves,” she suggested, “though there is a slight risk of it spreading back to us.”

“As always,” I nodded.

***

Cheyenne Mountain became our temporary home. As a bunker, it was somewhat safer than our other options at this point.

We were met by the commander of NORAD.

“You’re trespassing on US military property,” He warned.

“There is no US military,” I responded, “and no nations of the world. There is just us and you. We represent what is left of the world population.”

“What the fuck happened out there?” He demanded.

“Our governments were taken over by the aliens,” I informed him, “there is no longer a president, VP, or Congress. Even the Supreme Court is gone. All are now under the control of the aliens.”

“And the military?” He was hesitant.

“Those who were near the ship are either prisoners or enslaved,” I answered, “Those still on the bases retreated to our location in Iowa and regrouped. It was upon their suggestion that we headed here for safety.”

“Damn,” he breathed, “I was wondering why there had been no word from Washington.”

“The religious leaders of the world gave up without a fight,” I stated, almost as if I had read his thoughts, “and they bowed in reverence to the illusion cast by the invaders.”

“Fucking idiots,” he scowled.

“We have intel that they will be passing laws,” our intel chief began, joining us, “to coax all resistance in peaceably. They will be outlawing resistance.”

“The hell they will,” he seethed, “who collected the intel?”

“I did, sir,” I responded, “since I don’t exist to them, I can slip aboard their ship. I also stole some of their weapons and armor. And a warcraft.”

“Then,” he smiled, “I see no reason why you shouldn’t remain our chief spy.”

“It’ll be an honor, sir,” I saluted.

“For Christsakes!” He exclaimed, slurring Christ and sakes into a single word. “At ease, soldier.”

“We’ll be sending him back in as soon as Tech is finished examining and replicating the alien technologies, adapting them for human use.”

“Good, good,” he nodded, “and what will his mission be?”

“To plant a video and audio bug above both the meeting room he recorded the discussions on trying to coax us in over and above the lan he brought video feed from.”

“The purpose?” He was curious.

“We want to get a closer look at the headbands on the leaders,” She averred, “for one. And for another, we wish to learn exactly what was going on in that laboratory.”

“Very good,” he nodded, “we need to collect all the intel data we can.”

“I suggest that you put out a coded message for all military still out to collect here,” I advised.

“I agree,” he smiled, “and will do so immediately. We’ll try to connect up with Ghost Lake, Groom Lake, and a few other unmarked bases.”

He ushered us inside.

“Unfortunately,” he began, “we aren’t designed to house so many people. We’re only capable of handling 800. Not…” He gestured to our group.

“We understand that,” our intel chief averred, “but, perhaps, we can…expand the facility. Eventually.”

“We were thinking,” he nodded, “that we should go deeper and run tunnels and even, perhaps, creating a city under the mountain.”

“We might even be able to hide the city under the mountain range itself,” one of the men in our group stepped forward, “a few of us are former miners, mudjackers, and sandhogs. I think some of us could even secret the equipment west from the coast.”

“Once enough of a military presence is here,” the general looked at him, “we will see to that mission. You will need cover.”

Charnel House Earth: The Death Of Humanity, Chapter 7: I Spy With My Eye

I was transported to an abandoned airport near the alien craft. There, I disembarked the helicopter and began recon activity. Though I had never been a spy, or even a military scout, I was had the advantage. I did not exist to the aliens.

From the airport, I took to the shadows and headed for the alien craft. The city was empty. Dead.

Not a soul moved in the houses, apartments, or shops. Food sat, untouched, upon store shelves. Guns and ammo sat in the sporting goods department of some. It was almost as if they were waiting for someone to come and pick them up.

I figured that most of the population was now slave labor. Some may have joined me long ago, but most were probably enslaved. I had no hopes of finding any free souls here. Not in the capital. Not here on the east coast.

I approached the alien craft warily. It looked nothing like the saucers that Hollywood had taken from urban legend and made mythical. Nor was it the supposed orb-shaped or cigar-shaped ships often described by supposed abductees.

Instead, it looked like a city on a saucer, but with a jagged spike on the bottom that served as the entry and exit from the craft. Had I been a betting man, I would have bet that the craft had been built around sections, cities, from their home planet. their appearance seemed to be such that such thought were easy to arrive at.

I chuckled to myself. Flat Earthers would have been in Heaven with this craft. It epitomized their ideas where Earth was concerned.

I pulled myself out of my thoughts and began searching for an alternate way into the craft. Some port. Some vent.

I found an air duct just above the main entrance and crawled in. I narrowly escaped discovery as an alien soldier emerged from the main entry shortly after I replaced the vent grate. I began to follow the ducting, believing it would take me where I wanted to go.

It would, but I would also witness things I would have nightmares from for days to come. I would also hear things that caused the pieces of the puzzle to fall into place.

I heard voices ahead of me. The president. The Vice President. Several congressmen and women. The new alien masters.

Though I could not make out what was being said, I knew I had to listen in once I arrived to where they were. I hit the record button on my recorder and hoped I had enough tape to ensure a capture of all that was said.

***

I halted above the conference room. Below, what had been the president and his cabinet stood, mind control bands around their heads. Though they had been no more than useful idiots in life, I now felt a tinge of pity for them. Now, they no longer functioned freely.

Resistance to our coming has been rather,,,surprising, considering the primitiveness of your race, I heard the mental voice of one of the alien leaders state, those who resist have apparently taken one of my soldiers captive. No matter. It will be easy to destroy them.”

“They will fall to your will, oh master,” I heard the empty voice of the president state.

Of course they will, hissed the one that had claimed to be Jesus, or they will die.

“They will see reason,” the Vice President said, mindlessly agreeing with the president.

And if they do not? Yah demanded.

“Then they are doomed,” stated one of the now enslaved senators.

You will pass laws commanding them to surrender and come in, Yam commanded, You will command them to lay down their weapons.

“As you wish, master,” Came the unified response.

The president will urge them to come in as you begin making it illegal to resist us, Yam demanded.

“Your wish is my command,” the president replied.

As he spoke, the president looked up where I was hidden. Did he sense my presence? Or had the action been reactionary?

I would not, I decided, stick around long enough to find out. I muffled the sound of me turning off the recorder and swiftly moved past the vent I had been watching through. after I rounded a bend and was out of view, I heard an alien lift the grate where I had been

Bah! I heard Yah’s muffled voice exclaim. There must be a small glitch in the mindbender halo that causes them to look up.

Nothing, then? I heard Jesu inquire.

Not a whisper of a scent, Yah informed his fellow leader.

***

I stopped at a grate above what looked like a laboratory. Below, I could see a human with wires coming out of every conceivable pore and hole. The alien ‘doctors’ were performing something, but I could not tell what it was. Turning on my video feed, I allowed the data to collect.

They could analyze what was taking place once I got safely back to base. The poor man’s screams did not take long to affect me. No one deserved to suffer like that. No one.

Yet, I could do nothing to end his misery. Not if I wished to remain unseen. Thus, I moved on.

The third port overlooked the lab where the ‘monitor’ slaves were made. I watched as human scientists removed the front of a “devotee’s” skull, face and all. one of the scientists glanced up and saw me, though did not give a visible sign for fear of giving me away. But I had seen his look of recognition, though as brief as it was, before he quickly looked back at what he was doing.

he had given me a sign, but not the aliens. He had been pleading. Begging.

And yet, he knew that I could do nothing. Nor could he give away the fact that I was aboard and spying. He could only return to what he was doing, no matter how horrifying.

I moved on and found the armory. here, I finally dropped into the room. I scouted the armory and made sure I was alone. Undetected.

Then, I began gathering weapons. As I did so, I wondered if the aliens would miss one of their attack vessels. Or if I could even fly it.

I decided I would try. We needed something to help us design our own defensive warships. Something that would give us an edge.

I loaded my ill gotten gains into one of the flying vessels, then sought the cockpit. I started the engine. It was so quiet! As I shot out of the bay opening, several alien soldiers flooded the armory and began shooting at my escaping ship.

Charnel House Earth: The Death Of Humanity, Chapter 6: A Stroke Of Luck

Though war was not yet upon us, we needed more information on how the aliens converted their slaves. We did not yet know whether all were transformed into the mech slaves we had just encountered, or whether there were different levels of slavery. But this was just the tip of what we did not know.

Did they use telepathy? Could they sense us near? What did they look like behind the illusion? Exactly what could kill them, if anything?

If they were telepathic, could tinfoil shield our thoughts from them? Or was that ineffective? What about military helmets?

Our opportunity came when one of the alien soldiers strayed into our territory and became so entangles within our nets that he/it could not free itself.

Free me, it tried to command one of the soldiers in my patrol, free me, slave.

“I am not your slave,” he responded, “I take orders only from Jeff and he has not commanded me to release you.”

Release me and your reward will be great, it promised in a lie.

“Nothing doing,” the soldier returned.

Show me this Jeff, it demanded, perhaps it will see the need to release me.

“I doubt that, alien,” I smirked, “I am Jeff.”

I see nothing where the voice came from, it was now in a panic, what trickery is this?

It suddenly dawned on us that I did not exist to the aliens. I smiled.

“No trickery,” I began, taunting, “I am God of this world. And I lead these men in their mission to clear your kind from Earth.”

But how can you not be seen? It begged.

“Cage it,” I commanded my patrol, ignoring the alien’s frantic question, “we’ll take it to base. radio ahead and tell the doctors to have a manually operated restraint table ready. we’re going to interrogate this alien and take vitals to see if we can defeat them easily.”

I knew that my decision was likely declaring war upon the aliens, but I didn’t care as long as we could gather vital information from them. Their weaknesses. Their physiology. The makeup of their armor. Why some of us existed to them while others did not.

I watched as three of my soldiers wrapped the alien so that it could no longer beg or plead for its release. I got the feeling that they were also trying to ensure that it could not attempt to use any mental powers against them as we transported it back to base. I couldn’t blame them.

On took a syringe and loaded it with a tranquilizer. Surprisingly, he found a weak spot in the alien’s armor and sedated the pittiful being. This made it easier for the other two soldiers to bind the limp alien to a makeshift stretcher so that it could be transported.

After untangling it from the netting-once it was sedated and unable to attack-and securing it to the stretcher, we began our patrol again. This time, we headed back to camp. The sooner we got the captive back to the docs, the sooner we could pry answers from it.

***

“Ask it why it cannot see me,” I instructed.

“Why can’t you see Jeff?” The doctor demanded.

You humans, it began, or most of you, are easy for us to see. Mentally, you are bright beacons to us. And though some are dim, most are bright lights. It depends on your level of intelligence. That is how we see you. your psy-waves.

As with all races, there are also some who do not appear to us. Some races have learned to block us from seeing them. Others are naturally endowed with such an ability. While we can hear them, physically, we cannot see them. This makes them deadly to us since they do not psychically exist to us.

“How do we kill your kind?” I asked.

Find the weaknesses in our armor, it began, or find a disease that you are immune to that we are not.

“Can we see through your illusions?” I pressed.

Yes,” it nodded, with this...though a null-that’s what we call those we cannot see-might also be able to see us as we truly are.

It handed the doctor a a visor of sorts.

“Then,” I nodded, “I could possibly see your leaders as they truly are without the visor?”

Yes, it averred, you are a threat to all of us. Unseen. A voice without an origin. The perfect assassin.

“Will your own weapons work against you?” I pushed.

Yes, it weakly nodded, if you are successful enough to steal samples. it paused. May I inquire what you injected into me?

“A tranquilizer,” I began, “we sedated you so we could safely transport you. Why?”

It is slowly killing me, it replied, its chemical makeup is unknown to my race. Please, I beg you, end my misery. I can no longer detect any of you because of the poison.

I nodded to the scientist, who euthanized the alien.

“Study what you can of his anatomy before he decomposes too much,” I instructed, “then disassemble his armor and study it in hopes of creating something similar for us.” I looked around at all present. “we know two things. First, viruses and other diseases will kill them as will earthly medicinal chemicals. These natural weapons we can use to our advantage.

“Secondly, their own weapons will kill them. Which gives us hope.”

“Sir,” a soldier interrupted, “we also know that they cannot see you or others.”

“Good,” I smiled, “you were listening.”

***

I had opted to go on this first scouting mission alone. No need to jeopardize anyone else. After all, the aliens could not see me. I did not exist to them.

We all knew that war was inevitable. Once the alien soldier did not return, its superiors would search for it. when it could not be found, they would realize that it had been taken hostage. This would cause them to declare war.

I hoped that I could steal some of the alien weapons before that happened. We needed to be prepared. Hell. We needed all the help we could get.

Charnel House Earth: The Death Of Humanity, Chapter 5: Changes

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.

Charnel House Earth: The Death Of Humanity, Chapter 4: The Disappearances

I had never seen an alien invasion movie that remotely resembled what was currently taking place. Not even the television series V came close.Most movies and television shows pictured aliens as either openly destructive, seeking to wipe out humanity in order to use the planet’s core as fuel, or seductively deadly–seeing mankind as simply food. There seemed to be no in between.

And yet, in the movies, man is smart enough to see the aliens for what they were. Invaders. Predators.

Not one movie could have predicted the reaction our visitors received. around the world, the religious communities had been pulled in by the aliens and made to believe that they-the aliens-were the gods returning to lead man into the next age. Even the world’s politicians and government leaders fell for the whole “God come to redeem man” act. Perhaps it was because of their greed that they fell so hard for it. Or, maybe, they were hoping for something that had been a lie all along.

Only those who had left the religious life behind saw through the illusion being cast. Many began fleeing from the capital cities as the extremely religious flocked to them. Those who fled began collecting in the outlying cities at first.

When alien influence began to spread, they retreated to the interior. Once there, they sought us out and joined with us. Many felt guilt as they could not reach their elderly family member and had to leave them behind. They felt as if they had sacrificed them. Left them to die.

Perhaps they had. But it had not been their choice. They’d had to leave quickly or become a slave themselves. Or a meal.

Even they realized that. Still guilt played upon them for a while until they had come to terms with it all. But those left behind would not be forgotten. They would become a part of our battle cry.

Amid this, the aliens and our government officials continued to televise updates on supposed peace accords. Every televised update lacked one human, though the number of aliens remained the same. Then, that person would reappear in the next update–though there was something very different about them. They were almost–robotic.

It had begun. The disappearances. First, the public officials. And the religious leaders. Then, those who had bowed to the aliens.

I studied the officials who returned to the televised updates closely, searching for something I could definitively claim as a change.At first, I could not find anything. And when I did, I was unsure that I had not imagined it.

“Am I imagining things?” I asked Dr. Hargrove. “Or does it look as if there is a headband around Representative Turley’s head?”

“You’re not imagining things,” he responded, “and you can see the LEDs blink periodically from beneath his hair along the sides of his head.”

“In other words,” I began, “he has been enslaved.”

“Yes,” he agreed, “as have all who have returned to the telecasts.” He turned to me. “We need to watch some of the Sunday broadcasts to see if the preachers and priests have found the same fate.”

“I agree,” I nodded, “though we will have to be careful. Never know what they will try over the airwaves.”

“True,” He averred, “and we have no idea what kind of subliminal tricks they might try.”

***

Our ploy with the EMP had worked. We had been able to send at least three S.O.S. messages out into space, each describing our attackers and our plight. We could only hope that those who received the messages would be friendly, or at least a foe of our attackers, enough to come to our aid.

We held no illusions. It was likely that most alien races would be hostile. Perhaps even similar to our current invaders. But we had to try everything we had at our disposal to rid ourselves of our current invasion. Even if it meant inviting a second invasion.

I only hoped that the latter was not the case. I hoped that we found friendlies, not hostiles. We didn’t need to become an opportunity for some other militant race.

We were desperate. We were running out of time. If we could not find allies, humanity would be destroyed.

“Don’t Worry, Jeff,” Dr. Hargrove assured me, “we’ll find allies. Somewhere.”

“I sure hope you’re right,” I sighed, exasperated, “not sure we can take these fuckers by ourselves.”

“It is always darkest before the dawn,” He smiled, “it always seems the most hopeless before we succeed.”

“Yeh,” I nodded and smiled sadly, “my grandpa always said that when things seemed hopeless.”

“He was right, you know,” he admonished.

“True,” I chuckled nervously, “Things always resolve themselves.”

“Of course,” He nodded, “It is nature’s way of resetting itself.”

***

Every single leader had been subverted. Our public servants were no longer ours. Our leaders were now under the control of the aliens.

While wars between nations ceased, there was an unnatural feel to the whole process. Refugees were no longer turned back at what had been the borders of every country. Many disappeared, never to be seen again.

Those who remained fled from Europe, Asia, and Africa in search of some open coastal region in the eastern US where they could land. Some were even seeking entry to the west. And to the south.

What had been strong militaries were now reduced to small groups of resistance. Most supplied a defense for those seeking asylum as they fled. The tactic seemed effective enough, no matter how weak it seemed.

They slowly filtered into our little haven. The military collected in one area, the civilians in another.

“We’re going to have to ask the military to begin training the civilians in warfare,” I stated, mater-of-factly. “if we’re to survive this invasion. there can no longer be any civilians. Not even I can remain a civilian.”

“You’re beginning to sound like that hero-type you claimed to never be,” Billy chided smartly, “and you’re damn good at it.”