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 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.”

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.”

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.