They came out of no where and attacked every major city on the planet in the most sophisticated coordinated strike in human history. No corner of the planet was spared; from the European Union, across the American Empire to the Asian Alliance and down the Africa United Republic States were conquered with incredible ease.
It was the year 2452, a hundred years after the worst war and plague man had ever seen. They were the gal'karr, a race of blood-thirsty warriors determined to conquer the known universe. Population fell from four and a half billion down to a few hundred thousand in a matter of seconds. And of the few survivors, only a fraction managed to escape and set up makeshift armies, scattered throughout the wasteland the planet had been turned into. For over a century, humans fought back, planning skirmishes against the invaders; there were more loses than wins and the last free humans knew the end was near...
- Taylor -
Admittedly, at least some of the anger was directed at me, not that I gave a flying fuck (oh, watch it float away) ’cause I didn’t give two shits about the feelings of backstabbing asshats. On top of that, they were useless; a drain on our society – except the Ministry of Education. His position actually had responsibilities. The fuck good was a Ministry of State when states no longer existed?
Before they were gone, I pushed past them and to see Lita and Merrick, the only ministry either of us could trust, were huddled together at the far corner. His back to me, he stood between us, as if he could protect her if I ever actually tried to hurt her. I could’ve been offended by such a lack of trust but when it came to protecting her, I would never take it personally.
“Relax, Mer, I’m not her to hurt her. Physically, at least. There’ll be some yelling, screaming, maybe a tantrum but all her limbs shall remain intact.” Turns out, he wasn’t feeling the sarcasm even though Lita had to hold back that snort.
“It’s alright, Merrick.” She squeezed his arm and his entire demeanor changed; his expression softened and he looked like a harmless kid again – just like the rest of us. “I’ve been expecting him though I’m surprised it took so long.” That impish grinalmost calmed me.
Her talent for easing tension and attitudes was amazing; it could even make me reel it in when I was at my meanest. But not today. Not ever when Lexi was involved.
“Had to work off the worst of my aggression first. Didn’t wanna chance an assassination.”
“I know.” She stepped out from behind her makeshift bodyguard looking all guilty and shit as she eyed Cory and Toby, who I was sure were nervous as fuck in the doorway. “Close the doors and let no one enter without my express permission.”
I turned and glanced at them, curious how they’d respond to locking her in here with me. Instead of arguing, they just looked relieved as they did as ordered. I made a mental not to apologize for the psychological head fuck I’d given them after dealing with more pressing issues.
“So,” I said once it was just the three of us, “what in the high fuck were you thinking sending Lexi out there on one of the most incredibly dangerous missions ever?”
“I was thinking that it was an acceptable risk.” She was getting good at the whole regal thing and not that “sit on the throne while everyone else does all the real work” kind either. No, she was old school, way old school when it came to leading. If not for the constitutional restrictions keeping her off the battlefield, she’d have been leading troops from the time she could pick up a weapon. “They came to me, risk assessment in hand, and after careful deliberation, I approved their plan.” She was also calm, collected and always logical. Some might have seen her as cold and calculating but that’s only because she could keep the rest underneath the surface.
“With him? I, on the other hand, was maelstrom of all the worst, hottest emotions and the basic instinct to protect my own. Also, I could worry like long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs when it came to my baby brother. After all, I was my job to keep him safe. My responsibility. “He’s only thirteen years old.”
“As were you on your first mission.”
“Look, if I didn’t send him how would that’ve looked? Think of how staying here while his squad mates risked their lives would do to him and his reputation? We’re all soldiers, whether we like it or not. We all fight or we all die.”
“At least he’d be safe.”
“Today, maybe. But tomorrow, who knows? By tomorrow, those alien cunts could find us and wipe us out. Pretty soon, terrans will go from endangered to fucking extinct and we need to do everything we can if we plan to stop that from happening even if that means…”
Toby and Cory had finally given up on stopping me but they still didn’t appreciate me pounding on the door and screaming (albeit creative) uses of the word fuck as loud as my high tenor voice could go. But after I had annoyed them enough (a rather useful talent to have if you ask me), the doors swung open and a line of grumpy ministrys filed out who, upon seeing me, showed the borderline rage they held inside while in the company of Her Highness.
- Lita -
“…risking the lives of people not even old enough to shave.”
“Taylor,” his voice was so sad, so small as he finished the sentence I was tired of saying, “ninety percent of the population has never picked up a razor, at least not for that. We have no choice but to give children camo and guns if we have any chance of winning this unwinnable war.” Fuck, did I hate doing this. Taylor was right, for fuck’s sake; Lexi should’ve been with us, safe from an alien aggressor with a penchant for carving us up. I’d much rather have him and all the kids outside having fun, causing mischief, maybe even some light property damage instead of outside carrying live ammo, dodging pulse rifle fire and trying really fucking hard not to end up dead.
“I know. I fucking hate this shit, but I know.” He’d be good and angry for a while but at least he could admit he understood, no matter how hard he mashed his teeth while saying it. “It’s just, he all I got left. I mean, he’s…”
I knew what he was trying to say; we’ve all tried to put the painful truth into words. But saying them scared the shit out of us in ways the gal’karr could never understand. We all knew that if we ever allowed ourselves to finish the thought it would be like losing was an option. And being wiped out from existence was never a fucking option.
“He’ll return. He was trained by the best.”
“I hope so…”
- Alexis -
Being stripped naked and strung up sounds a lot more fun in theory (and fantasies) but in practice, no fucking way would I ever willingly end up that way. Not that the seven foot tall lizard thing with sideways eyelids (freaky as shit, man) and big, curved canines that reached to his chin that stood just outside my cell door gave two shits about my consent or my constant “oh that fucking hurts” and “no, nothing goes there” cries of pain and endless “please let me down and give me pants” begging. No, I was just a prisoner, and by prisoner I mean “enemy plaything with knowledge we will extract with enhanced interrogation.”
That phrase scared the piss out of me. I didn’t know what they considered “enhanced interrogation” but I knew what it meant to us terrans. I didn’t want to imagine how intense their version of “torture but not really” was considering how insanely high a gal’karr’s pain threshold was.
I might’ve peed a little. Okay, a lot. Least I didn’t have pants to piss.
I’d quickly discovered that part of their technique was stripping away everything they believe make a captive who they are which means, as my freezing bum could attest to, clothing. Or maybe dignity. Who knows? In the rare moments I wasn’t obsessing on my very possible eminent death, I wondered how they measure self worth and the like. Did they feel only visible things defined you?
Then I remembered the studded leather straps wrapped around my forearms that kept me hoisted up like a piece of meat and knew it didn’t matter. I could try to understand them, their methods and ideologies but that wouldn’t stop them; sometimes, I didn’t think anything could. And during that rather painful, oh, five hour or so stretch, that sometimes became all times. And that, in turn, caused me to fear what they were going to do to me, the naked boy just hanging out in a dungy, though surprisingly clean, dungeon. And I wondered that. Out loud. Huge mistake, ’cause they were more than happy to demonstrate.
Fuck me. Almost literally.
- TO BE CONTINUED -