- Action Adventure
- Science Fiction
Milton watched as his lover stood toe to toe with the giant spherical virtual being, deep in intense discussion. Brakish in his rumpled lab coat and hospital slippers, the sleek, white sphere floating in ethereal blue light.
They’d all run outside minutes before to see the landing of the larger ship being escorted in by the space tug, the video of it happening hadn’t even begun to do the sight justice.
Talking with the higher being was even more of a trip, despite some of the more condescending language she exhibited. The level of technology she…. It? Did they even have a gender? He’d go with they/them just to be safe. Anyway, the level of technology they held was mind boggling and their willingness to share that tech with the peoples of earth even more so.
He glanced over at Director Levinson and his cadre of alien experts. They’d all been introduced briefly, barely a nod shared between them because time was of the utmost essence. The larger, more terrifying alien ship was less than two hours away and the science told a grimmer story the more they’d been able to cobble together.
Milton felt a burning in his chest and quickly shook out some TUMS chewables from the bottle his coat pocket. He’d already gone passed his limit on caffeine and was suffering for it now. That and the stress of the earth being on the verge of destruction once again was making his acid reflux act up. He made a face and pressed the heel of his hand against his sternum, glancing back at his tablet as ream and reams of information flowed across the screen.
“No No No No!” a voice rang out in the already noisy room. Brakish was waving his hand and shaking his head. He looked so distressed that Milton had taken a few steps forward before he even registered his own actions.
Okun’s silver hair was whipping around his shoulders as he tried to talk to both Levinson and Ally at the same time. “That ship cannot land on this planet. That must not happen under any circumstances. This is important.”
Milton put a comforting hand on the agitated man’s arm. “Brakish, we don’t know what you are talking and we won’t until you calm down and explain it to us.”
The other man stopped and took a deep breath, placing his own hand over Milton’s and gripping tight.
“We all know now that the goal of the first invasion was to harvest resources, including our molten core. The mother ship stayed in orbit and sent down smaller harvester ships and those city destroyers that devastated the population. But as awful as they were, they have nothing on the ship that’s coming our way.”
He gestured to the sphere. “According to Ally, A Harvester Queen ship doesn’t send out smaller ships, they attach themselves to the planet and activate a massive drilling laser instead. We cannot let that happen.”
“Why not, Doctor Okun?” President Lanford’s voice came over the overhead speaker, her concerned face on one of the viewing screens. General Adams was also on the screen connected to the main command centre.
Brakish wrung his hands in a helpless gesture. “A ship that massive would have a gravitational field almost as strong as our moon. Which is relatively weak if it stays far way but it’s a different story if say, the moon tried to land on the planet.”
He pointed to the screen showing the approaching ship, running a hand through his silver hair.
“If that monster makes landfall, that thing is going to latch onto the planet like one of those claw machines at a carnival. The speed at which it approaches as well as the force with which it hits us is going to squeeze us into the shape of an egg. It will ring his planet like a gong and more than half the planet’s crust will mostly likely liquefy into mush. Mostly likely more than 80% of the earth’s population will die in the resulting mega earthquakes, tidal waves and subsequent volcano eruptions.”
The shocked silence that followed was deafening until David gave a soft, hysterical sound.
“Fuck. Me. Sideways.” He sat heavily on his chair and placed his head between his knees, taking deep breaths as he pushed his nausea down.
Milton reached over with a shaking hand and lased his fingers through his lover’s, swallowing the burning in his throat when Brakish squeezed back just as tightly. Suddenly, a familiar voice rang out from the doorway.
“Well, then. We’re just going to have to take the fight to them.”
Thomas Whitmore stepped into the room, cane in one hand and a leash to the most adorable little dog Milton had ever seen. Patricia Whitmore stood at his side, face stern as she quickly scanned information on her own tablet.
“Thomas.” David stood and strode over to the former President to shake his hand. “It’s good to see you old friend.”
Whitmore hooked his cane over his forearm and shook David’s hand just as gladly, staring in amazement at the sphere. “Good to be here. What can I do to help?”
David grinned, looking back to his little clutch of experts. “I got your info packet with your drawings. I have some people that you are going to want to meet.”
“With all due respect, Councilman. Fighting against this harvester is like fighting a 900 pound black bear with a revolver. It you don’t strike quickly and accurately, you’re probably going to die a very horrible death. We don’t have time to do the political back and forth right now. The Harvester ship is minutes approaching firing range for the Lunar Laser Array and the best plan we have relies on this precision fire so can I please get to explaining so that we can all be on the same page before our satellites inevitably fail?”
David threw up a series of images on the screen, glancing up at the Russian representative over the rim of his glasses. The man in question shrunk back in his seat and nodded stiffly.
“Thank you. Okay ladies and gentlemen, this is going to be the quick and dirty version of the Hail Mary plan to save our planet. I hope that you are buckled up tight because this is there is no time to waste.”
President Lanford spoke up before anyone else could voice their objections. “What exactly is it going to take to save us all, David?”
The man nodded and looked at the assembly of world leaders.
“We’re going to go in with a quick one-two punch and finish the bitch off with a blitz and for that we are going to need the Orbital Defense System.”
The British councilor frowned and sat forward.
“Why do I get the feeling that we are not going to be too happy with this plan?”
“You definitely won’t like it.” David shrugged. “The alien ship Ally has given is a software patch that will give the collective system a 300% boost in power which is enough to punch through their shields and damage the ship’s main drill. That should stop the ship from trying to land on the planet. Or at least delay them until we can destroy it or drive them away.”
“What’s to stop them from attacking us anyway?” the Chinese Rep asked curiously, tapping her chin with her pen.” I assume that firing with the over powered lasers will end up destroying them a’’ completely. The planet would be left defenseless.”
“And what about this supposed Ally? How do we know that it wasn’t just some scout sent ahead to sabotage us?” The Russian Rep had gotten his wind back.
“Well…“ David drew out the word into several syllables, “Considering Ally had provided us with not only a complete set of blueprints for the ship and complete specs for the drill and the alien offensive technology, there is also that fact that that very ship probably the only reason the Harvester hasn’t just incinerated everything on the planet’s surface and sucked up the core through a straw at its own leisure.”
China dropped her pen. “I don’t understand.”
“They want the ship.” David replied baldly. “They want it bad enough to follow it all the way out to the back waters of space. Which is where we are relative to the rest of the universe. The invasion that came before? Those were just nomadic colony pods, transient and self-sustaining. They would harvest anything in their path and we just happened to fit the bill.”
He gestured at the massive ship approaching the planet. “This big bertha is a different animal altogether. Ships that big target planetary giants, even small stars. We’re barely a snack to them. Our core is basically a side quest. Their real goal is capture Ally. Earth is, sad to say, just collateral.”
“Well, to the devil with that I say.” The pale British Councilman cleared his throat roughly. “I say we give this Hail Mary plan everything we’ve got.”
“Agreed. The Asian Pan Pacific is behind you, Doctor Levinson.”
“да. и мы тоже” The Russian Rep nodded. “United we will stand.”
One by one the Earth Security Council gave their approval.
“You have a go, David.” President Lanford finally leaned forward, a vicious looking smirk on her face. “Give’em hell.”
“Will do. Madam President.” David smiled coldly in return. “Will do.”
“So… We use the lunar array and the Orbital Defense System to breakthrough their defenses. Damage the main laser. Then we…. Infiltrate the harvester and destroy it from inside?” Dylan frowned at the screen before him before looking up at General Adams. “Do I even want to know the odds that this plan will work?”
“It’s go big or go home time.” Adams shook his head. “A real Hail Mary.”
Dylan exhaled sharply. “And just how are we going to get a squadron of drones and jets past their defenses. Even without shields they aliens have fighter jets of their own. It’s going to be a dog fight up there.”
“That’s why you’ll be going in cloaked.” Patricia stepped up next to him and placed her tablet unto the smart table, pulling some schematics from her out unto the slick glass surface with a flick of her fingers.
“Cloaked as in Romulan Bird of Prey cloaked?” Dylan gaped at her. “That’s an actual thing?”
She grinned, “It is now. Ally provided us with schematics. They’re going to be thrown together and ugly as fuck but once we attach it to all the jets, you will be almost invisible to their scanners.”
Adams raised a brow. “Almost?”
She shrugged. “It’s not perfect but it will get you close enough to see the mirrors of their eyes before they realize that you’re there. Hell of an advantage if you ask me.”
Dylan nodded. “How many of the ships can you get fitted before wheels up?”
Patricia pursed her lips. “All of Legacy squad and at least a dozen of the unmanned drones. Everything else will be cannon fodder to distract the enemy.”
“Good. Get it done.” Adams nodded and both Dylan and Patricia gave quick sharp salutes before hurrying out.
Out in the hall way, Dylan pulled Patricia into a brief, tight hug.
“Jesus. I’ve been trying to call you and mom for hours.” He mumbled into her shoulder. She grabbed him back just as tight.
”You’re not the only one. I’ve been out of my mind with worry. I sent Matthew to get your mom. He should be at the hospital any minute now.” She rushed out in one breath.
He made a broken noise against the thick material of her jacket, turning to press a kiss to her temple.
“You’re a goddess. I was just about set to steal a jet and head over there, mission be damned. Fuck. You talk to her?”
“Briefly.” She shook her head, pressing her face into his neck. “David told me that Aunt Connie is in the Japanese Bunker but no one can seem to find Zaydeh Julius.”
A throat cleared nearby. “Uh… am I interrupting something?”
They pulled apart, both of them turning toward a frowning Jake Morrison.
Dylan quickly wiped the moisture from his eyes and shared a loaded glance with Patricia before shaking his head.
“No Lieutenant. We were just touching base. We have mission debrief in fifteen in the main hanger. All pilots are required to attend.”
He gave one last look at Patricia before striding off down the hall. Jake looked after him for a few terse seconds before turning toward the brunette.
“Looks like the only base he was interested in touching was third.”
“Don’t be a jackass.” Patricia rolled her eyes, her lip curling as she grabbed a hold of his jacket. “We have less than a half hour until we find out if the world will end or not. I don’t want to spend it arguing with you. We need to get cock in vagina asap. Are we clear soldier?”
Jake blinked at her dumbly before snapping out of his stupor. He grinned, his blue eyes bright as he grabbed her hand, pilling her towards the nearest private room.
“Yes, Ma’am. Clear as crystal.”
Washington DC VA Hospital
Matthew huffed in frustration as he helped load another patient into a waiting ambulance. He’d been in the hospital for over an hour now and still Dr. Dubrow-Hiller refused to leave.
She’d flat out refused to go with him when he’d first arrived, stating that she would not be leaving any patient behind, come hell or high water. He’d bitten his tongue at her stubbornness but had bitten the bullet and lent his hand to the task.
They were almost fully evacuated thank god and he glanced at his watch once again. He decided that it was time to find her again and started down the chaotic hallway.
He found her helping get the last of the surgery patients through post-op, getting the young girl bundled up and ready for emergency transport. He was once again grateful for the small footprint of the cloud hopper as he’d been able to perch it in a napkin sized space on the hospital’s roof, leaving the two helipads free for the larger emergency helicopters.
“Doctor Dubrow-Hiller.” He called softly and tapped at his watch as she looked over. “It’s time to go. We can’t wait any longer.”
“Jasmine?” The surgeon who’d been hastily stripping off his bloody gear stilled and turned towards them. “You’re not going to the shelters?”
“Noah,” Jasmine bit her lip. “Matthew is here to take me to Area 51. Dylan is there.”
“The Whitmores sent me.” Matthew clarified as he stepped closer. “The hospital is almost completely cleared. It’s time to get you out of here Ma’am.”
He watched as they both traded heavy looks. Shit. He knew what that meant. “It’s a two seater ma’am.”
Dr. Noah McClelland took Jasmine’s hands in his. “It’s alright. I’m going to head to the shelters anyway. Whatever happens now, they are going to need doctors to help. You go. Be with your son. Help those who are fighting to protect our planet.”
He took her face in his freshly scrubbed hands and kissed her. She reached up to clutch at his arms, one hand reaching up to run her fingers through his salt and pepper hair.
“You’re amazing.” She whispered against his lips. “Stay safe you hear. I promised my son that he’d get to meet my doctor salt and pepper hottie. Don’t make me break my promise.”
“I’ll try my best. I know that you are a woman of your word.” He huffed a laugh and kissed her again before stepping away carefully. He looked over to Matthew with a serious look in his eyes. “Take care of her.”
Matthew nodded, solemnly in return. “With my life Sir.”
“Good.” McClallen nodded, looking to jasmine. “Now get out of here.”
Jasmine wiped away the tears from her eyes. “Noah…”
The man pulled her in for one last hug and a hard and desperate press of the lips before pushing her towards the other man.
“Go. Now.” He took a deep breath and gave a shaky smile. “After this is all over, I’ll take you to Donatello’s like I’ve been saying. You’ll love it. I promise.”
“I’ll hold you to that.” Jasmine swallowed heavily. “Good Bye Noah.”
“Soraidh slàn a thoirt dhomh,” he said softly in Scots Gaelic as they hurried away toward the roof access, smiling as she turned back to look at him one last time, her eyes shiny with unshed tears. “… gus an coinnich sinn a-rithist.” [Farewell my Darling, until we meet again.]
Patricia strode down the hallway, smiling and relaxed as she always felt after good sex. She and Jake had pushed the limit of the time they’d had and he was currently sprinting to the main hanger for the mission briefing.
She was smiling to herself, still thrumming with that good ache that came with a proper fucking, when a voice came over the overhead, calling her to the prison wing.
She took off running through the halls, her heart racing as she knew that her father was involved in some way. Fear clogged her throat as her breath went ragged.
She skidded into the prisoner access room, her eyes widening as she took in the tableau. Her father lay dazed in General Addams arms as David and Dikembe Utumbu stood over a decapitated alien prisoner.
“What the hell happened?” she demanded of the room as she quickly knelt at her father’s side. The answer came from the young woman standing hear the door. Umbutu’s niece.
“Your father tried to override the containment unit in order to interrogate one of the prisoners. He apparently tried to communicate with it through touch, perhaps seeking to connect with its hive mind like he did so many years ago. But it seems that he underestimated how vulnerable the enemy can be after having been detained for so long out of their protective exoskeletons.”
Patricia blinked at her concise reply, nodding her thanks before turning to Adams. “Did he link with it?”
“It was too weak to speak.” He shook his head. “When it realized that it couldn’t use him as a meat puppet, it tried to kill him instead.”
“He took its head before it could succeed.” He nodded to the African warlord. “Thank you for that by the way.”
Dikembe returned the nod gravely. “They are especially weak when out of their armor.”
“Thank God we thought to pluck them all out of those things years ago.” David stood, starching out his back. “Can you imagine thousands of those things in the prison below us, fully armored and ready to reunite with their distant cousins?”
He shared a startled look with General Adams, who looked just as alarmed.
“Shit.” The soldier grunted. “
David nodded. “Yeah. Exactly.”
Adams strode from the room, calling over his shoulder. “On it”
Patricia stepped back reluctantly as the Medics rushed in. She looked to David. “Care to share with the rest of the class?”
“We were concentrating on the army above us that we forgot about the army below us. Even though we’ve removed and destroyed all the exoskeletons, leaving the aliens vulnerable, there are still thousands of them being held in sub levels.”
He rubbed at his chin in thought. “We can’t be too sure if they can still connect with the hive mind in their weakened state but we can’t afford to take that chance. We’re going to activate the emergency prisoner sedation. That should knock them all out for s few hours at least. Enough time for us to either lose or win this thing.”
He turned to the others. “God can you imagine, having to fight from outside and within?”
Dikembe nodded solemnly while Dembe made a face and rubbed her bald head. “That would not have been good.”
Patricia agreed, waving goodbye as she followed the medics as they wheeled the gurney from the room. Her father looked so pale and still on the bed and as she watched them roll him along, her fear subsided and her anger grew.
What the fuck had he been thinking?
What the actual, ever loving fuck?’
She wanted to scream at him. Rail at him. She wanted to ask him if that ‘Me and You, Together’ was just bullshit. Trying to connect with the alien hive mind. What the fucking fuck?
Not only did he recklessly endanger his own life, he could have compromised the mission if that alien had been able to glean details from his head and pass them along to others.
God, she was so fucking pissed.
It was one thing to make a sacrifice of your life but only when it would be actual for something worthwhile. Like saving the goddamn planet. Not so that he could take a foolish risk on a chance that something that worked twenty fucking years ago would work today.
Christ on a cracker.
She watched in mute rage as the medics hooked him up to an IV and heart monitor, declaring him to be in a natural rest. She thanked them softly as they left and pulled her chair closer to the bed, taking his hand and pressing her lips to the back of it.
“I am so fucking mad at you.” She murmured against his skin. “If I didn’t love you so much I’d kick your fucking ass all the way to Virginia and back.”
“I thought I taught you to respect your elders.” Thomas’ voice was raspy and raw from where the alien had choked him around the neck. “The bible does say honour thy father.”
“Was there a caveat saying honour thy father unless he was being a big stupid idiot?” Patricia scoffed but didn’t let go of his hand. “Because that needs to be a thing.”
“Munchkin, I…” Thomas began but she glared hotly up at him, her eyes dark with fury. All his words dried up in his mouth and he could only look on as she slowly stood.
“No. Don’t you try that patronizing bullshit with me old man.” She growled. “I am not that little girl anymore. Especially when you promised to be honest with me and I promised not to treat you like a child. We had an agreement. Me and you. Together. And then as soon as my back is turned you run off and try to throw away your life on some kind of half baked scheme?”
Thomas shook his head but she kept talking.
“Yes. Half baked. If you’d come to anyone of us. David, General Adams, Dr. Issacs, hell, even me. We could have told you about the new containment protocols. We could have worked out the feasibility. We could have even worked a way for it to be done under controlled conditions.”
She started to pace.
“But no… you just had to go and try to mind meld with an alien to get some kind of what? Intel? Insight? Understanding? Did it ever occur to you that while you were trying to dig into that alien’s brain, that it was trying to dig into yours. The sharing goes both ways you know. You could have compromised the mission before it even started.”
She stopped in the middle of the room to talk a few calming breaths, trying to quench the fiery furnace of anger burning its way up her chest.
She turned her head and gave him a pained look.
“Is it that you want to kill yourself? Is that it?”
“No! Never” he surged up angrily, his EKG wire pulling off and sending the machine into a shrilly tantrum. “How could you even think that?”
She stared back at him unfazed as the doctors rushed in to see what the matter was. She waited in silence until they’d settled him back on the bed and reattached his heart monitor, warning him sternly not to tear it off again. He ignored them for the most part, only nodding enough for them to be satisfied and leave. He held his daughter’s gaze steadily.
“Do you really think that of me?” he sounded gutted and she closed her eyes, her heart twisting at the broken sound of his voice. She blinked away the sting of tears as the fury left her, leaving exhaustion in its wake.
“This morning I would have said no.” she opened her eyes and met his watery gaze. “Despite everything that happened, despite all the pain and the illness and the nightmares. I would have said that you were a fighter.”
She felt a tear run down her cheek but didn’t bother to wipe it away because two more followed right after.
“But now… after this? I don’t know what to think.”
Thomas took a shaky breath “I didn’t think…”
“No. You didn’t think.” Patricia shook her head, “You didn’t think about me. About the mission. About anyone else. You were ready to lose everything on the slightest chance. You were willing to leave me for…”
She broke, turning away as she began to cry.
“Oh God Honey, I’m so sorry.”
Her father sounded wrecked and she made herself turn around to face him. He looked so small and sunken in on that hospital bed and even if the world was going to end in the next few hours, she couldn’t stand the thought of losing him. They were all each other had.
“I can’t do this without you daddy.” She came up to the bed, wiping her tears and snot away with her shirtsleeve. “Please don’t leave me here so easily.”
Thomas opened his arms, crying in earnest as she tucked herself against him. “I’m sorry sweetie. Please forgive me. Please please forgive this stupid old man.”
She twisted so that she could look in his eyes, the both of them a mess of puffy skin and reddened eyes.
“I won’t make you promise. You’re a big damn hero and you won’t hesitate to make the sacrifice play. But please, talk to me. Tell me. Even if I don’t understand. Even if I fight against it. I’d rather know it going in than finding out after you’re gone. It’s me and you. Together ok?”
He nodded, pulling her back against him and burying his face in her brunette hair. “Okay, Honey. No more lies. It’s me and you. Till the end.”
“I love you daddy.” She murmured against him.
“I love you too Munchkin” He kissed the crown of her head gently and closed his eyes, trying to burn this tender moment into his memory. “I love you too.”
Dr. Noah McClellen aka Dr. Salt and Pepper Hottie