Thursday, April 18, 2013
It Came From Outer Space!!!!?! (Gritty Reboot)
It Came From OUTER SPACE!!!!?!
"You know what you have to do," the eldest said, although its words would not have translated exactly into that sentence in English, and the manner in which he spoke would have been unintelligible to anyone alive at that time who spoke English, only in part because nobody who spoke English had ever heard one of these beings speak.
Through a monitor, the unsuspecting planet swung slowly by, their target region dipping from the glow of daylight into shadow as it swung away from the glare of the sun that helped hide the starship that had yet to be detected by the primitive devices humans used to protect themselves.
"Yes," gurgled the scout, back, a guttural and gargling sound that would not have sounded charming even without the grimace the scout made.
And then it was night below, the trip dropping swiftly and silently through the night sky while below, unsuspecting, humans prepared their dinners and had their young ones do educational tasks and broadcasts of pleasing sights and sounds were sent out over electromagnetic waves, all of these comings and goings monitored by innumerable sensors aboard the ship.
They landed in a forest, not far from an extension of the human city, and instantly set out.
They were an ancient species, and could afford to take their time, but even the longest-ranged of plans sometimes required speed, and they used haste now, as the various members of their advance group each went about their business.
Two of the elite fighting force that had been sent immediately homed in on a local stream that was fed by a spring from an underground aquifer. Their job was easy, and within minutes they had send a tube down, down down into the darkest regions of the water, where carefully spliced viruses would lie dormant until heated by convection or sunlight or body heat, and would begin to multiply.
That was step one.
Step two was more complex, and the scout set out to begin that process, while other members of the team began the slightly-more time-consuming process of altering by 180 degrees the foliage. The atmosphere of the planet, with its abundance of nitrogen, was suitable for short-range excursions but the life-choking oxygen, if given a chance, would, given enough time, filter into the beings' cells and begin to calcify them, turning them gray and slowly kill them.
So the team began to alter the plants physiology, working on the nearest ones, injecting substances that would in time -- 100, 200 years, enough time for the rest of the fleet to get here -- cause the plants to emit nitrogen and carbon dioxide. This planet would be warm, and comfortingly breathable.
The scout would have to suffer for his mission. As the ship left, to stop at other locations on the planet and alter the plants there, the water there, the scout had nothing more he could do than simply watch, and then begin his hasty descent into the settlement, where he would create the third vector -- step three.
As human authorities finally noticed the disruption in their airspace and responded too slowly, he himself made his way quickly, but without fear, down to the edge of the settlement, where he would select his targets.
His job was not as easy as the others. The humans would not simply sit idly by and metabolize the other half of the genetic combination. Their immune systems, so strong but now so well-understood by the scout's people after a half-century of patient study and observation, would fight the protocol.
But every system has a hack and sometimes that hack takes time, he knew.
Sometimes it takes time and time takes trust and so he worked up his plan, and when he saw the solitary boy they had chosen, he hid himself only long enough to be noticed, made himself appear harmless, and then ate the boy's foul offerings as though he were a mere pet.
* * * * * *
* * * * * *
It had been close and it had been dangerous and in the end he had suffered more than he thought he would. He would be, he assumed, amply rewarded for the privations he had undergone, including the calcification of his body to some degree and the deprivation of company of his own kind, let alone the fact that he had almost been captured, by luck, it was true, but almost captured and almost had the tables turned on him. IT IS US WHO STUDY AND ALTER AND ULTIMATELY IMPRISON YOU, he thought as his own near-slaves now ferried him back to the rendezvous point.
The ship was done, the seedings completed, the plan irreversible. Temperatures would warm, carbon dioxide and nitrogen levels would rise, greater humidity and rainfall would make the swamps larger and the waters spread and his people would be more comfortable and have an easier time cultivating their own crops.
There was one more step to take.
He paused outside the doorway to the ship and looked back at these beings who felt themselves his equals, and reached out his appendage.
The second-smallest, the one who would serve to begin the downfall of humanity, cried stupidly. It is almost, the scout mused, as though he understands what will happen.
He knew that was not the case.
He reached out one hand, and his finger glowed slightly as the last of the mutagens were activated within the young boy. He was a walking diaspora of infectious agents that, combined with the water, would spread within a decade or two around the globe, a pandemic-becoming-epidemic-becoming-evolutionary, and when the remainder of the fleet got here, the idea of sentient human beings capable of doing anything other than docilely serving their masters would be but a distant legend.
"Be good," the scout told the human, and turned to get on the ship, waiting his turn to return and claim his rewards.
THIS HAS BEEN A GRITTY REBOOT OF: