Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

Lachlan was vacationing with his parents in the Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory of Australia when he spotted an object high in the sky that was slowly spiraling toward the ground. It took several minutes before it “landed” in a grassy field fifty meters away. The object was about a meter long, and five centimeters thick. It was bent in the middle like a boomerang. But it couldn’t be a boomerang, Lachlan thought; we’re the only people around for kilometers. Lachlan took the object back to his campsite to show to his parents. However, to his disappointment, they weren’t interested. His mother told him to get rid of it and wash his hands for supper. Instead, he hid the object in their tent. After supper, the family took a ten kilometer hike along the Katherine Gorge. When they returned, the exhausted Lachlan collapsed onto his cot and was sound asleep in less than a minute.

During the night, the tip of the boomerang-like object peeled open, and a slender twenty-centimeter long wasp-like creature crawled out. It was solid black, except for two large ruby-red eyes. But its eyes were not the compound eyes of an Earth insect. They were slotted, single-aperture eyes, like a reptile’s. The bioengineered creature was called a Guepe. It had been created by the Apocritian civilization from the planet Orion-IV. Approximately ten thousand Guepe had been systematically released over every land surface on Earth using aerodynamic pods designed to land softly. Their mission: To exterminate all of Earth’s large animals, as Phase I of the Apocritian Colonization Program.

The Guepe blinked rapidly as it surveyed its surroundings. Then, beating its oversized wings, it slowly lifted itself from the ground and flew over to the boy’s cot. In the cramped confines of the tent, the massive Guepe sounded like a distant propeller driven airplane. Although the three humans stirred, none of them woke up. After landing, the Guepe secreted a small amount of mild painkiller onto Lachlan’s upper leg, and then injected a paralyzing agent. The boy’s body went limp. Using its hollow “stinger,” the Guepe deposited twenty eggs into the boy’s thigh. It then flew over to the adults to repeat the process. It deposited fifty eggs into the mother, and seventy eggs into the father. With its first task complete, the Guepe flew out the open window, and landed on the apex of the tent. Off in the distance, it spotted several kangaroos. It took off in pursuit of the nearest one.

The heat and moisture in Lachlan’s body began incubating the eggs. They all hatched within a few hours. Almost instantly, the newly emerged larvae began gorging themselves on the living tissue of their paralyzed host. The carnivorous parasites ate continuously for several days; consuming everything but their host’s skin. The pupae then crusted over to begin their metamorphosis into adult Guepe. Two weeks later, fully formed Guepe chewed their way through the skin covered human skeletons. The Guepe were parthenogenetic; they didn’t need to find a mate, they only needed to find hosts for their eggs. Like a fleet of tiny helicopters ascending in formation, the Guepe rose above the shriveled carcasses and flew out of the window. This cycle would repeat itself, over and over again, for months. Within one year, every animal on Earth larger than a rat would be dead. Soon after, all the Guepe would die of starvation. When it was deemed safe, the Apocritian Planetary Engineering Team would arrive to begin Phase II.

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