Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Staff Writer
It didn’t bother me at first. Killing them I mean. They had come to our home world with plans of conquest. I can’t even dignify what happened by calling it a war. They claim we fired first, which was true, but nobody asked them to just zip into our atmosphere without knocking first. Besides, you’d have thought that the orbiting mines of the PLeiaDeS, the Planetary Defence Satellites, would have made them change their minds.
They were like hydras. Strike one down; two more appeared in their place. They were relentless, always moving, never slowing, always onward, crusading. Spreading like a great plague.
We are pacifists my family, but even my sainted grandmother hugged me the day I took my oath and joined the Corps. She told me to “be good” and to “kill every last one of the bastards.”
I’ll never forget my first combat drop. I nearly shit my pants when I leaned out the open hatch and saw them below us. It was impossible to make out individuals, there were so many. It was as if their army was just a vast undulating sea. With no more individuality than a drop of water.
If I was scared then, it more than doubled when we hit the deck and engaged. I unslung my rifle and laid into them with a green ribbon of plasma. Still they came.
We were confused by their intentions at first. They were unarmed, so we were hesitant to fire at first, but we soon learned that they had weapons far more devastating than our mere blasters and pulse cannons.
They could enter our minds.
It was one thing to fire into the faceless hoard, vaporizing them in mid stride. It was altogether something different when the faces became friends, family… my wife. The bastards got to her too, and I was the one who had to reduce my own beautiful bride to an unrecognizable lump of charred meat. Later things got so bad; I would have eaten that burnt flesh. I vomited until I passed out.
I was miserable for days, but had to push on. We had the weaponry, but they had ever growing numbers as more and more of our people were overcome by their sinister power. One year flowed into two. We no longer fought their onslaught; we fought to stave off the inevitable. The mindless smiling faces of the ones whom we loved. We mowed them down, believing that in death they escaped a living horror. Towards the end we resorted to singularity Turing devices. Too little too late.
It became a war of attrition. Our men abandoning their posts, some took their own lives; the worst fate was to become one of them. A mindless grinning drone.
Finally they found me. Hiding like a coward in the basement of an abandoned farmhouse shitting myself in fear. I knew there was no way out. I stuck the muzzle of my blaster against my chest. There was a faint whine and a whiff of singed hair. The power cell was totally drained.
I curled up in a tight ball, expecting a rain of cruel merciless blows. Instead, I felt gentle hands pulling me to my feet. They talked to me, they talked and they talked. They took me back to their ship. They cleaned me up. They fed me. They weren’t so bad after all.
After spending time with them I now understand what they want. I understand.
“I’m sorry to wake you… Would you like to buy a copy of The Watchtower?”