Author : Daniel M. Bensen

Flaming debris rained over Warsaw.

“We got another one,” Specialist first rank Donaldson sat back in his chair and sighed happily at the red fireball against the blue sky. “Its over non-US territory, but we shot it before the Russians, so we’ll get first dibs on the goodies.”

“If the Russians play fair,” said Specialist Fourth Rank Nuñoz, “which they won’t.”

“Then we just need to beat them to the debris site.” Even now, priceless high tech junk would be cracking windows, splashing into rivers, pocking farmyard dirt. “Wheeg, get the Nationals on the horn.”

Wheeg, the translator gave a thumbs-up. She was already talking rapid-fire Polish into the telepathy sticker on the back of her hand. One of the first alien devices to find military application.

“Well that’s it then,” Donaldson said. “Nuñoz, break out the champagne. We get the rest of the day off, and then we’re back to watching the skies tomorrow.”

Nuñoz placed a fluted glass in Donaldson’s hand. “Cheers, sir.”

“Cheers.” Donaldson squeezed and the glass immediately frosted. Formerly tepid Brut sparkled.

“What’s that look?” Donaldson said, “Something wrong?”

“Nothing sir. It just feels” Nuñoz sipped from his self-cooling glass. “Bad?”

“Bad how? The aliens don’t respond to our communications. They don’t move or slow down. If one of those ships of theirs hits the earth, it would be a catastrophe worse than the one that killed the dinosaurs. And that’s assuming they don’t start vomiting alien death-soldiers. Even if they were the friendliest little green men in the universe, their diseases might still bring about the end of human civilization. This,” Donaldson passed a hand through the virtual workstation floating in the air in front of him, “is much safer.”

“For us, maybe.”

“Who else should we be worried about? Tell you what.” Donaldson downed his drink. “Next time you hit one, I’ll get you out on the ground searching for goodies that come out.”


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