Author : Rick Tobin

Bismarck, North Dakota

Jimmy Severud prostrated his nine-year-old frame on the blooming stiff flax, undulating in cobalt waves from winds caressing North Dakota’s startling-blue spring sky. Nearby, summer whispered among meadowlark calls and cricket melodies. He imagined billowing alto cumulus clouds as pirate ships adrift from Montana, meandering above grain fields, but puffy ships violently pulled sails to become thin wisps, without warning, as rapid ribbons scooting past. Fields silenced. Jimmy twisted back in awe, gazing to a menacing three-hundred-foot misty giant hovering over the rolling prairies, consuming clouds into a semi-transparent behemoth.

Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado

“Observations are now worldwide. Thousands are being confirmed by satellite. These monsters appear without warning, craft or sound, devastating clouds. I want answers, gentlemen, and now. The President’s waiting.” The Joint Chiefs’ Chairman took no solace deep in the Rockies. Confronting threats this massive called for nuclear intervention.

“General,” Dr. Elmore Baker, climatologist, responded, “We’ve tried salting clouds with silver iodide and chem trails. No effect. They prefer cumulus, but yesterday one devoured a nimbostratus over Kansas, with tornado funnels forming. High winds and lightning had no impact. If they continue we’ll have worldwide droughts in a month.”

“What about you, Carlson? Any luck deciphering that scalar wave code? Are they communicating?” The Chairman leaned towards Dr. Carlson, Berkeley’s renowned linguist.

“General, we’ve tried every decryption code…every alphabet. There is a correlation with an ancient Iroquois dialect given to them by their tribe’s Sky Mother.”

“Yes…go on…go on,” the General interrupted, flapping his right hand at Carlson to get to the point.

“Not absolutely sure,” Carlson paused, “but we interpreted one phrase as Myrgdala thirsty.

“Thirsty? That’s it? I don’t care what they call themselves. It’s obvious they want water. Peterson, what’s DARPA got ready? Can we nuke these bastards?”

Analyst Gerard Peterson delayed, waiting for tensions to drop. “Options are limited.” He halted again to gather everyone’s attention. “Radiation won’t affect them. They don’t have enough solid substance. We have no idea what heat might do, but based on lightning stories, probably little. In fact, targeting them is not feasible. They come in and out of the atmosphere we believe through some inter-dimensional portal. They’re gone in minutes. We’d waste our arsenal. The Agency, however, does have practical options, but there may be collateral damage.”

“Peterson, the last one of your collateral risks cost us an aircraft carrier off North Korea. You better be sure this time.” Red filled the General’s neckline.

“We are already set to test the use of swarm nanobots. They can combine with tenuous matter like these gas giants. Clouds of intelligent, swarming particles will spread over them, uses the giant’s contents to reproduce, and then encase them in metallic mesh allowing us to drag them into space. We believe these beasts will perish before reaching the upper ionosphere.”

“Ready to launch, you say?”

“General, just say the word. We’re already in the Pacific, far from any land mass.”

“Do it. Do it now!”

The team monitored results on their war room screens. Rockets released swarms on a targeted giant northeast of Hawaii. In seconds, a black cloud circled and engaged the invader. Its arms and legs reflected with new mesh as the bots spread…but suddenly the metal disappeared. The casing of technology became flesh as the giants solidified. Carlson rushed to answer an emergency call from Berkeley.

“General,” Carlson shouted out. “Hundreds of them are mutating simultaneously worldwide into the new form and communicating with the scalar waves. My team has deciphered a new message. Oh, God!”

“What is it man? Speak up!”

“Our world. Hungry.”

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows