Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer

Remote data entry: 17-10-94:00:21:12 – Origin: Earth 50.825024, -0.383835.

There’s a crater in the ceiling and blood on the floor. It forms a crimson ring around the leg sheaths and pelvic girdle assembly that used to contain Chris. As for Chris, well, that’s anybody’s guess. But, given the wisps of smoke rising from the bowl of the assembly, I don’t think he enjoyed his last moments as an agent of our overlords.

I don’t know what happened to him out there, but he came in with their first wave as an ‘ambassador for peaceful integration’. The Chris I knew was gone, replaced by the half-man, half machine that presumed I’d accept the him/it without a fuss.

Chris and I had had an intensely physical relationship. This new Chris couldn’t partake but revealed voyeuristic needs that I wasn’t up for. Chris took to working extended hours in the spaceport ring. Where knocking shops and streetwalkers were plentiful. He didn’t realise that after whatever strange release he needed, his pupils would glow for a few hours.

The newsfeeds were heavily censored, but our overlords were ignorant of the depths of the ‘net. News got out. The overlords were heavy handed, relying on total eradication of witnesses or ‘terrorist bombings’ when dealing with any opposition.

The day I saw Chris on a video feed, choking the life out of a protester who could have been me, I became a resistance member. Not that there were clandestine meetings or anything like that. I just took what I did best – chemistry and biology – and applied it to the problem of the ambassadors.

Our overlords still hadn’t arrived – some reports said they were desperately fighting off our forces out the back of beyond and had sent the ambassadors as part of an attempt to relieve the pressure on them. So, we had to quickly deal with these things ourselves.

I spent a couple of weeks collating whatever dietary and environmental information I could, then started experimenting on my resident guinea pig. Three weeks later, I have a smoking pelvis in my kitchen. The clue was Chris’ sudden aversion to salt and vinegar crisps, something he had formerly loved: he’d been a bag a day devotee and hated being posted to countries where crisps were called ‘chips’ – he said they couldn’t get the flavour right.

Sodium acetate is the primary ingredient in the flavour of salt and vinegar crisps. It had been easy to obtain, but supplies had dwindled. I suspected I knew why, and my third test – with baking soda in the sugar and a 100-grain vinegar base for the salad dressing – blew Ambassador Chris apart. I wish I knew the exact reasons, but the disintegration of the torso has removed any autopsy options.

Fight on, folks. Earth has got the measure of this infestation now. We’ll be clean and clear by the time you return victorious.