The Harvesters -- Chapter Eight: Test Subject 108, Part 2

(An alien invasion story)

by Zapped!

   Synopsis:  In their continuing search efforts for a human hybrid, alien invaders carryout a well-planned strike on a local high school.

Author’s notes:
* First and foremost: this chapter was inspired by the opening scene in the “Abduction” episode from the newer Outer Limits series. It can be found here:
* I will forever be in debt to Thrilby Else’s “Golden” which continues to be one of my favorite MC reads. The use of the school’s P.A. system for induction purposes is certainly a nod to his story.
* This chapter of the ‘Harvesters’ story is told in three separate parts to express an alternate point of view, as well as the time lapse in between scenes.

You can read Chapter 1 here, Chapter 2 here, Chapter 3 here, Chapter 4 here, Chapter 5 here, Chapter 6 here, Chapter 7 Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Chapter 8 Part 1 here.]

   Four thrusters extend from the flanks of an alien ship; they sporadically flare as the craft carefully maneuvers itself towards the ground. Four landing struts unsheathe from the ships massive underbelly; they slowly extend toward the earth, signaling the battalion of shock troopers inside. The brave soldiers rush forward, quickly forming columns at the edge of the loading ramp. They stand three across and ten deep; their stasis blasters held firmly against their chests and with extra power packs secured within the utility belts around their waists. These intergalactic warriors are hardly intimidating, with their form-fitting catsuits and snug coveralls, yet they can be a formidable a force as any...

Lower visors

…Thirty troopers immediately react to the femininely soft whisper within their heads. Like robots on an assembly line, they reach up to their bullet shaped helmets and lower the black visors. This highly advanced safety wear will not only protect the soldiers from succumbing to their own weaponry, but will also provide a first-hand view of the battle as it unfolds, with each screen providing a “live feed” to the command center that’s hovering hundreds of miles above the earth.

Prepare to land

…The troops react to the velvety voice once again, bracing their legs as the landing struts meet the earth. A clasp unlatches and there’s a hydraulic moan, as a grated loading ramp slowly lowers itself to the ground. There’s a hiss from a single burst of steam, indicating that the landing is now complete.

Secure the target 

   Soldiers run down the ramp in perfect rows of three before spreading out across the grounds. They thoroughly comb the parking lot for any conscious survivors before moving on to the football field and tennis courts. Yet another unit marches up the front steps of the school; they lower their weapons at the ready and patiently wait for the mental command...

Set all weapons to stun and resume the attack

   Without the slightest hesitation, a dozen soldiers adjust their stasis weapons before charging through the massive entrance doors. They swarm the school’s lobby in yet another search for animated survivors. It’s extremely bright in here; the room’s vivid illumination a direct result of the powerful stasis ray that’s still trained on the building from above...

   As the soldiers spread throughout the lobby, one of them mentally observes, This is like wandering through Felysian swamp gas on the eve of the seventh moon! 

…The others turn and nod their heads in agreement, even though they can barely see each other within the brilliance of the powerful light.

   Each trooper ventures onward through this silent new world, with his or her footsteps cautiously patting on the invisible floor below. And then suddenly, the first victim appears in the misty light. One of the troopers approaches the unmoving figure with weapon drawn, her index finger already placed on the trigger. The quarry is a human male who points up at the now obscured skylights with an inoperative cell phone still raised to his ear. He stands silent with an expression of wonderment frozen upon his face. Soon others appear all around him; they stand in frozen tableaux in similar poses, all looking and pointing upward in shock.

…Another female voice buzzes within the soldiers’ ear pods; this one sounding more weighty and forceful, as opposed to the soft and suggestive one from before. 

- Two of you: start scanning these subjects!    . . . The rest of you: keep looking!

   The two nearest troopers quickly lower their weapons and key through the settings on the display window. With their weapons now set to scan, they proceed to skim the saber end over the surface of the students’ bodies. In the meantime, their comrades slowly disappear in the luminous background. They forge ahead through the wall of translucent mist, scanning and marking any humans that they come across. The search for their intended target will surely be a challenge within this invisible new world, but they all have one specific order to follow: YOU DO NOT RETURN UNTIL HE IS FOUND!  

   The recovery unit locates a stairway and begins their ascent to the second floor, with even more troops joining in right behind them. The steady rhythm of combat boots marching up concrete steps breaks the eerie silence. As the first few soldiers near the top, they pass a young woman who’s seated in the stairwell. She stares through her inoperative blackberry, her delicate fingers still desperately pressing into the keypad. One of the fighters stops to take a knee beside her. He begins scrolling through the menu screen on his scanner before raising it to her eyes…

   Orion troopers quickly spread throughout the second floor of Rossville High and begin exploring the ghostly surroundings. They’re fully prepared to search room-by-room and student-by-student if necessary, but then an urgent message comes down from above:

   - Attention recovery unit 3... Attention recovery unit 3...Our monitor is picking up a faint signal in the eastern wing of the building. This could be the malfunctioning transmitter on test subject 108. Proceed with caution…

   One of the lead soldiers withdraws a tracking device from its holster and activates it within his palm. The lieutenant then aims the apparatus into the unknown and motions for the others to follow. The unit obliges by drawing in closely together and following him into the streaming light. The palm-held tracking device leads the way, emitting a steady chirping sound that increases in frequency with every step forward.  

   The lieutenant continually glances back and forth between the readings on his tool and the brilliant surroundings. At one point, the preoccupied soldier walks straight into a young woman that stands frozen in his path. The lieutenant raises his hands in a quick reaction and reaches to steady the wobbling brunette in place. Once stabilized, the alien moves on without thought. The rest of the unit follows through behind him, carefully sidestepping the helpless figure. She continues to stare ahead; seemingly unaware of their presence and with an opened can of Diet Pepsi still raised to her parted lips…

   The hand-held tracking device is chirping repeatedly now, indicating that the valued subject is only feet away. Within a few more steps, the signal locks in and the tracker makes one long ‘beeeeeeeeeeep’ sound. The lieutenant finally slows before a pair of figures that stand frozen in the light. As their features become clearer, the soldier raises his hand in alert, and the rest of the unit pauses in place behind him…

   The lieutenant approaches the couple with caution. He slowly reaches out and waves a hand in front of the male’s face, but the human doesn’t respond. The soldier repeats the process with the female, but she continues to stare through his hand and fails to acknowledge the alien’s presence. He gives her shoulder a gentle push, but she just wobbles in place. The lieutenant takes a step back and studies the pair in their suspended state…

   Being some of the unfortunate few who witnessed the time-suspending wave of light before it actually overtook them, the pair share an equally shocked expression. The female’s body is slightly twisted to one side as if she were about to run. She’s glancing over her shoulder with an expression of intense fear; her lips now molded into a terrified ‘O’ shape. The male looks equally frightened and has one of his arms being pulled behind him as if being urged to run by the female of the species.

   The lieutenant steps behind the male and checks for the telltale, dime-sized imprint in the back of the male’s head. When the alien’s right-hand fingers dip into the eighth-inch -deep impression, his left hand immediately reaches for the small communications device on the shoulder of his uniform. In alien-speak he informs, “We’ve got him, captain…”

   The caps over the lieutenant’s ears immediately buzz with a new set of instructions. When the orders are complete, the soldier turns and then motions for one of his subordinates to come forward…

   A female soldier quickly approaches with a brushed-aluminum case in hand. She squats down to one knee and gets to work immediately, flipping back both latches on the anodized case and swinging the cover open. Once the lid drops back, she reaches for an exotic-looking weapon and withdraws it from the foam impression. As the alien raises the pistol-like device, it’s sheer mass weighs heavy within her hand. The soldier then withdraws a glass tube from an identical row of others and shakes it vigorously within her palm. When the fluorescent green substance inside reaches the proper viscosity, she quickly inserts the liquid-filled cartridge into the handle end of the weapon. The soldier pulls the weapon’s slide lever back to its fullest extent until it clicks into place.

   The lieutenant parts the boy’s hair back with the tips of his fingers, fully revealing the telltale impression. He then gives his subordinate the nod...

   The female raises the weapon to the back of the male’s head and presses it to his skull. With her free hand now bracing his forehead, she pulls the trigger and the device discharges, emitting a pneumatic “chuff” sound that echoes through the hallway.

   The surrounding unit watches intently, as the pharmaceutical liquid inside the glass chamber slowly empties into the human’s brain…

   The operation is complete just moments later. As his subordinate places the sub-dermal injector back into its case, the lieutenant reaches for his communicator once again.

   “Update on test subject 108 is now complete, captain.”

   The soldier’s earpieces immediately chime in, “Very good lieutenant. Have the technicians start scanning and processing the others, and I’ll be down to join you in just a moment…”

*   *   *   *

End of Part Two - continued...

Return to the Story Archive