Sci-Fi short: Man loses his world on awakening amongst aliens
Awakening. Ow! That’s bright. Blinding bright. Squeeze my eyes shut. Let’s try that again, slowly this time. One eye only I think. Just a peek. Maybe a little more. Nah too much whiteness. Unbearable.
Hand! Use hand to shield eye. Obvious. But where’s my hand. Missing? What the… No. No. It’s there. Restrained? Limp? Numbed! Yeah, like when it’s been still for too long. No circulation. In either arm. Or any limb. Or anywhere. How long have I been here?
Where is here though? Must open eyes. Must move arms. Fingers, start with the fingers. Argh… yes, movement. Twitch. Little more. Fingers, palm, clench. God, this is so absurdly hard. What has happened to me?
Who is me? Huh? My name! What’s my name? Fog. So much fog in my brain. Must focus. Clear away the murk. Name. Me. Memories. Blur of images. That’s it? That’s all I get?! Give it time. It’ll come back. No! I need me back now!
Arm! Moving. Elbow folding. Face. That’s my face. Feel’s strange. Or is it the hand that feels strange. That’s it. Still the numbness. Like it’s someone else’s. Okay, let’s have another go. With these fingers over my eyes, I venture open an eyelid, just a little gap, allow it to adjust, then a little more. Now the fingers – ease them apart.
I can see now. But I just see white. Still just white. Am I dead? This is the afterlife’s waiting room, innit?
Don’t be silly. I move the hand down a bit. Yep that’s breathing. I’m definitely alive, whoever I am. This is ridiculous. Trying to recall… movies, TV, books, stuff I’ve heard – short term memory loss. Trauma. That’s it usually isn’t it?
Ah. That adds up. I must be in a hospital, I’ve had some sort of accident. Let’s a do a check. The blood flow seems to be returning now, the numbness is receding. Wiggle, move, feel. I appear to be intact. Mostly. Er… I let my hand – yes I can call it mine now – continue to move down, below the chest, below the belly, to the groin. Phew. That’s some sort of relief I suppose.
Hang on. Belly? What belly. What was that? Flat and rippled like a washboard. I don’t remember it being like that. Heh? But I don’t remember anything. No, no I think I’d remember that. I lift my head. I try to lift my head. Twinge. Pain. Eek. I want to cry out. I just gasp. No noise. Are my vocal chords lifeless too?
I fight through it. Wince. Fully lift my eyelids. Finally I look down… no sideways… Whatever. Sheesh. I’m naked. Totally starkers. What the hell kind of hospital is this?! But I’m all there. Tell you what, I look pretty good too. Toned, taught, well-defined. Not overly muscular though. No bag of walnuts.
So what am I? Dancer? Actor? Poseur? Great. I’m bloody vain, that’s what I am.
And I ask myself again – what kind of a hospital is this? This room is empty. It’s like a bare shell. An egg shell. From inside. Nuts. This is all too much. Much too much. Give me a moment.
– Ten minutes later –
Sigh. Still nothing. No idea who I am, where I am or why. But I can move now. The limbs have been flexing. I think I even have an erection. Damn. I’m naked. This is embarrassing. What if there are cameras? There are always cameras these days. Aren’t there?
I get up. Argh… No. I slowly get up. No must make it even slower than that. Gnff… huff… Sitting now. Legs off the side. Hands over my danglies. Preserve some dignity I suppose. Looking around for something to cover up with. But there’s nothing in this room. Nothing at all. Bloody hell – there aren’t even any legs under this bed.
I impulsively jump off. And promptly crash to the ground in a crumpled heap. Legs not quite up to the task yet. Nearly brain myself too. Wish I had. Wish I’d knocked myself out. This is all getting a little too much to cope with. My bed… or whatever it is… is just floating there above me. Exactly as it was, without moving.
I reach up and try to push it. It stubbornly remains in position. I yank it. Same deal. So I use it to pull myself up. It’s a good thing I’m fit. Or at least I appear to be. Turns out to be easier than I thought. And soon my trembling legs start to firm up. Eventually I let go. And like a toddler taking its first stuttering steps, turn and awkwardly take a few tentative strides before tumbling to the floor again.
Now I’m too far from the floating bed. So I have to get up like the aforementioned toddler would. On my hands and knees, arse rising up in the air first. God if there’s a camera here, this is the most humiliating thing I’ve ever done. Or it might be. I can’t rightly remember.
Camera? TV? Aw man. This is one of those totally unfunny Candid-Camera type set-ups, isn’t it? Is my butt about to getting a million views on YouTube? What’s YouTube? How do I even remember that, but not who I am? The internet sensation who can’t remember why he was. Jesus!
Oh. My. Unhf… I’m up. Perhaps I’m over-thinking. Perhaps I should let my body do the walking. Yep. Let’s try that…. step one, step two now. And down I go again. Ow!
– 20 minutes later –
Well at least I can walk now. And I’ve discovered that this isn’t a very big room. I’ve felt my way all around it. So you know what else there isn’t in this room? A fucking door. I’m a prisoner in a giant egg. Well I am not a number, I am a free man… dammit.
Where did that come from? Oh yes, some TV show. One of the blurred images are clearing. Prisoner. He’s being chased by a giant white balloon through an oversized chest set. He looks intensely serious, but someone is laughing hysterically. That is bizarre! But let’s face it Dave, no more weirder than the situation you’re in right now.
Dave?! My name is Dave? Yes! No! Not sure. Doesn’t feel right actually. I close my eyes tightly shut again and wince. Nope. Still blank. No, some fragments, some snippets of a life. Vague. Will have to come back to it. Dave will do for now though.
I move a little more to the right and then turn around to lean on the curved wall.
Except I don’t. I fall right through it! I’m lying on the rounded floor of a cylindrical corridor. But I’m still naked. Embarrassed I jump back through the wall into my room.
Now this is just silly. With both hands covering my now very much subdued manhood, I walk through the wall that isn’t there again and look around. Nothing. A hunch strikes me. Exactly opposite where I’ve just emerged from, I reach towards the wall on the other side and sure enough my hand goes through.
Taking a gamble I put my head through. Identical in every way – well that isn’t exactly difficult. Right down to the bed. And a naked man on it. I pull back out. I walk along a bit, stroking my fingers along the wall as I go until I find another invisible door. Again I put my head in. Again the same. Except.
What a body! She is beautiful. Goddess-like in perfection. And of course starkers. Thankfully she’s out of it, and doesn’t see the very visible effect she’s had on me. Perhaps I should…
Don’t be ridiculous! I leave the room. Hands strategically placed once again over the straining member.
Maybe I’ll come back later, say hello, but first I have to find out what the hell is going on here, and maybe find some bed sheets. I indulge in a long lingering look back at the ‘door’ and suddenly become aware of the slight differing in shade over the porthole. Perhaps my eyes still needed some time to adjust – I guess seeing that vision of beauty did the trick though, because I can now just about make out portholes all along the corridor.
But I resist the temptation to look into any more and find I’m able to get my legs to jog a little. This corridor must lead somewhere – there must be an office or something. Somewhere I can talk to someone, get some answers. Get some damn clothes!
– 15 minutes later –
I’m getting a curious sense of déjà vu. Which is impossible surely? I look at the porthole on my right. Could it be? I stick my head through. No way?! Sure enough, an empty bed floats within… I’ve gone full circle. Slumping a little I fight to regain myself, search deep within, find nothing, no answers, no outlandish possibilities even. But I find some strength. I buck up. I get up.
I move again. Sticking my head into every porthole this time. There he is. There SHE is. And there they are. Room after room of them. Empty but for… Except for this one. What the fuck?!
I’ve been running and looking. The shock of what I’d just seen and trying to stop, causes me to trip over myself. On the floor I right myself quickly and lean against the wall. My breathing is fast, the blood is coursing, I think I’m going to faint. I shake my head and take some deep breaths. I am now officially freaked out and terrified!
There were two other people in there, leaning over the naked human. No. Not people. Things. Not things. Beings. Shiny, silvery… Shit. They saw me. They must have done. Those were their heads right? They turned. I know they did. I force myself up and start running. Just as I’m getting around the circumference of the corridor I hazard a look back.
I’m sure I see a flash of silver. Without even thinking I plunge through the next porthole, hoping my pursuant doesn’t see which one.
But this porthole is different. It’s led me to another corridor. But straight this time. I race along it. Empty at first, but soon there are more portholes. I choose one at random and rush in.
And stop dead. Gasping.
For that is what I must be now. Dead. It’s the only plausible explanation. I am stark bollocks naked, standing in empty space, looking down at planet Earth.
And then I become aware that I’m still breathing. I also surmise that I have not exploded or imploded or whatever it is that is supposed to happen to you in space. I become aware, with pathetically slow realisation that, I am not, in fact, dead.
But I am most definitely ‘standing’ in space. I reach out with my hand and literally shudder with relief. There’s a wall. An extremely fine glass wall. Or perhaps some sort of force field like in those sci-fi movies. Whatever it is, I’m safe.
Safe? Safe?! No I’m NOT fucking safe. It dawns. No literally I see the sun over the horizon. It’s as beautiful as my situation is utterly dire I realise. Talk about mixed emotions. Pride: nobody in my family has ever gone to space. I’m betting. I don’t know of course. Dread: No one in my family has ever been abducted by Aliens either. Again… a fairly safe assumption now.
For that can be the only answer now to my utterly surreal predicament. And this – as I turn around to finally face the obvious truth – is their spaceship. A set of smooth white rings linked by tubular structures, one of which I’m on the ‘outside’ of in some sort of viewing room, I note as I look around.
Well might as well take it all in, this Alien space ship, or maybe space station, is likely to be the last thing you ever see Dave, or whoever the hell you are, it surely won’t be long before they find you now. I mean the whole world can see you exposed. Quite literally.
Why not die right here looking down at home? It really is beautiful, that big old blue ball. Well this is a lovely poetic final moment. Wonder if I should spoil it be letting one off. The smell will probably linger in this bubble. Don’t know what or when I last ate – hope it wasn’t brussels sprout – perhaps being in space just gives me gas.
Why the hell am I laughing, when I know I’m so totally screwed? I sit down. Await the end. Any minute now…
– Five minutes later –
Hmm. There it is again. A flash of white, off to my left, apparently streaking down towards the planet. Third time it’s happened. Wonder what it could…
Holy shit! Are they firing stuff at us? Is this an attack?
Oh now there’s a thought: all those chambers, full of naked men and women. All very fit, all youngish, seemingly a full mix of races and colours. Could we have been harvested before a culling?
Omigod! Have I got this wrong? Am I one of the few chosen to live and they are actually wiping the rest of humanity out?!
I jump to my feet. No fucking way! Not on my watch!
Look at me all bloody Bruce Willis all of a sudden. Oh – HE’S name I remember. Yippee-fuckin-ki-yay! Anyway, I’m already jogging down the rest of this corridor, might as well find out what’s at the end of it. Maybe this is a good day to Die Hard.
– 10 minutes later –
The corridor ends. There’s another porthole. I hesitate, then gingerly put my head through. And withdraw immediately. It was a room, a massive hanger type space. A sort of operation’s centre, tens of silvery beings transfixed by unfathomable holographic displays.
There was something else. To the left. Couldn’t make it out in the brief glimpse through my periphery, but something tells me it’s important. I start to sweat and there are distinct palpations in my chest. I feel certain that whatever it is, it’s the origin of that ‘Death Ray’ I saw earlier.
Pull yourself together Bruce – I’ve decided I prefer it more than David, especially now. They haven’t found you, it seems incredible, but the Silvers are completely oblivious to your presence. Meanwhile, millions of humans are being slaughtered below. Through the fog there are visions of teeming cities, a park, families frolicking, a kid on a swing. A very familiar kid.
God – is that my daughter? I have a little girl? Do I? I can’t remember. I just can’t… but what if I did? I didn’t see any children in any of the rooms. Oh no. These bastard Silvers!
Renewed adrenalin courses through me, the sweat has subsided, but the heart is beating so fiercely I can hear the blood pumping through the veins in my head. I walk through the porthole. At first none of the Silvers seem to notice.
I take it all in. Sure enough to the left there is another smaller tubular structure. Two of the Silvers are at work there. Now I see them clearly; tall with incredibly smooth glowing skin, oversized hairless heads, large black eyes, long noses, small mouths, but humanoid in structure – that is two arms and hands, two legs and feet, a torso… ah that silver, it’s not skin, it’s a body suit. A uniform? The skin tone is greyer.
Greys? Alien Greys? Somehow they look familiar. I shake the renewed déjà vu. There’s something else I notice about them. They look pretty frail.
Finally I’m noticed. Some start moving towards me, but it’s with less haste and more elegance. God these creatures are beautiful. Hateful, because they’re killing us, but they are a piece of work.
Apparently I’m stronger and faster though. I start towards the tubular apparatus easily pushing aside the three Silvers between me and it. As I run I notice chairs, floating chairs, but unlike my bed, they appear to be movable.
In front is the tube structure, which must be a part of the death ray. I know now I must destroy it. I grab one of the chairs, thankfully it appears to have some heft. Not metal though, some sort of ceramic plastic.
One of the two aliens at the Death Ray is moving towards me, his hand outstretched in a sort of stop gesture. I don’t slow. I speed up, and I spin and jump in order to use as much momentum as possible. I’m swinging the chair around above me head and when it connects it does so with an awful audible awesome crunch. I don’t see the damage I’ve done, even as I hear what surely must be a corpse thud to the ground.
I wanna take as many of these muthas with me as possible, so I’m already swinging again, but the second alien seems to have suddenly found amazing swiftness in his movement as he jumps back out of the way. Damn. Were they sand-bagging?
I note with some satisfaction that the features of his face indicate muted horror if not quite fear. I’m unstoppable now. If I can’t get him, I’ll smash the Death Ray at least.
Uh oh – I slip straight through the outer part of the tube. Damn! Should have known. Should have seen the slightly shaded area. It was an opening. Now I’m INSIDE the Death Ray. I’m gonna be fried. I’m gonna….
Hang on? There’s another Silver in here with me. We appear to be in some sort of carriage pod. He’s seated in front.
Despite the disorientation, I suddenly grasp the situation.
This isn’t a Death Ray! It’s transportation. It’s my ticket home! I can escape. I can get back to Earth. We are staring at each other – perhaps he’s as surprised as me. I’m sure he must be. My face must be contorted with realisation. But his handsome visage is passive and serene, with possibly the vaguest hint of curiosity.
Stupidly I’m still holding the chair above my head. I’m tempted to use it on him. He somehow detects this. There’s the merest hint of anxiety as his big black pupils flash up. At least I think they do. The utter blackness is hard to read. I guess we’re both wondering what I’m gonna do next. I have split seconds to decide.
Behind him I clock the holographic controls. I make up my mind. The chair simply hangs in the air as I let go and clasp my right hand around his slender neck instead in a vice-like grip that even impresses me. He’s skin is smooth, cool, taught with just a little give in it, but I can feel a pulse. They’re not so different then. Presumably if I squeeze hard enough it will hurt. A gamble. Think it’s paying off though.
With the other hand I point forward and grunt at the alien: ‘Drive.’
It’s the first word that comes through my mouth since I woke up. It’s gravelly, coarse, and it comes out with a menace, determination and authority that, inside, swells me up with pride.
What was I? Some kind of soldier? A cop? Damn – a gangster? Maybe I’d just watch the Dark Knight too many times. How do I remember all these things but still not my own name? Bruce will continue to do though, Bruce Wayne even.
He obliges. God Almighty. I can barely believe it. This undoubtedly superior race responds to threat just like us. There is hope for humanity yet. I know now what I must do. I have to get back to Earth, seek out the authorities and tell them what I know. We can beat these guys. Forget the technology, they’re as timid as a herd of antelope and as fragile as a house of cards – whatever those two things might be.
But my next thought never has time to form. Suddenly we’re on the move. At least I think we are. However it doesn’t feel so much like the pod moving as it does the surrounding tubular chamber warping, twisting, streaking past us. I don’t feel any acceleration, no g-forces at all.
I don’t get to marvel at the gyroscope of colour encasing us for long though as it suddenly solidifies and it appears we have halted. I look across, and sure enough the slight shaded area is there: a porthole.
Time to leave. But I don’t know what might be out there. There will certainly be more Silvers. I realise I’m still holding onto my ‘drivers’ neck. Keep my grip fast, I pull him to his feet and in front me.
With a deep breath – it could be my last – I push him through and follow. I was right, the Silvers were clearly expecting me. About a dozen of them form a semi-circle around the porthole. Time to stretch my vocal chords a bit more.
‘Back off! Back off or I’ll snap his neck like a twig – I swear it!’
And then the bravura dissipates. My hand automatically releases the driver, I stumble back a little, as he calmly joins his colleagues. My muscles feel weak, I don’t appear to have control over my body anymore.
Then a voice. Coming from them. No, not from them. Coming from within. Within my own head. And it’s his voice. I know it. He’s not moving, he’s barely discernible from the rest, but there’s one in the middle of the semi-circle and it’s somehow just obvious that he’s in charge. It’s him communicating with me.
‘I am sorry. We don’t want to harm you. I’ve only taken control of your limbs because I fear you might do yourself an injury.
‘I know what you are thinking. But we are not invaders. We mean you no harm. You want us to let you pass, we will, but first we must prepare you.’
I’m in shock. This is all very civil and polite. That’s after I’ve killed one of them. Is it a trick? And how is he doing this? I can’t move a muscle. All this power and strength is no good if they can control it at whim. Damn, there goes that notion.
We’re doomed after all. Or are we? What’s going on here? What are they up to? Can I believe them? Can I even trust them? If they’re going to let me pass why don’t they? How are they going to ‘prepare’ me exactly. Oh right! Perhaps I’ll get some clothes after all.
‘If you agree to calmly listen to us, then I will release your faculties back to you.’
I nod cautiously. Still not quite convinced. Then I feel my strength and control returning. I move my hands and arms testing the truth. For a fleeting moment I contemplate rushing them, imagining I could topple the lot like bowling pins. If I move quickly enough, if I hurl myself at them like I did in the control room, it might be possible… But curiosity is a powerful motivator. I stay myself.
The shock of the journey, the voice, the loss of control is receding. I become more self aware. It’s cold. Damn I just realised, it’s effing freezing. And what’s that horrid stench. Where are we?
Without me even realising, a Silver has come up behind me, and he is offering an open cloak. I don’t hesitate, immediately grabbing it and wrapping the silvery material around myself. It’s the same as their clothing, it warms immediately. The shivering subsides quickly.
I notice my breath crystallising and continue to look down. Then I see. We’re on a floating platform. I can’t see anything beyond these slim Silvers because we’re suspended above the ground. If I had rushed headlong forward, I would have launched myself into oblivion. Suddenly another shiver, but this one is not from the cold.
I become aware that the platform is descending. The stench becomes stronger, pungent but stale, like it’s been hanging in the air for a long time. And then I start to see it. Rising from behind the aliens, aliens who I now sense are emoting a mixture of sorrow and sympathy, despite their utterly inscrutable faces.
Behind them unravels the remains of a dead city. Remnants of skyscrapers, crumbling, splintering, charred and blackened. There’s no smoke, there’s no sound, there’s no movement. This is not the rubble of fresh wanton destruction. These are ruins, encrusted, preserved, and horrifically honest in their telling of a tragic truth of a fateful history long past doomed.
Again the same voice in response: ‘as far as we can ascertain your race wiped itself out 327 of your Earth years ago. We’ve cleansed the planet of radiation and restored its atmosphere, but there is no life here. We are working to restore life.’
‘Who the hell ARE you guys?’
‘We are the Elders, and our race has been visiting your planet regularly, helping to nurture humanity’s evolution over many millennia, as we do for many species. Unfortunately we were not able to stop the devastation.
‘We’re very sorry.’
‘But then how did I…’
They part at last and I realise we have landed gently upon the horrifically scorched earth. Behind them there is a crater, no, not a crater. It’s like an archaeological dig. Earth, debris and rubble has been cleared around the devastated remains of an artefact. An object of art perhaps, a giant star-shaped silver sculpture. Lights are trained on it. A lower part of it has been cleaned and opened.
The voice: ‘This is where we found you, and many others. It’s a time capsule from the year 2015. Amongst the items preserved within were 500 different samples of human DNA. We have been trying to resurrect your species from these remains.’
Overcome. Grief, shock, awe, disgust, horror, disbelief… I’m not sure. All of it. None of it. It’s all beyond comprehension.
Realisation. I have no memories… because I have no memories. I’m a clone. I’ve been grown artificially. I guess the basic memories and cultural references were all implanted by the Silvers.
But then am I even human? Do I even have a soul? Do I even have a right to exist when the rest of my kind has long passed into extinction? By our own hands. We failed. Mankind failed. Primitive drives overcame logic and evolved thinking.
We didn’t evolve. We devolved. We destroyed each other. We caused our own annihilation.
As these thoughts race through my head I find I have been moving. Walking slowly, no staggering, towards the artefact. I was Bruce Willis, or was it Bruce Wayne a few moments ago. I was going to save our planet. Save humanity. Save our kids. Be a hero.
But there’s nothing to save. Even if there was… It’s become crystal clear now: we don’t deserve saving.
I stop. I bury my head in my hands. I realise my face is tear-soaked. I release. Sob helplessly. It’s no good. There’s no point. We are doomed by our very nature. Condemned to repeat an endless cycle of self-destruction for eternity. Evolution has nothing further for us.
My legs fail again. But this time it’s not numbness, nor alien possession. I simply stumble and collapse. Dizziness. Imbalance. Movement. Blackness…
– Epilogue –
Project Human Resurrection. Team Leader Report: ‘Subject 42 was another failure. No matter what we do, whatever we try, the Resurrects are not responding. The shock of facing the reality of what they did to themselves is too much. Each time the grief overcomes them and there’s a complete catastrophic system failure. The Resurrects cease to function.
‘We will try different reintroduction procedures with the next eight subjects. However we’re not hopeful that this strategy will be successful.
‘Our recommendation for this Project now, is to go to Full Reset. We will re-Terraform the planet, back to basics. Reintroduce the subjects at Bronze Era stage. No memory of the past, no knowledge of what happened. Let them start again, oblivious to their previous fate.
‘To avoid the same path to self-annihilation, we suggest turning down the MAOA gene.’
High Council of Elders: ‘We agree. Full Reset approved. DNA readjustment reapproved. Proceed with Terraforming and reintroduction.
‘And good luck Project Leader. Hopefully it will be third time lucky with this race.’
If you liked this, then try another of my sci-fi shorts too please – ‘Stang Struck