Alien G. Robinson
by Patrick Hemstreet
She is still wearing her uniform. It is an ill-fitted, white-knit
pullover shirt, the kind golfers wear. At least she didn't have to wear
a hat, she thought. She remembered her summer as a cashier at
McDonald's; the damn hat gave her hat hair. Her current nametag had
since been torn away and lost. A small hole marked the spot on her
shirt where it once was.
She gives a nervous smile and tilts her head as the agent in the
suit turns to give her a reassuring wink over his shoulder. It seems
like they have been walking down the corridor for hours. In reality it
hasn't been five minutes. The setting is clinical, metal-colored walls
and white floors. It is sanitary like a hospital. Their steps echo and
come to an abrupt halt. The agent grabs the doorknob on a gunmetal-gray
door that has a single marking on it: "8."
"Come on in, Camellia." He pushes the door open and gestures her
"Cammy, please. Camellia makes me feel like I am in
"Well, you most certainly aren't, Cammy."
The room is ten by ten with gray walls. There are two tables
positioned across from one another. The table on the left has a
microphone on a stand facing an empty chair. The opposite table has a
video camera on a tripod, a clipboard, and an ink pen lying on its
"This is spooky, man. Anyway, what's your name?"
The agent pauses briefly "Bill. My name is Bill."
"Well, Bill, this is spooky. It's like Homeland or
Bill gives a reassuring smile, trying his best to lighten the mood.
He surveys the room with a few head bobs. "Yeah, it's dreary, I know.
We really don't have festive rooms for this kind of thing. Which is a
real shame considering your case." Bill motions to the table. "Please,
Cammy slides into the chair as if it were covered in dung. She
reaches out and taps the microphone gingerly. "You're not gonna shine a
light in my face, are ya?"
Bill laughs. "No Cammy. Look, I don't like this setting either, but
we need to keep this secret. You are the first human being to have
meaningful contact with... our new friends. I wish I could make you
more comfortable, but this is what we have right now."
Cammy arches her back and runs her hands through her blonde locks.
Her hair is already pulled back into a ponytail; two long bangs hang
free and curve down to her cheeks like yellow calipers.
"Can I ask you a few questions first, Bill?"
"Anything you want. I'll try to answer."
"Okay. Well, remember when the other agents said that they--um...
our friends--imitate movie stars or something, like they watched movies
to learn about us?"
Bill nodded "Yeah. This much you already know. They watched movies
to learn our behaviors, language, and culture. They tend to imitate
certain actors precisely."
Cammy tilts her head in an inquisitive manner. "So who was my
alie--um, friend imitating? I mean he sounded like the police chief
from The Simpsons."
Bill chuckles and rubs his chin. "An oldie but a goodie--Edward G.
Robinson. He was an old-timey actor way before your and my time. The
chief in The Simpsons is a caricature of the same actor."
Bill nonchalantly presses the "record" button on the camera. At that
same moment, a flash of blue light erupts in a circle around Cammy's
neck. The light coalesces into a gel-like body forming a glowing,
rippling collar. The collar has flickers of light within itself.
Bill's eyes widen. "It looks like a jellyfish almost. I was
wondering if I would get to see it."
Cammy shouts, "Just get it off of me! It's been on the whole time
since my--friend put it on me."
Bill inhales deeply. "I know, Cammy. Our friends--"
Cammy slams her palms flat on the table, clenches her eyes shut, and
explodes. "Stop calling them our friends, Goddammit!"
Bill stands still, shocked by her sudden outburst. Cammy seems to
have popped like a pressure cooker.
She continues: "They may be your friends. They aren't my
friends. Tell them to take this off me!"
Bill raises his hands in a conciliatory manner. "Cammy, I know it's
scary, but our frie--the beings have said it is a delicate process, and
they need time to prepare. I promise the instant they are ready, we
will whip you over to the lab to get it off. I promise."
Cammy, nodding, takes in a deep breath. The collar fades back to
invisibility. She nods and stares ahead as if bringing herself back
into the moment. "Sorry.... I guess I need to see somebody about this.
I got like PTSD or something." Her nods slow to an occasional
undulation while her stare remains blank.
"Cammy, I think you are brave, and I understand completely. You want
a glass of water maybe?"
"No. I'm gonna pee in my pants as it is. Let's just get going."
"There is a bathroom--"
"Let's just go. Turn it on."
Bill nods and gives a warm smile. "This is a historical record,
Cammy. There is no such thing as too much information. Tell us anything
He uses the large index finger of his large, basketball-player hand
to engage the microphone. A blue LED light flashes as the device
collects sound. He nods to Cammy. She leans forward and says....
My name is
Camellia Swinson. People call me Cammy. I'm nineteen
years old, and I work at Our Saving Place. It's a Super Walmart kind of
thing over on I-6. I was in school, but I didn't do too well last
semester, so I have to wait to go back. I just work at the store now.
I'm a cashier.
It's kind of hard
to talk about what happened with... him.
The alien. I guess it's a him.
Okay. I was
taking a break in my usual spot. There is bench in the
back of the store that looks out to a nice set of trees. I don't smoke
or anything, that's not it. I don't go out there to suck down a
cigarette in two seconds every fifteen minutes like old Margaret. I
really just like the trees. There is a blue jay that always pops in at
just the right time. I watch him hop from branch to branch and jerk his
head around. That day, when I was on my bench, I saw a flash of blue,
but it wasn't the blue jay. Before I could even stand up, he
was on me. It was like he had on roller skates and a rocket engine in
his butt. He was standing in front of me in like half a second. The
first thing he said was, "Muyyeeahhh scheeeee."
I opened my mouth
to yell, but he just flicked his... finger-like
things on his... arm thing. I hope that's not too confusing. I mean,
they have what we can describe as arms and hands, but they're kind of
like blobs on legs. You can see a body--I mean, they have faces and
mouths. You know, Bill. You have seen them. They are short but lanky
and look kind of like Casper the Friendly Ghost if he were blue and
slimmer and had skin like a jellyfish.
Well, after he
flipped his finger things, this damn collar wrapped
around my neck. It looks like his skin, like he flopped a piece of his
blob body around my neck. When I tried to yell, I felt my jaw lock
tight, and the collar tingled against my skin. All I got out was,
The collar pulled
upward on my neck, and I had to stand on my
tiptoes. I reached up and held onto the blob collar, which was suddenly
kind of hard. He started talking to me.
toots. Take me to your leader, muuyeaaaah."
The muscles in my
jaw felt less tense, and I was able to talk. "M-my
leader? Mr. Pavnaric?"
leader, scheeee? Don't get wise!"
I think I started
to hyperventilate at that point, but the collar
just kind of vibrated slightly, and my breathing was relaxed like real
"Okay. He is
inside the store. I'll take you to him."
Mr. Pavnaric is
the assistant manager. He isn't general manager
because Mr. Devins, the owner, still does that himself. Mr. Devins
loves Mr. Pavnaric. Like once, Mr. Pavnaric--we have to call him Mr.
Pavnaric--was at the store when there was a fire, and he just rattled
off protocols and put it out with an extinguisher. He was totally right
up on the flames, and everyone was screaming, but he just told everyone
what the store protocol manual said, and it was put out. Mr. Devins
said Mr. Pavnaric saved the store, so he is like the golden boy. He is
kind of weird looking. I mean he has like a bald comb-over spot on the
top of his head, but the rest of his hair looks normal. He also has a
We got inside the
store, and Mr. Pavnaric was in his office as
usual. We weren't exactly quiet when we entered. I was making
whimpering noises, and he knocked over a jar of Folgers Crystals. I
heard Mr. Pavnaric's chair squeak as he got up. He called out before he
rounded the doorway.
"May I help you?"
As he passed
through the doorframe, he stopped, his eyes locked on
him. He was searching for what to say when the alien spoke up.
dis is duh rundown. I'm takin' ovuh, muyyeaaahhh."
tried to answer. His head was real still. He looked
kind of frozen. I don't really know what he said, but it sounded like,
"Puh, pah, pie, I, for, it...."
stammering, but he didn't freak out or scream or anything.
Mr. Devins did though. I didn't see Mr. Devins come in. But I heard him
I heard all kinds
of clanking, then I heard a shotgun pump. Like the
same way it is on TV when they want to show they mean business. It was
the shick, shick sound. The alien turned around, and the damn
collar forced me to turn too. Mr. Devins looked at me, and his eyes
were wide and watery. Then he turned to the alien and gave him an angry
"You dern" those
were Mr. Devins's last words. He raised the shotgun
like he was gonna shoot. He--Casper--I guess that's the best name I can
come with for an alien, pointed his hand thing at Mr. Devins, and I
guess it was a ray beam that came out. It turned Mr. Devins into...into
a...mist, and he--what was left of him--floated away. Like water spray
from beach waves, then gone.
I had never heard
Mr. Devins curse before. He must have been really
scared to use the B word. He was always saying stuff like, "We need to
do this," and, "Do that in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ." He said
it so much, me and my coworkers would joke to each other behind his
back. We would go around saying stuff like, "Hey, I need to stack those
cans... in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ." "You better make sure
your station is clean... in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ." He must
have been totally blown away to use the B word. It's hard to think he
is dead, ya know?
turned like he was going to go back into his office,
but Casper shot some kind of thingy at him. It was like a circle or a
disc, kind of small like a quarter. It was metallic looking. Oh! I
know. It looked like labradorite. My dad has a big chunk of it on his
shelf. It's like a mineral. Well, anyway, it stuck to Mr. Pavnaric's
neck, and he stopped in his tracks. This is where it gets real weird. I
guess it was the thing on his neck, but Mr. Pavnaric went berserk. He
starting making these like whoop, whoop sounds with his mouth.
It was almost like he was trying to imitate a dog bark. Then he was
like spazzing, hopping and doing doggy-paddle moves with his hands in
the air. He was possessed or something. He just kept hopping around and
doing all that crazy stuff. Then Casper's mouth curved up like it was
smiling. It looked like a smile to me. Casper seemed to be laughing at
toward the office. Mr. Pavnaric was over to the side
now, whooping and hopping around doing the doggy paddle. The collar,
like, pulled at my neck, and I had to follow Casper into the office.
Mr. Pavnaric was real political, and he had a big picture of the
president in his office. It was on the wall, and it said on the frame
"The President of the United States of America." A light flashed out of
Casper's arm--it flashed at the picture, and he stared at it a minute.
The he turned to me.
"You're goin' ta
take me to him, scchheee? Muyeah."
He is like in Washington. It's like five hours
driving, dude, and my car is a piece of crap--nnmmmmm."
The collar closed
my jaw again. I guess it should have ticked me
off, but I was too scared at the time. He flashed a light at the front
pocket of my pants. I felt my car keys snap against my leg like when
you touch someone after brushing your feet on a rug.
We started moving
outside through the back, the delivery drop-off
area, to the employee parking lot. The collar dragged me along; I held
on to it as it pushed and pulled me behind him. I looked over my
shoulder just before we got outside; Mr. Pavnaric was still whooping
and hopping. Casper knew which car was mine, and he walked right toward
it with me dragging behind him. I was like, "Damn, I'm being kidnapped
by an alien in my own piece of crap Tercel that's almost out of gas."
Didn't he have a
spaceship or something? I mean I had a yellow
Tercel that made all kinds of fart and burp noises as it rolled. It
might even die on a road trip to frackin' DC. It was on E--I mean the
little light was on. This alien was stupid, but he had a ray gun and a
collar. What could I do?
Get in and drive, schee?"
The collar pulled
me toward the car. I knew I couldn't fight, so I
just got in and started up the car. Casper got in the passenger seat.
The car wheezed and grinded and made all the usual noises as it
started. I put it in drive and rolled out to the highway. I knew the
way to DC; I had been there before with my mom and shared the driving.
When we got a few
miles down the road, I felt I had to speak up on
the gas situation. I don't know why; I guess I should have just let the
car die, but the thought of being stranded on the road with him creeped
me out even more.
"The car is, um,
out of...uh, fuel, and...nnnnmmmmm."
"Button ya lip."
bastard closed my mouth again. He raised his hand, and it
glowed for a minute. I felt the car ride more steadily. Like the noises
stopped. Also it got faster. Before that, I could barely get the car
above fifty. Now we hit seventy like nothing. The steering wheel
stopped shaking, and the car was like smooth, like glass.
started to climb higher. I wasn't even trying, but
we hit eighty with ease. I knew the limit was seventy. I didn't tell
him because I was praying we would get pulled over. Sure enough, after
we passed the speed trap over by the old billboard--it was one of those
big signs that was on the ground--a highway patrol car was on our ass.
He made the car go faster. He wasn't going to let me pull over. The car
hit 110 and still felt like glass, smooth. The cop was on our tail
still and blaring instructions out of the loudspeaker.
vee-hickle to the shoulder, now!"
I told Casper
that the cop had a gun and would shoot us if we didn't
do as he said. That seemed to make him either mad or scared; his weird
face changed a bit. It rippled, and snaps of light flashed under his
skin. The car, as if by magic, slowed down and glided to the
shoulder--no bumps, no nothing, just nice and easy. The cop pulled up a
bit behind us, and he hopped out of his car. He opened the door and
stood behind it like they did on TV. He used the loudspeaker again.
vee-hickle. Place your hands in the air."
I got out of the
car slowly. Casper didn't. I guess he was so short,
you really couldn't see him over the seat from behind. As soon as the
cop saw I was just some kid, a small girl, he slammed his car door
closed and walked toward me. He looked so mad.
"Miss, it is my
duty to notify you that you were operating this
vee-hickle at approximately forty miles an hour above the mandated
This cop was
totally fluent in cop speak, holy crap.
particular time I will be taking you into custody and
issuing a citation."
I nodded. I was
so excited to go to jail, seriously. Just then
Casper got out and flew around to the side of the car where we were.
The cop was just about to cuff me when Casper got there.
you think you got dah drop on me?"
I guess I was
expecting the cop to talk back. Like say some stuff to
Casper in cop speak. Like, "At this particular time, a particular alien
being," etc., etc. But he didn't say anything like that. His face just
started twitching and his mouth opened.
patrol wear khaki uniforms, so it was easy to see him
peeing in his pants as he stood there frozen. The cop scrambled and
moved his hand to his belt; he tried to go for his gun. I tried to warn
It was too late.
Casper ray beamed him. The cop turned into mist. It
blew toward me and I got it--the cop--in my eyes and mouth. It tasted
like water, but I started to gag anyway.
I was freaking at
that point, screaming and crying. The collar
tingled like real heavy. It was like more intense than the TENS unit my
mom had for her back. I used to hook it up to my leg just for fun. It
shocks your muscles and stuff to heal you. Well, this was like TENS
up, and my legs started moving on their own, pushing
me back into the car. I felt my name tag catch on the doorframe, and it
made a snapping sound as it ripped from my shirt. I was not crying
anymore, and the car started rolling again with Casper in the passenger
seat. It was like my emotions were shut off. It almost felt like my
chest was a faucet, and the collar did something to close it. I
couldn't cry anymore or scream or anything. I was like a stupid zombie.
The cop car behind us was still on the side of the road, lights
flashing. My car bolted away. We hit a hundred in like a few seconds.
I guess it was
the collar that was keeping me alert and focused. The
sky was just starting to get dark. I wasn't tired at all. I felt like I
could drive for hours. The collar softly vibrated against my skin.
We had just
turned off onto a small stretch of road. It was a
two-way. Sure enough there was a guy in an old pickup driving so
frickin' slow. Like I knew he was doing it on purpose. He was gonna
make sure he taught you how to drive. He was one of those assholes. He
had all kinds of stickers on his truck:
From my cold dead
I don't call the
English--you're in America
I could see
Casper was irritated. He wasn't into slowing down; he
wanted to stay at a hundred. He made a quick light flash, and the two
right tires on the pickup blew out. The truck lurched hard to the side
of the road. As we passed it, I heard the guy inside yelling. The truck
guy was loud, but with my windows up it just sounded like, "Purkaaaa
I'm sure that is
not what he said, but that was how I heard it. As
we got farther away, it got softer and quieter. I saw his truck in the
rearview. The headlights were bouncing all over the place as it
thrashed and rolled into the ditch on the side of the road.
again, the nasty little bastard. "Muyahhh, haa, haaa,
Again we were
going a hundred plus. DC was getting close. Funny
thing is the gas gauge never moved at all.
So anyway, the
rest of the drive was pretty quiet. We rolled into DC
like an hour or so after the hick pickup-truck incident. As soon as we
got into the district, Casper got more intense. He looked at me, and
the collar got all tingly again. My hands slapped down to my sides, and
my mouth closed tight. I could not move at all. Casper held his hand
up; it glowed, and the car seemed to operate on its own. I thought, What
an asshole. Why didn't he just drive earlier, the nasty prick?
weird, though. There wasn't any traffic in our way. I
could see the White House as the car flew toward it. It was so
weird--no checkpoints, no cops... gahh, nothing. I thought for sure as
soon as we got out of the car, a bunch of guys in black suits with
earpieces would fill us full of bullets. Goddamn, I ain't gonna lie--I
was scared. I couldn't shiver, though, because I was frickin' paralyzed
by the collar. But I just didn't see any security at all.
The car flopped
over a curb and onto the White House lawn. All I
could do was breathe heavy. I was so scared, my God. Casper got out,
and the collar made me do the same. The collar had totally taken me
over. It was making me walk and move. I did nothing at all. I was so
freaked and confused as we walked up to the front door of the White
House without seeing a single security guy. Casper flicked his wrist;
the same light as before flashed, and the door flew open.
I nearly crapped
There was the
president, and with him was another Casper! The other
Casper held up his hand, and a light flashed from it. A spark snapped
out of my Casper's hand thing as the new Casper spoke in a weird
language. I could try to imitate it--it was nothing like from Star
Wars, so it will be hard, I don't think I can do it.
I was mad. I saw
my Casper bow his head like he had surrendered. I
was pissed; I screamed and pushed him hard. He flew like three feet and
landed on his back. I was so surprised by how weak and fragile he was,
like I could have crushed him in my hands--little ol' me. Without his
wrist thingy, he wasn't anything.
"Um, ah, young
lady, on behalf on your country, I want to, ah, thank
you. You handled yourself well. You, uh, are the first human being to
have contact with our new friends."
Holy crap. The
president sounded just like he did on TV with all the
"ahs" and "uhs." The new Casper offered me some nice words too.
sorry. This individual is a rogue. He acted of his
own accord. On behalf of my people, I offer you the sincerest
Holy crap! He
sounded like Hugh Grant! I frickin' love--love
Notting Hill. I didn't understand though. My Casper was a rogue? He
turned invisible and stabbed people in the back with double daggers?
What the hell? I guess the president saw I was confused. He tried to
make things easier.
"Um, ah, miss,
this being acted in a manner... um.... He did
something he wasn't supposed to do. These beings are our friends."
Hugh Grant added
more. "Again, we are terribly sorry. This
individual will be punished harshly. We hold yours in the highest
regard. We would never sanction something like this. This individual
had his own twisted ideas."
My Casper still
lay on the floor. It seemed like he was paralyzed.
He looked totally defeated. Good! The SOB deserved it.
Bill quickly turns off the recorder. His bright stare signals one
"Cammy, they are ready for you in the lab. They can get it off. We
can continue this after it's done."
Cammy lets out a soft whimper and bolts out of the chair. She tugs
on the knob of the bleak-gray door for the few seconds it takes the
magnetic lock to disengage with a thud. Cammy throws the door open.
"Where, Bill? Where?"
"Last door on the left--Bravo lab."
"Does that mean B? The letter B? Just fricking say that!"
Cammy is frazzled, rabid, and incensed as her gait climbs to a
sprint. The loud echoes of her feet in the sterile, hospital-like
corridor mirror her pace exactly Bill follows close, almost matching
She wants the collar off. The damn thing has enslaved her, violated
every aspect of her mind and body. It's taken her humanity from her and
made her some blob's toy.
Get it off now.
Her sneakers squeak on the floor as she arrives at the solid-white
door marked "Lab B."
She slams her hand on the lever and pushes the door open while
panting heavily. There are two Caspers in the room.
"'Ello dere, Cammy" the first says.
Cammy saw Goodfellas, Casino, and, My Cousin Vinny; she
knows immediately that this one has taken his human lessons from Joe
The other chimes in. "Well, Cammy, we are going to get that off you."
For a brief moment, Cammy's face lights up. She smiles and mouths
with wonder and excitement, "Oh, my God. Mary Poppins."
This moment of joy is short lived as her thoughts come crashing back
to reality. She needs the slavery device off her neck.
Now, dammit. Now.
Mary Poppins continues. "We are terribly sorry that our preparations
took quite some time. You are the first of your species to be yoked. We
worked as fast as we could. Begun is half done. Now, there is a risk--"
"Get... it... off... me."
Joe Pesci shrugs and steadies his arm device as if taking perfect
aim. His device is much larger than the devices Cammy previously
encountered. Joe begins to rattle off disclaimers much like a
prescription-drug commercial. With his other hand, he
obfuscates his mouth like the "dig a hole" scene in Casino, in
which Pesci's character was attempting to thwart police surveillance.
He mutters quietly and quickly.
"Okay. Dere is a risk of amnesia, vomiting, bleeding from the eyes,
gums, nose, mouth, and loss of sphincter retention."
In an even lower tone: "Some subjects of other species experienced a
loss of cranial integrity...."
Cammy hears cranial. "Is that my skull?"
Joe answers with a "yeh" as he fires a light blast at Cammy's neck.
The light is a darker shade of blue than the previous zaps she saw, and
as it interacts with the collar; a deep bass note shakes the furniture
in the room.
Cammy feels her muscles stiffen, and her head arches up as she feels
a push of air rush out of her lungs with a groan. It is like hot pokers
have been applied to the back of her neck on either side of her spine.
Her limbs tremble, and her teeth clench. The collar snaps, sparks, and
ripples until it pops like a water balloon and vanishes forever.
The burning comes back in the same spot...her estimate is about two
centimeters inferior to the occipital bone and one centimeter from
She knows that. She knows each and every name for every nerve,
muscle, and bone in her body. Her mind moves rapidly, spinning and
churning, taking into itself a tidal wave of information.
Hylo; sut mae?
She knows how to say hello in every language. Even theirs: the
aliens'. It is nanoseconds before her mind has mastered them all. She
knows their name; the closest sounding thing in English is Growwwzarrzzz.
Her consciousness flies high above the earth, and she understands
everything. She can see and comprehend the fission and fusion of stars.
She can see their--the aliens'--spacecraft and fully understands how
their warp engines fold space under them and push the crafts along at
incredible speeds. She also understands their SCALAR technology that
allows them to punch holes in space and travel outside of space-time.
They can cover great distances in moments with the right coordinates.
She understands their information collective--a true Ethernet. They
are able to store everything literally in the air. Just like Pythagoras
envisioned with his conception of the dodecahedron. The information is
stored in the ether. This meant it has a limitless capacity but pretty
awful security. All the information in it, every bit of data filed by
these beings, including the immense data filed on humanity, has pushed
its way into her brain.
She understands why her captor didn't have his own craft. He had to
steal away unsupported by his command and military structure to come to
the earth's surface. He had to come down here on the barest of
supplies. She understands their bizarre social issues and why they
cling to imitations of movie stars as a way to interact. The last time
they attempted to make contact with a new species, their horrible
habits and overall crappy personalities caused a seemingly endless war.
There is a disagreement in the leadership of the aliens. Her captor
decided to take things into his own hands, to force the issue. He
wanted to enslave humanity. The majority, however, want peaceful
relations with us because they feel it fosters loyalty. That loyalty
will be important for....
Oh my God. I have to speak to the president now.
Her mind is not the only thing affected. She knows what the
mini-spasms in her muscles mean. She understands the actions of the
myosin and actin strands in her muscles. Fast twitch muscles fibers
become even faster twitch muscles fibers. How her optic and auditory
nerves gain new and wider pathways. Her strength and senses enhance and
grow like no human's before her.
Her thoughts and point of view return to the lab. She is standing
still, statue-like. She slowly raises her head.
At this first sign of life, Bill asks her, "Cammy, you okay? How are
Cammy slowly levels her shoulders, exhales, and in a comfortable
tone says, "Camellia." She turns slowly, deliberately ignoring the
aliens. "Bill, some things have come to my attention, and I understand
things about these creatures now that the president must know."
Her new articulate tone and confidence confound Bill, but his
training prevents him from betraying his feeling on the matter. He
cocks his head and gives Camellia a look out of the corner of his eye.
"Cam--Camellia, you can't just waltz in to see the president."
"I understand the motivations of... our new friends now. It really
is important that I see him." Camellia is confident and articulate. She
looks over to the aliens and speaks in their language. "Greezz
xerttt oiuty kilretoit, pah to eeet?" ("We are quite an impressive
species aren't we?")
Joe Pesci steps back slowly, glances over to Mary Poppins, and
whispers, "Yuttigg meriout"--"data dump."
He is, of course, describing what happened to Camellia. Quite simply
their data was dumped into her brain. Last time it happened, there was
an immediate loss of cranial integrity in the subject. This time,
however, no such luck.
Joe tries to act quickly. He raises his arm device to fire at
Camellia, but the time it takes him to raise his arm is enough for her
to run up and down two football fields. In a blink she is on him, and
she shatters the device's power core, knowing precisely where to strike
it with what is now her preternatural strength.
Joe reels back, afraid. Camellia relishes the fear on his face
manifesting in flickers of light under his skin and ripples on the
surface. Mary Poppins stands pressed against the wall and speaks in
their language again.
"Fleeks mandori." ("Augmentation as well.")
Bill stands between Camellia and the door. His six-foot--plus, NBA
star body is seemingly a great obstacle. "Camellia, I can't let you out
of here. You can't see the president. We need to lock this down until
we know what happened."
"What happened, Bill--I know that's not your real name, by
the way--was that the enslavement device around my neck had side
effects when removed. It causes humans to attain all the data in these
aliens' stores and enhances physical functions."
Bill nods. "I gathered that."
"Bill, I don't want to hurt you. But--" In a clock tick, she is on
him. She kicks the back of his knee, forcing him to drop to the floor,
then pins his arm behind him painfully. She reaches into his pocket,
grabbing his security badge, and swipes the door open. The magnet
disengages, and she steps through. Bill tries to follow, but she lands
a perfect side kick to his stomach, sending him stumbling with a cough
backward into the room. She slams the door and hears the magnet engage.
Immediately red lights flash, and loud sirens blare. Many locks
engage at once, echoing through the hall as Camellia presses forth in a
confident stride. She reaches a vault-like door at the end of the hall;
it is stainless steel much like a bank vault. It has minimal markings
like the rest: "Lab A."
She tries Bill's badge on the swipe console. It has no effect. She
studies the lock. She can see the bolts entering from four
points--again magnets control the action. This must be held closed by a
large electromagnet. She just has to reverse the poles, and she can get
a massive repulsion reaction to throw the lock open.
She studies the console, flipping open the service panel. Her
fingers tap dance on the surface like a rattlesnake's rattle. In
seconds the lock clangs and the bolts fly open. With one arm she pulls
the door open and enters.
A table to the side of the room catches her eye. On its surface
there are a few items. Her car keys, some CDs from her car, and her
Our Saving Place
She holds it and stares at it. It represents the person she was not
ten minutes ago. Or is she still Cammy in some small way? She is
transfixed. She hears a joint creak behind her; her newly enhanced
auditory nerves have delivered. Camellia turns briskly. A trembling
woman in a white lab coat holds up her hands.
"Please don't hurt me. I am a scientist. My name is Megan."
Camellia glances back at the name tag in her hand and slowly slides
it into her pocket. Camellia is curious as to why this woman is so
afraid. She scans the room to find a bank of monitors near a desk in
the corner. Megan saw Camellia take down Bill and Joe on the security
"I am most certainly not going to hurt you, Megan, but I do need
Megan frantically takes off the badge and throws it to her. She then
returns to holding up her hands.
Camellia walks to the other side of the room and uses the badge to
open the door. There are no sirens or lights in the area beyond. There
is a single hallway with a single door at the end. The corridor is
black, the door is black, no markings. It is about twenty yards from
where Camellia is standing, on the opposite side. The ceiling is an
amazing height, probably twenty to thirty feet.
The door on the opposite side bursts open, and five soldiers pour
out. Dressed in black, they are outfitted with lightweight Kevlar,
heads-up-display eye gear, and, most importantly, P90s.
Camellia's new computer brain springs into action:
The P90 is a selective fire, straight blowback-operated weapon. The
P90 has a cyclic rate of fire of nine hundred RPM (rounds per minute).
The chamber carries FN's 5.7_28mm ammunition. It was developed as a
personal-defense weapon but fills the roles of submachine gun and
compact assault rifle quite well. Its shape is the result of strenuous
research and testing in the field of ergonomics. The P90 should be held
via the thumbhole in the frame. This hole serves as a pistol grip. The
oversized trigger guard provides an excellent fore grip. The P90 fires
from a closed bolt for maximum accuracy. The P90 construction is of
lightweight polymers. The weapon weighs three kilograms (6.6 pounds)
with a full fifty-round magazine.
Guns first then soldiers.
Camellia explodes forward. She knows her speed will allow her a
moment or two to run along the wall. She begins with a somersault
covering seven yards in an instant. She springs up and off the left
wall toward the right. If her calculations are correct, if the first
two shooters have to aim upward, it will block the others from a clear
shot. She is right, as she hears one of the soldiers shout, "Too damn
Her final somersault clears the distance, and she plants herself in
the middle of the gaggle. One inexperienced soldier fires only to send
one of his comrades to the floor, gasping for breath as the bullets
strike his Kevlar. With a series of blows, Camellia strikes each weapon
in the weakest part of the housing, near the trigger guard. The blows
crack the polymer and make the triggers unusable.
She kicks one soldier on the chin, sending him twirling in the air
and landing with a thud, unconscious. Another she kicks in the groin;
he makes a whimpering soprano sound as he slumps to the floor.
Two left. The second to last is dispatched with nothing more than a
deft elbow strike to the jaw, knocking him out cold. She sees the last
soldier--he is standing ready, in a fighting stance. She notices the
captain's bars on his collar. He is the leader. She moves like a bolt,
striking him on the neck against the pneumogastric sheath housing the
fifth cranial nerve, the vagus. He convulses and passes out.
Camellia kicks open the door to find Hugh Grant, a presidential
aide, and the president in a room that resembles an office. At least it
has a mahogany desk in the middle. The president is encased in a
blue-liquid bubble; he is smiling, laughing, and moaning.
A pleasure bulb. Camellia knows what it is. It is a Growwwzarrzzz
virtual-reality entertainment device. The president is... well, who
knows what he is doing. Camellia switches the bulb off via the control
module on the floor near him.
The president emerges as if exiting a psychedelic '60s love bus.
Camellia immediately explains, "Mr. President, the Growwwzarrzzz
want our friendship for one reason: they want us to fight for them in a
war they started. We are much more physically robust than they and many
of the other known interstellar species are. They want us to serve as
shock troops in exchange for technology. You can't let this happen."
The president points to Camellia, a lazy finger from the hip, and
looks to his aide. His right eye squints as if he is trying to focus
through a stupor. "What the hell happened to her?"
Camellia tilts her head back slightly, and, before the president's
aide can speak, she darts over to Hugh Grant. With lightning speed she
manipulates his wrist device. A glowing circle cracks open in front of
them. The circle lengthens to an oval. Camellia dives into it and
vanishes. The coordinates for this localized SCALAR hole are set to a
remote location. Camellia knows she cannot be found. Her mission has
© 2014 Patrick Hemstreet
Bio: Mr. Hemstreet's writing credits are limited, but his
background includes theater, military, and business, all of which have
demanded a significant amount of writing and inventiveness.
E-mail: Patrick Hemstreet
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