Okay, this is the final episode of the Anomalosity series. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think, about this episode or the entire series. I do want to hear from you.
Radom gunfire came from the direction of Forest Lakes North. The group of people in the great room of the cheesy house became quiet. Heads swiveled northward.
“What’s the word from the roof?” Loularoo asked.
A woman on the roof called down, “Can’t see anything. Just a vehicle coming this way.”
Stephanie and Jason look to each other. Perhaps it was word from the camp?
“Am Here has become more communicative over time, but he’s also become more enigmatic,” Stratos said. “Eddy, ask him how he wants us to help him depart.”
“No!” Eddy cried.
“Eddy,” Stephanie said. “He’s your friend. Help him. Help us.”
“No,” Eddy shouted.
“Eddy, there may be something we can do to save lives.”
Eddy became quiet, a tear running down the side of his nose.
Pete turned the SUV into Forest lakes and got passed on by the pickets there. Before the aliens he had sometimes repaired internet service at Forest Lakes homes. Most were cheesy built but nicely cared for. Now it was overgrown and blighted. Forest Lakes north was not so bad off, a number of military types had held things together there. But there was a clear divide between north and south.
Pete found Loularoo’s headquarters easy enough. A rag tag group of men and women were standing in front. He entered and found the interior open and bright, even though sheets hung over windows on the sunny side of the house.
“Pete!” Jason called. “Are we glad to see you! What happened at the camp?”
“I don’t know. People were still running when I left. Rogan’s probably got rescue and repair going. Some of our people got messed up.”
“What about the aliens?”
“They left right after you. And I mean after you. I knew you were coming here, so I came as fast as I could to warn you. And it’s not just cylinders. Those tall creepy aliens are with them.”
“I suspect the cylinders are merely hunter-killers, and the organic aliens are for more delicate work,” Stratos said. “Our alien friends have a stratified organizational chart.”
“What do you mean,” Nostrum asked.
“Take our friend, Am Here. He exists in Eddy’s computer. How did he get there”
“Go ahead, tell us,” Loularoo said.
“He must have come over the web. We know that all equipment governed by electronics stopped working. How is that? It’s because these aliens didn’t just send us a computer virus. They sent themselves.”
“You mean they’re the virus?” Nostrum asked.
“No. The electronic milieu is where they live. They’ve somehow managed to upload themselves from their corporal bodies into an electronic one.”
“I don’t get it,” Jason said. “Some are like the tall creepy aliens, and some are pure energy like electricity. Were they born that way?”
`”No. You see they select some of the flesh and blood aliens to be uploaded to their electronic milieu. They exist there, and as long as their electronic milieu exists, they exist — perhaps forever.”
“But Am Here wants to stop,” Eddy said.
“That’s right, “ Stratos said. “How do we help him do that. And do it fast, as his compatriots are almost here.”
Loularoo turned to one of her clan and motioned towards the laptop. Stephanie and Eddy moved aside so she could see AM Here’s screen. It was flashing three dimensional brilliant red.
“All right, everyone,” Loularoo commanded. “Prepare to repel boarders!”
“Think of it,” Stratos said to Nostrum and Stephanie. “These electronic aliens can by their thousands exist on a memory card. Their spacecraft can be totally devoted to drive systems and navigation.”
“What about the corporal aliens?” Stephanie asked.
“Maybe they go along in suspended animation, to be pulled off the shelf as needed. I wonder why they bother with the corporal bodies at all? Machines would be better.”
“And why bring their animals here?” Nostrum said. “They have a soft spot or something?”
“Maybe that’s why they fear Am Here. They have a soft spot that may respond to him. They need to reeducate him.” Stratos shrugged. “All speculation of course.”
“Is Loularoo’s geek making any progress?” Stephanie asked.
“Just ask me,” the woman said.
“Okay, I’m asking.”
“Can you upload a virus that will wipe the computer clean?” Stephanie asked.
“I have something that should work, but who knows with Am Here in there. Shall I try?”
Stratos and Stephanie nodded. The woman inserted a thumb drive into the USB port.
The roiling screen slowed and became two dimensional, the grainy. Then as though a sump opened, the screen went black.
“It’s dead,” the woman said. “Wiped clean.”
“Am Here,” Eddy cried.
The sounds of gunfire and screams drew nearer.
“Do we run?” Loularoo’s asked.
“Can we wait just a moment?” Stratos said. “I don’t know what to expect. But Am Here is gone. If that means anything….”
A tall dark shadow appeared behind the french doors shaded by a bed sheet.
“Hey, hey! We have company!” Stephanie yelled.
The whole french door and its frame burst into the living room. The bed sheet bellowed to reveal a giant figure, its face like smooth iron with dark divots where eyes and mouth should be. It’s feet were huge and splayed, its hands huge and clawlike.
“Shit!!!” somebody yelled. “Run!”
There was a mad scramble in all directions.
“Stephanie!” Pete yelled as she dove in the direction of the alien for the laptop. “Leave it!”
“Like hell,” she said.
Pete drew his Bersa and fired three shots into the alien. It staggered momentarily, long enough for Stephanie to get to her feet with the laptop and run.
“That ugly shit trashed my house!” Loularoo yelled.
“Shut up and run!” Stephanie spat.
Jason was about to overtake Stephanie when the ringing sizzle of a cylinder’s beam cut him down.
“Shit! They’re after me!” she yelled.
“Toss it over here, Steph,” Pete called.
The laptop sailed through the air. Pete one handed it and tossed it into the back seat of the SUV. He jumped in and went squealing away.
“Follow me!” Loularoo yelled.
Stephanie, Stratos, Nostrum and Eddy followed at the run. They cut through back yards, down a hill, and came out on a walking path by the road. Pete came screeching around the bend. Three cylinders emerged, skittering up the other side of the road. Sizzling beams pierced the SUV. It swerved, scraped along a guardrail and stopped.
“Get in,” Stephanie said, as calmly as she could.
Nostrum and Stratos tried to get in at the same time, struggled, and tumbled out.
“Oh, shit!” Stephanie muttered at the unnecessary delay.
The cylinders were just feet away. She drew and fired once and sent one spinning.
“Here!” Pete gasped and handed Loularoo his AR.
She hefted the AR and squeezed off 10 shots. Most of the rounds ricocheted off the pavement around the cylinders, but several impacted and staggered them.
“Get in, get in, get in!” Loularoo yelled, and squeezed off another 10 rounds. She crawled over Nostrum to get into the back of the SUV, and emptied the magazine through the rear window.
“C’mon, Pete! Let’s go!” Stephanie shouted, her ears ringing from the gunshots in the confined space of the SUV.
The SUV scraped away from the guardrail.
“C’mon, Pete!” Stephanie yelled. “Step on it! They’re almost on us!”
The SUV rolled slowly.
A volley of squealing beams pierced through the tailgate. A burning smell penitrated through the smell of gunpowder.
“Pete! Let’s go!”
Stephanie stretched a leg over the center console and stomped on the accelerator. The SUV leaped forward. She gripped the steering wheel and straightened the SUV’s course. It was then she saw that Pete’s torso, arms and legs were streaming blood. She barely had the SUV under control, her body twisted backwards to their direction, head turned awkwardly to peer over her shoulder. The SUV started to drift to the right, she over corrected, then over corrected again. The vehicle lurched from side to side, its front wheels finally catching in a drainage ditch, jolting the SUV to a sudden stop. Groans erupted from the back seat.
“What a bad driver you are,” Loularoo said. “Open the back hatch so I can get out.”
`Oh, shut up!” Stephanie muttered, pushing herself from between the dashboard and Pete’s body. She walked around to the rear and opened the hatch back. Loularoo, Stratos and Eddy crawled out.
“What about Nostrum?” Stephanie said.
They opened the rear door. There he was, slumped forward, two holes the diameter of pencils in his back and one in his head.
There came the metallic skittering sound.
“What will we do?” Loularoo asked. “On foot we’ll never get away.”
`”Let them have the laptop,” Stratos said. “We have the thumb drive. We’ll go back to your headquarters and find your computer woman. Maybe we can find a way to enter her virus into their whole system.”
Cylinders came into view, their crazy skittering legs a blur of motion.
“It won’t be long before those big fellows show up,” Stratos said. “Leave the laptop in the SUV and let’s move away. We’ll see where their attention is drawn.”
The four of them crossed the road and climbed up an embankment. Three cylinders approached and splayed their rear legs so their business ends pointed at the group.
Stephanie and Loularoo slowly raised their guns.
“Wait,” Stratos said. “They could have killed us by now. Let’s brave out a moment or two and see what happens.”
Moments later three humanoids arrived, floating about ten feet above the ground. At first it looked like they themselves were floating, but as they neared it could be seen they rode upon a featureless rectangular conveyance. Its surface was dully reflective which made it hard to see.
They floated down next to the SUV and dismounted. One reached in and emerged with the laptop, while the other two stood facing the group. Then they remounted their vehicle and floated off, as though on a flying carpet.
The cylinders turned about and made off on their crazy skittering gait.
Eddy whimpered. Stratos laid a hand on his shoulder.
“Don’t worry, Eddy. Am Here is no longer in that laptop. He no longer is.”
“C’mon,” Stephanie said, rushing down the embankment. “Pete’s hurt, and Nostrum too, and Jason back at the house.”
But Pete and Nostrum were dead. Stephanie attempted to back the SUV out of the ditch, but it would take a tow truck to free it. They began the walk back to Loularoo’s headquarters.
“We’ll find a way to insert the virus into their web and short circuit them out of existence,” Stratos said.
“How now, Stratos!” Loularoo said and thumped him on the shoulder. “We’re two Englishmen saving the world from aliens, just like Wellington and Nelson saving the world from Napoleon.”
“Oh, shut up,” Stephanie huffed.
The sounds of fighting had ceased, but crying and anxious voices came to them thinly over the distance. New columns of smoke rose skywards.
“With my computer guy and the NGIC brains, if any are still alive, we’ll find a way to plant the poison in their teeth. Then we’ll only have to deal with their monsters, humanoids, and cylinders. We can do it like that!” she said and snapped her fingers.
They became quiet. Especially Stephanie. Two friends were dead, and third probably was.
This story ends without resolve, mainly because I want to get on with other stories. My view of what later occurs is that the alien machinery all ceases to function. In trying to reclaim Am Here into their fold, the aliens upload something which shorts out all of them. They all cease to exist. Was it Loularoo’s virus? Was it Am Here, playing possum to in order to re-enter the aliens web and sabotage it? We earth dwellers just don’t know. We are left with the organic alien creatures left behind, the organic virus they carry that is so deadly to us humans, and several collosal alien spacecraft that will over time fall out of orbit and crash into the surface of the earth.
How does that leave the earth’s survivors? In a post apocalyptic world.
Hmmmm… Maybe the germ of a new set of stories!