They scattered like cockroaches to various
areas around the dimly lit room before the half-breed entered. Father crouched
behind a chair on the other side of the table. Jack dropped Sarah’s clothes and
squeezed under the bed, scraping his shoulders on the metal bed frame. Willis
saw no place to hide except behind the door as it opened.
A half-breed entered the room, paused for a moment, and
glanced back at the open door as if it was trying to remember whether it had
previously been closed all the way or not. He did not notice Willis, who was
attempting to flatten his body in the crevice between the wall and door, like a
mouse squeezing through a narrow passage.
Tucked into a dark shadow, Father watched as the half-breed
walked over to Sarah, who was sleeping on the bed. Lightning flashed through
the window, leaving a momentary green aura around the alien’s robe and gray,
bald head. Using its long fingers, it dipped them into the canister it held and
pulled out a thick paste. It reached under Sarah’s sheet and rubbed it on her
From beneath the bed, Jack saw skintight silver boots peak
out from under the half-breed’s robe. They were so formfitting they appeared to be similar to a layer of thick lizard
skin. He could hear it doing something to Sarah above him. He held his breath as
it stopped what it was doing and stood still as if it were listening for
intruders before it finished its task and walked back out of the room, closing
No one moved until they were sure the half-breed was not
“What the hell was that about?” Willis asked, not moving
from his spot.
“I was wondering the same thing,” Father said as he rose
from behind the table.
Jack scooted out from under the bed, scraping his already abraded shoulders. He nudged Sarah. “It’s Jack.
Wake up and get dressed.”
Sarah groggily opened her eyes. “What?”
Jack picked up Sarah’s clothes and sat them on the bed
beside her. “Quick, get dressed we have to get out of here.”
Her hand trembled as she pushed strands of hair away from
her forehead. “Jack, what’s going on? Where am I?”
Father and Willis turned their gaze away as Sarah sat up,
at first not realizing she had no clothes on. She immediately pulled the sheet
under her chin when she noticed her clothes lying on the bed beside her.
“Hurry, get dressed,” Jack urged as he looked at her
uncovered legs. The candles cast a radiant glow on her smooth skin.
“Stop looking at me.”
Jack turned his back toward her. “Okay, make it fast.”
Sarah dressed quickly. When she stood to buckle the belt on
her jeans, she felt her abdomen. “What’s this stuff?”
Jack turned around and looked at the creamy white
concoction spread on her skin as she lost balance and sat back down on the bed.
“We’ll talk about it later.”
“Can we look?” Willis asked.
“Yeah,” Jack said, helping Sarah stand.
Father and Willis walked over to Sarah, relieved they had found her seemingly unharmed.
“Jack, we should find the computers and Tony and Clare,”
Jack handed Willis his
cell phone. “Text Clare and tell them we have Sarah and we’re going to find the main
Willis sent the text as Jack slowly opened the door. He
looked out into the hallway, motioning the rest to follow. He led them down the
stairwell to the back door where they exited into the storm. Thunder cracked as
heavy rain soaked them. Jack looked
around the corner toward what appeared to be the building that Max had pointed
out to him.
“What do you see?” Father asked as he pulled his black
clerical jacket over his head like a tarp.
“It’s hard to make anything out through the rain, but I see
the building I think we need to get to. It’s red and connected to the reactor,”
Jack said. “Unfortunately, it’s behind another fence and guard shack.”
Suddenly a shriek came from inside the building they had
“Was that sound the storm or one of those things just
realizing Mom is gone?” Willis said, pulling the hood of his sweatshirt over
his head as he wiped the pouring rain from his face and eyes.
“We’d better get out of here, Jack,” Father said.
Jack looked around the corner again. “I don’t see anyone,
so I don’t know if they’re in the guard shack, the building we’re heading to,
or someplace else.”
“Let’s just go for it,” Willis said, holding Sarah’s arm to
keep her from falling.
“We’re gonna have to,” Father said. “That alien will find us
Jack looked back at Willis, then at Sarah. “Willis, watch
your mom. Let’s go.”
They ran along the fence to the guard shack. The torrential
rain acted like a cloaking shield, blurring them into the background. Jack saw
two people with AK47s go inside the building where they had held Sarah. With
Jack leading the way, they ran through the guard shack gate to the engineering
building, then burst through the main doors, feeling like rats escaping a
flooded sewer drain.
Panels of computer screens, dials, knobs, and buttons lined
the walls. Long tables in the room had monitors, keyboards, gauges, and
telephones, reminding Jack of NASA’s Launch Control Center.
“Where the hell is a USB port?” Jack shouted as he took the
wet flash drive from his soaked pocket. Water dripped from his clothing onto
the floor, leaving a slippery path on the beige tiles. “I see everything except
what I’m looking for.”
“Here,” Willis said sitting down at a desk. “Give me the
Jack handed it to Willis who promptly pushed it into a port.
“They’re coming,” Father said looking through the rain
pelted glass of the front door.
“Is it infecting the computer, Willis?” Jack asked, his
jawline was tense. He nervously wiped the rain from his eyes as it dripped down
from his wet hair.
Monitors flickered. “I think so.”
A human with an assault rifle and a half-breed reached the
front door and entered the building. They stopped when they saw Jack, Father, and Willis with raised weapons standing
“The half-breed’s mine,” Jack said, aiming his Kimber
toward the drenched figure. Its wet robe
clung to its skinny body.
Willis and Father focused their weapons on the human who
was aiming back at them with his assault rifle.
Jack glared at the half-breed who returned eye contact.
“Stay right there, you bastard.”
The half-breed looked confused. “My name is Rausuca. I mean
you no harm, Jack.”
Jack looked at Sarah, who was standing next to Willis.
“That’s him,” she sneered.
“You piece of shit,” Jack said. “You raped Sarah. I should
kill you right where you stand.”
Then two half-breeds entered the far end of the room from
the reactor side. They stopped as Rausuca held up his hand. Willis turned and
pointed his Winchester in their direction.
“How do you know my name?” Jack asked, Kimber still pointed
at its moist head.
“We know a lot about the people of this planet, Earth.”
Rausuca looked at Sarah, who was pressing a hand to her throbbing temple. “We are from Zeta Reticuli and are here to
stop the wars, cure disease, and heal the planet. Something your people have
not been able to manage.”
“I want to kill you,” Jack said. “My trigger finger is
getting a little antsy.”
“You do not want to do that,” Rausuca said calmly as if it
felt no shots would be fired at him. “I am the ruler of this region and I need
to produce an heir who will be supreme
commander to my people and a messiah to your people. If any harm comes to me
all of you will be destroyed, even Sarah.”
Sarah was slowly regaining her senses. She looked at
Rausuca with disgust as images of what he had done to her in that room flashed
through her mind. She was about to speak when the lights of the facility
started to flicker, and all power went out. After several seconds, the
emergency lights powered on.
Rausuca began speaking in broken clicks to the two
half-breeds across the room. They drew weapons similar to a small wand and began walking toward them.
With inhuman speed, Rausuca grabbed Jack’s gun away from
him with one hand and clenched his neck with the other. “It is quite a powerful
human feeling to have this dominance over you. And as I savor this moment,
Jack, I can tell you the human feelings
of mating with Sarah were quite pleasurable. Do you want me to tell you all
about it? I could tell you how she
enjoyed every moment, as did I.”
“Don’t listen to him, Jack,” Father said, his handgun still
pointed at the human with the AK47.
Jack tried to break free but seemed paralyzed, unable to
move his arms and legs. He tried to speak but was mute. All he could do was
look into the half-breed’s cold dark eyes.
“Instead, I will end
your life.” Rausuca brought his wand up to Jack’s temple but before it could be
activated, a long, straight blade swept between their faces in a blur, striking
Rausuca’s hand, causing him to drop the
Sarah lunged for Rausuca’s
weapon. She picked up the golden stick as Willis began firing at the
approaching half-breeds. She turned
around to see his shots being deflected as if there were a shield around them.
The golden rod made her hand tingle as she
pointed it at the half-breeds. She felt no buttons, levers, or any type of
trigger, but nonetheless, the wand shot a
beam at the two aliens who fell immediately to the floor.
Then Tony and Clare ran through the front entry. The person
with an assault rifle pointed it at Tony just as Father shot his leg, causing
him to cry out in pain. He bent over, grabbed his bloody extremity as Clare ran
up to the human and held her .44 Magnum to his trembling head.
“Give me your weapon,” Clare said. “Or do I have to kill
you and take it that way?”
The man slipped the sling over his head and sat the rifle
on the floor, leaving bloody handprints on the stock. Clare picked it up as
Tony ran up behind Rausuca and held a bowie knife to its throat.
Rausuca released his grip on Jack when he felt the knife
blade against his throat and saw Sarah pointing his weapon at him. Jack dropped
to his knees. Sarah ran over to him and tried to help him stand while still
aiming the wand at Rausuca.
“Sarah, you must be careful with that,” Rausuca said. Tony
pressed the knife blade deeper against Rausuca’s
throat, drawing blood as he spoke. “It has the power to destroy us all.”
Just then, the professor came in through the front door,
gasping for breath from forcing his overweight body to keep up with Tony and
Clare. He saw Rausuca and approached him, breathing heavy breaths inches from
its face. “You’ve almost destroyed the human race, I find that appalling. You
could’ve approached us on friendly terms, and we could learn from each other.
But right now, I want nothing to do with your kind.” The professor inhaled
deeply and let out a large moist cough, spewing infected droplets into the face
Rausuca tried to break free from Tony’s grasp but was
unable. “You imbecile, what have you done?”
The professor smiled. “I just exposed you to the flu, a
virus that I’m sure you have no antibodies for. Sarah’s contagious too, so
anyone who’s come into close contact with her or any of us will get sick and
Tony’s biceps flexed as he spoke with a Dirty Harry voice
close to Rausuca’s ear. “All the power plants of the world that you bastards
are at are now infected, so I suggest you call your cohorts and leave this
planet because there are more viruses where that one came from.”
“You think that exposing us to a virus will kill us? We
have been to this planet many times and have never been hurt by your viruses.”
“But not half-breeds,” Sarah said, coughing. “Your human
half will get sick and who knows how that will affect your alien half. You’re
certainly immunocompromised and likely to die.”
For the first time, Rausuca seemed concerned. “May I have
my device back?”
Sarah looked at the gold metallic wand in her hand. She
felt a cold, electric sensation in her fingers as she pointed it at Rausuca.
“This is mine now. Besides, I think you’re powerless without it.”
“I hate to mention this,” Father said. “But what exactly
are we supposed to do with them?”
Jack regained his strength and retrieved his Kimber from
the floor, pointing it at Rausuca’s crotch. “I think we should put an end to
“Do not be hasty, Jack. I
think we can work out a deal. We have been protecting your planet from
the galactic war for decades in exchange for interbreeding. Your government has
already agreed to this.”
Jack hesitated, unsure how to process what Rausuca had just
told him. “What did you have in mind?”
Rausuca looked at the motionless half-breeds spread out on
the floor. “Let me live and we will leave your planet.”
“What about the terraforming, zombies, and spider drones?”
“All activity will cease.”
“I don’t trust him,” Jack said as his shoulder twitched.
“I don’t either,” Tony said, keeping firm pressure on the
blade against Rausuca’s throat.
Then a warning alarm sounded, “Sixty seconds to core
meltdown.” A large red button on the emergency shutdown panel glowed, waiting
for confirmation to fire explosive bolts that would blow the control rods into
the reactor, stopping a nuclear reaction.
Rausuca’s voice was raspy from the blade’s pressure. “You
thought you were so clever shutting down
the reactor but instead there will be a meltdown and you all will die.”
Rausuca looked up toward the ceiling and in an instant, he, the dead half-breeds, and the
wounded human had vanished.
“Where’d they go?” Willis asked, walking over to where the
bodies had been.
“I think they were transported to their ship,” Sarah said.
“Thirty seconds to core meltdown,” the warning blared.
“What do we do?” Jack asked running over to the emergency
shutdown panel. In a frenzy, he raised his arms in despair as he looked at the
mock Christmas display of flashing lights.
The professor ran next to Jack and examined the panels,
buttons, and flashing red lights.
“Ten seconds to core meltdown,” the alarm sounded.
The professor held his hand over a glowing red button with
the words IMMEDIATE SHUTDOWN COMMENCE. “I hope this is the right button,” he
said. He pressed it and stepped back.
No one said a word as they waited for a sign that the
professor had made the correct decision or whether they should run for their
lives. Loud booming sounds came from within the reactor as if it were getting
ready to explode and release radioactive fallout into the air.
Then the audio system announced, “Reactor shutdown
They all looked around at each other as smiles formed on
their faces; they began to cheer and exchange hugs and high-fives in triumphant
Jack pulled Sarah close and held her tight. The jubilant
commotion reminded him of the reaction in the control room at NASA’s Jet
Propulsion Laboratory when the rover Curiosity had landed safely on Mars.
“I can’t believe it,” Clare said, clapping her hands above
her head. “We actually did it.”
“Don’t get too excited,” Jack said, still holding Sarah
close. “There’s at least one more human with an AK47 that may be out there.”
“Thanks for bringing us down, Jack,” Sarah teased, nudging
him with her arm.