Tag Archives: aliens

Error by Erika Lance

To Nicole who submitted through the website. I hope you enjoy!

Geocode was not successful for the following reasons: ERROR

Martin looked at the screen again. This couldn’t be correct.

The data within the system had taken years to gather. It was the most in-depth analysis of humans that had ever been undertaken. Every other sector’s numbers had computed perfectly.

Martin, as the humans had called him, tried again: ERROR

He pulled up the zone in question on the map. It was an affluent neighborhood in the state of California in the country called the United States.  As he scrolled though the information, he also began the diagnostic protocol.

If there was any chance of zeroing in on the error and getting off this planet which was at the farthest end of the galaxy, contained behind a rather formidable asteroid field, then he would have to find and correct this ‘ERROR’ and submit his information.

As the images rolled past, one in particular caught his eye. He scrolled back and pulled it up. At first glance, it seemed fairly mundane.  Small children played in an area of grass and sand. One of them was using some kind of plastic item that was launching soap in the shape of circles in the air. He knew what they called them… Bubbles!

He zoomed in on the bubble that had just been launched. There in the reflection he saw not a small earth child standing there, no, this was something different. This had gills.

At first, a smile crept across the human mouth he was wearing. He had found the error. Then almost as quickly as it had appeared, the smile vanished.

These were not humans.

A feeling of dread began to build within him. Was this possible? he thought to himself.

He knew that this planet had been studied before; it was a terribly good resource for certain mineral components and the inhabitants were still behind in technology that any time they saw a potential visitor it was dismissed. This is what made the idea of full planetary reaping so appealing to his high ruler. But here it was, right in front of him.

He moved to the genetic samples that had been taken from that region. Although they were ‘mostly’ human, there were other markers.  When he broadened the scan, he found them to be traces of Reedbarnt gene sequences.

They were hiding here. How?

He had to submit this right away.  This was above his pay-grade.

Pulling the arm-sleeve of flesh from his right hand, he extended his small gathering of tentacles to the screen. Although he was mandated to leave the human covering on for the length of his mission, he knew that what he had to gather and send would take hours if he had to use the small human appendages.

He gathered all the evidence and sent it to his superior. He then reattached his arm-sleeve and paced up and down the ships data storage area. This was a human habit, but he knew that he could not remove the whole flesh suit without it deteriorating.

It was many earth hours before he received a reply.

It said only one thing: Abort!

 

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Be Careful What You Ask For … by Désirée Matlock

For Mark Reale

 “And then the alien’s claws reached around the door.”

The fire crackled as Joe’s voice hitched excitedly. Leanne chuckled; we were all enjoying the game.

I should never have joined in. It all started last week when Jimmy won an RV and a camping trip in a drawing.  He’d invited us all along. I’d agreed, but that had been before the week I’d just had. The worst week of my life. We had agreed we were going to follow all the camping tropes, hit all the high notes of camping. As city people, we’d all gotten excited at the idea of the great outdoors and some drunken carousing. Of course, now… I definitely was no longer in the mood.

A few minutes ago, the six of us had been gathered around the campfire gossiping when Penny had started it by saying, “It was a dark and stormy night, and the wind was creaking through the trees in the moonlight.” My gut had dropped, worried she was going to tell a ghost story. No. Let it be witches or monsters… I prayed silently to myself.

Then Joseph had added the next line, “The dark of night was suddenly broken as a spacecraft crash landed deep in the woods. The only thing nearby was a cabin with six friends who were camping.”

I had relaxed; aliens were a safe subject.  Joe raised his eyebrows at each of us and pointed in a circle to really drive home his point that he was talking about us. It was ridiculous enough that I’d even grinned. I really should have walked away, but I was interested in hearing the story, and it seemed safe enough.

Marla sitting just to Joseph’s right had bounced up and down in excitement as she realized it was her turn, “Um, okay! Hmmm… They had no idea the danger they were now in, but they heard the noise and went to investigate.”

Marla then gestures to pass the torch to me, and I’d added, “The UFO appeared to have been cracked in half from the impact, but the driver’s seat appeared empty as the six friends approached.” This was getting fun, and we were still on the subject of aliens, so I was letting my guard down. Foolish.

After the week I’d had, I should have had no interest in hearing any scary stories. After all, I’d been living one. But, we had agreed that we were going to follow all the typical camping tropes, and really get the most out of our free camping trip. And of course, the campfire tales were one of said tropes.

In retrospect, I should have warned my friends. Or stayed away, or told them what the gypsy had told me.

It was finally Leanne’s turn, and she added, “They all wandered back to the cabin, disappointed that they had not found any alien visitor… And…. now they were planning to call the authorities about the UFO. However, when they returned, they found that a tree had knocked out the phone and electric. It was as dark as night inside the cabin, and their flashlights did little to brighten the gloom.”

“Nice one, Leanne,” Jimmy complimented her. The two of those were probably finally going to sleep together if left to their own on this trip. If I knew Marla, she’d be watching to divert one or the other of them. We had all agreed years ago it was a stupid idea to let them sleep together, and she’d been their unwitting chaperone ever since. So far so good, we figured.

Leanne batted her eyes at him, and then downed her third beer in one long gulp. Uh oh.

Penny watched in amazement, and then realized it was back to her now. “That’s when…” and gestured to Joseph.

“Aw that doesn’t count!” Marla stood for a second. “Needs to be longer than that!”

“Too bad!” Penny laughed and leaned back. No arguing with her. It was Joseph’s turn.

“Okay, let me see.” I got worried that Joe was going to change the topic.

“And then the alien’s claws reached around the door.”

I watched Marla as the story circle reached her. Suddenly I realized, as I watched an ethereal spooky look cross her face, that she was about to change the subject matter entirely.

“No!” I whispered, terrified my friends would learn my new secret.

But Marla’s words were coming out anyway… “And that’s when the ghost appeared.”

And it did. Oh boy did it.

I crumpled to the ground, passing out against my will. I watched, horrified and disembodied, floating above the events as my own form rose from the ground, white and semi-transparent, completely transformed into the appearance and presence of Lady Arabella Forester, the angry woman who had been living within me for the last six days. I hadn’t meant to become her host, but damned if I could completely get rid of her.

—–

As she tromped around the fire, scattering embers and screeching nonsense at my friends, I desperately tried to figure out what to do! What could I do, as a disembodied self, I wasn’t that skilled at helping. I tried getting back into my head, but Arabella is quite fiesty. She really doesn’t like to share; my body being male doesn’t seem to stop her.

It took all five of my friends to get me back into the RV and lock Arabella away. She banged around the RV quite a bit, bruising and slamming my body around, quite distressing to say the least. My friends were trying to work out what to do, and what had even happened.

“What the heck is wrong with Paul?” Marla said.

“Hell if I know,” Jimmy added. “Maybe he’s possessed?”

Joe added, “He’s lost his fucking mind is what’s wrong with him. Your story freaked him out.”

“My story?” Penny said, in disbelief. “We all did that. It’s just a ghost story, for god’s sake!”

I floated disembodied above them trying to tell them to speak the spell. I should have spoken earlier. I should have told them the gypsy’s spell. Dammit! Too late now.

I finally pushed my way into Leanne’s body. She twitched hard. Leanne fought me tooth and nail, trying to force her way back up to the surface, but I managed to get all the words out. “Fleeby Taboora Pamnacht!” I said, even though it sounded ridiculous, because I knew it would work. It sounded strange in Leanne’s drunk voice. But hey. The only way to do it.

Joe started freaking out that now it was happening to Leanne, but the banging in the RV stopped, and I turned to the others, in Leanne’s tiny little body. I whispered that it was safe to open the doors, but no one was allowed to mention ghosts again around me. They all nodded, stunned into silence.

Leanne’s body passed out and I went black. A few hours later, when I woke up, I was in my own body.

Jimmy and Marla smiled at me, while Joe handed me a piece of chocolate. “S’more?”

Everyone looked shaken up, but thankfully no one mentioned anything.  I sat up and asked for graham crackers, the fire warm and comforting to watch. I really was glad we were all getting together.

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I Love My Job by Anne Cargile

The psychobabble was getting out of hand… it was time to really kick this group meeting into gear, and he knew exactly how to get that done.

Rick stood up. The force of his movement threw his chair back hard enough that it slammed into the wall behind him.

“Enough! Are we all done with debating whether green candies are better than red? They are both apple for crying out loud!” Rick practically shouted. “We have much bigger issues to discuss, and I for one would like to get to them before the day is completely blown.”

The room fell silent at his outburst and every head turned to stare. Rick looked at the faces in front of him and pinched his nose in frustration. He loved his job he told himself while he counted to ten.

“It is very important to understand the psychology of color versus taste Mr. Shuman,” said Manix. Rick stared at the blue Denebian and let out a long-suffering sigh.

“I know, Manix. Different species do have different perceptions of color versus taste, and I really do understand the importance. I’ve read all the psychology studies on humans, Denebians, Arcturians and so on. But we have been stuck on this one issue for over an hour. I’d like to make a suggestion to get this meeting moving in the right direction. If I may?” Rick asked, his tone as modulated as he could manage.

Various heads, and other appendages, nodded in agreement.

Once Rick had the room in agreement, he brought up the first point on the agenda that had caused the argument, red or green for the new apple flavored candy their client wanted to put out on the interstellar market. The working title for the candy was Gapple Gobs, which Rick personally thought was ridiculous, but had proved incredibly popular in surveys on Deneb and Capella.

“We’re going to settle this right now,” Rick began. “Please raise your hand, or appendage, or whatever it is you have if you think this candy should be red.” Arms of various types went up around the room and Rick did a quick count. “Then it’s settled. The majority of the room prefers red. Next item on the agenda, where are we on the test candy surveys?” He looked around the room and pointed to Manix.

Manix cleared his throat and Rick groaned internally. That sound indicated a lecture and Rick knew from experience Manix’s lectures were always long and boring.

“You have 3 minutes to summarize, Manix, please. Starting now,” Rick said and clicked the stop watch function on the table.

Two hours later, Rick thanked everyone and went back to his office. Once inside, he closed the door behind him and went straight to his desk, where he pulled out a bottle from deep in his bottom drawer. A beautiful Scotch, imported from Earth–Rick knew he needed a good pull to calm his nerves. I love my job, he told himself again as he uncorked the bottle and took a swig. I love my job.

His desk chimed and he saw the latest report on another client’s product flash up. A three hundred page study on the psychological appeal of putting twirls onto candy strips. Rick sighed, knowing he was going to have to slog through yet more psychobabble before he could go home that night. He took another pull on the bottle, recorked it, and sat down to start reading.

I love my job, he kept saying to himself as he pulled up the first page.

His desk chimed again, a video message. Looking for any excuse not to read the report, he clicked play. A holograph came up of a rather beautiful human female. Rick sat up straighter in his chair.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Shuman. My name is Carla Henries and I represent Hershel Candy. We’ve been extremely impressed with your work and would like to know if you’d be interested in a meeting to discuss a possible change in employment. We are expanding into new product lines and think you would be a perfect fit for our Director of Production. If you are interested, please accept the invitation attached to this message. I hope to hear from you soon.”

Rick sat back and let out a little whistle. What a woman, he thought. What a promotion, too. Before he could think himself out of it, he accepted the invitation. He was getting tired of Mars anyway and he was pretty sure Hershel Candy had their headquarters on Neptune.

Two months later…

The psychobabble was getting out of hand. Rick looked around the conference room and felt a sense of déjà vu. The faces were different, hell, the planet was different, but the arguing and the stupidity were exactly the same. He sighed deeply. He’d accepted the job at Hershel Candy, and things had started off smoothly enough. He no longer had to read three hundred page reports on the psychology and sociology of food choices, which was a bonus. He had a nice little thing going with Carla, which was a real bonus, but Rick learned quickly enough that production was just as bad as marketing. Under discussion currently, and getting contentious, was whether to tint the wrappers of the new candy, working title Silver Butter Bombs, or leave them clear.

“Enough!” Rick shouted. The feeling of déjà vu was even stronger when the room fell silent at his outburst and every head turned to stare. Rick looked at the faces in front of him and pinched his nose in frustration. He loved his job he told himself. He loved his job.

 

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