Humankind has made what it believes to be great strides in the study of its place in the universe — putting a man on the moon, unmanned craft on neighboring planets of Mars and Venus, satellites studying the rest of our solar system and even progressing into deep space. Yet at the same time, we too have been being watched closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own.
We now know that while mankind busied itself with the problems of their little world, struggling with a financial crisis that they believed threatened to plunge them into another Great Depression, they were being scrutinized and studied, much the same way human scientists have studied bacteria under a microscope and watched them swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With complete ignorance of their being watched, people went about their affairs, calm in the assurance of their dominion over this small, spinning fragment of solar driftwood that, by either chance or design, man has inherited out of the dark mystery of space and time.
Across the dark voids of space, there were minds — vast intellects — that coolly and unsympathetically regarded this Earth with envious eyes and drew their battle plans against us. They wanted to make this planet their own. In the ninth year of the twenty-first century came the great disillusionment, showing us we are not alone.
It was late October. Business was better, stocks were rebounding, more men were back at work and sales were picking up. The government bailout plan for the banking and financial industries appeared to actually be working. On this particular evening, October 30, the Nielsen rating service estimated that over sixty-two million people watching their televisions, as the major networks came together to simultaneously air a special to raise money on the final day of Breast Cancer Awareness month.
"Really, it's time that we all come together on this issue ... we have to save breasts like these," joked Kevin James, his hands cupping his own chest. "It's time to call in and help by using the numbers scrolling on the bottom of your screen. Together, we can..."
Suddenly, television screens changed to a Special Report screen and the dramatic music that always seems to accompany them. Across the United States, people were then confronted by Tom Brokaw, Katie Couric, Charles Gibson or Brit Hume — depending on which network they had been watching.
"Space scientists around the world are suddenly buzzing tonight," Brokaw told the NBC audience. "The interest began to pick up about one hour ago, at approximately 8:15 p.m. Eastern Standard Time when Professor Robert Farrell of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California reported picking up several apparent eruptions of incandescent gas occurring at regular intervals on the planet Mars. Spectroscopic analysis indicates the explosions to be largely hydrogen gas and each explosion have sent some sort of projectile object from the Martian surface hurtling toward Earth.
"Professor David Pierson of the observatory at Chicago's Adler Planetarium confirms the Farrell's observations. Pierson now joins us live from Chicago. Dr. Pierson, could you tell us what you have seen?"
"It has been the most unusual phenomenon, with the eruptions, or explosions if you will, almost appearing to resemble a muzzle flash from a gun," Pierson said. "We've never seen anything like this anywhere before and aren't quite sure what to make of it at this point. Dr. Farrell and the team at the JPL are currently working on sending instructions to the Hubble Space Telescope to try and get a closer look, as the Martian rovers are too far away from the location of the blasts to provide any useful information. But the Hubble will take several days before we get any useable images back and processed."
"Dr. Pierson," Brokaw followed. "Reports indicated that the explosions had propelled some sort of object in the direction of Earth. Is this anything we need to be immediately concerned with?"
"At this point, I would have to say there is nothing to worry about," Pierson said. "With the vast distances between the planets, even though Mars is currently at its point of opposition with Earth, which means the planets are currently at their closest points to one another, it would take several months for those objects to travel to Earth. And even when they get here, it is likely they would then break up in our atmosphere like millions of meteorites do each year."
"Thank you Dr. Pierson," Brokaw said. "We will continue to update you with any further developments in this unusual situation, but we return you now to our regularly schedule programming, currently in progress."
Television screens then returned to the Go-Go's performing their 1980s hit "We Got the Beat", with Belinda Carlisle singing and shaking a still very attractive now 51-year-old body as various 1-800 numbers scrolled underneath her trying to induce viewers to call in with donations.
The show progressed for just over 20 minutes, before Special Report screens returned to televisions across the nation.
"This is Tom Brokaw in New York. In what has been a very unusual night in the world of space science, we are now presented with an unusual happening here on Earth as reports are coming in of seismic activity centered just west of the City of Chicago. While not completely unheard of, the region is not normally subjected to seismic activity. Initial reports put the tremors at a mild 4.6 magnitude on the Richter scale.
"We go now to reporter Zoraida Sambolin from our affiliate WMAQ in Chicago for a live update."
"All over the City of Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, calls flooded into 911 centers reporting the earthquake, which shook the area with enough force to knock items off store shelves and put a good scare into a populace not used to such tremors," Sambolin reported. "Initial reports from the U.S. Geological Survey put the epicenter of the quake about 35 miles west of the City, near Batavia, Illinois. Making the reports even more unusual though is that the initial readings from the USGS indicate that the quake was extremely shallow in nature, more resembling a quarry blast or other surface-oriented activity based than normal seismic activity that, in this area, is usually based deep below the surface.
"We also have reports from tower staff at both O'Hare and Midway airports, as well as the FAA Air Traffic Control Center in Aurora, IL, of three images streaking across radar screens just moments before the quake, implying that this may be something more similar to a meteor collision than an actual earthquake. We currently have a news crew on route to the reported epicenter of this event and expect a live report from them in the next 20 to 30 minutes."
"Very interesting," Brokaw answered. "Especially considering the astronomic reports we received earlier this evening.
"We now go back to David Pierson at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago ... Dr. Pierson, could there be any relationship between what we saw earlier on the planet Mars and this sudden, apparent impact just outside of Chicago?"
"Well Tom, the quake took us quite by surprise here, but I see it being virtually impossible for the incidents on Mars being related to this event in any way," Pierson said. "Even though Mars is at its closest point to the Earth, the two planets are still approximately 232 million miles apart. Considering the elapsed time between the two events was about an hour, which would mean the objects from Mars would have had to travel nearly a third of the speed of light. As hard as it is to imagine any solid object traveling at that incredible speed, even in the vacuum of space, it's hard to envision an object safely making it through all the interstellar debris and holding together all the way to earth while traveling that fast. And traveling that fast, it would likely have been destroyed upon impact.
"Still, we have been requested by NASA, on behalf of the President, to send a team out to investigate whatever impacted the Earth and help determine its origins. I will be leading that team and we plan to depart here as soon as we can get our equipment loaded."
"Very interesting Professor," Brokaw said. "We'll let you get back to your work. As we also have a team on the way to the site, will you update us when you have any new information?"
"Thank you for your time then," Brokaw closed. "That was Professor David Pierson of the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. We now return you to our regularly scheduled...
"Wait, we are getting new information. Let's go back to Zoraida Sambolin in Chicago. Zoraida..."
"Yes Tom," Sambolin said. "We are now getting reports from the Batavia, Aurora and Warrenville areas that police are getting hundreds of calls about sightings of a huge fireball falling through the night sky. It is believed this has been caused by a large meteorite that has landed in the vicinity of the Fermilab facilities, located in Batavia, Illinois, approximately 35 miles from our location here in downtown Chicago.
"For those unfamiliar, Fermilab is a large particle accelerator and physics research center. The positive note is that because of the nature of the accelerator, the impact appears to have occurred in an open area of over a square mile that houses the underground accelerator rings, meaning that nearby residential areas would likely have been spared the brunt of potential damage from the impact."
"What about potential damage to the research facilities?" Brokaw asked.
"There's no way of knowing at this point," Sambolin said. "It would depend on exactly where the impact was and we have no reports on that yet. We should have more information as soon as our crew arrives on the scene."
"Thank you Zoraida," Brokaw said. "That's it for right now, but we'll return as soon as we have any more information on the strange happenings of this evening. For now, this is Tom Brokaw returning you to our regularly schedule program."
In Batavia, the NBC news crew turned into the Fermilab entrance, surprised at the lack of security as they drove in. In the distance, they could see a bright glow and that's where reporter Anthony Ponce drove toward, as cameraman Bob Thompson climbed in the back of the van to start gathering his camera equipment and power up the satellite transmission equipment so he could get the tower elevated and ready to transmit as quickly as possible.
It wasn't long before they discovered why gate security had been so lax, as site security forces and local police struggled to keep back a crowd numbering in the hundreds.
Portable lighting had already been brought to the site to help with the investigation and it, along with the flashing red and blue lights atop security vehicles and the smoke from the crash site, created an eerie shadow scene as security fought to keep the crowds back from what was clearly a large impact crater.
Ponce wasted little time in heading for the scene and started looking for potential interviews. He was told by one of the security force that they were told to wait for a Professor Pierson from Adler Planetarium, as he would be heading the investigation. Knowing he had an in there, he told Thompson to get some shots of the crater to use as a lead-in shot to their report.
With the zoom of the television camera, Thompson was able to get a reasonably clear shot through the smoke into the crater. What he saw didn't look anything like a meteorite.
Instead, what he saw were three objects, each about 15 feet long, four feet wide and shaped almost like a giant flashlight as one end of the tube widened out for the last few feet to be about seven feet wide. Making it even stranger was the top surface of the wider area, where the lens of a flashlight would be were a pair of plump ridges that, at first thought, resembled a pair of pussy lips.
He showed the image to Ponce through the viewfinder.
"Whaddya think Anthony," Thompson said. "If I didn't know better, I'd say those were three gigantic Fleshlights down there."
"You mean flashlights?" Ponce responded.
"No, Fleshlights," Thompson said. "It's a kind of sex toy for men ... don't ask how I know ... but you'd slip a hard cock in there at the top where it looks like a pair of pussy lips."
"You're right," Ponce said. "Those do look like pussy lips. Tell you what — unless they start to do something, try to keep them out of the shot. Don't need the FCC coming down on us for showing sexual images."
"I'll do what I can," Thompson said.
It was about this time that Professor Pierson arrived on the scene and he and his team were quickly escorted inside the ring of security forces to start their investigation. Ponce managed to get the Professor's attention as he crossed through security and he and Thompson were able to follow.
"This is absolutely incredible," Pierson said as he walked to the edge of the crater. "I have never seen anything like this before. This is absolutely amazing."
Things quickly got even more amazing, as the narrow end of each of the objects began to open and a ramp dropped down to ground level. Then, something began to emerge from within.
They appeared to be huge penises, walking on a pair of balls that had to stand about four feet tall and swung one before the other like large round legs. Above that was a thick, but limp shaft that stood about three to four feet about the balls. There were 12 of these creatures that emerged from each object, which would now have to be called a ship.
The crowd stood almost slack jawed, unable to comprehend the site before them — 36 huge cocks waddling around on a big set of balls. Professor Pierson urged security not to shoot, wanting to see if the creatures had come in peace.
Things got even stranger then, as the creatures waddled to the other end of their ship and formed a line. The first in each line then plunged back inside the ship and began to thrust in and out between the lips. And as they plunged, they began to grow taller, firmer, and stiffer. Eventually, they reached a full-size of almost 12-feet tall.
After the first creatures reached full size, they pulled back and then next creature started its thrusting and growing process — almost as though the creatures were gang-banging their own ships.
This was too much and someone in the security force fired a shot toward one of the now fully-erect penis creatures. The first thought was that it had been hit, as it began to turn a dark red, almost purple near its gigantic head. But then it responded with an attack of its own, as a stream of thick white liquid fired from the top of the head and engulfed a group of several dozen people in its sticky ooze.
Worse yet, the crowd trapped in the goo began to scream and writhe in pain.
"It appears to be some kind of alkaline solution they are shooting," Pierson said as he pulled Ponce and Thompson back from the brink of the crater. "Those people are suffering massive caustic burns."
Not for long. After only a few brief moments, all those trapped in the puddle of thick white goo were dead.
All of this was caught by Thompson's video camera, which was feeding raw footage back to the studio in Chicago via the satellite transmitter in the news van. Little did he realize that this raw footage was going out to a national audience on all four networks — as Ponce and Thompson had been the only news crew to reach the site before all of this began.
One by one, the creatures all completed their sexual dance with their spaceships, growing to their full size and towering above the crowd. Police and security repeatedly fired at the giant penises, but their bullets seemed to have no effect on the creatures. Simultaneously, the creature's goo attacks were merciless, wiping out large numbers of security and spectators with every shot. The crowds quickly began to run for their own lives.
"This is absolutely incredible," Thompson said taking cover in a small outer building near the main lab facilities with Dr. Pierson. He continued to try and shoot the scene through a crack in the door and he had no idea where Ponce had gone, but the camera-mounted microphone was now transmitting his words around the country and even around the world.
"The main body of creatures has retreated back into the crater, allowing emergency personnel to recover the bodies of those killed in the goo. Strangely, the goo seems to break down after just a few minutes into a thin, clear liquid, allowing firemen in hazmat suits to retrieve the badly burned bodies and bring them out to identify them."
The network had no way to communicate with Thompson, as only Ponce was equipped with an earpiece. The network soon learned that was not going to be an option, as Ponce's body was among those identified among the deceased at nearby Mercy Hospital. So it went with the raw feed from Thompson, occasionally with Brokaw and other experts talking over the images and reminding viewers that these images and words were coming unedited from the scene of what was now being called an invasion.
Science Fiction /