Raym has a disturbing insight into his own future

I remember being human but the memory is fading.  I vaguely remember love, something that propelled me onward, now I sense it as a rapidly dispersing jet-stream.  My love-based momentum is fading and slowing. 

I try to recall why and how I came to be what I am now but it is difficult. I am being absorbed by the hive mind, a oneness that is warm, comforting and has purpose. Perhaps this is what love felt like. I no longer know. I must remember why I am here, I am not one of this species although I like this simple existence. There was an important reason why I ceased to be human, I must try to remember what happened to me…

The pain in my human body is excruciating. I sense that limbs are broken and missing. My fresh wounds have been cauterised by the intense heat of the lasers that have terminally damaged my undernourished female form. The battle playing out around me is chaotic and terrifying to watch, but my priority right now is just experiencing my next precious breath. Comrades lift me and carry me from the heat of battle to a wagon and then into a dimly lit underground place with rough but clean bench-tops, a field surgery.  I am placed next to one of those repulsive creatures we fight, it too is barely alive and restrained. Its soft, six tentacled, aquatic form looks vulnerable outside of its armour. 

Now I remember the oath I took and feel sick to the core at the realisation of what will happen to me next, maybe I actually vomit, I am way past caring.  Other women look down at my broken body. I see such love and compassion in their eyes, I feel hot tears roll across my face.  

Be strong little sparrow. They telepath. 

Your time with us is over, you were never meant for battlefield duty but our need was great and you were brave.  We love you and honour your choice to continue to fight for freedom in the resistance. Remember your training, remember us, remember how much you are loved. We love you. 

This small group of battle-hardened women weep as they wait for my final approval to attempt the unthinkable.  My throat is dry and my consciousness weak but I am able to nod, blink my eyes and attempt a crooked smile as they commence a process which has already cost many lives and which may not succeed.  But we are in desperate times, overwhelmed and close to extinction. Our men are long gone, women now are all that is left of our once dominant and careless species.

Nobody had any inkling of what SETI’s Aricebo message would invite onto our lush green Earth with its simple broadcasts about our planet and species. Nobody thought that other distant species would have the all too human trait of resource plundering, enslavement, domination and destruction…

I was a child playing in the fields near my home when it started. Without any warning on a clear bright Autumn afternoon they came in their thousands, fast and merciless. Puncturing our sleepy reality from that clear blue sky, in their weirdly organic, gravity defying ships. Contradicting our known laws of aerodynamics and physics they moved left-right, up-down at ridiculous speed. Before our armed forces and governments grasped what was happening all military infrastructure and communications networks were trashed and modern weaponry rendered totally useless. Planes fell out of the sky, rockets exploded on their launchpads, submarines sank – never to resurface.

Electronic equipment, engines and weapons involving bullets, shells, rockets or lasers ceased to function in an instant. Crossbows, arrows and simple explosive devices were all that was left to the those who fought back. A few tried gamely to form themselves into something cohesive. In the weeks that followed the initial attack, we naively thought we had a chance.

Then the wholesale slaughter of men began. Ignoring all females they targeted the alpha males in the military and government through direct attack then later through their creepy, insidious male killer virus. That horrible bug that took my sweet baby brother and disfigured my dying father. It was awful and things did not get better.

From baby boy to grandfather they died rapidly and in their millions.  The intention was to create a slave race of the apparently more passive females, who would work for food, water and shelter.  There was no concern about reproduction or regeneration of the dominant Earth species as their project would be complete before they ran out of able bodied slaves.

Ma, me and my aunties fended for ourselves. It was harsh but not as bad as in the cities, we heard tales that made your flesh creep. At least we had clean water and food. Life was not as brutal and violent as any similar survival situation might be with men, but it stole my girlhood and after Ma was killed, turned me into as fierce a resistance fighter that any woman could hope to be.

No attempt was made by the invaders to dialogue or treaty. As human colonists have done on countless occasions, their aim was to subjugate, enslave, exterminate the uncooperative and take what they wanted.  In this case fresh water, a resource so abundant that most people, apart from desert dwellers, took it totally for granted.

Everyone knew this steady, massive depletion spelled inevitable disaster for the planet and all beings living on it. The resistance grew slowly. Although its weapons were primitive, like all insurgent groups it relied on fast surgical strikes to inflict damage and disruption. Its actions were more symbolic of a resolute and resilient human spirit than a threat to the invaders. However the invaders became irritated and took reprisals.

They would completely destroy any hamlet they suspected harboured the resistance. Those who were killed had no idea what was about to happen. It was as if a the hand of God appeared out of the sky, razing everything in an instant. This meant that the resistance was not welcome anywhere; most people thought we were wasting our time anyway.

I joined the sisters when I was a still a girl. Joined, well I was more adopted really. Ma dead and aunties half crazy, I was a stinky little sewer rat, barely surviving on scraps and the patchy goodwill of others on the edge of survival themselves.

We travelled in small groups scavenging as we went. By the time I was bleeding I knew how to rig a lethal explosive device, break down, clean or repair any weapon in our small arsenal, as well as make a good feed from, rat, rabbit, cat or dog, as long as it was not too long dead. We were expected to fend for ourselves. Theory was that the big sisters could be killed at any time so we best know how to manage on our own. So I became a huntress, small and as lean as a leopard.  

Our faded hope, and there were cults based on this hope, was that the aliens would only take some of our water and leave us. It was obvious to most sensible people after 20 years of occupation that this was a foolish dream.

Now as a grown woman I know nothing of men, they are a fairy story in my life. I remember my father’s smile but as a woman I have never known a man’s touch. The old ones talk of a man’s love as being overpowering, they talk of the sensuality of having a heavy man lie on top and push himself hard inside that sacred place of the goddess. 

The love of a man is beyond my comprehension, only the crones give it time and share their moist memories. I know the love of the sisters and it is good, we share soft love, passion and delicious sex. What I don’t know I don’t miss. I will never be touched by a man.

The senior sisters worship the Goddess and some are able to communicate in the way that our ancestors once did. They do not use this thing called wireless electricity they use their minds and their hearts. They use trances and herbs and we rely on them for news from across the planet.

The world I knew as a child has changed forever, most of humanity is a subspecies of obedient workers.  A few do well as stewards and go-betweens, living a life of comparative luxury. Others live on the fringes surviving on their wits, supporting the resistance.

The invaders care nothing about the way humans organise themselves, only that the harvesting of fresh water continues.  No one knows what they do with it or get from it, only that their appetite for it seems to be insatiable and continues 24/7.   

Parts of the globe away from fresh water are left relatively untouched, save for an absence of men and boys of all ages, a scarcity of consumables, lack of TV and formal schooling. 

Indigenous communities have thrived and a subculture based on ancient beliefs and healing arts has grown. Goddess worship has become commonplace and old mainstream religions have floundered. None had an answer for the ubiquitous devastation which was obviously manifested by ETs. 

There are no schools, hospitals are ruthless triage centres for those injured at work, the elderly are discarded when they are no longer productive and the young are prepared for work early.  

The invaders have proved to be unstoppable, resistant to every kind of attack.

Over time desperation has led to a bizarre and far fetched idea being germinated, nurtured and haltingly hatched, through the resurrection of long forgotten esoteric techniques, this do-or-die plan is our last hope.

Terminally injured freedom fighters can, having given prior agreement, have their consciousness transplanted into the body of an injured ET. Theoretically enabling total immersion and acceptance on the Mother ship, creating the opportunity for sabotage.

Desperate times lead to desperate measures…

I take my last breath as a human being, struggling to control the fear of becoming one of the hated ones.  No one has any idea how the transition of consciousness affects us as none have ever come back or communicated from the other side. To date no mission has succeeded and we have only the vaguest notion that the transfer works at all.

I enter the consciousness of the six limbed one, I breathe through my skin, the air is repellant, unnatural but acceptable.  It is nitrogen rich and lacks the sulphur and carbon dioxide I prefer. I sense humans nearby, I am far from the hive and I fear.  But the humans are not aggressive and do not harm me.

The dead human female next to me looks familiar. I remember what I must do next.

I lift each of my limbs separately slowly, familiar but new and very strange.  I repeat the pattern remembering my training.

One of the women speaks “It looks like this transfer has worked, she is in there, bless her.  God only knows what she must be going through. Bless you little sparrow, be swift and remember us. We promise to bear your boy child when you succeed. Remember us, we love you.”

“Leave her on the battlefield and be sure they discover her, there is hope if we act quickly; she will be subsumed into the hive cloud and her individuated consciousness will fade.” 

Be strong little one…

Years have past and I am at peace in the hive, there is comfort in serving our one purpose. I felt different once. A long time ago I had more feeling, but now I am hive and I serve.

I am nearing the end of my eight year lifecycle and will soon cease to be. I help now in the control room of the mother ship. It feels right that I am here. There is some thing I must do here but I have forgotten. Our domination of humans has been slower than expected.  We exterminated the males expecting the females to be passive slaves but some are not.  Why do they resist the inevitable?  

Resist. That word is special. It means something I must remember.  I like being hive, it is comfortable.

I brush against another of my species, it feels different, like me.

Sister, you have found me.

A human voice startles me, it speaks inside my being.  

Sister, do you remember why we came here?

I have a sense of being human. I was human once, before now. I remember a battle, intense pain, sadness and my own death. I was little sparrow, nicknamed after the commonest of species most resistant to extinction. I remember my purpose. In turn I help my sister remember, I do not know her, only her purpose. Together we help each other recall why we inhabit these alien bodies and why we are here.

The hive is sleepy. It will take a while before they realise our purpose.

Move slowly but with purpose.  I am senior here and understand how to break this thing we serve.

I follow instructions carefully and slowly so as not to draw attention to our actions. However the hive mind notices our separation and purpose and is concerned. There is no failsafe, the hive mind is the failsafe and it is disturbed.

Now little one, together we must do this at exactly the same time, copy me.

For freedom!

For my unborn son!

A flash of intense brilliance as I and everything around me for many, many miles is vaporised. All species within a huge radius are terminated, including humans. I feel sadness for the Earth species I have killed but I know that those that remain will be free.

I experience the exquisite trauma and bliss of my own death.

I draw air into my aching chest. “Light.  I am the light.  I am light, I am one with everything. I am!  Alpha and Omega…”

I feel a hand gently shaking my shoulder.

“Raym, come back into your body, you are too loud, you are frightening customers in the shop downstairs.” My assistant Bryony’s concerned face looks down on my convulsing body as I open my eyes, drawing deep irregular breaths.

Seeing I am OK her tone changes “You tell your students never to lie in the crystal matrix alone, you should take your own advice”.

“Just finishing some parallel reality business.” I gasp breathlessly, enjoying the intensely physical sensations in my aching body, the fresh clean air in my lungs and my freedom.

All stories are © 2019 Raym Richards and are extracted from his book “Sprit World. A diary of an Urban Shaman” available through iBooks and Amazon or directly from Crystal Dreaming