Saturday, April 23, 2011

Green Slime: Earth War Episode 3: Death Drives A Stick


    People across Southeast Asia stopped and looked skyward as soon as the enormous shadow fell over them.  As it passed over, the ship, a saucer measuring an estimated one-kilometer in diameter, elicited both gasps and silence as the flames of re-entry trailed behind it.  The crowded streets of Bangkok froze.  A motorcycle messenger in Burma took his eyes from the dirt road to look skyward and ran down into a ravine.  Even temple monks, isolated with their reclining Buddhas inside dense jungles stopped to gape upwards and utter obscenities.  The ship’s descent continued to slow until it came to a hover just over the Himalayan Mountains.
    Chinese armed forces went on full alert.  Two ATF (Advanced Tactical Fighter) jets were scrambled and sent to recon the object.  As they circled it, the pilots reported no discernible features to the craft, save for its dark hue and the three ice-blue orbs in its aft section that were apparently the propulsion system.  All the while a strange and intermittent signal was being detected as it was broadcast all over the world.  Its point of origin...the newly arrived ship.  Through the glorious invention of worldwide electronic media, news of the alien arrival spread in a matter of seconds.
    And all the while the slime grew, mutated, and then stood fully erect.

    “What the hell is that thing?” Gen. Thompson said, capping his question with a slam of his palm onto the mezzanine railing.
    “How should we know?  It’s only been here for five minutes,” replied Curtis, the diminutive subordinate before taking a sip of his coffee.  He then looked down at the contents of the cup with a pursed and sour mouth and one eye closed.  “Tastes like feet.”
    Thompson stared at the alien craft on the viewscreen for a moment more and then nodded his head as if having made a decision.  Hands on his hips, he turned to his executive officer.
    “Advise the General Secretary to gather every top scientist that she can.  Astrophysicists, oh and maybe one of those chicks that work with the gorillas and chimps.  You know, the ones that teach monkeys sign language and stuff?  They might come in handy.  And where the hell is Rankin?”

    Outside of Lisa Benson’s apartment building, Jack Rankin stood with a portable stereo held aloft above his head.  From its speakers came a song in perfect digital quality, a song entitled “This Time I’ve Hurt Her More (Than She Loves Me).”  Each warble of the vocal and every twang of the steel guitar filtered into the air and escalated the situation to critical mass.  A window on the third floor slid open and Lisa stuck her torso through the gap.
    “I’ve just suffered a death!  Turn off that infernal...” she said before squinting her eyes. Recognition then boiled across her face.  “Jack?  What is that music?”
    “It’s the venerable Conway Twitty,” Jack answered.
    Her eyes and head cocked in thought while she tapped her fingers on the window ledge.
    “Who is this... ‘Twitty’ of whom you speak?” Lisa asked.
    “A favorite of mine.  My way of wanting to make things better, babe,” Jack smiled.
    Lisa disappeared through open window and the glass pane slammed back into place.  In slow movements, Jack lowered the stereo and pressed the “STOP” button.  With a lowered head he turned around and walked in the direction opposite the apartment building.
    “Let’s fly home, Twitty Bird,” he said as he kicked a rock from his path.  “Let’s fly home.”

-The shock on the farmer’s face as he set his beer can down and leaped from the tractor was impossible to describe.  Out of the Indiana cornfields waved tens of dozens of flailing, bumpy green tentacles that were charged with electric current.  Green slime monsters.  All of them headed for his herd of cattle just beyond the fence at the edge of the woods.  In anticipation of raccoon (or whatever other furry animal that might happen his way that could be termed as “them’s good eatin’”) hunting later in the day, he had left a vintage twelve gauge against a fence post.  He knew it was still loaded from teaching his six year-old to shoot earlier in the day.  If he could just reach it in time... Yet that would not come to be as the final thing he ever saw was the blue, springtime sky while the many tentacles dragged him down to his death.

-The Russians met their creatures splendidly and in the only way that they knew how: by blasting the holy hell out of them.  Tanks, troops from armored personnel carriers, and missile artillery were all deployed after laser weapons were found to be more trouble than good (though the beam weapons knocked the awful green things down,  a new creature eventually generated with each blast.)  Even Russia’s new Putin-class attack helicopters flew sorties against the green, lumpy, one-eyed people eaters.   Detonations from explosive ordinance did scatter the creatures to pieces, but heat from the sun eventually helped them to regenerate and coalesce back into form.  As the Russian army hid behind overturned cars and streetlamps while watching the towers of the Kremlin crawl with green...they knew a war of attrition was underway.

-A similar scene played out in New York City.  A solid blockage of cars and trucks formed on the George Washington Bridge as the creatures advanced on the city.  Motorists jumped from the bridge and into the water rather than face the oncoming horde as the wreckage of vehicles flew.  With New York at risk and no other real option available, the military ordered an airstrike on the bridge even though civilians were still present.  Missiles from air force fighters struck the bridge in two sections, blasting it apart and sending it into the sea. 
    This did little however to deflect any harm from the green slime creatures that had already made it across into Manhattan.  The NYPD worked valiantly to keep the populace under control.  But when people come face to face with green, slimy, tentacled, one-eyed monsters, there’s only so much rational behavior one can expect.  There was madness in the streets.  Cars were smashed, trains were ripped off their rails, and still the things just kept coming.  Panic ensued and people ran everywhere.  They took shelter inside stores, strip clubs, or wherever they could.  Several even jumped down open manhole covers for the imagined safety of the sewer system.  Much to their surprise, the creatures followed them and even seemed to enjoy the new environment.  
    A school bus full of kids on a class trip would become the stuff of legend in the years to come.  With a McDonald’s as their Alamo, the kids held off wave after wave of creatures using whatever weapons that they had available.  Cooking knives, hot grease, week-old McNuggets, and even a rocket launcher that a child had procured from a fallen soldier helped them to hold out even when the creatures swarmed the fast food restaurant and nearly caused the roof to collapse under the weight.  Sadly, the U.S. military saw the congregation of green creatures as a juicy target of opportunity and razed the area with missiles from attack helicopters...totally unaware of the little squirms inside.  
    The creatures then seemed to use Central Park as a rallying point.  Thousands of them packed themselves into the grassy, wooded area...leaving only flames and slime in their wake.

-It was Opening Day in Major League Baseball.  In honor of the sports commentator’s retirement, St. Louis had proclaimed it to be “Joe Buck Day” at Anhueser-Busch Stadium as the Cardinals took on the Chicago Cubs.  Just as Buck was about to roll out the first pitch, hundreds of creatures overran the stadium.  As players and fans alike ran and in some cases even jumped from the upper decks, Joe Buck was ensnared by two sets of tentacles and then summarily torn in half in a grotesque tug-of-war.  Though there was the benefit of one of the worst sportscasters in history coming to a just end, Cubs fans were forced to mourn yet another baseball season that was over before it even began.

-To the North of St. Louis, in a suburb of the Cubs’ hometown, Romeo Rodriguez packed his family and as many of his friends as he could into the basement of his Aurora home.  The tattletale sound of sharp red claws dragged along the aluminum siding of the house rang out the news the creatures had found them.  His sister’s baby started to cry and that tipped the things off.  The things pried their way through the basement window and flooded through.
    Romeo’s cousin Julio opened up on them with an automatic pistol.  The .9mm slugs did damage but were nothing against the sheer numbers.  Romeo’s uncle slammed a garden rake into one of them while Romeo himself brought a lawnmower blade to bear on a creature.  Still, he knew it would not be enough. 
The Pentagon was hesitant to use any more military force to stem the onslaught after seeing so many civilian causalities in New York.  But when the President learned that it was Aurora that stood between the creatures and Chicago, a nuclear strike was immediately approved (oddly enough, when radiation-suited emergency responders rolled into the area, little difference could be seen between the town as it stood and the way it looked before the blast.)

-At sea, a green slime monster of titanic proportions rose up from beneath the waves.  An asteroid fragment had hit the ocean floor and the slime upon it was fed by the thermal energy of a volcanic vent.  Given a constant feed of energy, the creature grew to a Godzilla-like height.  As it broke the surface, a Japanese whaling ship was capsized by the ensuing waves.  The whalers, having been knocked overboard, were all spared a demise at the hands of the creature.  Of course with the waters being so shark infested, they were then equally screwed.

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