Alien Nightmare, Part II: The Return
The final chapter. I'd also like to give a special shout out to Snooky-9093 for guessing the references in an earlier chapter. Have a Happy New Year, everyone!
Life, Captain James Kinchloe decided, was one big game of poker.
The cards you were dealt were only part of the equation. The real fun lay in breaking your opponent's 'code' and figuring out just what kind of hand he held. The same principle applied to people as well.
General Hogan was straight...in more ways than one, Kinch reflected. The man had a lucky streak that would make any poker player - much less a bookie - envious. Even more so.
And we need those odds right now!
Seeing the flesh-and-blood alien from his nightmares had been one hell of a shock. However, he was confident that the General could deal with it. Whatever it really was. However, he aso had had the nagging feeling that the alien was holding something back. He had nothing but a gut instinct to call on, but still...
Or maybe I'm just paranoid.
In any case, he didn't voice his concerns. His boss had enough problems to deal with as it was. Besides, the alien was tied down with steel restraints and leather straps. It was contained.
The conversation between the General and the alien left him perplexed. And, he had to admit, a bit frightened. He had no idea what a 'Matriarchate' was. On the other hand he was amazed when Hogan identified the scientist as a woman. As a matter of fact he was a bit awed; his eyes couldn't make heads or tails of the green creature.
Despite the situation, a faint smile graced the aide's dark lips. Then again, why am I surprised? Some people can find water in the desert. Drop the General in the desert and he'd come back with at least two dates. Maybe more.
Kinch observed the alien while Hogan continued his interrogation. Something was off, he knew.
Without being noticed, he slowly shifted his position to the General's right side. As he did so he slowly slipped the .45 out from underneath his tunic and kept it out of sight behind his back. Narrowed eyes, used to close detail, kept a watch on the alien captain. Even so, he was stunned to see the creature's right hand suddenly snap upward and wrap itself around Hogan's throat. Moments later the other restraints binding the alien body fell away like bits of tissue paper before she slowly sat up. Kinch never felt his mouth drop in shock.
It's been fooling us the entire time!
The visitor, now unfettered, maintained her iron grip on the human's throat as it planted scaly feet onto the white tile floor. Reflexively, Captain Kinchloe raised his weapon and pointed it at the alien.
"Let him go!" he yelled. "Now! Or I'll shoot!"
Without releasing her stranglehold, Captain K'yrk's unconcerned eyes glanced over toward the other officer. The ominous stare from her menacing orbs told Kinch all he needed to know. He took careful aim...
...and stopped, horrified, as the alien casually lifted the American General upward before suspending him in mid-air. General Hogan struggled uselessly against the paralyzing grip, his movements becoming slow and lethargic as his face turned a dark shade of purple...
...and at that moment Kinch returned to reality. The pistol jumped against his sweaty grip as he pulled the trigger. Gouts of greenish blood erupted from the alien's torso as the heavy slugs struck home. An agonizing, bone-chilling roar echoed against the walls of the drab room before the .45 fell silent.
Despite her wounds, K'yrk's arm remained rock steady. In desperation, the black officer threw the now-useless pistol away and charged headlong at the alien captain. He managed to deliver one well-placed punch to one of the creature's wounds before the visitor's other powerful arm slammed into his body. The impact sent the aide flying like a rag doll across the room and into the far wall. Stunned, Kinch attempted to regain his dazed senses and regroup for another charge. Even as he tried to stand up he knew it was too late.
Despite his best efforts, General Hogan was unable to break the clawed lock on his throat. Oddly, Captain K'yrk made no move to finish him off. From the look on her face - and that needed no translation - she was enjoying his vain attempts to wrest himself free from her grasp. It reminded the former POW of holding a bug in one's hand before getting tired and crushing it into oblivion.
For a brief moment K'yrk's red eyes dismissively observed the other human in the room before returning to her prize. The dull pops of a weapon firing - not to mention the unholy roar that resulted - dimly penetrated the sound of blood rushing through the General's ears. White specks of light flecked his vision as he felt himself begin to lose consciousness. Somehow, he managed to pry his right hand from its clutch on the alien's scaly arm and drop it toward his jacket pocket. As he did so, his world suddenly changed...
...and the alien that was choking him was gone. Instead, he was on the ship from his nightmares; Hogan silently screamed as the tip of a clawed finger brushed against his cheek. Red eyes, indifferent to his plight, gazed upon him for a moment before a green hand moved toward a lighted panel. At that moment, a strangled gurgle echoed from across the room. Hogan flicked his eyes in that direction and was startled to see the other alien - the one that had been standing over Schultz - suddenly convulse in apparent agony before slumping to the metal deck.
Without hesitation, the alien beside Hogan slapped her hand on a nearby panel. A strident alarm, accompanied by red flashing lights, sounded throughout the bay even as the creature rushed to assist its fallen colleague. Its efforts, however, were for naught; the second alien soon fell out of view before a bright flash of white momentarily filled the room. The Colonel blinked several times to clear the spots from his eyes before he narrowed them in curiosity. Oddly, there was something perched on the Luftwaffe Sergeant's massive stomach. Hogan blinked once more before his befuddled mind identified the object...
Suddenly, Captain K'yrk's painful grasp returned to his present reality. The alien stiffened, yet made no move to bat away the chocolate bar that suddenly appeared in Hogan's trembling hand. Instead it said something that was drowned out by the roar in Hogan's ears. With a final burst of strength, he thrust the opened bar toward the alien.
The General's world darkened momentarily before his body jarringly hit the hard floor. Air, refresingly sweet, rushed into his tortured lungs before his body convulsed in a spasm of coughing. Just then the door burst open before multiple footfalls entered the room.
"Secure!" voices rang out.
"Are you all right, General?" someone asked.
Hogan glanced upward to see a Sergeant standing overhead. "Yeah, I'm okay," he rasped uncertainly before the NCO helped him to his feet. He shook his head, trying to regain his dazed senses. Kinch, he saw, was already standing up. And the alien...
"Jesus Christ..." General Hammond muttered as he entered the room. His eyes took in the greenish stains that darkened the white tiles before they locked onto the alien itself. As he watched, a soldier prodded the the visitor with the tip of his boot before quickly stepping back behind the ring of armed men that surrounded the prone body.
"I think it's dead, sir," he lamely, if not unnecessarily, announced. Hammond flicked his eyes toward Hogan for a moment before he nodded slightly.
"Get it out of here," he ordered. Reluctantly - and with rifles at the ready - the enlisted men slowly complied. Satisfied, the officer turned around.
"You okay, Rob?" General Hammond worriedly asked. "I can get you a medic..."
"No," Hogan said, rubbing his sore throat. "I'm okay." He then turned his eyes toward Captain Kinchloe. "You okay?" he called out.
"Yeah," the aide rumbled. "She has a hell of a swing, though."
Hammond looked at Hogan in confusion. "She?"
"Yeah," the senior General answered. He pointed toward the still-glowing blue ball. "Some kind of translator, believe it or not. We were talking with her when she broke out of her restraints and tried to choke me. At that point, Kinch shot her."
Hammond raised an eyebrow in surprise. The body, now on a gurney, was being wheeled out; the base commander eyed the wounds in the creature's side. "Looks like you got in some good hits, Captain," he observed, throwing an approving look towards the colored officer. "Good work." He shook his head before he turned his eyes back to the senior General. "Thank God you two were armed," he muttered. "Otherwise..." He let the alternative trail off.
"Yeah," General Hogan said. "We just had the wrong weapon." With that, he picked up the dropped chocolate bar and held it up before the other man's astonished eyes.
"You're kidding me," he exclaimed as the pieces came together in his mind. "A chocolate bar?! You're telling me that you killed this thing with a damned piece of chocolate?"
"Yeah," Hogan nodded. "Strange, huh?"
General Hammond merely shook his head in disbelief again. "No one's going to believe this..." he muttered.
Hogan did not immediately reply.
The formalities, if you could call them that, were brief.
Captain K'yrk soon joined her brethern in a refrigerated locker. Various enlisted personnel were sworn to secrecy. Slightly altered, yet mostly truthful, reports were generated.
Once done, General Hogan and Captain Kinchloe departed Roswell. The two men kept silent until the aircraft reached altitude. Finally, Kinch's voice spoke up above the drone of the engines.
"You scared the hell out of me back there," he said accusingly. Hogan merely shrugged.
"It had to be done, Kinch," he calmly replied. At that, the younger man recoiled.
"Had to be done?" his angry voice replied, taking Hogan to task. "Had to be done? Are you nuts?!" He leveled a narrow glare at the senior officer. "You could have died! As it was, you nearly did! If K'yrk, or whatever the hell her name was, had squeezed a little bit harder-"
"She wasn't going to, Kinch," Hogan interrupted, sending the Captain's face into a mask of confusion.
"Death and honor, Kinch," he said, recalling the alien captain's words. "That's what she said, Kinch. Death and honor."
His former radioman looked at him curiously. "What are you talking about?" he demanded.
"Captain K'yrk might have been a scientist, but she was also a warrior," the General said quietly. "Her mission, whatever it was, had failed. She really believed that death was the only way out for her. I could see it in her eyes."
Kinch considered that for a moment. "Why not just escape?" he asked. "If she wanted to die, then why not let the guards shoot her?"
"Different rules, maybe," the General said. "Renenber what General Hammond said? He said she went berserk when one of the lab rats pulled out a chocolate bar. Maybe she saw that as some sort of suicide." He shrugged his shoulders. "Who knows? Maybe she wanted her death to have some kind of meaning. Honor in death."
"That's a hell of a thing, though," the Captain observed. "Dying in combat isn't something I'd live for."
"Like I said, different," Hogan replied. "She could have killed me, but she didn't. Instead she was wating for me to do it." A sigh escaped his lips before a pensive look passed across his handsome features. "Maybe it was better that way," he finally said, a sad look entering his eyes. "That was the one thing about Stalag 13," he explained. "Eventually, we knew we knew that everything would end and we'd be able to go home. She never would."
"And the chocolate?" Kinch asked. "When did you figure that out?"
"At the last minute," the General said. He recounted his vision to an incredlous Captain. "Before that, I was able to figure out that they were afraid of it for some reason," he finished. "But I never knew it would actually kill them until then." He cocked a lopsided, grin at Kinch. "Hell of a thing, huh?"
"Yeah," the other man mumured. "Makes you wonder what the rest of them were like."
"I'll pass on that, thanks," Hogan snorted before another thought occured to him. "By the way, do you remember when the alien knocked you down?"
"How could I forget?" Kinch groused, reflexively rubbing his sore chest. "I'm going to feel it for the next month."
"She said something right before I...I killed her." the General continued, his voice slightly hesitant. "You remember what it was?"
Captain Kinchloe nodded. "She said, 'May Her Majesty reign supreme.' Her exact words." He gave his boss a shrewd look. "General," his now-formal voice asked, "does 'Matriarchate' mean what I think it does?"
The other man considered the question, then nodded. "Makes things interesting, huh?" he dryly commented. "Sometimes, when I was a kid, I'd look up at the stars and wonder what was out there. Now we know."
"And if there's a whole galaxy full of women, as she said..."
"Then we'd better hope the chocolate never runs out," Hogan said gravely. "If it does, God help us all."
On orders from the High Council, a warship was dispatched to look for the missing frigate. No trace of debris - or more importantly, any survivors - were ever found. It was assumed, for lack of better evidence, that the dreaded Hershey's somehow overcame the ship's crew before the craft plunged into one of the vast oceans below.
With that, the planet Earth returned to nonexistence as far as the Abraxi Matriarchate was concerned. Two destroyers sent to 'explore' the new region of space were given secret orders to keep an eye on the primitive system. The stated reason was unclear, but the penalty was not: members of any craft entering the system - and, just as important, anything leaving the system - were subject to immediate death.
As time passed, elements of the truth passed into legend in the form of a fable. The legend of the dreaded monster H'rshi terrified children of all ages. In the tale, only the valiant warriors of the Matriarchate stood between the dark foe and the utter destruction of civilization. It was a story passed on to generations of young ones who eventually grew to dismiss such fairy tales as nonsense.
After all, monsters didn't exist. It was just a silly, childish story.
A/N: Thanks for reading!