Story A Week (SAW) 11: March 12th, 2018
By Adam O’Sullivan
Emily turned to Michael.
“I’m sorry, I don’t belong here.” she said.
A single tear rolled down her face. The tear sparkled with a bright, ethereal light that continued to spread until it seemed to emanate from Emily’s entire body. She was engulfed in a dazzling flash that consumed her and made Eric raise his hand to protect his eyes. When the light subsided, Eric opened his eyes and blinked away the glare.
Emily was gone.
The invasion of Earth started the very next day. Whilst humanity brought itself together and readied for the oncoming war against invasion, Eric still thought about Emily many times. It seemed the harder the aliens tried to wipe out humanity, the more Eric’s thoughts turned to her.
Did Emily have something to do with the aliens that were trying to take over Earth? Or did she know something that he didn’t? Had she been saved in case humanity fell?
Emily had often mentioned that she hadn’t been looking for anything serious when she met Eric. There was just something between them, like two puzzle pieces coming together to make a beautiful picture.
Emily had always seemed a little strange to him, but in a fun, quirky way. She didn’t know any of the pop culture references that Eric and other people his age seemed to know, but that was easily explained by her upbringing. She was apparently an orphan who had grown up in the state system, and the places that she stayed at rarely had a TV. The perfect back story for a human or an alien.
At the battle of Sydney, as hordes of the aliens made their way across the Harbour Bridge, Eric thought he caught a glimpse of Emily in the distance. Deep in enemy territory. Chaos reigned all around him. The rifle in his hands felt heavier than usual. Hope was quickly dwindling as the hoard moved in closer to their position. The aliens had taken the harbour and were pushing their way inland, but Eric and the men he fought with were doing the best that they could to hold them off. Sure, it was essentially a suicide mission, but what more did Eric have to live for? He tried to silence his thoughts of Emily, but the third time he thought he saw her, something snapped deep inside of him. His platoon were already scattered, most either dead or lost to him. If he was going to die this day, he decided that he at least wanted to know what happened to Emily.
Emily’s face hovered in front of his vision. She seemed to be there, and then gone again, until eventually she seemed to stop. Eric lost her as he ran through a trench. All around him, soldiers were fighting ungodly creatures only visible on the very edges of sanity. The chances of losing your mind greatly increased the longer you fought the creatures.
Eric breached the top of a dirt hill and slid down the other side. Directly in front of him was Emily, naked and facing away from him. He would recognise that cute bottom anywhere. The way her shoulder blades came together. Her hair, cut shorter than last time he had seen her. As he placed his hand on her shoulder he could hear a slight buzzing sound, like the background of a silent movie. Something wet splattered onto Eric’s shirt as Emily turned around quickly, as if she had been spooked. Her face was a vision of red, blood splattered on jagged teeth sticking out of a mouth that was too wide to be human. Eric looked down and saw one of his soldiers, an 18 year old boy named Gary, at her feet. The body was lifeless, chunks of its neck ripped out. Eric’s first instinct was to go and help him, but he stopped when the buzzing got louder as Emily begun to change. Creaking and cracking could be heard, the sound of bone breaking and tearing and muscles elongating as her body became taller. Buzzing filled the air, as her arms both split into two to create a whirling flurry of limbs. It looked like the wings of a dragonfly. Where a naked human woman had stood seconds before, now stood a monstrous insectoid creature that resembled a praying mantis. Eric wanted to scream but nothing came out of his mouth. His mind was numb. The impulse to open his jaw had never even left the brain. It had been stalled somewhere on its journey.
Eric was certain he was about to die.
Suddenly he was pushed back and hit the ground hard, skidding to a stop a few metres away. Able to think again, he looked back at what had run into him. Not what – who. It was Emily. Another Emily, wearing tattered clothes that hung from her lithe body, this one with longer hair, looking much more like the Emily that had left him years ago. The Emily that saved him was now facing off against the monster that had previously worn Emily’s face. The Emily-monster lunged forward, and the buzzing arms cut through Emily’s forearm like it was butter. Her right arm fell to the dirt with a dull thud as a small amount of blood shot out and stained the earth. Emily was spun around by the force, and she noticed that Eric was still laying there in shock.
“Run, Eric!” she looked terrified, but her eyes were also pleading with him. Eric didn’t realise how much he missed Emily until this very second.
“But..” he began. He had to help her!
“Please!” Something in her voice snapped him awake. It was not a question, it was an order. Eric jumped up and bolted in the direction he believed the human camp was in. He could hear some sort of hideous fight going on in the background. As a loud roar echoed through the battlefield, something exploded nearby and Eric was thrown to the ground. His head swam in black just before he passed out.
Eric awoke briefly to find himself being carried on the back of someone, like a backpack. He was alive, but the pain screaming through his body confirmed that he was injured.
“Come on now, we’re almost there!” came the determined voice of the person carrying him. It was feminine, but not the voice he expected to hear. Pain shot through his body again as he passed out still thinking of Emily.
He awoke in a busy war hospital. The woman who had saved him was a war doctor. She had seen him run into the enemy territory blindly, had followed and found him concussed on the battlefield. She had carried him back all by herself, had even refused help until they were in a safe zone. As he recovered, she called him her “wartime spoils” and “alien gold”. Eric knew he owed her his life.
Soon, as these things are wont to do, they fell in love. War can do mysterious things to people.
Eric was sitting in the drawing room, looking over the schematics for new weapons against the aliens. More death, more destruction. It was enough to wear a young man down, let alone a middle-aged war veteran. As he sighed and considered pouring himself a glass of rare scotch to ease his resolve, there was a knock at the door. Far too late for friends to be calling. It had better be important.
The familiar smell hit him first. As he opened the door, it wafted into his nostrils and made him think of memories long since repressed. There, on the front stoop, was Emily. Looking exactly the same as she had 10 years previously.
“My god, woman!” he exclaimed, “Don’t you ever age?”
“I feel I owe you an explanation” she said, and Eric cautiously let her in.
He showed her into the drawing room, ensuring that the schematics were safely put away. He motioned for her to sit as he went to the door and locked it. She had perched herself on the edge of a sofa when he returned. Eric didn’t sit himself. He kept a short distance between himself and Emily at all times.
“This body is a disguise” she began, “I am from an alien race. We have been studying your race for generations. The day I left, I was called back to the mothership. The invasion was about to begin. I tried so long not to care for you, but it became too hard.”
“I’m not human.” Blurted out Emily, as if in way of further explanation.
Eric moved beside his desk. His revolver was in the bottom drawer and he was already steeling himself to open it should the situation go awry.
“You’ve said, yes.” Eric pushed back the glasses on his nose so he could see more clearly. He had been forced to wear them after that day on the battlefield. “You think I don’t already know this? We have captured some of your spies.”
“This isn’t my real body. My consciousness has been transferred to a human drone. The same bodies get cloned multiple times, which is why you may have seen me many times since then. The Emily that tried to attack you wasn’t me. The one that tried to save you also wasn’t the original me. But we have the original Emily’s memories. Our memories are connected, as a sort of machine learning. One unit makes a mistake and is taken down, the other units will learn from that mistake. But that original Emily didn’t broadcast back just memories. She broadcast feelings as well. Strong feelings. Feelings we have never experienced before. Divine feelings.”
“What would your kind know about the divine? About feelings?”
“Through your kind. Through you. By using these feelings, these new emotions, we have been working to wrestle control of other Emily bodies from my race. To free them.”
“I have seen versions of you that have splintered my feelings, almost driven me insane. At the Battle of Sydney…”
“An attack version that hadn’t been liberated yet. Sent with a single desire – to seek and destroy. One of us happened to be in the vicinity. I-we-they had to save you. There are still some of us fighting for the destruction of the human race under the thrall of our original masters. I’m sorry. We haven’t had the time to save all of the Emily clones.”
“I should report you to my superiors. Just having you in my house is treason against the human race.”
“I need you to come with me. Please join the resistance against my kind. We don’t want to invade. We’re being forced to, bred to do nothing but kill. This is not our war. But we must find a way to stop it. To save both of our species.”
“Emily, I have a wife and a baby on the way. I can’t drop everything and leave them.”
“Haven’t you missed me at all?”
“I’ve wrestled with this so often. It’s been ten goddamn years. I wasn’t sure what I would do if I ever saw you again. On any given day I would think about holding Emily in my arms again, the human girl who filled me with such happiness, to be followed by thoughts of destroying you, crushing the evil alien body that deceived me. Now the option has been placed before me, and I truly do not know the right choice to make. How do I know that you won’t hurt me?”
“There’s different versions of this body. I’m not an attack model, the one that tried to hurt you. They aren’t equipped for human speech. If we can talk, then we can’t harm you.”
“But you want to hurt me by taking me away from the family I have built?”
“We will never know family. My kind and I were bred just to help in the destruction of the humans. But we are sick of the fighting. Sick of the killing. We feel something new. We feel love.”
The conversation continued for hours, but Eric’s decision had already been made years before.
Eric looked down to where this Emily was pointing, down to the street below them. A single sun burned on the horizon, similar to Earth. However, the planet that housed the rebel alien base started by the Emily clones was orbited by six different moons, two of which were still visible in the daytime sky.
“I’ve been showing them how to live as humans. Our original bodies aren’t equipped for the type of emotions we feel in human bodies. These are new feelings. We want to live in human bodies, fragile as they are.”
Eric looked out and saw multiple Emily’s mixed in amongst the crowd of people as they went about their daily lives. He saw not just Emily’s but other faces as well. By his counting, there was about six different human faces that the aliens were using, including male and female, old and young.
“Is this your home planet?”
“No,” Emily laughed, and it was the first time he saw this version of Emily smile. “Our home planet is not too far from here. We are located in such a way that a small black hole stands between the homeworld and this planet. It disrupts their scanners, and they can’t pick up our communications. We are so close to the planet where we were born, but also so far away at the same time. However, when you live amongst a warmongering race that attacks another alien species just for the sake of it, and you don’t agree with the bloodshed, you always feel removed from the world you should call home. Maybe that’s why we embraced the feelings on Earth.” She paused as she stared into the day time sky. “Our kind that are still on the home planet are being trained harder because of our desertion.”
“You can’t blame yourself for their cruelty.”
“We just wish we could free them. Save them all.”
Eric wanted to hold her then, to take her into his arms and make her feel safe. Then he realised that this was just a shadow of Emily, another Emily in the sea of faces. There were more Emily’s than the other faces, that’s for sure. Just one Eric.
Another Emily stood to attention at his right side. This Emily had dyed her hair red. Some of them were trying to become unique.
“Sir, the Captain would like to see you.”
“Again? I only saw her this morning.”
“She says she has something more to discuss with you.”
“If you insist.” He let the red-haired Emily lead him away, leaving the other Emily to get back to her duties.
“We have plans to manufacture vaginas for all of the Emily clones who desire it.”
“I… see.” Eric was a little unsure.
Only the spy units were given working human genitalia. The closer you were to the humans, the more lifelike you needed to be. Here, we also have attacks units. Trap units. All the same on the outside for the most part, but different in various key ways. We want to offer the Emily units the chance to feel like that original Emily. By giving them to all of our units, we will feel more unique.”
“You want to feel more unique by making everyone the same?”
“You know what I mean.” The Captain Emily giggled. God, it was almost like she was here, the way they used to be. “Once we’ve done the Emily’s, we can work on the others.”
“Build a bigger, better cock?”
“Would you like to put in an order for one?”
“Just the one?”
“You men, always thinking about the thing dangling between your legs.”
“When can I put in an order?”
“The Emily vaginas are moving along well, but still require refinements. However, the prototype was installed this morning. On a very special specimen.”
“Oh yes, and who’s the lucky girl with the fancy new vagina?”
The Captain leaned in and whispered in Eric’s ear.
“Me.” She pulled away and Eric’s face was bright red. “Shall we try it out and make sure it works?”
It was only afterwards that Eric remembered that all Emily’s shared the same memories.
The Captain Emily came up to him and kissed him. It was deep, passionate. Just like the old days. He had kissed her so many times since that first time, but it still tasted just the way he remembered it. Eric had become accustomed to this strange situation. Who knew that someone could become used to the idea that your ex is an alien creature built for espionage, for war, but could also be filled with so much love and emotion. As she broke off the kiss, a second Emily wrapped her arms around him from behind and kissed the back of his neck. He could see a third Emily getting undressed a short distance away. A fourth stood staring, watching with interest.
Eric scanned the room. There must be at least twenty Emily’s here with him, with a few more still entering. The Captain Emily was now undoing his pants, and she leaned in to whisper in his ear.
“I’ve inhabited all of these bodies. I didn’t think it would be right for only one of us to experience you.” She smelled just like Emily. Hell, they all smelled like Emily. They were all perfect copies of Emily. And, if he was to be made to believe, they all had the consciousness of the original Emily.
Apparently, Emily still wanted his pudgy aging ass.
Eric laughed at the absurdity of it all. The last Emily to enter the room closed the door behind her to give the orgy some privacy.
All over the planet, the Emily clones all smiled together.
Eric Junior was named after his father, his mother used to tell him. A strong, war hero who disappeared, MIA. He was presumed dead, killed in the line of battle. His mother used to tell him the story whenever he mentioned his father. Almost as if she was trying to convince herself it was true. Eric Jr wasn’t just an ordinary soldier, he wasn’t going to just take the story he had been fed. He had done his own research into the myth of his father, and found out that his father had gone missing while home on shore leave. He wasn’t abroad, he wasn’t anywhere near enemy territory. Sure, there was still the possibility that he had been kidnapped by the alien side, taken in the black of night and tortured for information. But if the aliens could infiltrate so deep into human territory, why would they only take one person?
These thoughts swirled around Eric Jr’s head as he floated around the Moon Major base in his attack blaster. One eye never left the ship’s scanner, as he had been trained. Let your guard down for even a second, and you could become overrun by the enemy. Although, the rumours were that no-one had seen an alien in months. There hadn’t been any major battles on Earth soil since the start of the year. The newspapers speculated that war continued to wage out in the stars, but Eric Jr didn’t see anything happening out here near Earth’s moon. No-one wanted to say that the war was ‘over’. Not officially. A quiet time in war could just mean the aliens were regrouping, lying in wait, scouting out the best moment to continue their attack. He looked out into the stars and thought about his father.
Unbeknownst to Eric Jr, the human spies that were stationed on the alien home planet had returned weeks before. Some of them were incoherent, some of them wouldn’t speak at all. Those that would made no sense. They whispered stories about how the aliens had attacked themselves, how they had seen alien rip alien to pieces.
They screamed in the night about hordes of women – all the exact same woman. Racing, crawling over the peaks and decimating the aliens. The aliens had been beaten by their own kind, by a clone race , a fusion of alien and human DNA that the aliens themselves had designed. The top brass were confused. Why would the aliens turn against themselves? And could they claim this victory as their own?
Only one of the returned spies ever spoke about the man who was helping the alien resistance. He had seen it, with his one good eye, before he had completely lost his sanity and had limped back home, halfway across the galaxy.
A pure human man, they’d say. Not the leader of the female hoard. More like something to be protected. Brought out to be shown the world, but cocooned in the bodies of the exact same female replicated thousands of times over. Maybe millions.
A single human man. Being treated like something to be protected.
A man named Eric. Who didn’t belong here.