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#a8 :: Rubber germ

February 21, 2008

rubbergerm.jpgWork at the SETI lab – and every other acronymed institution from DARPA to the headquarters of the NRA – had run at a breakneck clip since first contact.

Nothing galvanizes an entire race like a blanket signal transmitted to every single computer, television and data-display display device on the planet, carrying images of an alien commander, mil-specs for an inbound armada and a declaration of war …

The creature looked like a talking scrotum. It talked like a pyloric sphincter – an ugly, hungry-tummy buzz. The amplified sound fucked with the human inner ear. Rapt, unable to tear themselves from the broadcast, people vomited en masse in movie theaters, concert halls and big-box electronics stores planetwide.

The speech also completely defied translation. But the high-def, holographic footage of glittering, erudite alien peoples being raped, tortured and then atomized by blasts of violet plasma pretty much got the message across. The 2,084-vessel fleet that NORAD and JPL had been tracking since it crossed the asteroid belt beyond Mars three days ago was here to kill and conquer and nothing more.

The NSA’s tiger teams could glean only this: their weapons and defenses were millennia beyond Earth’s best. But they were carbon-based.

So, the CDC had begun readying weaponized lots of every virus they could yank out of storage – typhus, yellow fever, HIV, smallpox, ebola, Hep B, malaria, tuberculosis, dengue, hantavirus, Marburg, Lassa – and loading the stuff into depleted-uranium warheads.

The growing garrison of Marines ringing the entire city of Atlanta was having a bitch of a time keeping the city closed off from the mobs. Looting, arson, murder and sexual assault were rampant, and more than 200 civilians had already been shot dead. They were starting to organize now, having managed to loot a National Guard base, and were inbound in heavily-armed Blackhawks piloted by AWOL military pilots.

Hackers – who had already managed to reduce the Internet to a tattered collection of isolated servers running porn loops and video game clips – made repeated assaults on the CDC mainframe until the military cut all the ports earlier that morning.

While CIA and NSA cryptographers chipped away at translation and the SETI, DOD, the university linguists of the world and Google broadcast peace messages in every human language and pictographic runeset they could lay hands on, NASA and the Navy had begun ferrying the warheads to Canaveral, Huntsville, Vandenberg for launch.

Surrounded by armored battalions, shielded by an umbrella of ICBMs from the non-stop barrage that Russia, China, England, Israel and India had let loose the day before upon learning of the last-ditch plan, missile technicians stacked the payload atop launch vehicles.

Inside the launch centers, simulations for all possible outcomes ran non-stop: penetration and succesful infection of the enemy, physical deflection, shoot-down, immunity, reinfection upon invasion, explosion upon launch.

In a women’s-room stall in the CDC compound guarded by Secret Service, sat the vice president. Her pants were around her ankles.

She looked at the cartoonish thing in her hand – an inflated rubber sphere covered with hairy tendrils – some office plaything she had grabbed from an immunologist’s desk during an heated argument and then thoughtlessly carried into the bathroom with her.

She squeezed it. The air inside it bulged.

She began to weep.

Filed under: Microfiction, Objet, symbol, Toy | Comments (2)

2 Comments

  1. Phill February 18, 2009 @ 9:37 pm

    I just found out you’d started HLO back up; this is the great stuff I remember. And, I can read the whole year all at once! I’m gonna end up getting a lightbox ’cause o’ you…

  2. mack reed February 18, 2009 @ 11:01 pm

    Heh. Great to see you back. Tell your friends and netbuds. I”m carryin’ on for as long as it’s fun.

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