Time Lady 2

The Alien Humans

Time Lady 2
Book One
Book Two
The Whitechapel Murders
Book Three
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12,000 words approx...

A dark desolate hillside.  There is a slight breeze that gently caresses the leaves in nearby trees.  Overhead the nearly-full moon casts down a bane yellowy-blue light on the golden fields of wheat and the green pastures of sleeping cows.

 

The silence is broken by a deafening sonic blast as a meteorite burns a hole in the atmosphere, pushing the air molecules aside as it hurtles towards the ground.  It slams into the ground like a nuclear bomb; a huge fireball shoots outwards and upwards.  Unlike a nuclear bomb though it gives off only a faint background radiation from space.

 

Hundreds are woken by the sound and light, however many of them find only the charred remains of other dead cows.  The few humans call for the fire brigade before setting off to investigate.  Led by their curiosity, their most exploitable weakness, they leave the shelter of their modern caves and go to investigate.

 

 

 

Doctor Melissa Smith was awoken by the intrusive jingle of her mobile telephone.  She cursed it in her rich Aussie brogue and questioned its dubious ancestry as she fumbled about blindly before finding it hidden in her handbag beside her bed.  “Yes?  What is it?”  She ignored the awakening man in her bed, obviously she’d let him pick her up in the bar and she’d gone back to his house for some very forgettable sex and now someone was telephoning her.  It was work.  “What is it?”

 

“Tell them you’re busy.”  Reg Jones muttered.  “Tell them you’ve got a hot man who’s going to shag your brains out again.”

 

“It’s work.”  Smith muttered.  “I’ve got to go.”  She looked about the pile of clothes on the floor for her bra and knickers.  “Something’s happened.”

 

“Anything important?”  Reg asked.

 

“Dunno.  Just a general summons.  It’ll be on Sky News by now I imagine.”  She wrote her number on a piece of paper.  “Text me when you find out.  I hate going into these meetings without a clue.”

 

“You’re really a government scientist then?”

 

“I’m afraid so, yes.”  She kissed Ron?  Don?  Mike? Reg!  She kissed Reg’s cheek.  “Call me later on; I’ll make it worth your while.”  She pulled her tights on and then her skirt and shoes.  Finally she buttoned her blouse up and walked into the bathroom.  “God, my face is a right sight.”  She washed the worst off.  “I’ll have to put it on in the car.  I wrote my last car off this way.  I am not happy.”

 

“Come back to bed then.”

 

“I wish I could, but one does not ignore this sort of summons.  They’d only come and get me anyway and you’d probably be arrested.”

 

“How so?”

 

“Right now I want to be handcuffed to that headboard and let you have your wicked way with me for the rest of tonight and tomorrow.”

 

“Now I want you more than ever.”

 

“Something to look forward to then.  I know I am.”  Smith dragged the brush through her hair and picked her bag up.  “See you later, Tiger.”

 

 

 

Detective Sergeant David Jones was one of the first on the scene.  He kept a discrete distance from the thing while he waited for the others to arrive.  He chatted with the locals, trying to get a sense of what happened from them.  Accounts varied wildly.  Some say it was a UFO that hovered over their house.  Others said it was the Archangel Gabriel, wounded by Old Nick and fallen to Earth to recover his powers.  It seemed however that the majority simply saw a shooting star hitting the ground.  Initially there was a great fireball that burned crops and incinerated cattle.  Now though that fire had all but burned itself out and now only glowing embers and a cloying stench of burned meat remained.  He sat in his car listening to Mozart and waited for his boss to arrive.

 

 

 

Mrs. Erin Brown tried to keep the children together but they kept trying to get closer and closer to the site of the emergency.  Sally and Harry were terrible influences on each other and it seemed like they were daring each other to get as close as they could.  If only her husband wasn’t away on another one of his conferences.  He was away so much now and when he came back he was rarely interested in seeing to her needs.  She’d only had real sex once this month, the rest of the time she had to make do with her battery-powered lover and he was running down now.  She pulled her thin pink silk dressing gown closer around her and re-tied the cord again.  “Sally, Harry, come back here before you get hurt.”

 

“Mummy, mummy, there’s dead cows everywhere!”  Sally ran back to her mother and threw her arms around her parent’s legs and held onto her tightly because she was scared even though she was nearly eight years old.

 

“I’m scared.”  Harry turned up a second later and started to cry.

 

“There now.”  Erin said to the kids.  “You won’t go off again, now will you?  Best stay here with me where it’s safe.”  She lifted her six year old son up into her arms and hugged him.  “We should go back to the house, it’ll be safer there.”

 

David Jones walked over to the attractive young mother.  “How would your two like to sit inside a real police car?  It’s safe enough in the back and it’s warm in there too, if I put the heater on.”  He showed her his badge and warrant card.  “I’m with CID.”

 

“Can we turn the siren on?”  Harry asked excitedly?

 

“Maybe later.”  David replied.  “We don’t want to scare the others now, do we?”

 

“I want to be the driver.”  Sally shouted.  “I’m old enough.”

 

“We’ll see.”  David replied.

 

“Thanks.”  Erin said to the detective.

 

 

 

The car journey out of the city and into the countryside took some time but the roads were clear and Smith found that a couple of good CD’s made all the difference.  She’d put all her favourites onto them so she sang along with them as she went.  She didn’t bother with speed cameras, the department would deal with them as it was an emergency and the car was in their name anyway.  She’d tinkered about with the engine too.  She’d rebuilt the Peugeot 205 from a timid little thing into a speedy predator.  She called her Bessie, for some reason.  All her previous cars had masculine traits and names, but this little yellow car seemed quite feminine, full of hidden strength and danger.  She put her foot down further.  She shouldn’t really be driving in heels but she didn’t have time to go back home and change into her driving trainers.  Bessie responded immediately, picking up 20 MPH easily.  She was only a few dozen miles away now and already she could see the reddened sky and smell burning.  She closed the window and her speed increased further.  Smith started singing again as her favourite song came on.  “It’s raining men!”

 

 

 

Brad McMillan approached the meteorite.  It was cooler now and he could almost touch it.  He reached out his hand and gently touched it.  His fingertips made contact with the rough stony visitor from space.  He relaxed and let his whole hand press against its surface.  He didn’t feel the tiny razor-sharp spines on the exterior cut into his skin; they were too small and sharp to be noticed.  Blood flowed from his hand into specially designed channels that took the blood into the heart of the meteorite.  No one saw his body convulse, as it was pulped and sucked into the meteor, the process happened in less than one billionth of a second.

 

 

 

Smith pulled up near the crowds.  They seemed to be under control for the main part.  There was a lot of uniformed police about, chatting to the locals, obviously following the usual containment procedures by pacification through friendliness.  However this wouldn’t do.  They had to be kept away at all costs.  This was a serious matter; otherwise she’d still be in bed with her date.  If you could call one night of sex after being picked up in a bar a date.  She hoped Reg would call her later on all the same.  She took a deep breath and got out of her car.  She showed a befuddled young PC her pass card.  “I’m going to need you to get these crowds back.  Use your truncheons if you have to.”

 

“Standings orders are not to cause a panic, ma’am.”  PC Owens replied.  “The Super himself said so.”

 

“And is this “Super” an expert on the unknown?  Does he work for the Department of Extraterrestrial Affairs?  There are only three of us after all and I don’t remember seeing anyone in a uniform at the last staff meeting.  If it’s the chain of command you’re worried about then I’ll give your “Super” the order and let him spread the word down to you.”  Smith headed towards the small huddle of serious-looking men with grey hair and bad suits.  “Good morning.  I’m Dr. Smith, with the DEA.  I understand that you might have something important for me to examine?”

 

“Department of Extraterrestrial Affairs?”  Super Intendent Palmer looked closely at the identity card.  “Is this a joke?”

 

“Less than an hour ago I was in bed and now I’m here.  It had better not be a joke.  I’ll need you to get those civilians out of here.  Use whatever means necessary, short of causing a panic.  It’s for their own safety.”

 

“It’s just a meteorite.”

 

“90% are composed of iron or stony iron.  This one by all reports is made up of a loose porous stone.  That’s highly unusual; it should have broken up in the air.”

 

“You won’t mind if I ring your department to get confirmation of your identity, Dr Smith?”

 

“You’re wasting time and putting people’s lives at risk.  Oh very well, be responsible for this then.  I do however reserve the right to say ‘I told you so’ later on.”  Smith wandered over to a police van and went inside it to check that she didn’t really have lipstick on her teeth like she was now beginning to fear was the case.  “Who’d be the Girl for the Ministry if all you get are half-witted idiots full of their own self-importance.”  She sat back in the leather chair and let out a sigh.  Then she fished about in her handbag and pulled out her packet of ciggies.  She only had three left so she put them away, for later, when she really needed one.  She looked around when the side-door opened and a suave man in a leather jacket entered.  “Am I in the way?”

 

“What?  Oh, no.”  David sat next to the hot chick.  “I’m DS Jones.  Call me David.”

 

“I’m Dr Melissa Smith, please don’t call me Melissa.”

 

“Well, I can’t call you Smith; it sounds way too dull for someone as beautiful as you.  I’ll call you Doctor.”

 

“I don’t know whether to be insulted that you hate my name or you have all the flirting ability of a stunned walrus, however I like your jacket, so Doctor it is.  I will have to call you Dave however, to make up for things.”

 

“Fine, whatever.”  David replied.  “I saw you holding a packet of ciggies just now, Doctor.”

 

“I’ve only got three left.”  Smith replied quickly.

 

“I figured.  I’ve got some here.”  I was going to have one before but I got lumbered with some housewife and her kids.  I’m gasping for one now.  Care to join me?”

 

“I’m supposed to be quitting.  I keep saying that but it never happens.”  Smith said.  “However one won’t hurt.”  She waited as Dave lit two and passed her one.  “Your bosses don’t believe that it’s possible for me to be the one in charge of the situation.  Typical provincial thinking.  They see a woman with a career and they do everything they can to get in the way.  I have to work ten times as hard just to be considered equally as a man.  I thought we were supposed to be past all of that now.”

 

 

 

Erin tried to get Harry and Sally out of the police car as they kept turning the siren and lights on and off.  “Come on you two, stop that or the policeman will take you two to prison and you’ll have to eat bread and water for a month.”  That worked as they got out of the car.

 

“I’m sorry Mummy.”  They chorused.  “We were just playing police officers.”

 

“I want to be a policewoman.”  Sally said enthusiastically.  “Can I be one Mummy?”

 

“We’ll see, when you get older.”

 

“I want to see David.”  Harry ran over to the van where Detective David was talking to a woman.  “Hello David.”

 

“It looks like you have a fan club.”  Smith said to Dave.  “I’d better be going anyway.  You’d better put that ciggy out while you’re near the kids, eh?”  She got out of the van and wandered back over to the grey haired men, who now sported grey faces too.  “Ah, I see you’ve had confirmation.”

 

“Sorry about that ma’am.”  Super Intendent Palmer replied.  “We can’t be too careful eh?  This could have been a terrorist bomb after all.”

 

“If it was, I think they’d assign someone a little higher up than me.  I’m just the department’s resident meteorite and alien phenomena expert.”

 

“Alien phenomena?”

 

“Crop circles mainly.  We have to debunk them, even the real ones.”

 

“Ah, you had me there.”  Palmer laughed nervously.

 

Smith shook her head sadly.  These poor fools really had no idea at all.  She’d spent a year with UNIT and she’d seen real alien creatures and their spaceships.  Dead ones of course.  They didn’t seem to invade the planet these days.  Pity.  “So you’ll get those civilians out of here?”

 

“I’ll pass the word on to my teams.  We’ll tell them to comeback in daylight.”

 

“I don’t think that’s wise.”

 

“We’ll have it moved before then.  But a delay is more acceptable to a mob than a no.  It’s all about crowd control when you have these many people.  It’s easy to reason with individuals but crowds are much harder.  They don’t take ‘no’ very well.”

 

“Fine, go and do your management training exercise.  I’ll go and do my job.  No one is to touch that thing, no one.”  Smith finished the ciggy and ground it under her shoe to make sure it was out.  “At least we don’t have any news helicopters about.  I’d hate to have to order them shot down.”

 

“Surely we can’t keep the press out of it.”  Palmer muttered.

 

“If necessary I’ll have them shot on sight.”  Smith replied, then broke out into a broad smile.  “Just a joke.  We can have them arrested as looters.”

 

“How do you mean?”

 

“If the press arrives then I’m declaring martial law.  This is top secret, above top secret in fact.  That’s why I’m here.  They don’t call me out unless there’s something suspect going on.  I’ll need to set up some sort of base of operations.  Is there a large building nearby?  One with a lot of rooms?  We’ll need to coordinate efforts, perhaps in secret from others.  I prefer small teams of specialists over one mob of generalists.  I’ll need you to handle the civilian population, your area of expertise I feel.  I’ll need to brief you and the army together and separately.  I may even have to call in the RAF and we both know how they go about things.  If they can’t drop a bomb on something they get so petulant.”

 

“You’ve had experience of something like this before?”

 

“Not at all, how about you?”

 

“I thought it was just a little bit of fun really, something to bring the tourists in.  We could use the money around here I can tell you.”

 

“Money is the least of our problems.”

 

“I suppose we can use Broadacre Farm.  It’s standing empty right now.  The new owner’s planning to knock it down and rebuild it as a stable, for horses.  We can use that, for your base of operations.”

 

“Good, those wooden portaloo things are just too drafty and far too easy to compromise.  Any private telephone line you lay will have more taps than a council estate.  We’ll still need you to establish one of course, as a decoy.  I’ve found it best to give the media a little decoy to keep them where we need them.  We can give them the story that we don’t want to hear without giving them the story that we REALLY don’t want them to hear.  We’ll say that the meteorite has an unusual form or radiation or something like that.  Enough to pique the interest but keep them far enough away physically.  That way they’ll do what we want them to do, while we do what we need to do elsewhere.”

 

“You may look young enough to be my daughter, but you have a mind like a crafty old politician.”

 

“I’ll take that as a compliment.”  Smith smiled.  “How soon can you have an extraction team here?  I’ve got a fake on its way here now, for the bait and switch.”

 

 

 

Broadacre Farm was a ramshackle building of indeterminate age.  The purple-grey stones looked as old as Stonehenge but seemed sturdy enough.    Smith walked into what was the kitchen and put her handbag down on the table.  “We’ll make this our planning room.  The table’s big enough to get the maps on.  We’ll need a couple of briefing rooms, I imagine the bedrooms will do for that.  We can throw anything we don’t need outside, in a neat pile.  We may have to pay the owner compensation later on.  We’ll need to secure the loo and bring a honey wagon here too, if we’re going to have a lot of people here at once we can’t have them all waiting for one loo all at once.”  Smith picked her handbag up again and walked into the living room.  “Ah yes, now we can make this the communications room.  We’ll need connections to all the main government departments, as well as the armed forces and the civilian services.  Can we get that coal fire going too?  It’s cold enough in here to freeze my tits off.”  Smith walked back into the map room.  “We’ll need to set up two lines to the mobile forward command base.  I want one laid now, underground.  Run the other one about a mile separate to it, make it relatively easy to find.  I want quite separate numbers too, in fact make the secure line a direct scrambled connection.  We need to keep the radio frequencies as chatter free as we can, so we’re not monitoring ourselves.  If we have a leak I want it plugged fast and don’t be afraid to arrest anyone who looks suspicious or out of place.”

 

 

 

The meteorite was lifted out of its crater by the covert team and deftly replaced by the fake.  The real one was carried away under great secrecy to one of the two unused barns on the farm.  The fake, well they left that a while longer before making a great show of it, milking the tension and the fear for the secret audience of journalists that had finally broken through the cordon of absolute secrecy.  To them this drama was acted out.

 

 

 

Smith had a few moments of downtime.  She found a comfy chair and sat on it.  She held her mobile in one hand and dialled Reg’s number with the other.  “Hello?  It’s me.  Is it on the news?  Oh, I see.  Right.  Sorry for waking you.  Maybe I can.  Oh, right.  I understand.  I hoped we could become more too.  Maybe…I understand.  Sure.  We can be friends.”  She switched the mobile off.  “Bastard.”  She dropped it into her handbag.  “Fine fucking time to have a relationship break up.  Bastard.  Another one.  Am I that unattractive?  Don’t go there girl.”

 

David knocked on the door.  “Is this a bad time, Doctor?”

 

Smith laughed.  “Sorry, just venting my private life in public.  It seems that, no, never mind.”

 

“Boyfriend dumped you?  Happens to all of us.  I’m sure we’ve both got plenty of horror stories.”

 

“I’d rather not discuss this, Dave.”

 

“I understand.”  David replied.  “So there I was - we’d been dating for six months.  Angie Denham.  She was everything I’d ever wanted.  Intelligent, witty, great in bed.  We were so close; we were made for each other.  I got down on one knee and before I even asked her the question she blurted out she was a lesbian.”

 

Smith stifled a giggle.  “I’m not laughing, really I’m not.”

 

“That’s ok.  She moved to Denmark and moved in with some woman over there.  Then there was Kelly Manheim.  We’d been going out four months.  The sex was fantastic, best ever, right?  Then we’re in bed and she farts, in my face.  She apologises, but well everything gets a bit weird after that and I come home one day and she’s burned the house down!  She’s still inside!  I sure know how to pick them, eh?”

 

Smith tried to clamp her mouth shut but was unable to.  “I’m so sorry.  I just can’t stop laughing.”

 

David grinned too.  “You’re not alone.  That’s what I’m saying Doctor.  You’ll find your perfect bloke one day.  I reckon that one day we all find our soul mates.”

 

“Here’s me feeling sorry for myself after a string of failed one-night stands.  At least none of my ex’s broke wind in bed.”

 

“We were on the dining table in her parent’s house.”  David added.

 

Smith broke down into hysterics, her tears causing her mascara to run so badly.  “Stop it, please, I’ll end up looking like a bloody panda!  It’s funny you know.  I’m the least together person in the office, yet I get this assignment.  Some days I don’t know if I’m coming or going.  I don’t know if I can handle this Dave, I really don’t.  I keep expecting the room to start spinning like a mad Waltzer in a fairground and my boss jumping out of a cupboard and telling me I’m fire.  I’m scared I’ll mess up Dave, what if I mess up big style?”

 

“We all screw up Doctor.  You’re not alone.  You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t doubt yourself every now and again.  It comes with the job I guess.  I once lost a two million quid bag of cocaine after a raid.  We found it a week later in the DI’s house.  Bastard must have sneaked it out when I was on my lunch.”

 

“I can’t let myself screw up though.  If I screw up then it could cost lives.  That meteor could be the egg for some sort of giant space amoeba for all we know and we’ll wake up tomorrow to find it’s eaten half the planet.  That’s the sort of thing I have to worry about.”

 

“I don’t think it’s a giant space amoeba.”  David patted the Doctor’s hand.  “Tell you what, I’ll put the kettle on and make us both a brew.  You’ll have to find the cups though; I’m rubbish at finding things.”

 

“And you a copper too.”

 

“I’m good at figuring things out, and shooting things.  I’m the only officer in the whole of the UK to pass 100% on every weapon without any prior training.  Even the illegal stuff we pick up from smugglers.  Guns I’ve never seen before, I just know how they work.”

 

“Maybe you were a gunsmith in a previous life?  Or a soldier?”

 

 

 

The meteorite convulsed, far quicker than the human eye could see, but the electric eyes watching it silently encoded the details on magnetic tape, for later viewing.

 

 

 

Erin was having trouble trying to get the kids back to sleep.  She’d tried everything from blackmail with sweets to terrorism by taking their toys away, but nothing seemed to work.  She was at her wits end.  She felt like the worst mother in the world.  Finally they seemed to tire themselves out and she went back down to the kitchen to make herself a cup of tea.  She silently cursed her husband for being away, again.  Why did he need to go to so many conferences?  Why did he always put his job ahead of his family?  Was she so unattractive now that he didn’t want to be near her?  Did he hate her and the kids that much?  Was she such a failure at everything?

 

“Mummy, I can’t sleep.”  Sally walked into the kitchen and tugged Mummy’s skirt for attention.  “I want to see the meteor again.”

 

“It’s gone now sweetheart.  The army have taken it away for tests.”

 

“Aw.  Why can’t we keep it?”

 

“They want to examine it, to see what it’s like out there in space.  It’s cheaper than sending another rocket into space.”

 

“Isn’t it our meteor?”

 

“I don’t think it works that way, besides what can we do expect look at it?”

 

“I thought it was very pretty.”

 

“I’m sure we’ll get it back eventually, when they’ve finished with it.”

 

 

 

Smith paced around the map room.  “It made a very small, very shallow crater.  Why?  At that speed it should have made a massive crater, like the one in Arizona.  Why didn’t it?  There’s something very unusual about it.  But what?  If it was hollow it would have turned to dust on impact.  If it was a very light metal it would have melted and broken up.  If it really was just stone then it would have shattered.  Why is it so special?  We need to examine it, but it’s retaining heat long after it should, yet the removal team reported only minor burns when positioning it on the lorry and the straps weren’t charred at all.  It’s as if it cooled itself down and then heated itself up again.  Another mystery.  I want it examined for any and all electromagnetic emissions.  I fear we may be dealing with something very radioactive.”

 

General Hubert Carrington bustled into the command centre.  “Bah, it’s starting to rain out there.  Those chaps combing the fields won’t like that.”  He looked at the petite Australian woman talking to herself.  “You must be our woman from the Ministry.  Pleased to meet you, Melissa, isn’t it?”

 

“If you have you, I prefer Smith though.”

 

“Smith it is then.  I’m General Carrington.  I’m your liaison chap to the military.  You just tell me where you want us and I’ll get it done.  This is all a jolly bit of fun isn’t it?  Beats crowd control during marching season in Northern Island I can tell you.”

 

“I suppose so.”  Smith replied.  “I’ve got the real meteorite hidden in the nearby barn.  I’m going to need an ABC team to go in there and make sure it’s perfectly harmless.  It’s an atypical specimen, just as I predicted it would be.  Otherwise why all the hush-hush?”

 

“Indeed.”

 

“However I hope it’s nothing too serious or we’ll both be bald before dawn comes and I’m seven weeks late, if you get my meaning.”

 

“In the family way, eh?  Jolly good.  I’m a family man myself.  Three of them and another on the way.  The wife says it’s the last though, or she’ll cut the old chap off.”

 

“Smart woman.”  Smith joked.

 

“I don’t get to see enough of them of course, miss them terribly, what?  This damn job it not good for a father, I’d rather be reading them bedtime stories than sharing a war story with the men, but I do like to see that my chaps get the best they can.  Look after your men and they will look after you.”

 

“If only that applied to boyfriends.”  Smith muttered.  “I’ll show you the meteorite after your team as made sure it’s safe.”

 

“Excellent.  I’ll show you mine and then you’ll show me yours.”

 

“That’s how I got into trouble at school when I was six.”  Smith smiled wistfully and clutched the hand that the teachers had struck repeatedly with a wooden ruler as punishment.  “Anyway, I’d better go over the plans of the site with you, to get you up to date with the operation.”

 

 

 

DS David Jones drove along the poorly repaired road to Erin Brown’s house.  For some reason he couldn’t get her out of his head.  There was something about her, something familiar.  Maybe it was love at first sight?  He considered himself jaded when it came to love, but there was a definite attraction.  He had the perfect excuse too, this sudden cloudburst of rain.  No doubt cause by the meteorite, well it did mess up the air so maybe it caused a freak rain cloud to form?  He parked up outside the Brown house, saw that there was still a single downstairs light on and so he walked through the garden to the back door and then knocked softly on the door.

 

Erin opened the door to see the cute police man.  “Is this a personal call or police harassment?”

 

“I just thought I’d pop by and tell you that it’s all clear now.  Saves you having to wait for the local newspaper to catch up with the gossip.”

 

“Thanks.  Do you want to come in, for a cup of coffee?  It must be a long drive back to your station and it’s raining.”

 

David made a big fuss of wiping the rain off of his jacket shoulders.  “Just one, for the road as it were.  Can’t go causing an accident now.  I’d never live it down if I fell asleep at the wheel.”

 

“We’re just through here.”  Erin led Dave through to the kitchen.  “The kids can’t sleep either.  They’re too excited about the meteorite.”

 

“I don’t blame them.”  David waved hello to the kids.  “I’d be just the same when I was their age.  I was one of those kids who had a telescope.  Gave it up though eventually, I still watch The Sky at Night though, when I can.”

 

“I want to be a police woman.”  Sally said to Dave.

 

“Study hard at school then.”  David replied.  “You have to be smart if you want to be a WPC.  Maybe I can arrange for one of the ladies for the local branch to visit your school?”

 

“Yay!”  Sally shouted.

 

“I want to be a meteor finder.”  Harry said.

 

“I dunno about that.  I met Doctor Smith tonight, she’s a meteor finder.  I think you have to study even harder than ever to get into University.  She could probably win Mastermind easily I reckon.”

 

“There now, Officer Dave says study hard at school.”  Erin said to her kids.  She handed Dave his cup of coffee.  “Here you go.  It’s time for bed now Harry, you too Sally.  Otherwise you’ll be all sleepy and tired in the morning and you won’t get a day off school either.  Mummy has to go to work.”

 

“Night Mummy.”  Harry and Sally trailed off to bed.

 

“See you two in the morning.”  She kissed them both on the forehead before they reached the bottom of the stairs.  She returned to the kitchen to where Dave was finishing off his coffee.  “Sometimes they like to play up.  I love them dearly, but sometimes they don’t even feel like they’re mine.”

 

“Maybe they just take after their father?”

 

“Maybe, if he was here long enough to say hello to them or spend any time with them.  He’s always off on another business conference.”

 

“Oh.”  Dave wondered if Mr. Brown was cheating on his wife.  “You could always give him a call I suppose.  Tell him about the meteorite.”

 

“Maybe.”  Erin mumbled.  “He said it was going to be different this time.  Was I wrong to take him back after he cheated on me?  He said it would be all different, but it’s exactly the same.”

 

“If he is cheating on you then he’s a bloody fool.  You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen and your children are nice too.  Not like some of the brats you see nowadays.  If he’s not content with the perfect family then quite frankly you can do a whole lot better, you all deserve a lot better.”

 

“I guess so.”  Erin kissed Dave.

 

David was caught off-guard but quickly joined in the kiss.  Finally they broke contact.  “That was…amazing.”

 

Erin kissed Dave.  “No more words.  Come upstairs.  The kids will be asleep now.”

 

Dave allowed himself to be led upstairs to the bedroom.

 

 

 

The ABC (Atomic, Biological & Chemical) detection detail slowly approached the meteorite.  They were all wearing full hazard kit to protect themselves.  They wore a sealed plastic outer suit to seal out airborne particles.  They wore an under suit that protected against physical damage and they also had on anti-radiation shielding around the torso.  It seemed unnecessary however as the Geiger counters all registered zero, if anything the thing was sucking in the background radiation.  They relaxed and started telling nervous jokes about little green men.  They didn’t notice the thin pink slime exuded by the meteorite.  They didn’t see it get on their gloves and absorb straight through the layers of protection.  They didn’t even notice the voices whispering in their heads.

 

 

 

Smith was pacing about the situation room.  At least she’d taken her shoes off now, lowering her height in the process but with so many tall soldiers about she was hardly going to be noticed anyway.  “When your soldiers have finished, we should review the security camera footage of the meteorite.”

 

“I suppose so.  There may have been something we missed.  No one kept an eye on it the whole time.”

 

Sgt. Greaves entered the situation room and saluted to the boss.  “Sir, we’ve tested the meteor, there’s no hazard.  Is it ok if the lads and I go and get a bite to eat in the mess?”

 

“Of course.”  The general replied.  “Thanks for the report.  Now we can let the experts in to have a closer look at it.”

 

“Very good sir.”  Sgt. Greaves saluted again and left.

 

Smith waited until the soldier left.  “He looked a bit off.”

 

“I just ordered him to risk his life.”  The general replied.  “I’d look a bit off too if it were me.”

 

“Yes, I suppose so.”  Smith pondered.  “However I should like them to go through full decontamination procedures anyway, just to be sure.  It is an alien artefact after all.”

 

 

 

Sgt. Greaves was having a bite to eat in the small mess.  He missed the more formal sergeant’s mess back at the base, he could talk to his mates there and share the latest news and rumours.  Still he didn’t mucking in with the lads.  It was good for morale to eat together on manoeuvres and they looked to him to set the example they should follow.  He was only a few years older than them but those few years made all the difference when it came to things like maturity and commonsense.

 

“Anyone seen an alien then?”  Pve. Goodwin asked the others.  “Little green men and all that.”

 

“I heard they were grey.”  Pve. Anderson replied.  “With big black eyes.  They only appear green because they have green blood and so if you shoot one the blood dyes their skin.”

 

“That’s a load of crap.”  Cpl. Jack laughed.  “I’m sure they’re a lot more convincing than those cheesy sci-fi shows like The X Files and Star Trek.”

 

“I served with a couple of lads from UNIT.”  Sgt. Greaves spoke at last.  “They’re the ones who really deal with alien invaders.  One night we were on patrol and we shared a flask of brandy to keep ourselves warm, and he starts going on about aliens.  Gromix he called them.  He said they were about the size of a man, but they had pale blue skin and bright red eyes.  Went on a lot about them he did.  Kept saying that one of them touched him.  He reckoned that they can turn you into one of them by touching you.  Load of nonsense if you ask me, but there you go.”

 

“Here, Sarge, I don’t feel too well.”  Pve. Goodwin complained and hugged his stomach.  “I think I’m going to have an early night tonight.”

 

“Best to lad, if you’re under the weather.  Queer sort of night if you ask me.  All this hoo-ha over a bit of space debris.  That rain too, came and went without a cloud in the sky it did.”  Sgt. Greaves patted the young private on the shoulder.  “Early day tomorrow too, we should all have an early night.  Detail a couple of lads to clean up will you Corporal?  I’d best have a word with his nibs and the government woman, see if they need us anymore?”

 

 

 

Pve. Goodwin stumbled across the muddy gravel road down to the make-shift barracks.  It was little more than a glorified caravan with a dozen bunks inside it and just enough room to move about in.  He started to undress, when he noticed that his stomach was turning an unhealthy shade of blue!  “Oh my god!  I’m turning into a Gromix!”  He pulled his trousers off too, and there were patches of blue skin on his thighs.  “I’m turning into an alien.  I don’t want to be an alien.  I’m a human.  I don’t want to be a Gromix.  He caught a glimpse of his face in a small mirror.  His eyes were an inhuman shade of red and surrounding them his face was blue.  “Please, no.  I don’t want to be an alien.  They’ll shoot me, or worse.  They’ll cut me open while I’m still alive to see how I work.  I’m not letting that happen to me.”  Goodwin stumbled for the door.  His arms bulging as his muscles built up, rippled under his pale blue skin.  He didn’t notice the gravel under his toughened calloused feet.  Their huge claws playing the toes apart like the feet of a lizard.  He felt alien thoughts swimming about inside his head.  Telling him to kill the humans.  Kill them so he could live and return back to Gromixia.  He clutched his head and ran past the old farmhouse, out into the cold night.

 

 

 

Smith thought she saw movement out of the window of the farmhouse, but when she went closer she could see nothing outside, except footprints.  She dashed for the door and ran outside.  “These aren’t human.  It’s started already.  So soon.  It’s worse than they feared.  I need to know what it is.  How does it affect people?  I need answers.”  She went towards the soldier’s mess, before pausing.  “No, too late to help them now.  Far too late.”  She went around the outside of the mess and sabotaged the gas-powered heating of the mobile barracks, filling it with carbon monoxide.  “A few lives sacrificed to save so very many more.  Good night sweet princes.  Did they know all this in advance before they sent me?  Why send me though, if there’s another way?  No time to second guess myself.  I may be crap at relationships, but I’m all too good at my job.”  She walked back to the farmhouse.  She may have to shoot the general if he didn’t take the news of the sacrifice very well.  What was another death now?  She was steeped in blood.  The Angel of Death they called her at the ministry.  She was a one woman Armageddon.  Christ, she was a fracking monster sometimes but sometimes you had to make a choice and stand by it because it was better than the alternative.  Who was she anyway?  Why was she even capable of so casually tossing aside so many lives?  Shouldn’t she try to cure them or something?

 

 

 

Goodwin ran through a field of sheep before pausing to slaughter one of them.  He eagerly sunk his teeth into one of them, feasting on the delicious innards and succulent flesh.  He slaked his thirst with the creature’s blood, pausing only to wipe away the congealing fluids on his chin and mouth.

 

The sheep was only touched slightly by the moving blue bush with the sharp thorns.  However its simple brain was soon flooded with thoughts and images from another species.  He was Gromix, it had to return to Gromixia.  However he saw a ewe ready and waiting to breed with him.  He mounted her and inseminated her with his proud Gromixian heritage.  His blue wool marked him as special and soon his mate’s wool was a similar blue colour.  She was Gromixian too.  They were here to colonise the planet.  The inferior species with the white and black wool would soon be replaced by the blue wool of Gromixia.

 

Goodwin saw the blue woollen sheep and slaughtered them both.  They tasted vile and so he spat out their remains and went to wash the taste out of his mouth at the nearby river.  He saw his new face reflected back at him and he let out a roar of approval.  His mind was now subsumed by the will of the Gromix.  He was a Gromix.  He drank his fill and then ran off into the night to find fresh food before he could begin to construct a ship to take him home.

 

Back inside its mother the tiny undeveloped foetus of the Gromixian sheep continued to grow, absorbing the body of its parents directly into its being so that it could grow and have life.  It knew only one thing, survival at any cost.  It slowly developed internal organs, brain, lungs and heart.  It grew limbs, but with a mixed up genetic code it didn’t know how many it needed so it grew ten, four normal sheep legs and extra ones, growing out of its sides and out of its face where its eyes should have been.  Its mouth grew to double size and its teeth became sharp pints that bit through its upper and lower jaws, causing the creature to experience fresh agonies as it finally tore itself free of the last vestiges of the carcasses of it’s parents.  It feasted on the rest, before attacking anything else it saw with its leg-eyes.

 

 

 

DS David Jones awoke with a start as the sun broke over the edge of the window and on to his face.  He sat up in bed, totally naked, just like the woman asleep next to him.  It was the woman from last night, Erin…something or other.  He slid out of bed, trying not to wake her with any jerky movements and then he began to get dressed.  Boxers, socks, trousers, shirt and shoes.  He was just pulling his leather jacket on when she woke up.  “I’ve got to get back to the station.  They’ll throw a fit if I turn up late.  The DI will have another seizure, I know it.”

 

“Let me make you breakfast.  You can telephone them, tell them your car got a puncture and you spent the night in there before asking to use the telephone today.”

 

“Or I could tell them the truth.  I’m not really one for lying.  Bad habit for a copper to start lying.  The puncture does sound more reasonable though, than me spending the night with the sexiest woman in the world and not having a horror story afterwards.”

 

“Aw, unlucky in love are we?”  Erin got out of bed and made a big show of fussing about in her knicker drawer for a fresh pair of undies.  “How does toast and orange juice sound?”  She pulled the knickers up to her hips, before slowly pulling her dressing gown onto her shoulders and slowly covering her breasts with the soft silk and lace, tying the cord off to one side just above her hip.  “There’s not much milk left and the delivery isn’t for another hour at least.”

 

“Sounds fine to me.”  David replied.  “What about the kids?”

 

“They’ll be up soon, I always get up before they do, so that I have everything ready for them.  I’ll make you some breakfast and then see to getting their uniforms ready and you can be on your way.”

 

David scrambled in his pocket for a pen.  “I should give you my telephone number.  In case you need to get in contact with us, about the meteorite.”

 

“There’s no need.  Lets not make anything more out of it than it is.  We both needed last night.  You to relax and get over your string of bad dates and me, well lets just say that’s the first I’ve had all year and it’s July now.  I should be thanking you I guess.”

 

“It’s funny, but I don’t want to leave.  I don’t mean that in a creepy way.  It’s just that, you’re going to think I’m a raving madman now.  Do you believe is soul mates?  That it’s possible to find that perfect someone and you just know that she’s the one.  Being with you, I realise now, it’s like we’ve always been together.  It’s like we’re old friends and we’ve forgotten it only when we met it was like I’d always known you.  That small mole, just below your belly button.  I knew it was there even before you removed your blouse.”

 

“That scar on your leg.  I knew that was there too.”  Erin sat down.  “It’s like I know that I know you, only I’ve forgotten it.  Like you said.  Oh god, the toast is burning!”

 

 

 

Smith paced around the outside of the farm house.  She needed to do something but she felt trapped, restrained by the chains of bureaucracy.  She was a woman of action, a woman of principle and above all, a woman who tried always to do the right thing, although she did get a little confused about dating married men and having oral sex with them in the back of their BMW, or photocopying her bum at the Christmas party.  Still she tried to put all thoughts out of her head about the men she was in the process of murdering.  It was too late for them anyway.  They had been infected, they were becoming…other.  She tried to push all thought of that out of her head, again.  She tried to forget the abduction experience when she was a teenager.  The tests to impregnate her with an alien foetus.  It was just playing on her mind now because she suspected that she’d somehow gotten herself pregnant.  Probably a dodgy condom or something.  She couldn’t worry about that now.  She had to put aside all considerations.  Those aliens had changed her some how.  Made her like them.  Somehow they’d given her two hearts.  It wasn’t a birth defect, they were both fully formed and her blood was crazier than that Ozzy Osbourne bloke off the telly.  It was as if her whole life was a lie somehow, but no one wanted to hear about, never mind talk about it.  There was isolation anxiety and then there was this.  It was good to question oneself but when no one has any answers, now that’s scary.  Her last shrink had sent her a bill for his own psychotherapy, what sort of messed up world did she live in when he honestly expected her to pay that amount of money?  She’d had no choice but to fabricate an alien abduction event and have him locked away in a secure facility for the rest of his life to be examined and probed every hour of every day.  That at least gave her something to smile about.  She peered through the glass window of the army mobile barracks and saw several of the soldiers were dead, killed by the others.  The remaining few were now quietly suffocating to death.  This at least was some good news.  If they got out and started a massacre, she’d be disappeared quicker than Lord Lucan, noted UFO pilot from the Andromeda galaxy.  Smith wanted a ciggy, but she’d given up years ago.  She wanted a drink but there was the maybe bay to consider and she wanted a good lay, but given the choice between an army general more effeminate than she was and a group of dying part-alien monsters, well she decided to cry into her metaphorical pillow and so she went back inside to try and fix the general up with a male friend of hers called Cecil Quinton Parnaby.

 

 

 

The meteor convulsed again, it turned a dark blue colour for a fraction of a second.  To some it developed a feature that might almost look like a door handle.

 

 

 

Smith woke up as Dave and the woman from last night walked into the farm house.  “What’s going on?”

 

“We were attacked!”  Erin shrieked.

 

“There’s something out there, really scary.  It ate half of my car.”

 

“Relax.”  Smith tried to calm them down.  “Tell me exactly what happened.  Don’t leave anything out.”

 

“I was leaving Erin’s house, I was following up on her statement, when suddenly a tall blue creature leapt through the window and tried to attack us.”

 

“I hit it over the head with the iron.”  Erin added.

 

“It was down and it was ugly.  I grabbed a kitchen knife and I stabbed it repeatedly.”

 

“Then I cut it’s head off.  He fainted.”

 

“I slipped and fell.”

 

“You were out for over three minutes.  I had to splash you with cold water.”

 

“You tried to drown me.”

 

“We got in the car, with my daughter and son, when another thing attacked the car.  It was disgusting, it looked all wrong.”

 

“It ate the wing of my car.  I had to run it over but it survived that.  So we came here.”

 

“My kids are asleep in the other room.”

 

Smith nodded.  “You were both very lucky.  However we need to contain the creatures.  They can spread contagion easily.  We must isolate them and burn the bodies before anyone else can see them.”

 

“Will my children be safe here?”  Erin asked the strangely familiar brunette woman.  “I feel like I can trust you.”

 

“As long as she doesn’t start messing about with things.  There’s a room upstairs that’s set aside for rest and relaxation.  Do they have any homework?”

 

“My daughter?  Only Always.  I had three reports last month saying that she doesn’t always do it.  Harry always gets his done straight away though.”

 

“I’m right here.  You don’t have to talk as if I’m not here.”  Sally pouted and glared at her mother.

 

“Oh, there you are sweetheart.  I thought you were staying in the other room.”

 

“Well I’m obviously right here aren’t I?”

 

“We’re glad you’re here, safe and well.”  Smith bent down slightly to talk to the school girl.  “What’s that behind your ear?”  She pulled out a two pound coin.  “You should clean behind there more often.”

 

Sally grinned.  Thanks Dr. Smith.”

 

“Just call me Doctor.”  Smith replied.  “Don’t spend it all on sweets.  You don’t smoke do you?  Nasty habit, there’s nothing worse than people who smoke, take it from me; I smoke three, sometimes four a day.”

 

“Mummy smokes fifty a day.”  Sally replied.  “That’s why we don’t always have shoes and clothes and a telly.”

 

“Sally!”

 

“She’s just playing up.”  Smith said to Erin.  “I expect.”

 

“It’s not easy bringing up two kids, when there father is away more often than he’s at home.”

 

“We call him the Phantom of the Opera.”  Sally giggled.  “I think they’re going to get a divorce.  My friend Alice’s parents got a divorce.”

 

“You friend’s mother was having an affair with her neighbour.”

 

“Yeah, the big fat old lezzer next door.”  Sally giggled.

 

“Sally!”  Erin was shock at what her daughter said.  “Haana Sinclair is just a little overweight and she’s no older than I am.”

 

“There’s nothing clever about calling people names.”  Smith lectured Sally.  “Tolerance and acceptance are key ingredients in an intelligent mind.”

 

“Sorry, Doctor.”  Sally apologised.

 

“We should go monster hunting Dave.”  Smith said at last.

 

“I’m coming with you.”  Erin said firmly.

 

“Of course.”  Smith replied.  “You need catharsis or your feelings will eat away at you.”

 

 

 

They trampled through the countryside, following the trail of debris and destruction.  Whatever it was it wasn’t doing anything to hide itself.  They worked quite well as a team too.  They developed quite an instant rapport, as if they’d been working together as a team for a while now.  Erin couldn’t get those deliciously wicked thoughts about Dave out of her head and she really didn’t want to try either.  Dr. Smith was a bit of an eccentric however.  She had a natural authority about her but it came without any real evidence of trying.  Erin just found herself wanting to trust her.  She felt like she could tell her anything at all, even private stuff that she normally only told her older sisters or her closest friends.

 

David found the thrill of the hunt exciting.  He had an urge to shoot something too, which was strange as he normally hated guns and detested violence.  Maybe it was just his anxiety playing out as some sort of self-defence mechanism.  Kill or be killed?  Whatever it was he just knew that he’d be a lot happier when this thing was stopped.

 

Smith tried texting Reg again, but she couldn’t get a signal.  Maybe they could make another go of it?  She really didn’t want to have to go back to her boss again.  She hated him and the thought of having sex in his car filled her with revulsion.  He was way too cheap, he never sprung for a sleazy motel and he only bought her a gift once, cheap earrings the day after her birthday.  She’d put a lot of work into him too, getting him new suits, in fact she’d made him get an entirely new wardrobe as his clothes were really awful.  They’d celebrated her birthday with really bad sex in the woman’s public loo in some car park in Lewisham she’d never dared even go near there again, not after the attendant caught her on her knees in the stall in mid…no, she refused to think about that ever again.  At least she hadn’t called the police.  Smith hated herself for being so weak.  Always drifting from one bad relationship to another.  Why couldn’t she be stronger?  More assertive?  All the psych tests at the ministry showed that she had the potential to be a fine leader; instead she was stuck on alien invasion mop up detail.  Anyone could do this job, what she really wanted was a nice husband and a couple of nice kids and a house in the countryside.  Alas she had a grotty 1 bedroom house, a pet cat that she never saw and the neighbours kids played weird music at all times of the day when she’d come home from the night shift.  Not that she slept much anyways.  Her GP Dr. Romanadvoratrelundar, a nice Indian woman, said that she had an unusual metabolism and blamed her extra heart for the problem.  Smith only slept maybe once every week or so and even then it mostly wasn’t her own bed and she was usually forced to sleep in the wet patch.  If it wasn’t for the good pay and the fact that her elderly father needed constant medical care that cost a small fortune, she’d have moved far, far away a long time ago.  She tried to remember the face of her father, Mr. Rassilon Smith, but his face kept changing all the time.  She swore that sometimes he’d changed his personality too.  She figured that she just came from a family of weirdoes.  Her mother had barely lived long enough to teach her the basics, don’t show boys your underpants, wipe front to back, always cut food up and chew 25 times.  She remembered the funeral vaguely.  A lot of grumpy men in black robes.  Her father had taken her to a relative’s house to stay for a while.  She’d liked her cousin Iris a lot, they both gossiped endlessly about boys.  Iris had even kissed one once.  Smith had later tried it and her front teeth had fallen out.  That was as good as it got with the opposite sex.  Smith wondered when her prince charming was coming to take her away from her wretched so-called-life.

 

 

 

The creature tore through brick and bone with ease.  It slaked its hunger and thirst on a diet of mangled body parts and broken house bricks.  It was growing bigger now, stronger.  It knew that it had to be big and strong to prepare for the next stage in its development.  Inside of it tiny versions of itself were forming from its body.  It was transforming its body into many smaller copies of itself.  Sharing its mind out among them.  The time of the birthing was nearly at hand and it would hatch out of its self legion.  It would conquer the world, that was what the Gromix did after all.

 

 

 

“There are secret files.”  Smith told the others.  “About a mysterious defender of the planet.  A secretive scientist according to some records.  Others speak of a mysterious magician who uses magic to defeat his foes.  If only this protector was here now.”  Smith had seen files on several men who were possibly the mysterious guardian of the plant.  She’d quite fancied a couple of them too.  “Whoever this mysterious man is, he arrives in a cobalt blue walk-in wardrobe and defeats evil dictators and alien invaders alike.  I’ve always wanted to meet him.  I hope he shows up soon.  I have a nasty feeling that we may not stop this thing in time.”

 

“Some sort of guardian angel if he doesn’t arrive in time.”  Erin felt like she was always complaining, but there was so much to complain about.  Why weren’t things better than they were?  Why couldn’t things be nicer?  Why didn’t they have a shoe that didn’t lose its heel while you were smooching someone during a slow number at the local disco?  When was Dave going to shag her again?”

 

“Maybe he’s already here.”  Smith looked across at Dave, if that was in fact his real name.  “That sort of man could do anything, he could be a hero and champion and a sentinel of and for humanity.  They say he takes young women away with him to help him fight battles on far away worlds and sometimes they meet their destiny and their husbands out there in the stars.”

 

“Sounds like a cheesy 50’s science fiction comic book to me.”  David muttered.  “I mean, as if?  Who’d take a 19 year old girl into space to fight against armies of homicidal alien killing machines and psychotic murdering tyrants?  It’s so made up.”

 

“He’s a legend.”  Smith didn’t give up.  “They say he’s immortal, he never dies.  Some say he can change his appearance to confuse his enemies and avoid death.  Some say he works for the military as an advisor, while others say he’s a hippy and works to end all war and suffering.”

 

“I don’t buy it.”  David replied.  “Why do all of that?  Why stick on one small planet when there’s a whole universe to explore?”

 

“That’s right.  Others speak of a timeless wanderer, an ancient god who walks among mortals to protect them from the constant incursions of evil beings that seek to harm the innocents.  There’s a lot of stories out there, if you know where to look.  All of them have one core truth to them though.  He always helps those who really need him.”

 

“I really need him.”  Erin muttered.  “I want to keep my children safe and also stop this thing, whatever it is, from killing anyone else’s kids.”

 

“Yes, I suppose even my neighbour’s brats deserve to live.”  Smith sighed.  “Like all legends though, I expect the truth is a little less substantial than the myth.”

 

David pointed at the horizon.  “Look, I can see the creature.  It’s massive!”

 

“It is a big one.”  Smith replied, before she and Erin broke out laughing.

 

“Sorry, Dave.”  Erin blushed.  “She made me tell her everything.”

 

Smith smiled.  “It’s just harmless girl talk.  At least she’s getting some.”

 

“Do you have a brother or any male cousins?”  Erin asked Dave.

 

“You want me to fix the Doc up with one?”

 

“Don’t call me Doc.”  Smith replied.  “It reminds me of a terrible date I had.  We went to see Spider-Man 2 and he tried to feel me up before I was ready to let him.  I broke his arm in seventeen places.”

 

“I don’t think I want you to maim any of my relatives.”  David replied quickly.  “I have a few mates though I’m not so fond of.  I guess I wouldn’t care too much if you crippled one of them.”

 

“Thanks, but I’m not in need of a mercy date, not yet anyway.  I can still ruin my love life on my own.”

 

 

 

The Creature approached the stone building.  It tore through the stone easily.  It sensed the siren call of the alien stone in its fragmented mind.  Now was the time of the hatching, the great division of self.  One self was making way for many self.  All would act as one intent.  It sensed food, but it was too weak now to move.  Many self was coming now.  One self was over, dead.  Many self needed to feast.

 

 

 

“We’re walking in a huge circle!”  Smith realised that they were now heading back to the farm house.  “Come on, help me steal this car.”

 

David produced a truncheon and smashed the glass window.  “There you go.”

 

“Great, now we have to sit on broken glass.”  She took her thin jacket off and draped it over the glass-covered driver’s seat.  “Come on then, get in, both of you.”  She set about hot wiring the simple ignition system.  “This is the one thing criminal that they insisted they teach us.”  Smith grinned.  “After all I am the woman from the ministry, and the ministry forgives all crimes committed in the line of duty.  Even the unforgivable ones.”  She remembered the dying faces of the soldiers she had murdered only hours ago.  “We’d better get going.”  She floored the accelerator and shifted up the gears as quickly as she could.

 

 

 

Sally and Harry screamed as the small things with teeth tried to bite their legs.  They were cut off inside the farm house, they were afraid and crying.

 

“Mummy!”  Harry shouted.  “Help me mummy!”

 

“She’s not here.”  Sally replied and hugged her little brother.  “We have to be brave.”

 

“Mummy’s here now!”  Erin rushed into the room, treading on the small alien creatures with the heels of her shoes.  She scooped the kids up in her arms and dashed for the window and pulled up open.  “Bring the ladder around here.”

 

Sally and Harry quickly climbed down the ladder to where Dr Smith and Dave the Policeman were waiting below.  They collapsed into their arms; their fear had finally caught up with them.”

 

Erin climbed down the ladder too.  “There’s no one else alive in there.”

 

“We’re too late.”  Smith replied.  “We have to stop these things now.  We can’t afford to wait around for some fantasy figure to save us.  I have to be that guardian.  I’m going to set the bastards on fire.  There’s petrol in the cars.  Come on Dave, you can help me.  Erin, get your kids to safety.  Go into the old bar; do NOT touch the meteor inside of it.”

 

“What happens if we do?”  Erin asked.

 

The Doctor pointed at the house.  “That.”

 

“Oh.”  Erin roused Sally from her faint.  “Come on sweetie; help Mummy with your brother.”

 

Sally came to with a scream.  “Help me!”

 

“It’s ok, you’re safe now.”  Erin hugged her daughter.  “You’re safe.  I’m here.”

 

“You saved me.”  Sally hugged her mother.  “I love you.”

 

“Help me carry your bother.”  Erin said to her eldest child.  “He’s heavy for his age.”

 

“He eats too much.”  Sally muttered.

 

“So do you, when I’m not looking.  It’s ok.  Growing kids need their vitamins and minerals.”

 

Smith waited until Erin and the kids were out of sight.  “Fire might not be enough, Dave.  We need something stronger.  Something more powerful.”

 

“Such as?”

 

“A fail safe.”  Smith replied.  “The army brought one with them.  We’ll have to arm it ourselves.  It’s a manual detonation switch I’m afraid.  The failsafe is activated when a remote strike isn’t a guarantee of success.  I’ll press the button.  You get Erin and the kids to safety.  I know you’ll be a good father to them.  Hell if hadn’t shacked up with her I’d want you to be the father of my own child.”

 

“I can’t let you do that Doctor, you’re pregnant.  One life for two, it’s the only way.”

 

“No, those kids need a father who’s there for them.  I only had one parent and while I loved my father dearly, I missed my mother terribly.  No wonder my older brother left when I was just a teenager.  A two parent family is more important to the world than a one parent family.  Do not assume that your life is worth less than mine, bring those kids up to be the best people they can be, you hear me?  Hell, you might even have another one.”

 

“I’ll call her Melissa, if she’s a girl.”

 

“Joan, I always wanted to be called Joan.”  Smith smiled and pointed to the barn.  “I can take care of things here.  Go to the barn; get Erin and the kids into the army truck.  Its diesel.  I can’t use it.  Take Erin and the Kids and get the hell away from here as quickly as you can.  Keep driving, never look back.  There’s no safe distance from a nuclear bomb.”

 

 

 

The many self rested after its meal.  Some if it hadn’t eaten but the majority were satisfied and so the hungry consumed the sated.  It was the way of the many self.  The smell of organic compounds wafted gently into the building.  It ignored the scent for now, it was a bitter smell, of long dead things now decayed to a chemical soup.

 

 

 

Smith watched the army truck drive away.  She waved to the kids, before returning her attention to the task at hand.  She poured the petrol all around the outside of the farm house and also poured it as best she could through open windows and doors.  The creatures seemed to ignore the petrol, which was good.  Alas she’d soaked herself with the stuff and so she stripped off her suit and wearing only her bra and knickers she set fire to the petrol.  It was the only means to contain the creatures, while she armed the bomb.  First though she had to see the meteorite for herself.  She ignored the screams inside the burning building as the creatures started to burn.

 

 

 

The many self felt heat and pain.  It felt itself burning alive.  It tried to escape but there was no exit.  Instead it started to pile itself up on itself to create a huddle so that some of it might survive the heat and flame.

 

 

 

Smith entered the barn and stood before the meteorite.  It seemed a different shape now, much more regular, with straight sides and no sign of the fire-blasted surface from before.  In fact it seemed alive in some way.  She touched it on instinct.  It had a slight vibration to it.  Like a spin dryer just before it ends its cycle.  She felt a burning sensation on her hand and she looked down to see that it had developed a blue tinge.  “No!  I am not Gromix.  I am not an alien!  I am a human being.  I am a woman.  I am Dr. Melissa Smith.  I am not an alien,  I am not a monster.”  Strange thoughts started to fill her head.  “No, I deny this reality.  I deny it completely.  I am not a Gromix.”  More strange memories.  The TARDIS!?  Gallifrey!?  The Doctor!  “I am the Doctor!  I’m the Doctor!  Bloody hell.  I’m the one those legends were all about.  I’m the champion of Earth.  I’m not a man though, I’m a woman and I’m pregnant.  I’m the Doctor!”  She laughed.  “I am the Doctor and I beat you.  My hand’s not blue now, you see?  I’m the Doctor, bitch!”  She giggled as the meteor changed its shape once more, becoming that of a blue police telephone call box.  “You’re the TARDIS, hello old girl, it’s me.  You were infected with it too, weren’t you?  A simple meme virus.  It really was all in my mind.  How did I end up on Earth thinking I was a human?  I mean I had two hearts and could those clues have been more obvious?  Now though, what to do?  I have to stop that thing, but I can’t do it manually.  I know.  Of course.  I simply create an etheric beam emitter, keyed into the exact frequency of the bomb.  It’s that simple.  Sometimes I’m so amazing I even amaze myself.  Which is no small feat I can assure me.  In fact I’m so great and powerful and wise that I can get away with talking to myself in a very loud voice.”  She opened the TARDIS doors.  “Come on old girl, we’ve got work to do.”

 

 

 

Erin watched the bright glare of the nuclear bomb detonating.  “Goodbye Doctor.”

 

“Hardly goodbye, now is it?”  The Doctor asked her confused companion.

 

“How did you get in here?”  Erin asked.

 

“Time Lady secret.”  The Doctor giggled.  “Oh, ok.  I flew in.  There, does that impress you?  I’m the Doctor by the way.  The one in those legends.  Which are all real by the way, especially the ones that contradict each other.  You’re happy here though, aren’t you?  You’ve got kids and a boyfriend.  True he’s part Martian, on his great grandmother’s side, and you’re not even human at all, you’re from a distant part of the galaxy from the far future, but your ancestors were human.  Maybe it’s best that you don’t regain your old memories.  Whatever happened, I think this is for the best.  This alternate time line should work for some of us.  Me, well I’ve got to fly, literally, I did mention that before but I think you were in shock, this is not a dream by the way.  You and Dave deserve a happy life together.  Me, well I can start over.  Track down this Miss Tree woman, kick her arse six ways till Sunday and then maybe get a pedicure before having the most amazing adventures in time and space.  However being a mother, I think that’s an even better adventure.  I’ll compare notes with you once my baby’s been born.  However Time Lady pregnancies tend to last about five years and during the last year, well it won’t be pretty.  I might come and visit you before then, unless I go home.  I always thought you could never go home again, but maybe father will forgive me finally.  It doesn’t matter though, there’s always an unseen future waiting for me out there and I owe it to my child to make sure it’s the best one I can make it.  Goodbye Erin, say ta-ta to Dave for me too.”

 

Erin blinked and the Doctor was gone.  Somehow she knew all of it was true, but she had two children who needed her and she planned to get a divorce too.  She wondered how quickly Dave could get a promotion at work.

 

 

 

The Doctor relaxed in the console room.  Tears rolled down her cheeks, but they were happy tears.  “She’s got a family now, a real one.  It’s what she’s always wanted and Dave is happy too.  I always knew they were destined for each other.”  She patted the console softly.  “Looks like it’s just us two now old girl.  Now we can kill that bitch and get away with it.”  Her smile turned into an icy glare of hate.  “No one risks hurting my baby like that, no one!  Hell will seem a nice alternative to what I’m going to do to her!  Now the gloves are off and the only rules are kill or be killed, at any cost.  Any cost!”  The Doctor stalked off to the wardrobe room to find herself some new clothes to wear.  She realised that she must have looked a right sight to Erin, it was very good of her not to laugh, although she could have offered her that coat she was wearing.

 

I'd just watched The Quatermass Xperiment and I really wanted to write a story with that sort of feel to it.  I also wanted to capture the feel of the early Pertwee era which while cast in a similar vein had a slightly more 'knowing' attitude towards the alien invaders.  I wanted to make the story feel dangerous, by establishing the character of Dr. Melissa Smith as the anti-heroine of the story.  Of course it's later revealed that she's really the Doctor but I gave little hints and clues about that in the story anyway, so that the reader has figued it out before Smith does.  I also wanted a huge ending, reminicent of the final Quatermass story, but with the obvious twist with the Doctor regaining her real identity and the TARDIS and so escaping the nuclear detonation she causes to destroy all trace of the creatures.
 

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