THE FIRST DAY: ARRIVAL
“Damn it, Darlene! I told you not to watch that fake news. There aint no such thing as aliens. All of this has been bullshit so the government can come get my guns. Turn it off. And get your damn dog off the couch.”
“I don’t think so,” Darlene muttered watching the images from Russia and the massive alien spaceship. “That’s a lot of work just to come and get your guns, Bobby.”
Thin, almost starved-looking, Darlene had badly dyed reddish hair self-cut shaggy short. Her arms scrolled with tattoos. She wore ripped jeans and a red t-shirt with the Marine Corps emblem on the front. She was sitting cross-legged on the nice leather couch, Bobby’s only legacy from his stepmom, peering at the TV. It was all kinda confusing cause some of the feeds would go blank and the news folk were scrambling to figure things out.
One hand absently scratched Rex’s head. The dog was a mutt, something German Shepherd/Chow/Mexico street fighter. She’d found him wandering about a few months ago and viewed him as a good luck charm and more trustworthy companion than her quasi-boyfriend of expediency.
Bobby didn’t like bad news, or fake news as he called it. “I told you to turn the damn thing off!” He grabbed his AR-15 off the pegs by the door to the trailer, single-wide, but some day she’d dreamed of double-wide as long as she had to stay here. Looked like that dream wasn’t gonna come. All bad things must end.
“Don’t you dare!” Darlene yelled as Bobby leveled the rifle at the TV.
It had a fancy sniper scope that had cost a week and a half of her waitressing tips and initiated a terrible row between the two of them as Darlene didn’t see the need, given Bobby only shot cans, plus he didn’t even know how to zero it in. The fight had been more a drunken brawl, followed by reasonably decent make-up sex. That still didn’t make up for the money, but it didn’t seem that was going to matter now either.
Bobby fired four rounds, fast as he could pull the trigger, blasting the screen.
“Great shooting, numb-nuts,” Darlene said. “Shoulda saved your ammo. I think we’re gonna need it.” She didn’t point out he hadn’t needed that damn, stupid scope to hit the TV. Rex growled at Bobby. “Easy,” Darlene said. “Now aint the time for our plan. Gotta wait boy.”
“That plan thing aint never funny,” Bobby said. “You and that damn dog.”
“Why do you think it’s a joke?” Darlene stomped out of the trailer in her heavy black boots, Rex at her heel. She stood in the ‘front yard’ comprising of desert and pulled the smokes out of roll on the left arm of her t-shirt.
“You should quit,” Bobby said from inside the nebulous safety of the ripped screen door, but his voice was a bit subdued, as it always was after he did something stupid, which was much more often than Darlene liked.
“Don’t matter now,” Darlene said, staring out over the desolate west Texas landscape. “Shoulda bought that double-wide, Bobby, when I told you to. At least we’d have been going out happier.”
While the massive Swarm Battle Core settled into high orbit, 20,000 miles above the Earth’s surface, the results of the Metamorphosis were walking, crawling, swimming, slithering, stalking and winging their way to designated warships for the pending drop on the planet.
The Core’s orbit was opposite the planet’s rotation. For the first go-around, the Core was traversing the northern hemisphere, just above the Tropic of Capricorn as data indicated it would be the source of most Scale opposition. Weapons systems on the surface of the Core were powered up.
It was all standing operating procedure for a reaping.
Even 20,000 miles up, the sphere was massive. Six thousand miles wide at the center and four thousand at the polar axis, it was much larger, and much, much closer, than the moon. As the Core orbited the planet, it began targeting procedures to negate potential threats prior to drop. Numerous sites had already been determined due to intercepts across the array of electromagnetic transmissions from the planet. More would be determined as the Scale life, in this case humans, reacted.
There was no rush.
The result was inevitable.