[I have just republished an expanded version of the entire novel, with added scenes and further character development. Instead of publishing it chapter by chapter, which would have been too much of a pain, I did it book by book. Here are links to the four books: I, II, III, and IV. As you can see, I’ve also left the original, shorter versions published, because replacing them all with the expanded version would also have been too much of a pain. So I leave you, Dear Reader, with the choice of the shorter versions or the longer ones. You are free to choose whichever ones you prefer: a quicker but less-developed read, or a longer and fuller story. Either way, I hope you like my story.]
2032, Puerto Ayacucho, Amazonas, Venezuela
Sergeant Dan Miller, of the United City States Army, Exxon-Mobil Division, saluted Captain Finch as both of them were about to enter their office in their nine-year-old military installation. Both men had coffees in their hands, and they’d just finished lunch.
“Did you have a good lunch, sir?” Miller asked as his saluting hand came down.
“Yes, I did, Dan,” Finch said as his came down and they entered. “How about you?”
“Oh, fine, sir. I must say, I like the food here much better than I did in the Samsung base in Seoul, where I was posted a couple years ago. I hate kimchi, but the corn, rice, and beans here are a lot better. I’m so glad we kicked all the commies out of this place, that old Maduro government, and that Exxon-Mobil is running things in Caracas.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” Finch said, looking away and his smile fading. “This whole continent is our backyard. We have far better use for the locals’ oil reserves than they do. Anyway, have those reports on my desk by 1400J.”
“Yes, sir,” Miller said, and went over to the filing cabinet, which was on the wall opposite to Finch’s office, where Finch went in and closed the door.
A minute later, Sergeant Judy West, of the Shell Oil Company’s air force, entered the office. “Good afternoon, Sergeant,” she said.
“Hi, Sergeant,” he said, looking away from his files. “How can I help you today?”
“Oh, I was just wondering if you were aware of any reports of alien activity here in Amazonas.”
“Not much of anything,” he said. “How’s things going in Africa, with the airstrikes and the drones spraying those glowing little bastards?”
“Well, after a year of it, we’ve killed many of them, but they’ve killed many more of ours,” she said. “At best, it’s been a stalemate; at worst, it could become Vietnam and Afghanistan, all over again.”
“Fuck,” he grunted. “Why can’t the good guys win, for a change?”
“I know how you feel,” she said, looking away and frowning. “Anyway, do you know of any rumours that there could be carriers of the aliens among us? Not necessarily here in this base, but maybe in other bases in South America, American soldiers who could be possessed by those little balls of light?”
“I’ve heard a rumour or two, a few suspicions, but nothing more than that.”
“Can you name any names of suspected military people?” she asked. “Even the vaguest lead could help.”
“No, no names, sorry. I wish I knew some, I really wish I did. I’d love to have an opportunity or two to fuck them up. I hate those sons o’ bitches.”
“Oh, I know the feeling,” she said with a sigh and a scowl. “If you learn of anything, just let me know. Here’s my name card.” She gave it to him.
“Thanks,” he said, taking it and putting it in his pocket. “In the meantime, though, I have my trusty can of bug spray here.” He gestured to it, fastened to his belt, as was standard for all military uniforms. “The very second I see any of them, my first reaction won’t be to call you, understand. Instead, I’ll zap the shiny little cocksuckers. Watch ’em die like the little cockroaches they are.”
“Well, you may encounter them pretty soon in the future,” she said. “We have intelligence that they’re infiltrating the whole Global South: not only here and Africa, but also Southeast Asia.”
“I’d enjoy a chance to kill some of ’em,” he said, with his back to her and looking at his files again. “Bring ’em on.”
“You may get that chance sooner than you think.”
He looked behind.
His eyes and mouth widened.
Those glowing little bastards were flying from her fingers.
He got out his can of bug spray as quick as lightning and sprayed the half dozen of them that flew out in front. They all fell, tapping and bouncing on the wooden floor beside him.
“You little whore!” he shouted, reaching for a pistol he had hidden in the filing cabinet, in case of alien carrier emergency. He pointed it at her. “Now it’s time for you to die, you alien carrier bitch.”
But before he could pull the trigger, Bolshivarian balls of light were entering him in his back. Shaking and grunting in pain, he pointed the gun up to the ceiling and pulled the trigger.
He still had the safety on.
Still shaking and grunting, he dropped the gun and fell to the floor. The familiar red cracks were showing all over his face and hands.
Luckily for his assailants, his grunts of pain weren’t loud enough to attract the attention of anyone outside. West and Finch approached Miller, looked down with blank expressions at him from either side of his fidgeting body, and watched him begin to rip apart, tearing holes in his uniform.
“Open the window,” Finch told her. “We need to get the toxins out of the room.”
“Yes, sir,” she said, walking around Miller and the sprayed area to get to the window.
Finch watched as Miller’s flesh was ripping open, exposing his brain, trachea, stomach, bladder, and leg muscles. His ribcage was broken out wide open, like two doors to a welcoming entrance, to expose his heart and lungs. His uniform shirt and pants were in shreds.
The torn-open innards had mouth-like holes formed in them, grunting, “No. No. No. No. Get out. Get out of me.”
“It’s a good thing most of everyone else is still at lunch,” Finch said. “We can’t have anyone seeing this.”
Miller’s body exploded, spraying his blood everywhere. Finch and West dodged the red spray in time, getting only a minimal amount of tiny dots of blood on their uniforms.
“I’ll go outside and use our energy to influence everyone to stay away from this office,” Finch said, heading for the door outside. “Our Bolshivarian technology fortunately can clean up this mess far quicker than human hands. Then we can honour our fallen ones lying there among his body parts.”
“Yes, sir,” she said in a choked-up voice, watching him go out the door.
The remaining balls of light came out of her, careful to keep their distance from the bug spray toxins still in the air. The lights pushed the toxins out the window; then they made the blood disappear off the walls, Miller’s desk, her uniform, and the floor. It was a slow fading away of red, but it was ultimately faster than rags, a bucket of water, and mops would have been.
Once Miller’s body parts were picked up and disposed of, she had time to look at the marble-like balls on the floor, those that used to glow with life.
Before picking them up for burial, she needed a moment to weep for them.