Terra

The Drop

Morning in the shelter. A small alarm goes off to alert Darrix that it is in fact morning, and he ever so quickly and quietly reaches over to turn it off. As with any morning he yawns and stretches a few times before actually sitting up. He looks up to the ceiling of the shelter, and with no words commanded or switches pressed, a dim light comes on, gradually growing brighter. Not much natural light penetrates down into the shelter, just whatever leaks through the air vent. So artificial daylight is needed.

Xander is the first of the twins to wake. Just as his father had done, he yawns and stretches a few times before rubbing his eyes and propping himself up. He goes to shove Zoe awake, but Darrix stops him by holding his hands out and shushing the boy.

“Ah ah! No, no let her sleep.” Darrix whispers, and gets up and off of his mattress now. “Here gimme your hand I’ll pull you up.”

With a silent nod Xander holds his hand out to his father, and Darrix pulls the boy up and over his sister. Without a word Xander goes over to their bathroom and shuts himself in, while Darrix goes over to the kitchen, and goes through everything they have to find breakfast.

“M&Ms?” He asks Xander as the boy reappears, rubbing his hair dry with a towel.

“We really need to get some actual food in.” Xander sighs as he runs a hand through his hair, and yawns once again.

“Now see I would’ve done that yesterday only you left your sister alone.” Darrix points out as he opens a pack of M&Ms. “And now it would seem she has herself a secret boyfriend.”

Xander‘s jaw drops in complete shock, but what’s shocking him even more is that his father doesn’t seem the least bit bothered.

“Dude Close your mouth or I’m throwing this candy in there.” Darrix speaks with a mouthful and a mischievous smile. Naturally he throws a couple over at Xander who turns his head, closes his mouth and then smiles at his dad. Seconds later he too has a pack of M&Ms in his hands, and goes to sit with his father.

“So what were you getting us yesterday exactly?” He asks, literally just to make conversation.

“Rice, pasta, beans, powdered milk, that place had it all and you went and caused shit.” Darrix answers with a casual shrug, and pours the remaining M&Ms of the pack into his mouth. He reaches over then, and smacks the bottom of his son’s pack, sending the sweets flying up out of the pack and gaining quite the laugh from Xander.

“Seriously though what time was Zoe up until?” Xander asks once the laughter dies down.

“About an hour ago.” Darrix replies. “I didn’t wanna wake you. She went out at about 1am, thought she’d gone quietly but I was awake. I watched her pretty much the whole time. It was the guy who saved her in the mall. They even had a little kiss. Just a little one.”

“But she just met him yesterday.” Xander shakes his head in bemusement. “They don’t know each other.”

“Well yeah, but think about it, they were out there talking together for over 8 hours. They did a whole eight hours straight of getting to know one another. And don’t forget Zoe hasn’t had human contact since..... Besides, it was just small, nothing big.”

“I can’t believe you were watching me.” The two hear Zoe grumble now, and look over to see her turned over in bed facing them.

“M&Ms?” Darrix asks, “It’s pretty much all we got right now.”

“No thank you.” Zoe sighs and raises a gloved hand to her head.

“You want more sleep?” Darrix asks, to which Zoe just nods.

“Want me to put you under?” Darrix asks, and again Zoe nods. So Darrix shuffles off of his mattress now, and goes over to where his daughter lays.

“Okay, get comfortable because I’m gonna put you out for eight hours okay?” Darrix tells her and makes sure that that’s alright. Again all Zoe can do is nod. A thought crosses Darrix’s mind then. “Well I’m glad you didn’t have sex on your first date I ain’t ready to be a grandpa yet sheesh.”

“Dad!”

“Ew!”

Both the twins complain at the same time. Darrix just lets out a chuckle though, before turning deadly serious, and letting his eyes darken to solid black as he places his hands either side of Zoe’s head, and within seconds, the girl is asleep.

With a sigh Darrix sits back on his mattress now with his back against the wall, and rests his head back and raises a hand to his eyes.

Xander looks over at his father, looking at Darrix’s muscular yet badly damaged arms, his left arm in particular. He can’t help but notice that some of the damage is new.

“Dad?” He asks.

“Don’t.” Darrix warns him.

“Dad you gotta stop.” Xander carries on, but Darrix gets up now, and goes over to the piles of fresh clothes that are sitting in the corner.

“Dad Seriously we need you, you have to stop doing that!” Xander urges.

Before Darrix has a chance to respond, an alarm sounds, and panic fills both Darrix and Xander.

“Stay here.” Darrix orders, and leaves the room to go up the multiple flights of stairs and out into the open. He scans the area around the shelter, and realises immediately that his shield is down, so he very quickly walks the parameter of the shelter, checking things quickly before he goes to reset the shield. He stops in his tracks however, when he notices a tank. An actual moving tank, a real tank with tracks and guns and people in. It’s decorated in the colours of black and blue, the colours of the world government.

‘Xander stay down there, lock the door there’s a patrol’ he telepathically speaks to his son down in the shelter.

‘What about you?’ Xander asks back.

‘No if I move now and they see me that’s it we’re screwed.’ Darrix replies, and settles down to hide behind a nearby brick wall. It’s not the best of hiding places, but right now it’s the only hiding place he’s got.

“This is a call out to all remaining humans in this area.” A man begins to speak over a loud PA system. “We are here to remind you that there is a 9 trillion credit reward for the capture of the three alien life forms known as Darrix, Xander and Zoe. Alive or dead.”

Suddenly Darrix hears heavy booted footsteps coming towards him, on the other side of the wall. He clenches his jaw and eyes closed tightly and holds his breath, listening as carefully as possible to the footsteps. He can hear the clicking of a gun and the multiple zips on the person’s uniform. He can’t move, he can’t make a sound, he can’t even breath. All he can do is sit here and wait it out. Then, he can see the boot. As silently as he can, Darrix shuffle backwards, using his hands to feel his way along the wall and ground so that he doesn’t have to take his eyes off of the person. He can’t use and of his abilities here, they have scanners everywhere, which is why his shield lowered.

‘Dad what’s going on?’ Xander asks from down in the shelter.

Darrix doesn’t respond, he dares not in case this person finds him.

“No?” The person speaking over the PA calls out. “Okay, maybe this will get your attention then. In three hours there will be a food and supplies drop at Four Mile Park.”

With that the person in Darrix’s eyeline walks away, and climbs back up into the tank, and the tank drives off.

With a heavy sigh of relief, Darrix relaxes, and slips out from his hiding place and very quickly gets his shield back up around the shelter.

‘Xander get me a gas mask.’ Darrix instructs his son as he makes his way back down the stairs as fast as he can, even taking to jumping over he railings.

“Here.” Xander says as he meets his father at the bottom of the stairs. “Mask and leathers.”

“Thanks.” Darrix speaks with heavy breaths, and quickly changes into the leather coveralls, boots and gloves given to him by his son.

“If I’m not back by the time your sister wakes up, call Meda.” Darrix urges, and slips the gas mask on into place. He doesn’t need it, he can breathe perfectly fine without the radiation affecting him, but going out into the open, he needs to blend in as much as he possibly can. If anyone suspects him of being there he could die.

“I love you.” He tells Xander, who just nods and watches as his father disappears up the stairs again.

Out on the streets, multiple people all clad in gas masks and many of them in leather, make their way to the park they’ve been told the drop will be at. As he stalks along Darrix counts at least ten groups of four or five, including children. The apocalypse may have struck, but human life certainly didn’t end.

He hangs back a little, walking slower and putting on a fake limp. Something about this drop doesn’t feel right and he doesn’t want to get too close.

As he nears the park, a helicopter flies in and hovers overhead, dropping packages before flying off again. Darrix feels his breath picking up, and stops dead in his tracks, no, something really isn’t right, no drop has ever been made by helicopter, always by plane. That way multiple locations can have drops quicker.

He moves to stand behind a tree a fair way back from the crowd of people waiting for the drop. As the packages make their way down from the sky, only one image fills Darrix’s mind. It’s an image of the Pearl Harbour bombing in 1941. Not a single person was expecting it, as they aren’t now. He looks around, men, women and children everywhere. They’re trapped, sitting here waiting to be killed. Clenching his fists Darrix activates a shield around him, and seconds later as the packages reach the crowd, and almighty blast rips through the park. Every single person waiting for the drop is wiped out. Gone.

Feeling his heart hitch in his chest, Darrix takes a few step backwards and turns to head back to the shelter as fast as he possibly can. Suddenly he feels a hand take his hand, and drag him into a looted building.

The next thing he knows he’s back outside, but he can’t see in colour, only grey scale, and right there next to him, pulling him along is his son.

“I told you to stay in the shelter.” Darrix scolds him.

“If I didn’t you’d be killed.” Xander argues, and together they keep running back to the shelter, very aware of the now multiple helicopters flying about overhead.

“It was a trap to draw us out.” Darrix tells his son.

“I know that’s why I came!” Xander cries. “Just don’t let go of my hand or they’ll see you again.”

Darrix nods, suddenly extremely thankful for his son’s ability to become invisible.

Eventually, after a two hour trek, they reach the shelter again and hurry back down the stairs and into the containment room where they both get changed before heading back into the main room.

Without any hesitation Darrix heads straight to the bathroom and turns the water on, strips out of his clothes, and without caring that the water is stone cold. He just gets in, and finds himself leaning forward, resting his head against the freezing tile wall, with the equally as cold water hitting his back like a torrent of rain.

An overwhelming and blinding grief overcomes him, and he can’t hold back his tears. His cries loud and painful, the cries of a man who has just witnessed a genocide.

Suddenly the shower curtain is pulled back, and the water flow is stopped. But Darrix’s screams still overcome him. A caring arm wraps a towel over him, and brings him out of the shower to sit down on his bed. Another towel is wrapped around him, followed by another. Slowly, he raises his hand to the right of his chest, running his fingers over what appears to be a blue hexagonal device embedded into his skin. A display on the device shows a motionless life line, and a number, 608, Darrix’s age. Just underneath the lifeline, there is a hexagonal bar code, and underneath that barcode is a twelve digit number, and a thumb print.

“Hey what are you doing with that?” Darrix hears his son’s voice. “Don’t, take your hand away.”

With heavy, laboured breaths, Darrix looks up at his son, and pats the space next to him. Xander takes the space, and rests his head on his father’s shoulder.

“I’ve never actually told you what it is.” Darrix tells him. “You need to know.”

Xander just nods, and waits for his father to explain.

“When I first came to Earth, and brought that astronaut back, I was taken to Area 51. I got locked up. Was there for Twenty years. Twenty years in solitary, while they did every experiment, exam and probe they could possibly think of. I was so weak at the end of it, I wanted to die, but I couldn’t. Anyway, they eventually settled on talking. I told them everything they wanted to know, I told them the truth about the universe. I told them we could help them with their space programmes. And that was true, we could and we did. I got them in touch with the UUF, and a deal was made that I would become the ambassador to Earth from the UUF. But because of all the experiments they’d done on me, the Grand President wanted to make sure I was properly protected and taken care of. They also wanted to make sure that if the need ever came, that they had a means to completely destroy Earth to eliminate any threat that it posed.”

Xander looks at Darrix confused.

“Let’s put it this way.” Darrix comes up with a way to describe what he’s trying to get at. “Earth is the North Korea of the universe. They wanted to be on as big of a scale as the rest of the universe, but we’re going completely the wrong way about it. So the UUF put this in me. It’s linked directly to my heart, and the grand president now has the means to completely destroy the Earth should she need to. She nearly did once too, but until we can get you and your sister back in the care of the UUF, she won’t trigger it.”

“It’s a bomb?” Xander asks in complete horror.

“Yeah.” Darrix nods. “One that’s powerful enough to combust the entire planet. But they’ll only use it if I tell them to and they agree with me. If I’m not on the planet, and the time is right, they’ll blow the planet. Earth’s a lost cause now. Xander I’m not gonna lie, I want them to activate it. This suffering everyone on this planet is going through, it has to end.”

“No.” Xander shakes his head. “No, no you can’t let them activate it, not yet. There are still good people on this planet and they need our help. We need to get as many people out as possible.”

“That’s easier said than done I’m afraid.” Darrix shrugs. “I mean look at us, right now they can’t even send a transport to get us. The atmosphere would just burn the transport up on entry.”

“And dad, the cutting, the clawing, all of that, I’m begging you please stop. We-“

Darrix cuts his son off and places a hand on his forehead, showing his son everything, showing him every single little thing that he’s been through since being involved in Earth’s affairs. But his son’s resilience is strong and impressive. Rather than break, he just holds his father, and together they settle on agreeing just to keep Darrix’s thoughts between them.

“We’ll get out dad, I promise.”

Darrix nods as he holds onto his son for a few more minutes before he gets up to go and get dried off properly, and gets dressed.

“Okay.” He sighs when he comes back over, and looks down to his daughter. “Wakey Wakey Zoe. You got a date.”