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Cydonian Knight

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: BoMoWriCha Prompts


Written for the BoMoWriCha daily challenge. Do check out any of the many live versions of Muse playing 'Knights of Cydonia'!

Submitted: July 09, 2018

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Submitted: July 09, 2018

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No one’s going to take me alive,

the time has come to make things right;

you and I must fight for our rights,

you and I must fight to survive.’

Knights of Cydonia by Muse.

 

Cydonian Knights

 

Where did they come from? How come we had no warning? These were questions that would long remain. The first, well, maybe we’ll never know, not really. The second, well, that was answered reluctantly, in dribs and drabs, over time.

There was one simultaneous moment, all around the globe, that marked the end of life as any of us knew it. Huge black discs descended to remain just above the Earth’s surface.

For some, of course, it was night time and these huge ships remained unseen until daybreak. For others, they were clearly visible and brought with them terror and panic.

Where were the army? The police? How had they got through Earth’s defences unnoticed? Amidst all the screams and fleeing these questions were there at the back of people’s minds. Why weren’t the governments doing what they were supposed to do – protect people?

Some people took cover inside of buildings while others took to the streets. No one knew which course of action would prove to be the safest. One by one, the power stations failed, engines stopped working; and the only power that remained was that which was provided by emergency generators.

The huge black discs did nothing but hang ominously in the sky. With the vehicles stopping along with the power a kind of hush descended. Very few people continued to scream in the silence, and those that did soon became mute.

Hour after hour passed. It was just like we were all waiting; the only thing was that we did not know for what. At that stage nobody was even aware that this was taking place all over the world for any forms of communication that relied on signal relaying were out of operation too.

Whoever, whatever, was inside those things knew how to ramp up the pressure. We had no idea what we should be doing, had no guidance at all, and so for the most part we did nothing but wait in ever-mounting panic.

But perhaps we were wrong. Perhaps there was no hostile intent at all and this was merely some kind of information gathering; an exercise in observation and nothing more. The longer that nothing else happened, the more this came to be believed.

Should we ignore them? Could we ignore them and just go about as much of our daily lives as we could, without the power we had come to so much rely on. The alternative was to stand, or to sit, in wait. I guess some chose one course while others chose the opposite.

Me, I did not think this was the end. I did not think that they would simply vanish as quickly as they had arrived and everything would simply return to normal. Something big was happening here; something huge and life-shattering. Because I felt that way, I stayed and I watched.

Time didn’t seem to matter any more. With these things obliterating most of the sky it was difficult to tell day from night, even. I have no idea how long they just hovered there before finally deciding to act.

There was an inaudible thrumming in the air, a sensation rather than sound, and hatches began to open, launching hundred, maybe thousands of smaller craft towards the planets surface. They seemed so small at first, nothing more than pin-pricks of light.

Missiles!

I think that was the initial thought of everyone and the pandemonium increased tenfold. People were rushing in blind panic, knocking others to the ground; pushing, shoving, trampling in an effort to get.....Where? If these were missiles there would be no escaping the force of their impact. There would be nowhere safe.

But they weren’t missiles. Better maybe if they had of been. At least it would all have been over quickly. One big bang and then nothing!

Instead the things that had fallen from out of the giant disc were large pods. They landed in a controlled way, deploying some kind of stabilizers. Although controlled, they did not seem to take in to account what was beneath them.

Buildings were crushed, people too, as they slowed and took up position. For that is what it looked like – strategic placement rather than haphazard descent.

Then it was back to the game of waiting as once more nothing happened. One of the, I don’t know, ‘pods’ does not seem to do them justice had landed quite near to me. I’d resisted the initial urge to panic and run, and after nothing had seemed to be happening I took the chance of giving the thing a distant glance.

A dull dark grey metal like substance, it seemed to emanate a deep threat. So help me, once again I found myself wishing that these things had indeed been missiles.

I had to get away, head up into the mountains. Maybe see if I could take some others with me, but most seemed too out of their heads with fear to even hear a word I said. Five of us ran in the end. Just in time as it happened, for those pods began to open and discharge their cargo of troops.

Tall, white, merciless. These were the only impressions I formed at first, as I made my escape. People were screaming, dropping, being mown down like daisies by a lawn-mower.

The craft from which these pods had come, the big black disc, began to give off some kind of emerald light. Don’t look at it, I yelled inside my head, and pulled my eyes towards the ground.

The killing had stopped. Had they really destroyed so many so quickly? Once I felt I was far enough undercover and that my companions were too, I risked a glance back, still ensuring that I did not look upwards. People were still upright, so presumably still alive, but were motionless, as though frozen in place.

We watched in silence as the ‘invaders’ began their task of rounding up the survivors, getting them in to groups and then taking them away. Where were they going? It would be impossible to get closer without being seen, so we, all five of us, had nothing to do but watch in some discomfort, not daring to do any more than breathe.

We waited and we waited. Once the last group of survivors had been moved, that sickening green light began to fade. We took it as our signal to back off slowly, carefully, further in to the hills, hopefully to find others that had escaped.

It did not take long for them to put whatever their plan was in to action. The robot-like creatures took up patrols, essentially turning entire towns, even cities in to giant prisons.

The really shocking thing about it all was how little resistance was made. I know that we are used to working for the benefit of those in charge, the few that are in control of about 90% of all the world’s wealth and resources. Maybe that compliance as much as the planetary resources themselves marked Earth out as a perfect target.

Had that green light had brain-washing powers? At the time I had believed it to be nothing more than a way to freeze people in place, to get control over their bodies not their brains. Maybe I was wrong or maybe it was the sheep mentality coming out in full strength. Obey orders, don’t rock the boat, and above all else, fit in.

To a lot of people it probably made no difference whose pockets they were lining, who was making the profit from their labour. So long as they were allowed some kind of existence things would be okay.

They were wrong though, weren’t they. Get injured then face execution. Get sick and face execution. Fall short on your job performance, whatever it entailed, and that would be the end of you.

These robots, far superior artificial intelligence than had ever even been imagined on Earth were totally without compassion. Of course others saw that and tried to flee but they were too late. Anyone that had not fled right at the start when we had simply had no chance of getting away. So many times we had watched from the undergrowth as people tried to make it towards us, whether they knew we were there or not, and were quite mercilessly destroyed.

Whatever weapons these things had did not leave bodies, did not even leave a pile of ash. They targetted you, they shot you and it was as though you had ceased to exist. You literally did disappear in to thin air, but the agonised expression on the face at the moment of impact proved it was far from painless.

life here had been some that stuck with a rural existence, and it is those that took us in, fed us, gave us places to gather. And as more stragglers joined us, so did we get to learn more.

Attempts had been made to launch large-scale strikes against what now were being referred to as the alien invaders. Bullets would not work against them, even when fired at high velocity. In fact, the guns, rifles, whatever was used to fire the shots just seemed to melt on to the hands of those that were shooting, causing extreme agony, often resulting in death.

Vehicles would not work. No tanks, no armoured trucks, cars. What about the air-force, the navy. Surely someone could do something. Humanity had long been pumping money in to weapons development after all. The aircraft could not take off, and even if they had been able to get up in to the sky they would have soon have lost control or been shot down. The navy was just as powerless, as navigation equipment, radio equipment, all were out of order.

The alien invaders were spreading their scope of operation. Still we did not know what it was that they were after but whatever it was, their removal of it was destroying the planet itself. They would not stop until we were left with nothing more than an empty husk of a thing that drifted aimlessly, all forms of life long since extinguished.

Some of us lost hope of ever being able to fight, to survive what had to be a global invasion. We still had no news from other countries but it had to be. If not, someone somewherewould have stepped in with aid at least, if not mounted a full-scale assault. They’d broken us down, subdued our will as a race. They were going to take exactly what they were after and we were going to help them.

It was a late-night discussion that resulted in the formation of the Cydonian Knights. We were talking about music, tracks from the past and someone mentioned ‘Knights of Cydonia.’

“‘No one’s going to take me alive, the time has come to make things right.’”

It seemed rather appropriate to us that were gathered there, especially when the person that mentioned the song informed us that Cydonia was an area on Mars. There really could be no better name for us, although we still only numbered a mere fifty in total.

Another problem with the knights image was the traditional armour, the weaponry. Metal was useless against them, and useless as a form of protection. In fact, it gave them the upper hand as they could melt it so easily. Who would be able to stand and put up any sort of fight in a molten suit of armour? Who would be able to wield a sword that would liquefy, to engulf the hand, the arm before it came anywhere near to the target.

But the feelings of defiance were there, the resolution. We’d fight for our lives, for the life of the very planet, and we would not stop unless we died trying.

It was going to take some thinking outside of the box, maybe going back in time for some ideas. Strangely enough, in spite of their ability to melt all kinds of metal with ease, none of us had seen them burn wood, trees. Could that be something that they had no power over at all? There was plenty of wood around that just maybe we could fashion in to weapons. Swords, lances, daggers; all could be made from wood if we found that which was strong enough, if we could fashion points that were sharp enough.

That single idea was enough to spur us in to action. So many of us had been in the process of giving up any hope at all but now, at least we might have come up with a way of fighting back.

Wood could possibly be used in making protective shields but it would have to be thin and light enough to manoeuvre with some ease. A shield that was a struggle to lift or to hold would be a hindrance rather than a help. I would definitely go without one, that way freeing two hands for weapons.

Protective clothing was another problem. No traditional metal armour was an option, even if there was any that we could lay our hands on. Wood, well, that really could not work. Freedom of movement was an essential. Maybe sponge, foam of some kind.

Some chose to go for a thin wrapping, just on the off-chance that it might be of some help. Again, I decided that freedom of movement was more important. Those robots were strong, seemingly infallible but they were not the swiftest of movers. Ducking and diving down, then coming back up, twisting, changing direction; that was going to be what I concentrated on, taking out as many of those aliens as I could.

Even away from the towns and the cities it was obvious that the planet was being sucked dry of.....something. It was damaging the plants, which in turn was depleting our cover. We’d spread out, come in with a bit of distance between us. Anything else would be way too easy for them to spot.

At the same time we needed to arrive pretty much together, causing as wide a disturbance as possible. Force their attention to be deployed in more than one area. Who knows, maybe we’ll be able to get them to attack some of their own.

Perhaps, with our arrival the ‘prisoners’, the ‘human sheep’ will wake up from what ever trance they have been put under and fight against the aliens too. I’m not too optimistic about this, though. Surely if they had any fight inside them they would have acted before and would already have been destroyed.

That big black ship still sits up there in the sky. I don’t think it has moved at all since its arrival.

What if there were more of them, just waiting to be sent down to Earth? There could be millions of them, an undefeatable amount. Does it matter though? Not to me. I will not just sit back and give in to this curious act of war, of destruction.

Slowly and carefully I make my descent, a short but very sharp wooden sword in each hand. I can see Phil across from me, just barely though. If I did not know he was there I would not have noticed him at all.

I guess it is not so strange that they do not look outward in their patrols. Why would they? Nothing has approached from that direction since their arrival. Maybe they are totally unaware that some of us have remained out of their control. Our numbers seem so low that they were unlikely to have noticed, even if they knew the population figures. They could not possibly have any idea how many were slaughtered during their initial landing.

No, these robot things are more interested in making sure that nothing gets out. The prisoners are doing all the work in whatever extraction is taking place and they want to hang on to every single one.

I still can’t work it out, just what it is that they are after. Nothing in the air, at least. There is no ocean near here so I don’t know if extraction is taking place below sea-level. Some kind of ore, or mineral that is buried deep inside the center of the Earth would be my guess, but it could equally be some kind of organic compound held within the planet’s outer covering. Too much removal of anything would be devastating.

Okay, so now I am through the undergrowth, but there is still a large distance between me and their apparent perimeter. In my favour, there are no robots actually in sight which means I can move boldly and swiftly, at least for a while. But my good luck means someone else’s bad, because I’d be kidding myself if I believed they’d withdrawn, disappeared.

Phil is in sight on my left. I can barely make out a figure to my far right. We pause, wait. If any of us is going to back out now is the time to do it. From what I can see, we all choose to stay, to fight.

As one we rise up, charge towards the outer perimeter of the town, looking for robot aliens to take down. And this will be a fight to the death. I know that I will not have a chance of surviving, but better to lose my life trying to protect our world than to meekly serve those who have invaded it with the sole purpose of destroying our planet and all of us with it.

There’s one! There’s two. I duck and I dive, catching them off guard and grounding a couple of them. No kills, because how can I kill what is not alive in the first place. Maybe some have been incapacitated, if only temporarily, but there are so many more flooding in.

A pointless exercise, doomed to failure but no one is going to take me alive.

 

(3020 words).

 

 


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