When the Universe Calls, Don't Answer

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fan Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

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Sometimes aliens don't need to call home. But if they ever call you, know that they are calling long distance, collect ~ which you have to pay.

FAN FICTION DISCLAIMER
The following story is based on the many characters created by artist and author David Okum. Okum created the basics for the characters' backstory or origin, their powerset, and the basic reason for their goals or actions. I took the next step and crafted literary situations, as well as detailed character personality profiles (like secret identities) to create a well-rounded world full of intriguing and nostalgic personas.

“Do you see?” Gertrude pointed out the open window at the fields.
The night wind was weak and dry, and Harold did not want to leave the comfort of his easy chair. “Please Gertie, whatever it is, leave it be.” He pressed a button on the clicker and changed the channel. “Come look, it’s your favorite show!”
Gertrude did not budge from the window seat. She stared out at their cornfield, transfixed on some sort of object moving about. “It’s strange Harold, this thing looks like it’s hovering.”
“Maybe it’s one of them fancy superheroes from Atom City!” Harold laughed.
“Don’t poke fun at me you pile of taters.”
Harold continued laughing and clicking through the channels.
“Oh my,” Gertrude gasped. “The Rowlings’ dog is loose again, and she’s headed straight for the fields. You gotta stop her Harold.”
“What? No!” Harold slowly rose from his easy chair to join his wife at the window seat. “That dog is real good at ferreting out moles and what not. Whatever is out there that got your attention will be handled sure ‘nuff by Bessie.”
They watched as the Yellow Lab stalked the edge of the cornfield, before leaping in after the intruder. They heard Bessie growl, saw several flashes of light, and then heard the dog squeal in pain.
“Blessed Lord, Harold,” Gertrude cupped her mouth, “whatever is out there don’ killed Bessie. The Rowlings will never invite us to Holiday Dinner again.” Gertrude turned around but did not see her husband. “Harold?” she called out.
The old man was already out the door and on his way to the cornfield, shotgun in-hand and loaded. “You call the sheriff Gertie,” Harold hollered back toward the house. “And stay put.”
Harold hustled over to where they saw Bessie jump into the corn. His shotgun was held eye level, and far steadier than anything Harold had held in months. He pushed aside the corn stalks with the gun barrel until he reached their neighbor’s dog. She lay on the ground, her body smoking.
“You poor girl,” Harold knelt down alongside her, placing his hand on her warm fur. “The dang dog don’ been electrocuted,” Harold hollered back toward the house. “She’s alive. But only barely.”
It made no sense. Harold never purchased those newly advertised electric fences, he found them undignified. People and animals should stay off one’s property by common sense. He looked around and saw no loose wiring, which would also make no sense seeing how none of the wiring went as far as the edge of the cornfield.
“HAROLD!” Gertrude shrieked.
After forty years of marriage Harold should not have been surprised that he could hear his wife all the way from the house. “Blasted woman,” Harold grunted as he got back to his feet, facing away from Bessie. As he turned to face his home and screeching wife, a humongous metallic object hovered in front of him. It was shaped like a sleek seed, with a pulsing orb atop it, and several pairs of wriggling tentacles hanging beneath.
“Oh dear lord,” was all he muttered before the world flashed intensely white and his body convulsed with agony.

“Tell me again Mrs. Walsh, what exactly happened?”
Gertrude shook her head, “Grrr. Look now boy, I don’ told you a hundred times. I was watching this thing in our cornfields, begging Harold to take a look, but he wouldn’t, not until whatever it was out there attacked the Rowlings’ dog Bessie. That’s when Harold took his shotgun and went out there searchin’ for the blasted thing. When I saw it come up on him, I hollered for him to watch out, but –”
She paused a moment, tears swelling in her eyes. Fighting them back, Gertrude took a deep breath and continued, “That’s when it attacked my poor Harold. I was on the phone with Sandi, that nice dispatcher you all got down at the station, when it had happened.” Gertrude looked over to the paramedics as they willed Harold over to the ambulance.
Harold was fussin’ but ever-so-weakly. “You stop your nonsense Harold, and let them boys take care of you,” Gertrude shouted at her husband.
“I been attacked, and still she yelling,” Harold snickered. The paramedics chuckled with him.
“Mrs. Walsh,” Deputy Rowe continued his questioning, his tone calm and full of doubt. “So, was it Harold’s shotgun the neighbors heard then?”
Gerturde turned, shaking her head, “No, it was our elephant gun!”
Rowe was taken-back. “An elephant gun?! Who fired off an elephant gun?”
“Well, I did boy! Who else?” Gertrude said as-a-matter-of-factly. “Harold never got a shot off. He was on the ground squirming about. I thought he was dying.” Gertrude noticed that Rowe stopped scribbling away into his notepad. “You not gonna write that down?”
“You own an elephant gun?”
“That she does Rowe,” Sheriff Washbourne said, as he joined the two. “And I told you a hundred times Mrs. Walsh, that you cannot fire that thing off within county limits. You remember what I said would happen if you ever did again?”
Gertrude’s proud grin disappeared, and she lowered her head. The sheriff sighed before asking for her to handover the weapon. “But Sheriff, I had to use the elephant gun.” Gertrude gasped. “I doubt any of our shotguns would have stopped that thing.”
“What thing?” Sheriff Washbourne had not been filled in about the incident. All he had heard over the radio was that guns were being fired off over at the Walsh place.
Before Rowe could fill him in, Officer Collins burst from the cornfield, gasping for air. “Sheriff, ya’ need to see this,” was all he said, before disappearing back into the fields.
Sighing, the Sheriff told Gertrude to stay put, and that he would return for the elephant gun. Gertrude nodded as Sheriff Washbourne and Deputy Rowe followed Collins.
When they were no longer in earshot of Gertrude, Rowe asked, “They own an elephant gun?”
“Yep! An elephant gun, a civil war cannon, a dozen or so pistols, some swords, a war axe or two, and God-only-knows how many shotguns.”
Rowe stopped momentarily, shocked beyond his senses. “Why?”
“Well, Mr. Walsh is a retired big-game hunter and self-proclaimed collector of ancient war weapons! His old lady, though she would profoundly deny it, belongs to a family of infamous poachers. Those two old-timers have a passion for weaponry that, quite honestly, makes me a bit uneasy.”
Rowe was stunned. “Ya’ never know about people,” he mumbled.
The two of them had gone thirty yards before they came upon a trail of charred corn stalks, which led to an unnatural clearing. At the edge of the clearing Collins frantically pointed at some sort of metallic object on the ground, smoke rising from a hole in its hull. “Look Sheriff, the old lady was right!”
“What in the world is that?” Washbourne asked as he removed his hat. The object was sleek and could have possibly been very shiny before meeting Mrs. Walsh and her elephant gun. He knelt down, inspecting the hole which revealed complex circuitry. “That old gal sure knows how to use that thing.”
“You bet I do!” Gertrude said, as she slowly emerged from the cornfield into the clearing.
“Thought I told you to stay put Mrs. Walsh.”
Gertrude reminded the sheriff that it was her property. “And you don’t tell me what to do, I’m old enough to be your mother Gary Washbourne; in fact, I wiped your snotty nose and nasty bottom when you were still in diapers,” she added.
“Very true, Mrs. Walsh.” Washbourne could not argue with the woman that helped rear him.
Rowe looked at the tentacles twitching, “It’s still alive Sheriff.”
“Alive? It’s a machine, of some sort. It’s not alive.”
Just then, the object hummed a high-pitch and annoying whine. Everyone grabbed their ears. Then, the orb pulsed white, then red, and finally blue. It shot out a flare of cerulean light which outlined everyone in the clearing. Collins was ready to draw his pistol, but Washbourne signaled for him to stop. The object hummed, and from within, they all heard it clicking and beeping.
“Initial scanning complete,” an electronic voice sounded from an unseen speaker within the object. “Local language identified: English, Midwestern dialect.” They all stared.
“What is this thing Sheriff?” Collins asked. The young officer shook with fear. Washbourne could not answer. None of them could; they had never seen such a thing.
“You are a sentient species, correct?” Again an electronic voice came from the object.
“Of course we are!” Gertrude quickly answered, as if she had been offended by the mere thought of otherwise. Washbourne gave her a look, as if to say that they needed to be more cautious.
“Which of you life-forms would be most intelligent?” There was an uneasy silence. “Clarifying intent: which of you beings would know the most about your world?”
They all looked at one another, nobody wanting to be offensive. Finally, Washbourne felt he had to reply. “Deputy Rowe here went to the university, but Mrs. Walsh has done a lot of world traveling.”
The object remained inert and silent, its orb faintly pulsing. Then suddenly, it spoke again, “understood.” Two distinct beams of concentrated yellow light shot from the orb, one to Gertrude, the other to Rowe. They both jumped, but neither seemed to be physically harmed. They stood as the light remained focused on their foreheads.
This time, Washbourne withdrew his pistol, “what is that? What are you doing? What are you?”
“Obtaining information,” the object responded.
Washbourne felt unnerved that it answered only one of his questions.
The yellow beam withdrew from their foreheads and back into the pulsing orb, leaving behind no mark. Washbourne asked Gertrude if she were okay, as he stepped beside her, placing his hand upon her back. She smiled and claimed that she had never felt better.
Rowe agreed, smirking, stating that it was like he had just relived every moment of his life. “It was like–” he began, “it was as if that thing read me like I was an encyclopedia.”
“Astute observation,” the object stated. “No harm has come to your fellow humans. Enough basic data has been obtained. Thank you.” The orb pulsed an intense violet, before separating from the rest of the object. It hovered at eye-level a moment, and in an instant, disappeared into the heavens.
“Dear Lord!” Washbourne mumbled.

They had begun their attack shortly after 9am, on a Sunday no-less. Their invasion fleet swooped down from the outer hemispheres, blotting out sunshine, looking like a cloud of locusts from outer space. Their horrible laser blasters shot fighter jets out the sky, while their ginger-colored cluster bombs turned tanks and anti-aircraft artillery into scrap metal. For a full hour their attack was relentless and without reason. Civilians scattered, buildings crumbled, and soldiers fought on desperately.
Suddenly, the fighter frigates pulled back into the upper reaches of the stratosphere, hidden from the naked-eye, while ground troops packed the streets of all the national capitals in the world. A signal crisscrossed the globe, infiltrating every radio and television frequency.
Those that owned a television watched in horror as an insect-like, green-skinned creature appeared on screen; its ears ending in long, sharp points, as a purple ponytail waved behind. Its eyes were black like coal, its smile ghastly. It wore red and blue armor, a red cape billowing in the wind. In its hands was some sort of strange wand with a small pulsating orange orb. When it spoke, its deep voice shook the human soul, “we are Hoslyn! You will surrender your planet, or you will be utterly destroyed.”
In a small town yet untouched by the hostile invaders, old friends sat in the living room, staring at the television screen, witnessing history unfold before their very eyes.
“Well, we already knew that not all strange visitors from other worlds were friendly. Some of them are downright hostile.” Washbourne said, after sighing deeply. “It’s a big, bad, beautiful universe out there, and it’s up to Earth’s heroes to save the day!”
They gawked at the television, watching as caped and masked crime-fighters charged at the invaders marching down the main boulevard of Capitol Hill. Outside, the dogs began barking. Harold Walsh, along with his family and friends, rushed to the window seat, crowding it.
Emerging from the cornfield were armored alien invaders, led by a large, sleek, metallic seed which hovered above the ground. It had a pulsing orb atop and wriggling tentacles beneath. Rowe gasped, a memory flooding his mind. “It can’t be!”
He heard the screen door open and close; Harold and Gertrude were already outside, both wielding shotguns. Their hair was gray and their bodies were weak from years of life, yet they were bold and unafraid to confront the mighty invaders.
Washbourne tossed a shotgun to Rowe, “Let’s show these things that you don’t need superpowers to fight back!” He rushed out the door, cocking the weapon.
Rowe was about to join them when he remembered something from nearly thirty years before. He dropped the shotgun on the kitchen counter, rushed into the cellar, and emerged moments later with an elephant gun. “Why would someone need one of these?” he mumbled to himself. He darted outside into a fire-fight already begun. Without any superpowers, an elephant gun would surely suffice.


Submitted: September 01, 2022

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