Repost The long war

#1
The following is a story where we follow an Alien soldier who invaded earth. The several fragments are all from different parts of the world. More information provided by the author will be posted in the comments. There's not really a point to this story, the author just imagined what an alien invasion force had to deal with when invading Earth.

This story was posted on 4chan's /tg/ board on 20-10-2014.

Originally posted on the HFY subreddit.

---

Chk-vrrrrthk had been on occupation duty on three worlds, with a total of eighty subjective years of experience across seven bodies, and he had never had a duty as stressful as he did now. And now he had to explain why to this six-month rookie.

"So... they have no warriors? None at all?"

"No, it's not that, it's that- they have warriors. But they don't have a warrior *caste*."

The rookie semaphored vehement confusion with his vestigial wings.

"It's like- they don't have strongly differentiated castes. Their only significant morphism is across sexes. You got that, right? They start out undifferentiated, and voluntarily choose a caste as they mature." The rookie signaled tentative understanding.

"Well, they can also change their caste, even after they've finished maturing," he continued. Now the rookie signaled confusion, but Chk-vrrrrthk forged on regardless.

"So, they can all *become* warriors, even if they're usually not."

"But then... aren't they *all* warriors, then? Shouldn't we be shooting them?" He gestured with his wings towards the collection of hovels they were guarding.

"No, no, that's, uh. Thinkers said it would just make things worse. I mean, all of them can become warriors, but not all of them will so long as we leave them alone. If we start killing them all, then they'll all become warriors." The rookie signaled tentative understanding.

"So... hang on, someone's coming." He swung the beamer around, then relaxed. Unarmed.

"Do you need anything?" he asked, letting the linguistling attached to his breastplate translate his words.

The human in response, ripped open the robes it was wearing and yelled something. "God is-" the linguistling began to translate-

Chk-vrrrrthk woke up in a hospital, cocooned in bio-scaffolding and regenerative gel. A thinker stood by the cocoon, waiting patiently.

"Could you describe what happened, in your own words?" it asked, once it was sure he was fully awake. Chk-vrrrrthk did, and at the end, the thinker signaled sad recognition.

"That tallies with other reports we've been getting," it said.

"What happened?" he asked.

"Something called a 'suicide bomber'," the thinker replied. "Apparently, some humans will craft explosives into a set of clothing, wear it, and then set it off near enemy troops."

"But... wouldn't that kill the person wearing the explosives?" Chk-vrrrrthk asked.

"Yes. That's why it's called a suicide bomber," the thinker explained.

"That's... I can't. The words do not exist."

"We'll be abandoning efforts to subjugate the Afghanistan and Persia regions. When you recover, you'll be assigned to the Russian front," the thinker said, and turned to leave.

"Wait," Chk-vrrrrthk said. "What about the-" with a flush of embarrasment, he realized he had never leaned the rookies' name- "the recruit? With me?"

"I am afraid he was killed," the thinker said, and left, leaving Chk-vrrrrthk alone with his own thoughts.

---

The human collaborators had issued all sorts of dire warnings about the Russian winter, which had eaten the greatest armies of the world and left their bones on the infinite tundra. In his winter phenotype, Chk-vrrrrthk didn't see what all the fuss was about. Sure, it had been cold as She Outside before his winter coat had grown in, but that had only taken a couple of days.

No, the cold he felt was entirely metaphorical. Staring at the empty silo, it felt like he was again still in his desert shell, huddled next to the juggernauts in the motor pool. Except without the comfort of being next to a kiloton of lightning-quick death.

"Which unit was this silo controlled by, again?" Chk-vrrrrthk asked the collaborator attached to the platoon.

"The 18th Special Rocket Brigade, according to our best remaining records. We figured it had been destroyed by your super-cannon when we lost contact," the man, still wearing the uniform of the now-defunct Vladivostok Army said with a shrug. Chk-vrrrrthk simulated a human glare as best he could, his wings fluttering accusation.

"You're not taking this seriously enough," he said, and the human made an odd rolling gesture with its shoulders. Indifference/ignorance, whispered his linguistling.

"Such is life in Russia," the human said, as if that was an explanation.

"Shit," Chk-vrrrrthk said, and then the ground suddenly spurted a thick gas from a dozen points. He stood frozen for a second, then the smell hit his nostrils.

"FAE!" he screamed, and then tackled the human, shielding him under his bulk. The thunderclap of a pulser, and the gas prematurely detonated, burning instead of exploding. And unlike napalm, it didn't cling as it burned. He stood up swiftly, looked around, there was always a catch- there. Half-a-dozen minor juggernauts, emerging from hidden revetments.

"Missiles!" he called, and was gratified to see each of the minor juggernauts explode.

Then he paused. There had been something wrong about those explosions, about those juggernauts, about how they had paused obligingly for a couple of seconds after emerging from their revetments...

Then he saw another juggernaut, a many-barreled 'calliope', emerge from another revetment in the opposite direction, and all the ready-to-fire missiles had been fired, and he realized what had happened. The minor juggernauts had been decoys, without substance. The calliope was the real kill-strike.

"Charge!" he commanded, grabbing the human as he launched himself at full sprint. At close range, concentrated pulser fire could penetrate human juggernauts of this type, and an Imperial warrior at full sprint was fearsomely fast- if the bursting ranges for the calliope's shells had been pre-set-

Its twelve barrels began to spit fire.

"You confirm the warhead was missing?" the thinker said. Chk-vrrrrthk was once more in the hospital, cocooned in regenerative rigging, although his injuries were less severe this time.

"Yes. The warhead was missing from the silo, and it was a recent abandon, judging by the condition of the site."

The thinker signaled unsurpassable consternation. "So we have a nuclear weapon at loose ends... somewhere. And it's been at least a couple of weeks, so it could be nearly anywhere by now." Then, he signaled the regret of an unpleasant duty.

"I have made the decision to relieve you of command. While your reaction times once the ambush was initiated were commendable, your failure to sweep the surrounding area for possible traps before deploying was, in the context of this war, negligent."

Chk-vrrrrthk signaled understanding assent, and relief. "I had come to the same realization myself."

The thinker left, leaving Chk-vrrrrthk once more alone with his thoughts.

---

Chk-vrrrrthk was back in his desert phenotype, with nothing but flat and thirst as far as the eye could see and then some. The water channel- the only real landmark for dozens of miles at least- seemed to waver in the heat, crawling into the sky as it approached the horizon.

"They were here," the patrol's aboriginal guide said.

"I'm sorry, what?" Chk-vrrrrthk said, snapping out of the trance he had fallen into.

"The water poachers," the aborigine said. "That is what you are here for, yes?" Chk-vrrrrthk nodded in the human fashion.

"Can you track them?" he asked.

"They are city-dwellers," the aborigine answered, and Chk-vrrrrthk had learned enough that that was all the answer he needed.

They came upon the poachers unaware, guided by the aborigine and microdrones. In just a couple of minutes, the entire gang was down, by pulsers and tangle-guns.

Chk-vrrrrthk looked down at one of the captured poachers.

"All right," he said, "Form perimeter, and-"

"Gyagh!" one of his troops yelled.

"What?"Chk-vrrrrthk asked.

"This thing bit me!" the soldier- Vilvm, Chk-vrrrrthk tried to learn everyone's names now- held an animal of some sort up. "I caught it!"

Chk-vrrrrthk looked over towards the human. "Can you identify it?"

"Inland Taipan," the human said. "Very poisonous." Chk-vrrrrthk quickly searched his computer for information on the Inland Taipan.
'Venom not effective on warrior phenotype.'

"It's harmless. Just toss it," he told the soldier- Vilvm- who signaled relief and dropped the snake.

And that, he thought, was the end of that.

He reconsidered a couple of days later, when Vilvm came down sick.

"No," the doctor caste said, "Even if it did affect us, Inland Taipan venom isn't that delayed, or have those symptoms."

And, again, he thought that was the end of it.

Then he came down sick, along with a lot of other people, and he didn't have the energy to think much after that.

---

"The Australian pandemic has now been declared over," the thinker on the screen declared, signaling the lifting of a great burden. "Nearly all current cases have been treated, and a vaccine has been developed. The immunology domain lords have declared a recurrence of this particular plague to be extremely unlikely."

Then, signaling horror and unsurpassable rage, knowledge of a crime that could never be forgiven.
"However, this plague was not of natural origin. It was a biological weapon, using native organisms as a transmission vector and infection reservoir.
"Such a terrible weapon, by the simple logic of deterrence, demands an equally terrible response." Signaling unshakable grim resolve.
"Thus, beginning immediately, all Australian desalination centers will be seized and shut down.
"Half of Australia's water supply, and a third its population, depends on a constant flow of water from these desalinization plants.
To humanity: this reprisal can be averted if a supermajority of Australian resistance forces and all individuals associated with the development and distribution of this bioweapon surrender themselves to our justice.

"The lives of tens of millions depend upon your decision."

Chk-vrrrrthk stood in shock for a moment, then took off running for his barracks, to grab his equipment. Command might believe that the humans would respond by turning themselves in. He, however, had spend most of his time in close proximity to humans one way or another, and he wished he could say the same.

It was the dead of night. A new moon. The only light was the stars, and, around the desalination plants, a staggering amount of firepower.

"Sometimes, I hate being right," Chk-vrrrrthk sighed.

"What was that?" Vilvm asked, pulsing away at another screaming human figure. Chk-vrrrrthk signaled that it was inconsequential, and returned his attention to the kill-zone.

Not that there was much left to pay attention to; after two days of frenzied assault, there simply weren't that many humans left.

"Why do they do this?" Vilvm asked, signaling confused horror. "I'm pretty sure that last one was coming at us with a fucking chair leg."

"I don't know," Chk-vrrrrthk lied. She picked up easily on the telltale flutterings of his vestigial wings, and signaled as such.
"Well... most of the people charging us probably had nothing to do with the bioweapon, but our reprisal threatens their lives the same as those responsible. So they've got nothing to lose by attacking like this; they die either way."

"But... the resistance could have given themselves up," she said.

"They could, but they won't." Chk-vrrrrthk replied. "I'll have to tell you about Afghanistan sometime."

Although there were no more assaults worth talking about, Command reversed its decision a couple of days later, acknowledging it as "unjust."

---

"I'm afraid I must insist upon performing a thorough check of your home, Miss... Hirsch?"

The human female crossed her arms and huffed.
"It is Mrs, thank you very much! And I am fully accredited with the collaboration government!" As proof, she unfolded her tablet and, after a couple of seconds, brought up the correct forms and thrust them at Chk-vrrrrthks' face.

"Nonetheless, I am afraid that a demand by Occupation forces overrides rights granted by Collaboration forces. Besides, the Collaboration government is... not known for its reliability. I am willing to use force," he concluded. The matron huffed again, but stepped aside, folding up her tablet again. Chk-vrrrrthk stepped in, followed by a sensor drone, its operator- Kkktk rac, and Vilvm. Two others- Hrchk and Vrrrrrk, remained outside, hunkered behind their uparmored car.

The inside of the house was utterly ordinary.

Outside, nearly a mile away, a mortar in the back of an ordinary truck fired, ripping easily through the cloth cover over the truck bed.
Both the soldiers outside were veterans; when the radar started shrieking incoming, they were both moving instantly. Unfortunately, the bomb was wifi-enabled and remote controlled, and it easily tracked Vrrrrrk as its terminal rocket motor kicked in.

WHAM.

Chk-vrrrrthk was moving even before the glass of the windows had stopped falling, getting up off the human he had thrown himself on. He hit the button, jamming all wifi and radio communication in the area, then threw himself out the narrow window. Kkktk rac slammed through the back door, and Vilvm went out another window. There was a midair explosion- the second mortar shell detonating once it lost guidance. Then he felt something slam into his chest. Bullets, not high enough caliber or velocity to penetrate the skin. Humans saw 'cloth uniform' thought 'unarmored'. They did not realize instinctively the degree to which warriors like him were made for war. Hrchk pulsed the gun into shrapnel.

Then- a brief blur in the air- another mortar shell, this one wire guided- and he was gone. Chk-vrrrrthk heard the boom of a human gun, the high thunder of a pulser, and ran towards the sound of the guns. He found Kkktk rac bleeding from a deep wound, and another destroyed gun- this one much larger. Mutual, from the geometry.

Then the hovers were arriving, with their tribarrels and medivac.

---

The Amazon was a dying ecosystem- effectively already dead. The soil of the rainforest is very poor; most of its nutrition comes from wind-blown dirt from Africa. Then, global warming- a shift in the winds- and the majority of the Amazon was doomed to die. Some of it, the lucky islands, would live on. Landlocked Galapagos, to drive a new burst of incredible diversity millennia hence when the winds shifted again and the islands merged once more into an unbroken sea of green.

However, that was in the future, and now the Amazon was dying. Not that you could tell by looking at it. You sure as hell couldn't look through it.

Thermal vision? IR? Useless. Motion sensors? Useless. Olfactory? Useless. Electroreception? Useless. Radar? Less useless, but still pretty piss-poor. Mark One Eyeball? Nothing could penetrate more than a few meters.

"Hold up." Kkktk rac signaled trepidation. "Something that might be a mine ahead."

Fortunately, radar was decent at picking out densities, even in this environment. It might not distinguish a man from a tree, but it could tell a mine from the ground, or a pit filled with stakes.

"Pit."

"Mine."

"I'm... not sure, but that should probably be avoided."

"I... that's a human."

Chk-vrrrrthk signaled incredulity.

"Well, I may not be able to identify a human, but I can identify an AK-47. And there's an AK-47, and the ground is just slightly warmer there... hold up, there are a lot of AKs."

The small band of invaders signaled trepidation, then humor. For once, they would get to ambush the humans.
It was over in just a minute. Some of the humans even survived; at short range, wireless tasers and tangle-guns are nearly as good as normal guns at getting people to stop moving.
"Sent in a call for pickup, a VTOL should be out here in an hour," Vilvm said. She was signaling intense cheeriness; so were Chk-vrrrrthk and Kkktk rac. An unalloyed victory!
However, jubilation prevented Kkktk rac from paying attention to his radar set.

It might not have helped; unlike with metallic mines, there was no great density change; just bioplastic tubes, gunpowder, wood, and a few slivers of glass. And shit, of course; as far as the guerillas knew, it wouldn't actually have any effect on alien anatomy, but it was the principle of the thing.

Blam.

For a second, Chk-vrrrrthk wondered where the shot had come from, if anyone had been hit. Then the pain hit, and he collapsed into a ball, curled up around the punji stakes driven into his stomach.

Then the second wave of attackers hit, firing AKs wildly. Vilvn and Kkktk dove in opposite direction, sweeping the forest with suppressive fire, then a pair of grenades threw Vilvn onto her side, lamed; Kkktk fired all his grenades off into the jungle on short fuses, simply ignoring the AK fire that was hitting him. Chk-vrrrrthk managed to uncurl himself long enough to open fire, sweeping the remaining humans; Vilvn, likewise, got back up and started pumping out grenades; and then they had melted back into the jungle.

All three of them wounded- Kkktk oozing from dozens of bullet wound, Vilvn's left legs lamed from shrapnel, Chk-vrrrrthk with punji stakes in his stomach. And all of their prisoners had been killed in the fighting.

It was a long wait for medevac to arrive.

---

The Arizona desert and mysticism have always been deeply intertwined. That great deceptive emptiness, the miles of nothing that become filled with life and color as you learn to look closer, the dome of the stars unsullied by light pollution, the totally clear air. It is a landscape which begs to be populated with gods and cosmic onenesses.

And monsters.

Even aliens feel its pull, deep in the night.

...mede... ...lull... ...emerge...

"Did you catch that?" Chk-vrrrrthk says, signaling trepidation, fear of the unknown, ghosts. His signals are reflected; all the confirmation he needs.

"Radio, signal," Vilvm says, "give me a second-"

The fragments ghost in again.

...wound... ...incom... ...alone...

"Distress signal, Kkktk rac says, "I think I can triangulate it. With how weak it is, it's got to be close."
Vilvm signals doubt; Kkktk rac responds with professional certainty. Chk-vrrrrthk has contacted the base; the nearest available medevac VTOL is an hour out. Arizona is quiet, sparsely populated; not many casualties. He signals this- help distant.

They move; Kkktk rac with his heavy sensor unit, hooked up to both their radios, circling in on their wounded comrade.
Then, there he is. Kkktk rac runs forward first; in addition to being the sensor tech, he's the best at first aid. But there's something wrong, something about the angles, about the fold of the skin-

and then the wounded warrior is rising, and reaching out-

-and Kkktk rac is flying backwards in a welter of gore-

-and it's turning, arms-not-arms outstretched, blades and gun muzzles-

-pulser fire, the thing dancing dancing under the power surges but it won't die-

And it collapses in a heap, false skin stripped off to reveal gleaming metal and meat-ish polymer. A lure, an impostor, repeating garbled snippets of intercepted transmissions.

Vilvm and Chk-vrrrrthk are mostly unscathed. Kkktk rac, though-
He was the best at first aid. And the closest medevac is still half an hour away.

---

Chk-vrrrrthk accepted, in bewilderment, another bouquet of flowers. The woman gabbled something that baffled even the ever-reliable linguistling, then walked off, shiny-looking children in tow. He signaled pleasant bafflement, looking over to Vilvm. She had been here before; maybe she knew what this was about?

"It's... well, remember when you told me about Afghanistan?" Chk-vrrrrthk signaled that he did. "Well, this place was... worse than that, I think. Not in terms of violence, but even across the species barrier, the hopelessness, the malnutrition, was obvious. They're just happy that they're able to have flowers now." She signaled a complex mix of emotions- sorrow for another, happiness at being able to help another.
Chk-vrrrrthk signaled surreality. "I think if I get any more flowers, I'm going to have a nervous breakdown," he said, signaling humor, even as a child of indeterminate gender threw a ring of flowers over the barrel of his pulser. To his delight, she signaled strong amusement back.
 
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