When I reached up and touched my face, then withdrew my hand, it had blood on it. Not a trivial amount either. “T-Tlalo?” I cried out, my voice feeble and shaking. He wasn’t at the communications console, or in any of the other seats.
I dangled from the five point harness somewhat like a paratrooper caught in a tree. When I willed it to release me, I was abruptly dropped against the console below and added some new bruises to my collection.
When I tried to get up, I found my legs were broken. I couldn’t feel it somehow, and wondered if that was due to shock or paralysis. I dragged myself, one handhold after the next, over the crumpled hull towards the central column which held my Vril staff.
I heard something outside. Immediately alert, despite my injuries, I carefully angled myself to see out the gaping wound in the hull without exposing myself to the sunlight pouring in through it. A contingent of Nordics approached.
Not just two this time, though I’d have been hard pressed to defend myself against even one of them in this condition. They were too numerous to count, though that might’ve owed to my vantage point being so low to the ground, such that their ranks overlapped confusingly.
Teams of six split off from the group wherever they came upon a downed saucer, first establishing a secure perimeter around it, then breaching the hull and searching the interior for any survivors. I teared up, remembering what they would do with those survivors…that is, if they did not simply kill them on the spot.
I was fast running out of options. Even if I healed my legs, then what? Could I escape them on foot? Could I propel myself with the staff, or even escape if I had a fully functional saucer at my disposal? I couldn’t see how. They’d already won the battle, and were simply cleaning up after it now.
All I had was my Vril staff, the mangled wreckage of this saucer, and that strange vial of black syrup Tlalo gave to me for safe keeping before his hideout was raided. I’d forgotten about it until now, but it was still snugly stowed in a pocket I’d fastened shut.
I could hear their voices now. Their hideous, melodic voices. Like auto tuned vocals, only not synthetic sounding exactly, just over the top elegant. Without the staff in hand I could not understand what they were saying, but had a few guesses, none of which I liked.
I pulled myself up to the central column. It slid open, revealing my Vril staff, which I carefully removed. The first thing I did was to remove the vial from my pocket. I then used the staff to make a clean incision in my arm, which I deposited the black vial into. Once nestled deeply enough in there, I willed the staff to heal the wound without any visible trace, and it did so.
Still hobbled by hopelessly fractured legs, which were now beginning to hurt properly to my simultaneous relief and displeasure, I then ambled over to the hatch on the far side. The cleanup crew was approaching the opening in the hull. I didn’t see any such team approaching from the hatch side, through its port hole.
I slid it open quietly as I could, cringing at the screech of metal on metal as it ground against the warped entry opening which had been bent out of shape by the crash. I was then baffled by the sudden recognition of another human nearby.
My vision was becoming hazy, so I had to squint and hold a hand over my eyes to be certain. But sure enough, it was a human. A young, blonde haired and blue eyed woman like myself, but wearing some manner of collar around her neck that I couldn’t see clearly from this distance.
I didn’t need to. I worked out pretty quickly what needed to be done, though it agonized me to inflict harm against a fellow human. I just needed that collar right then. I vaporized the girl except for her collar, which I then drew towards myself.
I strapped it on around my neck, after disintegrating all other clothing on my body. Then I excavated a deep trench which I deposited the Vril staff into, before willing the hole to be filled and covered over with grass so that there was no sign there’d ever been a hole.
I had to touch it to issue the commands, so I wound up embedding my own arm up to the elbow in soil. It was some work to pull it free, then pile some of the remaining soil into the narrow opening that removing my arm had left behind.
I might’ve come up with a better plan, I think, except that’s all there was any time for. I heard them coming around the edge of the saucer, and in my last few moments to prepare before they were upon me, I closed the hatch as much as it would go and pinned myself under some of the wreckage.
I then cried out as piteously as I knew how, just not so loud that they would wonder why they didn’t hear me on approach. The tears I had been suppressing since crawling out of that sparking, jagged heap of metal debris were now set loose.
This startled them at first, and they raised their staffs as if to vaporize me. I braced myself, but kept wailing. Then, to my indescribable relief, they visibly relaxed. I couldn’t understand what they were saying without their staffs but I could tell from their mannerisms that they’d mistaken me for the girl I’d stolen the collar from.
I noticed another like her in the distance, bleeding heavily and limping away from another downed saucer. None of the cleanup teams seemed to regard it as strange. For whatever reason there were naked humans wandering these fields, the Nordics seemingly accepted them as a normal part of the landscape and did not pursue or harm them.
My suspicions proved true when they wrapped me in a blanket and loaded me into some sort of floating vehicle made out of the familiar golden alloy. It did not simply float freely as I expected, as the saucers did.
Instead I could feel it exerting some sort of grip on the terrain below as it traversed it. As if there were invisible tires, though that’s not quite right. It did not bump or jostle as we went over uneven spots. It felt like it was sending countless invisible fingers of current to the ground which it snagged ahold of the Earth with to pull itself along, like the multitude of tiny legs on a centipede.
As I lay on my back, above me I could see stragglers from the now demolished vortex being picked off by the black sun’s defenses. A bright golden electrical arc, a poof, then they were gone. Wings and all. Quite like the largest imaginable bug zapper.
I felt something touching my legs. It was all I could do at this point to raise my head enough to see what it was. Robotic arms of some fashion, albeit comprised of smoothly re-arranging metal with no apparent joints, were hard at work preparing my legs for treatment.
Washing them, applying disinfectant, injecting medications and so forth. It still felt too good to be true. All I’d done was improvise in a moment of desperation based on what was around me. Yet now I was being pampered and taken someplace to be healed while my comrades were all either dead or waiting to be killed in their downed saucers.
Even knowing there was nothing I could do if I hoped to preserve the vial Tlalo gave me, I agonized over it. The pain in my heart drowned out the pain in my legs, my head and the other wounds all over my body.
I drifted off anyway thanks to whatever drugs those robot arms pumped me full of. When I next regained consciousness, I was inside an immaculate white room shaped like an inside out pyramid. There were alcoves dotting the walls all the way up to the highest point.
In these alcoves I saw transparent enclosures with other humans in them. Some sleeping, some pacing to and fro, some talking with each other. Some were even closely studying me. There were other beds to either side of me, but they were all empty.
I tried to move, but couldn’t make any part of my body so much as budge. Small neck movements were possible. I could move my eyes to look around the room, and breathe easily enough, but that was the full extent of it.
Stay Tuned for Part 31!