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Chapter 1: Motive
I sat on the cold floor of my living room apartment at 3 A.M. listening to the suppressed sobs of my wife, Tabitha. A wave of fatigue suddenly hit me and I drifted to sleep on the Parquet oak, thinking about some of our best times together.
As a child I was very fascinated by science, particularly living things. Some teachers would say I was intellectually gifted, but I just got a thrill out of it; the sort of thrill most kids would get out of a coloring book, or making their Barbie dolls kiss. I was certain I would pursue my hobby further later in life, and though it was as enjoyable and rewarding as I anticipated, I soon came to discover that being a scientist is not an easy job.
However, juggling science with politics is an entirely different story. When I first started working as a biomedical scientist for the government, the unfathomable degree of stress which accompanied the title soon drove me dingbats. One mistake and it’s possible that a week later an entire town could be drinking cryptosporidium infested water and shitting Acquacotta. And it would be all your fault.
Yep, I learnt responsibility the hard and shameful way. It involved complaint calls to the president from little old ladies with fuddy-duddy trolleys. But I didn’t quit, and fortunately perseverance paid off. My reputation was almost shattered by the scandal and I was offered the choice to resign; I was one more split hair away from doing so. Yet I continued to fight for the career I got a thrill out of, because someone had me the strength. She was the secretary to my office and the one that bought me pot noodles when I’d forget to eat from work overload. We’d stuck around each other for three years and for the first two, all we ever did was bicker over the Rolodex, the stapler and the bathroom (unfortunately there was only one on the upper floor, and it was like she’d take a trip to Wonderland every time she needed a piss).
Despite the trivial disagreements we’d gotten to know each other well over those years and before I knew it, I’d already fallen for her (once literally, carrying her filing cabinet down the stairs). When I found out she was single, I had a hard time believing it. She had an amazing, slender figure and the most angelic face, and her makeup was always on point. What guy, other than a weasel like me, would pass on the opportunity? I grew some balls and asked her out on Valentines’ day. We went to the beach and she dragged me to some sappy romance movie starring some mister Romeo-Don Juan-Fucker McFuckboy. I really didn’t get what she saw in that guy. Why did women like watching these sorts of things? They had nothing to do with reality. Later, we stayed over at my apartment and made out. The curves, the knee-length stockings, the lipstick… flash… boom. It was one of the best nights of my life. We didn’t hesitate to delay the wedding and tied the knot shortly thereafter.
But there are too many good looking women who can have great sex. Physical attractiveness wasn’t the reason Tabitha White was the fun to my fair. The way she dealt with the scandal was.
‘I’ll look out for you, Mike.’
‘Don’t let them fuck with you.’
‘You’ve done your best. Leave the talking to me.’
Before long, she was no longer my secretary but my spokesperson, dragging me back to life from the depths of Tartarus. Her eloquent persuasion and charming image was the reason I kept my job. I had made a mistake, but instead of abandoning me at my weakest, she stuck by me and we fought until the end. That was special; nobody had ever done that for me before.
Yet just two short years later, after we came home from the hospital and Tabi had been diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer, all I had the guts to do at her weakest was to curl up on the floor like a baby. She had perhaps a month left to live. Reality wasn’t a romance movie. Reality was cold and hopeless.
I rolled over on my side. A light vibration coming from somewhere under the pile of clothes on the sofa caught my attention. It was accompanied by an intermittent flashing. I took the silenced cell out of the rubble. It was my colleague Professor Torri Sterling, who was a lively one at times, but nevertheless unlikely to call me at such an unexpected time. Perhaps she’d left her keys in the lab.
'Doctor Skinner! This is quite exciting news. Can you talk right now?' Her voice was shrill and high.
My curiosity peaked.
'Not a great time but… what is it?'
'Don’t know if you’ve heard… well, obviously you haven’t by the sound of your voice, but…'
'They’ve discovered an alien. A species from outer space.'
I stood up.
'Seriously, if this is some prank, I’ll have you know my wife is ill and-'
'It really ain’t a prank!' The exclamation sounded forced.
Alright. Just checking.
'So uh, what happened? Did it kill the astronauts or what?'
'No, it has nothing to do with astronauts! Apparently it was just lying in the middle of a beach in Maui.'
'W-what!” I stammered in disbelief. This was quite something after all. “How the-'
'Yeah. There were bits of debris of rocks and other substances which haven’t yet been identified collected from places near the beach. The clues which accompany the alien suggest this is unlikely to be a hoax. Some people near the area apparently heard an explosion as well. Plus, the goddamn half-fish half-man thing is alive and oozing! It’s in our lab right now, actually.'
'Oh, ‘cuz they want us to do the dirty work. Of course. But honestly, how-'
'No more questions, come here to see for yourself.'
I looked towards the bedroom. The sobbing had stopped, so either Tabi was asleep, or listening in closely.
'Can’t go, my wife’s really ill. I’ve told you. I need to look after her.'
'Aw, I’m so sorry about that Mike… Just bring her to the medical centre, they’ll take good care of her. Come on Mike, this ain’t something you get to miss.'
I considered the offer. I guessed she would probably be less lonely down there.
‘A-alright. I’ll be down there in a minute.’
We drove to the lab, and I left Tabi in the special care clinic, in the company of some friendly old farts looking for a jolly good time. Then, I went up to the lab. Right before I got to the door, the foul stench of what smelled like vinegar and rotten tomatoes hit me hard. Gagging, I covered my nose with my sleeve and grabbed a pair of goggles before entering.
‘Hey, Skinner. Sorry about the smell, we sprayed some Lynx but it didn’t really seem to neutralise it at all.’
‘It was Sterling’s idea. It just made it worse. Now there’s a weird rosy sour smell mixed in with the stench of boogers and old socks.’ Another researcher piped up in frustration.
‘Well, it was a unanimous vote so don’t be going back on your word now. Anyway, we were just talking about how we were going to take semen samples.’
‘Ah, how lovely.’ I raised my eyebrows and nodded.
I looked at the writhing creature, strapped to the bench which had now become an operating table. The size of a chimpanzee, it was easily restrained with fabric straps. Brownish-green goo oozed from every orifice of its body. It had two huge, bulging bloodshot eyes and what looked like gills on the sides of its head. Its brown, slimy skin reminded me of the sludgy shit you’d probably find on the ocean floor bed, and its bald head moved from side to side in alarm as I prodded it with the butt of a scalpel. It made a slightly high-pitched whining noise, a bit like a noise a dog would make, but more ‘croaky’, like a frog.
However, unlike any amphibian or fish, it did not have scales or fins. Its body resembled that of a human’s, with nipples, a pot belly and four bony, extensive limbs with a webbed foot at the end of each. But its most noticeable feature, which I really can’t avoid mentioning, was its gigantic penis. It lay about eight inches on the bench, stiffened between its legs. Heck, it was so huge I wasn’t even sure if it was actually a penis or if it was some weird alien pouch full of food reserves like an awkwardly positioned camel’s hump or something odd like that. All I knew was that eventually, we were going to have to do tests on it.
‘So tell me, how did this happen, exactly?’
Torri Sterling stopped tapping on the keyboard and spun around on her desk chair, looking upwards as if trying to recall something.
‘Well, they tell it like this. Two honeymooners were on a beach in Maui in the early hours of the morning yesterday. They were strolling around in the semi-darkness when they heard a loud ‘boom’ and saw several trees fall over nearby. They thought a bomb had been detonated, so they called the police. Afterwards, they discovered it. Bits of shattered rock were found nearby, so they think it came from a passing asteroid which had, unfortunately, been smashed into smithereens by another asteroid in its path. Man, you should’ve seen the riots on the news after they announced it to the public. Apparently, a bunch of UFO-worshipping cults sprang up recently, causing havoc across the world. It’s been causing such a ruckus in the media lately, too.’
Well, that was to be expected.
‘Interesting. Did they send you a list of things to test for?’
‘Yeah, I asked to receive the document because I knew your wife was ill. I forwarded it to your email address.’
‘No problem. You can look at it later, as well as the results of most of the tests which we’ve already conducted. Just blood sample analysis and stuff like that. They just wanted us to answer a few questions, like whether it’s intelligent, or if it presents a public health threat, or carries any diseases, the like. So far, it seems to be all clear. Most tests reveal striking similarities between this thing and common life forms on earth. Perhaps it even originated on earth, but went up into space somehow. There are a few theories, but we do know that there’s no other organism which matches it on earth right now.
‘Its skin seems to be rather acidic, pH three to be exact, but other than that no more dangerous than a common frog. Nothing imminently risky, let alone life threatening. We still need to be careful though; don’t touch it with bare hands. There might be unidentified and potentially dangerous bacteria that slipped past our microscopes.’
‘And, what about intelligence?’
‘It ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed, I’m afraid. It has a brain, but it’s about half the size of a dog’s. It failed every cognitive test we gave it. I was very disappointed in him, I must say.’
‘Well, I agree, that’s rather disappointing. I was hoping to make conversation with our friend Goopor here.’
Sterling chuckled and shook her head, tucking her ginger curls behind her ear.
‘Well if our friend Goopor happened to be from a super smart species of killer extra-terrestrials with gigantic lazers and nuclear weapons, that wouldn’t make much for a conversation, would it? Anyway, I’m definitely glad he’s a little dim.’
‘So,’ I continued, snapping on my latex gloves, ‘let’s get this report done and dusted. How many tests do we have left to complete?’
‘Not many. We wanted to perform a test on its sperm. Just to find out a little more about how it could reproduce.’
‘Oh, so that thing is a penis after all. I was wondering if it was something else.’
‘Yeah… but there’s just one problem.’
‘Well, you see, we’ve tried to extract the semen for a long time but it, uh…’
A researcher turned around.
‘Basically, we tried to jerk it off but it didn’t work, and we just ended up giving it a massive boner. But nothing ever came out.’
I stifled a burst of laughter. Being the only lady in the room, it looked like Sterling was having a hard time.
‘Why didn’t you guys just call up a hooker? Jesus, that ain’t your job! When the great American public think we’re doing research and saving lives… and we’re really just getting comfortable with the test subjects! Fucking goodness… so who actually did the dirty work?’
‘Those guys.’ Sterling pointed at the snickering researchers standing in front of the pressure ventilation chamber. ‘I kept my innocent dainty hands away from that thing. They took turns. They used a sock, a stapler, a glove… they even tried some sexy talk. ‘Come on, babe, that’s right, just like that, come on.’ Nothing worked, but man, it was freaking awkward.’
‘Yeah, I’m gonna have nightmares. That was such a turn off, it’s not even funny.’
I swallowed, trying to steady my breath. I finally let out the chain of hysterical giggles bottled up in my five year old self.
‘Okay, okay, it’s funny. Anyway, get the anaesthetist. If we can’t get it out, we’re gonna have to go in.’
‘Mike, you’re not really thinking-‘
‘Well, it’s the only way, isn’t it? Not that I want to. But what other choice do we have?’
Sterling shrugged and shook her head.
Chapter 2: Opportunity
I silently gazed into the creature's saucer-shaped pupils, while Ben something-rather, the anaesthetist, injected it with the highest grade pain killer we had lying around. The extra-terrestrial “visitor” let out a shrill whining noise as the needle made contact with the brown, slimy skin on its left arm. Truth be told, I felt rather sorry for the poor and stupid thing. How could something so odd and lacking in intellect fly a spaceship? Perhaps it was merely a passenger? Surely every species has their brightest and dumbest members. Regardless of my personal feelings, I had a job to do so I shoved them aside and held out my hand, waiting for Sterling to place the scalpel in it.
'Who would have thought that first contact would have revolved around us jerking off the alien,' I joked to Sterling as she carefully handed me the scalpel. For a brief moment, I thought I caught a glimpse of a smile across the space creature's face, but surely I was mistaken.
'We certainly are a hospitable bunch, if you disregard what we are about to do to the fellow.'
I replied with a nod and focused on the alien's slimy erection. It was cone-shaped, wider at the end, and seemed to curve the wrong way like a finger, or an elephant's trunk. Why in the hell had evolution led to that; perhaps the ladies of the species had even stranger bits down there to accommodate? I couldn't help but feel the dread of a sweaty first year medical student, scalpel constantly slipping through my gloves.
'Sterling, I need you, or someone, to fetch a collection bottle and hold it at the end of its...'
'I'm on it,' she interrupted and left the room.
Goopor and I stared at each other in awkward silence, before Sterling and Palmer, one of the guys that tried the dirty sex talk on the alien, re-entered the room with a collection bottle in hand.
'Palmer, I need you over here. Sterling, just standby in case I need anything else.'
The two replied with mock salutes and did as I had asked.
I exhaled as I slowly and clumsily took a step forward and brandished my scalpel. 'This is going to hurt, Goopor,' I replied as the sharp end severed the flesh causing translucent green liquid to ooze out.
The thing shrieked explosively, shaking the operating table like a tank with one tread stuck. All of a sudden the horrific smell began to surface as if a stink bomb had been detonated, the scent drilled itself into my nostrils. I was able to make out the sound of the others coughing and spluttering over the sound of the alien's shrieking. I quickly sieged the drooling opening with a sterilized cloth, while I choked down the bile that was forming in my throat in an effort to keep my lunch contained. What on earth am I going to tell Tabbi?
'Hey, Mike! It filled up the bottle a bit, but it stopped when you took the scalpel out,' Palmer stated excitedly.
'Damn, we need a bit more for study.' I patted the alien on the head with my gloved right hand. 'Please, sir, I want some more,' I said in a sarcastic tone and in reference to my favorite novel.
Of course it wasn't that easy and the alien just stared at me with the blankest of stares, much to my frustration. As sarcastic as I had been about it, I genuinely did not want to have to cut into the thing a second time, but my hands were tied. I dug the scalpel back into the husk of the creature's penis and gritted my teeth when the thing screeched to the heavens. I removed the scalpel, wiped its junk with another sterilized cloth and glanced toward the bottle; full enough.
'That'll do spaceman, that'll do.'
I left Goopor to his suffering and handed the scalpel off to Sterling as I traveled over to Harold Palmer.
“Here you go, Palmer,” I said with a yawn upon passing the bottle of alien goop to him.
'Where are you going, Mike,' Sterling questioned as she noticed my slow retreat toward the exit.
'Home, I'm afraid. This place can't be easy on Tabitha and she needs all the comfort she can get right now. Call my cell if you find out anything about that sperm, otherwise you can tell me about it tomorrow,' I replied chucking my disposable gloves into the nearest bin.
I found Tabitha in the medical centre where I had left her, she was chatting with a pretty, young red-headed nurse. I heard both of them make audible sniffing noises and watched as they turned their faces toward me with looks of disgust comparable to a look that I might give if I watched someone give an alien a handjob, oh wait. The two turned back toward each other and said their goodbyes, the nurse looked back toward me, gave a quick wave and headed off in the opposite direction before I reached where she had stood talking to Tabitha.
'Ew, god. You smell like you crawled in a sulfur pit, had a block's worth of garbage dumped on you and then someone wandered over and vomited all over you. What did you get into,' Tabi replied with her nose pinched shut.
'Sorry, I was just attending to work. I guess the work sort of stuck with me. You'll get used to the smell and believe it or not, it won't take your nostrils burning out to do so,' I joked.
No sooner had I left the shower and dried off, then did I receive a text from Sterling. The text was revelatory and exciting, it had caused me to space out while staring at my cellphone's screen, in fact. Sterling had informed me that a few tests had been ran and that Goopor's sperm had degenerative properties that might allow it to fight cancerous cells. A few hours later I received another text telling me that the sperm had successfully killed all the cancer cells in a mouse.
The realization that Goopor's sperm could kill cancer cells had stirred something inside of me, hope. I had loved science and apparently it loved me enough to provide me with a solution to Tabitha's cancer. The spaceman that I had once looked upon in derision was now something akin to an angel in my mind, a very smelly and stupid savior, but a ray of hope nonetheless. I now looked upon it with fascination and reverence. After the end of one of my shifts, I had snuck back into the building and into the room where Goopor's sperm had been stored; swiping a bottle of the now plentiful specimens that lined the shelves. It wasn't hard, all I had needed was entry to the building itself and then I had access to the storage room. Although seemingly impulsive and born of desperation, my actions were calculated. I had the foresight to modify the collection logs so that the sperm sample never existed.
My actions had been born of the fact that Tabitha was in the range of two to ten days left to live and damn if I was going to let such an opportunity to save her pass by. As I shut the storage room door behind me, I spotted Goopor who was strapped onto the table as always. Instead of high-tailing it out of there, I made my way over to Goopor to pay him my respects. The creature's eyelids snapped open upon detecting my presence and the bulging bloodshot discs trailed me as I approached.
'I'm sorry for all the pain that I'm causing you,' I said as I stood before the gift from space.
I had expected the usual awkward silence to accompany my words, however, something akin to a purr came from the captive. Was it intelligent or had that been a fluke, something like a burp? As much as I desired to know, I didn't have the proper time to investigate.
'I have to go and save Tabitha, it's all thanks to you. I'll see you tomorrow, Goopor.'
The alien's eyes slammed shut in response.
As I approached the door, it swung open and in walked Torri Sterling. She jumped upon spotting me, obviously surprised by my presence. Shit.
'What are you doing here,' she asked in surprise.
'I, I forgot my phone.'
'Ah, really? That makes me feel a lot better because I also forgot mine. What are the odds?' she replied with a chuckle.
'Heh, yeah. I gotta go, Tabitha's waiting. I'll see you tomorrow!'
I gave a half-hearted wave and walked out the door ahead of her, instead of waiting for her to find her phone. Despite it being nighttime, everything somehow managed to look brighter, sharper, and crisper than before on the drive home. It was as if a dark veil was slowly lifting and being removed from my life. I could only begin to imagine how everything would appear and feel after I gave Tabitha the cure for cancer.
It was two past one in the morning when I slipped back into my apartment with the curative baby gravy. I quickly fashioned a syringe and carefully funneled the juice into it. I struggled between whether or not I should wake Tabitha, tell her about the shot, and what it contained or if I should just go in cloak and dagger; I conceded to the second option in the end.
In all honesty, it didn't take any skill or sneaking around to get into our bedroom without waking Tabi for she barely had the energy left in her to stay conscious these days. Ever so gently, I inserted the needle into her left arm and thumbed the shot into her bloodstream with great hesitance and sweaty hands. The risk was great due to the lack of human trials with the alien substance, but on the other hand there was hardly anything to lose because the cancer had progressed to the point of her having two to ten days left to live at best. Still though, the potential consequence of losing a loved one weighed heavy on my mind despite what my logic and statistics had informed me.
I barely slept at all that night and observed no noticeable change in her when I headed off to work, however, upon getting home from another day of helping the alien be a regular donor, I saw that Tabitha was up and about brimming with energy as opposed to being bed ridden. Tabitha excitedly jumped into my arms and knocked me to the floor when she saw me come in.
'I feel great! It's the oddest thing,' she exclaimed from atop of me.
I gave her a peck on the lips and then replied, 'I-I love you, Tabi.'
I tried to explain what I had done, I truly did, but I couldn't bring myself to do so. I figured that it'd just be better if she didn't know, because I thought that she might feel guilty if she had found out that I had stole from work to save her, not to mention the grossness of it all. In the end, her doctor confirmed to her that she was cancer-free and they both reasoned that the radiation therapy had managed to miraculously remove it.
All would have been great if not for the medical bills and debt that we were swimming in. My job paid well, but not well enough to combat debt brought on by the medical system. Like a moth drawn to a flame, I went back and stole more specimens from the lab and began seeking business opportunities on the side. The saying “give a mouse a cookie” is true for the idea of what all I could do with the sperm was intoxicating to say the least. What began as innocuous had turned to greed.
Chapter 3: Means
It was during a day off in mid-June when I met with Henry Goodman, the CEO of the pharmaceutical company Vasaic. I had set an appointment with him because of the company's many reputed ventures in attempting to find a cure for cancer and was granted the meeting due to my excellent work credentials.
Upon entering the Vasaic Headquarters, I made my way to the dark-haired receptionist who was seated at a desk that was enclosed in a windowed booth and located next to the elevator.
'Hello, I have an appointment with the CEO.' I stated in as business hardened of a voice as I could manage.
'The name's Mike Skinner.'
I watched as the receptionist's hand moved the mouse at her desk and clicked it vigorously a few times. After what seemed to be a couple of minutes of clicking and typing, she pressed a button at her desk which caused a slot to open in the front of the booth, think like a bank drive-thru, and looked back up at me with a smile.
'Please take the key from the slot. There's a special slot inside the elevator for the key, insert it and it will take you to Mr. Goodman's office; be sure to hand it off to him after you arrive. Have a nice day.'
I'd heard of elevator's like this before, but never expected to witness one, especially in a place that wasn't a bank. The level of security for the Vasaic Headquarters was far higher than I had expected and I found that somewhat curious. It made sense though, I am sure there are more than a few undesirables out there that might wish to prevent a cure for cancer becoming mass-produced. I half expected to end up in some sort of laboratory or vault rather than the office of a CEO. I did as instructed and, sure enough, I arrived at my intended destination. The office was as one might expect of a CEO; fancy, Goodman was the opposite of what I expected however. I expected a clean-cut man in a business suit, instead I saw a long-haired, bearded man in a mustard colored cashmere sweater who resembled a well-dressed hippie.
'Good afternoon. I take it you are Mike?'
'Yes, sir. Mr. Goodman, I presume?'
'Ah, Henry is fine. Please, come sit down,' he said as he motioned me over from his desk.
I did as instructed, sat down the elevator key, and continued the conversation, 'So, uh... I have a cure for cancer that I'd like to sell.'
'So I hear, although please forgive my skepticism. We've been trying to devise a cure for nearly a decade. How did you do it?'
'I... I'll tell you how later. I'm sure that you've got some cancerous mice or something that you can test this on, why don't you inject one or so and give me a call afterward? You should see improvement within a week, if not a day.' I stated as I handed him a vial of Goopor's gunk.
'Huh, this looks like... Never mind. Alright, that's acceptable.'
'Great. It was good to meet you, Henry.'
My expectations were met and I was called back to Vasaic the next day.
'It worked! We tested it on a couple of mice and it worked!' Henry exclaimed without missing a beat as soon as I had opened the door.
'I've done human tests on it too.'
'No way! We will still have to run our own human trials, but this is really promising. We, Vasaic, are already willing to buy the formula from you.'
'Well about that, I can't exactly give you the formula because there isn't any way to recreate it.'
'What? What do you mean?'
'I need my involvement kept confidential, will you promise me that?'
'That sounds really sketchy, but sure. Now why can't we use the formula?'
'The thing is... I sort of... It's alien sperm.' I blurted after a couple of attempts.
Henry Goodman gave me a “are you crazy?” sort of look and then shook his head. 'Care to repeat that?'
'Not really, no. I'm quite sure you heard me say that it is alien sperm the first time.'
'Hypothetically, if it was alien sperm, how would you have come across it?'
'Look, I can't tell you that. The sperm works, it has curative properties and you've tested it. I guarantee you that your workers won't be able to recreate it because it is out of this world.'
'Well then, can you bring in a steady supply?'
'I can manage more, but I can't guarantee how much more.'
'This is all very strange and shady, but it is clear that the stuff works. Tell me, Mike, do you golf?'
The question took me aback, 'Not as much as I used to due to time constraints, but I love to when I am able.'
Goodman let out a chuckle, 'That's an excellent answer, Mike. I have this odd theory about how golfers are usually important people, harbingers of change and for the most part they seem to be honest people. Let's discuss payment.'
A couple of months came to pass since I started selling that baby gravy under the table to Vasaic, but before I go on about that, I'd like to wax philosophical for a moment: Life is but a series of events and choices. And when it comes to choices, there are consequences. Now, the consequence can be something as silly as 'Oh, I chose to order the potato soup, but the tomato soup was cheaper tonight. I could have saved two bucks' or it can be something serious, yet silly, like 'I stole alien love juice to cure my wife's cancer and now my workplace is on to me.' Oh, how I wish it were the first example that was effecting my life.
Getting back on track: Those couple of months worth of shady dealings provided me with enough income to not only pay off the debt that was forced upon us because of the cancer, but also gave me enough scratch to buy an expensive new house, car, and then some, of course, I did the smart thing and squirreled the money away so that I could spend it over the course of a few years; that way I wouldn't draw the attention of prying eyes. As with all good things, my 'side job' came to an end when the good old workplace had a meeting about theft. Not only did us workers suffer a scornful meeting, but the locks were changed and we had to be let in by government agents. No matter what, no one was allowed in after hours. Forget your house keys? Too bad, find somewhere else to sleep (disregarding work, of course). In hindsight, this should have been the policy from the beginning when it came to harboring and doing top secret research on a man from outer space, but I digress.
Despite all the good fortune that alien sperm had brought me, there was always a feeling of dread that lurked in the back of my mind. That tiny, itty-bitty, sliver of conscience saying, 'Oh dear, you shouldn't have done that.' Every time those thoughts would emerge, I would push them back into the dark depths from whence they came. Okay, nearly every time. When Vasaic went public with their cure for cancer those thoughts became the only thoughts in my head. I couldn't help but wonder if two and two would be put together and I'd end up in some high security prison, perhaps Guantanamo, for distributing governmental property. My fears turned out to be rightfully founded as agents of good old Uncle Sam had managed to make their way into my office on one very unforgettably (and unforgiving) cold winter day.
My eyes darted from Goopor to Sterling, Sterling to Palmer. My heart throbbed, my palms shook, and my head-ached as it screamed at me to run. Despite my want... My need to get out of there, my legs refused to carry out the command and remained firmly planted on the ground.
One of the seven present agents gave an ever so simple command, one that I could not disobey even had I wanted to, “Don't move.”
The other six were on standby as the one closest to me revealed handcuffs and nonchalantly snapped them across Sterling's wrists. They left as silently as they had come, and they were eyed just as much too. Torri Sterling took exception to the silent part, we all watched and listened as she screamed, 'No, you don't understand! I needed it! I had to sell it to be able pay off my mortgage!'
I've no idea when she started stealing it, but I can't help recalling that one particular night I bumped into her when she forgot her phone at work. As to how she was caught: it just so happened that Miss Sterling had not only forgotten to edit the logs on more than one occasion, but she continued stealing after the theft meeting, which was the point when cameras were added to the workplace. Again, I'm not sure why one wouldn't have cameras installed around a facility in which an alien was being contained and (man)handled in. I take that back, the government was living up to its tendency of being cheap and not doing anything about it until it bit them in the ass and they were forced to act upon it, the usual, just with an alien twist.
In retrospect, I really dodged the bullet. Sterling buckled, probably rather quickly, and revealed where she had been selling the stolen alien batter to. I was lucky that she had chosen to sell it to any place that wasn't Vasaic, for if she had they would have outed me when they were raided and all research born of the sperm was destroyed and/or confiscated. I feel bad for Sterling, I really do, that could have been how things had gone for me. Instead, I remained unshackled and free; filled with a bit of pride at having contributed to curing cancer.
Five mundane years passed by as we continued to perform tests on Goopor and his sperm in the hopes of curing other diseases and during the end, this year in fact, Tabitha became ripe with child after many years and times of trying. We came to settle on a name for our future girl, Abigail, which translates to 'father's joy' and covered this nerdy dingus' true feelings. Many a blast was had with Tabi when she and I went baby shopping. We bought: clothes, stuffed animals, mobiles, a buggy... You name it and we bought it, even if it was something that she wouldn't be able to make use of for a couple of years.
It's amazing how at one moment you can feel as though you are at the top of the world and then the next you feel like you've been smeared across the innermost crevices that the planet has to offer; that switch perfectly describes my morning to now.
I was stuck in such a feeling of euphoria over Abigail's impending arrival that I couldn't refrain from walking into work with a smile plastered on my face. I gave Harold more an enthusiastic wave then I'd normally give when I saw him heading my way, a baby changes everything.
'Mike! Mike! We have a problem,' he screamed in alarm lowering his voice after uttering my name twice.
The smile remained etched between my nose and chin, nothing could ruin my mood.
'What's wrong, buddy,' I uncharacteristically asked.
'To put things lightly, we're all in deep shit. You'll understand when you see,' he finished and walked with me to the lab.
My smile practically leaped off my face and was replaced with a grimace when I made my way through the lab. The majority of my co-workers were huddled around a table and on that table was the body of a young woman.
'Sally Strode.' I uttered in disbelief. I craned my head toward Harold and gave him the mousiest of whispers, 'she was one of the clinical trial participants for our program.'
Harold only nodded.
My eyes trailed down Sally's body and I let out a slight gasp upon having a better view of what was left of her. Her corpse had been torn from the stomach to her chest, something had burst out from the inside.
After I had some time to soak in the sight Harold continued to speak, 'witnesses reported that her belly was bloated as if she was...'
'Pregnant,' I finished.
'Mike, you don't think...'
'No, I don't. Look Harry, everyone has seen 'Alien' or has at least heard of the scene. There's no way that could happen in real life. Your mind is just drawing conclusions because we just so happen to be working with a live alien and its sperm. This is probably the result of something weird like spontaneous combustion, alright?'
'You're right, Mike. Now that I think about it, she hasn't participated in any tests involving Goopor's sperm in five years or so.'
'See? Let's just run some tests and we'll figure this whole thing out.'
I began to form a speech of sorts in my mind to rally everyone together so that we could begin testing on the recently deceased Sally Strode when one of the young, pretty females from the front desk, Molly Parsons, came bursting in with two other co-workers and a sheet that covered something lumpy on a gurney.
'We've got another one,' she screamed in a high shrill voice.
No way, it can't be. I thought to myself as I watched them dump the gurney beside Sally's corpse.
One of the men present pulled back the sheet and I recognized the face to be that of someone else who had participated in the program around five years ago. I heard a gasp and realized it was my own. The majority of those present inched closer to the new arrival and various voices drowned out the room.
My cellphone began to ring in my pocket, but I ignored it and stared dumbfounded at the two female corpses.
'Yeah, I know, Harold. It's aliens. It's fucking aliens. It's just like that god damned movie. The sperm did its job and made embryos, it just took five years instead of nine months.'
Much to my annoyance, my cellphone rang again and drowned out Harold's voice as he talked.
'Can you repeat that, Harold?'
'I said, you aren't very well versed with movies, are you?'
I brought my hand to my face and ran it through before pulling it away and lightly slapping myself in exasperation.
'We're in deep shit, Palmer. We've got to figure something out or...'
My cellphone interrupted yet again. What was left of my composure was cracking and the phone wasn't helping. I angrily and annoyedly fished it out of my pocket hoping for whoever was calling's sake that it wasn't something stupid, lest they hear the scornful voice of a man whose world was beginning to crumble.
The number was one that I didn't recognize, but I decided to answer it anyway. Deep down I privately hoped that it was a telemarketer so that I might unleash my self-righteous fury upon thou with the foulest, most sludgy string of words that the lab personal around me had ever witnessed...
I exhaled and pressed the answer button, 'Hello,' I inquired in an ice-calm voice.
An alarmed and fatigue-heavy female voice shot out of my receiver, it was Tabitha's, 'God dammit, Mike! Where in the hell are you? I-'
I'm normally a calm and collected individual, but the level of stresses that had all managed to come into play at once proved too great for me to reign my attitude in and so I interrupted, 'I'm in the middle of my fucking job, stop calling me!'
I heard panicked voices on the other end, they sounded close to Tabitha and hushed as she spoke, 'Mike, I'm going into labor and am about to give birth! I...' A wide range of pained grunts, wails, and moans replaced her words.
Between the pained sounds she would slip out my name. As she did this, all the sounds in the world ceased, even her cries, and my brain zoomed through its memories of the day so far and days long passed. Today and one particular day linked together in my mind, the day that I gave her the shot. An unparallelled feeling of dread presented itself as all of the sound in the world flew back in through my ears and I became aware that her end of the line had been hung up, most likely switched off by one of the various people whose care she was in. My hands shook violently, my cell slide out of my feeble grasp and hit the hard-tiled floor; I could tell that it had broken apart on impact without even looking. My eyes were instead fixated on Goopor who was lying on an operating table, my gaze met with a ghoulishly knowing smile.
Written by Tiololo and Doom Vroom