#117 How Mars Became uninhabited.
#117 How Mars became uninhabited Forty years after the first Mars landing, Joe found a plastic bound manuscript hidden in a cave he explored for signs of past life. It had unknown material for pages. He immediately opened the book and saw it written in Cruciform script that changed to English as he viewed it. His oxygen ran low. He had to return to base before reading it. “What’s that?” his Chinese space mate asked after Joe came through the airlock. Joe handed it to him. “The language it’s written in is English, so you won’t be able to read it.” Joe’s space mate glanced at the book. “It’s written in Chinese.” “What’s going on here?” The Russian captain of the expedition asked. “Joe says this book’s written in English, but it’s in Chinese.” “Let me see it?” the Russian said. “You’re both wrong; it’s written in Russian.” “Obviously the text changes to whatever language the reader understands,” Joe said. “We all want to know what it says, so read it to us.” “Okay,” the Russian said and read. This is what we learned before eradicating the deadly menace. By John Suther, leader of Defensive Group Four. I interrogated the surviving members of the invasion force before feeding them to our saviors. “Hold on. Is it fiction?” Joe asked. “Maybe one of the earlier expeditions planted it here,” the Chinese man said. “No one has the technology to change text into a reader’s language. Where would an earlier expedition get this book?” the Russian asked. He continued to read from the book, “Like an egg cracking, the protective shell around the starship crumpled, and the meteor’s tail died. Rocky pieces of the shell fell into the gravitational field, and the pieces became falling stars. “Klaxons sounded within the ship causing automatic defrosting of the beings in suspended animation. The Commander was first to step dripping from his cryonic storage unit. One by one the three thousand under his command stepped from their icy storage units and stood at attention beside them. Once they hit an atmosphere, they could survive in, the 3,000 would become three billion. If they have sufficient food the three billion would become six and then twelve billion and continue to double until they consumed the entire food supply. “Here's the scoop,” the commander of the ship said in a language only they could understand through blood encrusted lips into a system that carried his voice throughout the vessel. “Our prey isn’t flowers or even buds, but is mobile and has a distinctive stink. That's all they have for defense against us. Years ago they had antibiotics that would have devastated us, but our scouts discovered how to immunize us.” “The people will be invisible to our multifaceted eyes, so we have to use our automatic analytical sensory system to smell them out before we partake in a feast. “The commander surveyed his famished troops that would cause people to panic if they could see the long needle-like teeth, hidden inside hairy mouths they’d use to suck people’s blood. Fortunately, as people were invisible to them, they were invisible to people. “Once we start to feed, remember not to drain them dry, or they'll die,” the commander said. “Devour no one as a meal. It’ll be better if we consider each individual as a snack that will reproduce all the blood we drink. Be thankful they’re as strong as that. Be sure to just nibble. Don’t take any big bites. “The most fun we can have is to watch them smack their arms and do a silly dance like a flea-bitten dog when we celebrate and have a feast. Don't leave a one without a bite or they won't go to their God, who waits for them to die after we've eaten our full.” “He doesn't want their blood, only their souls that he'll take to his world to worship him. If he doesn't harvest everyone we bite, his franchise will be up for grabs and people may live for hundreds of years before another God is appointed in his place. While we're trying to forget his soul-sucking face, we'll be deprived of blood for all of those years.” ** The ship entered Mar’s atmosphere, and when it was six miles away thousands of us could safely exit and float to the ground. As the exit ports opened, the commander said, “No matter that 400 fragrant multifarious chemicals make up the people’s scent and they stink. We must do our jobs and suck blood from them even if we'd rather drink from a less smelly thing that has more honor and is easier to eat.” The hatches opened, and thousands poured through them appearing as clouds in the clear blue sky. As they hit ground, the aliens used their automatic analytical sensory system to ferret out and then attack people wherever they were. They ate ravenously but were careful not to drain any dry. The unseen aliens terrified people as they ate. Victims could see puncture wounds when the aliens feasted, and the people danced in circles in an attempt to shake off whatever feasted on them, but none ever saw an alien. “We’re being eaten alive,” the President told the director. “You need to find a way to kill whatever is making our people dance.” “Light is the answer,” the director said. He told his chief scientists to conduct experiments to light up what was eating people alive. Using ultraviolet light beams beyond what the eye could detect, it was discovered that the aliens sensed the lights. They put up a shield when directed at them. Just a spot of black showed under the ultraviolet light. Weeks passed. No way to protect people from the alien blood sucking things could be found. One day a scientist noticed he wasn’t being drained any longer and couldn’t understand why he and some others seemed to be immune. He went to the lab, and the bloodsuckers attacked him. No matter how hard he slapped and danced he couldn’t shake the parasites. Feeling weak from losing so much blood to them, he returned home and lay on the couch. Soon cockroaches crawled over him. Too weak to resist he watched them and noticed their tremendous size. What did they eat to increase their size? Forcing himself to stand, he stumbled into his lab, stuck his right arm under an ultraviolet lamp and saw the black spots being devoured by roaches. He knew that cockroaches have compound eyes with more than 2,000 individual lenses that allowed them to see all around their bodies. They don't see as clearly as people do, but they’re good at spotting moving things, and they could see the invisible species eating people’s blood. He called the president and told him how to stop the invasion. The president addressed the entire world. “We have discovered how to stop this blood sucking scourge,” he announced. “Being the peace loving nation that we are, we’ll share the cure with the entire world.” “We must unite and rid the world of the aliens.” He looked at the drained emaciated faces waiting for him to continue. “The cure is simple. We all have it, and some may find it repugnant, but what we’ve considered a pest is the one thing that will devour these alien beings.” Silence filled the hall, and not one man moved while they waited for him to continue. “Roaches can see the invaders and to the roaches, the blood sucking alien aliens are a delicacy.” “Mr. President, how will roaches get to the alien things that are sucking our blood?” an ambassador asked. “Each person will have to allow roaches to cover their body to devour the aliens,” the President said. “We’ll need billions of roaches, so we need to fund farms worldwide for their production.” Cockroach farms sprang up around the world. One by one people were cleansed of the alien blood sucking virus when placed in a sealed room filled with hungry roaches that devoured the aliens. *** “Good to know if attacked by those blood suckers on Earth, we have plenty of roaches to lick them clean, The Chinese man said. “We already raise billions of roaches in China.” “That’s right. There’s no risk in sending this back to Earth for analysis,” The Russian said. They sent it to earth on the next rocket and felt they had made an important discovery. Joe returned to the cave to search for more artifacts and found some pages that must have torn loose from the manuscript they sent to Earth. He read them right away. After the aliens had been devoured, the roaches they acquired a taste for people’s flesh, and roaches learned that with their huge numbers they could continue eating people to satisfy their hunger. After they ate all the people on the planet they turned to other animals, then vegetation, and finally to eating one another. I’m the last living thing on the entire planet other than the flesh-eating roaches I’ve cryonically preserved in the spine of this book. *** Joe rushed back to camp. Got on the laser communication system and said, “Mayday, Mayday, be warned, the shuttle sent from Mars is carrying a planet eating species of roaches. Please fumigate the ship when it arrives before opening it.” “Too late, the captain of the transport bringing the book to Earth took the book to his quarters to read. The warm air defrosted the frozen bugs that instantly multiplied into thousands. Once the hatch opened, the fat roaches poured out and before we could kill or capture them, they quickly multiplied and became billions. We’re . . .” The transmission ended. 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