Deep in a subterranean shelter, hidden from the insect-like alien invaders known as Skitters that ruled the surface, we began dissecting a recovered alien corpse. The shelter was still in construction when the aliens fell from the skies, so a gaping hole to the next level up hung above our heads instead of a ceiling. I was nervous about the utter darkness of that hole beyond the illumination of our shop lights, but my two companions didn’t seem to mind. Both were women; one a qualified doctor doing the operation, and the other the love of my life.
The deceased subject lay on a metal table in the center of the large room. The doctor gingerly moved aside some slimy tentacles from its body and the puckered mouth in the center of the carapace reluctantly opened with the aid of her forceps. She placed a small cloth disk inside to keep it open. I stood off to the side against the wall with my girlfriend.
The doctor was engrossed in her work. A few alien tentacles twitched where they draped over the table to the floor. Again they twitched, this time a little more. It slowly dawned on me that the alien was not dead, and worse, it was sending out some kind of signal for help.
I grabbed my machine gun and my girlfriend did the same with hers. We sprinted out the door into the hallway. The hall turned left and proceeded straight, sloping gently upwards to end in a set of steep stairs leading to the distant surface. The ceiling here was unfinished as well and alien bugs the size of dogs spilled out of holes into the hall. I squeezed the trigger and swept the barrel side to side, unleashing a stream of armor piercing bullets. Bug after bug erupted into a fountain of green and yellow gore that plastered the ceiling and walls. Egg pods began to drop from the ceiling and hatch. We kept firing and they just kept coming.
I threw down my gun and unslung the flamethrower from my back. Liquid fire spewed out the end of the barrel and I began to make headway against the alien swarm. Walking slowly up the sloping hallway, I nearly reached the base of the stairs when I heard the chittering of thousands of aliens.
“Get back!” I screamed. ”I’m turning on the afterburner!” My girlfriend ran back into the room and I flipped a switch on the flamethrower. The force of the blast nearly knocked me off my feet. A stream of near invisible white hot death ascended the stairway. Countless aliens were incinerated instantly.
The blaze was too much for the shelter. Flames spilled out on the floor and licked up the walls to turn the ceiling into a canopy of fire. The stairs were the only way out. I retreated to the back room to find the doctor and my girlfriend cowering in the center of the room. The flames drew closer. Unable to stand the heat’s inexorable advance, the doctor ran for the wall where a bank of large ovens sat. She dove inside one and reached out to turn the knob to max. A brief explosion of flame signaled her quick and relatively painless death.
I drew my girlfriend to me and held her close as the firestorm closed in around us. It ignited our clothing and singed our hair. We embraced with one final kiss as the inferno consumed us.