Alien War

What do you do when you are caught on a bus when it turns into the latest battlefield between two covertly invading alien species, who have independently chosen the Earth as theirs?

Not much, apparently. Wake up in a cold sweat, in my case.

I was on a bus. It was the end of a chase. I was looking around, and every passenger was looking at me with cold, empty, unemotional, alien eyes. The Body Snatchers had run me to ground at last.

One of the aliens had boarded the bus, which was parked on the side of the road. I knew her. She handed me two sleeping pills, and told me to take them. In front of me, two of the passengers had brought forward a pod.

'Just take these two pills, and all your worries will be over,' she said to me.

I looked at the pills in my hand. 'I'd like that,' I replied, 'but there's a problem. I'm not sure if you're aware, but the Earth is already under attack by a terrifying alien species, and it isn't you. It too is a species which duplicates its host - but this species does so directly, by assimilating the tissues of the body, down to the cellular level, starting with the living blood.'

By now, some of the myrmidons on the bus had spotted what I had already seen. Some of them were pointing. One of them was howling like Donald Sutherland at the end of the 1978 Body Snatchers movie.

I didn't want to turn to look at the unfolding body horror behind me. I caught a glimpse of a face, its skin drawn beyond breaking point, splitting open to reveal red musculature beneath, and an alien sibilant hiss drowning out the myrmidons' howls.

'I think the tissues of some of your pods have been colonised by this other species,' I said, as the Thing climbed out of the driver's seat. 'You've been denying them valuable assets, stifling their colonisation efforts. And they don't like that.'

I looked down, feeling my arm lengthen. 'It looks as if you've just bought yourself a war.'

At that moment, I woke up. And of course, my first instinct was to check my arm. To my disappointment, it was its normal length, and ended in its usual hand and fingers. I'd been looking forward to getting a functional tentacle.

And yes, I was on the side of the Things. When faced with a choice, go with the least human option. Less cruelty.

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