Host Chapter Seventeen

I have another question I have for Otis(don’t I always?) about these aliens. She describes them as about three inch long creatures that, in appearance, resemble centipedes. That’s a pretty heft critter to jam under someone’s skin. So how come they aren’t visible to the naked eye?

I mean, I’m not sure if you’ve ever taken a look under the hood, so to speak, of the average human but there’s not a lot of room inside. All our organs fit rather tightly against each other with any space between reserved for minor things like parts of the circulatory system, bones, muscles and fat. In short, all the reasons we’re kind of squishy and crunchy in turns.

So where do these aliens go? Do they just settle in next to the spine? Then they’d be vulnerable to anyone looking to give their host a pat on the back. Do they crawl up in the brain because the skull is safe? I’m not sure the brain would like being pressed on all that much. Something about no room there either. There’s room in the lungs I suppose but that might impede the host’s function to breathe.

Judging from the insertion point that Otis picked, they’d have to enter somewhere near the central nervous system. My guess is that the alien consumes the spinal cord in the joining process and replaces it much like the Cymothoa Exigua. That would offer it a hiding place and some protection via the spine. Of course that raises a whole other host of questions but I’ll save those for later.

We left off with Jeb showing his not-exactly-a-niece-anymore-so-it’s-not-creepy-at-all-if-I’m-flirting around his lair. I have to admire someone that takes advantage of the end of humanity to turn the rest into slaves and rule all humans. Being as most of them are possessed by aliens, Jeb, by virtue of sheer numbers, is now the leader of all humankind if not most. Very clever, Uncle Jeb.

Of course, not trusting Eve, Jeb takes her to the magma sauna and roasts her alive. She dies of third degree burns, painfully, in the medical ward. The end, next case. Or she looks, in shock and/or awe of course, at some moving water.

There’s a hot springs there. Convenient but it fits with the volcano I suppose. Jeb split off part of the river to feed a hot water latrine and a bathing area. He sends Eve in to bathe and tells her to never mind the blinking red light sitting off in the corner. Jeb casually asks if Eve’s heard there’s a new fetish involving humans and possessed humans. Also, he’s heard there’s a bit of money in that sort of thing, not that he would know firsthand.

Jeb sends Eve in to take a look at the facilities. She comes back and he apologizes for what happened with Kyle and the rest.

I listened to his apologetic words in wonder; this was so much more kindness than I’d hoped for, more compassion than I’d thought this species was capable of giving their enemies. I patted the hand on my elbow lightly, hesitantly, trying to convey that I understood and wouldn’t cause a problem. I was sure Jared much preferred to have me out of sight.

More compassion than she thought a human was capable of giving? Eve apparently doesn’t bother looking into the memories of her host very often. It almost makes me wonder what the briefing room at alien HQ looks like.

‘Welcome to the briefing center, Blows Chunks.’ ‘Thanks Commander, glad to be here.’ ‘Interesting name, how’d you come by it?’ ‘I get motion sick in space travel.’ ‘But, we don’t…nevermind. It says in your file that you’re being sent to Earth for the initial wave.’ ‘Yes, I was hoping you had some research material so I could acclimate and blend in better.’

‘We have these two books.’ ‘Only two?’ ‘Well, they all seem to use the same few characters repeated over and over, I don’t think humans are all that creative I guess. They just couldn’t really get the hang of the real arts like painting, sculpting and dominating off world species. Intelligence reports that you’ll learn everything you need to know in those, study them well.’ ‘Will do, Commander. I will read both “Confessions of an Heiress” and “The Spanish Inquisition and the wonderful World of Involuntary Torture.” Until I have them memorized.’

Yes, we get it Otis. Humans equals brutal and mean. The more you keep trying to punctuate this fact, the duller it becomes. It’s like watching a fight scene that goes on for six hours. At first it’s neat, if trite, and it holds your attention but right around the hour mark you start to wonder if anything is actually going to happen or if it’s just going to be people fending others off with belt sanders and garden implements the rest of the way through.

Oh looks at that, they went back to Eve’s little hole in the wall. Wow, we got far today Otis. Maybe tomorrow we’ll make it all the way to the post box before trundling home to brood more about how mean everybody is.

Jamie is waiting there only we’re supposed to be surprised because Otis doesn’t tell us right away. There’s a brief power struggle but while Jackie Otis has support from the UN, Eve has a stockpile of chemical weapons. Eve remains in power though on a shakier basis on account of the fixed elections.

Jeb let’s Jamie talk to Eve. He wants to know what happened. Somebody saw Jackie Otis go where she wasn’t supposed to, probably a job interview, and called the Seekers on her. She jumped and nearly died. This isn’t adding anything we don’t know Otis.

Jared shows up, freaks out while everyone else tells him he’s being an idiot. No one else worries that Jeb fell asleep and left the gun where Eve could get to it. Only Jared seems to not trust the alien who belongs to a species that has effectively wiped out the human race and replaced them with pod people.

Jared yells at Jamie and threatens him to make him leave. Jeb goes as well and Jared asks if he’d shoot Jeeve right then. He claims he would but the rest of us know better.

<<Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Eighteen>>

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5 Responses to Host Chapter Seventeen

  1. maeverin says:

    I’m guessing Otis’ answer to world peace is total eradication. and sparkles.

  2. Vanessa says:

    They really should just kill her. If someone I loved and cared for appeared and they looked the same but their personality was a complete 180, I’d shoot them in the head. It’d be torture having a reminder everyday of what I lost.

    • vivisector says:

      That would be a healthy reaction, especially if they were under alien control or some such. And yet we’re supposed to feel bad for the impostor. It’s like feeling bad for a whippit canister or a combine harvester, I just can’t bring myself to do it. ‘Look at me, I’m wearing someone else’s face while simultaneously not being or acting like them. Real people seem to hate me for it. Feel bad for me for it in spite of me treating other lifeforms like cellphones in that I replace them when they wear out.’ That shtick is getting real old real fast.

      • Vanessa says:

        Glad to know someone will join me in the fight when the aliens come. We can get our guns and pitchforks out and have a good ol’ alien hunt. Just let me know when and where the first meeting is.

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