Chapter 9

Written by: Gabrielle Burt

“Quickly! Drink this.” Lillith presses the flask to Eric’s slack lips, tilting it until the liquid bubbles slowly into his mouth.  She watches as he swallows it all.  

Martin, materialising from the dark crater, crouches beside them.  He ducks instinctively as the approaching headlights brush over them.

“It’s all a con!” He rasps with barely concealed fury. “It began in the late 1950’s, with an over-eager theoretical physicist hypothesising to his undergraduate class;

What would happen if we could arrange the atoms, one by one, the way we want?’ ”

The assembled scientists hadn’t been able to resist the challenge and now, 70 years later, nanotechnology was a fact.  

In the ‘repair-and-go’ approach, a flexible capsule filled with a solution of nanoparticles could find cracks in micro surfaces and repair them. Or invade with devastating consequences!   Simple molecular robots, powered by the body’s own electricity, were being used to build molecular-scale machines capable of reorganising themselves into a variety of shapes to carry out any number of tasks.  

But despite all this progress, advances in nanotechnology has been pretty basic until a major breakthrough involving Contributing Hallucinogenic Manipulation (CHM) promised hitherto unimaginable financial reward. And the potential for global havoc.

And a random meteor strike became an alien landing!   

Martin pulled a small package from his pocket. His hands shook as he disentangled something, then pocketed the rest. 

“Here.” Nestled in his palm were four luminous objects, each about the size and shape of a jellybean. “Push these into his ears and nostrils. Make sure they’re tight.”

Martin offers a silent thanksgiving she hasn’t argued, but instantly bends over Eric’s now unconscious form and obeys his instruction.

“What about his mouth?”

From inside his jacket, Martin produces a hospital bag, stamped ‘STERILE’.

“Here. Hold this very still.” He passes her the bag and, reaches in, draws out a shiny, woven film which he begins to carefully wrap around Eric’s entire head, neck and hands.

 “Stop!  You’re suffocating him.” Lillith springs at Martin, but he is too quick and knocks her aside. 

“The capsules will provide sufficient oxygen to keep his brain alive and keep his lungs artificially ventilated. As it breaks down, the masking will be absorbed through his skin and release a gas that’s lethal to the parasites. They’re viable only in the toxic environment created by oxygen and alcohol. Hurry! We’ve got about five minutes before Stanovich and his men arrive.”

Working together, they haul Eric towards the crater and lower him, none too gently, over the side to a small ledge just below the rim. “He won’t be seen here.”

Then, crawling on their bellies, they move as far away as they can before the Mercedes pulls up beside their battered van.

“Stay down!” he hisses.

Defiantly she rises. 

STANOVICH!”  Her rage crackles.  “You lying bastard!”

A red dot blinks slowly over Lillith's control centre. “Dead robots don’t talk!” Stanovich’s silhouette taunts. 

She is fearless.   “Admit it! They weren't  alien life forms.”






Thanks Ray - I always really value your comments
I did enjoy your chapter because of the new things I learnt….love that!