Hired Guns

Al-Qaeda and the Taliban were desperately on the run. They were being mercilessly ferreted out in their burrows and hideaways in the mountainous regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and most especially in that troubled border region between the two countries.

The enemy took no prisoners. More, there could be no hiding behind innocents, woman and children as the soldiers seemed to know unerringly who was and was not a combatant.

To a great many people in the Western World, and other places, it was a delight to listen to the frequent news broadcasts struggling to keep up with the chain of fast moving events. To hear the invaders achieving progress that Western armies could only ever have dreamed of.

Yet it didn't end there. Al-Qaeda concentrations forming in other countries, Chechnyan rebels, resurgent splinter IRA Groups, indeed terrorist or supposed terrorist groups the world over were being ruthlessly, and systematically hunted down and destroyed.

Yet how was it determined who was and wasn't a terrorist?

The unstoppable soldiers knew, or at least had been given very clear guidance. Yet by whom? No one would own up to hiring these ultimate warriors. Fingers began pointing the blame or credit, depending upon your point of view, and many of these fingers pointed towards the United States. A claim that nation's leaders vehemently denied.

Though the request for services did certainly did not come from the United Nations, those who answered that request must have felt that it came from a grouping in some way representative of our world. A grouping that could speak for us and more importantly could pay the price for the intervention. Or maybe the visitors just didn't care.

What that price might be began to weigh heavily upon even those most fervently seeking the downfall of terrorism.

All the more so as the alien mercenaries, the star ship troopers for hire, achieved their goals against the "terrorists" and sped skyward toward the monstrous orbiting troop transporters. Transporters whose huge holds had been empty on the inbound ftl trip to Earth.

As the last of the now full laden alien mercenary transporters broke orbit some of the alien soldiers took a fleeting glance back at Earth. In particular to the two islands that had once been located to the south east of the Australian land mass. The north and south islands of a place they understood had been called New Zealand. Islands that were no longer there, even in rudimentary form.

The world now understood the alien mercenary's price.

Speculation continues as to the identity of those who invited the alien star troopers to Earth but no country or countries, or group of individuals has come forward to accept responsibility.

Nor will they ever!