AN: Hellooooo! Nat here, I'm back after a while I had to spend some time developing this before I posted it so there wasn't a lag between chapters, cuz I know you all love quick updates!
Anyway this is sooooooo different than Come Back and The Devil in the Angels so based on the reactions to those….I have no idea what to expect lol. Honest input is welcome and encouraged. Enjoy!
"Sir, I believe we've found a new planet to harvest."
"Very good, lets see it shall we?"
"Well sir its about 47 light years away, and we have approximately 19 ships on route. The inhabitants don't seem like much of a threat, so I'd say three weeks is more then enough time." The man pressed a few buttons on the screen and an image flickered to life.
"And the name of the planet?"
"Happy Birthday." Chelsea smiled sadly at her poor excuse for a birthday cake. It was tiny, and kind of looked moldy, but that was just from the coarse flour that was rationed now-a-days. Six months ago she'd been a happy high school senior, then They came.
They looked human, but They were faster, stronger, and smarter than any normal human could ever be. After the initial invasion, many humans had relocated to hidden bunkers underground. This is where Chelsea lived now, with about 50 other people including some she knew from high school.
Humans now lived in fear of being hunted on their own planet. Most were taken to work in fields harvesting food that was sent back to Their planet, but every so often a few were chosen to make the trip back to Their planet themselves. No one knew quite what happened once they arrived, but none had returned.
It was days like this that everyone tried to make the best of it. She had a cake, and 'Happy 18th Birthday' written in sloppy icing letters, but it wasn't like before. There were no presents, no party, barely a change from the day to day struggle for basic survival.
She hadn't even been outside since her group moved into the bunker. A select few people were allowed to come and go as they pleased, but mostly it was to retrieve food and medical supplies from the few towns that managed to make it above ground. She missed the smell of grass and the feel of the sun.
"Make a wish." A woman patted her shoulder gently and brought her back to the present where everyone was waiting eagerly for her to blow out the single candle on top of the cake. She took a deep breath and whished with all her heart. 'I want to be able to leave this place, soon.' and blew.
A round of applause followed and soon after everyone broke back up into their usual groups leaving Chelsea to 'enjoy' her cake. She sighed and decided she may as well eat it, since she wasn't likely to get any more food till tomorrow.
Sirens broke the low murmuring of the people milling around as everyone froze for a second before rushing to their designated shelter. They were coming.
Without a second glance Chelsea threw back her chair and dove under the heavy wooden table that was attached to the wall of the bunker. Several small children had also dove underneath it and now huddled together next to her in a frightened mass. The smallest was a boy with blonde curls who couldn't be older than five or six. He looked about ready to burst into tears. She put a hand on his shoulder and a finger to her lips reminding him gently to stay silent. He nodded and huddled closer to her. The walls shook and dust and dirt fell from the ceiling, but no one made a sound.
Then the sound of tearing metal filled their ears and a bright natural light flooded the room.
Sunlight, it had been so long that Chelsea had to grip the leg of the table tightly to discourage herself from venturing out to feel it's warmth.
Now not only did the blonde boy look ready to cry, but the three other children with him were shaking as well. Chelsea smiled reassuringly. After all They probably didn't know there were any people in here at all. Usually They amused themselves by destroying the landscapes of the planet and occasionally their games crashed into hidden settlements.
Masculine grunts and a soft 'tup' sound alerted Chelsea and the rest of the hiding humans that some one had landed among them. She held up a hand to warn the children to stay still as she slowly leaned down to see out from under the table.
Boots were the first thing she saw, then powerful calves and thighs. She ducked back under the table breathing shallowly. One of Them! Here! She kept on a brave face for the kids, but inside she wanted to break down and cry too.
He took a few steps toward the table and the kids scrambled back silently until the blonde boy was huddled in her lap hiding his face in his hands. Slowly she ran a hand through his hair trying to calm herself as well as him.
Meanwhile the man was still standing at the table. He grunted and pushed the chair Chelsea had been using back so it skidded across the concrete floor making a horrible noise. The boy in Chelsea's lap gasped, then realizing his mistake clapped a hand over his mouth.
But the damage was done. The man froze for a few seconds, then she saw him grip the end of the table in one hand, faster than she could register. He picked it up, tearing it clean out of the wall and tossed it behind him where it crashed into a pile of timber.
Chelsea and the four kids were frozen in terror as they got their first up close look at one of Them.
She'd been right in assuming he was powerfully built, the trend continued up from his legs to the hands clenched in fists at his sides. Forearms and biceps that were wider than the boy in her lap connected solidly to a chest and stomach that she was sure were just as muscled as the rest of him, though they were hidden by an armored chest plate.
He had dark brown hair and green eyes. As she looked up at him he smiled, it occurred to her that, were she not so utterly terrified of him, she might find him attractive.
"Well hello there." He said leering down at the group.
She wondered how he knew her language, but it was just a passing thought as survival began to overtake her brain.
The boy was now sobbing into her shirt and the other kids were clutching her like their lives depended on it, and they probably did.
He took a step towards them and she scooted back on the floor a few inches. He chuckled low and dangerous.
No one else had come out of hiding, though she was sure they all watched in terror, too afraid for their own safety to try and help. She wanted to think low of them, but knew her own survival instinct would cause her to act just the same. That was another reason she hated Them. They brought out the worst in her people.
"What's your name girl?" He barked at her. It took a few moments for her to find a voice. And it came out soft and squeaky.
"Chelsea." She clutched the boy to her as he held her tight too.
"So you're the birthday girl." He chuckled again. "What a wonderful present. You get to come with me." He eyed her hair and then her fiery green eyes. "I think you'll like our planet. It's much nicer than this hunk of rock."
She gasped out loud and scooted back until she was against the wall. All four kids were crying now, the other three huddled around her as though she had the power to save them. "It was fine until you showed up!" She spat angrily, figuring she was going to die anyway.
"So angry, you should be glad that you're not going to work like the rest of these brats." He held out a hand. "Come on. Lets get going, my commander doesn't like to be kept waiting."
"You can't take them!" She pleaded, "They're just kids, please!" There was no way to save herself, she'd seen others try and negotiate their way out of capture, and it usually ended badly, but she thought she could appeal to his softer side with the kids.
No such luck.
"They're old enough to walk, they're old enough to work." He said taking a step closer. "One of the many reasons we beat you so easily. We learn to fight as soon as we're old enough to understand what it means. Unlike your pathetic race, we don't believe in a childhood. Now get moving, or I'll get mad, and you wouldn't like that now would you?"
She measured her options in her head, and came up with none. Resolutely she lifted the sobbing boy out of her lap and placed him on the ground next to the others. She ignored the man's hand and stood on her own putting on a brave face for the ones she knew to be hiding in the shadows.
She took a few steps toward him before looking back at the terrified children huddled behind her.
"Please, I'm begging you, don't take them." She looked him in the eyes.
He stared right back. "Well if you feel so strongly about it, I guess I can't put them in the fields." Chelsea let out a breath. "But, my commander would have my head if he knew I let 4 human brats escape, so I guess I'll just have to dispose of them here instead."
His hand went to the holster at his hip. It contained the same weapon They all carried. She wasn't sure what it was, but it fired a concentrated energy blast that was fatal to it's target.
He was going to kill them.
"NO!" Chelsea shrieked and threw herself at him. He hadn't been expecting it and barely sidestepped in time. She turned around determined to land a few punches to his smug pretty face. She knew she couldn't beat him, but she'd rather die than go to Their planet, and at least maybe this way someone else would try to defend themselves next time. She hated to think the whole human race was a group of cowards.
She threw punches as fast as she could, but it didn't matter, he was faster. She kicked hard, but he was stronger and caught her foot in one hand, the other drifted to his holster again. "No!" She twisted until she felt a sharp pain in her ankle and he let go. She crumpled to the floor. But at least his attention was diverted from the kids.
Her ankle was, if not broken, then at least severely sprained, and the pain was making her woozy. Her vision swam before her as she watched him approach her and felt him lift her easily in his huge arms.
"No…" She mumbled as her vision went black and she passed out.
AN: Thoughts? Feedback is appreciated