“Research Vessel Cronin, you are in restricted space…” the call came in across the ship’s loud speakers, “Stop immediately and prepare to be boarded.”
Nadia looked to the ship’s captain for instructions. She was a second year pilot with the United Research Council (URC), and had traveled to hundreds of quadrants within the so-called ‘friendly-zone’…the area that URC had deemed to be safe for their ships to venture into…and had encountered many different variations of the word ‘friendly’…but this one had to be very least she had witnessed. She ship in front of them was nearly twice the Cronin’s size, and was obviously built for combat. Blaster shields and various weaponry were clearly visible all over the craft. The only thing that wasn’t clearly visible was some kind of insignia that would have given the crew of the Cronin an indication of who exactly it was that was ordering them to stop.
Captain Shelly Ralston wasn’t exactly sure what do. She maintained a calm appearance, but in the inside…she was terrified. A lightly armed research vessel staffed by six scientists herself included mostly women for that matter, was surely no match for the monolithic warship that hovered before them. She looked at Nadia and gave the nod…meaning ‘full stop’.
Then the voice continued, “Research Vessel Cronin, collect your crew in the cargo chamber and prepare for extraction. Failure to comply will result in eradication.”
All members of the crew, Nadia, Mary, Annette, Edward and Thomas turned and looked at their Captain. Shelly decided to at least look decisive and pressed the ‘com’ button to communicate with the aggressive vessel.
“This is Captain Shelly Ralston of the Research Vessel Cronin. We are on a peaceful mission sanctioned by the United Research Council division of the Amalgamated Planetary Co-operative. We are operating in compliance with all APC codes in a designated safe research zone. What is your reason for this unauthorized stoppage?”
There was no response.
Shelly repeated her message, only to see a small craft exiting the larger ship, no-doubt en-route to dock with hers.
“Captain Ralston,” the voice finally replied, “Your Planetary Co-operative is not recognized and your presence is not authorized. You and your crew will be extracted from your ship for processing.”
Shelly heard the sound of the smaller craft docking with her vessel.
“Failure to comply will result in eradication”
She looked down, defeated, then looked at her crew. They could all read her facial expression and proceeded to the docking area.
Standing before the porthole to the alien craft was a tall figure with distinguishably feminine curves wearing what appeared to be a seamless slick black rubber outfit. The figure was devoid of any defined facial features or hair, but did have a gaping round hole where a human mouth would have been located. Its chest was full and round with elongated nipples…its waist was constricted to tiny proportions before flaring out to wide round hips and rear.
The figured motioned at the porthole with an insect-like arm and ‘hand’ and the crew of the Cronin climbed upward into the unknown.
They emerged into a massive chamber where more beings like the one they had encountered below motioned the six of them into a line. A bright beam of light shined from the ceiling around each one of them, paralyzing them in place, and scanning them over.
Shelly tried to speak, but her mouth would not move.
She felt her legs moving involuntarily backwards, and with her peripheral eyesight could see that the others were moving the same way. Backwards into a transparent ‘pod’, which quickly sealed around them.
The voice filled their ears again, “Crew members of the research vessel Cronin, you have been extracted for processing. Your ship is being stripped to its basic components for salvage as we speak.”
The crew looked on in horror as a three-dimensional image of their ship appeared before them. They watched as a crew of robotic arms worked at an impossible speed, disassembling the vessel and loading the parts onto the larger craft. Within mere minutes the entire ship had been taken apart.
They now knew that they were completely trapped by whatever this alien race was. Worse still, they were completely at their mercy.
Shelly could feel a strange warmth around her feet, but could not bend her head to look. It soon crept up to her ankles, then calves. She realized with great panic, that the pod was filling with a warm thick, black fluid that had just enveloped her body below the knees and showed no signs of stopping.
“You will now be reformatted into more usable forms” the voice boomed.
Still paralyzed by the beams of light, the crew stood frozen as the black ooze covered their torsos and chests, then necks, then chins. They all expected that within moments they would be drowned in it.
But something different happened. The fluid did in fact fill their mouths and spill down their throats, but it didn’t bother them in the least. It was like their breathing continued regardless.
Captain Ralston’s eyes grew wide with terror as the pod filled up over them. The world went dark.
Outside, the pods began to shrink around the forms of the crew they contained. Excess fluid was removed as the pods continued to constrict around their bodies. Shelly could feel the pressure of the pod pressing against her, so much pressure in fact, she thought it was going to crush her alive…but it didn’t.
Instead, her body began to contract with it, as if made of a pliable material. Then the pods began to elongate and change form. The bodies contained within changed their forms with them.
The whole process took less then five earthly minutes, and soon the crushing pressure that the pods were exerting on the crew began to release. Then with a loud hissing noise, the pods broke open. Shelly’s vision returned, but it was distorted, black and white. She could make out figures standing were moments ago her crew had been, but they were slick, and black…like the aliens.
Then it hit her…the pods were molds, and the black ooze some kind of fluid to allow their bodies to be reshaped…into that of their captives.
She regained control of her body and turned to view what was left of her crew.
They were all the same…including her, all devoid of any defined facial features or hair, a gaping round hole where a human mouth would have been located, a full and voluptuous chest with elongated nipples…its waist constricted to tiny almost insect-like proportions before flaring out to wide round hips and a round buttocks. Their feet were pointed downwards and six or seven inch heels protruded to hold them in place. In short, their feet had been molded into un-removable high heeled shoes. Their hands were insect-like, like the others had been.
The beam of light reappeared, but this time shone directly into their eyes, blinding them, emptying their minds of all memories, thoughts and emotions, and replacing them with new directives. Serve, obey, please.
As the craft embarked on its new route, the former crew-mates of the research vessel Cronin were assimilated into the crew of the alien ship.
Six new drones for the queen and her hive.