Home > [Fiction] Fridays > [Fiction] Friday: At the Opera

[Fiction] Friday: At the Opera

The last strains of Mimi and Rondolfo’s final duet, Annie’s favorite from La Boheme, drifted past her. She could barely raise her head to watch as Mimi died in her lover’s arms. A smile twitched at the corners of her mouth at the irony. Her own lover, Jack, slumped over the edge of his chair about a foot away. She couldn’t tell if he was breathing or not. The virus she had unleashed moments ago had worked its deadly magic on his body faster, probably due to his quicker metabolism. Something to think about later, if they survived.

What have you done?

Annie ignored the whisper that eeled its way through her mind and concentrated on the actors on the ad hoc stage. They had slid to the floor as had the rest of the audience. It was a sight that made her glad.

Annie. Answer me. What have you done?

She sighed and replied, Isn’t it obvious. I’m killing us.

Why? What have I done to you to deserve this?

Done? You enslaved us, that’s what you did!, she raged, But you picked the wrong species to fuck with.

A year ago her team had been brought into a secure location to study a large meteorite found beneath the surface of the Earth. In the warmth of their lab, it had begun to fall apart and the debris came to life. Annie had managed to hit the panic button and lock down the facility before she was overcome.

When she woke up, the Chyrl that had implanted itself at the base of her neck had introduced itself. It thanked her for saving his people and, in return, was happy to offer them a variety of technologies in repayment. As a xenobiologist, she was thrilled at the discovery. And, secretly, glad of the 12 month lockdown she had initiated. They had plenty of food and water to last them the year. She could study this new species to her hearts content.

She finally managed to calm down the rest of the team and accept their “guests”. And over a month, they eventually had. And that’s when the promised technology was given to them.

It was truly wondrous. They were given plans for a cold fusion reactor, which made Jack giddy with excitement. He had a working prototype in his section of the lab. Others had been given plans to create a variety of things like energy weapons and stable wormholes.

Then, Annie had figured out how to integrate the plans her Chryl had given to her for nannite production into the perfect energy producer: the human body. It effectively stopped the aging process in its track and, as a side benefit, healed injuries within moments. Everyone clamored for a dose of nannites after that. Jack had joked that it was eternal life in a bottle but Annie wasn’t so sure. She kept telling them she needed to test it further but was overridden by her Chryl. After all, why would they give her people a technology that would hurt them?

Then began the games. At first, it was just chess tournaments. Then the Chryl, fascinated by paintball, asked to play that. Annie and her team agreed, after all, hadn’t the Chryl given them so much? It wasn’t until they found Bobby and Maris dead of gun shot wounds and their Chryl dead on the floor next to them that they realized that the games had gone too far.

When questioned, the Chryl admitted that they had been preparing the scientists for a war that their previous hosts had failed to win. The deaths were an aberration and the nannites would now take death of gun shots into account. When the scientists refused to continue, the Chryl took over their bodies and forced them to train. Annie, under her Chryl’s influence, upgraded the nannites to be quicker and impervious to physical trauma.

It was Lillian who discovered that she could hear the minds of her fellow scientists. But it was Jack who realized that the Chryl couldn’t hear them. Annie figured that the Chryl opened up that particular brain channel when they implanted themselves in the humans. After confirmation of that fact with a discussion with her Chryl about previous hosts and telepathy, a plan was hatched to rid themselves of the Chryl.

During the short time they had when each Chryl slept, the scientists had gone to work on a way to kill their parasites. It had taken months to develop the virus and to put the plan into place. They had to work around the ever vigilance of the aliens and survive the war games that had become increasingly violent as the months past.

During a deadly match between herself and Jack, Annie mentioned to her parasite that she much preferred opera to games. The Chryl, fascinated by her description, demanded that they put on an opera. Seeing an opening, Annie readily gave in to his demands and now she was dying.

But we gave you everything. All we needed was your help.

You should have asked, then, not taken. The edges of Annie’s vision blackened and the last thing she heard was the Chryl calling her name.

“Annie. Annie!”

She opened her eyes and found herself pressed to Jack’s chest. She raised a shaky hand and felt for the Chryl at the back of her neck. It was gone. She pushed against Jack’s chest. “Let me breath, Jack.” His arms eased and she looked into his face. He had been crying.

“You scared the hell out of me, woman,” he said. “We couldn’t get you to wake up. Some plan.” A tear dripped off of his chin and landed on her cheek.

“The plan is good. Trust me. Plus I’m alive aren’t I?” Annie pulled Jack’s head down and kissed him long and hard. A bit breathless, she pulled away. “Are all the Chryl dead?”

“As doornails just according to plan.” Jack sat back against the wall. Annie’s face was solemn when she laid her head against his chest. She didn’t want him to see the sheer relief on her face. His arms went around her slowly as he said, “So, Brain, what are we going to do tonight?”

Annie laughed into his shirt. “Why, what we do everynight, Pinky. We take over the world.”

That was, after all, the point of their plan.

  1. August 8, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Wow, I really liked this one. Thank you for sharing it with us. I kept reading wanting to know more and more what happened next. I like how you gave all the background and the action moved forward at the same time.

    • August 8, 2009 at 9:02 pm

      Thanks, Ronda! It was definitely fun to write.

  2. heather
    August 8, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    wow, this was REALLY cool! i don’t usually go for alien-invasion-type stories, but this was fantastic! well done! 🙂 i’m gonna go back and read everything i can here. i’m a fan. 🙂

    • August 8, 2009 at 10:55 pm

      Thank you, Heather! I’m blushing. Hopefully I’ll write enough to keep you entertained!

  3. kajoemanis
    August 9, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Hi April, I enjoyed reading your story! I thought at first Annie killed Jack, but apparently I was wrong 🙂
    Looking forward to read your next Fiction Friday piece.

    MIne is at: http://tyuditha.wordpress.com/2009/08/08/her-nose/

    • August 9, 2009 at 1:53 pm

      Thanks for stopping by! I’m glad you enjoyed my story.

  4. August 9, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Nice. It reminded me a little bit of Babylon 5. I wouldn’t mind reading more of Annie’s attempts at world domination.

  5. August 11, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    One of my fav genres a bit of spec fic culminating in the ‘almost’ destruction of mankind.. does the heart good…..
    This piece glided smoothly along, your use of flashbacks not inhibiting the flow of the story. Your intimation that Annie may have murdered her lover ( and the rest of the audience) set the scene immediately, another twist throwing us into uncertainty with the introduction of the aliens. It kept the reader on thier toes and interested the whole way.
    A tight piece worthy of re-edits and polishing in order to prepare it for submission to competitions and the like.

    I am utilizing FF to experiment with genres and styles with writing. This week I visit the world of Dr Suess and realised quickly why no-one else is able to emulate his wit and charm through prose. http://annieevett.blogspot.com/2009/08/lillylollylous-operatic-moment.html

    • August 11, 2009 at 2:08 pm

      Thanks, Annie, for the review! I hadn’t thought of entering into contests but I can certainly see where it needs some editing. Maybe I’ll go back and do that. The issue with posting to a blog is that the story no longer has “first rights”. So I’m not sure if that applies to contests or not but it does to publishing.

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