It all happened when no one was paying attention; everything came when we thought we had nothing to fear and could control everything. They knew that; they had always known that about us. I think if it wasn’t them, the Apolites, we would have faced another invasion from the Martians or some giant plants or something else. We were least prepared for the Apolites because they were so much like us; they had humanoid shapes and evidently human ideas about conquest and Empire. Earth had become just an outpost where our resources were mined and we were treated like second class citizens. They came with their giant ships and they had taken command of every continent within a week. They just waited whilst the military bombarded the giant crafts with almost literally everything we had. Everyone in the US at least was sent miles underground to avoid nuclear fallout and risk of death. In the poorer countries it was mainly just the dignitaries and ambassadors that were sent to security underground; too many innocent people lost their lives. Communication had been returned in the last year, and it was clear most of Earth was a bomb site. It felt ironic that without the food from the Apolites, seeking to keep an Earthbound work force alive we would all be dead. The strange thing about the whole invasion was that any damage done to the surface of the Earth, to those not able to make it to safety in the secluded parts of the world away from the potential reprieve of modern life, was done by us. The innocent lives of literally millions were taken by the effects of our weapons against their ships, they themselves fired no shots. They killed no individuals upon landing either; I wasn’t the first person to think they were more human than we ever were. Those that survived on the scorched Earth were sent to makeshift towns built by the Apolites; they gave the people shelter, food and work. They seemed interested in providing and supplying our needs rather than denying them. They didn’t just think in terms of killing or attacking either, they waited for any surface attacks before moving in. I don’t doubt that those giant ships could have blown up half of the world if they wanted to do so, but they didn’t. After the week of attacks, smaller crafts were sent down to move the survivors into the zones being prepared for human life. The Apolites did more for the poor and defenceless than any government had done; nobody talked about that much though. No, the word from the underground was always of hate towards the Apolites. Word was always being spread about the terrible things they were planning or had done; you name it and I guarantee a rumour was spread about it. I always thought it was the government officials down here starting them, but they were always spread by the rest of the people, it was hard to know or care about the difference. Attacks, killings, blood sucking, scalping, probing, mind control, death rays all came up regularly. Occasionally I’d hear a rumour that they were experimenting with our DNA, I always thought though why would they need our DNA I have no idea, still though the rumours persisted. They would always be seen as the enemy. The life underground was tense; there was more room than you’d think in these subterranean homes, but still it was arguments were always persistent. It was probably the lack of natural light that was making everyone a bit tense. Life suddenly felt truly unnatural, even though it was hardly different though from working 9 to 5 in a cramped office desk. It took aliens to make us think about what humanity truly was. I still didn’t really know after 6 months of being down here; fear and doubt were always pertinent. People just kept spreading the rumours, which I always felt were lies. We were never shown the surface, we were just shown daily updates from the remains of the World Government telling us about what the Apolites had done and what was being attempted to deal with them. They were always being described as invaders, as aliens, as heartless individuals harvesting the riches of the world at the expense of us. It all seemed a bit ridiculous, the attempts to demonise creatures so akin to humans it was almost comical. The endless criticisms of the Apolites would have been pertinent if they weren’t just repeating the actions of humanity in a vastly more effective, and frankly humane manner. Humanity was never questioned underground; we were always right they were always wrong. People would cheer the announcements of the World Government; ‘weapons are being designed to paralyse the minds of the Apolites’, ‘we have captured an Apolite worker and are interrogating him now’, ’any day now a surface assault will be launched‘. All of these planned actions against a few aliens that had actually taught us a thing or two about dealing with the truly destitute. When it came to the delivery of food parcels to us down below, sadly there were always arguments and problems; people were unhappy with their lot, always asking more for themselves or their children. Food had become a scarce commodity with the World Government still at war with the Apolites. That was the official story anyway. I didn’t mind the packages, I was a single guy so was almost at the bottom of the list but they provided fruit, vegetables and bread. Meat was pretty scarce unfortunately, but living in an underground communal prison with cramped individual rooms suddenly haute cuisine seemed less than pertinent. We were given the basics and nothing more, so as you could imagine some of the complaints got pretty heated. I never bothered with the arguments myself; the people providing the food had guns, and I had a normal human body, which still hadn’t developed any form of natural resistance to bullets funnily enough, so I took my deliveries quietly and with perfunctory thanks. Some people were like me to an extent, they just were thankful to get some food whilst we were being ruled by aliens, but some of the other complaints were raucous. People would demand the strangest things; ‘I want some proper fucking cereal damn it!’, ‘Why the hell can’t we have veal?’ ‘I want some proper fruit, like mangoes’. People seemed to use the food deliveries as an excuse to vent their frustration at the general levels of denial. We all had space to live, families got larger quarters than single people, but still I guess the lack of privacy got some people more down than others. It was ironic that suspicion of one another grew almost as much as our suspicion of the Apolites. There were always rumours about who had chocolate, who was negotiating to get back to the surface and who was having an affair with who. The place had a crazy atmosphere, and everyone seemed to be negotiating to get back to the surface to try and regain their normal lives. The guards though were practically Nazis; any discussions they heard about planning an escape to the surface lead to a meeting with the Commander. The Commander was the man who introduced the television broadcasts to us; he was a huge, broad, greying man who seethed with rage whenever he had to mention the Apolites. He kept us informed of military engagements and always offered us information about when we were due to get back to Earth. Sometimes the date was sooner than last week, sometimes it was later, but basically the date for returning to the surface was always some nominal time in the near future. I never paid much attention to the dates of the Commander; he just seemed a bit too crazy. His influence was felt though; some people would have the same expression as the Commander when discussing the Apolites, it was kind of crazy really. Thankfully not everyone down here was crazy. There was this one guy, Alan, who used to be a Catholic priest on the old Earth. He would talk to us about how some of The Bible prophesised such an out coming involving ‘other’ beings. It was through Alan that I came to find out about the close link between the God that we once knew, and the Apolites. Ted was not the first person to see the arrival of such a powerful force as being representative of judgement day; although wildly different from what was predicted in Revelations, as a man of faith and scripture, Alan genuinely believed these aliens, these Apolites, were a divine force sent by God to punish the Earth for it’s misdeeds. Not too many of the fellow believers in the underground disagreed with him.
Ted didn’t tell this story to everyone; he was more than wary about being highlighted as an outsider, or maybe some sort of nut job that would need processing, but to those that he probably thought were on a similar wave length to him, which included me and a few others, he would give a sermon to. He said to us,
‘Look this story is going to sound crazy, but I can tell you guys that some of this information came from a very high grade priest I had contacted in Rome, who I trust much more than I do any of you guys so you can take most of what follows as being fairly true”.
The man looked a bit unhinged when speaking to us; he had a mad glint in his eye as if he’d seen something strange a policeman or someone else had constantly ignored him about. I took it to be a reasonable sign that he knew what he was talking about. He began, as always, with context;
‘When the first alien came to see us, the world was young and knowledge was scarce. God was just the man that brought the winds and the grain. Sometimes he wasn’t even that. The idea of God was as a man in the sky, keeping watch over the world. People still worshipped, but it was more in a reactionary fashion. People would celebrate great feasts, abundant rains or the birth of a child. God was someone to thank in the good times, and pray to in the bad times. He remained an unknown force really; the ancient man who witnessed the first alien visit didn’t even have scripture to follow, there were no knowledgeable priests or even those pretending to be knowledgeable priests (that line would always raise a small laugh with the crowd). It was a monumental occasion for those that witnessed the event. The only recorded witness was a man in Egypt, he was a tribesman who recorded the major events on a papyrus scroll. His information was very brief but it was enough to pass on eventually to Rome. The event began when this tribesman, Ahmet, recorded going outside his tent with his wife to examine a ‘loud noise’. An object described as a giant wingless bird flew over the head of the pair, this man, Ahmet, is then described as going alone to follow the sound of the craft. He went over to examine the craft and described how there was a ‘large creature that looked like a very white man’ was lying there injured. He is described as speaking to the creature, who is recorded as saying I swear to you, and don’t forget this incident is well over 2500 years ago people may I remind you, ’Thank you Ahmet, I am Phelox of the Apolites, you’re kindness will be rewarded’.
A youngster interrupted Alan, ’wow so you mean, the Egyptians they knew about these guys, and they didn’t do anything to help or to warn the rest of us’.
’That isn’t strictly true my inquisitive friend, it is documented on that papyrus, and I swear to you now that this is the genuine truth from my friend of the cloth, ’you shall be saved when my people return’.
’But, none of us we’re saved sir, we were all made to live underground, they didn’t save any of us we all have to wait here until they are ready for us to work’.
‘To an extent that is true young man, but consider the fact that there have been no reported deaths from the actions of the Apolites at all. More people have died choking on food than have been killed by the aliens; they kept to their word by killing none of us. I’m of the belief that that one guy, Phelox will eventually return and rescue us all as thanks for the efforts of the prophet Ahmet’. When he’d finished the sentence, the main sceptic, Geoff chipped in.
‘I can’t believe you keep telling people that Alan. Your attempts to generate hope especially to the youngsters here who are vulnerable enough is going to do more harm than good. We’ve been down here for more than five years, eating the same crap and doing the same things. There ain’t gonna be an alien saviour who rescues us. These guys came and saw all of the cool stuff we had on Earth and took it. Shit, they probably got the idea from the way we treated those Indian tribes or the way that black people were made to be slaves and all. They saw us come and pay nothing for the stuff the guys made in the poorer countries and they thought, ‘hell if these humans can exploit the resources so quickly we’ll exploit them. It’s a case of chickens coming home to roost; we as humans were never gonna be the only one’s out there looking for oil or coal or food. God weren’t there for the Indians or the black man when they were being used and killed, he sure as heck ain’t gonna be there for us ordinary white folk when someone comes to exploit you’.
One of the old farmers, John, intervened,
‘Hey not everyone supported slavery Frank, some of us try and treat people as being the same whatever colour, ain’t that right Alan?’.
‘Yes of course, but I hear what brother Frank is trying to say; it could well be that the Apolites are here to bring about Judgement Day, to remove evil from the face of the Earth and begin the process of separating the damned from the saved’.
One of the most cynical members of the group, Graham, then intervened, ’When are you going to get it Alan? Don’t you realise that the day has passed. We’ve been judged and this place sure as hell isn’t heaven; it’s over, none of us passed, not you, not the youngster and not Mr. Frank Willis either. We all fucked up the whole planet, it ain’t right you bringing up the possibility of some saviour from the aliens, it just ain’t going to happen. We had one and it went, story over. He came all them years ago and look what happened, he was killed by the people he was trying to save. The same ones, Alan! We’re being punished for all of that shit killing innocent people and for starting all them wars’.
Alan tried to give his case as usual, ’Look I understand that view but come off it Graham, you know the whole world wasn’t just exploiting people and starting wars. There were good people, people of faith living their lives according to God and The Bible and Jesus, you know that’.
’So cos a few people in the south pray a bit we ain’t guilty of ruining the Earth? You really believe that Alan, three years after being here with no proper food and living on each others toes?’
’For forty days and forty nights Jesus was tested by the devil, I believe this is the same’
’Sure and look how that turned out! He was killed cos there weren’t enough good people out there to defend him; heck you know I’m religious, that’s why I’m here but you bringing up Jesus and how he died for us, well it isn’t a sign to me that things are going to get better’.
’You do believe in the resurrection though don’t you Graham?’ Alan felt a bit aghast, internally aware perhaps for one of those occasions in his life about the destination of his faith.
’I don’t know anymore. Maybe, but if he came back how come we don’t know what he did afterwards, it’s only the stuff he did before he died and then his death, that’s all we know about’.
’But that’s the important bit, the key to the message; he died for our sins Graham, I hope you still believe that’.
’I don’t know any more; he died because of our sins Alan, that’s what I think. It isn’t as if he really just came down from heaven and just magically took away our sins is it? If he did, why did these aliens come and put us all under the ground like damned sardines?’
’Look I understand your emotions I really do, but this whole picture is complicated, faith in God means….’
Graham interrupted, ‘It’s always faith though isn’t it? Why do we have to rely on just faith that things are going to work out right? Things isn’t too right at the moment are they? We ain’t blessed by God and Jesus, I’m sure as anything he hasn’t saved us from our sins. This is the end Alan. I mean if these aliens, sure there nice enough now, but if they use up all our oil or coal or diamonds whatever the hell these people want, if they use it all up there ain’t no need to keep us alive’.
’There is one possible way though we can all be saved Graham’,
’What’s that Alan, try and give them a Bible or something, pretend to be dead so they leave us alone?’
’I want to talk to them, and to try and find out if there ever was or still is a Phelox amongst them’.
‘What and you think just cos one of them met up years ago with some guy in Asia or wherever all that time ago, just one of em, that they are just gonna go, “well, hey you’re right that old guy did come here and heck he was treated real nice so lets just move all of our machines and let all them people back on to the Earth. In case I need to remind you Alan, there ain’t an Earth to return to; you know as well as I do that our military did more damage to the resources than them aliens. We were the first ones to fuck up this planet and we’ll be the last, you know it’
‘Maybe though, if I can get to them, to teach them then we may just somehow convince them that we ourselves can rebuild the Earth’
‘So what, just remain their pets but working on the land instead of operating some machines? No thanks, I ain’t being a slave’
‘Maybe we’ve got no choice Graham’.
‘We’ve always got a choice Alan, shouldn’t you be trying to work out an escape route rather than just trying to negotiate with these guys? We own this planet we should be fighting these guys not just living like damn ants on an ant farm’.
‘Do we own this planet Graham? Why do we own it more than the Apolites? They’ve got better machines and weapons so they took us over; it should be a familiar story’
‘Not this again; look I’m fed up about apologising for all the wars, Hitler, Saddam Hussein, these were bad people and you know it’.
‘I know I hear you, but what about the First World War? There wasn’t always a clear enemy to fight, so much of warfare was devastating and unnecessary’.
‘You make it sound like we’re innocent, Alan; you know it ain’t the case. You know as well as I do that Judgement Day has come, God has spoken and, well, heck we’ve all been damned. Sorry kids but that’s how I feel’.
‘We aren’t dead though yet, we have the chance for redemption and I believe I can reason with these guys’
‘Look I’ve had enough of this sermon and so forth for tonight gentlemen, so I’m off to recline elsewhere. Good night good sirs. Good sirs, shit’
Frank intervened ‘I’m sorry about all that, the guy can get emotional dealing with this claustrophobia and all’
‘That’s fine thank you Frank. Wearing these religious garments in public can lead to some of the most insulting things you can imagine. Graham was very much a gentlemen in comparison’
‘Do you think we’ve been damned then Alan?’
‘Well, honestly; to an extent yes I think we’ve been judged but I believe there is a lot more to God than just scripture, far more than just Revelations in the New Testament too’
‘That’s why you’re going to talk to them isn’t it?’
‘Yes. I believe we can all be saved Graham’
‘I agree with some of the stuff he said. I guess it’s true, you may be too late Alan, you know that don’t you?’.
‘Despite that, to be honest sir I have more faith in these Apolites than in any of the humans I’ve met, my contact in Rome included Graham’.
‘Sure thing, night Alan; come on kid, let’s get some sleep’
The rest of the group soon left after that and Alan was left to think. He couldn’t shift the image of Ahmet, being promised freedom. Perhaps those people in Egypt had already been freed though he began to think. Maybe the other guys, Frank and Graham were right. There was a likely chance that the prophesised Judgement Day and come and gone in the shape of these aliens, the Apolites. No, that can’t be, he assured himself. I will escape from these confines, convince the humans running the facility to take me to see the leaders of the Apolites and I will see us all freed on the promise of Ahmet. Unbeknownst to Alan however, there was already opposition to his plan.
Franklin hated Alan. Deep down it burnt into what was left of his sorry soul; the worst part was that he agreed with so much of what was being said. That was what killed him inside, he knew that what with the world as it was there just wasn’t the time or room to complain. Every weekend would be the same; hearing the same damn sermons, getting the same moralising from the one official priest. Franklin never let on to anyone that he was Jewish. It seemed difficult to bring up what with all the talk of saviours. That wasn’t it though; he just felt isolated by the tone of Alan. He always knew better than the others, always bringing up that stuff about the guy in Egypt, he hated it. He hated the fact that he always seemed to know more about the ancient world than a devout Semite such as himself. He never told anyone in the compound about his true faith, truth is no one asked him about it. There was just the same old sermons, telling us about Jesus and how he died and how the sacrifices of this guy Ahmet (if he was so damn important how come nobody had heard of him other than Alan?) would save us again. The days were long at this place. Franklin felt the cabin fever worse than most of the others. Obviously the first lot of guys sent down here by them who were a real problem, the type that would cause huge arguments about resources and such were dealt with effectively by the Apolites. They had obviously learnt from us about the powerful influence of solitary confinement. The guys who spent any time in those places came back totally changed; I guess it was a bit scary at first. It seemed ironic that we were being treated like animals, penned in like pigs waiting to be gutted. Hell they treated us better than that; thank God they didn’t get a taste for human flesh. Franklin never really had a problem with the Apolites, they treated us well enough. People here weren’t judged on colour, race or faith. We were all treated equally and were told everything that was going on. The compound wasn’t tiny thankfully, there was space to stretch your legs occasionally. These aliens had come and would release us when the Earth was ready on time; it just felt like Alan was trying to take some sort of divine glory from the intervention of the Apolites. Something bothered Franklin about the way Alan had reacted to the situation. He had really taken a religious zeal to discussing the eventual ‘salvation’ of us in the end. Humanity was once again being depicted as a species always unclean and requiring rescuing through a sacrificial saviour. I mean Alan didn’t even really pay lip service to the idea that the Apolites were here to punish those humans who failed; he didn’t even consider that they were as a form of holy punishment to damn mankind for all of the wars, slaughter, starvation, fascists and terrorists. He just kept on with the idea that we would all eventually be saved. Well maybe some of us didn’t deserve to be saved; salvation seemed like such an act of magic and just somehow felt out of step with Franklin’s belief in God. Salvation came to those who sought it, it wasn’t merely a present. Alan doled out the hope of salvation to everyone like it was a cup of coffee or something. Something troubled him and he knew it about Alan; hell it was probably just the way he always owned the room whenever he was speaking. He had that way with words which captured the attention, and looks of some of the ladies in particular. It was the tightness of the confines more than anything; the inability of escape and to just go somewhere new; to just take a walk somewhere new and be free of all the chatter and all the talk of destiny and God and such like. Sure he found refuge with some of the non-religious guys in the places they frequented but truth was too many of them seemed depressed and didn’t want to talk about the current situation at all.
John was one of the guys who had no interest in worshipping God; for all he cared God left as soon as those aliens in their massive space ships came and started making us all live together underground. He had been bought up a Christian in a small town in America; he went to the local church every week for Sunday School and was made by this parents to read The Bible. He knew about religion and about what a bastard God was described as being. Sunday School didn’t help; as far as he was concerned sending his only son to die for our sins wasn’t exactly the actions of a compassionate being if that was the truth. John was disturbed by the sheer pace that a religious coalition formed around Alan. He had this power to convince people and his rhetoric had proved spectacularly convincing. Everyone wanted to hear about his stories and his views, especially that bullshit stuff about that Arab guy Ahmet. Something about Alan reminded him of his old preacher; sure Alan was better at hiding the fire and brimstone stuff than Father Prendegast but still he seemed to contain that dangerous element of righteous verbal power. John was no idiot; he knew that whilst guys like Prendegast and Alan were good people overall. They really believed in being decent to your fellow man and preparing for the afterlife, they just unfortunately seemed to have that aura of being able to convince anyone of anything. These people, maybe not the really religious ones, these were the people who got black guys hung. They were the people in olden times that would force out Jewish communities; they would be the groups who would kill abortionists and who would eventually start religious wars. John knew they were far from being terrible people and it was that which made them even more dangerous. Despite knowing this something still sat inside his mind; he feared greatly for the direction of the people under the Apolites. Hell, sometimes he felt that Alan probably was one of those damn aliens and he was just there to keep these people imprisoned with lies about hope and messages of peace. Probably sent here by the same people who had damn well locked us all up underground and away from the Earth we were supposed to have been given by God. John wanted to be out of this prison as much as anyone, he just didn’t want to rely on that escape being determined by a lunatic or some guy in a fairy story. When John was finally contacted by the mysterious Mr. H he found a hope to his prayers.
The crowd gathered once more in the tiny metaphorical pulpit which Father Alan still seemed to own. Talk of this mysterious Ahmet had spread around their complex like wild fire. People everywhere were trying to find out where this Father Alan could be found; some people were even beginning to say, this Father Alan is a new prophet and will help us deliver the true message of God. As it can be with these things a counter rebellion was just beginning to develop simultaneously unbeknownst to Father Alan; an underground insurrection if you will. Some people were beginning to be more forceful in their atheistic approach to life. There were growing rumours spreading about this religious guy who was starting to get a movement going. Father Alan was fairly clued up on all of the happenings around the base and very much tried to level his approach to the now increased and more varied audience.
“Ladies and gentlemen, people of faith I know and the other individuals who I have not yet been introduced to. Thank you all for your presence here at this key moment in human history. Never before had the people of Earth ever come across an alien species and been able to tell the tale, yet now we, as denizens of Complex 63, are here in the flesh and able to experience life with an alien force”.
There were some faint cheers and a small round of applause even this early on.
“I know that many of you, including some of my good friends of this small congregation such as Graham and indeed others have started to worry about what our situation as undoubtedly prisoners says about God. I put it to you that humanity has not yet been eternally damned, though that may alas happen to some of us here in this base. It says clearly in the New Testament, in Romans, “The wages of sin is death”, and I would each of you to consider whether we are all now paying the price of our sins and greed and doubt throughout the years”.
“Did not the Lord say to Ezekiel, ‘By the swords of the mighty will I cause thy multitude to fall, the terrible of nations all of them’. I would hope most of you think that even our nation, the great USA, was not recovered from the state of being a terrible nation”.
In the midst of some cheers, Father Alan heard a very clear voice,
“That is bullshit Alan; I won’t accept this nonsense about America being damned. We weren’t the only nation taken over, it was the whole damn world. Plus you make it sound like these people are sent by God, like they were angels or something. How about the idea that these guys are a test to us; I know my Bible too Father and does it not say in the New Testament…” Graham reached for his back pocket and pulled out a small red copy of the New Testament.
’Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in the lowliness of mind let each other esteem each other better than themselves”.
“That is a fair point, Graham, but I would argue that if The Bible has taught us anything it’s that, well good things come to those who wait”.
There were a few laughs at that remark and a small round of applause.
“You see friends, I’m a firm believer in God as a compassionate being. A perfect entity of love and mercy; he didn’t leave us here alone any more that Jesus was left alone or indeed any of the other prophets”.
Franklin politely intervened at this point “Any of the other prophets? I don’t think that’s right Father.”
“Please go on, brother Franklin”
“Right, I was just saying that even though God was with the prophets, he wasn’t there to really offer comfort or love I’m sorry to say. He was sending a warning through these people; I mean to Jeremiah he told us “I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished”.
“That does indeed sound like the same God I believe in too, testing Jesus for 40 days, leaving even the son of God not fully unpunished”.
There was another small round of applause at that point, one guy called out from the back of the assembly ‘damn right!’
Franklin continued whilst he had the floor, “I was choosing the most reasonable point first Father, in the same book of Jeremiah, God is described as telling him ‘I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy; with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased, I have done these things to thee”.
Father Alan remained calm and on song, “Indeed, our friend Franklin here is right. We were subjected to more scrutiny by God in the ancient times, he did indeed test the prophets fully. And it was not until his son, Jesus the Christ, who was bought into the world that this was changed. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have ever lasting life.
Again there followed a slightly more rowdy set of cheers and calls to praise the Lord. Father Alan felt charged with the love of his congregation, he felt a real blast of affection and understanding sweeping through him. The next person to address the congregation however, changed Father Alan’s life forever in the way that the first sermon he attended did.
A small, Muslim chap intervened at this point solemnly but forcefully to address the congregation.
“I do not think you are wise to offer the promise of eternal salvation to any one, father”.
Father Alan’s features visibly dropped; something deep in the back of his mid kept quietly calling out to him, ‘remember Ahmet Father, remember him now”.
“Well, fellow worshippers this is certainly a first for our congregation to have a follower of… Islam, right, to join this sermon”.
“Yes indeed, Islam Father, the honour is simply yours however. I feel I should tell this congregation that whilst our entire faith knows and acknowledges brother Jesus as a prophet, before our final prophet Muhammad, he is not seen as the saviour of humanity, as we do not truly have one”.
Graham intervened this time before the father could reply, “Now look here friend, we are here to welcome you but you can’t go round denying so many people there beliefs. It ain’t right, you know I ain’t going be able to say to you ’sheesh sorry pal but that chap Muhammad was no prophet”.
It was a good thing he good thing Graham got there first, there were some calls emanating from the crowd including ‘terrorist’ and ‘demon’.
The stranger continued.
“You would be in your right to say that. I understand your emotions, but a voice of questioning here seems required. Our religion says that though Jesus was blessed with the holy spirit he himself was to be no more valued than Moses or indeed prophets such as Jeremiah”.
“What is your name, sir?” Father Alan politely inquired.
Father Alan felt his heart drop a thousand feet.
“Interesting, right, a pleasure to meet you”.
“I should tell you our religion also believes ‘God doth not command you to take the angels or prophets as lords”
Despite some of the murmurs from the audience, Father Alan addressed them again.
“Right, indeed of course not. Apologies, I think this is the end of our sermon for today.” Just as the congregation was beginning to leave, Father Alan chanced a meeting with his latest member.
“Ahmet, may I speak to you in private?”.
“Yes of course”.
Both left the main assembly area of their zone and took off the short distance to Father Alan’s quarters.
Franklin couldn’t sleep that night. Father Alan wasn’t the only person to feel both shocked and a big scared by the arrival of Ahmet. He still didn’t believe in this new saviour story, it was too similar to the last time, but all the same the arrival of this stranger had disrupted him. He had to be called Ahmet, didn’t he? Alan had probably known about this guy having checked the records for Muslim inhabitants or something; he probably told us all that bullshit about a new saviour so he could keep that gaggle of followers he had totally in thrall to his every word. Franklin was a believer in God alright, just not really in the manner of Father Alan or indeed guys like Ahmet. He knew about the power and potentially devastating impact that religion and saviour prophets in particular could have on average people. They were all looking for answers; all of these congregation members were simply looking for a word or a line reassuring them that this damned hell hole we had to share wasn’t the beginning or end of existence. People would follow guys like Father Alan as if they were Jesus himself. The work of one guy could prove to be disastrous, people would suddenly find themselves praising Jesus at frequent intervals during even the most mundane or serious of sermons. Franklin had a secret though; he did believe in the salvation of Jesus. It was that which really scared him all along; this idea that for all of the denial of fat and blood, for all of the restraint and burnt offerings, deep down the idea that one man could wave his hands and in a flash redeem a soul of all of his sins put the fear of God into him. He couldn’t help but ruminate on the idea that if this was the case, and a single great person could redeem the worst sinners, then what is the point of morality? Surely with the total redemption of Jesus the Christ people would no longer worry about not stealing, about not praying to one God, about respecting parents. Guys like Jesus, they had the raw power to change order; they had the innate ability to turn society on it’s head, and the worst part, the worst part still remained that Franklin was drawn to this. The release it offered, the gift of salvation; he knew enough though to remain serious and not totally accept all of the tenants that followed. The God he believed in was more about destruction and wrath rather than compassion or mercy despite the hysteria of the assembly; Franklin still had his own beliefs about the true nature of God. The treatment and deification of Jesus may be able to raise cheers and help the damned to hope, but it was still a potentially dangerous precept. The notion that one could save all could lead to an abdication of morality. The fear also still remained that, well if all of the beliefs about Jesus Christ were true, and more than enough people did truly believe this, then could he be more moral than God? He didn’t believe so, but it was still a dangerous notion that occasionally underlined certain sermons. Franklin struggled with his own faith more than many others. He still believed in the single God, who indeed asked people not to worship false ideals, he still believed in God as the person who threw out Adam and Eve and the same God that sent the plagues to Egypt. Truly indeed the same God who promised a holy land to his people. Franklin couldn’t help feeling cheated really; for all that he had believed, for all that he had sacrificed and denied others, it all felt wrong. Stuck underground, damned and waiting for judgement, he felt a rare surge of very real anger. The people who had put him in this position, this life of crushed damnation would pay for what they had done.
The letter from Mr. H was lying on his desk. John carefully tore open the envelope side ways on and began to read.
I represent a movement that has been here in the compound from the very first day of our imprisonment. We as an organisation have been utilising all of the resources available to focus on the long term infiltration of the Apolites, with the long term aim of ensuring the full and forced release of the human race. I should state that we are not an organisation that is seeking to negotiate of discuss matters with these aliens; far from it, we are agents of force seeking to fully ensure the freedom of our species to ensure a long term survival of humanity on Earth. We have contacts on the Apolites side, and every piece of intelligence we have received has indicated that our alien captors have no intention of returning us at any stage to the surface. They believe that we are being sufficiently well kept. I should also say at this stage that we have received no strong evidence as of yet to indicate that the humans being held underground are to be killed. Our research so far has indicated that the Apolites have not yet developed any plans to see the destruction of human inhabitants. Our contact within the Apolite high command, has indicated that the current maintenance of human life is to continue as planned and that activities would only change to increase levels of solitary confinement; they have given no indication whatsoever that we may at any time return to the Earth’s surface. This as you may not be surprised to hear Mr. Phillips is very much unacceptable to us; the manners of the Apolites are insufficient to counteract the sheer oppression of our treatment. You have been selected for our boldest attempt yet to destroy the Apolite high command. We want you to plant a small but devastating explosive device in the central chamber of communication used by the aliens. We have already established a cover for your arrival at the central chamber; you are there to discuss improving the nutritional situation of the human inmates and to discuss increasing the numbers of internal greenhouses to increase the levels of internal food production. The device is no bigger than an envelope, and is to be placed in the corner of the chamber by your chair; the device will be planted in your left trouser leg and is to be dropped at the very end of your meeting. This is the first time we have attempted such espionage Mr. Phillips, and as such your total commitment is required. Indeed only I know of your presence and identity as the planned infiltration individual. As of now, only you and I know of your mission and name; the leadership of our movement has placed their trust in myself and I am doing the same to you. This uprising has began as a last resort; we have tried using our contact within the Apolite high command to try and initiate a return to the surface for our people. The approach was routinely condemned, and I quote from their leader, “humanity does not deserve another chance yet to ruin the Earth”. They have taken over our planet and have dismissed all of our works, you are to be the key man Mr. Phillips in destroying the high command. We have already got in place another infiltrator to open the main gates of the compound. This is a carefully planned operation Mr. Phillips with others in charge of objectives even I am not able to know of. Our movement has waited long enough to strike back against our captors. With your help we should be able to halt the Apolites for long enough to ensure the escape of the members of our compound. We shall be the first to escape should this operation go to plan Mr. Phillips so I need not tell you of the severity of this mission. Once free we are to return to the surviving buildings in the city and to then try and reconnect with military hardware with the view of liberating the other compounds.
John felt both scared and exhilarated by the prospect of the task ahead; he felt another moment of feeling pleased with his non religious stance. The moral implications of blowing up a room full of alien beings wouldn’t affect his conscious in the same way that it would affect guys like Father Alan. He knew he was meant to be the guy to do this job. Had he found the word he would have called it destiny.
Father Alan sat Ahmet across from his desk. As he was getting comfortable Father Alan set the coffee machine on and went to get cups whilst the contraption slowly began to whir into quiet life. The smell began to fill the air as the two men began talking to one another.
“Thank you for joining me, Ahmet, right?” He knew it was right of course.
“Yes indeed. Ahmet Al-Sahih. Thank you for your time, and coffee. I must say fresh coffee is a great luxury!”
“You’re welcome, it’s one of the privileges they give to those who co-operate with the Apolites from time to time.”
Ahmet looked a bit surprised at this point.
“I’m used like many others to maintain high spirits and to address those people who believe to well basically keep believing.”
“I don’t tell everyone I meet due to potential jealously but it’s no secret. I mention it during the occasional sermon; I don’t want people to feel the Apolites are an enemy”.
“I wasn’t aware of that deal, thank you for your honesty”.
“No problem. How do you like it?”
“Your coffee Ahmet”.
“Ah, black with one sugar if you have any”
Despite the pleasantries and the formalities Father Alan could still feel a restless force coursing through his veins, as if he were possessed by a ghost or perhaps as though he were being spiritually plugged into a giant metaphorically divine power grid. He composed himself to stir in the sugar and to pour his own before handing the hot rare drink over.
“I appreciate you coming down to hear my sermon despite our obvious differences”
“The differences are less obvious than you think Father Alan”
“Well I suppose so”. He began sitting up a bit higher on his chair, trying to get comfortable and to formally address his colleague. He found himself inadvertently leaning over slightly whilst addressing this newly found man who had the air of destiny about him. For the sake of his own sanity however he decided to approach this guy with a hint of hesitance.
“The stuff about your faith denying the divinity of Jesus is pretty unchanging though isn’t it?” he felt comfortable addressing this man even on the terms of his faith; as a religious scholar Father Alan was reasonably comfortable with the main areas of The Koran.
“Yes with regards to the existence of Jesus, yet I think you know that isn’t the single reason for the success of your faith” the stranger seemed to know a certain amount of his faith as well.
“For once I’m going to have to disagree with you sir. I think he is the only reason our faith is as it is; I could no more deny that Jesus is the son of God than you could deny that Muhammad is the final prophet”.
“Peace be upon him. However despite our differences Father I think you should acknowledge how much things have changed. If Jesus died for our sins, then why are we now being punished by God?”
“Well that is where we differ. I don’t believe that this is a punishment from God but the start of a new life of liberty and prosperity”
“What with the entire population of the Earth living under the ground? It seems easy for you to be positive about these aliens whilst they are kind to you. Others are not so forgiving”.
“You’re a smart man Ahmet, you should know that one of the core pillars, if you pardon the coarse analogy, of our faith, Christianity, is that of compassion and forgiveness. ‘Let he is without sin cast the first stone’ and so on”.
“I appreciate that sentiment Father, but I feel you need to consider some other teachings. We are warned of the importance of signs in The Koran, you should perhaps note that according to Muhammad, ‘As for those who believe not in the signs of God, God will not guide them, and a sore torment doth await them”.
“Do you foresee sore torment for myself Ahmet?”
“I would hope not Father Alan! Alas it could be the way for some of your congregation. I felt inclined to meet you sir not because of what I have heard of you, far from it, but rather what I have heard though word of mouth about what some of your followers think. Have you heard those rumours?”
“Please enlighten me, I‘ve heard some whispers”
“Some people believe you are God; which I think you’d understand if I disagree with”
“I wouldn’t claim to be myself!”
“Indeed, that doesn’t surprise me. Your talks though, especially the rumours of a new saviour to rescue us have spread far and wide”.
Father Alan swallowed some air accidentally, he felt himself worry that Ahmet had heard his name and was about to tell him that his claim was true, or worse that it was absolutely untrue.
“What is your opinion?”
“I don’t believe either one of us is this prophet you mention Father Alan, and besides I think you know that my belief really begins and ends with Muhammad as the final prophet”
“Here is where I may correct you perhaps Ahmet, you’re faith contains more than just the teachings of Muhammad”
“I would disagree with your assertion this time Father”
“Reasonable enough, however I feel you are ignoring the extent to which your faith and The Koran acknowledge the importance of other faiths including Christianity and Judaism”
“I am aware of this point, ’We have our works and ye have your works; and we are sincerely His’”.
“Yet you would doubt our beliefs in Jesus Christ”
“Only to an extent; we acknowledge him as a prophet and as one of those ‘with near access to God’ yet he is very much not seen as a figure who can rescue us from the flames of damnation set by God. For your comfort I should also direct you to the quote ‘If the God of Mercy had a son, the first I would be to worship him’”?
Father Alan felt a strange sensation flowing through him; it was a strange heady mix of fear, nausea, elation, doubt and arousal. It confused his mind whilst Ahmet was speaking. He felt he was to be in the presence of a descendent of the original prophet. Father Alan decided finally to question this new stranger on his knowledge of ancient religious history.
“Are you aware of any references to the Apolites in the Islamic faith Mr. Al-Sahih?”
“The Apolites themselves?”
“Well, I’ve thought about this point too Father Alan. There were references in The Koran to a day when ‘the heaven shall give out a palpable smoke which shall enshroud mankind: this will be an afflictive torment”
“I see. That does sound fairly accurate”
“I am sorry to agree with you Father”
Sensing he was not going to receive the answers he was looking for from Ahmet Al-Sahih for today, Father Alan politely collected his cup and politely sent him on his way.
“Thank you for your time, Mr. Al-Sahih”
“Ahmet is fine”
“Right, Ahmet it is”.
After sending Ahmet off, Father Alan sat down and began to ruminate on what had just happened. His mind was coursing with questions and problems; could he really be the new saviour? Could it truly be true that a man who questioned the divinity of Christ is actually the future saviour of the human race? Was this guy right personally in his assessment that we are indeed all damned by the ‘smoke’ of judgement as it were from God. Father Alan switched off the coffee machine and went about his normal business of reading The Bible, searching for inspiration and reassurance about God and Jesus Christ. It felt like harder work having met Ahmet; the forces surging through his body had energised him whilst meeting the man, but he felt exhausted now in the aftermath. If he was wrong about Ahmet, could he be wrong about Jesus? The potential for error made Father Alan look at The Bible with more trepidation and nerves than ever before.
The Commander was feeling energised; his plans for the attempted military coup to regain control of the Earth seemed to be proceeding effectively. If not perfectly frankly. He had selected his team for the operation nearly a year ago and all were now clued in on the key aspects of the operation. The conference in the central chamber was to be initiated by Howard Jones, the explosion would be set off by Franklin Davis, the leading tech men Unger and Thornill would then be sent to the central mainframe operating room to release the gates whereby Graham Sears and Paul Frost would roll out the two largest terrain vehicles owned by the Apolites. Frankly he wasn’t given knowledge by the Apolites about the state of the Earth’s surface. The leading scientists he dealt with reassured him that there was no chance of nuclear waste being a problem although much of the terrain may now be a desert leading to potential problems of growing food. This would be a necessary challenge in order to reclaim the Earth’s territory from the largest oppressors ever seen. He was aware of the religious orders within the compound; he had heard about the rumours of some prophecy being enacted involving one of the aliens and a guy called Ahmet who was the descendent of an Egyptian involved with these same Apolites thousands of years ago. Truthfully The Commander had never been a religious man and all of this talk of an Ahmet to him simply provided a smoke screen for the people down at the bottom. Anything that shielded their eyes from the scorching truth of a seared Earth could prove to be incredibly useful. The Commander hated the idea that these aliens had defeated the full technology of the Earth. Something deep inside him was slightly impressed with the effective colonisation of our planet. They put the US efforts in Iraq, Vietnam and Afghanistan to shame and the damn hippies did it without firing a single shell or killing a single soldier. They didn’t even kill the guys who were trying to pilot their crafts into the space ships, they literally used their damn technology to re-land our own planes! That part really got to him; the easy use of such powerful measures to control all of our military might. The nukes should have done some damage, any damage given the sheer weight of mega tonnes involved but not these guys, no the surface of their giant crafts were even scratched. There must have been some force field not that that mattered any more; least not till he himself got hold of some fighter crafts and some more damn nukes. This infiltration fighting felt deeply wrong on a principle level to The Commander; he’d spent so much time fighting guys who used this type of approach, it was cowardly really. There was no choice though; to regain any semblance of control regarding the Earth, the main operating room would need to be temporarily regained. He just prayed that the point man, John would get out in time having dropped the letter bomb. He would have done this himself but too many parts of the operation needed co-ordination. The Commander was finally feeling that his skills were being utilised; for far too long his abilities had been stunted whilst the Apolites fed him lines; sure some of his former comrades had labelled him crazy but he didn’t mind that. It was almost a compliment to him that people considered him insane, who would want to be sane when these aliens were taking all of our freedoms and liberties away? He was a patriot that was for sure; he believed more than anyone in honour, duty, nation and liberty. He would die and had killed for the principles of his country and was totally and utterly comfortable with the planned mission against the aliens. The notion of killing for values and well beliefs was something that was never a problem to him. He often thought what would happen if people of religion had the same convictions; sure he had been to church as a kid but something about following a single priest or rabbi rubbed him the wrong way. Of course The Commander was another damned soul; a man who through pride, murder and vengeance had forced himself on the treadmill to hell. Guts like The Commander wouldn’t have objected to that destiny, which was the main thing that made him such a dangerous foe to the Apolites.
John’s heart was beating at a million miles an hour; in his former job as a lowly small town mechanic he would have never have dreamed he would be involved with any James Bond type shit. Yet here he was with a fucking envelope containing a powerful explosive and he was set to destroy the high command of an alien race that had enslaved us. He didn’t even own a gun for God’s sake and had absolutely no interest in violence; I mean he wasn’t a pacifist, he would have liked to think he would have been fighting for his country during something like WW2 for example. Yet somehow it all felt right; the moment the Commander had contacted him, John knew he would be the man to try and destroy the Apolite high command. It wasn’t that he hated life under these guys; far from it really. He still had his wife and kid, here was regular food and enough small details like pool tables and old TV shows played constantly to make the place not feel to different from home. He wouldn’t have volunteered for this stuff in a million years; aliens or not the idea of being involved in killing people would have felt wrong basically. Yet the message from the Commander, who everyone knew was the most powerful human left in this compound inspired him. For too long underground he had found his worth disintegrate like some sort of rusting engine. He didn’t have anything to fix, he no longer had any serious job and all he was required to do really was to collect food supplies and to check his quarters were locked at night. Somehow despite the fact that he knew, deep down knew, that most of his life was scarcely above average in terms of wage, diet, healthcare, car and the education of his kids, the problem still remained that it was these things he had spent his entire life earning. To have it taken away, even by a force as placid and frankly decent as these aliens felt wrong. He was against big government taking too many taxes and despite the attempts to make life as normal as possible he was ultimately against the Apolites. The envelope stuck out still from his coat pocket; truth was he was feeling absolutely terrified carrying something of this magnitude. Thoughts raced through his head; will they kill me if they scan any sight of this bomb? Will I die as well in the resultant explosion? Is the Commander who he really says he is? Am I being played for a fool? Many questions kept eating away at him like some sort of mind altering brain bug. The questions though ultimately took second billing to the explosive device in his pocket. He didn’t even have a detonator for God’s sake. All of a sudden he felt a damn fool having allowed someone in charge, who lets face was far less sane and reasonable than the Apolites, to use him like such a stooge. His fear however was curtailed however when the Commander himself contacted his old cell phone.
“Mr. Phillips, this is the Commander”
As if it could be anyone else, his wife didn’t even know his number.
“We have your position on your system, you are literally within a hundred feet of the drop off point. How are you feeling Phillips?”
“Truth is I’m a bit hesitant sir”
“To be expected. Look, you are the person who is best suited to get in there undetected, Phillips, believe me we know that. You’re presence would be seen as merely a non-hostile attempt to discuss improvements to living conditions”
Something felt cold and distant about the Commanders voice. It could have just been the reception from the cell phone but there was a doubt that nestled in the back of John’s mind.
“This is only a small part of a large operation as I’m sure you’re aware Mr. Phillips yet without question your’s is indeed the most important”
“Right, yes sir”
“You need to drop the device off with a 12 minute time frame, Phillips which shall be possible believe me. We’ve monitored literally hundreds of similar domestic civilian discussions with the Apolite command. These alien bastards actually want to listen to us? They think just because they get my favourite fucking breakfast cereal we’re going to all live like damn hippies. Well don’t be so sure”
“If I’m not in and out of there within the 12 minute allotted time, what happens?”
“Excellent question; well lets just we aren’t planning for such an eventuality. You have 12 minutes Phillips no more, no less. We have already commandeered silently three top-ready large terrain vehicles, we have the first team of skilled escapees on standby; but what we need, and we need it from you, is the destruction of their security system. The monitors that cover the escape hatches absolutely must be destroyed. If these guys see our escape they’ll simply pull us back in immediately. We need to be out of range of their retrieval technology, which need I tell you far outweighs anything we have ever developed. I will call back in 13 minutes and you better have deposited that envelope and left the command room.”
“I see Commander”
“I’d hate for you to lose your life and to let down the entire team we have here Phillips, believe me”
With that the Commander signed off leaving John to hurry down to the command room of the Apolites in order to complete the worst act of his previously mundane life.
Father Alan couldn’t help but find potential signs in The Bible regarding the potential prophecies relating to the Apolites. Psalms gave him varied examples regarding the potential meaning of these aliens, “God, how long shall the adversary reproach? Shall the enemy blasphemy thy name for ever” and a counter example to that “As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God”. So much was still flowing through his conscious regarding the meeting with Ahmet. He tried looking through The New Testament for anything that could potential indicate if Ahmet truly was a prophet. He came across, “Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness”. He still felt deep within his sole that these Apolites rather than indicating the end of the world simply were another example of the trials that all men have suffered since the very beginning of mankind in the garden of Eden. There was also the chance he felt, that despite his total disbelief in the flawed theory of evolution was the idea that maybe these aliens, these Apolites were here to enlighten mankind as God had done so in the past. Father Alan remembered by heart a key line from Jesus Christ, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God”. His faith was still questioned though by these aliens; it still eat at him that if man was made in the image of God, then why are we dealing with a more advanced race that is only basically humanoid in design? These things would bother him until the end of his life.
John made his meeting secretly dropped the envelope and managed to make to safety on time. His heart was beating at a million miles an hour, even though he had to walk, albeit briskly from the Command room in order not to arouse suspicion regarding his presence. He could only very basically deliver his prepared lines of ’Apolite leaders; please would you consider our families request of doubling the levels of bread per family. We feel that the levels are insufficient’. The reply was prompt and polite and reasonable as always. ‘Thank you for your time Mr. Phillips. We shall acquiesce with such a requirement’ When they asked him if he required anything else, he had been lost for words and only managed to shake his head before leaving the room with the most decorum he could manage. The Commander didn’t immediately call back after 13 minutes which left John drenched with fear; had it all gone wrong. The Commander finally called after the loudest explosion John Phillips had ever heard in his life. The call was very short, “Well done Phillips”. Seconds after getting the call, John Phillips was killed by a sniper shot to the back of his head. The Commander had seen the mission proceed perfectly; the soldiers he had selected were already loaded to the vehicles, and he had ordered the death of Phillips. It was a necessary decision for him; he had been caught on the hallway cameras and his character was almost certain to tell the Apolites every single detail regarding the mission which was a chance he couldn’t afford to take. The Commander due to timing requirements had fired the shot at John Phillips himself from the edge of the now unwatched loading bay. The command room explosion was duly followed by the detonation of the escape bay gates. The plan had gone without hitch; he had always planned to dispose of the candidate for the command room. It was the riskiest part of the operation. The Apolites had very basic mind reading technology which meant that he needed to select a man who would be fearful enough so that his mind would be preoccupied by the worry of meeting the chief aliens. A confident individual or a soldier would be far too easy to comprehend; he needed the element of chaos that Phillips had duly delivered. The gates had been opened, the key personnel he needed to forge a basic new life were crammed into the largest vehicles they could find and a new population could eventually grow following the efforts of such a day. The least significant of which was the escape of the military forces.
Following the explosion at the command room, Ahmet knew he needed to rush to Father Alan’s quarters. Despite only just meeting this man he wanted to know whether he was still alive or not; nobody in the domestic quarters knew about the grand escape plan. It was only military personnel and family that had managed to get to the escape vehicles and out of the door. Unknown to Ahmet at that point, the Apolites had now repaired and shut the escape bay doors, leaving the rest of the population stuck back in the compound as trapped as they ever were. When he finally got to Father Alan’s room, the sight was shocking. The far wall was covered in both blood and a dull green colour that had splashed against the walls. He was clearly dead; a victim of yet more military action Ahmet thought. The other substance upon second look came from the decimated body of one of the Apolites who had clearly made the short journey to visit Father Alan to check on progress. Ahmet felt a tear well up in his eye; he could hear the sounds of panic and the occasional scream from the living quarters, There was evidently chaos. Ahmet knew he would have to now forge a link with the Apolites; something deep inside told him it was absolutely necessary to find the new command of the Apolites in order to help them regain order. Father Alan had been the only alien ordained priest as it were. Ahmet felt a surge of fear through his heart; could this now be the end. Could it be so that “hath not the time come, for those who believe, to humble their hearts at the warning of God and at the truth which he hath sent down?’. Too much seemed to indicate the wrath of God to ignore; Father Alan had believed it prior to his death and fully within his soul, Ahmet believed it. The Apolites weren’t even the sign, the beginning of the destruction had come from the actions of the Commander, Ahmet knew at that point that he would have to find the lead member of the Apolites before it was too late. The wrath of these aliens would prove at least comparable to that of God; Ahmet had to negotiate and try to convince them of the right of the humans and the forces now on Earth to live. He would finally deliver the message to the Apolites that humans were a free species and deserved to reclaim the world.
Walking through the destruction and rubble, Ahmet was searching for the signs of alien life. There was that now familiar green stain on many walls and on many doors. It was they who contacted him unsurprisingly; using their basic mind control technology they sent him a message ‘travel to the first floor reference room Ahmet Al-Sahih’. He turned back on himself and went through the confused rabble of citizens that were talking to each other desperately trying to find out what on Earth had gone wrong. There was real sense of panic within the corridors; they had by now realised that the Commander was responsible as his messages had stopped. Any cheers that had been there early on had since dissipated. People were fearing for their future; despite the peaceful decency shown so far by the Apolites many were fearing for the retribution that a more advanced species could unload. Ahmet knew he had to hurry; he had to be the person to contact the high command of the Apolites; the future balance of the entire population of the compound and indeed the lives of the escaped military personnel were definitely in the balance. He made it to the reference room and was finally greeted by one of the creatures; it was well over 7 foot yet somehow familiar, The alien was grey in body and had a triangle shaped head that was angular and somehow seemed to convey intelligence. The first figure was the individual who had contacted his mind to give directions; the figures in the background seemed distraught in spite of the lack of the same physical features of humans. The Apolite addressed him vocally this time,
“Mr Al-Sahih I am very sorry for the loss of some of your fellow creatures. Especially for that of your friend Father Alan”
“Thank you, we had only just became acquainted”.
“Indeed but still the bond was strong”
“Why have you called for me?”
“You, Mr Al-Sahih are to be our new contact to help deliver the message of religious understanding”
“I’m sorry I can’t do that; too many people don’t share my beliefs”
“They don’t have to Mr Al- Sahih, you did not share Father Alan’s beliefs; we simply require you to help convey the message of your God”
“I can do that”
“In exchange, we will begin the process of releasing the inhabitants of this compound into the newly developing habitable bases being set up now by the escaped military team. The Commander has already been captured due to the murder of Mr. Phillips. We were not un-accepting of human escape Mr. Al-Sahih, however the manner in which the Commander here went about business will be punished, and he shall permanently remain with the Apolites in this compound. You should know that in other compounds it was the religious members rather than the military side that had negotiated escape. No lives were lost in the religious escapes”
“I would not have approved such a military escape myself”
“We are aware of that Ahmet Al-Sahih. For those that remain here due to fear of returning to the world or indeed remain due to their choice, require a voice of reason and indeed religion. You are to be that man.”
“Yes I see”
“The Apolites were never about imprisonment Mr Al-Sahih. We were sent in order to re-establish religious order within Earth’s society. The development of compounds was only ever to be a temporary measure, made necessary of course by the scale of nuclear strikes by your forces”
“Indeed, I see”
“The Earth has now been made hospitable as your escaped forces will soon inform us. It is indeed you Ahmet who will lead the people of this compound to freedom and to resettle in the former nation of America”.
With that, they directed Ahmet towards the door. He had indeed been given a destiny by God and indeed by these agents of God. Father Alan had been right; unknown to Ahmet, but not of course to the Apolites, he was a tenth generational descendent of Ahmet, and it was indeed the being Phelox himself who he had met in the reference room. Destiny, prophecy and fate had combined to save the inhabitants of his compound. Across the world similar tales were beginning to be told; the arrival of the Apolites had seen a judgement of the world. Most had evidently passed.