Cover art rendered by Doug Sturk a.k.a. Sturkwurk
(Tuesday, April 2)
Fort Carver Post Hospital, Kansas
Army Captain Lourdes Taylor climbed out of the chocolate-chip Army truck that had backed up to the loading dock.
For this task, it was important that as few strangers as possible see what she was delivering, so entering the hospital through a regular door was out of the question.
Captain Taylor pounded on a loading-dock door. A second later, it was opened by a man in his forties. He was dressed as an Army doctor.
Captain Taylor saluted. “Doctor Renfield? I’m Captain Lourdes Taylor of Antares Company, Fourth SMB, making delivery in accordance with Plan Fifty-One.”
Major Frank Renfield, M.D. returned the salute. Then he put on an embarrassed smile and lowered his voice. “It’s been so long since I got the briefing, I’ve forgotten what Plan Fifty-One is in regards to.”
Then seeing her worried face, he added, “I remember that it’s rated Top Secret. All these medics with me have Top Secret clearances.”
Captain Taylor gave the doctor an impudent grin. “Then it’s time I remind you what Plan Fifty-One covers. You do have twelve gurneys ready, correct?”
Seconds later, a medic and a gurney waited near the truck. Two Antares Company men brought a Zlarian corpse out of the truck, and plopped it onto the gurney with no more reverence than if it were a sack of flour.
“Holy shit,” Doctor Renfield said.
“Now I get the joke,” the medic said. “It’s Plan Fifty-One. As in ‘Area Fifty-One.’ ”
“What’s Area Fifty-One?” Doctor Renfield asked.
While the alien corpses were being loaded onto gurneys, Captain Taylor said to Doctor Renfield, “They’re Zlarians, from Zlar. Z-L-A-R. I don’t know whether that’s a planet or a star. Anyway, now it’s your job to cut these guys open and figure out how their bodies work.”
Doctor Renfield sighed. “Yeah. Such a simple task I have.”
Day 4, 0815 hours
(Friday, April 5)
Office of Col. Louis Brooks, Battalion Commander
Captain Lourdes Taylor was standing at attention, as Col. Brooks slapped the paper that lay on his desk. The same paper that Captain Taylor had just handed him.
He said, “ ‘Effective immediately’? You really are resigning your commission, effective immediately?”
“Yes, sir. As soon as the Army can cut me loose.”
“Why, for fuck’s sake?”
“Conduct unbecoming, sir. I am a disgrace to the uniform and these captain’s bars, so I should no longer be wearing either of them.”
Captain Taylor was staring at the point on the wall that was directly in front of her nose, so she didn’t see the colonel’s reaction. But he was silent for a while, before he spoke.
“Are you under investigation?”
“Not yet,” she replied. “But sooner or later, I would be.”
Lourdes Taylor had turned seventeen unlucky civilian women who’d been hypnotized by the Zlarians, into Lourdes’s own hypnotized lesbian harem. But then old Kevin MacDonald, a Vietnam-era ex-draftee, had counter-hypnotized those women. If Lourdes stayed in the Army, she would be arrested, and she would be given a court-martial. While talking things over with Kevin, Lourdes had realized that resigning was not only the tactically smart thing to do, it was the right thing to do.
He said, “I could order you to tell me what this is about.”
“Yes, you could. If you order me, I will tell you.”
He said, “I told Brenda a month ago, I hope I live long enough to see you make General. Dammit, your men respect you, you throw yourself at problems instead of avoiding them, you’re creative, you’re resourceful, and your sense of tactics is excellent.”
Captain Taylor said, “Yes, sir. At West Point I dreamed of one day being a general. But at West Point I also was taught the Honor Code, and I’ve gone against it now.”
Col. Brooks sighed. “Very well, I will accept your resignation, effective 1600 hours. For the rest of the day, you are to teach Lieutenant Henderson whatever he needs to know, in order to be Acting Company Commander.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“At ease, for fuck’s sake! Have you given any thought to what you’ll do next?”
“I have, sir,” Captain Taylor replied. “Even though I won’t be in the Army anymore, I’ve figured out a way to still support our men in uniform.”
She didn’t mention that her planned way to “support our troops” was to become a stripper and streetwalker. The idea for that had come to her while she’d been talking with Kevin MacDonald.
Which in turn was right after Lourdes had realized that men were at least as attractive as women were.
Day 11, 1:11 p.m.
(Friday, April 12)
Wheat City, Kansas
“Oh, I’m not doing homework right now,” the college student told Lourdes. “I’m watching the noontime news.”
He spun the laptop around so she could see the screen. “See? There’s a flying saucer over Topeka.”
Streetwalker Lourdes Taylor had been flirting with a college student, trying to drum up some business, when he’d mentioned that he was watching the “noontime news.”
This puzzled Lourdes, because the time was after one o’clock, so the noontime news should be long over.
Then Egbert showed Lourdes why the local affiliate was broadcasting news instead of a soap opera—
There was a Zlarian spaceship floating over Topeka!
Now Lourdes learned that the spaceship had been there long enough for the entire Fourth Special Missions Battalion to go racing off to Topeka. But as soon as the 4th SMB got to Topeka, the spaceship flew away.
At high speed.
Straight toward Wheat City and Fort Carver.
Five minutes later, a TV station in Topeka discovered that the spaceship was flying at cloud-height, even though for a human pilot this is the stupidest act imaginable. Because the spaceship flew at cloud-height, it showed up on Doppler weather radar.
Lourdes watched, spellbound, as a live weather map showed a traveling magenta segment moving south-southeast across eastern Kansas.
The magenta segment moved fast, about seven miles a minute, and it kept heading straight for Wheat City.
Ten miles from Wheat City, the traveling magenta segment disappeared off the weather map.
Had the spaceship crashed?
Would it reappear in a few seconds?
Had it turned invisible to radar?
For the first time Lourdes realized, really realized, that she was a female of childbearing age, and that she carried no hypno-talker-blocking earplugs in her purse.
Just a few minutes from now, Lourdes could be a hypnotized thrall walking naked into that spaceship.
Jerry Asks Cindy For A Date
Friday, April 12, 1:26 p.m.
English Building, Kanssouri University
Wheat City, Kansas
The class had just ended, and Jerry Green was pulling on his Pizza King windbreaker. Jerry couldn’t remember anything about footnotes, today’s lecture topic. Instead, Jerry had been thinking all period about Cindy Hope.
This was the day that Jerry would ask sorority hottie Cindy for a date! Will she say yes? Will she say no?
Jerry figured that the worst that would happen was that maybe she’d laugh at him. That’s why he was going to ask her out when nobody was around, just in case.
Cindy stood up now and was gathering up her books. Look at her, 67 inches of big-breasted, blue-eyed lusciousness! “Cindy! Wait!” Jerry called out.
Cindy looked in Jerry’s direction and frowned slightly. “Yes?”
Jerry dumped his The Modern Term Paper textbook, his notebook, and his pen into his bookbag, put his bookbag on his back, and hurried over to Cindy.
By now the classroom was empty, and Cindy’s frown was bigger. She glanced at the clock on the wall.
Jerry had practiced in the shower what he was going to say to Cindy, and how he was going to say it. But when he was actually standing two feet in front of her, he blurted out—
“Cindy, I think you’re pretty and you dress nice and you act confident all the time and would you go out with me tomorrow night?”
Cindy pasted on a fake smile. “Listen, um … what is your name again?”
“Green. Jerry Green, and—”
“Jerry, I’m sorry but I already have plans for tomorrow night.”
“Not a problem, because I work tomorrow night. What about Monday or Tuesday?”
Cindy didn’t answer his question; instead, she asked a question of her own: “Is Pizza King where you work?”
“Yeah. Every weekend, Friday night and Saturday night and Sunday night, I’m delivering pizza.”
Cindy looked thoughtful for a moment, then asked, “Do you work around here? Do you deliver to Alpha Sigma Sigma sorority house?”
“Yeah, sometimes, though usually it’s the frat houses who order the pizza. Anyway, what do you say about going out with me on Monday or Tuesday?”
Cindy gave Jerry another fake smile. “Let me think about that, okay? But in the meantime, you’re definitely working tomorrow night? Delivering pizza?”
Jerry couldn’t guess what Cindy was thinking. “Yeah?”
Now Cindy gave Jerry a brilliant smile. “Tomorrow night, Alpha Sigma Sigma is throwing a lawn party, and we will need pizza. I will make sure we ask for you to deliver it, Jerry Green.”
So saying, Cindy gave Jerry a girly-wave, then she sashayed out of the empty classroom.
Jerry thought, That didn’t go as bad as I feared. True, I didn’t get the date, but at least she didn’t embarrass me.
Buy Revenge At College (Hypno-Talkers Of Zlar-3) now! You know you want to.
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