What would you do in an alien takeover?
For years, Ken’s fellow airline pilots whispered stories of strange things in the skies when no one else was listening. He never believed their stories.
He never thought aliens might be real.
Two weeks ago, when Ken’s copilot saw something pacing the plane, Ken laughed it off. But now, 40 minutes left on a long haul from England, San Francisco’s panicked air-traffic control demands they report anything weird in the skies right now.
Ken can’t laugh off aliens any more. Not when air traffic control is so spooked.
“In Our Skies,” a standalone story in the Stories of the Alien Invasion Universe, focuses on one man’s struggle to deliver his passengers safely to their destination before aliens pick them out of the sky.
In Our Skies
A Story of the Alien Invasion
There’d always been rumors about things in the skies that weren’t of this world. Might be that respectable airline pilots saw all kinds of things in the sky, but as a general rule, you didn’t say anything. Most people wouldn’t believe you. The weeks before they came, the rumors grew. Two weeks before they came on a long flight somewhere over the Atlantic, Drew, my copilot, even said a strange flying thing paced our plane and hovered in front of us. When he shook me awake, it disappeared.
“You been hitting the sauce?” I’d asked him.
He shook his head. Whatever he’d seen scared the heck out of him, his skin was pale, his face sweaty.
“It’s fine. They been seeing this shit like this for years,” I said. “Don’t worry, now you’ve got a story and I don’t. I’m a little jealous.” Then, we went on with our lives like nothing happened. Didn’t report it. Couldn’t report it or else they’d think we were nuts back on the ground, but everyone was whispering about seeing things like it. Right up until that day.
When they came, Drew and I were flying a long haul: Heathrow to SFO. My copilot and I had both already slept and were feeling pretty good. The stewardesses were picking up the drinks and trash before we turned on the seatbelt lights. Forty minutes out, the radios went crazy. Someone had spilled the beans to air traffic control, and now they were taking the alien shit seriously.
“Approach to British Air Flight Twenty-One Niner,” the radio crackled. SFO was calling us early. “If you have any unidentified objects up there, you report them ASAP. I repeat, report them ASAP. We’re getting all kinds of strange news here. We need to bring you in safe and sound.”
“Damn!” I said. “Drew, you tell them about that thing you saw?” He shook his head. I nodded and grabbed the controller.
“We’re good up here. No weird things in the sky,” I radioed back.
“We’re going to try to keep it that way,” a woman radioed back, her voice clipped and controlled. “Can you adjust your approach three miles to the north?”
“Sure thing sweetheart. What’s your name?”
“British Air, Flight Twenty-One Niner approach modified to come in from three miles further north than planned. Approach out,” she said.
“She didn’t answer your question, Ken,” Drew said as I adjusted our flight path.
We were still too far out to have a visual on the airport. Things were pretty normal, except for that odd exchange. I waited a few minutes before asking for permission to drop altitude, just as I reached for the radio Drew gasped.
“What is it? You eat some bad food?” I asked. I thought things were still normal.
“Portside,” he said. I looked left. The thing was huge. As I watched, it moved forwards and hovered in front of the plane. It had a huge maw that seemed to be open and hungry in front of us.
I grabbed the radio. “Approach, this is British Air Twenty-One Niner. We’ve got a problem here.”
“Passengers, we are now beginning our final descent. Please return to your seats,” Drew said over the intercom. His voice shook. He flicked on the seatbelt light. “We have some odd visuals. We would recommend shutting your windows.”
“Why’d you say that?” I asked. “Now they’re all going to open their windows and see…” I gestured to the thing in front of us. “That!”
“Two One Niner?” a male voice said over the radio. “This is approach out of Oakland. What side are they on?”
“They came up our left. Now they’re holding steady in front of us.”
“Let’s bring you down some. Head into as steep of dive as you’re willing with your passengers.”
“Kimmy,” Drew called back. No answer. He stood and moved back towards first class. He opened the cockpit door. “Kimmy, is everyone buckled in?”
“Not yet. What’s going on?” she asked.
“Weird shit. Buckle up. We’re gonna dive now.” He slammed the door and dropped back into his seat.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please buckle your seatbelts as we begin our final descent,” I said over the intercom, then I switched over to the radio. “All right, Approach. We are diving in three – two – one. Go.” Drew and I both pushed our sticks down hard. Airliners aren’t made for evasive maneuvers.
“Can we get air support?” Drew asked. “Scramble fighters?”
“This ain’t no movie,” Oakland approach said. “Fighters are all busy someplace else.”
“What’s going on down there?”
“They’re not just going for planes,” Oakland said. “They’ve taken people on the ground too.”
“Shit!” I said. I don’t know if something grabbed onto our wings or what happened, but our dive jerked to a halt and we leveled out. The thing had stopped our descent.
“What’s going on up there?” Frisco’s approach said.
“They stopped our dive,” I said.
Silence. The radio didn’t answer me.
Drew and I tugged our controls left and right. Nothing. No reaction from the plane at all. Our GPS showed we’d stopped moving forward.
“They stopped us!” I repeated into the radio.
Someone banged on the cockpit door.
“What’s going on in there!” Kimmy hissed through the door. She didn’t yell so the passengers wouldn’t hear her, but she sounded pissed.
“Let her in,” I heard myself saying. “She can see what’s going on.”
Inside the maw, something started spinning, like a giant drill.
“Frisco, Oakland, either one of you, this is BA Twenty-One Niner, please respond. They’ve stopped our descent and are holding us in place. Please advise.”
“Evac if you can. I repeat. Evacuate if you can,” the woman said.
“Evacuate how?” I asked Drew.
He glanced towards the ocean almost a mile below.
“That’s not – we don’t have parachutes and even if we did…”
“It’s open ocean. We’d drown,” he finished for me. There was no evac. These aliens were abducting hundreds of people that I was responsible for. The spinning part of the maw wrapped itself around the nose of the plane.
Something boomed behind me. Kimmy screamed. I opened the cockpit door, and these flying things were entering the plane through a gaping hole. They were six feet tall, two feet wide, and another six feet long. The thing had torn open the door. The first one grabbed Kimmy. She hit it as hard as she could with a fire extinguisher before her scream died and she went limp. It placed her into its carapace and continued on.
The things grabbed passengers who were out of their seats first and stacked them inside their carapaces. Each one stacked five people into its mouth-thing before heading back out the whole for others to take its place. I watched horrified as they came for the people I’d been supposed to get to safely San Francisco.
Then, as they kept going down the aisle, my heart sank when one turned towards me and Drew. I knew what was going to happen. We had no place to go. When the metal arm took me, I knew that I was never seeing San Francisco again.
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