Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Microstory 1712: Crabby Cancer

According to one wild theory of evolution, the crab is the ultimate physical form. Every species that is destined to survive will eventually transform into some kind of crab. Of course, being intelligent humans, we have always dismissed such bizarre arguments, which have no basis in scientific fact. This truth didn’t stop us all from turning into crabs, it just wasn’t due to evolution. Our first hint that an alien race was upon us was subtler than we would have assumed. We saw no great ships appear in the sky. No portal from another world opened up on the ocean floor, or in a secret underground military base. It began as faint images in the wind, as if the air were opaque, and blocking beings on the other side until moved. The images grew clearer, and were joined by whispers. It was obvious that something existed beyond our normal range of perception, and was finally coming to light. The world’s governments tried to step in, but there was nothing they could do. The beings were spread out all over the globe, and could not yet interact with us, so there was no way to contain them, or even prepare to. Some areas were denser than others, so we huddled around the safe zones—mostly deserts—only to discover this to be a fruitless endeavor. The aliens could move, of course, because why wouldn’t they? After a few months of watching...waiting, the first Karkinel proved itself to be physically present when it took hold of a child, and ran away with it. That kid was never seen again, and that’s when the military went to work. They handed weapons to everyone they could, and gave us permission to shoot any crabbo on sight. Many human deaths resulted from this mandate. If the Karkinel wasn’t completely corporeal, the bullets could pass right through it, and land in someone innocent. This period of limbo did not last long, but it was the first of many failures.

Once the rest of the aliens had arrived, the war began. They tried to take people, while the people fought back with everything they had. It was the greatest threat our species had ever encountered, and we weren’t going down easy. Even so, it was an impossible dream. Whenever one crabbo was killed, another was waiting to take its place. That was when we realized what they were doing. They weren’t trying to kill us. They were trying to make us like them. They were infecting us with their crabbiness, and letting a cancerous disease spread throughout our bodies, turning us into them. The process was sometimes gradual, but sometimes incredibly rapid. Children, in particular, took too well to the process. There was every chance that a human fighter ended up killing a Karkinel who was once that first young boy to be taken. Now the war shifted. No longer were we using guns and bombs. The only way we were going to win was if we managed to undo the Karkinel transition, and restore our brethren to their rightful human state. Barring that, maybe we could prevent survivors from suffering the same fate. This was yet another failure. Scientists worked on the problem for years, but were never able to come up with a vaccine, let alone a cure. This was not surprising since we had already been trying to cure cancer for decades to no real luck. It is not without hope, however. We may not be able to stop the carcinization, but we can do something about how it effects the brain. I’m not sure if you can understand me yet, but you will be our first test subjects. With this treatment, your minds will become human again. Your bodies will still look like crabs, but you’ll think more like us. And you’ll fight...for us.

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