Hard Day at the Office

The fog swirled mysteriously as the craft eased down to house level. An opening appeared and a platform jutted out from the craft. Four gray beings stepped onto the platform. They looked straight ahead as it slowly lowered to the ground. One being scanned the house with a small device and told the others to enter the wall just to the right of their position. No words were spoken in the eerie silence. They were communicating mentally. The fog lessened near the house. The leader being once again used the device to play an energy on the wall. The three alien beings stepped through the wall like a door, followed by the leader.

They were in the bedroom of the house and looking down at the man lying asleep on the bed. The leader took the device he carried and played it over the body of the man. As the man’s body was being lifted and carried by the three beings, it moved as if the man was weightless. The man showed signs of awakening, so the leader played the device over him again and this time the man lapsed into some kind of hypnotic trance. He showed no surprise at the beings or that he was being taken from his home in the dead of night. His eyes were open, his pupils dilated, but he wasn’t conscious.

They carried him to the platform, waited as it rose to the doorway and went inside pulling the man’s prone body as if it were a child’s balloon. The craft wasn’t much bigger than thirty feet across, but it was bell-shaped and rested on three legs on the ground. The beings placed the man’s body on a table that looked like a shallow rectangular bowl. It automatically adjusted it’s size to the man. The leader of the four beings touched a light on the side of the table and a containment field held the man securely on the table. When he was secured in position, the beings took a seat along the wall and the leader went to a control panel to be seated. He touched a light on the panel and all aboard were enclosed in a restraint field that held them in place on the seat.

The craft rose in the fog just high enough for the legs to retract into it. Then, in the blink of an eye, it went from standing still to twenty-four hundred miles an hour in an upward arc. Where it was a moment before, the shape of the craft was defined in the fog. The shape slowly dissipated.

When the alien craft reached a parking position ten thousand feet above the highest level an aircraft could fly, it stopped instantly and held in position. As soon as it stopped, the restraining field was released and the four beings stood up. The leader went over to the man on the table and the others went to different areas of the craft to do specific chores. The leader was four inches taller than the other three, and his eyes were slightly different. But it would be obvious to anyone comparing them that the leader was from the same stock as they were. He leaned over to examine the eyes of the man. His pupils were dilated and he looked as if he were dreaming. He rolled his head to the side to see one of the beings removing what looked like a suit or skin that it was wearing.

Without any interest or care, he watched as the being removed it’s suit and placed it in a long, narrow box with a bluish-purple light showing, as the door to the box closed, the intensity of the light showing through its translucent cover was increased. But the reason that the man looked over there was the creature itself. The man noticed without interest that the creature was insectoid. The suit it had been wearing had covered the obvious side breathing holes, the segmented thorax and abdomen and its ant-like head. The head cover of the suit had no mouth hole and the creature’s eyes were of the multiple eye design like most Earth bugs. The head cover had what appeared to be a darkened lens that covered each eye when worn. There was a pair of side-moving mandibles in front where the jaw was supposed to be.

As he watched, the creature reached up with one of it legs and frilled up its antennae. Two of them popped up and had been held down by the headgear. As the creature stroked them, they fluffed out to appear fuzzy. That done, the creature stepped out of the lower portion of the suit and the man noticed that each leg of the suit had contained two legs of the creature’s six. Now that it was out of the suit. It stood with four legs on the floor and two were working with the cleaning machine. As it stood on four legs, its body bent to a more natural position for a six legged creature. It’s thorax was nearly upright, but it’s abdomen was back at an angle. The head was completely vertical, like it was when wearing the suit.

The other beings stayed near the man on the table, but the one who had undressed had entered an enclosed area. When it shut the door, an automatic seal engaged and it was hermetically sealed in the chamber. It moved to a control chair in front of a complicated-looking control board. As it manipulated the controls, an overhead machine over the table with the man on it, lowered itself into a position where it could examine the man. The table itself was emitting some form of energy similar to X-rays but without the dangerous radiation. The moving machine rolled over the man and completed a scan in about four seconds. The machine then tipped up and rolled back into a recess in the outer wall of the craft. A visual screen that had some other kind of incomprehensible sensory device, played the picture of the man’s body. The man thought that the vague sensory device might have been some kind of olfactory sniffer because the being in the room had slipped a tube device over it’s antennae.

The insect in the room touched a light on its control panel and the picture of the man’s body lit up in five or six places. The man on the table couldn’t be sure from his prone position on the table, but one of the lights was flashing on and off. The insect moved a cursor and a circle of light moved in place over the flashing light on the picture. The picture of the man suddenly magnified many times as the encircled area was centered in the screen. The insect magnified the image again, and a clear picture of the implant became visible on the screen. It was clear that when the man bumped his knee earlier that day, it had crushed the implanted device. The insectoid then moved another cursor and a blue arrow moved over the implant on the picture. The insectoid pushed a stud on the panel and a new machine moved over to the table after detaching itself from the outer wall.

This new machine lowered itself over the man’s knee and a fiercely-bright bluish purple light bathed the area for about three seconds. It then carefully placed two clamps, one above and one below the injured spot on the man’s knee, rendering it immobile. The next operation was a kind of vibratory blade that pulled itself over the spot. After that, two slim mechanical fingers lowered themselves down and spread the incision apart. The man felt none of this and was unaware that anything was happening. Two more fingers descended with a third finger that held a pulsing pink light that seemed to soften the bones of the man’s knee. As it played on the exposed bone, the two fingers entered the incision into the bone and removed the implanted device. The fingers were replaced with a single rod that held a new implant. It inserted the implant in the same spot that the other one had been. The bluish-purple light then played over the area once again. When it clicked out, the two fingers that came with the pulsing pink light pushed the bone back together. When closed, the pink light went out and the bone was hard again. The bluish purple light clicked on again as the two fingers that had spread the flesh apart closed the incision. It stayed on as another flat-looking piece of metal was pulled over the incision. It seemed to close the skin like a zipper with no scar or sign of a cut. When finished, the bluish purple light clicked off. All of the pieces retracted into the machine and lifted up and back to its place on the outer wall.

Once the operation had been completed, the original scanning machine passed over the man again. This time, all the lights were constant. With that, the scanner retracted into the wall once again. The system check of all the implants had been completed and the man was ready to be delivered back to his room in the house far below. The one insectoid that had run the operation, stayed in the small room apparently doing some diagnostic tests with the removed implant. A low hum sounded and it, along with the other beings on the craft, returned to their seats. When all had been seated, the craft began to descend rapidly to the same spot it had been before. It touched down lightly and the door opened. When the platform extended, two of the creatures and the leader took the man’s body back to his bed. When all had been arranged as it was before they arrived, they left and reboarded their craft. When they had returned to their permanent monitoring station, they went back to their normal duties. For them, it was just another hard day at the office, so to speak.

Hard Day at the Office

Jim Hall

Fayetteville, United States

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Artist's Description

Things are not always what they seem. How often have you heard that? And many times, questions will go unasked, for whatever reason. You may not want to know the answers. JH

Artwork Comments

  • Alison Pearce
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