They had been in the air for some time. It had been some time too long, too very overlong. Something had been playing with the navigation equipment. It could have been the fact that a number of then had indulge, a little too much triumphal cheer. It could have been the huge cigar-shaped object that was anchored in space some distance above them. Whatever it was, it was not going to spoil a good hunt.
After all, they were winning.
Duke had floored the accelerator partially in response to his sense of urgency but mainly as a result of Noel’s orders. The little guy certainly knew how to manage situations. Once again, Duke was impressed with the knowledge of the little guy who had directed the Duke to turn off the main road and onto a lumberjack’s trail. The trail was old and had no recent sign of any traffic. Only a short way in, the winter light disappeared from sight behind a canopy of evergreens.
And there was a strange bluish light high up ahead of them. Another gunship Duke thought glumly.
About this time, the President had acted upon the information he had received some days previously. A passenger airliner had been shot down in the North Pacific with everybody feared dead. At least two of his own countrymen had been on that flight. The had been CIA or FBI or that fairy MI5 or something. He always got their names mixed up. But what he never got mixed up was the name of that guy running North Korea, that Moa Tse Tung or whatever he was called. As a Santa Mass gift to his fellow citizens, the President had pressed the button (a rather unimpressive affair with lots of questions, fingerprints and asking permission). The President had his own way of getting permission.
And now the skies were lighting up for Christmas Day (he had forgotten that he had persuaded the Senate to rename it Santa Mass).
The passengers of the passenger airliner were currently not at the bottom of the ocean, as a result of being blown out of the sky by radically interbred Communist threat, but were enjoying the very definite hospitality of the cigar-shaped object that was anchored some miles above the earth. Contrary to what some people would have you think, their hosts were not intergalactic swingers intent on having their alien ways with any and every one they managed to suck up, but were courteous, friendly, and perhaps a tad patronising in the way they welcomed their human guests.
They also looked recognisably human, if a little Middle-Eastern. Oh, and there were just three of them.
The three aliens, who looked like wealthy Arabs, liked having some company around for Christmas. It had been a long, long time since they had enjoyed such primitive guests, but they liked them nevertheless. The humans were quite friendly once one managed to get past the their inbuilt hostile defensive programming. In retrospect, perhaps this should have been turned off some time ago. But wasn’t retrospect a great believer in its own wisdom?
They had not entirely agreed with their own Programmer’s assertion that freedom, freewill, and the enhancement of one species over the rest would bring about a status-quo of eternal peace and tranquility (once they’s stopped killing each other and every other thing they could find to kill). Thank The Lord that they had not mastered space-travel just yet. They had, though, mastered nuclear weapon technologies and the means in which to direct them.
That, in part, would account for the many hundreds of missiles now being fired into the overly busy skies over what ought to have been a peaceful eve.