By Al Eean
Staff Skies Writer
Staff Skies Writer
If you’re in Podtown and inside the warehouses where pods are being grown, you can consider yourself officially one of us.
Ah, I remember Day 00. I thought I was enlisting in the Transyl-vein-ia Armed, Legged, Winged and Finned Forces (the native mutants and monsters) at Pest Point Camp, but somehow I boarded the wrong transport and ended up in Podtown as a volunteer for Transyl-vein-ia’s other military branch -- the Alien Invaders Unit.
I’m sure you’re like I was and shocked to see so many pods in the warehouses. The body snatchers were busy when I arrived there 20 years ago. They were duplicating bodies in the hundreds. Today, you’ll notice bodies in the thousands.
After being sworn in, you’ll be assigned to an attack squad. You get a bed in your squad’s barracks, you’ll be yelled at for a few hours, you’ll find there’s a lot of hurry-up-and-wait-to-do-something-for-10-minutes, and then they’ll let you sleep for an hour or two.
On Day 01, you’ll stand in formation pointlessly for two hours. You’ll get shots, dog tags, an I.D. card . . . I remember my I.D. card. I looked tough as nails in the picture, but it was easy to for me to look tough. I felt tough. While I’m half alien, my mother’s parents come from Werewolftown, so, compared to some of those little white extra-terrestrials in my squad, I couldn’t help but feel tough as nails. My picture on my I.D. card showed my fangs and all. I looked like a beast. I still have that card.
Day 02 was filled mostly with more hurry-up-and-wait-to-do-something-for-10-minutes. I went to the dentist -- not by choice. They removed my fangs. I realize it now, but I didn’t know then that it was for my own protection. Werewolf fangs -- especially when you’re under the spell of a full moon (and if you’re invading the moon, that’s real bad for a guy like me) -- could be used to snap that helmet into pieces. That’s bad if you’re invading a planet with no air pressure. Silver bullet or no silver bullet, a half werewolf like myself wouldn’t survive that.
Day 03 is when you begin what’s called Hell Week. They teach you how to use laser beams, jet packs and your mental abilities -- which we all have, by the way -- to perform telepathy. You learn how to pilot UFOs, work the abductor beams and draw crop circles. My circles were terrible at first. I burned down three farms before I finally made a circle, and even then it looked more like a deformed rhombus.
It wasn’t until Day 10 that things started to get good. You get to take a UFO out to Hell’s Highway, which runs through UFO Springs, and do some abducting of your own. Before that, you had to be with at least one or two of the higher-ups. I snatched up this one young couple that had just gotten out of the Valley of Doom. They thought they’d made a clean break. That was 20 years ago. I still have that couple in preservation tanks at my home. They’re right there in my living room for guests to see. I even put green lights in the tanks to make them look really cool.
On Day 15, you’ll have the chance to go on an actual mission to other planets. It’s kind of like the mission you made during your recruitment, but this time you know you’ll be visiting other planets to gather intelligence, unlike the first time you went when you thought you were just on a tour. You’ll first go to the Intell Collection Agency located just outside Podtown. They’ll teach you how to capture and store data in the part of your brain that most beings don’t use. Lucky for me, I’m part alien, so it was easy for me to catch on. Zombies, on the other hand, have a hard time with this part of the training because their brains are pretty shot. Most of those guys and gals drop out when they get back to base.
On Day 27, you return with all the intelligence you’ve gathered. Intell Collection agents transfer it from your head into massive database systems. It’s a draining process, but afterward they give you two weeks of R&R. I spent my time at the Tractor Beam Inn. It’s still there in Podtown. That place literally sucks you in. They’ve got dancing, food and drink, and a nice game room with billiards, darts and mind games. There was this one ET I met there that played all kinds of mind games with me. I ended up marrying her. We bought a nice place in Transyl-vein-ia Hills and had two kids -- one white, one green. My oldest just had his first werewolf transformation the other night. Lycanthrope blood is thick. He took off for Werewolftown and joined the Gypsy Traveling Carnival. These kids today.
Day 50 is your big day because that’s when Alien Invaders get their first invasion papers to ship out. I shipped out on Day 66. Some ship out as soon as Day 51. On my first invasion, I somehow messed up the warp drive and thought I was over my target planet, only to discover I was really over Bigfoot National Park. I abducted Bigfoot and somehow sent him into the human world by accident, so then I had to go through the Bermuda Triangle to recover him, except my navigator got sucked out of the ship by the Tractor Beam Inn (I told you -- that place literally sucks you in), so I found myself over Monster Island. A giant octopus just off the shore batted my craft even more off course than I already was, I lost my instrumentation, side-swiped some witches doing a moon run just outside Witches Meadow, but somehow regained control of my craft only to realize my abductor beam was still on and I’d sucked up 10,000 gallons of the Black Lagoon’s worst waters. The toxic fluid ate through my abduction tank and started flooding my cockpit, so I tried to land somewhere safe, but the mountains I was flying over were moving, reaching for me and throwing rocks at me -- rock monsters from the Carpathian Mountains, no doubt. I slammed my ship into overdrive, water still coming into the cockpit, and I tried to find -- without instrumentation -- some flat ground in the Valley of Doom that I could use as a runway. There was a sandstorm there that threw me over to Shadow City. I couldn’t afford to land in that place. My luck was bad enough. That’s when I found Red Devil’s Highway in Downtown Transyl-vein-ia, but I got caught in one of the King Kong performances on top of King Kong Pavilion, and he thought I was one of the planes diving for him and he swatted me into the Mad Science District where I crashed into some lab on Lab Lane in the middle of an experiment that then transported me into the Corn Maze in Jack-o’-Lantern Park. Left with no food, I spend three weeks trying to get out of that ridiculous labyrinth.
On Day 51, I came out of the maze and found myself in Jack-o’-Lantern Park’s Pumpkin Goodie Gully. If you find yourself in Pumpkin Goodie Gully, you can consider yourself officially in Halloween Country. And if you’re in Halloween Country, you might as well live it up. You’ll have plenty of other chances to attack the many other worlds out there in your lifetime. You just eat up that pumpkin-flavored goodness while you have the chance.
This is one in a series of TRAVEL STORIES from the 13 districts of Transyl-vein-ia. These stories run weekdays between August and September. Jack-o’-Lantern Press’s regular news and entertainment coverage will continue in October.