art by Void lon iXaarii
The Vivisection of Sgt. Shane Eastwood
by Matt Mikalatos
"I believe we have found your temporal lobe, which means you should be receiving translation now."
"We call that Wernicke's area," Sgt. Eastwood replied, wondering if the translation went both ways.
"Excellent. The contralateral neural control slowed our search." There was a clicking sound, apparently untranslatable. "You've evolved a moderate intelligence, but we're baffled by the rest of your development. No defensive or offensive capabilities to speak of, other than standing erect and binocular vision."
Eastwood couldn't see them. No one had seen the aliens yet. They had arrived and eradicated Mumbai as an anti-resistance warning. Then they demanded a volunteer, to familiarize themselves with human biology. A willing subject was necessary, as they intended to vivisect him, and previous attempts had shown that the human aversion to vivisection contaminated their data.
Sgt. Eastwood had volunteered. "Our own scientists have wondered about the evolutionary stall in humans. Our best guess is that the opposable thumb and superior intellect removed a need for adaptation. We can create tools faster than Nature. We control our own evolution."
The alien voice hummed to itself. "Question. You show an enormous capacity for violence as a race, but it appears you have attempted to self-select this trait out of your DNA?"
"True," Eastwood said. "We've not been successful."
"On the contrary, you are surprisingly docile. When we arrived in your system with our tiny scout ship--scarcely a fourth the size of your moon--your people rolled over without complaint. You will make an ideal slave race. This vivisection is merely the last formality before sending the all clear to our battle cruisers."
"Glad I could help," Eastwood said. "What's next?"