Episode 17: Something Wicked This Way Comes
Judith Kerns wiped away the sweat from her forehead as she leaned back on her ankles, her knees still buried in the rich thick soil of her home—so very far away from the overcrowded Earth of her birth. She gazed over the long rows of green sprouting plants and—despite her aches and pains—she smiled. The orange glow of the giant star at the heart of the system had finally dipped beneath the horizon of moon which orbited one of her gas giants.
Named Thedus, the colony of Epsilon Reticuli was one of the furthest outposts of Mankind—and had been for more than a century. Unlike most such far distant settlements along the frontier, Thedus had proven ripe for transplanted human life—currently the population had just crossed the five million mark, with immigration continuing every single month on the bulk-freighters that Weyland-Yutani dispatched here with the mission of loading the valuable mineral ores mined from the crust.
Although not as plentiful as in the early days, the mines remained profitable enough to ensure that the population of Thedus was well taken care of by the Corporation—and their associated government. Pretty much, though, the UAA left Weyland-Yutani alone, and the riches of Thedus had ensured that the Companies normal harsh operating procedures were not needed. Thedus had never rebelled, or stopped the ore shipments, or burnt the Company store—and because of that the managers here used a lighter hand than many. Judith sighed. She had certainly lucked out in the lottery for a spot on a colonization flight—with all of the hell-holes mankind had settled, here she air she could breath, water that she could drink, vegetables and tubers able to be digested by humans, and few hostile predators.
It was a paradise, compared to the dirt and grime of Old Earth, so crowded that one could not breath, nor ever see the sky through the clouds heavily laden with acidic rains and soot. Which didn’t mean she had it easy, Judith thought with a snort.
No, it was hard work here, building a home—but now she had the field laid in. Her field. Her land. Owned by her in full title, with no debt to the Company or any bank or a loan-shark. It was hers and hers alone.
And she smiled. At least until she found a husband and had some children. She brushed the dirt off of her hands and kept on smiling as she stood. There was a supper tonight at the pavilion in the center of the small community—a covered dish supper where the men and women and children building a new world gathered to give thanks for all that they had. And to find what they did not have.
She needed to get clean and finish her potato and sausage casserole—and if Edward Blake was there, maybe tonight was the night she could get the dullard to finally pop the question!
A deep whine in the air above her made her frown—no ships were expected today, she thought. She looked up and saw this unfamiliar shape streaking through the clear sky above—shapes, she realized. Three of those strange elliptical craft.
She heard a whine behind her and turned around—and gasped as three metallic . . . things . . . stood there holding weapons in their hands. They were humanoid, but far from human. And across a screen on their heads where a visor would be for a man or woman, a single red pulsing light slowly bounced from side to side.
She backed away, and then turned to run as one lifted a weapon—she managed to take three steps before something struck her in the back and an electrical shock sent her convulsing to the ground. But she could still hear, although the language was one that she did not understand.
“Imperious Leader,” one said in a hideous monotone that sounded utterly devoid of emotion. “We have made contact with the outlying villages. Shall we begin the Harvest?”
And through the radio that the creature carried, she heard a girlish laugh. “Yes, Centurion, by all means, Harvest for us their flesh. Preserve a breeding population for future use—have them transported to my command ship—the rest? Flay them.”
“By your command,” the Centurion answered and he turned to his companions. “Take her to the transport—she is of breeding age and will be useful.”
Judith was lifted and she tried to scream, but her muscles were still frozen—and then saw the thousands of these creatures cresting the ridge.
“Begin the Harvest,” the Centurion said and the Cylons advanced on the quiet village below, their metal feet trampling her young crop in their wake.