Weapons of Mass Construction
3 April 2003
For those of you who have never seen a member of the United States Marine Corps grow a vagina, I can tell you without fear of contradiction that it's an image that stays with you.
Master Sergeant Tevin Johnson is barely sensible; the pain of the transformation is, as you might imagine, overwhelming, and the sound of tearing skin would have the more sensitive souls among his brother marines blenching, if a more primal reaction had not set in.
Johnson is spraying out pheromones like the sprinklers in the garden of delights, and the programming of the remaining crew is activating with a vengeance. Hands curled into claws, two privates first class are pawing the ground. Shortly, they will butt heads until one is unconscious, and then the battle to be the first to mount Master Sergeant Johnson will continue, until only one has avoided the arms of Morpheus. Pentagon strategists have explained that the inefficient process is intended to give transitioning officers the opportunity to bed down their new genitalia before use.
I've seen it happen before, but it never becomes familiar.
The press will be quick to tell you that the East started it, and they are, at least technically speaking, right. However, the doctrine of asymmetric conflict being pursued was a modification of one of the oldest tricks in the book. Unable to match the forces of the West on the field of battle, new plans had to be hatched. Depending on who you talked to, cowardice or pragmatism led to softer targets.
Endowments set up schools across Europe and, year on year, those institutes trained an army. Softly-spoken, clean-shaven, possessed of perfect manners, smooth skin and dark eyes, they settled across the continental United States like snow. Charming, old-fashioned and with trust funds to die for, the flower of Western manhood struggled to keep up.
The threat was obvious; within a few generations, the Eastern and Western seaboards would look like series two of 24. After a decent interval, a period of dating and familiarisation, and ultimately marriage and homemaking, the first children were born. Soft-spoken, clean, polite and most assuredly un-American.
Deadly and massive force was the first response. Unable to use heavy ordnance in their own cities, our leaders targeted what they believed to be hostile states supplying enemy seducers - Iran, Iraq, Syria and a number of business schools in Oxfordshire hinting heavily at an actually non-existent relationship with the university proper.
But the weapons of death rained down on village after village - Thame, Didcot, Banbury - only served to increase the threat to America. War led inexorably to anti-war protests, where the rebellious daughters of congressman and businessmen rubbed shoulders and later nasties with young men full of tales of their homeland.
Private First Class Lewis, recipient of a particularly savage butt, has fallen badly and seems to have broken his neck - nothing of him is twitching below the third vertebrae, and even those little tics left to him are quietening. In time, when the heat has passed from their bodies, his comrades will mourn him, but the same refrain will accompany his corpse-fire as that of a dozen other such tragedies. He knew the risks of being trampled in the rush to impregnate his non-commissioned officer when he signed up.
Already the skin on Johnson's skin is bubbling and running like a cheap heat haze effect. In time, the pustules fizzing and seething will clear, to leave a row of softball-sized dugs and, on his back, birthing pods for a payload of a dozen new colonists. American made.
Depopulating the East was comparatively simple, but once the boots were on the ground, seeking out the providers of understated suits in pastel colours and business casual wear, the irony of their position became increasingly clear; with an indigenous population now too few in number to sustain itself and a youth back in the States ready to tear their cheerfully genocidal defenders limb from limb, they were transfixed both by compulsion and responsibility. Attempts to breed from the tattered remains of the population proved largely unsuccessful through a spectrum of approaches ranging from seduction to abduction, if only due to a distinctly unerotic tendency to weep and beg for food. The men and women of the fighting forces tried valiantly, but in the end it was down to superior technology, as it had from stone axe to tomahawk missile, to find a force multiplier. In this case, tadpole DNA in irradiated K-rations.
Lieutenant Charles Lewis, proud father of two, showed intelligence, hanging back from the more explosive confrontations until the big dogs had worn themselves down against each other. Nonetheless, he has taken some solid hits, and there is a drunken, halting roll to his steps as he staggers towards the prize, tugging at the webbing of his uniform. Johnson is quiet now, only the occasional whimper escaping as his new flesh is abraded by the desert sand. I remember that this brief silent period will not last. And, as Johnson gazes blankly at his legs being lifted to perihelion - he knew the risks when he signed up, everybody eats the same rations - I curse the UN and curse myself for joining them.
Nobody ever said anything about observing this shit.