The massive vessel appeared quite suddenly from space. As quickly as it had entered orbit of the earth it vanished in a veil of darkness on the dark side of the world. In an almost fluid-like motion the ship released a much smaller craft that darted into the earth's atmosphere. Bright as the small craft was, the darkness engulfed its windows. Lights lining the east coast of a large continent on the planet reflected off the pilot's oily black eyes.

The pilot glanced to the left at his colleague sitting next to him. His colleague's long, spindly fingers danced obliviously along the computer's controls before him. For a moment, the pilot felt a slight ping of hesitation, but then shot his gaze back down at his own panel and began entering his calculations into the computer.

The numbers he entered on the computer screen wrote a cold and discrete history of his colleague's last moments, but as the green and blue lights on his console gleaned off his filmy eyes, he saw his own future lying in the distance. The computer read the calculations and delivered their orders to the ships engines, piercing the earth's atmosphere at a trajectory not as painstakingly safe as he might have developed had he not intended for them to crash.

He entered the last set of orders he had for the ship and happened to catch the computer screen on his right out of the corner of his eye. Slowly turning to look at the screen, he realized that the ancient script it displayed is what had caught his attention. The scripture had never given him pause before, and he had only seen it on every idle computer screen on every ship he had ever flown on. It had suddenly occurred to him that he didn't know what it actually said. His people hadn't used that writing or dialect for millennia. As far as he knew, no one had ever explained its purpose. The thick brow ridge above his large eyes furrowed as he pondered the scripture's meaning. He wondered why he had never caught it before.

Before he could fathom an explanation for the scripture's meaning, the clouds in the window parted, revealing the vast, uninspiring surface of the earth below. The inexplicable text leaked into his unconscious as he focused again on his goal. Their ship went into a sharp dive toward the earth. His surprised colleague's eyes darted at the window. They turned to each other. A moment passed as his colleague realized what he had done, and he realized that his colleague had caught him. His hand flew up, aimed at his colleague. A snap echoed in the room as his colleague's neck broke and his head fell backward, his lifeless body flying out of the chair and across the room.

He got up and leaned over his suddenly late colleague's console, the blue light from the computer screen drawing symbols across his face. The ship continued to fly at the surface, the ground now menacingly close. He lit the barrier of energy around the ship, fixed his eyes on the planet hurtling toward him, and stepped backwards to the center of the room. As the inevitable impact drew closer, he knelt and put his hand to the floor.

The large, glowing disc plunged into the earth, throwing up a mass of dirt hundreds of feet into the air. An explosion of heat rippled from the crater, lighting the sparse plant life on fire. The sand around the ship had melted to a steaming glass. Dirt rained back to the earth, and the vents along the ship's rim released plasma, cooking the air and causing the glass to liquefy and evaporate. The steam settled, and the plasma expelled itself. The burning trees and bushes calmed to a soft crackle. As the dirt settled, an eerie silence set in.

The lights on the ship had all gone out. A massive, silver disc protruded from the crater. Along the bottom of the ship, a circular hatch opened. Puffs of smoke came out of it. A soft pulsating hum from inside grew quieter and slower, like the fading heartbeat of a dying animal. The pilot cautiously crawled from the hatch, a black case in hand, and set foot on the alien world. He studied the steep climb he'd have to make to escape the crater. Tossing the case to the top, his body tensed and lunged suddenly at the wall of the crater. The creature dug his talons into the dirt, climbing his way effortlessly to the top. He picked up his case and turned to take his final look at the ship that had heralded his arrival to the earth - the womb he had crawled from, into his new life. Then he turned his back upon it and began to walk.

Within twenty minutes of walking, he found a road and began walking along it. He had studied the information his people attained on the earth and its inhabitants thoroughly before arriving, though he still knew little of what to expect. When he saw the headlights appear up the road, he grew anxious. The pilot had given a lot of thought to that moment. He hated that he had to do it but took comfort in assuring himself that it would be the final expulsion of the evils he had long carried with him.

As the car grew closer, he stepped in its path and aimed his hand at it. The car began to gradually slow down, throwing the human inside into a confused frenzy. It came to a complete stop and died several yards before the creature. The teenage, male driver jumped out of the car, cursing all but the creature he would soon meet, and raised the hood of the car. Waving a flashlight around the engine, the human searched for the cause of his problems before hearing it behind him in the form of an odd oozing sound. A sudden fright set into him, chills running down the back of his neck. Turning slowly around, he raised his flashlight and shone it on the creature before him.

The paralyzed human found himself at a loss for words. Trembling in his fright, he dropped his flashlight and fell back against the car's engine. Spitting and stuttering in an inconceivable mass of confusion, sheer terror overcame him.

The pilot closed his eyes.

As the creature stood there silent and still, the human seemed to settle a moment, staring in shock at something he thought he'd never see in his life. Then the creature collapsed on the ground, and a sudden light engulfed the human's vision. The human slid off the car. For a few seconds the two of them lied motionless on the ground.

The human's eyes opened, but staring through them was the pilot. He squeezed his eyes shut and put a hand to his head. A sudden rush of memories and experiences flooded his consciousness. Gasping as he sat up, he grabbed his chest, feeling the alien heart beating inside him so fast he thought it might burst from its sternum. The emotions came next. First he felt the pain of a headache. Anxiety struck him. Fear set into him, and for a moment he had no sense of reality at all. Two lifetimes of memories slammed into each other, and he was picking up the pieces one by one. He struggled desperately to put them together. Looking at his hands, they felt so strange and yet so normal as well. He focused on them, rubbed them together, and smelled them. The whirlwind of thoughts began to die down. Slowly everything became refreshingly clear.

Then he looked at his own body before him.

Still out of breath, he rose from the ground, staring at the empty shell in front of him. He didn't spend a lot of time looking at it. The only thing he could feel was anger.

He picked up the case lying next to his old body that he had carried with him from the ship. There wasn't much time left. He had to move quickly. Dropping the hood on the car, he tossed the case into the passenger seat, then went back and picked up his body. He laid it down in the back seat, got in the car, and peeled off the road into the desert towards the ship, a dust trail in his wake.

It only took him a few minutes to reach the crash site. Most of the bushes and sparse grass had finished burning, smoke still slowly breathing from some. He left the motor running as he got out of the car, his face flushing and beginning to sweat. The cooked air still sizzled with electricity. He only took a second to look at the ship and pulled the body from the back of the car and walked over to the crater. He tossed it into the crater with a sneer and watched it roll like a stuffed doll down the side. The body settled near the hatch he had crawled from. He grit his teeth a moment, taking one final look at a life that had only confused him and angered him-a life where he should have never felt anything at all. He could only feel the hatred that had stirred quietly within him before, but now shot through him with adrenaline.

Before he could turn around, he saw the point of light in the sky. It went down slowly, arching its way closer. Several miles back, he watched it begin to hover, a narrow beam of light flashing from the bottom and connecting it with the ground. The beam of light spun around beneath it sporadically, and the ship began to move closer to the crash site.

He narrowed his eyes at it a moment, but he knew he had to leave quickly. Dashing to the car, he jumped in and tore off back toward the road. He angled the driver's-side mirror up a bit to see the ship in the distance. He took a deep breath and looked into the passenger's seat at the case for a second. When he reached the road he began heading in the direction the human had driven.

He didn't look back, and he knew the next time he saw one of his own kind, it would be on rather unpleasant terms.