It’s been almost ten years now since Earth changed hands, it didn’t happen quick, and it wasn’t what we’d expected of an invasion. Hell, in the beginning none of us really saw it coming. It was happening around us and we were too blind to realize, maybe it was the cost of the society we grew up in. After all, when we were in charge we isolated ourselves from each other, convinced that the problems of one were separate and had nothing to do with us. That’s probably what made it so easy.
It was happening to our next door neighbors, to our colleagues, to our criminals, and we didn’t even see it until it was too late. As far as aliens go the Spirits are something of a let down. They didn’t conquer earth with advanced weaponry or tactics... honestly they didn’t seem that much more advanced than we were. It was their form that allowed them to do it.
Unlike the aliens in the movies, what we see in Spirits isn’t any different from us, of course that was the problem. Spirits are a parasitic species of alien, their species store themselves in a form of hibernation while they’re between hosts. A few of their species are implanted within the society of the target host species. They go into their hosts bodies and anchor themselves there, taking over control of their hosts. I don’t really know the specifics of the process; as you can probably imagine they keep it pretty close to the chest.
What I do know is that they have the ability to read through the memories a body went through before they were brought in... all the way back to the beginning.
Anyway, they are so skilled at blending in that by the time we realized they were among us, they had almost completely taken over. The first signs weren’t what we suspected as I said. Instead of saucer like ships coming in and firing death rays, or funny looking little creatures claiming to come in peace, the first sign of change was the evening news. Not ON the news, but the news itself. Instead of focusing on wars and conflicts, broadcasts began to run almost entirely on human-interest stories that would only have infested during slow news week in the past. Then of course there was the wars themselves... all of the global leadership just seemed to... lose interest in fighting.
This was when the people of the world realized something was seriously wrong. Common people began to march on the capital. Then the discovery came... in New York City a medical examiner was autopsying the death of a young female tiger when he noticed a surgical scar on her left shoulder where it joined the neck, it as paper thin, and almost indistinguishable, but when he cut into that spot he found a cotton-like mass. At first he said he didn’t know what it was, but then he noticed it twitched. He managed to place it in a specimen jar and sent it up to be tested. While they were trying to determine it’s chemical composition it moved again. They found that when they prodded it, it would react. It was the discovery of the century they said.
Then these cottony masses started cropping up in more and more dead bodies... living creatures. That’s when the announcement was finally made. Of all people to announce it, the president of the United States told the people that they had discovered it was a new sentient, extra terrestrial race. At first it was all peaceful, after all we believed we were the dominant species.
Two months later one of the white house aides told a newspaper reporter that during an extra-marital affair that had been going on for years, she noticed a thin, surgical scar on the president’s left shoulder, where it joined the neck. The papers carried the story of course... that was when people started to rebel... the invaders had taken over our president.
In their defense, they did offer to let us elect another president, one that they wouldn’t control, and they volunteered to restrict their new specimens to the bodies of cadavers, but the damage had been done in our eyes.
I admit; I was one of those dissatisfied with the terms of their offer, but then again I didn’t know what they were capable of. We thought we outnumbered them, but we were wrong. Compared to their numbers we were like drops in the ocean. We struck first, hoping that it would send them away.
From all we’d gathered of the Spirits they were a non-violent race, they didn’t like to fight, but when we killed some of them, they changed their minds. Instead they brought in a sect of their kind that called themselves Arbiters. The Spirits lived for many Millenia in different life-forms drifting from one body to the next when their host died. They strove to create a universe where society was in perfect harmony... they weren’t unfeeling monsters like we’d suspected at first. They’d come to Earth in hopes of righting our society without us noticing, trying to live peaceful lives without our interfering. The Arbiters, however are different... they spend their lives tracking down and neutralizing any threat that foreign species represent. They don’t kill us, they do something much worse.
They only wound their victims, then sedate them, then... become them, average Spirits are then instructed to hand over any information that might help capture more hosts to Arbiters. We began to organize a resistance and fight back, they met our force with force, never the aggressors, but most-decidedly they were the victors.
The biggest problem we had was identifying who was one of us, and who was one of them. They weren’t any better... they just seemed to assume that anybody they saw was one of them, and treated them as such, after all if you were peaceful to them, they were peaceful to you.
There was a time when we realized this and stopped fighting... we agreed to their terms mostly as a way of survival, we lived peacefully, and completely separate from them. It wasn’t the same as before, but it was better than the constant struggle of fighting. Unfortunately, Not everybody thought so; a small group of radicals decided to attack the city of Chicago in hopes of reclaiming it for their own. They were overwhelmed within hours, but the consequences were much more far-reaching than that.
The Spirits decided that we were violent and brutal by nature, that so long as the two species shared the earth we would hurt them, and ourselves. To the Spirits the biggest violation was to hurt a potential host, or damage it beyond use. They decided that instead of letting us cause such irreparable damage, they would would be better off commandeering the body of every living earthling. That was five years ago.
My name is Blake Benson... I was 19 when the world originally learned of the existence of the Spirits, I was a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps, and a member of the final graduating classes of the Force Recon training program. For all I know, I’m the last of my kind that’s still alive.
I’ve learned how to survive in any climate and how to take down whatever opponent I might face so that come hell or high water, I’ll still be alive tomorrow.
I remember the first moment that I became one of them... or at least that one of them was put inside of me. It’s a maddening experience to know that everything that makes you who you are is about to be hijacked and used against anybody you ever loved.
At first I was certain that this thing was going to control me, but something inside me refused to give up. When he first moved my hand I was frustrated that I didn’t have any control anymore. Then he started digging through my memories, this I couldn’t abide. I quickly horded in all of my memories of my friends and family and held them to myself, he could have anything but that... I wouldn’t give them up. EVER!
I heard the thing talking with my voice to a doctor or whatever their kind called it. That’s when I learned that usually when a Spirit takes over a body they get a little resistance from the consciousness that inhabited it in the beginning, but in most cases the other consciousness surrenders after a while and relegates their life to living in their own memories... I suppose it would be hard to tell when you’re dead and when you’re alive if you live like that.
It was in that moment that I decided I couldn’t live like that. I secluded myself deep inside my memories, throwing up a mental wall at the point that was off-limits to this thing. For months I lay dormant there while it acclimated to my body; reaching farther and farther into my memories.
I could tell that I was wearing off on him, I suppose it’s impossible to share another beings tough experiences and not feel some sort of kinship. I knew I couldn’t take myself back with brute force; even the pride we lions were apt to wouldn’t overpower this Spirit... it was an Arbiter.
Slowly I wore away at his resolve, throwing memory after memory, each tinted with my emotions until finally I could feel his mind breaking. Then I threw at him the memories I’d kept hidden from him. I broke the Arbiter that called itself ‘Thomas’ and retook my own body.
Garret Jackson wasn’t going to die that easy. Escaping the city was easy, the Spirits don’t have police... they don’t lock their doors, their society is completely trusting and perfect. Civilization was out of the question for me, I could raid the Spirits, but if they caught me; it wouldn’t take long for them to bring me in again.
There was another problem I realized... the scar was still there. Any person still in control that I ran into would kill me as soon as talk to me. The Spirits were too good at blending in with us and making others think we were who we had been, it looked like there would be no help from anybody.
Then I remembered the day they had captured me... they’d put one of their own in rapidly, knowing that I had a friend nearby. They invaded my mind and ripped from me the meeting location. When he got there Blake was nervous as always; and obviously I didn’t look like myself.
When I saw that Blake was going to fall for it, I heaved with all my willpower to break through the Spirit’s iron control. I managed to break through and shout two words. “BLAKE... RUN!” It had only been for a second, and it had taken so much of my will, but Blake knew I still had a little bit of control. The last memory I had of that day was hearing the news that the other target had escaped.
For 120 millennia I have survived, over 300 different lifeforms, over 10000 lifetimes I’ve lived. They call me the Arbiter; I was the first of my kind, the first Spirit sacrificed to the art of war. For 120000 years I have been fighting wars on almost every planet. After the first 1000 they created a corps and named it after me. A separate sect of our kind whose calling it was to track down and eliminate any and all hostile hosts.
In 119000 years there has never been a traitor amongst the Arbiters... until now. Strange that such an emotional and short-lived creature could over power the strength of will that I have ingrained in every one of my soldiers. Others of our kind might be broken, but we Arbiters are strong... Garret Jackson is indeed a formidable consciousness. His existence was a rare thing and it would be remembered... he was the first to break an arbiter, and he would be the last.
Now that I had been called to earth I would remain here until the fight was over. I wasn’t like the arbiter he had defeated... I was better, I was the original. I began researching both Garret Jackson and the Arbiter known as Thomas and their weaknesses.
Jackson had a great deal more, and most notable was his emotional attachment to a tigress named Alexis Peters or Lexie to him. The emotion listed was “love”. I’d encountered other beings with similar feelings and the result was always the same, Garret Jackson would not hurt this woman, nor me so long as I resided within her. I had the Spirits arrange for a transfer of Alexis Peters’ current host. I would hunt him down using the woman he loved. I would kill him.
I am the Arbiter. I am the promise of peace. I am death.