We're taking the next step towards the future. It's all in the name of diplomacy."
Jeffrey had repeated his father's words in his head a thousand times over, but they hadn't helped to calm his nerves. His hands were still shaking as he climbed into the passenger seat of his father's car.
They were both silent for the best part of the drive. Not that Jeffrey particularly felt like talking.
This was what he hated about his father and the work he did; it was a whole world of trouble that he wanted no part in. How the hell did he end up with a father who had no definite name, who worked in the shadows to plan the future, and who made deals with aliens? That was the worst part of it. Not so long ago, he hadn't even known that there was such a thing as an actual alien, and now he was about to see one with his own eyes. The thought made him shudder. Why him, anyway? He wasn't exactly well known for his diplomatic skills, and, although he reckoned he was a nice enough guy, talking to aliens was hardly something he'd learned at the academy.
Glancing in the rearview mirror, he noticed that they were being followed by two dark cars with blacked out windows. More of his father's associates, no doubt.
"So, what am I here for?" Jeffrey relaxed a little bit at the sound of his own voice. "I mean, I don't even know what's going on. I can't see myself being particularly useful."
"Quite the contrary, son." His father dropped his cigarette into the car's already full ashtray. "This is a momentous occasion. If we can secure an alliance with another species, we guarantee the survival of the human race. Wouldn't you want to ensure that your grandchildren will be safe?"
"So what am I doing?" Jeffrey was beginning to think that the old man was deliberately leaving him in the dark. All this talking in circles was getting on his nerves.
"This alien civilization has a particular interest in other cultures." His father replied as they neared the high, guarded gates of a military air base. Again with the long answers. "They have agreed to cooperate with us, on the condition that we let them study the human anatomy. Along with the work and research of the our greatest scientific minds, they wish to have a live subject. They are not the most scientifically advanced civilization, but they have assured us that the subject will be returned alive, and it's a perfectly reasonable request." He paused to show the guard his ID.
"I and my associates have discussed this at length." He continued, as they drove through the gates. "What better show of goodwill would there be than to give my own son to them for a subject?"
"What?" Jeffrey wasn't certain he'd heard him right. "You're not- I can't- No!" He shook his head, fixing his eyes on his father as the car came to a stop under the bright lights on the outside of a large hangar. "You can't do this."
"We already have, son." His father replied, climbing out of the car.
Jeffrey stayed where he was, staring blankly. Maybe, if he refused to get out of the car, they'd choose someone else. He felt that the world was coming to an end. Not only was he going to see an actual alien, he was going to be observed by one. He couldn't do that. He considered hightailing it away from the base. Although he wasn't the biggest fan of running, he could maintain some speed if he needed to. But the gates were at least three meters high, and guarded. Maybe they'd shoot him. Right now, that didn't seem like such a terrible outcome.
As he was thinking, he heard his car door being opened. When he looked up, there were two burly bodyguards in black suits looking down at him. One was bald, and the other had short, dark hair.
"Follow us please, Agent Spender." The bald one said. The other one just watched him with his beady, narrow-set eyes, and Jeffrey could almost feel himself withering beneath their gazes. He fumbled to unbuckle his seatbelt, and hesitantly clambered out of the car.
Both men flanked him as they made their way through a side door, into the hangar, and Jeffrey had never felt so small and helpless in his life.
His father, and a dozen other men, were stood by the open hangar doors at the far end, talking among each other. As Jeffrey and the men in suits reached them, a bright light flooded the hangar.
"Ah. There you are, Jeffrey." His father turned to him, taking one last draw on his cigarette before throwing it down. Jeffrey watched blankly as he crushed it under his heel. "The aliens are right on schedule, as expected. You'll be sedated and taken onboard their ship while we seal the alliance."
"Alone?" Jeffrey's throat was dry as he spoke. "Will you be there?" The request sounded very childish, but he didn't particularly care. Even his cold, distant father seemed comforting compared to the near future that awaited him.
"Perhaps." His father made his way towards the other men near the hangar doors, not sparing him another glance. Jeffrey began to follow him numbly, but one of the bodyguards stopped him.
"We have orders to sedate you first." The dark haired one said. Jeffrey didn't reply, watching his father's distant figure. He felt the needle in his arm, but it seemed so far away.
This was just a bad dream, surely? That was his last thought before he sank into unconsciousness.
When Jeffrey came to, he was lying on his stomach. The cavernous room, for want of a better word, was barely lit, and the walls seemed to glisten in the grey light. Maybe his head was just still foggy from the sedative, but he was almost certain that they were dripping with some kind of thick, viscous substance.
He was sure he was alone, but he wasn't sure if that was good or bad. Part of him just wanted this to be over, to get back home and forget this had ever happened.
When he tried to move, he realised that his wrists were secured to the floor. On top of that, he was lacking his clothing. He had half-expected to be on an examination table under a bright light, wearing a hospital gown, not lying naked on the floor of a poorly lit room that dripped slime.
As he pushed himself up into a kneeling position, he heard a sound behind him. He turned his head and saw what could only have been an alien towering over him. It was at least nine feet tall, a deep indigo-grey color, and glistening with oily fluid. He tried to scream, but the sound caught in his throat as the alien bent down towards him. Its head reminded him of a kind of snail, with four dark, malevolent little eyes protruding on stalks. Its body apparently consisted entirely of tentacles, some only a few feet long, others seeming to extend many meters, all of them lined with rows of grey suckers. They trailed behind it in a long, writhing train, while others curled in midair, probing the space around it like feelers.
Jeffrey's eyes were wide with terror as he tried to scramble as far away from the alien as he could, which wasn't particularly far, considering he was still shackled. Wrists bent at awkward angles, he cowered on the damp floor. The alien made a sound; at least, he was sure the noise had come from the alien, a long, grating sound, like the lowest register of a double bass. One of its shorter tentacles reached towards him, winding up his arm like a vine. By the time it reached his shoulder, it had extended at least two meters.
Jeffrey was trembling again, staring in silent fear as the tentacle unwound, leaving a slick trail that stained his skin blue. Two other tentacles extended, gripping his ankles, and pulling him towards the alien. With a shriek, Jeffrey struggled against them, but they were too strong, and dragged him back.
A third appendage coiled around his waist, and he whimpered at the unsettling sensation of its suckers against his skin. The alien had moved right beside him now, and he watched over his shoulder as it prodded at his back, tracing his spine and ribs with the tips of its tentacles. Its touch wasn't too different from a firm human finger, and Jeffrey closed his eyes, trying to imagine he was being examined by a doctor.
A tentacle snaked up his back and around his neck, pulling him upright with a grip tight enough to choke him, and he tried to pull away, panic welling up in his chest. Just as his vision began to blur, the alien let go, and he dropped against the floor, gasping.
While he was still trying to catch his breath, the alien continued its crude examination of him. He felt like a toy that had been given to a small child, being prodded and squeezed. He could feel the strength in its grip, and just hoped that the alien wouldn't rip him apart. Its feelers snaked down his body, reaching down to touch between his legs. He gasped sharply, trying to kick it away from him. It pulled him back towards it, its grip on his ankles tightening. A tentacle touched his cheek and he recoiled in shock at the cold, wet appendage. It examined his face, and he squeezed his eyes shut as it poked at them. It tried to slide into his mouth, but he pursed his lips, turning his head away. After probing his ears, and trying for a horrifying moment to prise his eyes open, the tentacle retracted. Jeffrey grimaced at the taste of the slimy fluid that covered his face, and most of his body. It had to be almost over, right?
He glanced over his shoulder, and saw it looking at him. He could almost see it thinking. It reached out, wrapping a tentacle around his upper right arm and squeezing it tightly. He grimaced as the suckers pinched his skin, and the alien gripped tighter. The pain became too much, and he cried out, pitching away from the alien. It let go, again peering at him curiously. More of its tentacles reached out, stretching to touch his sides, and ghosting down them. Jeffrey had always been ticklish, and the sensation was unbearable. He gasped, squirming as it poked him relentlessly. It was still watching him, and he realised that it was judging his reaction.
Just as he started to relax just a little bit, the alien moved behind him, its tentacles gripping his legs and around his waist. He whimpered as one of its appendages poked at his inner thigh before sliding higher, again touching between his legs. He squeezed his eyes shut, hoping it would move on, but it didn't. Jeffrey felt his face flush with heat. This had gone beyond all reason, and, although he understood that the aliens wanted to learn about humans, he had huge objections to being groped by one of them. He tried to move away again, but the alien held him firmly, yanking his legs apart when he tried to close them. The tip of its tentacle slid between his legs, before sinking into him, and he gasped, hands clenching into fists.
The alien peered down at him with another curious rumbling sound, pushing further. Jeffrey arched his back with a sharp cry, his gaze falling on a human figure stood a few metres away. His father was stood there, cigarette in hand, casually observing him. When had he appeared? How long had he been watching? The thought was unsettling, but Jeffrey was too preoccupied to act on it.
"H-help me." Jeffrey begged, wincing as the alien continued to force its appendage into him. "P-please. It'll kill me." His father didn't reply, watching him with a disturbingly calm air.
The alien's ministrations had gone from very uncomfortable to unbearable, and Jeffrey could feel its tentacle probing his lower gut. It added another tentacle, stretching him further. He screamed, thrashing against it, but that only made it worse. The alien clutched him tighter, pulling his legs back until he was stretched out on his hands and knees in an awkward manner.
Limbs trembling from exhaustion, he looked pleadingly at his father, but the old man was deliberately avoiding his gaze. Jeffrey could feel a sharp pain in his abdomen, and he screamed again as the alien thrust even deeper into him. It moved closer to him, so that he could feel its other appendages brushing against him as it extended its reach. Did it intend to go all the way through him?
Jeffrey felt like he was going to throw up. He could feel it creeping up his throat, and he gave a choking cry, fingers scrabbling helplessly against the floor. He couldn't believe his father was letting him suffer like this. It was beyond unfair, beyond unreasonable.
He gagged, choking up vile blue slime as the alien's tentacle extended further. He was sobbing now; throat sore and body exhausted. The alien made another deep sound, its eyes narrowing as it squinted down at him.
"I think that's enough." His father's voice seemed so distant as he addressed the alien, taking a few calm steps towards them. "Don't you?"
The alien crooned in reply, retracting its tentacles and letting go of his ankles. Jeffrey crumpled on the floor, gagging again as it pulled out of him. He could hear his father conversing with the alien, but it didn't matter. He lay on his front, gasping and coughing. Everything ached badly, and he desperately needed to rest.
Jeffrey had no memory of losing consciousness, but when he awoke, he was lying in bed. In his own bed, in his room, at home. It was dark outside, although he had no idea what time it was. Everything ached as he sat up, pulling the covers back to look at himself. He was somewhat relieved to find that he was clean and wearing shorts, although he wondered who had cleaned him up.
His ankles were badly bruised and stained with blue, and he ran his fingers over them, feeling the sucker-marks that twined up both his legs. There were similar marks around his waist, and around his right arm. With a groan, he laid back down, pressing his palms against his aching temples. He wasn't sure that he was able to walk, and he wasn't even going to try getting out of bed.
As he ran his fingers through his hair, the door opened and his father came in.
"Ah, Jeffrey. You're awake." He stopped beside the bed, looking down at his son. "Perhaps you'll be pleased to know that we've arranged a mutually beneficial alliance with the aliens."
"Right..." Jeffrey voice was hoarse as he replied. That damned alien. He was in no mood to hear about aliens. He didn't even want to argue with his father. He just wanted to dismiss the whole thing as a bad dream and move on.
"Obviously, this is still a very sensitive matter." His father took another draw on his cigarette before continuing. "It would be in everyone's best interest if you kept what little you know to yourself."
Jeffrey nodded, feeling certain that he'd just been threatened. He watched idly as his father walked away, turning to look at him as he opened the door.
"It's late, son." He observed casually. "You should rest."