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John Carpenter's

Who Went There: the Assimilations

by Andrew Lopez


Helicopter pilot Palmer sat there, deep in his own world as he listened to some Led Zeppelin and puffed smoke, waiting for Childs to return with some more of their stash from the greenhouse. Shortly before they had left for this dump on ice, Palmer had heard of that new album by that child star-turned pop singer Michael Jackson. "Thriller" it was called. Its songs were kind of catchy. Ha, he laughed at the thought. All he needed was some good old rock. Something brushed his leg. He looked down to see a dog, the same one those Norwegians had been chasing in the morning. Clark must've forgotten to lock it up with the others. He stroked the little guy, "Hey boy how ya doin'?" he asked. As he looked down at his Walkman to change the song, he felt something strange. Something wet. "Is this mutt really pissin' on me?" he thought. But as he turned to see what it was, he was shocked, barely able to trust his own eyes. Where he had expected to see the friendly face of a dog, there was now a starfish of bloody flesh and teeth that inched towards him. "Guys," he said calmly, "hey, you guys," his voice raising in intensity, "guys, GUY-" as a long red snake of a tongue leaped out and took hold of Palmer's. It recoiled with the utmost speed, pulling Palmer into what was now a bloated red mass of tentacles and legs. Palmer squirmed and made muffled shrieking sounds as the life was squeezed straight from his body. Then, almost as quickly as it had begun, the bloody pile turned itself inside out, exposing fur, and after all the "bones" had settled in its body, the simple appearance of just another dog had returned. One by one it spit out pieces of its child which pieced themselves together, followed by the shredded clothes of Palmer. It was complete. The Palmer-thing now had but one thing left to do. It redressed in some other pajamas and took the shredded ones to the kitchen, carefully removing the nametag as he went. Nauls was there, stirring some stew behind a counter. "Case of the munchies now, Palmer? Hahahah." Palmer gave a wry smile and shook his head as he opened the refrigerator door at an angle so as to block Nauls's view. "Better let doc check ya out, and Garry might like to know 'bout that too. Ahahaha. Contraband!" Nauls joked. "You know you're a funny guy, Nauls," Palmer said as he dropped the tattered clothes around the side of the fridge, into a trash can, "a real funny guy."
His heart was racing like it hadn't done in years. Any one of them could be lurking, planning their next move. He knew they were, or they were bound to do so. It's inevitable. They already tried this once, and he wouldn't let it happen this time. Palmer was anxious, he had to think of a way to get that damned key from Garry. That blood was the best chance they had at discovering him. As he walked down a corridor towards the rec room, a deafening siren rang out. "What in the hell? Something's wrong with Bennings!" yelled Copper as everybody rushed out to investigate. Palmer wanted to follow, but as he went to get his coat he noticed something from the corner of his eye. Something shiny. The keys were right there, waiting for him. He quickly took them and ran to the storage room, opening the refrigerator and popping each packet of blood. After locking it all back up, he headed back towards Garry's desk. Just as he was about to place them back on the desk, a voice startled him. "Palmer," Blair said, "let me see those keys. I need them, I'm working on a test." "Yeah well you better work fast," Palmer said as he handed Blair the keys, "look!" Blair saw a mutated figure through the window. "Is...is that Bennings?" he asked. As he turned back he felt a quick slap to the face, and then a sizzling sensation festering throughout the entirety of his gums. He realized too late that his gaze through the window had been a fatal error. He blacked out as he and the Palmer-thing became one. Not for long, though, as Palmer had plans for him.
His job was not done yet. Framing Copper and assimilating Blair was not enough. They were still hot on the trail with Mac firmly in charge and Fuchs working diligently on a new test. Those both had to change...
Night was upon them, and the fuse box for the entire station was right there, in plain sight! Unwatched! He knew just what to do. An easy cut of the wire was all it took. Everybody was caught off guard, all but one crucial...witness. He had not anticipated this. That fat oaf had somehow managed to stumble upon the perfect crime. "P- Palmer? What's going on?" he asked. There was no reply. None but the horned appendage of a monster that flailed from the darkness, going straight through the head of Norris, the nice, innocent, unsuspecting Norris. Hm. He may be useful after all. As they merged together, Palmer realized there was no time to split, and nobody would see him in the dark anyway. There was more work to be done. He still had Mac's pants, the pants he had borrowed for the flight to the crater. He zipped by Fuchs towards the outside, where he dropped the ripped pair as he proceeded towards the shack where Blair had been locked up. He brought more supplies for the journey, final preparations were being made. On the way back, though, there was a problem. The wind had moved the pants out into the open, out to give Fuchs a perfect view of the perpetrator(s). Palmer/Norris rushed towards Fuchs, twisting his hand back and taking the flare straight from his hand, subsequently shoving it down his throat. He collapsed as the flames began to spread throughout his choking body, burning the rest of him away. Ugh, one more chore. Mac's shack was the perfect new spot to place the evidence, though. Right in plane view of Fuchs's last appearance, and even more luring with the light on...


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