We are not alone. In the year 2050 mankind’s never-ending quest for proof life exists in the universe is answered—in the form of massive space ships that appear without warning above the capitals of all major nations. The name of their planet is Tah’Nar—and is dying. The United States sets up a lottery system, and each young man between the ages of twenty-three and twenty-eight is assigned a number. Once a year, for the next five years, numbers will be drawn and a new set of one thousand males will be collected. The media coined the expression ‘The Harvest’ for when the Tah’Narian’s collect these young men.
Captain Keyno Landium Shou is a Tah’Narian starship captain who has been granted the right to take a mate, any mate, he wants during the last harvest on Earth. Dale was seventeen when the aliens first appeared. His parents assumed he’d be safe since the final collection would be done before he turned twenty-three. He didn’t fall within the guidelines established, so they took for granted he had nothing to fear.
They were wrong.
I was seventeen when the aliens first appeared, so my parents assumed I was safe. The final collection would occur before I turned twenty-three. I didn’t fall within the guidelines the aliens had established, so I thought I had nothing to fear.
I was wrong.
Exactly one week before my twenty-third birthday, an extraction team showed up to collect me. My parents were distraught, and I fought them, but nothing stopped them from taking me. Somebody somewhere had made a terrible mistake. But no one would listen to me.
“I’m not supposed to be collected!” Men in SWAT gear dragged me to a waiting van. One of the aliens stood off to the side, watching. I dug my feet into the ground, trying to halt the parade of their progress. Two human soldiers were beside me, trying to secure my arms behind my back, but I kept twisting and jerking, frantic to break their hold on me. “Listen to me! I’m only twenty-two years old.”
“Son of a bitch, stop jumping around, you little fag,” the man to the right of me hissed as he grabbed at my wrist and twisted.
“Fuck!” I yelled as pain radiated up my arm. I managed to get my other arm free long enough to get in a good solid shot at the asshole who was currently trying to twist my hand off. I busted his nose. Anger boiled in his eyes as he whipped his arm back to strike me.
Before the blow could land, the Tah’Narian with the extraction team jerked the man away from me by the front of his shirt. Another human took his team member’s place immediately, but my focus was on the alien, not the other man holding my arm.
The alien lifted the human completely off the ground and shook him like a rag doll, snapping his head back and forth. The Tah’Narian’s low growls sent shivers up my spine as he spoke to the team member.
And his strength was astounding. The man the alien lifted wasn’t a small guy, by any means, and he lifted him with one hand. Then he tossed the guy to the ground, pointed at me and babbled something I couldn’t understand.
“I… I… okay. I won’t touch him again.” The team member stumbled back to the van, never looking back at me.
Good God, the extraction team and that alien could somehow understand each other. Momentarily distracted, I didn’t have time to react when another team member handcuffed both my arms tightly behind me. Someone on each side held me tightly, determined to march me to that waiting van.
“Let go of me, dammit!”
“Stop fighting, kid. You can’t win against five of us.” The new guard fastened a second set of cuffs higher on my forearms. “Plus there’s that alien, too. You just saw his strength. The more you fight, the harder this is going to be.”
I slumped in their arms, the fight draining out of me. “What did it say?”
“Basically, that you’ve been chosen by one of them,” one of the guys from the team leaned down and whispered to me. “I’m sorry, kid. Never heard of something like this happening. No more talking, or they’ll gag you next.”
Horrified, I hung in their arms as they dragged me to a waiting van.
I desperately wanted to ask him what he meant about being chosen, but after his warning, I was afraid to say anything. What the hell was going on, and why were the rules being changed all of a sudden? These aliens weren’t supposed to be able to pick and choose. That defeated the whole purpose of having a lottery system.
The trip was short and silent, and soon we arrived at one of the holding centers where other harvested men waited for inspection. The guards led me to an exam room. Two human doctors were there, along with human military.
“Strip,” the doctor snapped at me.
“Yeah, fuck you,” I replied in the same tone of voice.