Title adapted from the last bit of War of the Worlds.
The bugs weren’t winning.
This was confusing them to no end.
They were losing because of things they couldn’t understand – ghosts and faeries, monsters and spooks. They had no defense against things that did not exist on the material plane.
They were losing because of things they could understand – rebellion, tenacity, and ingenuity. They had lost to those before, Paula realized, but not so badly, not so quickly. They had never before been stopped like a wall before finishing their first sweep of a world.
They were losing because of things in the air – environmental pollutants, among others, smog and smoke and such – and in the water, most amusingly hormones and flushed pills, and this, they had no defense against. She asked her symbiote, ::has no other place you’ve invaded had such problems?:: but the symbiote was busy being upset by the suffering of the non-bonded and had no answer for her.
Those that bonded seemed to have a better time of it, which meant that the bugs left in their slowly-decreasing area were hurriedly kidnapping those they thought could take it and bonding, being less and less picky just to get in a body, just to survive.
…and then, and Paula had to giggle, even though it wasn’t funny, in their rush to get hosts, they didn’t ask important questions like “How do humans withstand this pollution?” or, more importantly, “are there humans that can’t handle it?”
It wasn’t funny, because the poor girl they got with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities just found her issues doubled by having a symbiote. It was, on the other hand, telling, because Paula got to watch what happened when a host rejected its bug. Which meant she knew it could happen.
Possibly more importantly, it meant the bugs knew it could happen.
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