‘Let me and Claudiu go first, we don’t know what to expect.’ Granny impatiently follows them through the door. Oh-My-God! A laboratory!
They are quickly surrounded by a whole bunch of pale, extremely pale, lab assistants. A man in a blue lab coat and heavy rubber gloves takes off his protective glasses and steps forward. It’s Varujan Torje, the Professor they’ve been looking for.
They feel a little threatened by the vastness of the laboratory and the people approaching so nobody pays attention to the lab technician running away.
Nobody, except Missy. ‘Claudiu, there’s someone escaping over there!’ But Claudiu is too preoccupied by something on the floor.
‘Shh! Let go of my arm…’ Claudiu squints his eyes. What’s this? A seed? Big as an apple? Rapidly he bends down and puts it in his pocket.
The lab technician disappears through a door with the same strange arrow sign as the one the little group came in through.
‘Dr. Franke! Dr. Franke! There are intruders in the laboratory…’ Dr. Franke listens silently. Then he pulls out a small device from his pocket.
Dr. Franke’s device is a small alarm. When actioned, all activity stops in the huge basement…
Without a sound, the outlandishly uniformed people leave…
… taking as many samples as possible with them…
… Abandoning the ”test subjects”…
The count down has started…
All the aliens rally in the basement hangar where the UFO’s are waiting to take them to the mothership.
Granny and Professor Varujan Torje try to come to an agreement, as the rest of the lab staff is rounded up. Jan leaves to check out the premises and comes back with some precious information. ‘There are jail cells, just behind that door. A lot of them…’
‘You’re evil, Professor.’ Iorghu turns around and calls out to Petre, ‘Lock the Professor up in a separate cell until we decide what to do with him!’
’Keep talking… I can’t hear you!’
Claudiu locks up the last assistants. I want to be the one to solve the mystery… ‘Take off your gloves!’ Claudiu watches with horror as the lab technicians take off their gloves, showing the skin of their hands blotchy in different shades of alien green.
He hurries out to tell the others about his discovery. ‘Where’s Iorghu? I have to tell him something.’ His friends are watching expensive looking machines behind a thick glass window.
‘’I don’t think they can see us.’
‘Let’s get them out of there, and lock them up with the others.’
Granny is exploring on her own. These appendices look evil… I wonder what they are… ‘Granny! Come and watch this!’ Missy calls from behind the door.
‘What’s written on the box there? Spectescu, Ichabod 1939-1983… Oh-My-God… Is this what I think it is?’ Granny is appalled.
Missy nods. ‘I’m afraid it is…’
Missy reads of the names and Granny takes them down.
‘Torje, Varuhan… Hasdeu, Sanda… Synapse, Roderick… Vladimirescu, Cristi…’
They don’t have the time to finish listing all the names (there are several hundreds of boxes!), as they are summoned to join the others…
Granny and Missy are greeted by a horrifying view as they enter yet another room. The walls are lined with individual water filled tanks, each with a person in it.
At the same time, the aliens start the evacuation.
The first spaceship takes off while Iorghu’s commando is still discovering the horrors underground.
’Are they real? They look like huge Barbie-dolls!’
Iorghu clears his throat: ‘I’ve seen enough. Let’s go back to the cell block.’
’Let Professor Torje out, I need him to access the laptop. We have to learn what all this is about… Granny, follow me.’
Professor Torje cooperates finally, proudly telling Iorghu and Granny everything about “Operation Invisible Invaders”.
‘The laboratory storing has room for about 30 000 souls and 10 000 younglings…’
His monologue is punctuated by strange words as “mental scan, telepathy, probing, mind control, transmuting, biopsy, recombobulation”…
The unusual vocabulary makes Granny and Iorghu doubtful. He’s crazy…
‘… Final phase : Obtaining vital samples…’
’… Some tests don’t hurt… not much anyway…’
‘Wait a minute… How many phases did you say there are?’
‘To collect samples there are three… But the phases from soul to youngling to a full fledged individual… Seven… Now, where was I? Yes, the pain factor.’ Professor Torje drones on…
’… Other methods are more frightening; like ”probing”…’
‘Yes. We get important cells from the spinal column by using a long needle. Implanting or extracting a youngling is completed with the same method. It can be a problem as the subject can’t be anesthetized…’
‘… For an uncooperative test-subject…’
‘… the aliens use mind control… Sometimes it happens the subject gets totally brainwashed…’
’… and has to be disposed of…’
’… But usually it works just fine…’
‘… Afterwards, the test-subjects show no resistance whatsoever, not even when being probed…’
’… Of course, the importance of obtaining the samples overshadows the means…’
‘And what about this? What is it?’
Professor Torje quickly glances at the blue pulsating tube. ‘Oh, that is a youngling…’
‘Isn’t there a way to help the “infected”?’
Professor Torje hesitates, then he removes one of his diplomas on the wall to reveal a safe. ‘I’ve kept this for an emergency…’
Professor Torje takes out a bizarre thingy from which he pulls out a testube. ‘This little jewel contains stem cells…’
‘…So I guess we could resequence the genetics.’
Granny and Iorghu looks at the professor.’Huh?’
‘Reverse the procedure… But I will need the assistance of Dr. Franke…’
‘Good! What are we waiting for!?!’
Claudiu and Petre fetch Dr. Franke, using a little more violence than necessary.
’Bring a test subject from the tanks!’
They start the reverse operation immediately.
‘It works! Look at his hair!’
‘And his skin tone becomes normal!’
Their euphoria evaporates when the test subject staggers and gasps for breath as soon as he’s detached.
‘He can’t breathe! Put the mask back on!’
‘Something must be wrong if he can’t breathe without the mask.’
Granny suggests, ‘Maybe it’s because he was hardly alive when we took him out of the tank… If we try with the lab staff, who already breathes…’
They have successfully treated all the lab technicians when suddenly the laboratory shakes from a violent explosion…
The whole laboratory is in flames, fragments of equipment litters the ground and several lab technicians have succumbed with the first blast.
The precious equipment disappears in flames.
‘We have to get out of here before everything blows up!’
The commando group and the cured lab technicians run for their life through the basement.
Dr. Franke panics as the door won’t open, but a quick blast of a gun takes care of it.
They run for the stairs…
The last corridor seems endless…
‘Get in the van!’ ‘Hurry!’ ‘First Professor Torje and Dr. Franke! We’ll release the others after interrogating them…’
Nobody notices the last Galaxa Space Car leave the sanatorium.
The van leaves seconds before the earth violently shakes and the whole underground laboratory blows up.
The aliens doesn’t look back at the havoc they caused…
Once in their mother ship, they hibernate as pure energy – also used to fuel up the engines…
… leaving only the commander and three co-pilots to man the ship for the long journey through space…
Part I – End of Chapter 43