“The 2003rd Floor Story”
by David Nicholson

Commander Dave Nicholson stared blankly at the viewscreen. Nothing but empty space, an endless void. Sometimes he wanted to try prying up the screen to look behind it to make sure it wasn’t just a painting. Except for the occasional fighter drills, there was never any life out there.

Five years ago, Dave had thought he was really smart hooking up with the military. He knew then that trouble was brewing on a global scale and when all hell broke loose, he didn’t want to be one of the poor conscripts thrown out on the front lines. So, he joined up and hoped he’d climb the ranks far enough from the front lines before the inevitable occurred.

It was Chico who convinced him to take the space flight training. “Makes you seem like a go-getter, not afraid to learn new things”, he said. “It will look great on your record.” The powers that be certainly took notice. It wasn’t long after that that Dave and Chico were both promoted. Dave was assigned as head of an experimental military project, designing state of the art zero gravity fighters. Chico, was given the duty of chief pilot, testing and perfecting the fighter crafts. For the sake of secrecy, the whole project was set up in the middle of nowhere and as war escalated back home, the ZGF project seemed to be all but forgotten.

Now that the fighters were completed and tested to exhaustion, Dave was told to keep his mini - fleet ready and to take on a new task, to act as a listening post. In case there was other life out there, no one wanted any “aliens” sneaking up on Earth while they were busy warring amongst themselves. Dave knew that he had been shafted. Governments had changed and the current administration didn’t care much for space fighters. ZGFs were useless for bombing planetary targets. But life went on, and Dave had his men turn their attention to working on better sensors. He was frustrated, trained for commanding armies and doing research instead. He belonged back on Earth helping with the fighting. Updates were so infrequent recently, he couldn’t even tell how the battle was going. For all he knew, perhaps they were completely abandoned out here.

A slight shimmering in the upper left hand corner of the viewscreen caught Dave’s eye. At first he figured it was just Chico taking another tequila-induced joyride. One of the few bonuses of being out in the middle of nowhere was that there were no stuffy beaurocrats enforcing the rules. Dave kept things pretty loose around the station, everyone seemed to like it that way.

According to the records, no ships had left in the last two days. Contacting the flight deck, Chico’s voice replied, “I called all the ships in yesterday to give them an overhaul. Why? Is there something up?”

“Just get those fighters ready again, there’s something odd on the screen and I’d like you to check it out.” Moments later, Chico’s fighter whisked out from the bottom of the viewscreen, headed to the unexplained flicker in the distance.

“It’s certainly nothing I’ve ever seen before.” Chico’s voice sounded over the intercom. “Certainly no meteorite, this thing is artificially made, looks like it has self propulsion and unless I’m mistaken, I think it has weapons on it. I’m going in for a closer look.”

As he approached the ship, it began shifting its orientation and suddenly, five missiles came streaming from the ship towards Chico’s craft. Shifting it into manuevering mode, Chico swung his fighter up and around, trying to dodge the missiles. Fortunately, they weren’t seekers; after passing him by they continued hurtling off into the darkness. As he passed above the ship, it began rotating to get him in its sights once again. Chico opened fire on the ship with his explosive rounds and they slammed into the craft, jostling it, but otherwise having no effect. Before he could switch to slammers, the ship was facing him once again and he had dive to avoid another stream of missiles.

Spiralling in order to keep out to the side of the alien ship, Chico opened fire with the slammers. The ship was engulfed in explosions but emerged from it virtually unscathed. For a brief moment, the alien ship seemed to be disoriented, allowing Chico to come up behind the ship. Instantly, another half dozen missiles came flying at him. As he dipped and twirled to avoid them, a red beam shot forth from the back of the ship, searing off one of the fighter’s wings.

Chico’s ship began spinning out of control. As the the alien ship turned on him once again, Chico frantically tried to stabilize the fighter, balance the effects from the missing wing as the next round of missiles approached. Unable to avoid them all, Chico opened fire on the incoming missiles. His fighter was rocked by the impact of explosions just in front of him. The cockpit filled with smoke. The life support warning began flashing. A frantic message came over the intercom to Dave. “Permission to use Suction Nuke.” “Granted,” shouted Dave out to the fighter.

Chico flipped open the switch to the nuke and pressed the fire button. A large metallic disc shot out towards the alien ship and attached itself to the hull. Chico fired everything he had at the ship and tried desperately to force his fighter away from it. The slammers slowed it down enough for Chico to escape the brunt of the explosion as the nuke detonated. A bright light followed by blackness.

Seconds later, Chico came to and saw the remains of the alien ship scattered all about him. “I nailed the sucker,” he yelled, howling into the intercom. “I think I’ll collect some of this debris, see if we can sort out what it was.” “Congratulations,” said Dave, “now get the hell back in here. You’re flying on one wing, we never designed the ships to fly that way. I’ll send a crew out shortly to sift through it. Now, get you scrawny little butt back in here.”

Chico was still contemplating whether or not he should go ahead and collect the debris when he saw another alien ship coming towards him. Then another, and another... More than fifty ships were headed directly at him. Before he remembered that he was out of weapons, missiles began streaming towards him.

“Oh hell,” said Chico as he hurriedly pulled his tequila bottles off the ledge above the viewscreen. He dropped the bottles into his lap and then grabbed onto the handles on either side of him. Giving them a yank, a metallic pod closed in around him, sealing shut. As the missiles slammed into the fighter, ripping it to pieces, a coffin size pod shot out, untouched by the explosions, hurtling towards the station.

“Activate full defenses, see if any of the other fighters are ready to launch, someone make sure Chico makes it to the emergency hatch okay. Man, we are utterly screwed. Each one of those fighters has more weapons than this damn station. Launch whatever fighters you can, get as many people as possible away from here, three to a ship if necessary.” Dave turned back to the viewscreen as the alien ships approached, slowed down momentarily, then sped up and began passing them by. After the smaller ships passed, and there were perhaps ten thousand of them, a handful of larger ships, each more than double the size of the station, passed by, tailed by more of the smaller ones.

Dave sat down in shock as the scanners showed them getting further and further away. “How’s Chico?” he asked as one of the officers entered. The officer nodded to say that he had been retrieved successfully. “Damn,” said Dave, “I thought we were all dead just then. Where are the ships headed?” Another officer looked up from the sensors and replied “Earth.”

Putz was in Toronto, taking in the sights. He had just reached the top of the CN Tower and was looking out at the view, amazed at how far he could see. He was also amazed at how vacant the area was, he was the only one up there. In fact, there had been no one at the booth down below to charge him money to take the elevator up. But he didn’t mind, the view was all that mattered. The fact that he had missed the evacuation orders couldn’t have been his fault.

He first saw the ships coming out from the south, fresh from taking out a good chunk of the northern states. He thought they were a gigantic flock of geese heading north. Of course, it was late fall now and that’s not usually what geese do at that time of the year. He realized his mistake when the missiles began flying. The tower began to rock as the buildings all around the base of the tower exploded. A thin, disc shaped ship went flying by, hovering just inches above the ground, disintegrating everything in its path. Putz closed his eyes and hung on for dear life.

When he opened his eyes once again, he was amazed to find that he was still alive and that the tower was still all in one piece. He stared out at the devastation that lay all around him. Where the great city once stood, there was now only a smoking wasteland of rubble. The constant swaying of the tower made Putz a little uneasy about staying up here any longer. He pressed the elevator button but nothing happened. After several minutes he realized the power must have gone out and he decided to take the stairs. He had barely rounded the corner when he slipped on some dust, went sliding into the stairwell and fell down 1,760 steps to the base of the CN Tower.

Todd Ross, Secondary Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, woke up to feel a wrecking ball slam into his head. At least that is how it felt to him. In fact, it was only someone gently knocking at his door. For some reason, Todd figured it had something to do with not paying the cable bill lately, they must be coming to demolish his cottage. In his present state, things were not making much sense to him.

It wasn’t the fault of the two cases of empty beer bottles that he kicked over as he stumbled into the washroom, and it certainly had nothing to do with the two empty vodka bottles that were inexplicably sitting in the microwave. It was those damn politicians and that damn president. Lousy buggers didn’t know how to run a war. War was not a time for rules and regulations, war was a time for action, for death and destruction and mayhem and most of all, nukes. A few strategically placed nukes would end this whole bloody bit of nonsense. Okay, so there was a chance that the Mexicans and the Italians and the French and the Australians and the Canadians would launch theirs as well and there would be world-wide armageddon, but who the hell cared, anything to get rid of that wrecking ball at his head.

Then his mind tried to grasp the bizarre fact that there was a wrecking ball slamming into his cottage. Flushing the toilet, he stumbled to the door and flung it open, almost falling down from the force of the bright sunshine outside.

“What the hell’s the meaning of trying to wreck my god damn house so early in the morning?”

Ten men in suits and sunglasses were staring at him. They seemed to have strange expressions on their faces and one of them was carrying a briefcase.

“Sir, if we could please come inside, and if you could please get some clothes on...”

Todd didn’t know what these strange men were talking about but he figured they seemed like nice folk and as long as they stopped that wrecking ball, he didn’t much care what they were selling. Before long they had him dressed and dragged him out to a gigantic monster that had wings and roared as soon as he climbed up its steps. He thought he recalled them saying they were taking him to Bear Fort One, though he couldn’t believe that this noisy contraption was really a fort and he certainly didn’t see any bears, though that might have explained the roaring sound he kept hearing.

A cold shower and ten mugs of coffee later, Todd was beginning to understand what the man with the briefcase was saying when he called him Mr. President. It seems, that earlier in the day, while most of the world leaders were in an important peace conference, nearly eleven thousand alien ships appeared orbitting the earth. Moments later, they entered the atmosphere and began devastating every form of life they came across. The peace conference, although not the first target, was completely destroyed, taking with it the leaders of every major country. Other attacks had killed the vice-president, secretary of defense, every major position on down the line. After scratching off name after name from the list, Todd Ross’s name finally came to the top.

“The situation is pretty grim, sir”, stated one of the men in suits, “Their ships have been landing all over. The few surviving witnesses say that they saw thousands of creatures, blood red and covered in transparent armor, emerging from the ships and setting up bases. They kill anyone they spot, nothing seems to faze them.”

“Nuke ‘em” said Todd casually.

“I beg your pardon?”

“Nuke ‘em, launch the missiles, take the bloody aliens out.”

“But sir, their forces have invaded over 75% of the planet, we would practically have to destroy the entire world just to eliminate them.”

“Does anyone have any method to destroy them yet?”

“No sir.”

“Then there’s no choice, we blow this bucket of bolts and get into Space Force One and head for the stars, nuke Earth from space.”

“But sir...”

“God damn it, am I the president or not? Get us onto Space Force One and get me the button.”

Some time later, they landed the plane in a remote southern valley and Todd was quickly whisked off to another, larger craft. Once inside, he sat in the commander’s chair and surveyed the accomodations.

“Where the hell’s the button?” he yelled to no one in particular.

“I beg your pardon?” said one of the aides.

“The button. How the hell am I going to nuke the planet?”

“Sir, you simply need to give us the word and we will transmit the message to the various sites. It’s actually a whole series of commands that must be issued.”

“I don’t give a damn how things are set up right now, just re-wire it, feed it all in to one big button... and make sure it’s red and has a big happy face on it, you know, one of those “have a nice day” faces.

The aide walked away shaking his head. Another man was about to pass by when Todd stands up and grabs him by the collar.

“How long will our supplies last once we hit space?”

“Five to six weeks.”

“Is there any way to lengthen that?”

“We could get rid of some of the unnecessary additions and use them for storage. The pool hall, the jacuzzi, racquetball court, bar...”

“Fine, fine, that’s fine. Get rid of them all but make sure you keep all the liquor. Oh, on second thought, keep the racquetball court, you never know when that might come in handy.”

“We also have four other space freighters that are ready to take on passengers. In total we should be able to carry about 20,000 people. Enough to make a new start perhaps.”

Three hours later, Space Force One, along with four mighty space freighters, blasted off from deep in the jungles of South America and hurtled into the dark void of space. Ten minutes after that, at exactly 8:52 pm AST, an extremely giddy (and somewhat inebriated) president looked at the anxious faces around him, shouted “Kissy kissy” and slammed his hand down on the big red button with a smily face.

If you don't know exactly what it means to live on Third Floor O'Brien Hall, then you probably will not be able to appreciate some of the humour of this story. As you can tell, this was written around the time that Independence Day came out. This story will hopefully involve most of the third floor members before too long even though many of them no longer live on Third Floor. (We believe that Third Floor is not a place but a state of mind.) By the way, if you are wondering about the CN Tower episode with Putz, he received his name after drinking a "wee bit too much" and falling down the stairs at residence and breaking his ankle. Meanwhile, Todd Ross (often better known as Dunk) has developed an odd fascination with nuclear weapons. I have told him that if he ever becomes president of the US (doubtful, since he's Canadian) I will have to assassinate him immediately because the very first thing he's going to do is push the button. If you wish to learn more about third floor, or just want to ask me why I spent so much time writing such a silly story, email me at:

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