Monsters of the Southwest: The Greys

“He awoke with alarm bells ringing in his head and cold dread oozing down his spine.  The room felt dark and quiet but the reptile part of his mind was terrified beyond belief.  The paralysis of sleep took a Herculean effort to overcome, something adrenaline and terror should have overridden.  Finally, after an eternity of struggle, he managed to roll over in bed and collapsed against his pillow from the effort.  His tired eyes locked on three small figures next to his bed.  In the dark he couldn’t make out their color but they looked like stick figures with big heads and huge, black eyes.

One of the figures pointed something at him, a rod or some sort of tube.  There was a flash of light and then … nothing.

He awoke to the sound of birds chirping and sunlight streaming through the windows of his room.  A splitting headache and blood on his pillow were all that remained of the mysterious visitors.”

UFO sightings have happened all over the world.  From Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe, at some point or another every place on the planet has had a UFO sighting of some sort or another, so how come I feel like I can refer to the Greys as a Southwestern monsters?  Well, it’s simple, really.  The Southwestern United States can lay claim to a couple of the largest mysteries in the UFO realm.  We’ve got Roswell and Area 51 in our court.  Of lesser renown but still important in these circles is the infamous Archuleta Mesa in Dulce, NM.  England has the crop circles but we’ve got the crashed UFOs and at least a handful of the little dudes safely behind bars in the desert.

cropcircle
I’m not saying it was aliens, but it was aliens.

By the way, here’s a fun fact about both Henchmen and Arise: the cover designs were inspired by crop circles.  See, you learn something every day.

Now, for this installment of the fabulously popular Monsters of the Southwest, we’ll be focusing on the occupants of the UFOs, those little guys with huge black eyes and a penchant for playing hide the pellet.  Growing up in New Mexico I spent a lot of my life hearing about aliens and, if you read my author bio on Amazon you’ll find that I talk about roaming around the hills looking for buried treasure and UFOs.  I wasn’t joking.  That was called weekends when I was growing up.  As far as finding things, well, let’s just say I’m not 100% convinced it’s all bull.

Which makes this kind of an interesting installment in this series.  Coco and La Llorona are both pretty much considered to be just stories; a way of keeping kids in line and warning people about their egos.  The Greys are a different story altogether and while you’re unlikely to come across someone who says, “Yes!  I have met Coco!” or “La Llorona?  She’s right over there, might wanna leave your kids here, though,” there are plenty of people of sound mind and body who will swear on a stack of Bibles (or in my case a stack of Mad Magazines) that the aliens are very real.  Folks from all walks of life, from the rum soaked burnout living in the hills to retired military generals have claimed – publicly, no less – that the Greys are the real deal.

Mr. Grey will see you now.
Mr. Grey will see you now.

I’m not here to debate that.  I don’t have any evidence one way or the other to present about the veracity of extraterrestrial life.  It’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility.  Of course, I guess if you want to get technical; if you assume the Greys are a possibility then it stands to reason that other strange things could be a possibility, too.  Then you’re stuck, painted into a corner by your own logic and having to swallow the fact that maybe, just maybe, Coco and La Llorona are either real or based on real events.

Since it’s estimated that a full 25% of the Internet(1) is devoted to stories of the Greys, I won’t belabor the point and try to discuss every single theory out there.  You can read up on the history of the alien stories anywhere.  Rather I’d like to discuss how they relate to the events of Henchmen and Arise.  While these guys don’t actively show up in either story they’re very much in the background of both books and serve, to a certain extent, to generate some plot elements and show an interesting side to Eve.

The Greys are referenced a few times throughout the story arc of Henchmen and Arise.  In Henchmen, as Eve and Steven are searching for the correct door to open they come across a kind of map describing what projects are being carried out behind each door.  The basic breakdown – in government project speak – is like this:

  1. The Hole
  2. Angels Above
  3. The Sleeper

(Spoiler alert: they find out what’s behind door number 3)

During the process of figuring it out, our hero Steven (who already has knowledge of the creatures) tries to explain to Eve (who is fascinated with the idea of aliens) how the Greys are of limited use.

“What do you think “Angels Above” is?”  Eve asks.  “Think it could be aliens?”

“Possible,” I tell her.  “They’re not that exciting, though.  Their weapons aren’t all that spectacular and we can’t recreate their power supply, so they’re basically useless to us.”

“Wait a minute.  There are actually aliens on Earth, and you know about them? And you never said anything?” she asks.

I look at her for a moment.  This is the one of a very few times I’ve ever seen Eve excited, and she’s giddy as a schoolgirl.  I never pegged her as the type to get excited over aliens.

“I’m sorry,” I say.  “It honestly never came up, and I don’t think too much about it anymore.”

“They’re real?” She asks.

“Yeah.  Great big eyes and everything.  They have a deep and abiding love of black licorice.”

“Why are they here?”

“They sent out ships in every direction, one of them stumbled across us.  Pure accident,” I say.

“Do they know anything?”

“They know they’re tired of deep space and they like black licorice.  Other than that, they’re basically long-haul truckers who’ve found a truck stop and though we’d be an easy conquest.”

I look her in the eyes and she looks crushed.

“I’m sorry.  It’s just how it is.  They just kind of do what they do.  They’re not all that different than us – same motivations, similar weaknesses.  Their technology is more advanced, but that doesn’t mean the average individual is more advanced.  Humans can make some pretty amazing things, but that doesn’t mean your average sofa slob knows a damn thing about making circuit boards.”

After all the build-up most people have about aliens, it’s disappointing to find out they’re not magical or wise or uplifting.  I was just disappointed I wouldn’t be able to fly their ship.

I have to admit I love this little interchange between them.  It shows that Eve, who is the supervillain of the story, isn’t all-knowing and still has a sense of wonder even after her 1000+ years of life.  I also find it amusing that throughout most of the book she knows far more about what’s going on than Steven and doesn’t bat an eye at having to fight a monster to get where they need to go, but she gets first excited then disappointed when she learns the sad truth about the aliens.

They’re used a bit more in Arise, but are still background characters. (spoiler alert!)  It was a hybridization process performed at Archuleta Mesa that granted Wilford Saxton his strange ability to come back after being shot and blown up.  He was the first successful prototype of an alien/human hybrid.

Hipster alien: was into cattle mutilation and probing before it was cool.
Hipster alien hybrid: was into cattle mutilation and probing before it was cool.

The other thing we learn in Arise is Eve’s interest in the aliens (again, spoiler alert).  Bear in mind, she’s pretty old and the centuries have stacked up on her.  She’s looking for a way out of life but is stuck with that whole immortal thing that makes it difficult to die.  By her reckoning, if she can’t die normally she has two options: either find a way off this rock or find a way to kick off Ragnarök.  Eve’s story still hasn’t ended so we’ll just have to see what happens to her in the future.  A dream sequence seems to indicate she finds a way to end the world, but dreams without energy are just dreams.

In the world of Henchmen and Arise the Greys are considered something of a pathetic, dying race.  Their technology is so advanced it can’t effectively be copied.  The aliens themselves, while doubtless intelligent, are the specialists of their species and can’t really explain how their technology works and so, therefore, are of limited value outside of the biology.  They’re hardly the central part of the story as either protagonist or antagonist.  The mythology surround the Greys already pretty well established and I simply had trouble finding a way to expand on that other than looking at a quiet takeover and that would have changed the tone of the story significantly.

the_greys_by_painteddemons-d5egucd

The reason for this is simple: the story of the aliens has been told by better authors than myself and told better than I could possibly do so anything I came up with would simply be derivative of other works.  The same can be said of UFOs and abductions.  I wanted to include the Greys in some way or another.  I am from New Mexico, after all.  In fact when I was first thinking about the end-game of Henchmen the first idea I came up with was the protagonist (Steven didn’t have a name at that point) breaking into a base and breaking an alien out.  The joke was on him, though.  They weren’t friendly or easy to deal with.  He runs into a small collective of the beings and their psychic presence nearly wipes him out.  It was only the leader’s (Eve didn’t have a name at that point, either) constant reminder over the radio to keep his mind about him.  He winds up shooting one of them and the rest scatter.

That scene never made it from my head onto – well, not paper, but you know what I mean.  I never wrote it even though I could see it in my head.  In the long run, the idea of a captured god was much more interesting, even if it’s not really all that different in the final analysis.

So, are the Greys real?  I can’t say for certain, but I’m not willing to dismiss their story entirely as the ramblings of drunken lunatics or broken minds.  Why anyone would cover the vast distances of empty space to mutilate cattle and probe humans is beyond me, but they are called aliens for a reason.  Humans have trouble understanding people from the other side of the planet, there’s no reason to expect we should be able to grok people from another world.  All I know is this:  Be happy the Greys are these guys

MoonGray
See, the moon landing wasn’t faked.

and not these guys

Alien_by_arvalis
This is his happy face.

As usual, some stats and basic facts.

Stats:

Size: Mostly described as between a couple to four feet or so.  Not terribly physically strong.

Speed: They’re not reported to be very physically strong or fast, but they’re not slow, either.  Some reports describe them as moving like kids in short, sharp bursts of speed.

Attack: Technologically advanced but you don’t hear much about their weaponry.  Many reports describe the ability to basically “shut down” and take over victims.  Whether this is because of fear, psychic power, or something else is unknown.

Special Abilities: Interstellar flight, tractor beams, ships seem to be able to show up on radar but human weapons appear to be ineffective.

Armor: Nothing specifically described, but missiles never hit them.

Environment: Most stories involving encounters take place far from large populations although they don’t seem to be averse to buzzing large population centers.  See the Phoenix UFOs and the vast amount of stories involving cars breaking down in the middle of nowhere.  It’s safe to assume they can be anywhere and everywhere.

Alignment: Unknown.

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