BY: MARIE DRY

In a bleak future where government systems are breaking down and poverty and violence reign, Madison Johnson is about to qualify as a doctor, after years of study and backbreaking work, in order to keep the promise she made to her dying sister, only to have an arrogant alien take over the hospital and decree that she would no longer be allowed to practice medicine. Hassled by the resistance group that’s trying to recruit her and exhausted from working impossible hours, Madison struggles to convince the disturbingly sexy alien, who always watches her, to let her be a doctor. As she and Viglar grows closer, Madison worries that she’s falling in love with one of the aliens who caused her brother’s disappearance—an alien who does not know how to love…

TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Alien Resistance by Marie Dry, Madison Johnson is working as an intern at a hospital in Helena, Montana, when Viglar, one of the aliens taking over Earth, takes over the hospital. All of the doctors, including Madison, are set to work painting and working construction, remolding the hospital, instead of working as doctors, since Viglar says that they are not well trained enough to practice medicine. But Madison refuses to accept the alien’s orders, regardless of the fact that he’s sexy as hell and she is wildly attracted to him. He calls her spotted because of her freckles, and he says she has ugly hair. But Madison doesn’t care what he thinks of her as long as she gets to be a doctor and help those who are injured and sick, thus fulfilling a vow she made to her dying sister when they were children.

Like the first three books in the series, this one is tension-filled, poignant, and sexy, with a number of hot, steamy love scenes. I’ve been waiting for this book ever since the last one came out, and Dry doesn’t disappoint. Now, I can’t wait for the next one.

REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Alien Resistance by Marie Dry is the story of Madison Johnson, who has dreamed of being a doctor ever since she was a child. She has completed her studies and is now working as an intern as a hospital in Helena, Montana, not far from the stronghold of the aliens, Zyrgin warriors, who have taken control of Earth. Now the aliens have taken over the hospital, claiming that the humans know nothing about medicine and are not fit to be doctors. Madison and her colleagues are set to work remolding the hospital when Viglar, the alien doctor, takes over the care of the patients. But Madison is not about to take this lying down. She demands to be allowed to be a doctor and pesters Viglar until he relents, although she still has to paint and work on the remodeling as well. But Madison is no stranger to hard work, and she impresses Viglar by her dedication. But this backfires on her when Viglar decides she would make a good “breeder.”

Dry keeps up the pace and the tension in Alien Resistance, the fourth book in her Zyrgin Warrior series, as well as the steamy sex scenes. Her characters are charming, and I love the way Viglar takes things she says literally and the hilarity this can cause. A delightful, hot, and thoroughly entertaining read.

Chapter 1

Madison woke moaning and clenching her thighs together, reaching for a nameless muscled green alien that haunted her dreams with savage lovemaking. She sat up and wiped her sweaty brow. “Dammit, this is not happening. I’m not a freak.”

Because only a freak would dream sexy dreams of their invaders.

“Total freak,” Madison muttered. She pushed off the blankets and got up. Even the air around her smelled heavily of sex. How freaky was that? “Obviously, I take after that great, great, great voodoo priestess ancestor of mine.”

She stumbled out of bed and went to the tiny downright ugly bathroom to take a quick shower, praying there’d be water. The bathroom might be ugly, but it was a luxury to have her own. When there was water.

She almost cried in relief when the water poured out of the spout and didn’t even mind that it was cold. After dreaming of sex with a green alien, that looked suspiciously like their invaders, she needed to cool off.

“If this continues, I’m going to end up a crazy recluse living in the swamps, just like my voodoo priestess ancestor.”

She could understand dreaming of aliens after that humongous hologram of a muscled scary-looking green alien appeared all over the country and told them the Earth had been conquered by them. And then a few months later that horrific parade of alien soldiers marching through Washington. Thousands upon thousands of aliens. What she couldn’t understand was having sex dreams about an alien instead of nightmares.

She scrubbed her neck where the dream alien had tried to bite her with abnormally long teeth. And she’d begged for it like some sex-crazy idiot. Quickly finishing in the shower, she dressed in the white slacks and white short-sleeved jacket all the doctors wore and went out, carefully locking the safety padlocks her brother Joshua had installed on the door to her small flat. She then locked the security gate in front of the door and ran down the steps.

Clutching the length of iron Rory had made her promise she’d keep with her when she was out on the street, she rushed to the hospital entrance in Helena, Montana, where she worked as an intern. Walking alone on the streets was never her favorite pastime, but her friend Rachel, who also had a flat in her building was on night duty last night. Otherwise they’d have walked together for safety.

A group message had gone out on the TC last night, instructing all staff to report to the hospital at six this morning. She kicked at the rubble on the pavement. Who called a meeting at six in the morning? As far as Madison was concerned, the day started at ten. After several cups of coffee.

Rachel, her friend and fellow intern, waited for her in front of the entrance. The doors were supposed to open and close automatically, but they had broken down months ago and now stood open day and night. If the hospital had air conditioning, it would’ve been a serious problem. Now the perpetually open doors served to provide some relief from the stuffy humidity inside the hospital.

“Thanks for waiting for me,” Madison said.

Rachel smiled. “I was going to go in, but I saw your hair when you were three blocks away. It looked like moving flames.”

Madison pulled a face. She’d been teased and bullied about her red hair and freckles her whole life. She didn’t have auburn hair, or rich dark red hair, or anything nice like that—no, she was blessed with ginger red hair that acted like a beacon if she stood in the sun.

“Do you know why we’ve been summoned? The message only said we should be in the hospital foyer at six. It’s a miracle I woke when the TC beeped.”

Something called the internet was used once to keep data on. When it crashed, their civilization almost collapsed. The Touch Cell Communication Device, TC Comm or TC for short, was invented by Soft Cell a century ago, and it allowed the user to make calls. It also functioned as a holograph device for watching movies and news programs and a storage device for documents. In the hospital they used TCs to keep track of patients and their treatments and medication.

Rachel shrugged. “No one knows.”

“Do you think it could be the aliens?” Madison asked.

She balled her fists. If they killed Rory, the resistance would be the least of their problems. She’d hunt each and every alien down and kill it. And her brothers would come all the way from Alabama to help. If they hadn’t gone hunting them already.

Since that huge hologram had appeared a few months ago, and the parade of soldiers months later, Madison hadn’t seen any aliens. They didn’t walk in the streets, didn’t come to the hospital. In fact, no one she talked to had ever seen an alien. The films about their savagery and reports on the Battle at No Name Town where humans had tried to defeat the aliens were the only proof that there actually were aliens around.

When no aliens were seen, people had assumed it was a hoax or that the aliens didn’t have enough man power to police everyone, despite that parade.

Riots had raged for nearly three months. Sadly, Madison thought it was people’s general dissatisfaction with their lives, more than the arrival of aliens that got people rioting. Most people were still in shock at the idea of being ruled by beings from outer space. Madison remembered her first reaction had been that she lived in a country ruled by beings who didn’t have her well-being at heart. Their invaders had dealt with the riots swiftly and without mercy.

“I got a message last night,” she told Rachel quietly.

Madison knew she was paranoid about the aliens monitoring them, but how did they know they didn’t have cameras and listening devices everywhere? If that hologram was any indication, they were centuries ahead of earth technologically.

“Me too,” Rachel said, barely above a whisper.

“I’m a doctor, I want to save lives, not plant bombs,” Madison said quietly. She’d promised Ana that she would learn how to save injured and sick people. Joining the resistance would teach her to kill and she wanted to heal. She needed to heal. To redeem herself.

“Any word from Rory?” Rachel asked.

“Nothing.” Her brother had disappeared more than two years ago. Madison and her family never gave up hope that he’d appear one day at their house in the swamps, smiling his cocky smile.

“Don’t give up hope,” Rachel stopped and stared. “Good heavens the whole hospital staff is crammed in here. How do they breathe?”

Madison nearly walked into her. The normal sounds of garbled intercoms, rubber-soled feet, and the squeak of trolley wheels were replaced by the din of a great number of people crammed into a small space. The smell of sweat hanging unpleasantly in the air made her want to gag.

All the doctors, nurses, office and cleaning staff were crammed in what was normally a large foyer and wide hall leading to the different wards. There were lifts on either side of the hall, but no one ever used them since they broke down all the time and people had been known to be stuck in there for days. An air of expectancy hung in the room along with the oppressing humidity. Sweat broke out on her face. She probably looked like a greased pig. She envied Rachel whose light brown skin glowed attractively when she was hot and sweaty.

“Too many bodies breathing in here,” Madison muttered and inched back a little. She’d never get used to how many people are crowded into the cities. In her home town, everyone knew each other. Getting more than fifty people together was a challenge, as most people had left for the cities.

Everyone looked worried and Madison didn’t blame them. There’d been severe budget cuts lately. The broken and cracked tiles, the walls that hadn’t seen paint in decades, the lack of staff, all indicated a worrying lack of money. The only reason they had cleaning staff was because so many people were desperate for work that labor was cheap. Madison lived in fear that the hospital would be closed down, like so many others these last few decades.

Her worry was reflected on the faces around her. They all knew it was just a matter of time before they were shut down. All the hospitals in her home state of Alabama had closed when she was still in high school. Many big hospitals in cities all over the country had closed their doors in the last few years.

This was the only hospital left in several states to service most of the surrounding cities. They frequently had to turn people away who couldn’t pay, or when they didn’t have space or doctors to tend to them. The doctors were understaffed, but they had fourteen security people whose only job it was to get rid of the people the hospital couldn’t help. Madison hated those guards who stood at the entrance and made crude remarks to all the women entering the hospital.

“If it’s not the aliens, old Jacobson will probably get rid of some of us,” Madison muttered.

Jacobson was the administrator of the hospital, and he’d hated Madison ever since her brother threatened to beat him to a pulp if he didn’t accept Madison as one of the interns. She couldn’t really blame Jacobson for hating her. Rory could be scary when he was in protective mode. Jacobson loved making announcements and appearing important. If he had any sensitivity, he’d quietly call in those members of staff he planned to get rid of and do it in the privacy of his office.

Madison swallowed, her mouth suddenly drier than cotton off the stem. Jacobson hated her. He’d relish the opportunity to fire her in front of everyone.

“Shhh, he could be behind us and you know he’s got it in for you,” Rachel whispered.

Something cold slithered down Madison’s back. She checked behind and then around them and blew out a relieved breath. It would be just her luck if Jacobson lurked right behind them. Still, for a moment there, she’d felt something powerful breathing down her neck. A presence not quite human. She shrugged, her imagination had always been overactive.

A short distance from her and Rachel, two interns, Sandra and Viktor, stood talking. Of course, they didn’t look worried.

“It’s just not fair.”

“What?” Rachel asked.

“Everyone coming from families living in high cotton will get to stay.” Madison liked Viktor and had nothing against him, but a person should be able to keep their job based on the kind of work they did. Not on the amount of money your family donated to the hospital.

She’d applied six times before she was accepted into medical school. She’d learned later that Rory had bribed someone on the panel that chose the entrants. She hated that the only way anyone got in was by paying a bribe. Things shouldn’t work like that.

It had taken her two years of backbreaking work to finish her studies. After all her hard work, the only hospital hiring had been the one in Helena. An outbreak of drug resistant pox had decimated the numbers of their doctors.

“Not necessarily. You work twice as hard as any of us,” Rachel said.

“That’s not going to help me. Steto hates me and Rory isn’t here to force him to keep me.”

The hospital had received many more applications from interns than there were posts. The positions were offered to doctors from prominent families who could offer incentives. Her younger brother Rory, had promised her she would be accepted. He’d paid the administrator, Jacobson, a visit and assured him if Madison wasn’t offered a position, all seven of her brothers would return. Apparently, there had been some bloodshed before Rory got Jacobson to appoint Madison. Rory hadn’t been as surprised as Madison at how the system worked. He simply did what had to be done to help her reach her goal.

“Maybe Joshua will come,” Rachel said with real hope.

“No, it would just make more trouble.” Madison sighed and adjusted her collar. “Just ignore me. I’m being selfish, worrying about my own job.” She had to find a way to tell Rachel that Joshua would never be interested in her, but it would devastate her friend.

Rachel smiled mischievously. “Rory did say all seven of your brothers would be back if he messed with you.”

Jacobson had wisely decided he didn’t want to eat his food through a straw for the rest of his life and had appointed her. But he made no secret of how much he hated her.

Madison had been appalled at what her brother had done, but she’d also grabbed the chance to train in a city hospital. He might have caved and appointed her, but Jacobson had found ways to get even. Ways that normally left her without a salary for months on end, which meant no coffee. A vicious cycle as far as Madison was concerned.

“He’s still trying to get you for speaking out against the aliens,” Rachel said. As usual when she talked about the creatures that had invaded and conquered earth, there was something in her voice, something Madison couldn’t quite identify, but that she thought might be hatred. Intense personal hatred. As if they’d wronged her somehow. Rachel refused to talk about it and Madison respected her privacy.

Madison had made no secret of her own hatred of the aliens. The fear that Rory had been slaughtered at the Battle of No Name Town haunted her. A few years ago the government had released a statement and shown the world a purple alien. They’d been told that more aliens were living near No Name Town. Raiders and opportunists had swarmed to the small town, only to encounter a kind of force field that kept them away from the aliens—until the freaks, that turned out to be green, came out and slaughtered every man in that camp. Madison suspected Rachel also had family in that camp, because she shut down whenever the battle was mentioned.

“They caught me by surprise,” Madison mumbled.

It hadn’t been her best moment. She’d seen the film the resistance had released, showing the aliens viciously killing humans. When that reporter had asked her about her opinion, all her hatred had spilled out. The film had played on her fears about Rory who’d been missing almost two years at that stage. She should’ve kept quiet. She’d half expected a TC message, that told her she was fired for opening her big mouth against the aliens that took over their planet.

“There he is, pompous ass,” Rachel muttered.

She couldn’t stand Jacobson, but was better at concealing it than Madison. Madison envied Rachel her ability to keep calm in situations that had Madison spewing venom.

Jacobson’s tall thin frame brimmed with excitement. He touched the old fashioned stethoscope he always wore around his neck in a nervous habit and then dropped it.

“Old steto is bursting with news,” Rachel whispered.

He’d earned the nick name because as an administrator he had no reason to wear a stethoscope, but was never without it.

“And he’s scared.” Madison could see his Adams apple work as he kept swallowing and adjusting his stethoscope.

Jacobson cleared his throat. “Good morning, colleagues. As you are aware, you were all called—”

A very tall, muscled green alien in a silver uniform stepped forward. He appeared as if from nowhere and a gasp went up in the warm stifled room. Madison had the most peculiar feeling, a deep instinctive knowing that the imposing alien, with the soulless black eyes, would have a profound impact on her life. Her heart stopped beating for one endless moment, when it felt like gravity fell away. He wore a white coat over his uniform and she knew that face with its sharp cheekbones and cold black eyes. It was the alien from her dream. Or nightmare. If he stood among a thousand aliens, she’d be able to pick him out of the crowd. Yet she knew she’d never seen him before. How was it possible to have sex dreams of someone you’ve never even seen before?

He pushed Jacobson aside. The poor man stuttered and stopped speaking, swallowed and slinked back. A murmur went through the crowd. Some of the people gathered there inched towards the exit.

The alien looked at them with those soulless black eyes that made you feel it looked deep into your soul and found you wanting. His gaze rested briefly on her and a small shock went through her system, as if that gaze was a live wire. Dead silence had fallen over the room and, to Madison, it felt as if the heat had intensified.

He was tall and muscled, much taller than human men, with green and copper striations on his skin that made her think unpleasantly of a reptile, but it also gave him a tough armored look. What would his skin feel like if she touched it? In her dreams it had been warm, rippling with muscles. Madison forced her mind back from those dangerous speculations.

He regarded the humans with black soulless eyes above sharp cheekbones and a jaw so square and exaggerated, he reminded her of a classic batman illustration. A ridge bisected his bald head and stopped just above his nose. His white doctor’s coat appeared incongruous over his silver uniform.

How was it that he looked exactly like the alien in the holograph, and yet she knew she’d be able to tell them apart?

“Ugly bloody bastard,” Madison muttered between clenched teeth and his eyes flicked to her. And again that electrified feeling zapped through her system.

When his gaze left her, it felt as if it left a physical touch on her body. She’d been hot before, now she burned.

She exchanged an uneasy glance with Rachel. How sharp were those recessed ears? Rumor had it they had super human strength. That bullets bounced of them.

“What the hell does he want with us?” she mumbled very, very softly.

His gaze flicked to her again, so brief, if she haven’t been looking at him, she would’ve missed it.

“This hospital is under Zyrgin control.” His fang like incisors flashed white in the artificial lights provided by the bare light bulbs that hung from frayed wires from the ceiling.

His voice sent goose bumps over her whole body. Cold and clipped with an undertone, as if ice cubes were grating against each other. It stroked her nerve ends in a roughened caress and she shivered. She was losing her mind. No way could one of those hated aliens make her feel like this with only his voice. She blamed those dreams that played havoc with her body and made it think it should react with pleasure to the alien’s presence and voice.

“You will address me as Viglar. I rule this hovel you call a hospital. Until further notice, you are taken off medical duty.” He looked around the room, managed to convey his disdain of each and every human present. Madison was sure he looked at her specifically for a few tense seconds.

Loud protests from the crowd.

“Quiet, humans.” He didn’t raise his voice, but silence fell in one chill swoop.

His lip curled back from those wicked incisors. “You will assist with building and painting the new hospital. You will no longer be able to be lazy.”

“Lazy,” Madison exclaimed and his gaze flicked to her very briefly, but still she felt it like a whip mark on her skin.

“And who’s supposed to do any doctoring,” someone in the middle of the crowd called out.

“A limited amount of doctors will be allowed to continue tending to the patients. Your training and knowledge are pitiful. New doctors will be trained to have adequate skills and to replace you.”

“Oh, I don’t think so,” Madison muttered, so angry she barely heard the noise of her colleagues protesting. Who did this alien think he was, to come in here and try and take away her career. She’d worked so hard to get here. To be able to keep her promise to Ana. ‘Help me, Maddie, make the pain go away.’

She looked around, still so angry she was dizzy. Everyone talked at once, shouting at the alien, while he stood with his booted feet planted wide apart and his arms crossed over his chest, looking at the humans as if they were slaves beneath his notice.

“Quiet, humans,” the alien repeated. He didn’t raise his voice, didn’t move or shout, but again quiet descended.

All the humans who’d been shouting at him inched back a little.

His lip curled up a little on the right side of his thin lips, sneering at them? “Medical units will be installed. These units are too advanced for your primitive human brains to understand, but will deal with minor health problems.”

Murmuring broke out again and he silenced it with a look. “All you need to know is that it functions at a higher level than you do and can assist patients faster with more efficiency and knowledge than you are able to do.”

“We demand to continue as doctors. We’ve got contracts.”

The alien seemed to think about it. “I doubt you are capable of acquiring the knowledge needed to function at an acceptable level. Your contracts does not interest me.”

An angry murmur went through the humans, gaining momentum. Madison wanted to storm up to that alien and grab him by the throat and, no doubt, the others felt the same. How dare he belittle their skills like that? Brush off their accomplishments as if all the studying and hard work and sacrifice was nothing?

The alien merely looked at them with that expressionless face.

“What the hell?” Dr. Paulsen, their seasoned doctor muttered.

“We’ve got rights,” a few people shouted.

“Who are you to come in here and tell us what we can and can’t do?”

“Quiet,” the alien repeated in his firm, gravelly voice. Again, he didn’t have to raise his voice. The humans all stilled. Madison had the same reaction, her body freezing in place. It was an involuntary fright reaction. As if her brain recognized being confronted by an animal higher up on the food chain. She’d never hated anyone as much as she hated this alien. She glared at him, not caring if he saw her.

“From now until a new hospital is built, all humans will be required to work longer hours. Laziness will not be tolerated,” he said in a grating firm voice.

“Like we’re just sitting around doing nothing,” Rachel murmured.

“Lazier than cut strings, that’s us,” Madison said. “I’m fixin to wash his mouth out with soap.”

“Shhh,” Rachel whispered without moving her lips.

“Your shameful habit of taking long breaks will not be tolerated,” he said it as if taking a break is akin to murder.

“I thought we’re not good enough to be doctors. Why would we stick around and do your building for you?” Clarkson shouted from somewhere in the front.

“Yeah, as if we actually have time for breaks now.” Even while she quietly whispered to Rachel, Madison worried.

That green alien looked pretty determined to her, and she was afraid he was going to destroy her lifelong ambition to become a doctor. She could return to Alabama and set up a practice in the small town close to her parents and brother’s house. Doctors were scarce. But she had so much more to learn. She needed to know everything, to make sure she could help all the patients coming to her.

He stopped speaking for a long tense moment, his eyes on Madison. How sensitive are those recessed alien ears of his? she wondered again.

Another murmur went through the humans. The alien continued to speak. “You will complete a ten hour shift on building duty and then do a further four hour shift when necessary.” His glance seared Madison. “Your weak human females will have painting duties.”

At the front, Clarkson elbowed his way toward the alien. Although unions had disbanded ten years ago, he liked to call himself the union representative. Madison thought he’d earned the title, going toe to toe with Jacobson almost every day.

“Now he’s done it,” Rachel murmured.

“Yeah, world war four is upon us,” Madison agreed. She didn’t appreciate being called a weak female, but Clarkson was about to go through the roof.

One of the new interns, Clarkson had started protesting working hours and working conditions the moment he walked into the hospital. While the alien talked, Madison had noticed Clarkson getting redder in the face.

Rachel and Madison both refused to take part in the sit ins he organized to protest their sixty-hour work week. Madison, who routinely put in eighty-hour work weeks, couldn’t justify leaving her patients unattended. She also knew there was no money in the budget to appoint more doctors. Rachel always kept a low profile and managed to avoid angering Jacobson or Clarkson. Madison and Clarkson frequently had trouble with their paychecks because they never backed down when dealing with Jacobson. Problems Rachel never experienced.

Madison might not do sit ins and demand shorter work weeks, but her mouth frequently got her into trouble with Jacobson.

“I won’t be used for slave labor,” Clarkson said. He took a step forward. “We have rights, and you cannot come in here and lay down arbitrary rules without consulting with us first.”

Everyone gasped and a hush fell over the room. A few people inched toward the exit, but froze in place when a chill alien gaze pinned them.

“You have to admire his moxy,” Madison murmured. She wasn’t going to allow this alien to dictate to her, but she didn’t have the guts to face him down in front of everybody.

Rachel nodded her agreement.

Madison cringed when that empty looking gaze went to Clarkson. That was what his eyes reminded her of. A huge black hole that sucked in everything that came too close. A place where nothing survived, not even stars.

The alien moved so fast he was a blur. One moment he stood against the wall and the next, he grabbed Clarkson by the throat, lifting him off his feet. “You will work when I tell you to, human. I will not tolerate laziness or disrespect.”

His calm gravelly voice again sent shivers to places Madison didn’t want affected by that alien. Especially not while he held Clarkson like a rag doll.

Clarkson was red and turning purple. “I have rights,” he gurgled through the pressure on his throat.

Madison had to give him points for courage, or stupidity. She balled her fists. Everyone was scared, including her, but she couldn’t stand by and allow that cold-blooded reptile to kill Clarkson. She wasn’t a fan of Clarkson, but he didn’t deserve that for speaking out.

Holding Clarkson up with one hand, the alien turned him from side to side, inspecting him like a specimen under a microscope. The scary part was the fact that Clarkson’s feet were a few inches off the ground. The alien moved him easily, as if he weighed no more than a doll.

Madison was about to rush forward when the alien dropped Clarkson, who fell on the floor with a sickening thud, where he writhed, coughing and wheezing.

The green freak returned to his previous spot against the wall. With that attitude, it was a wise precaution. He was sure to get stabbed if he allowed anyone at his back. She’d like to storm up there and stab him in his putrid green heart with a scalpel. Did he help slaughter humans at the Battle of No Name Town, or did he only heal the wounded murdering alien scum. Every time she saw those clips showing their savagery, Madison thought of Rory maybe dying at their hands. Alone, without his family.

The alien continued as if Clarkson wasn’t wheezing for breath at his feet. “Jacobson will allocate new duties.” He turned his head, making eye contact with everyone. “Laziness will be dealt with. You are dismissed.” He moved back a step and then disappeared.

Everyone gasped and deadly silence descended on the room for a few minutes. Then Clarkson dragged himself up, and, as if that broke the spell, everyone started talking and shouting together, demanding to know what was going on.

Madison and Rachel cued with the others in a long line in front of Jacobson, who managed to stand on something that made him stand head and shoulders above the crowd.

“Vain bugger,” Rachel muttered.

“Bet you he gives me the worst tasks,” Madison mumbled. Her mind still on the fact that the aliens planned to train new doctors and get rid of her and her colleagues. “Though he’s a picnic compared to that alien horror we have to put up with.”

She didn’t know if she was angry or afraid but her insides trembled and every now and then she’d feel dizzy with the need to go and grab that alien by the throat.

They stood in silence for a while, but Madison couldn’t keep her resentment in. She’d never have Rachel’s ability to hide her feelings.

“He basically told us we’re too stupid to be doctors.” How dare he judge them without even knowing them? She worked eighty hour weeks most times and he had the gall to tell them laziness will not be tolerated.

“Who, Jacobson?” Rachel said with a frown.

“No, that blasted alien.”

Whispers went through the queue in front of them, and they stood on their toes trying to see what was happening. Three interns who joined the hospital recently were informed that they would be kept on medical duty. Madison was livid. “I worked the longest hours. I’m the one that should be kept on medical duty.”

A long time later, they reached the front of the queue and stood before Jacobson who barely looked at Madison. Sandra, an intern stood next to him with a TC held against her ample chest, helping him. It was rumored that she and Jacobson had an affair, though Madison couldn’t imagine having a relationship with him. To each his own. Sandra’s nasty little remarks to Madison had intensified these last few week and that did bother her.

Madison was assigned to emptying store rooms in preparation for the changes to be made to the building. Afterward, she had to join the painting crews to paint the areas that would not be rebuilt.

That was the start of a grueling six hours being worked like a slave. Madison was so tired that night when she got home, she fell into bed without eating. Every bone in her body ached, and she cursed that alien freak. She’d studied medicine because she wanted to save lives. She didn’t mind carrying bricks and emptying the storeroom. But what if the building took years? She needed to qualify, to learn. She was so close to keeping her promise to Ana. That alien wouldn’t stop her.

Two weeks later, they were all called to assemble outside at the back of the hospital. She and Rachel, still in their paint spattered over coats, trudged in the wake of the others.

“Now what did that alien come up with to torture us,” Madison muttered.

“Shhh, he might hear you, he can turn invisible. For all we know he could be standing right next to us,” Rachel said softly.

“I hope he’s close to us, he needs to hear a few things about himself that might improve his attitude.”

They entered into the bright spring morning air to find three men and a woman with their hands tied behind their backs. They stood with their chins raised, their eyes blazing. The first day Madison started at the hospital one of the other interns had told her never to mess with any of the three, who had some nasty connections.

“Now what does that alien think he’s doing?” Rachel muttered.

“They’re the three running the drugs out of the hospital. Daniel is a nasty piece of work. I try to stay out of his way,” Madison said.

The few times she’d had to go to him to get drugs for a patient, the way he’d looked at her had made her want to take a bath.

“If it’s the alien that tied them up, I wouldn’t be so defiant,” Rachel said.

They’d all developed a healthy respect for the alien. He didn’t hesitate to physically enforce his commands. And that was what they were, commands. He didn’t ask or instruct, and Madison didn’t have to guess who tied the hands of the two men and one woman in front of her. Everyone knew they belonged to the medical Mafia and ran drugs out of the hospital and they were all too scared to take them on. Only one being wouldn’t hesitate.

“Yeah, I doubt the aliens are scared of any human mafia.” Madison despised those three, but was careful never to show it. They had killed and maimed family members of doctors who tried to take get them kicked out of the hospital.

Viglar appeared in that way they hadn’t been able to figure out. One moment he wasn’t there and the next he was. He paced in front of the three drug smugglers and addressed the crowd. “Humans have no honor. Stealing from the sick and injured is the act of a woumber and a coward. Stealing drugs in this hospital will not be tolerated.”

“What’s a woumb—what the hell?”

A sword appeared in his hand as if by magic.

© 2017 by Marie Dry