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Selma had already started to run before the huge Dumpship glimmered into existence miles above her and began emptying its cargo of waste. Spilling out, the alien detritus tumbled down like a toxic waterfall, smothering and suffocating those scavenging below.

It had only been four years since the first Dumpship appeared. The world had become an irreversible, ecological nightmare and had attracted, like flies to a corpse, a species who considered it a lost cause. After all, if such disregard was given by its own inhabitants then why should others care?

Selma sometimes rummaged through the garbage and came across objects whose existence she had no answer for: inventions and constructions of a foreign, short-lived purpose. Some were hazardous. She had witnessed endless horrific mutilations and deaths at their hands. Selma herself had lost two fingers, crunched and mangled in the mouldering maw of a grotesque cedarn box.

An alert bleep-blooped to warn her that she needed to return underground to replenish her air supply. The droning thrum of more Dumpships reverberated overhead as they sparkled out of the aether.

Scrambling over the hills of rejected things, Selma saw her refuge: the silo tower. The tip rose slightly above the highest point but it wouldn’t be long before that too would be buried. Ascending to the top she opened the hatch and climbed inside.

Fatigued, she clambered down the column to a damp, bug-ridden warren. Worms and insects were commonplace, encouraged to multiply by the repulsive bounty above. They consumed the hellish material discarded by the Dumpships and, in turn, became hellish and legion.

Before Selma could rest, she was asked to go back to the surface by her wife, Nancy. A new kind of vessel had been spotted carrying a vast, single item of cargo. Remonstrating, Selma eventually conceded and, after replenishing her odorous air tanks, went back up.

She didn’t need binoculars to see the ship. It was enormous. Clamped to its belly was what appeared to be a decaying and damaged statue. The invaders had gone to considerable effort to remove it from their world to bring it here.

As Selma reported back, the monstrous craft released its clamps and the statue fell. It pivoted, landing on its side with an enormous amount of force. The shockwave hit Selma, leaving her unsteady. The ground beneath where the alien effigy landed collapsed. She felt muffled explosions and soon saw thin wisps of rising smoke in the distance. The warren had been directly underneath. It was gone.

Nancy was gone.

Swallowing the last fragments of her air, Selma surveyed the carnage and devastation. The patinated statue had cracked and broken in several places.

She stared at the markings on the base of the copper memoriam. Her people had never been able to translate the language, never found a way to beg the Dumpships to stop.

With her final breath, Selma wrote down the symbols:

OUR INSPIRATION.

WE ARE CLEANING THE EARTH IN YOUR HONOR FOR MANKIND.

THUNBERG DISPOSAL CORPORATION.

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