Dreams of the Szechuan House Fiend, in which a troubling nocturnal phantasy is brought about by too much Half-Life: Opposing Force and Chinese food:

An alien spacecraft crashes in the desert behind my workplace. A fighter plane from the nearby Marine Corps Air Station appears and begins attacking it. The craft responds by firing some sort of energy cannon, downing the jet. As the jet glides lazily to earth the pilot ejects and a couple of us run up the hill to where she's landed. She accompanies us back and sits out on the balcony with us and a large group of my fellow employees as we eat lunch and watch to see what's coming next. The pilot is unhappy--she's just an intern with the Corps and feels she got a raw deal with this mission. "Hey, you made first contact," I call after her as she starts the long walk back to the base. "Of course you did drop a bomb on it, but it still looks damn good on a resume."

Moments later the sky is swarming with Marine fighter jets strafing the spacecraft, dropping bombs on it, firing missiles. "They're attacking Section Z," one of the guys from the Facilities department says in a worried tone of voice. So? we ask. "This balcony is part of Section Z." Suddenly two bombs plummet from the sky and crash through the deck we're standing on. There's a mad rush to get back into the building. We race out to the front parking lot, as far away from the fighting as we can, but the conflict is spreading out there as well. Explosions and fire are everywhere.

Amid the chaos I see the space shuttle coming in low toward our building and releasing what looks like a Titan missile. The missile crashes into the back of the building and tears through it to emerge out the front. "Run!" I shout and take off down the street. I know now that the military isn't interested in saving our lives. They may be planning to cover up some or all of this incident and if we get killed in the course of the operation it means fewer people to contradict their story. After a few seconds I realize that I can't run fast and far enough to get out of the blast radius and I don't want to be caught in the open when that thing goes off. I dart around the corner of a bank and duck and cover, huddling against the stucco wall.

There's a deafening explosion and a rushing wind. Dust and debris hurtle past in the street. I wonder if this is a small nuke. I wonder if any of my co-workers made it to safety. I wonder if, even though it looks like I escaped the blast, I'm going to die anyway from radiation poisoning. I wonder what they're telling the world about this on radio and television right now.

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