When they came in, they always came in fast. They skid low across the atmosphere like silvery stones, flushed with coldness and dawn. It seems like they had been coming for a few years now, and perhaps observing for some time before that. We knew what they had been doing for awhile, but due to the scale of the previous conflict their depredations went unnoticed. Unnoticed at least by nations and armies. The inhabitants of a remote farm would go missing. Bandits, of course. A fishing vessel might disappear, just before dawn on a clear calm night. Drift mine, most likely. However, the disappearance of all the human inhabitants from certain remote island chains seemed harder to explain.
As things were rebuilt, one missing person became ten, then a hundred, then a thousand. A sort of harvest was suspected. It took radar and collective will to finally see them clearly. Silent, swift, and hungry. We almost never saw them at all. We never found any trace of their victims. They came o