Written & Drawn By
Mission Day 148, Nopoin, May 28 2776, In The Big Sky
My initial assessment of The Big Sky may have been optimistic. It appears that this is a volatile environment.
I have become immersed in a fantastic storm the size of Mars.
The monster approached at half the speed of sound and was grasping me before I could outrun it. I would not have been able to outrun it.
It has me. And now the need to survive overrides discovering the nature of the creature that sent me here, and devising a way to obtain that degree of manipulation for my use.
The dust batters incessantly. Strange objects pass. I detect more victims of the creature’s banishment.
Here they come. First a child and a woman huddled in a broken globe. Now a ragged man peddling furiously to churn a fan that barely propels him against the gale. Yet he struggles mightily, as if to catch up to the broken globe, steering with feeble rudders.
Are they his family? Or the only other beings he has found in this vastness? How desperate he seems, so close to what he needs, unable to reach what he can almost touch.
I, too, am powerless against this force. Therefore I shall use my power with this force.
Assessing meteorological factors – analyzing patterns – detecting localized anomalies – determining strategy to launch body…
I launch into the wind precisely aimed to ride an elliptic air wave swiftly behind the man on the peddler.
The human is shocked at my appearance, uttering profanities.
I engage thrusters and shove his ramshackle transportation strenuously toward the swept globe.
I witness a sentimental reunion.
I am satisfied not to be human.
Day 149, May 29, Professor Lionel Flamear’s Record…
My seventh day in Super Sky.
Twilight all the time. This throws off my sleep. The insect cloud that approaches does not help.
First I hear it coming. A low hum getting louder. Then I see it growing. Thick. Heavy. A storm of biting Hell. No way to avoid it.
I feel the first bugs one by one. Like automatic particle beam discharges. Then several at once. Then large smatterings.
Now I see the creatures, tiny individuals, everywhere around me in the weightless air. The insects have flapping, buzzing wings, zipping around me when not crashing into me. Above, below, everywhere.
Everywhere…until it stops. My eyes don’t open easily. The silence is warm. Yet…
Still there is… flapping?
I look to see – they are back! The two bird people who’ve flown by twice since I’ve been here. Their wings scattered the insects to save me!
I pull a beer from my polymarble to celebrate. I hold it out, offering a drink from my zero-g cup to my new friends. They don’t understand and fly away.
Again I try to see where they go – but – they keep going until I can’t see them. Too small. Too far.
That’s how they’ve come and gone twice before. Out of nowhere, back to nowhere.
I thought when the kid sent us away, all of us would go to the same place.
I just didn’t think that place would be this big!
Twilight Force Mission Day 150, May 30 2776, Deva Ichnida, U.S. State Department, Location Uncertain…
…But those who came here before me indicate that I’m inside a world made entirely of water. The surface is a great sphere of warm waves pulled by moons and pushed by atmosphere, and the core is a cold thick immensity of crushing pressures.
My undersea associates manage to convey to me that a creature lurks here that’s taken aversion to humanoids.
I find out for myself today.
After a week in this place I can’t understand why Anthony sent me here. He was supposed to send me to the same place he sent the others. Wasn’t I specific enough for that moronic megalomaniac?
No one else from Twilight Force could survive this world for long. Well, maybe Alpha. But there’s been no sign of them yet, and this is apparently quite a large world.
Language barriers prevent detailed exchanges. Still I glean certain things about this world, like the fact that it’s made of layers of water, like a cake, and ecosystems within each layer that rarely mingle. Even the icy core has life thriving in it.
So did Anthony send us here to die?
A current sweeps me backward with sudden ferocity.
I’m sensing something large approaching. Too murky for vision to verify. Listening.
Another sweeping wave, rolling me and all newfound companions like leaves in a hurricane.
A stream of explosive bubbles shoots out of a giant centipede that’s slithering up from the black below.
The bubble stream crosses our path and instantly blows a man apart!
Senator Pretyman, Sky City, Mission Day 151, May 31 In Our Year 2776
More than ever, I need a cause. And I need to put action to a cause. I’m a born instigator. And my cause right now is to bring my team – my American brethren – together again, and then back to Solsys. It might be possible. But we need our breadth of experience to do it.
If this is the cornfield, it may be where everyone gets sent by Little Anthony Asshole.
Friday: Asking around across mixed language barriers I find out that most people who’ve heard of Solsys think it’s a myth. That’s like not believing in Earth! In fact that’s exactly what it means. But there are rumors of those who sound like me, who might be from the same “mythical” place.
Saturday: I go to a village on the outskirts of Sky City called Rockville. Someone heard that someone said that an asteroid wrangler out here claimed to be from a weird sounding planet called Peaksville, Ohio.
Ohio is an American state, if it’s the same one.
Mister Cresp might be from Ohio. Who could know? Maybe Alpha was built there. Or maybe this guy from Ohio is just another of Antagonized Anthony’s random victims? I start asking questions tonight. It goes on for days.
Today: I’m finally in touch with the Ohioan. But damn my luck! Just when I’m about to meet him an alarm sounds warning of a stellar eruption. The nearest star, though billions of miles away, has spit a prominence into the sky that’s sending a massive plasma stream directly at us. We already see the glow.
Residents of Sky City have one week to evacuate and move outside the range of total destruction…!
June 1 2776, Mission Day 152, Space And Time Administration Representative Mister Cresp Recording…
Three individuals are following me. I’ve finally made contact with someone. They’re catching up to me. Not sure how they’re propelling or maneuvering. No sign of jets or rockets. Magnetism?
They pull up to me. The short-haired woman speaks.
“You’re putting out a unique energy signature. And that deceased body you’re dragging is wreaking with it. Any idea why?”
She was only being playful. I never thought to warn her.
“Well…we passed through an odd cloud,” I lie, “and that’s when I first noticed a weird feeling all up and down my back.”
For the last week I’ve used her jetglove to pull me and her body across an endless sky, hoping I was headed for civilization.
“So whatever this ‘cloud’ was,” the man inquires, “it killed her but left you unharmed?”
I recovered my mask in time for me to survive. Barbris died within minutes of exposure. Why would she think it was okay to jerk off my mask?
“My mask and suit serve as a protective barrier against outside invasions,” I explain truthfully. “Including radiation. I have special needs.”
“What do you think?” the pony-tailed woman asks the other woman.
“Could be the first wave,” she answers.
“Let’s get behind that moon!” shouts the man.
Cresp: “What’s happening?”
“There’s a plasma event heading straight for us,” explains the man, worried. “Our only chance is an astronomical shield! Head for that moon!”
Fantastic. Another catastrophic crossroads among the humanoids!
Why did I choose to be human? Right.
June 2, Mission Day 153, Judge Bulbous Dictating On The Moon Called Raganar…
After the Purple Girl turns me over to local authorities for a reward, I am escorted into the city for detention by a cordial guard named Hevea Brasil.
Like Purple Girl, Hevea speaks some Solsys in an offbeat accent. He’s the most pliable humanoid I’ve ever seen. On the ride in his odd yellow car I depose the witness.
Bulbous: “Are you made of rubber?”
“Crudely put. Yes.” Hevea responds in that thick voice.
Bulbous: “Don’t you crack?”
Hevea: “I’m waterproof, sun-proof and well-insulated, resilient and resistant to tearing, oils, solvents and most chemicals. My molecules are long, twisted, coiled, elongated by stretching force and they resume original shape when stretching force is removed.”
Bulbous: “Why am I being detained?”
Hevea: “Trespass. Raganar off limits. No pass. Detained.”
Is this entire crazy world a conjuring by that deranged entity called Anthony? “I don’t know how I got here. Or even where this world is. Have you heard of Solsys? That’s where I’m from. There’s a planet in Solsys called Mars. That’s my home.”
“No talk,” Hevea suggests as we get out of his car to walk to the building in the next block. Why so wary?
The wall erupts, spitting out a swaggering hulk with the charm of a Grim Reaper! It claws for me, arms snapping and crackling like kindling. I involuntarily scream. Hevea’s arm blocks its reach.
“Run! The Abyss!” Hevea shouts at me, raising his other arm and twisting it as it turns into a larger mass, twirling like a lariat. He throws it around The Abyss.The monster shrieks, slinks out and sinks back into the wall…
… Before reaching back out and jerking me in!
Gemnal Speaking, June 3, Mission Day 154…
I am a prisoner of my brain.
I am lost in clouds of incongruous thought. And those thoughts are images. And the images make sounds.
The alien I was feels these sounds. This brain I’ve installed vibrates in response to these
rhythms and melodies. It tingles on certain crescendos. It despairs on minor chords. It is easy to feel the difference between “good” and “bad” in this context. But I can no longer be so analytical…
This brain needs a stronger hormonal support system. If I had Doctor Nopoin’sadaptive abilities I could accommodate. Without it, the brain will only experience emotions for a few more hours…
And what an experience these emotions are!
“You like that tune?” asks the musician upon finishing.
Gemnal: “I now understand why so many humans are led by emotion. Feelings are difficult to ignore. And the images?”
“My lyrics? Yeah, just a little poetry to make a point,” the musician says. He starts another song.
Are they alien memories? Or imaginary scenarios? Is this the life Nopoin stole and placed inside me? Is this the dead alien relentlessly fighting to live in the only way left to him?
These dreams may be lies or truths, how can I even know?
This brain is co-interpreting the world for me. But it can’t be trusted.
It’s as if I have a choice either to be logical or to surrender reason to emotion. For weeks I’ve struggled to reconcile this internal conflict.
Have I become insane?
– end week 23-
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