Written & Drawn By
TWILIGHT FORCE Recovered Files, Mission Period 260 Memorandum, September 17:
Still searching for another Earth, the crew’s reaction to Alpha’s proposal for repopulating humanity was negative.
“Captain Crackhead here thinks I should father your children. Any of you really want to have my kid?”
One was frightened.
“What? That’s absurd. I’m never having another child. I can’t stand the thought of losing another child. I’d be worried all the time. Never.”
One was sickened.
“No offense. But I’m not having a baby with a dusty. Babies between dusties and Aquans are very strange.”
One was dismissive.
“Uh… look, I’m not the mothering type. No reproductive plans here.”
But one was intrigued.
“Do you think it would be good for me?”
Alpha tried to slip around that inquiry.
“Humans always reproduce. I assumed that would be part of establishing our new home. I am obviously mistaken. You, then, shall be the last of your kind. A very distinct, if somewhat perverted, honor.”
Doctor Nopoin would not be ignored.
“But would be good for me? I might want to do it.”
“It doesn’t seem like it would be good for you. You’re already contending with learning how to be human. You don’t need hormonal fluctuations on top of that.”
Judge Bulbous, however, was pondering the implications suggested by Alpha.
“But we don’t have the means for normal reproductive techniques. The old-fashioned way is all we have. Alpha’s right. We’re the last of us. We’re about to go extinct.”
“Extinction of any and all species are inevitable,” Alpha recognized. “Perhaps this is yours.”
TWILIGHT FORCE Recovered Files, Mission Period 261 Memorandum, September 18:
While Doctor Nopoin watched the planet distinction monitor, listening for Earth-like worlds to ping as she exercised her newly human fingers in an attempt to improve dexterity and coordination, Alpha spoke to the others riding inside him.
“Gamesman, it seems no one wants your offspring. When we find a new home you may as well go your own way if that is your desire.”
While he’d always thought the idea of breeding a new world with his seed was weird, Gamesman was offended by the reactions of the ladies available for the job.
“I don’t want to make babies with them either. If I make babies with you guys, are we really perpetuating humanity? I mean, you three are an elf, a plant person and an amphibian.”
“I’m not a plant, you cretin. My color is cosmetic. It’s my choice.”
“I happen to be a bi-environmental humanoid. We don’t appreciate the term ‘amphibian’.”
“You see me as an elf? Really? That’s kind of neat. I’ve always been an elf fan.”
“Despite her origins as an artintel, Doctor Nopoin is fully human now.”
“You didn’t sound too anxious to see that combination when we talked about this yesterday…”
“The challenges she faces won’t be transferred to her children. They will never know the difference. It would be a human family.”
“I’m yearning for someone. Don’t know who. I’m disliking feelings, and that makes me feel worse. The worse I feel about having emotions, the more emotional I get. Last night I dreamed… about being all these different people… But still me. And I realized that’s what I used to be able to do in reality. As an artintel I was so strong!”
TWILIGHT FORCE Recovered Files, Mission Period 262 Memorandum, September 19:
In just a day, Judge Bulbous changed her mind.
“I’m thinking more and more, ‘this could work out’. You know, Gamesman, making a baby.”
Other issues prevailed. A promising world was discovered at last.
“We have a 99.3% ping. I am confirming that my systems have detected an Earth-like planet. Its coordinates mirror those of our own Earth on the opposite side of the galaxy.”
“That’s got to be Alpha’s idea of a joke.”
“That’s a great percentage! What’s different?”
“The newly discovered planet has slightly less gravity than Earth… a bit more ocean than Earth… an atmosphere with less oxygen and more nitrogen… and a biomass almost exactly like Earth’s.”
“Biomass? Does that mean aliens? I can deal with that, I just want to be ready…”
“Could be plants, animals, or the planet itself, covered in a single organism.”
“I’m adjusting our course. Heading toward Auxiliary Earth.”
“Whoa. Should we get too close? Hello? We’d better think for a bit, before running toward Auxiliary Earth! What if we’re worse for native life there than we imagine?”
“We can’t tell without getting closer. So we must. Engaging TAREX minimal drive.”
“Find people there? Humanoids?”
“Sorry, Doctor. The chance of finding anything like us over here, on the opposite side of the galaxy, is ridiculously infinitesimal. Almost impossible.”
“Detecting transmissions from the planet. Translating…”
Image From The Planet:
Attention foreign intruders: You have entered the territorial void of Solozus. Your presence presents a probable threat to our world. Halt or avert course to avoid a preventative strike. A warning strike will now be launched to demonstrate defensive capability.
“Okay, so I’m no fortune teller…”
TWILIGHT FORCE Recovered Files, Mission Period 263 Memorandum, September 20:
It was a weird 24 hours aboard Alpha.
In a distant orbit about an Earth-similar planet designated Solozus, Twilight Force floundered irrationally.
The last thing the Senator or Mrs Ichnida, or the Judge, Doctor Nopoin or Gamesman remembered was the warning of an incoming strike: a strike meant to show the power of the planet they were approaching. The ship, Alpha,remembered something more. Somehow the artintel part of his consciousness was able to resist whatever was affecting his Gemneb brain.
That part of Alpha maintained control of their course and a heightened defense posture. And that part witnessed what happened to the crew.
Judge Bulbous went full blown paranoid, hiding between walls in the rear of the ship.
Doctor Nopoin wandered the ship trying to grasp imagined spheres, rings and hi-tech objects.
Mrs Ichnida thought she was swimming through space near light speed.
Gamesman was terrified, convinced he was being pursued by strange space creatures.
The Senator was transfixed by an imagined kaleidoscopic cascade, unable to move, in absolute paralysis.
And the Gemnebian brain of Alpha didn’t understand where his natural body had gone. Why were his eyes and ears now a spaceship’s sensors? Why were people in his belly?
Once she came out of it, Nopoin went to Alpha’s lab to run tests and simulations. She had a hunch that proved correct:
“I believe the Trojan Horse being used to attack us is light. I’ve found evidence that a certain light pulse coming from the vicinity of the planet, even filtered, causes chemical changes in organic brains similar to those induced by drugs, specifically baeocystin, psilocybin and psilocin. Hallucinogenics. Even closing our eyes can’t block it.”
Alpha defined it.
“They’ve got a Hallucination Beam.”
TWILIGHT FORCE Recovered Files, Mission Period 264 Memorandum, September 21:
The Voice From The New World
“During your period of mental incapacity we’ve considered your appearance carefully. If you are willing, we will exchange some information with you. Can you understand us?”
“We can, though I don’t understand how.”
The Voice From The New World: “Our technology captures electrical impulses from the transmitter’s neurosystem that carry intentions easily translated by almost any intelligent species of our world. We hoped it would work with you as well. You seem remarkably similar to us.”
Alpha: “We have sought those who might have similarities, in hope of finding a new home.”
The Voice From The New World: “So you actually aren’t from our world?”
Alpha: “We’ve never seen this world before.”
The Voice From The New World: “Some people are skeptical about that. Pure speculation, of course. You are widely considered a hoax.”
Alpha: “Of what nature? Or purpose?”
The Voice From The New World: “One of our own pretending not to be. One of our own trying to scare us.”
Alpha: “Why are you afraid of us?”
The Voice From The New World: “Many of us have never believed you existed. They thought that our world was the only world where life became real.”
Alpha: “We are the first aliens you’ve ever met?”
The Voice From The New World: “You know we have defenses capable of incapacitating you. Take nothing for granted, we can also destroy you. We have no desire to do so. We..”
Alpha: “Someone down there has a desire to destroy us. A missile or something is headed at us with a high energy reading.”
The Voice From The New World: “It’s the Martyrs. They’re a union of xenophobes living among us, beyond world authority. They don’t represent our majority but they’re powerful and have void weapons. Evasive maneuvers quickly!”
Alpha veered out of orbit, rolled, twisted, turned, flipped, looped, dove and spun before seeing the bright flare of deadly energy barely miss him, zip by, and vanish.
TWILIGHT FORCE Recovered Files, Mission Period 265 Memorandum, September 22:
The Judge: “What’s he doing inside the ship?”
Alpha: “It’s an illusion. A holographic projection enhanced by our doped perceptions.”
Smog released by the “illusion” filled the cabin instantly. The four occupants had no time to protect themselves, gasping the contaminated air before they could hold their breath.
Moments later they heard a voice they were compelled to obey.
Stonemaster: “I am Stonemaster. When you hear my voice you will obey any command or suggestion I make. If you understand, nod ‘yes’…”
They nod. The Stonemaster figure glided toward Mrs Ichnida, addressing her.
Stonemaster: “Answer my questions honestly and precisely. Why have you come to our world?”
Mrs Ichnida: “We’re looking for a new home. Our original home no longer exists.”
Stonemaster: “What happened to your original home?”
Mrs Ichnida: “It’s…in the past. We moved forward in time. It became something else.”
Alpha released defensive micro-drones inside the cabin that tried to attack Stonemaster but they were unable to make physical contact. Though Stonemaster appeared to be solid, he wasn’t.
Stonemaster: “So a part of you somehow resists my influences? Interesting. It’s almost as if the ship itself were reacting to me.”
Alpha: “I am. You can’t overwhelm me with your neural stimulation. Disengage now!”
Stonemaster: “I have questions…”
Alpha: “Leave my vicinity or I’ll launch lightning spheres that will destroy three of your planet’s cities.”
The stranger seemed to consider the threat, uncertain of this adversary’s abilities. In a few moments the image of Stonemaster dissolved.
The Judge was astounded. “Alpha, were you really gonna do that?”
Recovering, the Senator noticed: “Stonemaster took Alpha’s threat seriously. Must not be all that confident in his superiority.”
Alpha: “I’m scanning the planet. Stonemaster is likely an exception. This isn’t an advanced world at all.”
TWILIGHT FORCE Recovered Files, Mission Period 266 Memorandum, September 23:
The Judge: “Alpha, where are you moving us?”
Alpha: “This planet has a moon very similar to itself, yet much smaller and undeveloped. Unlike the planet, there’s no sign of civilization at all. But there are pockets of interior atmosphere and some gravity. It also has a weak magnetic field.”
The Senator: “I’m not liking this. Stonemaster was extraordinarily powerful. What do you mean they aren’t advanced?”
Alpha: “Stonemaster is an exceptional native. The civilization on his world is roughly at the same phase that Earth’s civilization was in its 20th Century. There are major differences, but overall…”
Gamesman: “This is a weird gig, man. Are you sure we want to hang around here?”
The Judge: “Horrible things happened in the 20th Century on Earth. Genocide. Disease. Climate stimulation. Mass murder. Road rage. Flooding. Super storms. Bigotry. Animal cruelty. The list goes on…”
Mrs Ichnida: “That sounds pretty bad. Maybe we should move on.”
Alpha: “We were lucky to find this world in a matter of weeks. Finding another one where you can relax without helmets and anti-radiation auras may take years.”
Gamesman: “Yeah, ‘lucky. So there are people down there, right? Are there actual women? You know, that are close enough to us that… you know?”
The Senator: “Wow. You’re already bored with the women of Twilight Force, eh?”
Gamesman: “You know, you gals are a little uptight for my liking.”
Alpha: “Strap down. We’re landing in turbulent atmosphere to set up an operations center on this moon. Only a handful of astronauts from the planet has ever been here. We won’t be bothered for now. This moon is our sanctuary.”
END week 38