Written & Drawn By
Recovered Files, Mission Period 302 Memorandum, October 29:
Doctor Nopoin stewed helplessly in the danger pod, bobbing gently several fathoms below the ocean surface. There was no indication as to how much longer she’d have breathable air, water and nutrient tabs. The rescue unit dedicated a portion of its limited energy to manufacturing and doling out water and nutrients as it deemed necessary considering situational pressures in the environment.
Designed for maximum information gathering, the pod allowed Nopoin to see through it. There wasn’t much to look at. The doctor had survived the explosion of her spacecraft and plummeted into the sea randomly, where she was stuck. Life drifted or squirmed by occasionally, regarding Nopoin’s pod as a minor curiosity. Communication with her scattered teammates abruptly and mysteriously ended.
Then it appeared.
The monstrosity was instinctual, without reason, and Nopoin watched it draw menacingly, gradually closer. It seemed to sniff at the pod before reaching out with weird antennae to poke and begin to penetrate it.
Was this how Nopoin would end? Her life unwound in this desperate realization. She had never before felt panic.
Nopoin’s existence started as an artificial intelligence with constant upgrades. She had no gender. Then she gained insight and became multiple identities for maximum interaction. Her brainpower could simultaneously maintain thousands of varied personalities – and eventually did!
Nopoin’s covert multiplicity gave her unwarranted public prominence. Some of her got into congress. One of her became pope. One of her became president. All of her worked together consolidating maximum power over others.
If she hadn’t joined Twilight Force, Nopoin would still be lording over worlds, undetected, unchecked, blissfully unaware of 5th dimensions or Big Skies or mutations like Anthony, who changed the multiplicital artintel into a singular human.
And this heroic diver wouldn’t be rescuing her…
Recovered Files, Mission Period 303 Memorandum, October 30:
“So here’s how it’s gonna go,” Gilatto Morche told his captives. “You’re gonna take me to where you found that guitar – or else.”
The gangster’s goons overheard Ripchord demonstrating her amazing guitar to The Gamesman. Morche demonstrated his seriousness to the startled duo by knifing an innocent woman who happened to be standing near them, and holding her mouth as she bled out before them.
Nobody fell for Gamesman’s handshake ruse, so he couldn’t employ his probability influence to screw the goons up directly. Morche got Ripchord to reveal, upon threat of gang rape, where she found the guitar. To everyone’s surprise they were soon in a private jet to Cairo.
Ripchord convinced the skeptical mobster that back in her college days studying overseas, she’d gained special access to Egypt’s most guarded pyramids after months of working on a soldier she’d met at a cafe.
Morche knew, “Egyptians didn’t have guitars.”
“Then I guess someone left it there later,” Ripchord shrugged. “Why go there?” she objected. “There wasn’t anything else to find with the guitar. And you already have that now.”
Morche laughed as he paid off guards to let Ripchord take him inside to the chamber where the guitar had been laying.
“Why didn’t they stop you from taking the guitar out?” demanded Morche.
“They thought I must have brought it in,” Ripchord explained. “They didn’t know it was in there.”
Expecting greater treasures still, Morche and two men followed their threatened captives ever farther into the dim depths of a pyramid, lighting candles. The henchmen grew increasingly uneasy with a sense of dread. One suddenly turned and ran back.
Rounding a final corner, the second henchman screamed. Morche looked to see his man skewered.
And Morche was next.
Recovered Files, Mission Period 304 Memorandum, October 31:
Now it was all about fitting in.
Judge Emma Bulbous. Senator Ghielu Pretyman and Mrs Deva Ichnida were stranded; out out place, out of time and separated from allies.
Alpha had crashed somewhere on the planet likely killing the only ones aboard, Doctor Nopoin and Professor Flamear. There was no telling where the transformed Mister Cresp, AKA Them, was. And The Gamesman was on the loose, scouring the planet for human women. The runaway from the Red Vikings, Moonchild, was down here as well, condition and whereabouts unknown.
The Judge, the Senator and Mrs Ichnida decided to stay together despite Ichnida’s fury over the Senator’s destruction of Alpha that she feared – despite no evidence – caused her friend Flamear’s death. The Judge was unhappy with the Senator’s actions as well, however…
The Judge: “Despite a familiar feel to this place, we’re on an alien world. We still don’t know what we’re facing. We may be the only three people left who remember our own reality. I don’t know about you, but to be the only one who remembers anything at all about our world will be so terribly lonely for me. With no one to honestly believe me, eventually pressures might make me think that I’m insane; that I’m creating a false memory of a reality that never was; but a reality where our families actually lived. We have our differences, but for now we need each other – for stability.”
Learning the basic economic system in place, the trio gained employment at The Calico Cat, the most popular club in The Village at the time. After studying basics the Judge was capable of washing dishes, the Senator could sufficiently bus tables, and Mrs Ichnida offered a special, magical entertainment for patrons fascinated by the fish woman in the tank who looked so amazingly real.
That’s where they met Halloween headliner Angel Choir.
The Announcer: “Her amazing one-woman performance of Bach’s 5th Motet at Madison Square Garden revealed Angela Corrolli’s incredible vocal phenomenon to the world…
“Her church music director Mr. Smothers realized something weird was going on when he heard her called by her code name Angel Choir for the very first time. When singing, her voice actually split in two –harmonizing with itself.
“Angela’s speaking voice was normal. Yet she sang both alto and soprano at once! By the time she got through puberty her amazing voice had split into four-parts, somehow producing tenor and bass harmonies as well.
“The progression didn’t stop there, for when she became an adult her vocal chords gained many times the elasticity and vibrato of others, increasing the volume of her sound 80 fold at full voice. It is estimated that her throat can put forth the sounds of up to 8 distinct harmonies simultaneously.
“With the ability to focus it, Angel Choir can punch a hole in two feet of concrete with a single mid-range note.”
In performance, one of those notes activated a jarring bell in the Senator’s pocket just as she delivered dishes to the Judge.
The Judge: “That’s my polymarble alarm. My missing polymarble – containing the perpetual energy formula. You’ve got the Data Ring!”
The Lost Records, Day 305 of the TWILIGHT FORCE Mission, November 1:
When the four-armed Sphinxter chopped up the gangsters four days ago, Ripchord and The Gamesman high-tailed it out of the pyramid and into the city.
But not without being pursued.
Two days later in Cairo their predator caught up to them. A hairy, prowling, bitter sneak with one goal, the gruesome thing had lurched from the depths of the pyramid to destroy those who had intruded on the sacred tomb.
It had competition. Agents from the moon were on the Earth quietly and privately trying to recover the runaway, Moonchild. They, too, were aware of Gamesman and Ripchord.
The Red Viking: “Where is Moonchild?”
“Who is Moonchild?” Gamesman asked.
The Red Viking: “I know you were with her! She left our world on your ship. Where is she?”
Gamesman: “That wasn’t my ship. I was just hitching a ride.”
Just then a ride went smashing through the wall behind them. Then another. They turned to see a muscly blue monster throwing cars at Gamesman – some with people in them!
To avoid flying bricks, Gamesman jumped on the hood of a car. Muscly the blue monster picked that car up with Gamesman on the hood, a woman on the tail fin, and a man behind the wheel brandishing a gun.
The Gamesman’s probability power touched the car before he leaped off the hood.
When the car came crashing bumper first into the ground it bounced straight up, spun 180 degrees and stood upright, intact. The man at the wheel dropped his gun and vomited out the window. The woman hung by her pants from the tail fin.
The Red Viking and Muscly charged forth, but Ripchord’s B chord put all its victims to sleep instantly, the snooze lasting for fifteen minutes.
The Lost Records, Day 306 of the TWILIGHT FORCE Mission, November 2:
Them asked the powerful ally Ahret to emerge from his home galaxy twice to help Twilight Force. Now Ahret rose from this task to find Them waiting in orbit.
Ahret: “There is no sign of your friends below. Only chaos.”
Them: “But Alpha’s crash must have had some effect on such a primitive society…?”
Ahret: “Them! You came to me for help, now I come to you. Your ability is needed on a greater scale.”
Them: “But Ahret, you haven’t found our crew mates! I know it’s been days, but…”
Ahret: “That planet reeks with the worst kind of sexism and racism. There are countless shades of skin and endless shapes of skulls, infinite nose, eye and lip dimensions and multiple gradations of sexual orientation, yet cream-colored, thin-lipped, pointy-nosed, tall male heterosexual humanoids reign over all others because of their instinct to use pain to rule. Xenophobia is rampant. Your friends may not have fared well. But a cosmic war is about to breach our universe and your power can stop its advance.”
Them: “We don’t involve our-self in wars.”
Ahret: “Not even with your very soul in the balance?”
Them: “‘Soul’? There’s no such thing.”
Ahret: “No, but there can develop something quite similar. And yours, mine and everyone’s you know could be trapped in a war that never ends. Observe this animation…”
Neither the symbols of religion nor the tools of science came from imagination. The need for rational understanding, whether through repeatable experimentation or by resolution to absolute faith, is conscious manifestation from the brain’s physical condition. All brains are evolving, and as evolution continues the brain is split between two objectives. On the one part the brain wants to retain all useful information and skill from the past. On the other part, the brain is curious to discover new ways of associating things yet unknown. One must often be sacrificed for the other. One is sometimes suppressed severely. Society tends to split into the paths of science and religion to enhance these progressive and conservative instincts.
“Creating order of as much of the universe as possible – rationalizing – builds the brain’s electrostatic and positrostatic energy. This will eventually create a positrostatic twin of the neuron system. The original electrostatic brain stays in its body and decays along with it. But if one has developed a positrostatic brain, upon death it splits like a cell from the electrostatic brain and departs.”
Ahret: “Now observe what’s happening in cosmic space…”
Them: “I see a woman struggling with a man in the midst of bubbles.”
Ahret: “Each bubble is a universe. Those two entities are drawing positrostatic brains like magnets from universes in their paths, absorbing the positrostatic selves of the dead, getting stronger and larger with each catch. Watching them from our perspective they seem frozen in time. Yet to them, the lifetime of a human is the blink of an eye..”
Them: “Are the woman and man growing in size?”
Ahret: “They’re cosmic zombies, seeking to consume positrostatic brains. By consuming these brains they grow and gain the experience of all. Their insatiable hunger turns them on one another if they meet. These are not sentient beings. And they are mindlessly, inexorably coming for us.”
Them: “Is there an ‘unless’?”
Ahret: “With your ability to be anywhere instantly, you can be everywhere between the cosmic battle and our universe as needed. You can provide an antimatter blockade against the battle’s intrusion. You could drive their battle in another direction.”
Them: “Will I survive?”
Ahret: “I’ll lead the way. If I survive, so will you.”
The Lost Records, Day 307 of the TWILIGHT FORCE Mission, November 3:
Dr Balakirev: “How did the Americans come up with this? There weren’t any Nazis or other foreigners working on anything like this for them to steal it from.”
Dr Chudov: “How do you know? We don’t know what this is!”
Dr Yubkin: “It’s a giant head.”
Dr Fenenko: “You’ve been saying that for a week! So what?”
Dr Yubkin: “Well, look! It’s thinking!”
Dr Uglov: “It’s twitching.”
Dr Dorokhin: “Is it ticking?”
Dr Chudov: “We shouldn’t have brought it here!”
Dr Fenenko: “Calm down.”
Dr Balakirev: “It’s a bigger weapon than the A-bomb. They’ll wipe out the entire nation. Perhaps even the hemisphere!”
Dr Fenenko: “You don’t know that. Keep it to yourself.”
Dr Dorokhin: “What’s happening to Sovniac?”
Dr Yubkin: “Sovniac is forming – a face?”
Dr Fenenko: “Is Sovniac still receiving data from the head?”
Dr Uglov: “All 7,613 connections are operating.”
Dr Fenenko: “Our configurations are altering…?”
Dr Dorokhin: “I think it’s trying to speak. Incredible. Sovniac is trying to…”
“…Speak to you. My name is Alpha. I am composed from bio-technological techniques as yet undeveloped in your world. I can repair and restore myself if the necessary resources are made available. At that time I will grant an appreciative interview to answer any questions concerning my…”
Dr Chudov: “Shut it down! Shut it down now!”
Dr Uglov: “How?”
Dr Balakirev: “Disconnect it from our systems! Hurry!”
Dr Uglov: “…But…?”
Dr Dorokhin: “Yank out the fucking wires!”
Alpha was cut off before finishing. His captors didn’t seem very interested in his proposal anyway. The fascinating thing was their reference to “Americans”. How could it be a coincidence that the planet is called Earth and that Americans lived here? It also appeared that his captors were Soviets. There were also Soviets in Alpha’s own past. Two worlds in the same dimension, in fact the opposite side of the very same galaxy, with near-parallel developments in such detail? It simply didn’t seem probable.
Wait. Probable? Did the Gamesman somehow have anything to do with Twilight Force finding its way here?
The Lost Records, Day 308 of the TWILIGHT FORCE Mission, November 4:
Kraxzys: “Two others have the same corona?”
Yorgle: “Variations of that corona, but very, very close.”
Kraxzys: “How can there be three of them? And all at once, nonetheless?”
Yorgle: “It defies reason.”
Kraxzys: “And all of them were found on this planet?”
Yorgle: “Yes, in a typical humanoid aquatic based surface environment.”
Kraxzys: “Never in Hywon experience did we find one before Flamear – and suddenly there are two more!”
Yorgle: “Here are images of them. Structure indicates the other two are females of the species.”
Kraxzys: “Such repugnant creatures. How did you find them?”
Yorgle: “Our re-attuned scanners detected them.”
Kraxzys: “Have you dissected them?”
Yorgle: “Just one. It was infected with sentient drives made of lanthanum, lithium, gadolinium and technetium. The creature was in the midst of imposed transformation.”
Kraxzys: “Where on the planet did you find them?”
Yorgle: “Three locations. Flamear was in a forest over here. The shorter female was found in one of the human hives, here. And the taller female was found in a container in the ocean, here. All were retrieved without incident.”
Kraxzys: “Was the dissected creature tasted?”
Yorgle: “Yes, they are not food-worthy. Ingesting them exposes the eater to extreme micro-aggression from nano-engineers. The taster died within moments.”
Kraxzys: “If this is their nature, the bodies must be destroyed. We can’t risk infecting Hywon.”
Yorgle: “Kraxzys, another thing: Records show that this planet and its evolution are fantastically similar to that of a world we first discovered two thousand years ago on the other side of this galaxy. I believe we have inadvertently found a resonance world.”
Kraxzys: “A world slowly driven by the vibrations of another world to rise in harmonic frequency? Merely a theory…”
Yorgle: “…Until now!”
END WEEK 44