Written & Drawn By
The Last Days of the TWILIGHT FORCE Mission, November 19, Day 323:
From the moment he was captured by the Soviets, Alpha prepared for his escape.
Alpha’s microscopic, unnoticed drones surveyed the environment, a secret missile testing site in Kazakhstan. Here, primitive chemical rockets were being built with the dream of delivering bombs halfway around the planet.
Although the elements for super fuels were available to them, the Soviets hadn’t discovered those secrets yet. Alpha knew that a mixture of 16% kerosene, 24% benzene, 3% nitromethane, 6% toluene, 1% hydrazine, 31% ethanol, 10% methanol and 3% water with 2% liquid oxygen would simulate an advanced propulsion formula that these rickety engines could handle. A unit of 10,000 nanobots was deployed to create a small quantity of that fuel mixture without being detected.
Simultaneously, for many days thousands upon thousands of dedicated little slaves covertly created a wireless transceiver inside Soviet control systems that would, on command, temporarily transfer launch control to Alpha.
Thanks to false signals Alpha was able to generate, the Soviets were already convinced that Alpha was getting increasingly radioactive when he issued this message:
Alpha: “Warning. This situation has activated my self-destruct system. This unit will self-destruct in one hour.”
Should the explosion be nuclear the base would be wiped out. There was one way to get the cryptic giant head far enough away in an hour: a rocket.
They loaded the head on the only rocket ready for launch, a revamped V-2, not knowing that the fuel being used was Alpha’s replacement formula. As weight discrepancies were being discovered, Alpha recalled nanobots, overrode launch controls and blasted off.
Alpha managed to achieve low orbit before fuel expired, but the V-2 shook loose and fell back to the planet slowly.
Within moments the giant orbiting head was approached by a ship bearing signatures of the Red Vikings.
The Last Days of the TWILIGHT FORCE Mission, November 20, Day 324:
Finally hunted down, Mrs Ichnida was brought before the leader of the submersible city. Once translation devices were attuned, Ichnida spoke out of turn.
Mrs Ichnida: “You can translate me? Great! I’m Deputy Secretary of the United States State Department, Deva Ichnida. In case…”
Earl Sonuk: “You are one of the so-called ‘aliens’ who intruded upon our moon brothers. We didn’t expect you to deliver yourself to us here.”
Mrs Ichnida: “You’re Red Vikings? You look so different than the moon humans.”
Earl Sonuk: “You ate my daughter’s best friend.”
Mrs Ichnida: “She was already dead.”
Princess Sonuksen: “Who eats people?”
Mrs Ichnida: “Uh – do you eat fish?”
Princess Sonuksen: “Of course.”
Mrs Ichnida: “Then so do you. I’m as much a fish as the fish you love to eat. And I’ll bet that you kill them just for that purpose. You’d eat me first, if we all came under disaster here and now. I’ve learned how to live with mud runners, pardon the expression, and I don’t eat dusties away from home out of respect and terror, but I was starving back there! I’ve run out of polymarbles and… and…”
Princess Sonuksen: “And you won’t eat fish?”
Mrs Ichnida: “No, I can’t.”
Earl Sonuk: “You kidnapped the Moon Child. Where is she?”
Mrs Ichnida: “That girl begged us to take her with us. We didn’t want to but our captain insisted. I left the ship when she was still on it, so… no idea.”
Princess Sonuksen: “Did you eat her?”
Mrs Ichnida: “What? No! No! Listen, I don’t…normally…”
Earl Sonuk: “Unless starving. And yours are not normal times, are they?”
Mrs Ichnida: “I was running from persecution.”
Earl Sonuk: “Then you ran in the wrong direction.”
The Last Days of the TWILIGHT FORCE Mission, November 21, Day 325:
The Gamesman: “What’s happening?”
The Coral Ostman: “You’re about to die, motherfucker.”
The Gamesman: “I was in the sunshine… on a hill… where is she? Where’s Ripchord?”
The Coral Ostman: “Oh, you care about that bitch? Huh? What is she, your sweetheart? Speak up!“
The Gamesman: “What is this, a robbery?” [Gamesman is struck in the head as he spins weightlessly held in place…] “Ahhh!”
The Coral Ostman: “You thought I wasn’t going to explain? Patience, insect. You think you were in the sunshine on a beautiful day? We found you and the wench in the bottom of an upside-down pyramid, unconscious, about to be bitten by vipers. You were drugged. We saved you – temporarily – unless you take me directly to the Moon Child.“
The Gamesman: “But…I mean… isn’t she dead?”
The Coral Ostman: “Not according to your artificial-slash-alien brain. We found that thing in orbit the other day. It admitted to ejecting the Moon Child alive in a life pod. So tell me, where did it send her?”
The Gamesman: “Why not ask Alpha?”
The Coral Ostman: “It says that it refuses to tell us because it promised the Moon Child it wouldn’t. And there’s really no quick way to coerce an unwilling android. So, back to you. Where is she?”
The Gamesman: “You missed the part where I think she’s dead.”
The Coral Ostman: “Well the Coral Ostmen believe that the dead can only communicate with the living when they have good reason, so please deliver a message to her for me when you meet her in the afterlife? Please have her get in touch with me at her next convenience. And goodbye…”
The Gamesman> [Reaches out grabbing Ostman’s wrist, gun discharges into Ostman’s foot.]
The Last Days of the TWILIGHT FORCE Mission, November 22, Day 326:
Judge Bulbous: “Well… this is different.”
Emerging from a blinding glare above clouds in a bluish sky made no sense. But there she was.
Judge Bulbous: “This is so beautiful. But why?”
ZyqTik: “Welcome to your afterlife experience. The afterlife experience is provided as a sympathetic gesture to any individual who dies among the Hywon. This brief orientation…”
Judge Bulbous: “Whoa! Died? Who died? What are you talking about?”
ZyqTik: “If you don’t recall your cause of death, please say ’cause of death’…”
Judge Bulbous: “Uh… cause of death?”
ZyqTik: “Dissection. The Hywon dissected you in order to determine the nature of the automata invading your organic systems. You died during the procedure. May I continue the orientation?”
Judge Bulbous: “Dissected? But I’m whole! And this is… what is this? Where am I?”
ZyqTik: “Upon death your memories were scanned and an appropriate afterlife experience has been determined that you deserve. As expected, this experience will go on for eternity. However in real time, it will only last a matter of days as the last electrical activity seeps out of your cells. Your remains are being handled in the tradition of your culture.”
Judge Bulbous: “Is this a joke? Who are you to determine what I deserve? What if I don’t even want an afterlife?”
ZyqTik: “Your afterlife experience will terminate early if you realize the reason you deserve that experience. What may or may not lie beyond that is unknown.”
Judge Bulbous: “I’m not sure I even deserve this! Who are you to impose a sentence of afterlife on anyone? This is supposed to compensate for getting murdered?”
ZyqTik: “In accordance with theological and philosophical concessions toward 57 % of registered sentient species, now your complimentary afterlife experience begins.”
The Last Days of the TWILIGHT FORCE Mission, November 23, Day 327:
Deva Ichnida was about to be executed by the sea-based clan of the Red Vikings. But when the ocean rose angrily and tossed the sunken city violently, all effort turned toward the immediate surfacing of Subtropolis.
While damage reports poured in from around the city, Mrs Ichnida heard passageways flooding and watched sparks glitter as flooding, screaming and bashing disrupted the normally steady behemoth that was the submersible community of thousands.
She was shocked when authorities rushed into the jail to announce the cause of the sea quake.
“It’s them! They’ve found us! And they know we have the fish-woman!”
By the time the city surfaced authorities were ready to turn Ichnida over. When she saw the images of the attackers as they approached, Ichnida recognized both of them.
She had spoken with the floater, Stonemaster, a powerful brain-influencer who tried to get information out of her as they approached this planet. He had everyone on the crew but Alpha under control until Alpha threatened to wreck the planet. Then he disappeared.
The giant was Manplanet, the monster who had buried Twilight Force on the moon. Had he used gravity to pull the ocean like a tide?
Subtropolis surfaced just in time to ride the resulting tsunami. Unable to steer or power the city against the force, Subtropolis was carried on a tower of water fifty-three feet high across the sea.
The confusion and chaos was enough to set Ichnida free, and she leaped into the giant wave without thinking.
Now, the ocean curled her under as the city came down behind her, crumbling in the waterfall.
The force pushed her ahead of the crush.
The massive wave spread inland as the submerged part of the city broke away.
The Last Days of the TWILIGHT FORCE Mission, November 24, Day 328:
The Red Vikings prepared to deconstruct Alpha for his secrets.
Alpha had enough. For eleven months Alpha had devoted 17% of his mental capacity toward unlocking the secrets of perpetual energy gathered at Galaxy W2246-0526.
Alpha embedded the data ring holding the secrets Twilight Force had discovered at Galaxy W2246-0526 inside his CPU within seconds of the final collection of that data. He then produced a bogus copy posing as the single authentic data ring, leading the others to believe that only one storage of the data existed.
Alpha was trying to keep the formula for perpetual power out of reach of the enemies of the United States. Under the circumstances of the last year though, it was obvious that the universe was unpredictable except in being unpredictable.
Judge Bulbous believed she had the ring for awhile. Senator Pretyman thinks she has the ring now. But Alpha had it all along, and was endeavoring to make use of it.
Aboard their orbiting spacecraft, Red Vikings watched their strange captive suddenly take on new proportions.
The massive artificial head started shedding parts. Layers fell away like an onion as the head shrank smaller and smaller. But the ejected parts swooped back toward the head’s base, magnetically swelling beneath it until a tower formed under it, all within a minute.
The entire spectacle began to swirl with color until the colors took the form of cold flame, flickering nervously around the base under the reshaping head. As the ship was suddenly endangered, the cargo deck was cleared and the menacing head settled into a metallic replica of a humanoid skull, resting atop a rainbow inferno.
Alpha infected his captor’s communications systems, spreading chaos to Red Vikings everywhere before stealing away.
The Last Days of the TWILIGHT FORCE Mission, November 25, Day 329:
Alpha’s sabotage of the Red Viking’s communications came at a critical moment for the lunar-based warriors. The mysterious vigilantes Manplanet and Stonemaster had discovered their submersible city on Earth.
Red Vikings of the moon came to the aid of their besieged oceanic cousins, their city Subtropolis destroyed by a Manplanet-induced tsunami. They had no idea who else they might encounter.
The Hywon, that hybrid community of intergalactic immigration and coercive integration, had new plans for this freshly discovered world. This Earth would serve nicely as one of the Hywon experimental pockets, a world whose subjects were deemed expendable and available for unrestricted research.
First they would investigate the unusual disturbances in Earth’s ocean below the equator. The Hywon prepared for their first open encounter with new Earthlings.
The people of this Earth in 1947 knew nothing of the Red Vikings or the Hywon, or that a battle for their very planet had been set in place inadvertently by the presence of inter-dimensional explorers called Twilight Force.
But that battle took place in this one day over regions of the South Pacific far removed from shipping lanes or airline routes.
While the Red Vikings were some 400 years ahead of this world’s human civilization technologically, the Hywon were advanced millennia beyond them.
As the battle raged, the Vikings on Earth searching for the missing Moonchild also converged on the scene, but Hywon tech was like magic to them as they felt their weapons vanish from their hands.
Within hours there would be nothing left of the Red Viking’s infrastructure on the moon, in the sea, or anywhere else in this resonant Solar System. Or rather, what was left was transferred to Hywon for study and amusement.
END week 47