Written & Drawn By
TWILIGHT FORCE Recovered Files, Mission Period 274 Memorandum, October 1:
As Twilight Force settles into a long-term encampment for survival underground, their “dead” science officer and his mystical companion shockingly appear before them.
Mister Cresp: “Deva? Alpha? We made it, Mallika! We found them!”
Mallika: “They found us!”
Mrs Ichnida: “Holy Crap! Mister Holy Cresp is – alive?”
Alpha: “Then… Professor Flamear was accurate.”
Cresp: “Twilight Force! I found you! Hello my friends, hello! We’re just getting the hang of these abilities.”
Mallika: “Hello Twilight Force! Welcome back!”
The Senator: “Welcome… back?”
Mallika: “Back to us. We are everywhere and now you’re here.”
Cresp: “That’s true, we are everywhere, and anywhere, or nowhere at all. I have so much to tell you!”
Mallika: “We have!”
Cresp: “Together we’re one.”
Doctor Nopoin: “The woman is an electron – and Cresp is a positron.”
Cresp: “Unlimited galaxies…”
Judge Bulbous: “Again? Mister Cresp, I…”
Cresp/Mallika: “The places we’ve been! It makes TAREX seem so primitive, the way you travel about. I’ve never been free before. Never even close to it. Bulbous? Senator? Do you realize how imprisoned you are? Not just in this cavern, but in your limited reality?”
The Senator: “How could we know that, Cresp? We’d have to be hazed-up dorks like you. Can you get us out of here?”
Cresp/Mallika: “Where is the Professor? I’ve missed him most of all.”
Judge Bulbous: “Cresp, this isn’t the first time you’ve haunted me. What’s with you? Is there some destiny forever guiding you toward phantasm?”
The Senator: “Who cares? Cresp! Can you and your girlfriend get us out of here or not?”
Cresp/Mallika: “We can’t physically move anything except photons. But we can find someone who’ll help you, from that nearby planet. It’s overpopulated with humanoids. Tell the Professor I’ll see him when I return.”
TWILIGHT FORCE Recovered Files, Mission Period 275 Memorandum, October 2:
The day after the startling appearance of deceased Mister Cresp and his symbiotic Mallika, Twilight Force considers possible consequences…
Judge Bulbous: “What does Cresp know about that planet? He thinks he’s going for help, but maybe he’ll send back that Manplanet creature. Or something worse.”
Frightening crusty, crumbling, whispering noise scared everyone suddenly.
Alpha: “You’d better get aboard. I have no idea what made that sound.”
Gamesman: “I’m not boarding that executioner.”
The terrifying sound ratchets again. Judge Bulbous and Doctor Nopoin flee, vanishing into Alpha. The Gamesman, Mrs Ichnida and The Senator stand their ground.
The wall of the cavern bulges in one small area. It pulses. The weird sound grows louder.
The Senator: “You think that’s what Cresp sent back?”
The bulge crumbles, dusting, falling, swirling, dispersing into incoherence. A hole is left. All eyes are on it. All ears listen nervously. Whatever made this hole is moving about on the other side of it.
Mrs Ichnida: “Senator, are you ready to shoot?”
The Senator: “Sure you don’t want to negotiate?”
Mrs Ichnida: “Is that a new gun? I haven’t seen that one before. That doesn’t look very real. Are you sure…”
Then a heavily booted foot stepped through the new hole. All watched as a thickly-suited humanoid stepped into the cavern.
The figure, a man for all assumptions, stared out of his helmet at the nervous cave occupants. Then he spoke and translation mechanisms worked.
The Man: “You are trapped? I am the way out. Follow please.”
Judge Bulbous: “Did Cresp send you?”
The Senator: “Or Jesus? Jeez…“
The Man: “Let me save you before the next quake hits. It’s due in seven minutes.”
Alpha: “Where you lead, we will follow… cautiously.”
The Man: “This way – hurry!”
TWILIGHT FORCE Recovered Files, Mission Period 276 Memorandum, October 3:
It looked to Professor Flamear like he was finally getting somewhere!
For weeks he’d tumbled helplessly through the Milky Way. He didn’t know why. One minute he was arguing with Alpha and the next he was ejected into space.
He knew Alpha ejected him. But what happened next made no sense.
As he spun away from Alpha and Twilight Force, Flamear felt the shock of hitting open space immediately. Icy chill burned his lungs when he involuntarily gasped. His face was swelling. Without atmospheric pressure surrounding him he would soon explode.
In the final seconds before death flushed over him and oxygen shut down throughout his body, Flamear noticed something approaching him.
Moments later he felt warmth. He was shielded. An enclosure had caught up to him, encasing him securely. Then it seemed to be taking him somewhere.
Hours passed. Days ticked by. Stars abounded everywhere but none were near. Giant nebulae gradually passing teased him with hints of how fast he must be moving. He felt no hunger. He needed not to defecate. He never slept nor wanted to. Perfectly preserved, his journey continued mysteriously.
He could not know that he had been recovered by The Hywons.
The Hywons discovered the Solar System 500 years before, long experimenting with humanity. Exotic strains of human never seen in nature were produced on Hywon, grown in a variety of situations to study their contrasts and similarities in developments.
For centuries The Hywon deployed auto-scouts trolling the galaxy for life between the stars and planets, scooping samples and shipping them to Hywon for analysis. Now Flamear was one such sample.
Though familiar with humanity, The Hywon had never seen anything like Flamear, for he was the only one of his kind.
TWILIGHT FORCE Recovered Files, Mission Period 277 Memorandum, October 4:
The Hywon bio-hunting retriever delivered Professor Flamear to the appropriate analysis dock where he was removed by soft but firm clamps.
His hearts pumping overtime, Flamear helplessly rode some force moving him into a large, clear globe sitting on a spongy platform. Although clear, the globe did not seem to be glass, plastic or any familiar material, though parts of it appeared to swirl like a soap bubble here and there, now and then.
Flamear’s acute hearing detected unfamiliar combinations of ticks, flushes, buzzing, knocks, cracks and deep-toned bells. His internal vibrations almost overwhelmed him. But he lasted through it.
Then the floor dropped out from under him and the spongy platform collapsed over his falling form. It landed on him 30 feet below and morphed a cocoon around his stunned body.
He could see and hear enough through the filmy veil to know that many others were in the same predicament around him. Bodies, all sizes, some odd shapes, some weird sounds, seen in and coming from cocoons.
But he was different than them. He was sentient and they weren’t. He could decide to rip through his cocoon and he did.
The shaken Professor dashed away from the field of writhing cocoons, but uncertain where to go he hesitated. Then he heard the battle cry of a human voice before noticing sounds of hoofs and whips from the same direction.
Instinctively he ran toward the chaos. But reaching the origin of the noise set him back. This was organized. This was a hunt, being witnessed by his “rescuers” undoubtedly.
A tripedal giant ridden by a whip-snapping dominatrix was bearing down on an ancient Native American and his horse.
This was some extreme experiment on humans and combinations of Earth creatures!
TWILIGHT FORCE Recovered Files, Mission Period 278 Memorandum, October 5:
In the days since Alpha bid his crew good luck he lay trapped in the cavern with a collapsed entry. He had also devised a plan by which he might have gone with them, but they were well away by then.
It was with great hope, therefore, that Alpha anticipated someone’s return upon detecting the vibrations of approaching footsteps. That hope turned to apprehension when the unfamiliar figure emerged from the narrow passage in the wall. Whoever was in that suit didn’t recognize Alpha, either. Nor did he, she or qua expect to find him.
Alpha: “I am Alpha. Who are you?”
“I’m… I’m Moonchild. A talking spaceship?”
Alpha: “I’m a sentient being who happens to transport things. What are you doing here?”
Moonchild: “I… I… Do my parents know you’re here?”
Alpha: “Parents? You are an actual child, then?”
Moonchild: “No! I’m twelve!”
Alpha: “Do your parents know that you’re here?”
Moonchild: “They don’t care. I’m leaving them.”
Alpha: “Inside a cavern system? Where are you going? My research showed that no one was living on this moon. Why are you even out here?”
Moonchild: “Ha! We’ve been living on the moon for 300 years. We were the first ones here and only 12 other people from the world below have ever been here. My parents and everyone before them want to keep us a secret from the world below. But my generation is over the secrecy. We want to go to the world and be part of it without disguising ourselves and not being who we really are.”
Alpha: “Will you help free me from this trap?”
Moonchild: “But… How?”
Alpha: “Please step inside me and bring out something we call a ‘polymarble’…”
TWILIGHT FORCE Recovered Files, Mission Period 279 Memorandum, October 6:
Professor Flamear, “rescued” by The Hywon, has been running wild among them.
The Hywon: “We found you romping about the nursery. Specimens found in space rarely emerge from our cocoons unless we nurture them. You are an abnormality. Why were you adrift in space without protection?”
Professor Flamear couldn’t bring himself to cooperate. He hated being under control, and these freaks had him good. He wasn’t feeling cooperative. The voice talking at him was fake. The Hywon probably couldn’t make human-ish sounds naturally. The creatures weren’t actually with him – he couldn’t smell them.
The Hywon: “Evidence shows you originated on the opposite side of the galaxy from where you were discovered. Your roots are in a place that calls itself Earth. In all our studies of that planet over centuries, we have never seen anyone like you. How did you ever get from the realm of Earth to the stars of Hywon?”
Flamear roared angrily like a lion, only louder.
The Hywon cowered and bowed!
Flamear froze. The aliens were bent over on their coils, head-down. Supplicants. What insanity was this? Flamear roared again, with less volume. The Hywon sprawled flat out before him. Their deference was deafening.
The Professor suggested, “Why don’t you all go fuck yourselves?”
The Hywon tried to obey, awkwardly rising and asking themselves, “Did he mean fuck each other or fuck myself? Is there time to ask for clarification?” Some started groping others while others groped themselves.
They must be crazy, figured Flamear. “Straighten up!”
They comply immediately.
Wow. “March in a huge circle around me.”
The images do.
Flamear realizes they’ll do anything he says.
TWILIGHT FORCE Recovered Files, Mission Period 280 Memorandum, October 7:
The man in the spacesuit led them away from the crumbling cavern and Alpha five days ago. Twilight Force assumed he would get them to the surface and a rescue vehicle. But their confusing squeeze between buried boulders took them ever-deeper into the moon’s crust.
By the second day when impatience arose over confusing responses from their guide, Judge Bulbous demanded, “Where are you leading us?”
The Man: “You’ve entered the territory of the Red Vikings. You are on the edge of civilization.”
He would reveal no more, but signs of society backed up his claim. The rocky, uneven path smoothed out into a paved pathway. The pathway widened into a well-illuminated tunnel.
On the third day the five were entering the outskirts of an underground wonderland. Ceilings were a hundred feet high, chambers a thousand feet wide. Giant, painted figures appeared, lining the walls.
“Who are they?” the Senator asked.
“Some of the founders of our city-state,” the Man explained. “The woman is the first of our ancestors to step upon this moon. The man in the middle designed our original city layout and foundation. And the burly fellow beside him died on the planet below guarding the secret of our existence. Without him we would have been revealed.”
“Stop teasing us and get us to the airport,” suggested The Gamesman.
The Man: “We are deliberately proceeding slowly. You are being analyzed as we go along. You are the first strangers ever brought into our world. We want to make sure it’s safe.”
“Why us?” Mrs Ichnida wondered.
“Our strength,” the Man said, “comes from gathering knowledge and skill from the widest possible range. You must strike someone as being unusually valuable in that regard.”
END week 40