Wow. Things have gone to hell in a handbasket.
It all started out so smoothly. I’d received a message stating class had been canceled. A perfect opportunity to get an early start prepping for exams. But then more messages started coming in about cancelations, and soon I found myself hanging out in the cafetaria with classmates, wondering what the hell was going on. I half expected some kind of drill.
And then all hell broke loose. It began with a crashing sound followed with dome breach alarms. So I followed protocol and headed into the tunels towards the nearest gathering place. I was the first one in. Down there I stumbled upon a dead trooper; an armed one for that matter. He had a strange dart in his neck that seemed to have caused part of his skin to crystalise. I grabbed his assault rifle and continued on. When I reached the gathering place, the ceiling there was breached, I suspect it was some kind of dropship. And there were people around it. i approached them to take a look, but they were aliens! Before I could do anything one opened fire and he hit me with one of those darts. Immediately I noticed its paralyzing effect, but I managed to get off a few bursts dropping him. The noise got the attention of his companions, so I decided to retreat and herd the rest back into the tunel. This wasn’t easy, but I managed to get them moving and dropped the emergency bulkhead.
Someone in CC asked me to try and seal another tunel. I proceeded with care, so I heard the strange noises in time. Four of those things were trying to sabotage the emergency bulkhead. So I sniped two of them, dropping them with headshots. This left two, and an almost empty AR. So I charged them while I emptied my clip as suppressing fire and flipped the handle, locking one of them on the other side. I tried to grab my pistol, but the alien hit me in the side of the head and everything went dark.
I woke up in ER and the raid (this was a raid of all things) was over. So someone saved my bacon down there. Classes were canceled for the time being and I got put in a detail to clear out debris. And for the time being I had to bunk down in what used to be a closet I guess with 5 or 6 others. There’s one chick I’d put down for a fighter jock if I had to go by the attitude. A friendly girl I recognise from one of my classes, medical student I believe. A guy who seems to be loosing it. And something that must have crawled right out of a horror movie; more tattoos then should be possible, or legal for that matter. And no privacy, no comforts, … So I started trading and sneaking off to my stash when I found the time. So by evening, we had music blasting and a few bottles of booze.
And then reports started coming in. Those freaks had taken people; entire shiploads of them. By the end of the week we knew over 250k had been taken off. I started going over the lists, feeling more releaved every time I finished a list and didn’t find any friends or relatives. That is until I saw a name I hadn’t seen or heard in years. Asin. That was abit of a shock. I hadn’t thought of her in awhile. I should have contacted her, but things always came up; and then I forgot. It had been three years since last we spoke! And now she was gone.
Then the news came some of our professors were leaving because of some disagreement. I went to talk to one I liked. i’d been talking to the med student; she was in that class as well. I think we must have been talking loud, because before I knew it the others were tagging along as well. Even freakshow.
At first the man didn’t want to talk. It was clear something strange was going on, but he caved in quickly, and handed over a big file. Well, it was a shocker. The government had known of aliens since 1947. Rosswell. No weather baloon.
In short: they have an experimental FTL drive; they even have an experimental FTL ship; they’re not going after our people; they’re keeping it all a secret. Our missing people will be declared dead. It’s a tragedy, but there it is. All in all a sound decision. We may have 1 ship, they needed 7 to transport all. We won’t know what to expect there and may even provoke an all open war with a species that has superior technology.
Freakshow noticed a report from NASA; when Voyager 1 passed Pluto it received a radio transmission. It was judged to be its own transmission reflected back and was later forgotten. Now, the rest of them were all ready to up and leave for Pluto; all except the pilot. At that point I said my goodbeys and left. i’m not ready to get booted off the academy.
Later the pilot came asking if I wouldn’t join them on a trip to Pluto. The ex professor had rented a ship and someone needed to call the shots. I caved, and asked for a leave on grounds of a missing person. The administration was not asking questions at this point and handing it out.
So we left on a rustbucket from the war. An armed one. I tasked freakshow with repairing the long range sensors; and when that was done we were greeted by a patrolship in hot pursuit. Playing deaf didn’t help because it was faster. So I was ready to let them board when the smuggler/owner declared he was hauling a freight of dope. that’s when the pilot opened fire and destroyed the patrolship’s engines. Luckily for us, there’s no way for them to know we were onboard.
In short on Pluto: we found an acient pleasure craft with an advanced FTL drive crashlanded on the surface. it had 4 cryo pods still working and we managed to repair the ship and its computer system. hell, we even had it working in English (or it did that by itself). And then another type of hell broke loose. Everyone but the pilot wanted to go after our people. just the handful of us in a pleasurecraft. No thinking there, just pure emotion. And they were ready to ignore my orders and reasoning. So I told them have fun, I’m leaving with the smuggler. In the end the pilot chimed in and together we were able to let them see reason.
So we headed back to Lunar Base, and hailed CC, and handed over this ship. Maybe, just maybe, something good will come of all of this. Perhaps we can make a big leap in technological advancement by studying the vessel. Perhaps we can build something that gives us an edge in an attempt to rescue those people; although that doesn’t seem likely. But we can always hope.
All of this made me think of some books I read a few years ago. A fantasy series classic by Robert Jordan. Asin had given them for my birthday the year I cam to the academy. There’s a passage where one of the main protagonists says something that keeps coming to mind lately: Death is lighter then a feather, but duty is heavier than a mountain.