Welcome to Earth

The Trap

The message, cryptic as ever, came over SMS on our Indigo-issued phones:

“The trap has been sprung. They came back to Japan. This time, we were ready.”

Suspecting there’d be folks needing medical attention, I rushed to the hangar. Mulder, Muller, Tony, and Tsai Ch’en were already suited up when I arrived, and we wasted no time in getting onboard the sky ranger and heading east.

After a short while, the pilot looked back and instructed us to mute our mics and switch to channel two. We heard a woman speaking hurriedly in Korean, then in English:

“… our friend from the DPRK says they’ve got three boxes on the bottom. They’ve hit one, and that’s got this one limping.”

Another voice responded, excitedly, and with a Texan accent: “Copy that – am I cleared for my run?” The conversation was drowned out in a moment by what could only be the roar of A-10 Warthog fire, and after a tense silence, that same voice again: “I’ve popped another box and it’s headed toward a populated area of Japan. Send in the grunts.”

And in we went.

We had time enough for a few cursory searches on our Indigo-issued phones, though. We learned that we were headed to a wooded area near Tottori, and that the weather was forecast to be partly cloudy. Tony checked to see whether there had been any unusual happenings (e.g. meteors, ovipositions, etc.) in this area, but found nothing of note. I pulled up a map of living heritage recipients to find that an esteemed woodworker, Kiyotsugu Nakagawa, lived only a couple valleys over. I requested that Indigo dispatch ground forces to his home, only to learn that Japan’s living national treasures had already been moved to safe-houses. I thought we should visit regardless, but we had this task to attend to first.

It was nearly midnight when we came upon the field of trees. A narrow swath of them had been mowed down by the alien craft as it fell eastward, so we elected to follow the newly formed treeline on the south edge of its path. Muller went first and covered Tsai Ch’en and me as we moved up behind him. Mulder and Tony brought up the rear, and we continued to advance this way until we heard a sound from the northeast.

Something was moving through the bushes, but it was difficult to determine in the darkness where it was exactly. We estimated, though, that it was likely coming from atop an outcropping in the distance, and that the lone tree on that outcropping might make decent cover for an enemy sniper. Anticipating this, Tsai Ch’en continued east to take cover behind the next large rock formation – in the process, however, she surprised a patrol of three sectoids that instantly scattered to take cover. Two took up behind nearby formations – a tree and a large rock, respectively – and the third sprinted behind a tree far to the south and out of sight. Tsai Ch’en and Tony were both able to take cover, themselves, and braced for combat.

With all the good cover having been taken, I advanced further east and to the south side of a small rock pond – and it was here that I finally spotted the UFO in the distance. For all the trees it had smashed through, I was amazed to discover that it didn’t show any outward signs of damage: the surrounding fires glinted fiercely off the pristine, metallic surface of the hull, and even the strange, translucent corner sections appeared not to have sustained so much as a scratch. Mulder was at my side in a flash – as if sensing that one of us had stumbled across the craft – and made note that the frosted corner sections didn’t reflect the light of the fire at all. “Is it porous?” he wondered aloud. I suppressed a shudder, barely, and fell back to join Mulder and Tsai Ch’en in cover.

When the sectoid that had sprinted south reappeared, Hans and Tsai Ch’en were ready for it. It had hardly seen us, I think, before its head and torso exploded in perfect unison – a third shot also rang out, and Tony let out a yaup of satisfaction (but I’m pretty sure he didn’t actually manage to hit anything). As if to answer him, another sectoid lept out from cover and fired on Tony – fortunately, the projectile slammed into the rock formation he’d taken over behind and managed only to shower him with a few light rock fragments. The last sectoid, who had been sheltering nearby, ran south toward the opposite side of the rock Mulder, Tsai Ch’en, and I were stacked behind.

It was clear, at this point, that it meant to flank us – but by the time I thought to request her help, Tsai Ch’en had already darted out of cover to the rock pool just south of us. Mulder was still with me, though, so I proposed that he take the east corner of the rock while I take the north, and by doing so keep the flanking sectoid from getting the drop on us. He paused a moment, and with a resounding “okay!”, dropped to his knees and folded himself into the safest nook of the rock formation.

Tony, on the other hand, was not so cautious. Having also anticipated the sectoids’ flanking maneuver, he advanced quickly and fired on the enemy. He missed, to my horror, and I was with him and firing before I realized it. I missed, but the enemy did not: the projectile burned through my armor like it was nothing, and my skin like it was even less.

Hans had our backs, though, and he made short work of the offending sectoid. Tony took a shot at the other sectoid, which had taken cover, but missed again. As if to show off, Hans unleashed a salvo of gunfire that tore this one apart, as well. With this, we finally had the chance to move back up behind the rock to reload – as the others did so, I cracked open a medikit and saw to my burns.

Tsai Ch’en, taking point, moved closer to the alien vessel and took watch from behind a stump. Hans moved north, in hopes of flanking any enemies we might spot along the way, and the rest of us followed after Tsai Ch’en as she forged on east, then north – until she came across a second patrol of three sectoids. This one had gone up the outcropping to the north, and after spotting her, they, too, scattered to take cover behind the nearby stumps and rocks. Responding in kind, Tsai Ch’en fell back to her previous cover, and the rest of us moved in to engage.

All at once, the sectoids sprang into action. One lept down and sprinted south, disappearing behind the downed spacecraft. Another, stepping out from behind the tree, fired on Tsai Ch’en and hit: her armor burned away, and she was badly hurt. I rushed to her side to administer the medikit, and while the gel sealed her wounds, we were left out in the open.

Meanwhile, as his companions fought for their lives, Mulder had wandered off to check out the spacecraft. Peering through one of the translucent sections, he could make out a number of stand-up terminals glowing green against the metal walls of the interior. He couldn’t make out anything on the panels, but if he could find a way to get a bit closer…

Further north, Tsai Ch’en returned fire and killed the creature that had blasted away her armor. Hans, having caught the second creature at an uncovered angle, fired on it. The creature, spotting Hans, fired back. Neither one managed to hit the other, however, and they were both terribly embarrassed.

Suddenly, a sectoid – the same that had fled the main battle – leaned out and fired a shot at Mulder. It missed, fortunately; and Tony, who had since joined Mulder at the downed ship, rushed in to fire back. Though he missed, the shot triggered his holographic targeting program: whatever came next, we’d at least have an easier time taking this one down.

Meanwhile, transfixed by the glow of the terminals, Mulder moved to press his hand against the translucent barrier separating him from the ship’s interior. His fingers found no purchase, though – no purchase, that is, because his fingers, his hand, and ultimately his whole body passed through the barrier entirely.

Outside, the fight raged. Hans took another shot at the creature to the north and missed. Tsai Ch’en fired also, but succeeded only in hitting the rock that the creature had ducked behind. It was me, to my surprise, who managed to take the sectoid down. It was exhilarating, and sickening, but there was no time to appreciate it: we had to help Tony before it was too late.

We arrived to find that, though the sectoid had burned Tony’s armor away, he was otherwise unharmed. Tsai Ch’en, Muller, and I fanned out to take down the sectoid on the other side of the craft – after a brief firefight, I managed to take it down with my carbine. Mulder, who had been wandering around inside the ship, managed to discern the shape of a distinctly sectoid handprint amid the sea of arcane symbols dotting the surface of the consoles around him. After a moment’s respite, which we used to reload, the rest of us rushed in to join him.

Mulder asked us for a hand – an alien hand, to be precise – and Tony was happy to oblige when we relayed the request to him over radio. He was kind enough to bring us two, in fact – and in hopes of overwhelming whatever waited for us behind the biometrically-locked doors in the central chamber, we stacked up at the doors on either side of it before using our ghoulish trophies to gain entrance. Muller, Tsai Ch’en, and Mulder took the door to the west; while Tony and I piled up on the door at the east side of the vessel. On the count of three, we pressed the severed hands against the consoles and rushed in as the doors parted.

Three more sectoids awaited us inside, but our having divided ourselves between entrances left them with no place to hide. Hans, Tsai Ch’en, and I made short work of them, and cleared the way for Mulder to rush in and seek the next console to activate. There was a single panel to the north, and the rest of us moved into cover and prepared for a firefight as he pressed the dismembered hand into it…

Before us stood three alien creatures: two sectoids, hideous as any we’d seen, and an odd set of bronze spheres lashed together into a large, humanoid shape by a confluence of forcefields very much like the one we had passed through in entering the ship. We’d have been perplexed by it if we weren’t already firing: Hans took down one sectoid and Tsai Ch’en dinged the golem, and while both Tony and I missed our targets, Tony’s shot tagged the golem with his holo-targeting system.

Suddenly, and with a speed very much at odds with its enormous size, the bronze creature shot out of the chamber and fled to the exterior of the ship. The remaining sectoid sought to cover its escape by firing on Tsai Ch’en, but it managed only to hit the doorway – we put it down only a moment later, before turning our attention to the fleeing golem.

Hans, however, was already on it: in the chaos he had given chase and dropped his rifle in favor of his freshly requisitioned LAW. Though the bronze construct was fast – eerily fast, as it had shot across the field and mounted the northern outcropping by the time Hans even managed to leave the ship – it was not fast enough to escape destruction. Hans’ rocket blazed across the field and slammed into the lone tree with a horrific blast, shattering trunk and golem alike in a maelstrom of flame and shrapnel.

I breathed a sigh of relief – we stood, finally, in a field without hostiles. We could finally radio back to Indigo for cleanup and take stock of our situation, and there was much of interest. The walls of the ship, for instance, seemed like they could all serve as effective screens. Additionally, the golem we had taken down seemed to lack a biological system entirely – it seemed to have some sort of built-in antenna, though, and appeared by all accounts to be some sort of robot. There also appeared to be a set of empty restraints, sized for a single person, attached to a wall of the craft’s inner chamber. Whether it had held a human? It was hard to say. But none of us got a good feeling from it.

All of these discoveries paled, of course, in comparison to what we had accomplished. For the first time in this war, we had thwarted a major maneuver of the alien invaders before they managed even to touch ground. Having made contact, we succeeded in systematically neutralizing every entity we encountered – all, furthermore, without having lost a single soldier. And, most importantly, we now had what might have been the greatest single acquisition in our fight against the invaders so far.

We now had one of their ships.

20 Minutes in America
Blindsided by an underground crater
Sitting in the cantina, we all got pings of social media accounts of giant purple spiders crawling through a mall in Decorah, Iowa. Shortly after I finish an Instagram story, our pagers go off. I did some wikipediaing of Decorah before we arrived. It’s a small town that lies on top of an ancient crater that has since filled with shale and fossilized sea creatures.

We arrive at the parking lot of the strip mall. Decorah shoppers walk around in a daze — all of them. Everyone holds some kind of injury. Local emergency personnel hang out on the perimeter, administering first aid. They leave the action to us.

We decide to take out the civilians, who are without doubt infected by the spiders. Tony grabs the Arc Thrower. Marius moves to cover him, but he sees three spiders approach. They move fast, closing in on Marius within seconds. Nie Zheng takes a shot at them and misses. He closes in, shoots again, and hits point blank. The spider goes down, still twitching. Tony takes a shot and misses. I shoot at one with my marksman rifle and the hit barely pierces the creature.

Marius shoots to kill the one I had just shot. He rolls out of the way and hits the remaining spider with his SAW. It does significantly more damage than my rifle. The civilians move again, oblivious to the gunfire, one closing in on Tsai-Chen. I move to the perimeter of the parking lot and a large, midwest, ginger bearded policeman looks me up and down. I ignore him and miss a shot.

Luckily, Tsai-Chen kills the last spider. Tony immediately grabs the Arc Thrower and tases the civilian next to Tsai-Chen. He doesn’t react. Tsai-Chen shoots and kills the spider while Nie Zheng puts the civilian in a bouncer hold. I zip-tie him up and we move on.

As we move forward, another civilian comes up and startles Marius. The civilian destroys Marius’s armor. Nie Zheng hits the soccer mom with his shotgun – the shot doesn’t slow her down despite being a gruesome hit. Tony shoots her and takes her out.

We take out two civilians as we advance. Though they’re innocents, they’re deadly and tough. We try to avoid taking out those not in our way, but the risk is too great with their randomized movement.

As we near Anytime Fitness, three more spiders break through the glass and swarm Tsai-Chen. She backs up and I throw a grenade. Fortunately, like shotgun blasts, the grenade shredded their armor. Marius takes the middle one out with his SAW. Nie Zheng finishes the last one off with a close shotgun burst.

Nie Zheng heads toward Fisk Farm and Home – all clear. Anytime Fitness is clear as well. We decide to clear each store and move along the perimeter. As we near Christopher & Banks, more spiders come out and swarm Zheng. He takes the last one out with his shotgun. I kill one with my rifle. Tony wounds another and I take him out. They are all down.

Tsai-Chen focuses on taking out nearby civilians. One comes up and Zheng hits him with his shotgun point blank. He doesn’t go down and swings at Zheng, destroying his armor. Tsai-Chen takes him down. Zheng takes out the last one.

At this point, everything has calmed down. We split Tony’s medkit between Marius and Zheng, now blood brothers. Chatter on the radio comes through: a UFO has landed nearby at the Seed Saver Exchange, robbing the place blind. The UFO has since left. The spiders were ultimately a diversion.

Mission 4: Sapporo Japan

Night mission, Norzern Japan, Sapporo.

Mission Briefing:
A UFO landed in ze city and dropped 12 individuals near a mega-server farm.

Mission crev:
Nie-Zheng / assault specialist
Ahno Hadziosmnovie / Medic Specialist
Tony Marco / Scout Specialist
Tsai-Chen Wang / Engineer Specialist
Hans Müller / Rookie

Ach, virst mission vis zis kroup of death-dealers. I just arrived in zis ultra-secret oonit and am already picked up for a mission in Japan! My vater vould be proud. Let’s recollect vhat happened:

Ve leave ze Skyranger. Ze doors at ze front of ze server farm close from inside as ve approach… Tsai-Chen Wang and I varn ze ozers: ve are expected. Ze puilding is zurrounded py a fence, vit open kround around it, zero cover. Nicht Gut. Zere is light inside. 20’ feet tall puilding, one floor.

Ve decide to go around ze puilding to enter ze premises from pehind. We go clockvise. Zere is fery little cofer here… Zuddenly, a ginormous zpider comes out of ze building and heads at incredible speed tovard ze fire squad that vas moving tovard ze puilding. I vas covering ze rest vith Tsai-Chen Wang and shot ze fast moving creature, making a neat high-calibre hole through its chitinous carapace, but to not kill it… Ze spider lifts its front legs, revealing a femur-size stinger!!
Nie-Zheng shoots ze monzter at point-blank vith his shotgun: Head Shot!! Ze zpider is decapitated on ze spot. Ve notice zat ze door closed behind ze spider. Zey obviously knov ve are here… Tony zuggests ve take ze cameras out. Ve do just zat. Ahno Hadziosmnovie, our combat medic, takes a look at ze spider from up-close: ze ztiinger has eggs in it…

Ve pass ze first corner carefully. Nie-Zheng shoots anozer camera located above ze corner. Ze rezt of ze zguad stacks along ze zide vall vhile I cover ze front, Nie-Zheng kills anozer camera. Suddenly Ahno Hadziosmnovie is complaining zat ze floor is uneven, for no good reason. Do ze invaders have mental abilities to mess viz our minds? Ve hear ze front doors of ze puilding opening, and noise on ze roof! Tsai-Chen Wang moves avay from ze building to get a petter fiev, Nie-Zheng approaches ze next corner (back one). Ve gazer carefully along ze vall, covering all angles… Ve zuddenly zee a Sin Man appear at ze front corner behind us. He zuppresses Tsai-Chen Wang, preventing her from moving. Anozer Sin Man appears on ze top of ze roof above Nie-Zheng, and a sird one on ze front corner. Nie-Zheng tosses a very vell placed krenade at ze rooftop Sin man, obliterating him into a fin mist: nope, it’s a toxic cloud if I remember my briefing correctly. Tony puts his gas mask on and joins Nie-Zheng . I run along ze vall tovard ze front corner and toss an AP grenade right at ze feet of ze sin man suppressing Tsai-Chen Wang : Peekaboo, I kill you! Ve hear someone else on top of ze roof nearby… Ze gas cloud from ze dead Sin man is slovly drifting dovn tovard us.

Tony moves avay from ze vall to shoot ze Sin Man. Nie-Zheng shoots anozer camera past ze back corner. Ze roof Sin man tosses a Mace Grenade at Ahno Hadziosmnovie and me… We both squat on ze ground, puking zeir guts and helpless. Tsai-Chen Wang tosses an AP krenade at ze Sin man put doesn’t kill it outright. Angry, Nie-Zheng climbs along a pipe to ze roof, and guts ze vounded alien vith his Drench knife. Wunderbar! Ahno Hadziosmnovie and I vash our faces vith ze vater from our canteen and put our gas mask on, zen ze vhole squad stacks on ze building’s back corner.

Ve hear on ze radio that a UFO is closing in again, and that several Japanese F-18 are scrambling for interception. Ze UFO actually lands right next to ze ozer back corner, 30+ meters from us. Tree Sectoids/Greys and a hostage vearing tourist cloves exit ze building right next to ze UFO! Ve must stop zem, and ve have very little time… Ahno Hadziosmnovie shoots one of ze Greys dead. Nie-Zheng approaches carefully and reloads, he is too far to shoot vith his Shotgun or sidearm. Tony closes in and shoots vith his AR. I close in and shoot one of ze Greys: headshot kills it instanstly! Ze last Grey pulls ze tourist into ze UFO (out of sight), and tree more Sin men exit ze building, preventing us from stopping ze grey from abducting zeir prisoner. Ze Sin men suppress our front rov. Tsai-Chen Wang throvs a smoke grenade near ze Sin men, breaking ze line of sight: prilliant! Ahno Hadziosmnovie uses ze cover and gets inside ze puilding through one of ze packdoors. She passes tvo terrified Japanese vorkers, and sees tree more Sin men about to exit tovard ze UFO. She hides from vem.

Tony joins Ahno Hadziosmnovie and sees that he is hidden belov a computer console vith ze tvo Nippon vorkers. He also spots ze free more Sin men. Before ve can do anything to stop zem, all ze aliens climb onto zeir UFO, vhich takes off and leaves vith incredible acceleration. It is both amazing und terrifying…

I radio ze Skyranger to tell ze F-18s to stop ze UFO at all cost! Ve enter ze building, try to access ze footage but ze vhole computer interface and keyboard are in Japanese. Ten years of careful training foiled in an instant… Ve call for Indigo support to get help, zeb keep ze vorkers at bay vhile ve vait. Tsai-Chen Wang and Tony go explore ze rest of ze building vhile ve vait for ze Indigo zupport to get back to us. Zey find a zerver zat has obviously been tinkered viz. Ze Japanese techs get a phone call from some higher-up and help us get a picture of ze abductee from ze camera ystem. Ve send that to HQ to do facial recognition. Vhile exploring ze building, ve find several vorkers viz a very similar large chest vound (like a puncture), moving around oblivious to vhat happened to zem. Zey don’t vant to let go of zeir vounds, ov strange. Ve handcuff zem for everyone’s safety. Ze vounds are pretty serious, Ahno Hadziosmnovie zinks zey actually could die of zem. Ve suspect zey have an egg inside zem. I contact ze Skyranager to ask for zeir quarantining and transport out of here. Ahno Hadziosmnovie manages to take an egg out of one of zem.

Vorking on ze server, I figure out that ze aliens vere looking into Japanese Census data, and vere more specifically looking at a large kroup of individuals. I make a copy of zat data for furzer analysis. Ve figure later that the kroup zat interested the aliens are ze living national. We inform ze Japanese government that zese people may be targeted soon. Ve also run ze hacker’s footage trough a face recognition database and learn that it is a Russian hacker, ze zame man vho vas broken out of jail in a previous mission.

Next time:
- bring more grenades
- bring LAW or surface to air gun
- bring ARC thrower.

The needs of the many

Welcome to Earth

Strange weapons fire Goa India

TEAM: Mulder, Marius, Guy, Ahmo, Tsai-Chen

‘Wheels up’ in Sky Ranger: VTOL
Special Motion Sickness Drugs
Briefing: Local police have pulled back,
Something still going on in Police Station
Building surrounded by Police
Team roped down 100’ out West side
Team moves closer in to building
Nothing on roof
Guy at door, spies hallway through glass door
Hear noise, movement within, report to team
Guy moves in, four spotted, flee into rooms
Guy shoots Assault Carbine at one, Killing it
Guy shot, killed
Tsai-Chen recon’s police garage, enters
Marius enters garage
Ahmo and Mulder behind cars in street
Grey moves towards west exit past Guy into Ahmo’s overwatch
Ahmo shoots Assault Carbine, kills Grey
Tsai-Chen, moves, spots Grey in hall, shoots and kills
Team notes that Grey’s here are taller, stockier than those killed in last mission.
Team hears noise from NE corner of interior
Team to move in twos, east through interior
Marius spots Grey from Garage, kills with SAW
Grey shoots at Ahmo, misses
Marius moves, kills Grey through wall
Ahmo shoots, wounding Grey down hall
Tsai-Chen vaults over front counter into admin area
Mulder moves to corner just outside admin area
Tsai-Chen hits wounded Grey, killing it
Team hears human shouts from NE corner of station
Mulder studies Grey ‘Scarification’, notes an extra layer of cartilage different from other Grey’s
Ahmo investigates alien wound on Guy, burn/tear mix, no residue
Marius, checking for intact Grey weapons
Tsai-Chen, locates Indian prisoners in cells, notes odd lighting in one cell – emits ‘moon-like’ light
Prisoners tell of first indication was shooting and shouting, at one part of invasion, prison wall of white skinny man (Pyotr Levashov (leader of ‘Cybervor’ (Hacking Cabal) as shown on prison roster) blown and man taken presumably by Greys. Pyotr was yelling in Russian as he was taken.
Call in special paranormal clean-up team.
Team extracted. Toast to Guy after debriefing.
Summary: Six enemy kills, one team member lost, Russian Crime Lord taken by Greys

First Contact

CDC plane, somewhere over Tajikistan

Our FBI agents were aboard a CDC plane – undercover and en route to Tibet to investigate sightings of bizarre aircraft on behalf of their benefactor, Senator Franken – when they began to experience some turbulence. Though initially unfazed, they soon overheard some commotion in the cockpit: another aircraft signal appeared in the area, they said – probably just smugglers on their tail to avoid radar detection, but some minor evasive maneuvers would be necessary to shake them off. The pilot’s voice soon came over the intercom to instruct the agents to buckle up.

As the plane banked, however, Mulder caught a glimpse of something quite unlike any smuggler’s plane he’d seen. It appeared to be round and metal – and in the next moment, this craft bumped forcefully against the side of the plane. He tried to draw Scully’s attention to the object, but before she could see it, the plane was descending. There was an automated warning – “TERRAIN: PULL UP” – and the plane hit ground.

Indigo V-22 Osprey, over Afghanistan

Marius, Matrix, Nie, and Häyhä had seemingly concluded their exercises with Indigo, and were on the last V-22 Osprey back to Bagram. The unceremonious end to their visit was a bit disconcerting, but these people were professionals – aside from a strange moment when Marius jabbed Guy’s finger with a pin (apparently to inspect his blood), the flight was quiet.

Quiet, that is, until Sgt. Spunkmeier arrived. There was an assignment, he said: 2 “VIPs” and 2 pilots (aka “NVIPs”) were down, and they would need to be extracted. He gave few details – standard procedure for Indigo, perhaps? – and accordingly, our heroes asked few questions. By this time, they were already speeding north.

Crash site at Pamirsky National Park, Tajikistan

Scully and Mulder awoke to the groaning of metal all around them. They were lucky to be alive – the cockpit was a twisted mess of metal and viscera, but they had hardly been scratched. Furthermore, the damaged door appeared to have been removed from the outside. Mulder wondered aloud at the craft he’d seen earlier, but Scully remained skeptical – indeed, she even checked him for a concussion (he was fine).

Our soldiers touched down at the landing zone, so far without incident. It was dark, but they surmised the location of their targets by the small fires in the distance. In an instant, Maddi was off – a nearby rock formation provided an excellent vantage point, and she scaled it with little effort.

The others elected to follow the nearby creek north – Zheng in the lead, Guy behind him with the equipment he’d taken to aid their VIPs, and Marius guarding their rear. There had been some concern that local tribesmen could pose a threat to the two they’d been sent to extract, so the soldiers moved quickly and in unison.

Suddenly, there was movement ahead. Zheng halted and motioned for the others to stop, but in the same instant, he was struck in the chest by a burst of green… something. A second, similar projectile hit the tree nearest him, and to his horror, it was destroyed. This was not like any weapon our soldiers had seen, and as his armor corroded away, Zheng could’ve sworn he’d seen two misshapen figures darting between trees in the darkness ahead.

Meanwhile, our agents had begun to suspect that something was amiss. While Scully gathered supplies from the fuselage, Mulder heard a great commotion from the wooded area to the west: two loud bursts (as if of a weapon?) and the distinct cracking of treefall in the distance. If this activity had any connection the craft he’d seen earlier, he and Scully could be in great danger. Cautiously, he began to climb the plane for a better look…

Maddi’s voice crackled through our soldier’s headsets: “Zheng: circle left and help me engage.” Zheng sprinted across the creek to take cover behind a tree; and Guy, responding quickly to this unknown threat, took cover behind a tree on the opposite side and set down the equipment he had brought for the VIPs. It was then that the first “thing” they spotted began to move – but they were ready, and the creature was gunned down in seconds. It slumped to the ground in a pool of green liquid.

Marius arrived soon after and demanded that Zheng show him his wound. The attack had, indeed, destroyed his armor, and the skin beneath it was badly burned. Neither had any clue what type of weapon this was, but they pressed north regardless – Marius circling right in hopes of flanking the second creature, and Zheng to deliver a cautious shotgun blast to the head of the first.

Guy, meanwhile, had taken off through the clearing between the river and the fires. These aggressors and their weapons may not be like anything they had seen, but they still had their orders; and Guy had a plan. Sprinting, eyes fixed on a pair of trees that would give good cover, he howled valiantly to the night sky:

“Audrey Hepburn!!”

Scully and Mulder, meanwhile, had moved cautiously southward with pistols drawn. Scully could’ve sworn she heard something strange – perhaps just the wind shrieking the names of old-timey movie stars? – when she was suddenly slammed by some green, burning projectile. Mulder, horrified, spun around to face the ledge overlooking the plane’s wreckage. Here stood the figure that had almost certainly fired the shot, and Mulder returned several from his pistol. He had never been the most skilled marksman, though: his bullets only chipped ineffectually at the rocks overhead.

Mulder had only just joined Scully (who had dragged herself to cover next to the plane) when another figure emerged, screaming from the south—

“Audrey Hepburn!!”

After composing themselves, Dana, Fox, and Guy made brief introductions and took stock of their situation. Scully, using Guy’s trauma pack, assessed her wound and ensured that she could move safely if need be. Mulder recognized, from the effect of these unconventional weapons and his years of studying the paranormal, that their aggressors were very likely extraterrestrial.

Marius was advancing steadily when Maddi’s voice came through his headset: “…hostile has moved into the plane.” Just barely after she’d finished, another green projectile swooshed past him to slam against a tree in the distance – it had barely missed, and came from the direction of the fuselage. Adjusting his plan, he moved quickly toward a bank of cover to the east.

Before he could reach it, however, another shot came through the plane’s window. These projectiles moved slower than a bullet – certainly subsonic, at least, Marius recognized – but he was unable to move out of its path. The hit was indirect, but his body armor was completely destroyed.

Guy, in the meantime, had moved up to the door of the fuselage on Maddi’s intel. Slicing the pie (just like he’d learned in the Coast Guard), he rounded the corner and killed the creature with his carbine before it even knew he was there. Green blood erupted from the exit wounds as their force spun its body around, and Guy was too focused to notice that a splash of it had landed in his hair…

After confirming his kill over their radio, the soldiers moved in to regroup.

Having moved into what remained of the plane, the soldiers and VIPs made introductions and set about planning their next move. Scully had barely patched up Marius and Zheng before turning her attention to the dead creature on the floor. Its equipment was minimal and strange – on its back was a pack of folded material that reminded our heroes very much of origami, and a “pistol” that crumbled into fragments of previously interlocked metal blocks at Marius’ touch. Mulder was also acutely interested in this carcass: it had the distinct appearance of what ufology literature called “greys,” and he agreed emphatically with Scully when she suggested that an autopsy would be in order.

As Scully and Mulder set about bagging up the specimen in the fuselage, the soldiers ventured back to retrieve important items left in the field: Guy and Marius the equipment they’d brought for the VIPs, and Zheng and Maddi the headless corpse of the other alien they’d encountered. On their way back, they were surprised to see and hear another aircraft – this one a jet of clearly human design – land vertically in an area to the north of the outcropping near the wreckage.

When the soldiers got back to the others, Guy distributed fresh tac vests to Mulder and Scully while Marius headed up to assess the situation with the jet. After approaching with due caution from the ledge above the wrecked CDC plane, he established communication via flashlight with the new arrivals. Their light was a welcome color: indigo.

Location Unknown

Everyone had to give their cellphones up to be zipped in a Faraday bag. “People don’t talk about us,” the Nigerian operative that led them to the plane had said, and the pilot (a Canadian) had wasted no time in lifting off and heading north through the Himalayas. They were likely over Kazakhstan by the time everyone had gotten their bearings, but they wouldn’t keep them for long.

After a short flight, they landed at an airbase none of our heroes could peg as belonging to any particular military. They were ready to hit the tarmac, but to their surprise, the platform below them began to lower, plane and all, into the earth. Marius shuddered – it appeared the real base would be subterranean.

The soldiers’ debriefings were… brief. They were to be transferred to the command of Commander Diệt. Any doubts were laid to rest in a direct video conference with their now-former (and generally reluctant) superior officers: whatever national military they had served, they now served Indigo.

The FBI agents met directly with Diệt. He was a fit man somewhere in his early 50s, with an Indonesian flag on the shoulder of his uniform. He knew who they were and why they’d come here. Furthermore, he thought they’d make valuable members of their effort. When Scully asked what effort that was, exactly, his response was simple:

“The defense of the planet. We’re at war.”

(Mulder was ready to believe.)

Five paragraph essay vol.1
The Outside Context Problem

Many copies of this newsletter have appeared throughout the base. It is not clear who wrote it, or why those in charge are not reacting to its appearance.

Five paragraph essay vol.1
The Outside Context Problem

“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” Arthur C. Clarke

With all due respect to Sir Clarke these two possibilities are not equally terrifying. One of these leads to a profound sense of loneliness that will never abate, the other is the kind of outside context problem with which we now find ourselves engaged.

“An Outside Context Problem is the sort of thing most civilizations encounter just once, and which they tended to encounter rather in the same way a sentence encounters a full stop.” Iain M. Banks, Excession

Our chief problems are, our defenses are not ready, we don’t know how best to get ready, and we don’t know their end goal.

Our defenses are not ready. In the age of nation states Departments of Defense have a chronic flaw. All advancements in strategy, all developments in technology, and all improvements in logistics are aimed at doing a better job winning the last war. Almost none of that will help us now. We have spent our war chest and more on everything we could think of to defeat our rival nation states. Our defenses are designed to decapitate known leaders, destroy immovable cities and industry, and to take and hold land. We are not ready.

We don’t know their weaknesses. Biologically they are not so different from us. Modern guns in the hands of well-trained soldiers took out two of their individuals. But did that hurt them? If so, how many do we have to kill to defeat them? Are our efforts better spent trying to defeat their crafts? Are they overly dependent on their leadership, or their communications, or their computers? Do they have an economy we can attack? Do they have supply lines? If humanity is to fight back, we will need to learn what weapon to use, and where to aim.

We don’t know their end goal. Have they run out of natural resources, and now they are here to take ours? Are they here to make us slaves, or meat? Are they here to extract our wealth by getting us addicted to their version of heroin or pop music? Are they here to convert us, or purge us? Are we to be soldiers fighting for them in a galactic war? Why did they come?

We know we can’t run. We don’t have a backup Earth to retreat to. We must be proactive. We must find them and learn their weaknesses. We must study their biology, their technology, and discover their goals. Then when we gain context, we can hold our ground, look them in the eye, and send them back where they came from.

Prolog for DJ and Lauren

Prolog for DJ and Lauren

(You can still change your character’s name, gender, and other details if you want. I’ll use ‘Mulder’ and ‘Scully’ here)

Forty hrs ago, Mulder had a secret meeting with his patron Senator. He told you about a US intelligence operative embedded in Tibet. This operative is tasked with keeping tabs on any Chinese human rights violations in the Bangong Lake area. His recent reports, however, are about strange aircraft in the night sky. The reports describe strange lights, sometimes like shooting stars, and sometimes like search lights in the clouds. The reports also describe aerial maneuvers that would cause any pilot to blackout, if not outright kill them. The rest of the Senate intelligence committee is convinced that China is simply testing experimental aircraft. They want to use satellites to gather more information, but overall they are not concerned.

The Senator is not so sure he wants the two of you to investigate. As the FBI has no jurisdiction in Tibet he has arranged to get you and Scully CDC credentials, and your own CDC plane. The two of you are to pose as a CDC advanced team responding to reports of an outbreak of a new flu strain in the area. Once in Tibet you will meet up with the agent in place, who will act as your interrupter, you will be free to investigate as you see fit.

You flew from Washington DC to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where you got a nice meal and stretched your leg a bit while the CDC plane was refueled and a new flight crew came onboard. As you inter Tajikistan airspace there is an announcement “The Captain has turned on the fasten seat belt sign. As we enter the area of the Himalayas there will be pockets of unpredictable turbulence. Please return your seats and keep your seat belts fastened. Thank you.”

Prolog for Corry, Eric, and Franck

Prolog for Corry, Eric, and Franck

Special Operatives are often called the best of the best. This invariably leads to speculation about if there is a select group made up of the best of those. The idea has been nicknamed ‘Fight Club’ and ironically Spec-Op soldiers talk about Fight Club quite often. There is no Fight Club. There is Indigo, and no one talks about it.

You were invited to participate in Indigo. You were flown to a recently pacified Al-Qaeda training base in the tribal area. For the last two weeks you have been training with about twenty other Spec-Ops soldiers. These exercises were different than others you have taken part in because after every combat exercise you met, one on one, with a psychiatrist to talk about your reactions to the unexpected and novel elements in that exercise. Also unusual is that every day one or two of the operatives would apparently wash out never to be seen or heard from again. Now there are just four of you left, Guy Matrix, Nie Zheng, Maitre Marius, and Maddi Häyhä.

During your afternoon muster, it becomes clear something is different. There are no trainers to tell you what to do next. There are no psychiatrists to talk with. There are a dozen or so regular soldiers working about the base, but they all seem to be breaking down the training facilities, and removing any sign that this was ever anything but an Al-Qaeda training base. It defiantly has the feel that you stayed at prom too long and now there is nothing to do but go home alone or help clean up. Eventually you either ask one of the soldiers what’s going on, or you offer to help clean up, at which time you are told that the last V-22 Osprey is your ride back to Bagram, where you can catch a ride back to where ever you need to go. You gather your gear and board the V-22 just as the sun set in the West.


I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.