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:
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—
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.
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.)