Chapter 10

Crewman T631 was born on Neuretro. He spent most of his early life waiting for Bulk Harvesters. They would always arrive at the end of the annual cycle, and bring whatever food they wanted back to the Zardonian homeworld. The Zardonians are the most heavily militarized species in the known universe. Luckily for the citizens of Neuretro, there was always plenty to spare.

Crewman T631 joined a Bulk Harvester crew as soon as he was old enough. And moved to the Zardonian homeworld. After six solar cycles, and fourteen attempts, Crewman T631 was accepted into the Zardonian spacefleet. He immediately signed up to the terra class ship.

Guarding a terra class warship from a species who cannot yet travel to their nearest planet is a one man job. Crewman T631 did not expect to have to do anything while the invasion of Earth was taking place. Which was why it came as a total surprise when the scanners picked up an enemy craft on the launch deck. 

It came as an even bigger surprise when the crew immediately split up and adopted a seemingly chaotic attack pattern. None of his training had prepared Crewman T631 for this, so he did the only thing he could think of to do. He panicked. And stowed himself on the enemy craft. 

Crewman T631 figured it was better to take his chances with the enemy than face certain death at the hands of his commander.

The defense of planet Earth was progressing slowly. The humans involved were simultaneously, scared, frustrated, and bored. And Kevin and Martina were discussing Gerry McLoughlin.

‘No fucking way’

‘but you know he’d have us in the control room in five minutes’

‘I said no Martina’

‘it’ll take us forever to find it otherwise’

‘no, he smells of cheese’

‘what’s that got to do with it?’

‘I don’t want my van smelling like that’

‘it’s not your van, and Pa and Sandra agree with me …we need Gerry here’

‘I said no …the spaceship controls are nearby, and any minute now I’ll find them’

‘bullshit, admit it Kev, you have no idea where you are in the ship’

‘I know fine well where I am’

‘okay then, what are all these empty rooms?’

‘erm, some sort of storage area.’

‘a storage area for what?’

‘erm, just general, uh, you know, stuff for the fighters’

‘we both know that’s bollox, ya haven’t a clue Kev’

‘I do, and anyway, we’ve no time to go back and get Gerry now’

‘we don’t have the time not to Kev, come on, be reasonable’

Kevin paused before he spoke again.

‘uh, okay Martina, but it’s only coz all ye wanted to, not because I couldn’t find the control room’

‘fine then’

‘because I would, if ye’d let me’

‘sure, whatever you say’

Martina was grinning when she walked back to Sandra and Pa. Kevin was frowning, and trailing a dozen steps behind. Sandra was first to her feet and began leading the way back to the van.

‘Howd’ya get Kev to agree to this’

Pa walked next to Martina

‘Don’t jinx it Pa, he wasn’t exactly keen’.

They four made their way back into the room with the giant window. Their van faced away from them, and sat in contrast to it’s pristine surroundings. Pa glanced back to Kevin, and looked out at the view.

‘We better get going quickly so, before he changes his mind’

Earth was still visible in the window. Streaks of light scarred the atmosphere. The battle for the planet was in full swing.

Pa pointed towards it.

‘You know Martina, this is gonna sound weird …but, well, looking down on that from here feels like the safest place to be’

‘Or the kind of place you’d send someone if ya wanted them out of the way’

‘Huh? …whatd’ya mean by that, are you still going on about those two crusties from the party? you’re starting to worry me with this paranoia, just think about what you’re saying Martina, if those two were aliens why the fuck would they bother conspiring to send us up here when they could just vapourize us with ray guns?’.

The word paranoia got Sandra’s attention, and she immediately joined the conversation.

‘Maybe not these aliens Pa, but shape shifting Archons’d have no problem with conspiration; ya know, sending us up here in the middle of an alien invasion’d be a perfect move for them …with us out of the way they could just sit back and watch the destruction of humanity. After all, it’s something they’ve been trying to do for centuries. and now it’s happening …provided nobody gets in the way.’

Sandra reached the van first. One window and all the doors were open. Pa threw an angry glance towards Martina and Kevin.

‘Fuck sake lads, which one of ye left the van open?’

Martina rolled her eyes.

‘Ah would ya relax Pa, who’s gonna be robbing ya up here, what are aliens gonna want with a pile of manky jackets.’


Sandra began climbing into the back of the van and stopped. She had not finished describing her theory about Archons. She turned back to face Martina and Pa and continued explaining, saving the world could wait.

‘The problem with Archons is that anybody you meet could be one, now I’m not saying they were definitely some at the party, but, ye know, it’d be a good place to blend in’

The shape of a hand reached out from the back of the van towards Sandra as she spoke. Martina was the first to notice. Although she could recognise it as a hand, it was like nothing she had seen before. The surface of it was covered in sleek and black scales. The scales looked like polished carbon.

Pa was a close second place, but really it should have been up to Martina to give the warning.

***

She couldn’t. An icy fear gripped her as she saw two glowing red pupils and the spindly frame of a creature emerge from behind Sandra. The fear paralyzed her. The eyes seemed to both swallow and emit light.

But the eyes were not what had terrified her. That was the hand that was now slowly reaching towards her friend. Martina could make out Pa from the corner of her eye, he was also pale and frozen.

Kevin was third to see the creature.

‘Sandra, watch out behind ya’.

Sandra didn’t acknowledge the warning. She just snapped around to face the van, and raised her left arm. The creature’s red eyes followed her movement.

It was too late. Sandra’s right arm had already shot upwards. Her fist came to a sudden stop beneath the creature’s jawbone.

The red pupils dimmed, then the creature’s body wobbled, and collapsed into the van.

Sandra shook her head in disgust.

‘Fuckin hell Martina, ya coulda warned me -I’d be the first to let you know if there was an alien sneaking up on you’

Pa and Martina were stayed frozen with fear. Kevin glanced around the room, and sprang into hyperactive panicked action.

‘lads, move, where there’s one, there’s many …we need to get the fuck outta here before the others bring in artillery’

He ran to the back of the van, cursed, ran to the front of, cursed again, and returned to the back of the van.

‘Sandra, you hop in the van’

Sandra was already inside. Kevin slammed the back doors shut. He then turned his attention to unfreezing Pa and Martina.

‘fucking move ye pair of muppets, we’re under attack from aliens and ye’re standing around like it’s a bus queue’

He then paused, and decided on shouting something more encouraging at them.

‘…if those aliens get a heavy weapon set up they’ll explode us out to space through that giant window’

It was enough to infect Pa and Martina with the panic. They both jumped into the cab of the van, and Kevin climbed into the driver’s seat next to them. He then turned the ignition.

Nothing happened.

He looked down at the Mega Drive and cleared his throat.

‘Erm, hello, greetings computer, can you hear me? set coordinates to County Sligo, and, uh, when you’ve that done engage the hyperdrive.’

Nothing happened.

‘Do it now’

Pa glanced over to Martina, and then to Kevin.

‘Which one of us are ya yelling at Kev’

‘I’m talking to the Mega Drive, Tony and Paul said it’s self aware’

‘hurry up’ shouted a muffled voice from behind.

‘we’re trying, the van’s not working’

‘hear this computer, uh, erm …activate emergency override, engage’

Pa placed a hand on Kevin’s shoulder.

‘Calm down Kev, you’re freaking out, the van doesn’t talk’

Bleep. Kaisen Shimasen‘, came an electronic voice from underneath the dashboard.

‘What the fuck is going on lads?’

Bleep. Keisen Shimasen‘, repeated the voice from the dashboard.

‘The van’s speaking Japanese Martina’

‘I can hear that …but why?’

Bleep. Kaisen Shimasen.’

Kevin scratched his head, and turned on the indicators, ‘uh, lads, do either of ye speak Japanese?’

Pa and Martina stared at him blankly. He reached behind and knocked on the partition.

‘Sandra, do ya speak Japanese?’

‘What? …no, hurry up.’ 

Bleep. Kaisen Shimasen.’

Martina looked down at the gear stick, ‘What about putting the van in reverse?’

Kevin bit his lip in frustration.

‘Don’t be stupid Martina, this is the world’s first superluminal hyperdrive, ya don’t just stick it in reverse’

Bleep. Kaisen Shimasen.’

‘Well just fuckin do something Kev’.

Kevin put the gearbox into reverse and turned the key.

Klump.

The van was instantly transported to a hilltop in Sligo.

It was now very early into a July morning. The dawn chorus of birds had begun, and everything was peaceful. Apart from a mesh of heat trails in the sky, it looked like any other summer daybreak.

Bleep. Kaisen Shimasen.’

‘What’s going on, did we make it?’ came a muffled voice.

Martina turned around

‘Yeah, are you okay Sandra?’

Bleep. Kaisen Shimasen

‘All good back here, what d’ya want me to do with this creature?’

‘Erm, throw some jackets over it, we can sort it out later …ya might as well get some kip, we’re gonna spin up to Gerry Mc Loughlin’

Bleep. Kaisen Shimasen

‘Will ya turn that fucking thing off Kev’

‘And how am I gonna do that?, …it took two specialists to set it up Martina, it’s a superluminal hyperdrive, ya can’t just plug these things in and out like a toaster’.

Bleep. Kaisen Shima…’

Pa held up a cable he had just pulled from the van’s cigarette lighter, ‘Turns out ya can …I don’t mind doing the driving if ye two wanna get some kip’.