His computer’s conclusion was useless: ‘In order to know how to defeat humanity, it is necessary to defeat humanity’. The Zardonian commander was fast running out of options. Then a spaceship landed into the control center.
Its impact knocked out most of the ship’s systems. This was followed by something familiar to humans, but alien to Zardonians. Chaos.
He first ordered his crew to ignore the humans, and focus on getting the systems working.
Thrup. The explosion was close. Close enough to target the control center.
He then ordered his crew to respond with every weapon they had.
‘They’ve evolved to live in a universe where the things that matter for survival are neither too big, nor too small’.
‘Who the fuck said that?’
‘You know, where everything either stands still or moves slowly compared to the speed of light, yeah’
‘Billy, is that you?’
It had been an unknown amount of time since Pa sped past Kevin. The collision left a hole large enough to see into the control room, where the van was now buried in an array of panels. Aliens ran frantically past it. They had a bigger problem.
‘Nobody can be anybody else’
Kevin strained his eyes to see where the voice was coming from. It was not clear. The only light came from the control room ceiling, and the best it did was make shadows.
‘Billy, if that’s you ya better still have the weapons ya stole off me’
‘It was you that stole them, I was leaving them back, yeah’
‘fuck sake Billy, you’re as much use as a handbrake in a canoe …go get them and start firing back’
‘at what mate, I don’t hear any shooting’
‘you will soon’
Kevin’s back was to the wall. He did his best to stay in shadow as he inched towards the control room.
Thrup. The explosion came from behind, but it was close.
It caused panic among the aliens. They grabbed weapons and ran towards it. Kevin watched them stream by him until there was only one left.
‘Come on Billy, there’s our chance …go and check if Pa’s okay, I’ll sort the alien.’
The creature left in the room had menace in its stance. Its black scales blended with the darkness, but two red eyes glowed hatred. Their focus was on Kevin, and Kevin’s focus was on them.
‘Can ya see Pa Billy?’
‘He’s sparked out mate’
‘See if ya can wake him’
Kevin tried firing the weapon, but nothing happened. He then threw it, and missed.
The first blow landed behind Kevin’s ear. It put him face down onto the ground. He scrambled away and ducked the next one.
Kevin tried to move and give himself space. He figured the alien’s big head would make it clumsy. He was wrong.
‘Can ya get the van started Billy?’
A head kick rocked Kevin, and sent him backwards. The barrage of blows that followed narrowed his vision to a pinprick of light. One last slap meant he was on his back wearing a crown of stars.
Or so he thought. The stars were neither in his head or around it. They were outside the transparent dome of the control room, and he was looking up at it.
Stand. Move. Do. Kevin struggled to his feet. ‘…I’m human, and I won’t go gently into the night’
The glowing red eyes once again focussed on Kevin. But this time something changed. A small flicker of doubt. It was barely noticeable, but Kevin saw it. The Zardonian commander knew Kevin saw it.
Kevin was relentless in his attack. He hammered his way forward, raining kicks and blows as he moved. The Zardonian backed up, wobbled, and collapsed.
Billy glanced between the crumpled alien and Kevin, and slapped the dashboard of the van, ‘whoop, whoop, well now that was hardcore, yeah …go on humans’.
Pa sat up at the sound of the roar
‘What …uh, where am I?, what’s happening?’
‘You’re on a spaceship mate …ya drove a Ford Transit into the controls, and your friend’s just out punched an alien warlord’
Kevin joined them at the van. He climbed in and turned the ignition. Nothing happened.
He turned the ignition a second time. Nothing happened again.
He tried a third time.
Bram. The engine sputtered into life.
Bleep. This vehicle has been irreparably damaged. Croaked the Mega Drive.
‘Keep your heads down lads, I’m gonna go and rescue the four lads’
‘Five lads Kev, Gerry Mc Loughlin is with them’
‘Fuck him, he can find his own way back’
Crewman T412 came from the outer galactic spiral, the last civilized star system to have been conquered. Of the 564 fighters that had surrounded the humans, only nine could remember a universe before Zardonian rule. Of those nine, only one had lived on a free world. Of all the crew and humans on the ship that morning, he was the only one to understand defeat. Crewman T412 hoped the ship’s communicator would also know of a word for defeat; he activated it and surrendered.
‘Put the guns down before ye hurt someone’.
The collision caused everything to go dark. Martina, Sandra and Faf were halfway along the corridor. The remaining light from the control room reflected on the weapons.
‘Why?, They might be useful Gerry’
‘How would they be useful? Have any of ye fired an alien gun before? …where’d ye get them anyway?’
‘Back there, there was four of them lying in a heap, the controls look simple enough…’
Thrup. The round shot up the corridor before detonating.
‘Sorry lads, my fault’
‘Just put the fucking things down’
All of a sudden shadows blocked the light. A noise followed, the sound of boulders in a shorebreak. It was heading towards them, but only Gerry seemed to hear.
‘Move, follow me’
The noise was getting louder.
‘Lads, ye need to follow me …for fuck sake not back that way’
Martina sparked a lighter. It briefly showed Sandra and Faf heading one direction, and Gerry the other. Gerry lunged towards them and grabbed Petra by the shoulder.
‘This way, away from the aliens, not towards them …Martina, keep that thing lit’
The group staggered around a corner and into a large room. Gerry motioned for everyone to move away from the door and be quiet. Martina quenched the lighter.
It fell quiet outside, but every so often a shout and shuffle of feet let the group know something was out there. The darkness, combined with silence, made it hard to mark time.
‘Martina, hand us that lighter for a minute, will ya’
Gerry sparked the lighter and peered into the corridor.
‘What did ya see?’
‘Loads of aliens’
‘I can’t be sure …loads’
The room fell silent.
‘This is all your fault Gerry, you said you knew what to do …now we’re all gonna die’
‘Don’t freak out Martina, they’re waiting for us to move, if we just sit tight and relax we’ll be fine’
‘relax?, What the fuck d’ya mean relax …any minute now they’re gonna smash in here and kill all of us’
‘nobody’s gonna die Martina’
‘Now you’re talking pure shite, everyone’s gonna die …tell me one person that never died?’
‘Uh, Shane Mc Gowan’
‘Not including him’
The room fell briefly silent again.
‘Well, it’s hard to know exactly, I have my suspicions about a few people. Nephilim are immortal, and every Archons is too, though they like to give the appearance of aging, but don’t be fooled….’
The sound, when it came, was exactly like the noise of a box of metal cutlery being kicked over a low wall. Except much, much louder. The single working headlight that followed it through the wall was blinding.
‘Get in lads’
The back doors of the van were yanked open.
‘Hold on, not you Gerry …we’re a bit tight on space’
Rattatatta. Thrup. Rattatatta.
‘Ye ready lads …take off in x minus three’
Thrup. Rattatatta, zing.
‘X minus two’
Bleep. Kaizen Shimasen. Declared the Mega Drive.
The van was back on a hillside in Sligo.
Bleep. Kaizen. Fizzled the Mega Drive
The sun was high. An Opel Astra approached from the edge of the clearing. Petra, Faf, Gerry, Sandra, and Martina poured out of the back of the van.
Bleep. Kaizen. Bleep. Shimazen. Bleep.
‘What’s up with the Mega Drive?’
‘Same thing as the spaceship …the CPU went into recursion, and gnawed itself back to source code’
‘What d’ya mean Gerry?’
‘Uh, erm …it’s goosed’
‘Fuck sake lads, is that Mc Loughlin?, who let him into the van?’
‘It’s not your van to say who goes in or not Kev, is Billy with ye?’
‘Yeah Martina, he’s here’
‘Has he still got my stereo?’
‘No, but if ye want music I can stick on the radio …gimme a second’.
There was a crackle of static, but no music.
‘Attention all Humans, an ambition of an enemy is smashed by your prompt correspondence, accordingly enable to evade a crisis’
‘What the fuck was that?’
‘That’s them aliens again …they mustn’t just know when they’re beaten’
The Opel Astra was now alongside the van.
‘Whisht, turn it off, here’s Tony and Paul’
Tony was driving, and his open window was level with the cab of the van.
‘Lads, have ye see anyone wandering about up here?, someone went off with our space radio’
‘No, we saw nobody …and we don’t know anything about your stereo’
‘Yeah we do’
‘Shut the fuck up Faf’
Tony and Paul eyed the group suspiciously for several seconds. Tony started the car again and began reversing. He paused and looked back into the drivers window of the van.
‘…by the way, well done Kevin, looks like you saved the world’
‘Don’t heed them Kev, you can never trust a word from those creatures mouths’
The rest of Thursday turned out dry, although some patchy drizzle was due in from the Atlantic. The van rattled it’s way out along the bohreen . Far above a flash bloomed and disappeared, something became nothing.
And that was it for the afternoon on the 4th of July 1996: A van, a hero, an MC/poet, five friends, and the broken remains of the world’s first superluminal hyperdrive.
Kaisen Shimasen. Every Zardonian knows the words, but no Zardonian can say what they mean. The two word automated message became the last transmission from a missing flagship. They have been carved into a monument outside Zardonian spacefleet headquarters, to preserve the enigma.
Now. I know what you’re thinking.
You’re thinking: Surely Zardonians know where Earth is, won’t they just build an even better flagship and set out to get revenge?
Well, you know.
That’s where you come in.