The terra class warship was the pride of the Zardonian spacefleet. It could arm and deploy multiple short range fighters. There was, and still is, no conventional weapon to match it.
A northern summer night only ever gets dark enough to make shadows. Five of these shadows sat around a small fire on a hill in south Sligo. One of them was talking loudly.
‘…all of human history has been a journey leading to this moment.’
Sandra’s theory was in full flow, and had been for ten minutes. The other four people mostly ignored it. Martina flicked the butt of a joint into the flames.
‘Kev’s been gone ages, we should go see how he’s getting on’.
At that moment cosmic object 103P/193 E2 completed an orbit of the Earth. It would be one of the last things cosmic object 103P/193 E2 did. Nobody around the fire noticed.
‘Yeah,’ agreed Pa, ‘he’s probably waiting for us’.
Cosmic object 103P/192 E2 adopted an inclination of fifty one degrees, and smashed the air molecules before it into a thousand degrees of heat. If Sandra, Faf, Martina or Pa had looked up at that moment they would have seen a white streak burning across the sky. They didn’t, especially not Sandra.
‘People today worship at a temple of consumption -it’s what the interdimensional beings of light foresaw’
Martina shuffled closer to the fire and began rolling another joint. Faf took a swig of beer. He offered the dregs of the can around the group, but there were no takers.
‘Are yourself and Pa really going to go into space?’.
‘Think we are …we better head after I roll this one Pa’
‘but when ye get to the mothership, won’t all the aliens be there?’
Pa wobbled to his feet, and shook his legs.
‘they should be …they live there’
‘ya wouldn’t catch me doing that, I saw what happened in V’
‘Faf, that was a TV show’
‘Yeah, but, ye know what I mean, it didn’t work out well for the humans’.
Cosmic object 103P/192 E2 tore into the lower atmosphere. Martina was the first to spot it. She jumped up beside Pa..
‘What the fuck is that?’
The light trail was unmissable. The group watched in silence as it arced above them. All except Sandra, she still had a point to make.
‘So you see; science, religion, consumption, all these things, they were just places along the way.’
The light dropped from view with a loud ‘thrup’, and was followed by a flash on the horizon.
‘Shit, that was Ballyfarnon’, gasped Pa.
Martina kicked out the flames from the fire.
‘Get down everyone’.
‘I am down’, replied Faf, ‘what d’ya mean by that was Ballyfarnon?’
‘That was Ballyfarnon gone, obliterated, destroyed by the aliens …fuck sake Faf, what do you think has been going on tonight?’
Sandra stood up as everyone else crouched. She took a slow look around. The sky was clear again.
‘There was no need to quench the fire Martina, it’s a well known fact that interdimensional beings can see in the dark.’
‘Well aren’t they just mighty Sandra …we still need to get to the spaceship, are ye right? We’ll have to move quickly and quietly’
Faf was next on his feet. He turned his back to the group and towards the trees. He took three steps forwards.
‘In a minute Martina, I just need to go for a quick slash’.
Pa joined him.
‘Same here, ya might as well finish rolling that joint while you’re waiting’
‘Fine lads …but we’re definitely heading after that’.
Kevin had seen the white heat trail across the sky too. He had been halfway along the trail, well on his way to assembling a squad of humans to defend Earth. His reactions had been quicker than the others, instinct threw him face down beneath some trees into the darkness.
The light passed overhead. He peered out from some ferns growing at the base of the trees. Even without kerosene lights the path was easy to make out.
The sound came from the distance. Kevin rolled over and scanned the circle of sky above the trees. He could still make out the heat trail but there was no sign of where it ended up.
‘Stupid aliens …ye missed me’
The flash came suddenly, and from the East. It filled the skyline before disappearing. For a brief moment everything was silent.
Kevin kept his eyes on the sky and got to his feet. There was now nothing to see but stars. Kevin was undetected, and determined to continue the mission.
‘don’t care, don’t need, don’t want, dum, dum, don’t care…’
The words came from behind. And their source was the scraggy outline of a man. The outline bounced erratically along.
‘Billy, is that you?’.
‘… don’t need, don’t want, dum, dum’
‘Billy, is that you, whisht will ya?’
Kevin glanced anxiously upwards as he spoke.
‘Everybody is themselves, yeah, nobody can be anybody else …why were ya hiding in the bushes?’.
‘Billy, shut the fuck up will ya, they’ll hear you’
Billy the rant looked both directions along the trail.
‘Who will hear me, and why?’
‘What do ya mean why?, have you got rocks in your head?, it’s an alien invasion and you’re floating about the place like it’s the strawberry fair …do ya wanna get vapourized?’
Billy paused before he replied.
‘You’re the guy from the party …the hypadrive man, that shit was fuckin deadly mate, you should head to the afterparty’
‘What planet are you on Billy, did ya not see the flash just there …the aliens just hit Ballyfarnon, so there’s no afterparty, and soon there’ll be no humanity either. Unless I stop them’
Billy stepped closer, and glanced at Kevin’s eyes.
‘Calm down mate, ya look stressed …here, were you with the group down by the fire? …come on, I’ll bring ya back’
‘No, I mean yes I was, and I need them to crew my spaceship’
‘Uh, okay …erm, sure, why not, just follow me back this way though, yeah’.
Billy continued his wander while him Kevin followed carefully. Kevin glanced left, right, behind and above as they walked. Billy led them towards a break in the trees, which marked their destination.
‘I knew you were flying the minute you stepped up to the decks, how much acid did ya have?’.
‘Uh, erm, the original amount minus x, which is equal to six …plus one, but that’s got nothing to do with the invasion’.
‘Didn’t say it did, I was just askin, yeah’
They were now almost at the car park. Kevin pushed past Billy and stained his eyes. The fire should have been in view.
Sandra saw the two men approaching, but said nothing. Kevin was moving rapidly towards the group. Billy followed behind, but with less urgency.
‘…what the fuck are ye all doing getting stoned in the dark?, did ye not see the flash, the invasion has started’
‘Is that you Kevin’.
‘Yeah Martina, we need to go’
‘Who’s that with ya?’
Kevin and Billy walked over to what used to be the fire. Martina pocketed the joint material and lit what she had already rolled. Faf retraced his very short journey back to the group.
‘Did ya get your spaceship finished Kevin?’
‘Almost, it’ll be ready when we get there’
‘Where is this spaceship mate?, I don’t see anything?’
‘Yeah, well it was supposed to be here but those two dipsticks built the runway up on top of the hill’
‘What two, you were hiding in the bushes on your own when I met ya?’
‘Paul and Tony, they’re back where the party was’
‘Paul?, you mean Terry, nobody calls him Paul’
‘Yeah, whatever …him and Tony’
‘…I didn’t know those two were helping ye’
Billy looked up at the sky, and back at Kevin.
‘…that’s fuckin deadly, have ya room for one more, yeah, I always wanted to go into space’
‘I need everyone, that alien mothership is probably massive …and ye all need to get moving now, the world’s armies won’t hold them off for long’.
‘If we go, what will we be doing?’.
‘Destroying their mothership Faf …the way I see things the only reason they have one is because their fighters can’t go far without refueling, if we smash that up on them they’re done.’
‘What’ll it be like inside the mothership?’
‘How the fuck should I know …are you coming or not?’
‘I dunno Kevin, that sounds a bit too hectic, can ye just run me back to Gurteen instead?’
‘It’s a spaceship Faf, not a taxi; you’re either with us or not’
Martina stepped quietly between Kevin and Faf.
‘Go easy Kev, everyone is tired’
She handed the joint to Faf.
‘Faf, this is kind of an all or nothing thing’.
‘I know that, but Network two are showing a rerun of Magnum PI at ten’
‘Suit yourself …everyone else is going. Magnum’s a good show, but it might make more sense to help out …think of it like this, if a load of people you know and trust decide to save the world instead of watching TV, then it’s probably a good idea.’
‘Uh, I suppose you’re right Martina, I’ll go so …what’s this spaceship made out of anyway?’
‘I don’t know, what’s it made out of Kev?’
‘Spaceship parts, will ye just fuckin move’
Kevin marched towards the trail. He was followed by Sandra, Faf, Billy, Pa and Martina. United in the knowledge that their destination was a freshly constructed DIY spaceship.