Contest 'Crystal Science' (Stories)


‘Ellydium’ corporation had focused on the study of Aliens and succeeded.

Their scientists, equipped with high-end tech and tools, managed to break through and find out some information, but still [need your help](< base_url >/index.php?/topic/32090-contest-crystal-science/), pilots!


This topic only for stories about Crystallids. Discussion goes [there](< base_url >/index.php?/topic/32091-contest-crystal-science-discussion/).

Very well,let’s modify some text and we can get started with this:

_ The Cristallids,self-aware machineries created by a civilisation,the Precursors or the Revenants?It had to be someone from the past right?It’s a more likely story,but after eons of silence,what took them so long to warp into our sectors and threaten our race?Were they researching their own technology?Their home dimension is not the best host for materials,as UMC discovered,they were mostly formed of crystals,crystals that could grow,grow into more complex shapes,and allowing them to have special weapons,both for offence,and for defence,yet,they even managed to take control over planets and turn them into sentient beings,why not send them to attack?Luckily,they cannot open rifts large enough,for now. _

_ The Revenants,a group of fanatics,a family that is part of Jericho,the media has given them this name in the 32nd century,according to the main story,they may have a flagship,the “Bake-kujira” or “Ghost Whale”,it used to warp into random sectors,attack,and then warp out,much like the alien flagships,the Defiler and Andromeda,those events didn’t happen too long ago,not only that,but they were also linked to the apparitions of the Liu Virus,wherever they appeared,an outbreak started,the virus responsible for the mutation of regular ships into Biomorphs.Not only they were using the same tactics,but using the Biomorphs as a common force with the Crystallids,the Revenants are a likely candidate,but are they the most likely? _

_ __ The Precursors on the other hand,are a more ancient race,their artefacts could be melted in iridium,a resource that the Crystallids seem to be attracted to,it’s likey that they were programmed to gather it,but maybe not given further instructions on what to do with it.Many of Jericho are sure that the Liu Virus is related to the Precursors too,does it mean that the Precursors and Revenants worked together to create the Crystallid race?We don’t know many things about them,they may have been extinct long ago,so that is improbable,but their technology could be used in order to create the Crystallids,that,or they are their reincarnations… _

We may not find out so easily about the Crystallid’s origins,not many things have been made clear in the storyline,and many more have yet to come out to the surface,this is all the information I could gather in the shortest amount of time,if there is anything else I will find about this,I will make sure to contact you.




No longer relevant.

oh sheiii I forgot abou this lol ![:D](<fileStore.core_Emoticons>/emoticons/006j.png “:D”)


oh well, there once was a cristallid, which managed to get captured by the ellydium scientists and they figured out the crystallids pretty much worked as drones, but for what purpose? Oh well, it was the precursors again, as it seems to be the answer to all the scientific questions. Then the Theta base got established and they figured out that with the help of the new technology they could change the world. Or maybe just the way you get transported around “the world” then… And that is the end, because you shall see yourself the next update.


Spoiler: “they literally “grew” new types of ships with the help of the living cristals and there you go, the first ship got named Thar’Ga cuz who knows why the hell do the people call a railgun, railgun, but “cool alien ship” Thar’Ga.”

Psychic Crystallids

Richard is one of the top Federation scientists of his time.  His one and only task for the last 15 arduous years has been working for the Alliance of Free worlds on crystallids.  He would frequently bring home small crystallids where he could research them using non standardized equipment.  One night he left the door open to his home lab and noticed that his daughter was convulsing on the floor with green streaks running across her face.  After her visit to the Fed hospital she didn’t say a word.



For the next 3 days she said nothing.  Richard was putting his young daughter to bed one night and as he walks out the bedroom door he hears her saying her prayers. She says, “Vanguard bless mommy, daddy, and grandma, rest in peace grandpa.”  Richard  rushes back into her bedroom and asks her, “Why did you say the last part?” His daughter looks at him but says nothing. The next day, grandpa dies due to Jericho attacks. Richard is worried about his daughter but thinks, “It must just be a sad coincidence.”  That night he tucks his daughter into bed again and once again he hears her saying something behind her door . She says, “Vanguard bless mommy and daddy, rest in peace grandma.” Richard is now really worried and thinking to himself, “Can my daughter really see into the future?”  The next day, grandma dies because of Precursors and is convinced his daughter can predict the future.

For the rest of the week nothing happens, but on the Sunday night as Richard leaves his daughter’s bedroom he waits outside and listens for any more prayers. Sure enough, he hears her say, “Vanguard bless you mommy, rest in peace daddy.” Now Richard is really panicking and thinking, ‘”Oh Vanguard, I’m going to die tomorrow!”
The following day Richard is in a complete mess all day in the lab; a real nervous wreck. He constantly checks the clock, looks around the room and is on edge all the time expecting to die at any moment. He is so nervous that he doesn’t leave the lab until it’s past midnight. Once it turns midnight he says to himself with relief, “How is this possible? I should be dead!” He goes home and walks into the house to find his wife sitting on the sofa with a scared look on her face. She asks him, “Where have you been? What took you so long?”
Richard replies, “Listen honey, today I haven’t had the best of days” and he is just about to tell her what has happened when she starts crying and bursts out, “I saw Adam West die yesterday!”

“An irrelevant revolt”

“What happened to unit 46?” “Sir! We have lost contact with L-47 and L-48 as well!” “Dammit! What is happening over there?! Get me eyes! Now!” “Right on it sir!” “If those idiots make it back…” “Sir! Something is wrong with the systems! It… Says that the ship is… Gone!!” “Impossible! My men are still down there!” “Sir! We have eyes!” “Finally! …” “Sir?” “It has already taken them… It has left it’s mark…” A large gaping hole, dripping with molten steel, is shown on the screen on the side of the ship. “We have lost… Call for a complete evac! Get everyone out of the city before they launch! …I can’t believe they failed…” Static comes on through the radio. “sssssssssSirsssssssssswe have cosssssssssssswe are on the mothessssssssssthey havensssssssstheyssssssssssVSHHHHH!!sssssssssssssssssssss…” “…We failed…”

I was just walking through downtown when I heard an alarm sound, saying, "Please stay calm. This is not a drill. Please evacuate through either north or east bridge-gate. The aliens&nbsp;have arrived and are seeking the core. If possible, please cease all use of energy for expedited re-opening of south bridge-gate." This was definitely a surprise. "That's strange... I thought that they were going to get here next month... I guess HQ was wrong yet again..." I followed instructions and headed for the northern bridge-gate of the island, but stopped. "What is that..." I heard screaming and when I looked in the direction that it was coming from I saw four green shuttles flying around east bridge-gate. "I'd better hurry... &nbsp;Head Captain wanted to see me..." I rush to north bridge-gate and see my ride waiting for me half way there. "Ah!" I check my watch. "perfect timing!" I hop in the car and we fly to a building just east of north bridge-gate. "Get moving! If I'm late it could mean HQ!" "alright alright." The driver floors it and we soar right to the front doors. "Thanks!" I yell as I jump from the door and dash in to the lobby. I run by the man at the desk and say, "C.C. Fox for Head Captain. Urgent. No time to explain." I dash past him as he rings up the Head Captain, "Sir. Your man is here. I suggest that you start packing." I run up the stairs as fast as I can trying not to lose anything from my backpack. "I gotta get up there fast!..." I burst through the doors at the top of the steps to find one of Captain's bodyguards standing there. "Hurry." he says forcefully as he quickly escorts me to his room. "Sir! We have to go!" "I know. I know... I'm not in any rush... It's not like they're already here... Wait... They're here...aren't they..." "Here and gone, sir! Let's go!" I lead him down the steps as his bodyguards follow. One of his bodyguards slips in front of me at the bottom of the stairs. "Wait. Ill check." We stay put while he runs up to the front desk to find absolutely no one there. "Were alone!" We continue to the front doors but Head Captain stops me. "Mark... I just want to say that I trust you more than anyone else for this mission. If anything happens..." He hands me a small card-key on a keychain. "Insert this in to the core and disable it, set it for inverse generation, and run like your life depends on it, because it does. The blast should be great enough to knock out the mother ship... But anyone left on this island will be gone... Along with the island its self..." "Sir I will make sure that that dosen't happen!" "Good. Now... Review mission." "To retrieve unit L-45 from the mother ship and return him to HQ for 'undefined action' and use against the enemy, Sir!" "Good... That's all I wanted from you... Now get moving!" "Yes sir!" A bodyguard runs in front of me to the door and we exit. "Can you get me in the hangar?" I ask the guard. "Yes sir! This way sir..." I follow him to a hangar two buildings down and he opens the doors revealing a hovering, crystalline&nbsp;'V' with a green&nbsp;ring around it's whole. "Oh my... I've never been so close to one... So how do I release it?" I turn around to see a molten hole where the guard was and a smoking green shuttle hovering right next to it. "Well so much for my escort!" I yell as I jump for the ladder and climb in to the ship. "hehe... Now let's see if all that training paid off... Thillin!" The lights dim on and the shields raise. "G'reth!" Two gel-like spheres come out of the board in front of me. "And my favorite... Thulluminilith!" The screen in front of me flashes on showing the other shuttle hovering there. "Why hasn't it fired yet?" \*VZZZZZZ!!!\* A thick green beam hits my shields and I watch the power level drop. I grab the controlls and fly straight through the roof and the beam slices through the hanger as it follows me. "God help me this thing is hard to fly!" I speed around the enemy shuttle and past the other three as I fly up higher and higher in to the air. "Let's see what damage I can do..." I hit a silvery button on the controls and a bright green beam like theirs fires right at a shuttle, continuously draining the shields until I hear, \*ZZIKK!!\* Signaling that the shields where down and I was damaging the hull. "" The beam goes right through the shuttle and I watch as it collapses in on its self and explodes in to a million tiny metal and crystal shards. "Yes!!! One down! ...three to go..." I turn to another that is flying up to me and fire the laser at it. "Come on... One more..." \*tssssssssssss...\* The laser stopped firing. "Damn! Overheated!..." I turn around and fly away to hopefully escape them but they are gaining on me slowly. "They never told me what to do when this happens!" The radio on my side buzzes. "Hey! It's H.C.! How's it goin' up there?" I thought to my self, "Wow... That was convenient..." "I saw you shoot one down right before my bodyguards forced me in to the car." "Yeah, I did. But sir, my laser is overheated and the enemy shuttles are gaining fast! They never taught me what to do in this situation!!" "Alright. Calm down. Lock the controls and spin your seat around." I do as he says and see another board of shiny buttons. "Now start from the top left and go four rows down and eight columns right. Hit that button then hit the one just below it." I find the buttons and press the first one. "Sir! I've stopped!!" "I know. Now hit the next one." When I push it in, my shields darken and a green sphere forms between me and the enemy shuttles. It gets bigger and bigger then splits in to three, keeping trained on the shuttles. "Now what sir?" "Hit the button just below that and hold on tight." As I press it my shields completely shut down then the balls flatten out in to spear-like spikes. "This is new..." \*VZZZZ--VZZZZ--VZZZZ\* The spikes fly toward the shuttles and go right through them. "They missed!!!" "No they didn't..." I look back to the monitor and watch as all three shuttles simultaneously collapse in on themselves then explode like fireworks, releasing millions of blue-green sparks and tiny shards of crystal. "Now get out of there before they send more!" "...Y-Yes sir!" I look down at my gauges and see that my shields have completely recharged while my weapon energy is at zero. "I guess that was like a 'last resort' kinda thing." I look to my radar and find an unusually large ship headed my way. "Oh no... Now they're pissed..." They had sent out a cruiser, one of the biggest ships that I had ever seen. An alien voice comes on the main radio saying something. I maintain silence in the hopes that it ignores me. I turn around quickly and fly to North bridge-gate. Only half way there I hear what almost sounded like a warning siren, but deeper and kind of frightening. I swivel the screen upwards to see that the alien ship had jumped directly over my position. I grab the card-key and prepare to slide it though the core generator, but stop. The alien ship was repairing my weapon for some reason. "This can't be... It thinks I'm a friendly?!" I maintain silence. Little did I notice that it wasn't just repairing my weapon, but also reverting the human control modifications. It began slowly growing crystal in on me. When I noticed I quickly started hitting every button that looked like it still worked. Nothing worked. I let out one last yell for help before the crystals grew in to me and I blacked out.

"What... What happened... Where am I?" I slowly sit up, apparently blinded. I reached up to my face to feel it, and there was something over my eyes. I grab it by the edge and peel it off. My eyes open, and I see the world in green for the first time. The broken radio still hanging from the strips of cloth that once were my shirt begins to generate static. "sssssssFox!ssssssssssswheresssssssssssssshipsssssssssssssssvanishssssssssscoresssssssssssssssssssssssssdestroyedsssssssssssssystem failuresssssssssdetonationsssssssislandsssssssssssssssss--" I crush the remnants of the radio in my claw. "Well we can't dilly dally, now can we? I must warn my people of the impending explosion..." I continue breaking away from the crystal wall I was embedded in and then direct myself to the bridge of the mother ship. "I can hear the signal clearly now, and it's beautiful."

Eons ago there was a race that explore universe. They were so technologically advanced, that they build empire over many galaxies, but to maintain that vast space they need help. They developed A.I. Crystallid to do that and give it tools to achieve that goal. Crystallid order factorys to grow crystals into forms and power them with energy signal. Each unit received orders from Crystallid but one time Crystllid by accident duplicate itself over energy signal to one unit and realise that that grow its intelligence and Crystallides was create. Hivemind A.I.'s are very efficient, more units give them more intelligence, they can quickly learn, adapt and create new units more suited to the task ahead.

For reason unknown Creators of Crystallids disappeared with them billions years ago.

In 2016 on expedition to antarctica my team found strange shattered crystals. We never see that kind of crystals before but every shard contain large amount of energy. We keept that in secret and build research facility to “study pinguins” around our finding. Finaly in 2023 our scientists begin experiment on powersource developed from that crystals. The experiment failed and last data transmission showed that generator create some anomaly just before entire facility was destroyed. After the accident, the researchers analyzed the ruins of a destroyed laboratory and data transmission, and concluded that in addition to the 47 lost live and pulse of energy sent into space there is no danger to people or the planet.
G: You’re telling me that it was not an accident?
A: Unfortunately not. Our main scientist sabotaged prototype.
G: Why?
A: We don’t know. We have reports of her strange behavior. Psychologist evaluation report that this behavior changes can be due to neural implant of prosthetic arm, and with weekly sessions she is fit for work.
G: I demand all data you have!

Somewhere in the universe
Data received from unit 0101001101000011 … Processing … Humanoid presence detected, how we proceed? … Insufficient data, we cannot reach consensus … Initiate scouts grow, prepare Leviathan transmitters to initiate signal

In 2062 strange signal apper in solar system.

12 hours ago, Akaurl said:

Urgent and classified information

A few years ago, before the fateful encounter with the aliens, Ellydium’s base was being investigated, pioneers in the current investigation of weapons and ships, using all kinds of rewards and armaments to the different factions of the conflict being announced between The three main ones, (if many others wish to obtain equal or better power to the present factions), trying to obtain the planes of the diverse arms based on an unknown matter, even with the great technological level reached without knowing what they were giving to Meet the aliens:

  • That the races different from them are hostile and want to oppress to the contrary and that they can not obtain an agreement with each one of the factions, following the path more “intelligent” its “boss” decided to go to war knowing the innumerable casualties that would have.

-That what they wanted to do was deconstruct them and use them for their own good." 

With that in mind, the “boss” finally decided to give to know his race, which is very well endowed with armament of meetings not documented in the past almost at the beginning of the first ships and its development as well as dedicating its tests observing everything By far but close enough to study Many pilots claimed to have seen some of their companions vanish in a green cloud and deny in the approaches of “The passage of ontrejos” and “Ice wells” without seeing how close he was until the invation began.


     A time after many casualties on our part we discovered that they had the ability to adapt and improve our ships and weapons   


To avoid its advance along with the addition of a new class of ship The destroyer type 


The kind of ship that was expected would change the meaning of the war, but still could not against the destroyer of the aliens


Although that diminished its attacks to our centers the most attacked is Ellydium because it is the closest to discover how to stop them. Along with the implementation of some new destroyers, five of them are still needed to effectively stop the assault on that area


These are the most advanced destroying class ships





The most recient



Here the latest acquisition of the most protected areas of the aliens 


At the moment one is working hard to surpass them but they continue increasing their strength but with the help of several mercenaries great information of their study was obtained and analyzed of the external parts of the infected ships, Its weakness is the power centers like you that the pilots have already had to see and its core nothing easy to break through

I repeat that if you read this, it is for your safety that you keep it a secret so as not to alert the staff of the factions and their inhabitants given by Akaurl and his partners do not waste it 

Be careful good bye

A lot of time past since the first attack of the aliens. Every faction lost a lot during this endless war and even the pirates and mercenaries had hard times due that. Even without newly invasions the most sectors are chaotic with next to no law. Those are now ruled mostly by pirates and cybers. And this is the point the following story begin. A story about a mercenary and his discovery.

It should be an easy contract. Normal paid and not far from the station Mendes IX in Stripped Deposits. ‘Kill 4 cybers’. ‘They maybe attacked again a transport?’ A smile appeared on his face. Maybe I simply should wait until they again attack the transport to kill them with ease? With his speed-tackler the system was fast reached and the transport was easy to spot. Who could oversee such a big target? No wonder anyone attack those as they carry mostly valuable stuff. And even now attackers are maybe not far away from it as a group of small targets fly directly towards it. It took only a few seconds to close the gap to the transport, but the fight has already started. Good thing the escorts intercepted the attackers before they come close to it and even a distress call from the transport voiced through the radio. Yeah best condition to fight without getting hurt! It didn’t take long to overcome the handful cybers with the help of the escort ships. Suddenly biomorphs and a scout started to shoot. Damn those will be harder to kill, but why I should? My mission is done and there’s no profit for killing them and so the cloak was activated and escaped the starting fight. Not even starting to jump, the signals from the escort were lost. No drama, they will just send another transport as they usually do.

Back in the station, the reward from the contract is collected and the ship prepared to travel to another faction’s station. No other contract available else he would stay maybe if they don’t sanction him for the lost transport… The next stay is in Guardian-17. While the contract is well paid the reason is clear: A predator in Scrapyard has to be destroyed… ‘Damn. How can I do this?!’. If he don’t accept, the cost to travel to another station would be hard to overcome with just the reward from the cyber contract and if he try with his speed tackler he could be killed… Asking around no other mercenary join him in this fight. What for a surprise… Even war-build ships hardly stand a chance against such a target. But one other thinks he could ask imperial guards in the sector with the predator. At least some hope for this. Equipping a few drones, this could at least distract the predator from him. Hopefully… Even with his speed tackler it took a few minutes to reach the distant sector. The predator should be east of the jump gate to Captured Dreadnought and easily noticeable. Yeah as such a doomball could hide anywhere… Even here with big asteroids around, it should not be possible for it but for him. An advantage against this strong enemy. The strong imperial guards were called against the predator. At least they have the courage. Or the duty to do so in their sector… Even from far away the distinctive doomball is spotted floating around one of the big asteroids. ‘We use the asteroids’ shadows to close the gap to it and attack with hide and seek strategy’ is his call to the guards. ‘Roger’ comes the answer. Carefully the three approach the last position of the doomball - as the asteroids block any radar contact to it and it should be the same for it - in the shadow of each of the asteroids. Prepared for a sudden contact the weapons and drones are ready. ‘Be careful now!’ sounds through the radio to the guards, but it was to late. A harsh sound echoed through the radios and a strange signal appeared at the same time. The doomball started to shoot the tackler while using an unknown source to damage the two guards. ‘Fly into different directions and attack from behind an asteroid!’ is the order. Even with the superior speed, the shot closing the gap to tackler and even a hard turn doesn’t lose its track. He had to cloak. This thing is really annoying… but at least the guards seem to put holes in it. The shield is already down and the first scratches are in it. Seem possible to kill this damn thing! But the hope was destroyed like the one guard. Two hunter come closer on the radar and are already shooting the two. How the?! They were far away on the radar and now they come here? The cloak run out and again this harsh sound in the radio. Not even a second later a shot already is coming to the tackler. Throwing the drones out so they hopefully distract them from the tackler, but they ignore those and keep shooting him. The other two guys had no chance too. The first died after a while through something like a bolt out of the doomball’s hull and the second now died through exact the same, just this time coming from all 3. And all this while those keep shooting at him… It was clear that this will be hard, but that 2 hunter join the fight and the radar show even more aliens coming and strange signals…
The first shot hit the ship. The shields are down and even the hull is damaged. A second impact is unlikely to survive. The only hope is to run behind an asteroid and cloak. 2 additional hits - thankful only from the hunters - arrived and destroyed major parts of the hull. The next one will be deadly doesn’t matter if it’s just from a hunter or the doomball, but the saving asteroid’s shadow is luckily reached. The cloak activated and with speed away from those 3 it’s a relative safe moment. The signals changed in another strange one. But who cares? Even with surviving, the mission is failed, the ship ruined and now even have to fear sanctions because of the 2 dead guards… Nice day really… Suddenly one of the strange signals is lost. The doomball is destroyed. How?! While they kept trying killing him the ignored drones also did that. And now after some times the already damaged doomball was finally destroyed through these. Now it’s important to avoid all battles else the luck runs out. The next minutes back to the station feel like an endlessly journey. So many pirates, cyber and… aliens of course. But one less since him. Hopefully the reward is enough for the horrendous repair cost this time. Not even through the security section after docking a cheering crowd awaits the hereo. Even for the empire it isn’t easy to destroy predators and now even just a mercenary - with help of brave imperial guards indeed - killed one. Such news are fast around. Normally noone would escape such a hard fight but he does. And with information about those. This specimen terrorized for a long time the imperial transporters in this sector.

The repair took several days with an additional upgrade to some parts of the hull. And there is some money left! Now he can travel to station New Eden. His main station. Yeah it’s a long time ago since he bought his current ship. A time before the alien invasion as only cartel pirates were the major threat. The offers on the board for mercenaries are meh. Hunting a hunter in Base Ellydium. Searching ore in Ice Pits for probes and killing a few pirates in Ice Belt. ‘Sorry guy. Those are already taken.’ said the security guy and pinned a new one onto the board. Escorting a transport in Vanguard Outpost. ‘Seem easy.’ meant he. ‘Yeah no guy.’ replied the guy and laughed. ‘The sector is infected with predators and other aliens. Why you think the reward is so high? Noone want it or hasn’t done it.’ ‘Must be a real bad job to be transport captain.’ shrugged he. The other laughed again. ‘Bad? Most are already dead and the remaining don’t want to do that anymore! They ‘recruit’ them nowadays in the jails from death sentenced ones. What other option they had? Man I wouldn’t do that **** too… Luckily I just have to secure this station.’ and then the security guy mustered him. ‘A problem?’ asked he due this. Did the guy think he is a criminal or why he do that? ‘Aren’t you the predator dude? Also did you killed the one in Scrapyard?’ asked the security man him. ‘Yes and?’ ‘Then you can do this job with ease! You are the perfect man for this job!’ ‘But I didn’t need to protect a transport at the same time…’ refused he the call of him. ‘But you are better as this scientist early today. The Dr. k. r. e. d. Fox has the absurd idea to hunt a hunter in his small ship in Base Ellydium. How crazy these scientists can be.’ explained the man. What for a solace for such a contract… As this would help in any way… ‘Do you have any information if federal troops are stationed in Vanguard Outpost?’ ask he him. ‘I think a few, but they wouldn’t be much of a help against all the aliens. We lost many transports this way.’ answered the guy. His ship hasn’t the firepower or strength to fight the aliens. But they need to stay away from the transport… ‘Do you know where the aliens attack?’ ‘Oh it’s not only aliens alone. A few times pirates attacked too.’ said the security guy and walked to a near table. ‘Here on this asteroid and a second time here near the jump gate. ‘Sometimes instead of aliens, pirates attack near the first point from this direction’ and pointed a position near the aliens’ first approach. ‘Why they even send transporters through such a sector?’ is the question. That seem totally suicide. ‘Because we need the resources from the sectors. The funny thing: Sometimes, if the aliens are bussy hunting the pirates, a transport pass through. And the materials is badly needed.’ is the answer. Interesting. Must be like winning the jackpot this happening. For an attack the aliens are way to many. ‘If they are such a thread, why federation don’t send a fleet?’ is he asking. ‘Simply because they would overcome even a little fleet. Something the Federation can’t assign for just guarding transports as trying to attack them, just result in dispersing of those. And if we don’t have anything on the transport itself or to less, then the pirates see their chance…’ is the disappointing answer. Yeah something that is logically. ‘So we need mercenaries, that hold the pirates and aliens off the transport. But we don’t find many. The hope dies last you know?’ completed the guy his explanation. ‘The next transport is scheduled in three days if you have interest. It will have escorts, but yeah if the aliens or pirates seriously attack… We even tried changing routes, but the attacks then comes just at different locations as before. And only if the transport is carrying material the aliens attack. We even tried a few times not loaded but mined transports, but only the pirates attack the bait and failed. Soon they even adopted to the behavior of the aliens, that seem to KNOW when it’s a fake or real transport. They let pass no cargo transport and only attack the loaded ones flying back.’ reported the man about the different strategies used. ‘What?! Really? Those aliens know when it’s a fake one? How?’ ask he astonished. If the pirates would know the fake transport it would mean a security breach within the transport planning, but how in the hell can those aliens tell the bluff with the transports? Can they scan the cargo? The security guy shrugs and mean ‘I don’t know. Many theories are made, but none is really tested. Some scientists in Ellydium are experimenting with aliens, but nothing is published about what they do. The Dr. k. r. e. d. Fox said he achieved a breakthrough, but for me he sound crazy.’ ‘Interesting. Thanks for the answers.’ thanked he. Wow. All these information aren’t publicized. It was strange, that most contracts are hunting those aliens, but now it makes sense. Not even pirates are such a big threat. Most mercenaries don’t want to fight aliens as it’s a guarantee to die. In 3 days… Not much time to develop a strategy. He looked again at the table with all the sector maps. The transport will likely fly a curve route near the outposts to have backup, but it is exposed near the jumpgates and asteroids. Most aliens are in the centrum of the sector and the pirates are near the big asteroid southern. Why can those pirates survive all those aliens? Doesn’t make sense. They normally don’t have good ships. Any captured, half-self build or cheap bought ones. They wouldn’t even stand a chance against a good fighter, so how they can survive against aliens, which are even a threat against an entire fleet? Riddled with many small asteroids, the location must be the reason why they aren’t killed. This need to be checked. Thankfully it isn’t a long journey to the sector with his ship, but compared to that it must feel like an eternity for the transports. Way to long to avoid any attackers. Arrived in the Vanguard Outpost a lot of useless signals appear. From the positions they seem to come from it make no sense. Pirates wouldn’t send out so many signals, only one fake distress call at all and normal ships wouldn’t be so deep within the sector with all those aliens. It can’t be true… are all these strange signals from the aliens? But why and how? There is no other explanation for this… And if that’s the truth, it’s no wonder why a fleet have hardly a chance. Easily over 100 signals must be there. These interfere with the radar so it’s barely functional. So he can’t count on that to notice any attackers. Luckily the cockpit is large enough to have an around view. The asteroid cluster is a bit north of the jump gate and easy viewable. There must be the pirates hiding. Now he seek the direction of the signal masses coming from. Near the center of the map according to the radar. There seem to be something. Look like a structure or similiar. A remnant of an outpost? Wouldn’t be a surprise if the aliens had destroyed it. Here and there are sometimes other signals showing near the cluster, but not really to tell what it could be. But from the appearance it look more or less like normal ships and with the behavior to hide it must be the pirates. The alien wouldn’t do that or? Luckily the cloak last long enough to dodge them here and there and sometimes behind an asteroid most signals disappear. Only the ships directly visible seem to be on the radar and it works normal. Really strange. Do the pirates use jammer or some sort? No. Else the problems would be now extrem so near to them. The device is overheating so flying away is needed, but the test was a success. The aliens didn’t attacked him as he was far away and the pirates just sit near their cluster waiting. ‘Emergency shutdown’ sounded from the cloaking device. He predicted that this will happen as the temperature was already quite high. The pirates are very surprised to have a ship appearing close to them. Their shots miss often and the few hitting aren’t dangerous as the shield withstand. Suddenly the harsh sound appear and the radar interference increased drastically, but according to the few working data the aliens seem far away from him. The pirates suddenly stopped firing and start flying away. The aliens don’t seem fast or at least not as fast as his ship as the distance increase. The autopilot fly the route so he can watch what the pirates and aliens do while they do it, but the distance is so big, that the only thing identifiable are the doomballs. The other dots are maybe hunter and biomorphs. After a few seconds they stopped and stayed the same place from which he fled. Immediately stopped the autopilot and hard turned towards them to see why they do this. The look of all the dots flying around each other is fascinating and strange together. Don’t they notice him here without the cloak? Or is he already to close to the jump gate for them? They are all flying in a confusing manor except the still standing doomballs. What for a logic is that if at all? After a while the signals seem to have changed and now the aliens even retreat. Except the jump gate, there is nothing near him, not even an outpost that could explain this. But now planning the escorting is way more important as to check their doing.

The days passed fast and the day of the escorting arrived. Asking others about the alien behavior in the sector had no results. While the officers in the system had noticed too this behavior, they couldn’t explain it. They were even glad about this as some survived due this. Maybe the aliens didn’t attack far from the centrum? But this wouldn’t explain why those even attacked midst the officers the transport near the outposts. This time the transport security is high because the cargo seem very important. But unfortunately - despite the big reward announcing - only a few mercenaries, himself included, are present in the current briefing. ‘Today we again start a transport as you already know. We have important freight to save this time. If you can save the transports from the aliens and maybe pirates. If you can’t but survive, try to loot the materials from the wreck so we have at least something in the end.’ starts the general the instruductions to the coming mission. ‘For non-military ships the radar isn’t really functional in the sector, so don’t rely on it to spot enemies. The enemies are numerous, but they often only starts attacks from this direction’ and pointed near the northern gate ‘and from this place near the big asteroid to the southern gate. While the pirates are sometimes attacking, they hide within the asteroid cluster and so aren’t detectable until they come out for an ambush. But mostly they have their own trouble with the aliens.’ stopped the explanation. ‘The fleet will likely not come to secure the transport, but at least we get a big group of escorts to secure the both transports. So we …’ ‘Excuse two? Didn’t you say we only need to protect one?’ interpose one of the other mercenaries. ‘Can you wait with your questions please?! I haven’t finished the briefing! So yes we have two transports. But only one have cargo. We want to use the other as bait for the aliens to distract them from the relevant one. We will split the groups to guard each, but with the order to protect the real one at a later stage or if the strategy isn’t working. So prepare yourself for the order. So do you have any questions except the one why two transport exist?’ is the general speaking. ‘I have a few. What you mean with “For non-military ships the radar isn’t really functional”? Do you have equipment to avoid this or what? And have you thought about distracting the aliens before coming with the transport?’ ask he. ‘Our ships are specially build for this sector. We neither want to share, nor equip your ships with the technology avoid this interference. To the other: Noone lived long enough to try that out. Neither I know if that would work at all.’ answered the general. Yeah who clear-headed would attack the aliens freely? That they don’t share the technology was clear, but it could help for this fight. ‘The route of the convoy is this’ and pointed it on the map. While not the fastest one, it should be the safest one. ‘while they split from here on so we can prepare the trap if anything attack.’ ended the general the briefing. ‘Let us hope this will turn well.’ Not very encouraging, but the truth. But it’s a hard task to do. After a while all the ships arrived at the northern gate. The convoy will come in less than an hour so they have time to locate the aliens. Even from far away, the doomball are visible. They are the main threat. If those are either destroyed or distracted, the convoy may have a chance, but how to achieve this? They have deadly shots, take a lot of pressure and are semi-fast. The distance to the aliens isn’t calculable as the radar isn’t working correct and with no military ship around, he can’t ask it. It’s interesting, that everytime the aliens wait until the transport reached a certain distance to the gate to attack. So they have additional time to prepare the defending. His job will be more to monitor the movement of the aliens as to attack them. Even with the high attack range, his speed should be enough to beware enough distance to avoid hits. But then avoiding any combat is the primary so using the asteroids as cover is needed. ‘So I will go and watch what the aliens do’ sounds to the other mercenaries. ‘Okay.’ is the short answer. The big asteroid is a good cover to move along and suddenly any radar interference is gone. No enemy ship is on it, but all the allied ones are shown. How crazy is that? But before he can report that, it’s again crashing and a harsh sound appear. He fly directly into one doomball and not that the radar is malfunction, it’s now even totally broken without anything displaying anymore. Not even his ship. Like it’s being destroyed. But so close to the aliens he don’t even need that anymore to know where they all are. There are so many signals like it’s an entire fleet and the strange signals even increase more as he fly closer to the other aliens. Suddenly a harsh sound appear and they start shooting at him. Luckily the cloak is ready to activate. While a few shots hit, the shield withstand it. But the cloaks doesn’t last long so he need to gain distance to them, else he will be instantly destroyed. The radar isn’t just malfunction, it’s totally broken now midst all the aliens. Unfortunately one of the doomballs is flying towards the asteroid so he can’t use it as cover and need to fly deeper into the sector towards the odd structure. While the radar isn’t working, from his cockpit he can see all. There must be over hundreds of aliens coming and collecting near the position he cloaked seeking him. Now so close to the structure, the radio start playing strange noises. This can drive anyone crazy… What the hell is going on here? He can’t stay here as the device stopped working and these malfunctions are horrible. Not even a few meters flown, the alien noticed him and starting to collect to attack. Damn. Luckily the doomballs are to far away to hit him, but they move now and with them all the others. This is really intimidating how many are there, but at the same time amazing. Only how they fly is illogical. While the doomballs fly directly towards him, the hunters and biomorphs are more floating around each other as towards him. Under such intense fire the shields break down, but he won at least some distance so that with every second passing, more and more of the shots didn’t hit him anymore. After a few more seconds, the cloak device is ready again and badly needed as the hull is severe damaged. More hits will likely be his dead. But the more he fly towards the deep sections of the map, the less of objects, to hide behind, are available, but the distance to the aliens is also bigger. A lot of time has passed being in this alien hell. Strange that the radar is sometimes working… in such moments he can detect the convoy, but no aliens and even a few times one of the pirates. ‘We’ve made it! We prepare the jump out of this sector!’ sounds through the radio. The convoy made it? Yeah with all the aliens hunting him, the pirates were only left to attack. Wow, he didn’t thought this would be possible at the beginning of this mission, as so many transports got destroyed before trying this. ‘Okay I’m coming back.’ is the answer from him. Now he only need to get rid of all the aliens. With the huge distance between them and him, it should be easy as they aren’t even half as fast as his ship. After a few minutes being on his way back to the station, the general suddenly radioed him. ‘Where were you? The convoy is safe.’ ‘I tried to monitor the movement of the aliens, but was suddenly midst them and had to run away.’ ‘You survived the attacks? How?’ ‘I cloaked and hided inside a strange structure in the middle of the sector and then I flew away, but the aliens hunted me again. Luckily I was fast enough to doge most of their shots. The cloak helped a lot too.’ ‘Okay.’ The answer seem to be enough for the general as he stopped the conversation and flew away. This was again a hard mission…

Not even back in the station, a party was ongoing. How important this transport was is easy perceivable. The whole station celebrate the successful convoy mission. But before he can join the party, a security squad stopped him. ‘Mercenary please come with us. We have questions to you.’ is the short order. Do they want to penalize him for not staying at the transport?! Yes it wasn’t the right proceeding, but he tried to safe the convoy in another manner as just staying near it. The group walked a few minutes still along from corridor to corridor to finally arrive at a odd lab. ‘Here he is.’ say one of the guys to already present ones. They look like scientist, but why he is there? Do they want anything from him? ‘Your reticence and coorperation is needed for the following shown and said. Do you agree with that?’ ask a scientist, that could be the oldest one in the room. ‘Okay, but I have no clue about anything relating science.’ agree he. ‘First we have to ask you a few questions.’ proceed the old scientist and instruct a younger one to do something at a strange device. ‘According to General Zior, you were near the alien structure midst all the aliens. What did you see and how did you survive?’ ‘It was really odd. In the middle were a greenish sphere and some small and curved walls off the center sphere. I hide a few moments in it after I flew into the aliens as my cloak runned out. But I had to leave again as the aliens came and then I cloaked and run a few times until the aliens stopped after some time.’ ‘Interesting. They stopped? Why? And according to the general, you weren’t always present on the radar for a few minutes. We checked your ship and your device can’t do that so how could you remove your ship for such a long time from the radar?’ ‘I don’t know. The doomballs simply stand for a while at my last place while the others floated around them before they finally flew away. The distance to them was so big I can’t tell you more as my radar was broken too. I have no clue why I wasn’t displayed for him.’ is he explaining. The answer doesn’t seem to please the scientist. ‘What I was saying.’ said the younger scientist but looked angrily at him. What he mean? ‘Dr. Bastion think, that the asteroids are a reason for the radar shielding.’ explain the old scientist the reaction of Dr. Bastion. ‘This could be possible. A few times, my radar was working while I was close to an asteroid.’ agree he with this assumption. ‘Were the aliens visible to you at the same time?’ request Dr. Bastion. ‘Only a few max. One time none.’ answer he. ‘The aliens use signals, that disrupt the radar for non-modified ships. While it’s not so strong itself, the amount of aliens itself create this effect.’ explain the old scientist. Suddenly the security squad discuss among them. ‘Could it be possible, that the asteroids block any radar and alien signals? Could this be the reason why we can’t see all the aliens in the sector?’ is one of the squad asking. Dr. Bastion smirks but the old scientist simply shrug. ‘Could be. The more important thing is, that these signals are like commands. They get their orders from the beacon or others and give them to others as well with these signals. A form of communication also. The Dr. k. r. e. d. Fox achieved this breakthrough in the understanding of the signals. He even created a device to intercept this communication and analyse it. At least arcording to him, but unfortunately he isn’t back from his test in our Base Ellydium.’ explained the scientist further and pointed at the device, the young scientist was working at the beginning. ‘Is it ready Dr. Bastion?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘We need to collect data with it, but noone of us have a ship or the skill to survive long enough against aliens and the military don’t want to waste personal or ships to do that, but you seem skilled enough for this undertaking. But first, you need to look in our Base Ellydium for the Dr. k. r. e. d. Fox. Bring him back. That’s about it.’ give him the old scientist as mission. ‘Okay.’ confirmed he and walked back to his ship as one of the squad come to him. ‘Your ship isn’t repaired yet, so we will give you one of ours. Come back with it.’ A new ship? That’s not good. He don’t know what it’s capable of… ‘And what is it for a ship?’ is he asking. ‘A new protoype of a gunship. So be careful with it. It isn’t properly tested.’ answer the guy. Gunship? The new ship looks impressive, but it isn’t his ship. It seem to be a military ship as it has features, he never saw before, but the speed isn’t comparable. And it has no cloak… But for this easy mission it should be enough. After a while he finally arrived in the Base Ellydium. This is also the laboratory of the federation. This was one of the first sectors after the invasion that was freed. The remaining aliens here seem more of test objects as threats itself. But would a scientist fight them alone? Would be very stupid. This military radar is so strong as it show the missing scientist from an extreme distance. ‘Dr. Fox? Your scientist team search you. They want to know what you do and when you come back.’ broadcast over radio to him. ‘What? Who are you? I’m testing! Don’t disturbe me!’ is the scientist just responding. Crazy? Seem so. And it seem that he is flying to a near hunter. Damn! Why he do that?! He will need help against it… ‘What are you doing? There is a hunter near you!’ ‘I know! I’m here for it! Stay away!’ sounds through the radio. This ship is so slow… he wouldn’t be so far away from him as with that slow thing… He can’t be serious attack a hunter with such a small ship he seem to be in… ‘What the hell?! Fly back! You won’t have a chance against it!’ but no response. What is he doing?! The hunter is now near him, or is he near the hunter? Doesn’t matter as the hunter start to shoot at the small ship. S***! The guy is going yolo… Need to test the weaponry of this ship. Missiles, laser and some currently unknown features. The missiles and laser should work like his ship. Hopefully this helps to distract the hunter from the scientist… but suddenly a strange pulse come out of the small ship. What the hell?! Nothing is working anymore! What have he done?! But it seem the hunter is affected as well, as it just stay in its place. Didn’t the soldier say, that one of the feature is a reboot? But which one? Just testing out all until one will function. And yeah the shipsystems are back working, but the hunter still seem to be inoperable. Perfect moment to destroy it and he start the laser again. ‘Don’t destroy it you! Fly away!’ come from the scientist. ‘Why?!’ ask he. No response… Suddenly the hunter is again flying. Now it is shooting him instead of the small ship. Boah this guy… Crazy isn’t the right word to describe what this guy is… Missiles are ready and shot at the hunter. ‘Stop that!’ ‘Why?!’ ‘This is important! Don’t interfere me!’ but before he can use the laser, they are disabled. Have the guy done this?! Seem so, as he don’t think the hunter is able to do that. Without weapons and missiles, fighting isn’t possible and the hunter don’t stop shooting him… But at least the steering is working and there are nearby buildings to hide from the fire. Unbelievable… The ship nearly destroyed, a scientist going mad and a hunter out there, this isn’t going well… Gaining some distance to those two he can only watch what they are doing - or not doing. Both don’t shoot at each other. Very strange. A few minutes it’s going so as finally the scientist fly very close to the hunter. Absurd acting. Then suddenly the hunter shoot the small ship. All the time nothing and now? An explosion happen where the small ship was. Did he finally died? But what could he do? The scientist disabled and the hunter shot him… The mission was a failure and the hunter still alive. Now he can only report the team what had happen. Back in the station, he walked to the laboratory. ‘Sorry guys. The Dr. k. r. e. d. Fox died.’ make he short. The scientists look shocked to him. ‘How?’ is the old one asking. ‘After I reached the sector, I flew to him. I tried speaking to him, but he refused to listen. He even went near a hunter there and as I approached it too to save him, he disabled me. The hunter attacked me as my ship was inoperable and I had to run and it used this chance to attack and destroy him…’ was his explanation. It took some time until one spoke again. ‘Have you recorded some data while being in the sector? He was on mission, at least he said it. He had to test the new prototype. We didn’t know, that he wanted to test it so soon and even without any backup. We need some time to examine your data and create a new plan. Until then, please destroy the surviving hunter in Base Ellydium and collect all items from the ship debris.’ said Dr. Bastion. ‘Okay I will see what I can do.’ agreed he to this. ‘But you have to take your ship, as we currently download the data from the ship we lent you.’ noted Dr. Bastion. Okay. The own ship feels better as the one they gave him for this mission. The speed difference is huge. Before, it took several minutes to reach the sector and now it only takes a few. The only thing he miss is the better radar. He don’t see the hunter from far away displayed like in the other ship but at least he know where to seek it. While the debris is quick found, from the hunter nothing. A few strange signals appear, but noone seem from the hunter. Where is it?! It can’t disappear… The few remainings from the debris are fast collected. Mostly trash, but some odd things are within the loot. Maybe the scientists want expecially those? Hopefully they can reconstruct some of this trash. Strange, that there is no body within the debris as normally after such a ship is destroyed. Did he escape? Or what have the hunter done with it? Or was it just so scattered? The answers wait in the station. Not even docked, he see some security staff waiting at his docking bay. ‘Your ship is confiscated!’ say a man that look like a major. ‘Wait, what? Why? I have to deliver some things to the scientists!’ say he. ‘We know. The security is threatened so you and your ship are now impounded. Please come with us.’ explain the major. As he had a choice… Why they do this? The major accompanied him until they arrive at the laboratory. The old scientist was again the first speaking. ‘We investigated the data you collected and found a very interesting communication happening between our collegue the Dr. k. r. e. d. Fox and the hunter. It seem that he ordered the hunter to attack you. After you went away, he board the hunter. It seemed, that he completely controlled the hunter.’ explained the old scientist. ‘Wow. Because he didn’t want to lose the hunter he disabled and attacked me with the hunter?’ ask he. ‘Yes and no. It’s possible that he was then in the hunter itself.’ answered Dr. Bastion. This make sense. Who want to lose its ship, or whatever the thing can be called? ‘The security stuff is currently investigating my ship, but at least I can say that I didn’t find his corpse between the debris of his small ship. Or there were nothing left of him… And the hunter wasn’t there anymore as I come to loot the debris.’ ‘Really? Very interesting! We have the signature of the hunter, so we will find him.’ mean the old scientist glad. ‘Signature? Don’t have all aliens the same one? How will you tell a difference from all the hunters?’ is he asking. For him they all just interfere his radar with all those signals… ‘Thanks to the data and the improved device, we can now determine every single alien. Thanks to your data and thanks to the Dr. k. r. e. d. Fox. You are finished here, but we have a cooperation with empire and they need your help with the aliens. We are very thankful for your work mercenary! You helped us a lot to understand the aliens. For now we have to analyze the remainings you brought to us and the data collected.’ explain Dr. Bastion. ‘Okay bye! Wish you luck with your research.’ wish he the scientists. The major beckon he to him. ‘Your ship is ready, and as appologize we installed a few new features. We may need you in further operations. We will reach you if we are ready to do it. Are you okay with that?’ talk he to him. ‘If I can help, sure why not.’ agree he. What are the new features? Sounds interesting.

Arriving in Station Guardian-17, it doesn’t take long until some scientists come to talk with him. ‘Our colleagues from New Eden should have instructed you.’ ‘Not so really, just that you need my help.’ ‘Correct. After the achievements of them, we created a plan to test a virus. You know the beacon structures? We think they are like giant radio station for them. Collecting orders and sending them out. Now we plan to interrupt one to see if it change anything. We prepared a data module, that needs to be uploaded to it. Your ship was modified at New Eden and should be able to interact with the beacons now. But the interaction range is not so big, so you must be very close to it.’ explain the scientist the mission. ‘Okay and where is the beacon I have to upload the virus?’ is he requesting. ‘It’s in Ontregos Drift. Should be easy to see as it’s an odd structure with a sphere in the middle of it.’ answer the scientist him. Yeah something he had already seen in Vanguard Outpost. Should be more or less be an easy task. Just that he have to watch what happen. Not even 5 minutes later, he is already near the beacon. Yeah now he see what they have done with his ship: Every single alien ship within the huge improved radar range is displayed. Even with their own icons. They are scattered in groups in the whole sector. One of those is close to the beacon. Unfortunately with a doomball in it, but should be doable with the cloak. Carefully approaching the beacon, to not get unnecessary aggro of the group, and the first part of the mission is done. That was easy. But now uploading the virus takes time. As soon as the virus upload started, the signals from the beacon changed. How those changed he can’t tell, as he have no clue, just that it have changed. That’s not even all! The group near the beacon move closer to it now and all the others in the sector too. With this behavior, it will become very risky to stay close to the beacon and the cloak device is overheating soon… The upload is finished and the situation is now dangerous, as the aliens now swarming around the beacon. The only thing that keep him alive is the cloak, but that will now disable. Damn, why they didn’t say this?! He have to fly away, else they will see him and attack and with so many around be his death! But not even 2km away, the cloak stopped working, but they don’t seem to notice him, at least not attacking him. The quantity of signals increase extremely, but not anything happen else. Very strange. He should be visible to them, but they keep swarming around the beacon. Luckily for him. Not even shooting. What the scientists will say to this? Did they expect this behavior or just wanted to try something and seeing what happen? After a few minutes, he is back in the station. And very wanted… A troop of imperial guards is waiting for his arrival. ‘Your ship is conficated.’ ‘Really?! Why?’ request he. This can’t be true. Is this now the norm?! That’s really annoying and he don’t even know what they do with his ship… ‘The scientists await you.’ is another from the troop saying. As he don’t know that… ‘What are you doing with my ship?’ want he to know. ‘We are boarding your board computer and logs to analyze the data and logs.’ is the first trooper saying. ‘And why I can’t give you them?’ ‘We have our orders. You would only hamper us and don’t even know what to do.’ is the first answering. Yeah… Hopefully the scientists are friendlier. The last time they come to him, so where they are? ‘And where are the scientists? I don’t know where they are and I don’t see them here.’ ask he. ‘Oh yeah sure. Come with me, I bring you to them.’ says the second. They walked for a while to the scientists. ‘A nice you made it! What happened?’ ask one before the two could say something. ‘It was very strange. The upload run smoothly. But as soon as it finished, all the aliens come to the beacon and swarmed it. But they didn’t attacked me as they saw me.’ report he to them. ‘Amazing! We thought it would deactivate it, but it seem to do the opposite. Hopefully the collected data from your computer give us additional information. While the others examine the datas, we can create a plan. We wanted to get rid of the beacon, as they seem to be a one of the major reasons the aliens succesfully invaded the factions. If we could interrupt them there, it would be way easier to defeat them. Their attacks happen to organized as being just coincidence across the galaxy and with their sheer quantity, we don’t even have a clue how they refill their losses. And we don’t even have sufficient data from the biggest threats of them, the Defiler and Destroyer ‘Andromeda’. They react to nearly everything we do like they check what’s going on. The Dr. k. r. e. d. Fox showed us with his behavior, that’s even possible to control the aliens somehow. So they could either hackable or in a strange way allied with us.’ explain one of the scientists. ‘The first thing we need to do is to disrupt the beacon. Or somehow to destroy it.’ come from another one. To destroy it? While it seem to be a structure, normal weapons don’t affect them. So how? The only thing more destructive as ship weapons are a dreadnought, but using such in an infested sector would easy lead to a lose of it… Dreadnought destruction was achieved by bombs or? ‘What are with the bombs build for dreadnoughts? Could those destroy a beacon?’ is he asking. ‘Could be worth a try. But even with the currently recorded strange behavior of the aliens, placing it will be dangerous.’ guess the leading scientist. That’s right. ‘I should be able to do this.’ He have a ship build for speed and cloak. Should be possible to go in and come out without any problems. ‘The problem is, that if the speed is to high, the vibrations could lead to an early detonation. And I don’t think, that the cloak device of your ship is strong enough to even create a big enough sphere to cover your ship and the bomb.’ present the leading scientist the facts. Oh that’s something he didn’t know. ‘Then we have to hope, that the aliens act docile until I placed the bomb, else I would need help to distract them from me.’ argue he. Would it be easy, the aliens wouldn’t have so much success. ‘We need preperation time to optimize your ship for carrying a bomb and to organize one. You are contacted as soon as this happens.’ confirmed the leader of the team his plan. Now he must be patience and wait to operate. Day after day passed until he was contacted. Finally the army provided a bomb for the unconventional plan. He got a code as well to confirm, that he is the mercenary taking the bomb, to take it over from the military, not that any stranger could steal such a thing… It should be stationed near an outpost in the station’s sector. Not even close to the said outpost, two imperial officer escort him. They are very cautious with the bomb… The officers radio with him to order him to the bomb. They will escort him while he carry the bomb. Wow such help! Nope… just observing. ‘We arming the bomb now’ sounds finally through the radio. ‘What?! I’m not even close to the beacon!’ yells he. Do they want to kill him? ‘No problem guy. If you aren’t to careless, nothing should happen.’ is one officer responding. Yeah… Now he know why the bomb wasn’t active yet. To avoid sabotage as now they can freely shoot it without risking anything. Even with this unhandy bomb, he can fly faster as they. But unfortunately, he have to wait for them, else they will shoot. That this journey take unnecessary long is no surprise. Arrived in the sector, the hardest phase is imminent. How will the aliens react? They still swarm the beacon and he will need several seconds to deploy and trigger the bomb. Now the officers stay back. How surprising… Don’t want to be caught in the bomb’s explosion. If the aliens attack now, he will have a big problem, but the beacon is close. Interesting, that they don’t even react as he approaches. But they don’t seem to be disabled, else they wouldn’t swarm. The bomb need to be in proximity of the beacon placed and triggered. ‘It’s ready!’ let he sound through the radio and flee immediately, because he have only 10s after first triggering. Over 5km explosion radius have the bomb according to the military, so it should affect the most aliens as well. As the bomb detonate, the explosion is immense. Even some near asteroids are bombed out of their course. Nothing of the beacon was left, most alien signalsremoved and the rest seem to be confused. The mission was a success! He and the officers returned to the station to report what happened. ‘Now we are sure, that the beacon is a communication tool. The signal emitted by it was a call to rally near it. The aliens tried to respond to it, but due the virus it couldn’t change it. While we wanted to disable it, this was even better! This is the time to unleash a counterattack to occupied sectors as we can control where and when they will rally up. Especially jericho will be happy to hear these news. You should fly to them and report them all. Additional give them these data and devices.’ speak the leading scientist to him. ‘Okay I will do that. Let us hope, that we will soon live again in peace.’ agree he. Wonderful news. After so many defeats and suffered setbacks, they have finally found a way to fight back.

It takes a while to brief the mendes researcher about the past events and to analyze the given data. With the latest manufactures of a new shipclass a final plan was created to blow one of the biggest threats in the mendes sector. Solaris Wasteland. The studies of the minerals in the asteroids in Vanguard Outposts revealed an unknown element. It’s so heavy, that almost anything is blocked - to some extend even gammar energy. But it’s so ultra rare, that only a few probes was detected with it. But this was enough to manufacture a plate of it. The radar preventive effect should be useable. The biggest problem is to have all the aliens in one place to attack them as they disperse as soon as a big fleet attack. To avoid this, they need to rally in one small point to be easy targets. The plan is easy. Placing a decoy beacon with an emitting rally signal. The problem was only, that noone could enter the sector without being spotted, attacked and destroyed. Even with the support from a fleet, they wouldn’t rally while being attacked. The preparations to fit the manufactured ultra heavy plate was a success. With not even detectable via military sensors and radars, the alien shouldn’t be able too. ‘Your ship is ready mercenary. As soon as you placed and activated the beacon, we will jump in and attack. So be out before this happen as we can’t guarantee to hit you.’ speaks one of the mendes family. As he arrive in Solaris Wasteland, the amount of aliens is astonishing. Way more as even in Vanguard Outpost. One of the first entry points for the aliens in this galaxy, this sector was easy lost to them. With only barely useful asteroids and stuff here, it wasn’t a big loss, but deserving as invading point for the aliens it’s a big problem. He have to slowly approach the given coordinates to place the decoy beacon. He might be invisible for radars, but his ship isn’t invisible itself and he can’t cloak with this cargo, so any confrontation with the aliens must be avoided. A sensorship is waiting near the gate to report to the waiting fleet as soon as he activates the beacon and the aliens swarming around it. While it doesn’t take as long to fly to the placement location, the threats all around let it feel way longer. With some aliens close he wasn’t sure they hadn’t noticed his ship. But the worst part is the activation of the beacon itself. Because as soon as it emits the required signal, all aliens will hopefully come and fly maybe into him. While the radarplate is shielding any signal of him, it’s a big problem too, as he can’t activate the beacon from his ship. He has to use his spacesuit to leave the ship and activate it per hand and then he must come back to the ship and fly away while all the aliens come. Just entered the last code, the decoy beacon send the signal. Now fast away! Not even ready with the ship, almost all aliens come to his point. It’s working perfect. They even seem to echo the signal to those, that aren’t reached by the beacon itself. So many… it’s frighting and they are now so close and he haven’t started yet… Now out of this hell! Through all these aliens without touching one. Cloak activated. The plan work perfect! The fleet just jumps into the sector. He can’t contact the fleet, but they seem to have already started. Suddenly his ship only fly slowly anymore. Big gravitational forces are appearing all around the beacon. What the hell is going on? The aliens are affected as well and more or less crunched under the extrem intensity. Shots from the fleet show, that it seem to be the work of them. The hull of his ship is steady losing integrity. The family mender didn’t lie with his appeal. They don’t care if he dies due their fire or not. Or they just don’t know if he is still here, after all he isn’t visible to anyone… The gravity is so strong and in fact increasing, that the asteroids in this sector start to move to the source of it. Was this wanted? Annihilating the whole sector?! If yes, than it works fine. After a few more moments, the gravitions destabilize and let him move better away from it. The remains of the sector are now crunched into one big mass. Nothing could survive so close to it. Funny that they seem to have created a planet this way. Planet Hope? Glowing under its forced creation, this could even be a little sun of hope. Luckily that he wear his space suit as the hull is breached and all air out. It takes a while with such a damaged ship to fly back. But how does he dock? He can’t radio them nor would they see them in time… Maybe just parking in front of the station and going in via space suit? Finally back in the station! ‘It’s surprising that you are still alive. But nice work mercenary! The first strike back was a wonderful success!’ praises the family member. ‘Yeah I thought I would die as suddenly such big gravity appeared. Was this the work of you?’ ask he. ‘Not alone. The other factions and even many mercenaries helped to create a fleet. First we wanted to attack them, but then we decided to use one of latest developments. A gravity creating device. And it worked awesome! We crunched them all and doesn’t needed to fight them!’ explain the guy. That was a spectacle. Ultimately they found a way to win against the aliens and to stop their invasion.

Month after month passed and the factions regained more and more of their sectors. The first targets were the aliens’ beacons, then them. Even with the tries of the cybers to rebuild those, the beacons were all destroyed and it finally seem, that the invasion has stopped. The lost scientist were found or better said, he came back. The Dr. k. r. e. d. Fox has not just survived all the time, he even managed to ‘live’ with the aliens. He found even one sector currently unknown to all where there exist an undocumented alien form. While not as big as the Defiler or Destroyer ‘Andromeda’, its size is enough to be a station. Contrary to the invasion aliens, the aliens in this sector are docile until they are either attacked or somehow triggered. Not every ship entering this sector to research seem to trigger an attack from them. Documented signals even show, that they try to communicate with those attacked ship before doing so. Or at least could be so. He managed to watch the aliens in their behavior. They seem to be organized of the princip of a beehive. The small scouts collect what the predator and hunter detect and scratch this from very small ores. If those aren’t strong enough to reach the iridium and as surprise osmium, a collector come. We thought the Destroyer ‘Andromeda’ is an attack drone, but that is completely false. It seem to be able to tear through anything and carry even small asteroids in their entirety. It’s even able to filter out useless material from the wanted ones. If the deposit is within an planetoid or even planet, then instead of tearing it, they decide just to follow the ores and leave the rest intact. With the living in the hunter, he checked out, that the aliens are half machine and half living. Remains of a code were found. But intead of a simple hardware, the code itself evolved and created with the help of crystals a dynamic environment. Growing and following their origin destination, they are even able to transform and fusion into the bigger versions. Their attacks aren’t happening just so, they follow the order of expansion and transforming. The bions are not just exhausted planets, they were build after a specific plan. A plan long time ago given to them, but due the evolving nature and expansion into crystal form, went against their original creators. Their behavior was simply to collect and finding suitable planets for transformation. If they find - even just minor traces - of their needed materials, they will try to mine them. This was the problem we encountered. Many things we produce contain osmium - what they want for their iridum - and therefore being of value to them lead to ‘attack’ us. A misleading behavior. The cyber may know this fact and didn’t use osmium for this reason in their ships and so aren’t being attacked by them. What would happen, if we research them instead of destroying them?

The understanding of the communication of the aliens made great progress. While they don’t respond to most things tried out, a few seem to be working. One seem to be a ore extraction command and another one to swarm. This could be useful in the mining process. But for this to work, neither of the ships trying that have to contain irium or osmium and it need the device developed to even be able to communicate with them. How and why the cybers sometimes getting transformed too is unknown. ‘This is your task mercenary.’ said winkler. Yeah it was time to capture one for testing. ‘I’m ready, but what is the ship you prepared?’ response he. ‘It’s waiting. But be careful. We want it alive! Dead has no use.’ An ecm this time. After all these jobs again another ship. Better as his tackler for this mission. ‘Maybe we should have done this before we killed most of them?’ joke he. Yeah only a few aliens and biomorphs are alive after the campaign. While not entirely peaceful, the sectors are way more safe as before. Without the scientists and him this wouldn’t be the case. The nearest biomorphs are in Processing Rig. This shouldn’t take long. Even with this ecm. During the flight he checked the systems. One device to disable the weapons, one to stun it complete and another one to reduce the enemy’s weapon function. Not bad at all. Could work. Even some missiles are onboard. In the sector he first have to check the radar to see if there are still biomorphs and if yes where they are. Ah! Near the big asteroid eastern, but it’s a group. He only have to capture one of them, so he should kill the others. They have superior numbers, so approaching from the asteroid’s shadow is the way to go. His special device shield from any damage for a few seconds and emit a shockwave in a small area around. Should be perfect as first stun. Waiting a few moments, so that they come around the corner of the asteroid he is waiting instead of flying into them. They seem to be surprised as they evade him while fyling into him, but just for the moment as they started immediately firing. Time to see how this special device work. Every shot fired is aborbed while he stands still and then a wave come from him and stunned them. Time to kill all surplus biomorphs. The first is easy killed while it’s disabled, but the other three are back working after this. So the second is stunned. Good that they equipped him with the missiles, because even with these disablings, they are dangerous for such a weak ship. Finally the third biomorph died and only one left. This now have to be captured, but this isn’t a problem. The weapons disabled and now hacked, it can’t do much out of flying around him. And as soon the successfully hacked it, it stopped. This was predictable. But no problem. For this is the mounted grappling hook good. Hopefully it isn’t to damaged for the scientists. He tried to avoid shooting him, but the chaos of them flying around him lead to a few hits on it. If there is one in the ship? Could be, but how would one survive in a crystallized ship? A question hopefully be revealed. A strange cargo indeed. But not delivered to the station, no to the Base Ellydium this time. They can quarantize it if needed and have safety measures for this. ‘Here is it! Take it over please.’ radioed he through the radio. ‘Okay we come.’ come the response. He ejected the hook to avoid infection. The rest must be done by them. ‘Well done mercenary! Now we can finally study this strange ship.’ sounds glad out the radio. It took a few days until the ship was fully investigated. While most of the ship was transformed into crystallid structure, the cockpit wasn’t. The captured pilot refused to say anything and was so no help. It was build from another material as normal. While he fulfilled this mission, the investigation of the new found sector of the aliens went further. They tried to view the new alien thing, it failed. It seem that everyone trying to come near it to be attacked if it isn’t an alien itself. The Dr. k. r. e. d. Fox wanted to record what he saw, but unfortunately they seem to detect any non-alien structure. So they come to him. He manage to be invisible with his tackler and should so be able to make some records of it. ‘The Dr. k. r. e. d. Fox reported a bit about it, but unfortunately even he didn’t managed to come close to it. Smaller aliens seem to deliver or feed the thing with chunks of mined asteroids. We need more information about it.’ teach the leading scientist him. ‘If anything come closer as 10km without being an alien it will be immediately attacked. So be cautios!’ ‘Okay.’ One of the problems is, that he can’t enter the sector in a normal way. There is no jump gate at all. He need to enter a rift to be able to reach it. The rift in Otherworld. With next to no lights, the sector is extrem dark. The only lights are emitted from the aliens’ trail and the bigger ones. Only the radar help. In such darknsess, they must use the signals as guideline. Good that they equipped the ship with a nightscope to see a bit more. In the sector is out of the aliens, nothing. Or at least nothing to see in this darkness… One distinctive signature is detectable between all the aliens. This must be the unknown one! And with small aliens approaching it, it could be true. Not only that the small aliens around it seem to feed it, the biggest ones seem to do the same. The Destroyer ‘Andromeda’ release asteroids near it while the Defiler send out an enormous amount of aliens destroying the asteroids and bringing the chunks to the major one. Now it’s time to activate the cloak as he comes closer than 11km to it. Every second counts now. With this so many aliens around he wouldn’t survive if they detect him. While this thing is smaller as the Defiler, it seem to produce the aliens. It consists of three parts. Something like a head, a body and a back and from the latter various crystal plates grow and finally transform either into scouts or hunters. What for a look. That’s the way these aliens are created. Being bred by a mother-like being. At least the smaller ones. He can’t investigate this further as the cloak device overheat now. Incredible. If there exist multiple of it?

This was the story of a brave tackler pilot.

I’ve always had problems making short stories, even back in school. So here i go and try to make it short.


-Captain, 2 tango ahead. 

-Lisa, Williams, boost to Waypoint 1.

-Frank, Micheal, you go stand by, behind that asteroid, in between your position and Iridium Strand. Now that Ellydium provided us with hyperspace engines. It will give us the advantage over those pirates, blocking our way to the Leviathan jumpgate.



Frank and Micheal didn’t had to engage, neither did i. Lisa, surprisingly, was the rock of the team, its foundation. Her personality and dedication, made her one of the best merc i had the pleasure to fight with. She took both of them to herself, while all Williams could do, is watch. Which he was happy to do. Willy the whale, as we liked to call him, was a lazy man, and a bit fat, to be polite. But with falcon eyes and he was a master tactician. 

Now that those pirates were taken out. It wouldn’t be long to reach our destination. Leviathan, In Biomorph quadrant.

Our mission, if we make it out alive is get there and learn more about the Crystallids. From what our Ellydium liaison agent told us. They are machines created by an ancient civillisation, rumored to be the first alien race. We know little about that civilization, but that it’s extinction took less than a decade. Appenrently, after millenniums of being unchecked, the Crystallids just kept self-developing at an alarmous rate and evolved into a collective mind.

Their technologie is like nothing we’ve ever seen before, surpassing biomorph capability by far. Everything is based around some kind of energetic signal, which we think, the collective mind is the source of. Probably located in the alien structure we are sent to. My plan, for now, is go blow up it’s generators located in a neihbouring asteroid belt, with an ArchDragon. Because, we dont know the radius the blast of this spining green element, inside the generators, could have. And then, infiltrate the base. I’ll figure the rest once there. Useless to plan on unknown variables.

  • Ok boy and girls, time to rock and roll. Wing. Prepare to Hyperspace jump in

While i warped in at the perfect spot 12.3km of the generators, over range but they are weak, explosive targets. The rest of my wing were going in stealthly, with jaguars and Sword’s AE, for the alien Crystalloids base. A recon had passed by 9hours ago and mentioned only 3 patrols guarding the area.

Taking care of the generators was easy enough, no resistance… “I love those frigates”. But something that i wasn’t expecting is that there was no apparent explosion or blast. It just seemed to vanish, disappear. Now with my slow thruster, hyper jump requiring too much evergy for what i have now, i am making my way to a gate for alien space.

Once arrived my jaw dropped, ship wreckage were floating all over. No Crystallids in sight, not even a dead one. When suddently Lisa and Wlliams uncloak in front of me and started shooting.

-Oh my god guys, it’s me dont shoot.

I barelly have the time to do 3 evasive manoeuvers when…

-Beep beep beep, missile incoming.

  • What the hell are you guys doing.

Enought energy regenerated, activating hyperspace jump.

What the hell was that. It’s like they were possesses. I have to report back to my liaison agent ASAP and let them know of the danger that is coming.


Many years have passed already since the First Contact, it feels like centuries. Every year it’s the same thing, attending celebrations, the hypocrisy, listening to false hopes and dreams of those pampered aristocrat speeches while in reality it’s just a matter of time before we will be overrun with THEM. I’m surprised we even lasted this long, it’s like a miracle, a miracle I avoid believing in. It’s pathetic how they think they deserve what they got while in reality, the universe is a cruel place where nobody and nothing cares about what you deserve or care for.

I lost good men each year fighting the Invasion and for what, to see these children talk about war? I should’ve just ditched them, leaving them to THEIR mercy so they get to see how it is to see death face to face. None of them would be the same ever again. People are living in a lie, for years now they think we beat THEM all those years ago when THEY first arrived. The grim reality is a whole different story, each year THEY come back, like clockwork, in the same place, even in the same damn second and the so-called First Contact that everyone forgot ever happening, happens again.

There’s no indication that THEY will ever stop and the majority is kept in the dark about this. I mean, imagine if someone would tell you that there is an infinite number of hostiles heading to your home, that it’s just a matter of time when you will lose everything you held dear and there’s nothing you could ever do to change that fact. The end of our world and existence in general is nearing it’s final chapter and nobody is even aware of it happening. All humanity has to offer are mercenaries dumb enough to fall for these annual high-paying jobs from which very few come back alive. We are doomed.

>Dying Martyr Log ID 557 88T863<

Station-commodore Varle was not in a good mood, and all of them were due to being dragged away from his work for ill-defined reasons. He was by all accounts one of the leading experts on the alien lifeforms threatening mankind, as well as the still elusive “precursors”. Most of his work took place on Earth, in a large office overlooking the training grounds of the Europa Homeguard. But one morning he had been roused at an ungodly hour and bundled aboard a fast cruiser bound for the frontier, and all anyone would say was a variation on “they found something big.”

That was no help to man nor beast. Varle had studied something big. He’d studied many big somethings. In fact, he had an entire lab dedicated to studying one of the biggest somethings ever witnessed, and the spectacular mess it made of the Federation colonial platforms on the edge of Ellydium. His frustration became a hot anger that galvanised itself into a silent, pent up rage. Unless they’d found a living planet, he told himself, he was going to chew out everyone involved in this expedition and see them all dishonourably discharged. From an airlock.

After what seemed like aeons, Varle finally reached the much awaited destination. It turned out to be a destroyer belonging to the XII Ontregos Reserve Fleet, and by the gaping holes in the hull, intermittent power failures on the landing deck and general stench of dead flesh and effluent, it had seen quite a spectacular battle.

A young lieutenant was waiting for him. The man wore a brand new uniform, which Varle knew because he’d missed one of the quartermaster tags and it was just visible behind his neck. The man’s skin was a rich olive tan, and for reasons unknown his hair was a vivid green. The man saw Varle’s rising gaze and saluted, “field duties, sir. Back of the lines work.”
“And why are you greeting me, exactly?”
“Because you’ve come to see me, sir,” the officer replied. Then he gave a half smile and corrected, “well, one of me. A clone, to be precise. Poor sod’s only got a twenty year lifespan, and he’s almost at the end of it. But trust me, sir, you won’t believe what you’re going to see.”
“I doubt that,” Varle replied.

He didn’t believe it. Not when he first saw the man through the armoured glass, nor when the technicians and lab assistants described the circumstances of his arrival. Everything he knew said this wasn’t possible, and so he refused the evidence of his own eyes.

Inside the isolation chamber was a man who looked ready to fall into the grave. He looked much like the young lieutenant, but his skin was pale and taut with age. That is, what skin he had free of the crystalline growths that covered his body. Varle imagined the man must have been in agony, given how some of the shards seemed to be pushed through limbs, organs and even one of his eyes, yet he seemed more exhausted than pained.

Varle stepped forward and depressed the amber button to engage the intercom. “Can you hear me?” he asked.
No reply came. He asked again, and still no answer. “My name is station-commodore Varle of-”
“No,” the old man sighed, “I do not hear you.”

Slowly, on trembling legs barely able to hold him upright, the old pilot staggered toward the glass. He raised a shaking finger and tapped the partition. “That’s the problem, d’you see? I can’t hear you. None of us can. Them. None of them can. Us. Them.”
“Who are ‘they’? Do you mean the Crystallids?”
“That’s the name you use for them, yes. There’s too much quiet here. In our world… their world. Their world is full of… I suppose you could call it song. They sing to one another, across the vast gulfs of space and time. We are united in that song. We… they. It’d hard to… to be myself anymore. I keep forgetting I used to be human.”

The old man slumped against the glass. Varle turned, pleading silently for someone to help, but none of the ship’s crew showed any intention of going into the chamber. Most had their hands on pistol holsters or rifle grips, indicating in no uncertain terms that the chamber was to remain sealed.
“Listen to me! If you are linked with the Crystallids you have to talk to me! There must be something you can tell us about them! The survival of humanity might be at stake!”
The old man grinned at that, revealing rows of jagged crystals where his teeth used to be. “Oh, humanity will survive, sir. Not as they were, but they’ll live on in the song. That sweet music, that comforting sound. Like… like being in mother’s arms…”

With an alarming thump the man dropped from view. Varle threw himself against the glass and peered down, just able to see the figure lying prone on the floor. The old man’s one working eye was closed, the eyelid flickering as his breathing became ever more laboured.

“When I was in their realm I heard it for the first time. It was painful at first, frightening even. I thought I was about to die… but I lived, and that awful sound became so sweet. I could hear them all, every last one of them. I knew their hopes and dreams and fears and hatreds. I knew them all. I was them all. Then I came back and it was so quiet. I was so alone… and I hated it. The loathing hurt so much I thought I might die of it. I… I want to hear the music one last time. Please…”

The man’s last words were barely a whisper. His chest ceased to rise, and he was gone.

Varle pulled himself back from the glass and turned to the green haired lieutenant. “What was he doing in Crystallid space?”
“No idea, sir. He was sent to infiltrate the Cybers three years ago. This is the first we’ve seen or heard of him since then.”
“I see,” Varle replied coldly. “Arrange the transfer of the body and any related artefacts to my custody. I’m taking him back to Earth for further study.”
“Very good sir. What should I put in the official report?”
Varle’s brow furrowed at the question. “What report, soldier?”
“Ah. I see. Safe journey home, sir.”

The flight back felt much longer than the one going out. Varle tried to keep busy by working as best he could, but there wasn’t much to be done without a specialist lab. He did his best to contain his excitement, and bury his fears, until he was safely back on Earth.

And every night, without fail, he dreamed of Crystallid ships in unfamiliar space, singing like whales in the darkness.

I hope there wasn’t a word limit that I missed, cause I kinda got carried away.


Walls of Glass




You used to tease me, calling me a worrywart with no penchant for fun. And it’s true. I am a worrywart, which is a terrible thing considering my entire life has been spent rotating around planets in various godforsaken hunks of metal, circuitry, and glass that pass themselves off as space stations. There’s a lot to worry about up here, and it’s not the small worries that the rich and privileged down on the soil worry about. They concern themselves with jobs, possessions, education, the like. Tiny, insignificant worries, considering the ruthless crushing blackness that threatens us every day. Outside their homes, they fear burglars, thieves, and ruffians. Outside ours lurk swarms of alien biomorphs, pirates, and crazed space cultists. Sometimes someone down on the ground uses the word “danger” and the lot of us up here have a good laugh.


Except you. You never laughed at the hopelessness of our life. You spent too much time looking to the stars for that. You loved the viewing deck, that I, ever the worrywart, hated. Where I saw walls of glass that surely couldn’t stand as much punishment as solid metal, you looked through them, to grains of sand on a universal shore. While I scanned the endless crushing void, you admired the luminous specks that danced in an endless twilight.




There are a few moments in each person’s life that are untouchable. Moments in which life turns, like a page of a book, to mark the beginnings of new stories, or perhaps to close the ending of old ones. Moments such as these are rare, but more often than not, they are etched into a person’s memory with such vivid detail that there isn’t a painting in the universe that can match their scenery. For me, one of these moments was the night I met you.


Night, of course, is a figurative term here. The station brightens or dims its lights according to the standard time. But I digress. When I met you, I was a young man chasing big dreams in an unfamiliar place. I had left my home on Pomora Prime with wild hopes and great ambitions, but things had gone as things often go for young men with big dreams. I was scheduled to leave for home in the morning, and had decided that rather than sit and wallow in self pity, I would explore the station and wallow in self pity. It was a terribly similar experience to walking my home station, but for one important detail. At some point in the night, my aimless wanderings brought me to a viewing deck at the top of the station, a box of crystal clear that exposed the viewer to the blackness beyond the steel corridors of the station. A more romantic man than I would have said that fate led me there, but I like to pretend that I have outgrown such storybook phrases.


I was about to turn and leave when you drifted past, soft and quiet as the wind, bringing with you the scent of honey and stardust, and the smell of a stone I once saw at a showing of rare things. A small smile played on your lips, but I did not know if it was for me. If I were a wiser, more experienced man, perhaps I would have the words for the feelings that raced through my heart in that moment. But I am not such a man. I could commit an unforgivable crime and resort to cliches here, it would be easy. Many would simply accept it and move on if I said that I felt as though struck by lightning, that butterflies fluttered frantically in my stomach, that my heart pounded in my chest. But those empty phrases will not do. For while those things certainly happened, they did not encompass the whole of my emotions. It would be a lie by omission to say that was how I felt.


If you have ever had the misfortune to throw something at a window, you will most likely recall the point of impact. In that brief moment, time slows to a crawl. In that instant, the glass is broken, cracks streaking like bolts of lightning, hairline fractures racing across it’s surface, spiraling out from the center. Yet at the same time, in some sort of Schrodinger’s Window, it is whole, held together by nothing more than the anticipation of the moment. For a second, I was that window, shattered, yet whole , standing lightning struck, butterfly stomach, and pounding heart in the entryway. Then I blinked once, twice, and again a moment later. I filled my lungs, and emptied them slowly. I held the pieces of me together as best I could then followed my heart out into the empty black.


It was possibly the bravest move of my life, when I asked you why you were here. Ever the philosopher, you said that most wonder at that question their whole lives. It was a deeper answer than the intent behind the question. You laughed at my confusion, then told me you liked the peace that could be found under the cold, clear stars. When the question was reflected back at me, I told you I was going to make the universe a better, safer place to live. How certain I was of myself back then.


We talked as old friends, laughing, telling stories, looking at the stars. Sometimes we ventured to quieter places of the mind, touching on hopes and dreams, fond imaginings and impossible things**… and our pasts. Hopes set back by mistakes, dreams we were never really qualified for. Perhaps it was you, with your easy smiles, warm laughter and willingness to to discuss anything. Perhaps it was the fact that I was leaving in the morning, and we would never see each other after this night. Whatever the reason, we ignored social conventions for conversations sake, and talked about whatever came to mind. Perhaps it could be called love at first sight, but I like to believe I have outgrown such fairytale notions.**


I could not keep my eyes from you, though I tried desperately to turn them elsewhere. Sometimes it would be a darting glance to your eyes, fixated on something far away. Sometimes it would be a glimpse, stolen from the corners of my eyes, of the way your arms curled around your knees in a tight embrace. At one point, I came to realize that I had been staring at you wordlessly for quite some time, but before I could blush politely and look away, your eyes caught mine with a look of patient curiosity. In that timestopped second, I almost poured the contents of my heart out. I almost told you that you were more beautiful than the stars. I almost told you that your smiles were enough to make my heart pound out a rhythm heavier than the impacts of a thousand asteroids. I wanted to say that I could find the strength to hold the universe with one hand, if you held the other with yours. But I remembered myself, and worried about everything that a young man in the company of a young lady worries about, and my mouth sealed itself shut before I could spill my precious emotions.Instead, I turned my gaze upward, and we returned to our wandering conversation, passing the rest of the night.


When morning came, I did not catch my transport back to Pomora Prime. Instead, I sat, glued to the bench in the terminal, as the pilot called the last boarding opportunity. His tired voice echoed through my head, then left for some distant part of my mind that I paid no attention to. I was too far away to hear him, living in a world of glass and butterflies and a beautiful young woman who danced among the stars. When I told you that the transport left without me, you raised an eyebrow and smiled at me, but you did not ask any questions. I have not caught a transport to Pomora Prime for the past three years, but I do not miss them.




Oftentimes, we’d sit at the viewing deck where we met, and wonder together. You the stars, I the glass. Sure, the plaque at the entryway proudly proclaimed that the plateglass, 1.34 centimeters thick, was just as durable as the tempered steel that composed the rest of the station, but I did what I have always done best. I worried. I fretted. I feared. How was I to know that they were not simply lying to ignorant civilians in a hunk of junk to save money? How was I to be certain that these panes would not break into a thousand tiny pieces at the touch of a biomorph ship? Under my paranoid gaze, the transparent barriers seemed to be waiting for their chance to shatter. Under my hesitant fingers, the walls of glass seemed so insignificant, so utterly hopeless in their conquest against the empty void around them.


But your touch took that all away. With your left hand clasping mine, and the other stretching outward and upward, you made it easy to hear stories of the shapes of stars, easy to ignore the emptiness between them. You told of the belt of a mighty man. Of maidens and serpents, scorpions and lions, life and death, love and war. You made me forget for just a few moments the blackness of the reality I lived. I loved your curiosity, your creativity, your proud confidence. Your laughter brought harmony to the harsh melody my heart sung.


You deserved better than me. In older times, I would have said that I would have given you the world. But as faster than light travel expands the known universe, there are too many worlds for that idiom to be applicable. I do not know which of the countless known worlds I would have given you, but you deserved the certainty that firm ground provides. That’s why I took the job. With the monetary reward for success, combined with an assured future position in the esteemed Ellydium Research Group, even a humble, fresh-out-of-school researcher like me could have moved us to a place where our biggest fears would be as tiny and insignificant as the most distant galaxies** , so far away that their size would never catch up to us. If I succeeded in discovering useful information on what would come to be known as crystallid seeds, I could watch you watch the stars, without worrying about the fragility of walls of glass.**


So I took the contract. I took the trip to the shipping bay. I took the miniscule pulsing green shards back to our home research lab in their unassuming, innocent white box. And then they took you.




Whenever I took on a tough project, we’d fall into a routine. I remember it all too well. I’d walk through the doorway, with a hundred problems on my mind and a thousand words of frustration waiting to spill from my mouth. And you’d know. You’d disappear into the kitchen while I stretched out on our couch, and you’d return with cold drinks for both of us. Then you’d sit, still as a stone, quiet as the stars, and you’d listen as I went off about this and that. How the crystals didn’t behave the way I thought they would, how everything I discovered had already been figured out, how I was so hopeless at all of this. And as my fingernails dug into my palms, you’d tell me with calm certainty that everything would be okay and that I’d figure it out. I believed you.


As the days stretched to weeks and weeks to months, my distress grew. And you, stone-patience, star-quiet and all, stuck with me through my frustration and rage. Sometimes, you’d ask me if there was anything you could do to help, a look of desperate helplessness marring the perfect features of your face. But no. Those beautiful shards of forest shade held too many secret dangers within their quiet depths. I tried to restrain your curiosity, your creativity, your proud confidence with assurances and promises. What a fool I was.


I should have known that my calm could not match the storm of your curiosity. I should have known my promises could not dampen your creativity. I should have known your proud confidence would trample my careful nature. But this is pointless. I have already spent too long wondering at a thousand what-ifs and regretting ten thousand should-haves.




I still remember that morning. Every single detail in those last few hours has been burned into my memory. The way the wrinkles curled on the unoccupied blue bedsheet beside me. The way our vacant kitchen smelled, like early morning coffee, already consumed. The way our combined health products looked, an orderly clutter that contrasted with my disheveled morning state. And the empty feeling of dread that slowly began to creep up within me, twining itself around my heart and squeezing it into a nervous, quick-quick rhythm.


First I shouted your name. Then I wandered from room to room, asking it as a question. And when I found you, shivering on the floor of our home lab, I let it slip quietly between my lips, a desperate whisper that asked gods I never believed in to grant me a response. Your ragged breaths were my only answer.


Your curled fist was a beautiful, deep green, and the color was an infection, crawling up your right arm at a snail’s pace. I didn’t know or care what it was. I just knew I had to get you to the military hospital. They’d know what to do. They’d know. They’d know. They had to know. It was my mantra as I rushed you there. It was my prayer as a group of nurses rushed you to a room and shoved me out. It was the song I sang softly to myself as I sat and watched a pair of doors with chipped white paint. Then the doors opened, a team of doctors spoke to me in hushed voices, and it was my accusation, filling the room with rage and sorrow, as they told me with disappointment in their voices that they had never seen anything like this before. Already the infection flowed through your veins, the surface color only a delayed sign of its passing. I begged, I bargained, I threatened. But they shook their heads sadly, none of their eyes meeting the frantic, wild pair in mine. The chipped paint doors swung open, then closed again, and I was alone, and no one could see the hot tears that fell like rain.


I do not know how long I spent in that room. It could have been a minute. It could have been a day. It might as well have been an eternity. The next thing I remember was a man in a crisp blue suit telling me that y** ou **** had been transferred to a special research facility, and that you probably did not have much time left. As soon as the crystallid structures reached your brain… well, nothing like this had ever happened before. As he strode confidently down the halls, he introduced himself, countering my sullen silence with friendly chatter and talk of your condition. I followed numbly, his name already lost, his friendly chatter falling upon deaf ears, and his words of your condition barely registering in my head. Somehow, you had managed to break the shell of the crystallid seeds, and they had invaded their new host. He took a moment to proudly mention that the name of the seeds was his idea, then continued. Slowly, the seeds would transform you into one of the most incredible pieces of alien tech known to us, a crystallid shard. What an exciting discovery I had made on the formation of crystallids. Why, researchers from across the galaxy would cut off their thumbs to study this. Imagine the funding this could encourage, the grants this would earn. Truly, a leap forward in our fight against the aliens. Truly a step forward in the name of science. Truly an incredible opportunity I had created here. I hated him for his indifferent attitude, his bright personality, and his perfect white teeth. I hated that he reminded me that it was all my fault.**


Outside your new quarantine chamber, he turned and thanked me for the hard work I had put into this project. He offered me a job at Ellydium Corporation. He gave me what I assumed was his signature smile and extended his hand. I smiled back and extended my hand in a different way. I expect my job offer was automatically rescinded after I skinned my knuckles on his teeth and left him slumped against the wall. I don’t care. It doesn’t even matter anymore.




Remember all that time we spent on that deck, with you trying to teach me to look beyond the glass? I guess I’ve finally learned. Here I stand, before your plateglass quarantine chamber, watching you helplessly. Deep emerald night, twinkling with countless stars, crawls its way up your form, tickling your collarbone, ascending the curve of your neck. There are ten thousand words I want to say to you, but I only manage eleven. They drop from my mouth like lead.


I’m sorry.


I love you.


I don’t know what to do.


Slowly, your left hand rises, placing itself on the transparent pane between us. Your eyes open, and your mouth curves into a proud, confident smile. Then you tell me, with all the patient-stone, quiet-star, calm certainty in the universe, that everything will be okay. That I’ll figure it out. And as my fists pound fruitlessly against the too-solid barrier between us, nothing could be further than you; 1.34 centimeters away, behind walls of glass.

P.S. This was really, really, really, fun. Maybe more fun than the actual game. Maybe. More writing competitions! More!