Operation Uninvited Guests is the Eteno Imperial Armed Forces code for an operation in which a shuttle carrying ten Eteno commandos crashed on Earth. The year on Earth when the crash occured was 1987.
1944, Normandy, Utah Beach...
In history as we know it, many factors were attributed to the extremely low casualties suffered by the landing Allied forces. These included the 101st and 82nd Airborne's landings behind the German fortifications, and the lack thereof. However, what the historians forget to mention is the strange device of unknown origin that, miraculously, hit the most fortified and well-armed bunker on the beach out of all places on Earth. This alien device plummeted from the sky and slammed into a German bunker that was the home of over twenty static machine gun positions that would've taken a heavy toll on the landing Allies. The bunker exploded into a brilliant plume of flame, attributed to a shell from an Allied heavy cruiser firing at the wrong coordinates. Military men and historians alike accepted this, and nobody ever bothered to check the deeper piles of rubble.
Far across the galaxy, however, much different events occured. A recon probe dispatched to a T3 planet known as Zuasch 9936X was thrown off-course from its original landing zone by unfavorable atmospheric conditions, and impacted one of Continent Three's shores. The probe was lost in subsequent explosions, but not before identifying two developed languages being spoken and the firing of primitive mass driver weapons. Instead of sending another probe, the Eteno corporation Wassterplof, who launched the probe, decided to set up a small research base on a planet just past Zuasch 9936X. Originally, this base was to study the inhabitants of Zuasch, but the mission was changed to studying the system's gas giant after several researchers discovered very interesting aspects of the giant planet, and very primitive life under two of the planet's moons. After forty-three years of research, it was decided by Wassterplof that the station was no longer either useful or cost-effective, and was therefore slated to be turned into a colony. The first step in this process was to take the station's researchers, who had a wealth of data locked in their heads, back to the empire. Since the research data and researchers could be extremely useful in gas giant colonization, which had become a legitimate idea, a team of eight Eteno commandos and two ISF agents were dispatched to get the researchers in a shuttle.
Unfortunately, a Grox raider group by chance found the shuttle as it reached the edge of what the humans call the Kuiper Belt, and fired on it several times, scoring about ten hits, before it managed to escape into the asteroids. The ship's engines were fine, but the control mechanisms were completely devastated, preventing the shuttle from making an emergency landing at their destination, and instead putting the shuttle on a crash course towards Zuasch. As they blasted towards the blue planet, the passengers and pilots concluded that if the engines were active during the rapid descent into its atmosphere, the shuttle would smash into the planet with so much force as to squish the shuttle sixtyfold. One of the passengers, an ISF agent who was suffering from depression, volunteered to go out with a tether and space suit and manually disconnect the engine from the rest of the ship. The crew protested, but the agent went out anyway and cut the engine. Unfortunately, the volunteer got his tether in the engine's bright red flame, seperating him from the rest of the ship. However, he still carried out his goal and seperated the engine from the ship with a lasercutter in ten tense minutes. The engine came off, taking the agent with it. His brave sacrifice allowed the eventual survival of three of his companions. While the shuttle more or less survived the crash on Earth, due in no small part to the reduced speed of the craft, the ISF agent that went out and the disconnected engine burned to dust in the atmosphere of Zuarsch.
Part 1 Edit
It was a quiet day at Houston's observatories. The only thing of note was a comet entering the system during the early hours. Joe MacMillian was the only person manning the radars during the lunch break. Distracting himself with a primitive gaming system, he failed to notice that the comet that had entered the system was rapidly approaching Earth. Ten minutes later, John's co-workers arrived from their luxurious lunch. One of them, a bright, new, meteorologist, glanced at one of the monitors displaying everything in the Asteroid Belt. He took notice of the comet that had entered the system that morning. It managed to get through the field within a span of a minute, which deeply worried the young man.
"John, did you notice that there is something heading right for us?!"
"What in the name of god..."
John and a few other astronomers crowded the monitor, gasping in horror at the accelerating object.
"Alert President Reagan!"
Alarms blared and one of the men present dialed the private hotline to the White House.
"Mr. President?" An aide spoke, his head poking into the Oval Office.
"Yes, Leroy?" Ronald asked nonchalantly.
"We think there is a Soviet missile heading straight here. We haven't identified it, but we need to get you to the shelters."
"A Soviet missile?! I spoke with Gorby last week about this! Alert the people immediately!"
"We haven't confirmed it yet sir, and we don't want to cause mass hysteria for nothing."
"So it's a big enough threat to evacuate me, but not the good people of Washington D.C.?"
The young aide Leroy was left speechless with the hypocrisy of his director's request.
"Alright, Mr. President. I'll check with all the agencies to identify this projectile."
Both Reagan and Leroy perked up when they heard screaming from outside.
"Is it here?" Reagan asked.
Leroy shrugged and they both ran to the window. Outside were hundreds of scared citizens pointing at the sky. A strange shape in the atmosphere was quickly heading towards 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Both men in the office quickly moved under the president's desk. A tremor moved through the ground, knocking over a jar of Jelly Bellies. A slab of concrete flew throught the window and barely missed two paintings. After they were sure the impact effects had stopped, the president and the aide got up and walked towards the shattered window behind the desk that provided them shelter.
Lieutenant Colonel Anatoly Nyaschez woke from his shuttle's crash abruptly after being shaken by his comrade, Lance Corporal Boris Maoin. He looked around for his other squadmates in the torn-apart craft. The only living Eteno he saw was Boris and a bleeding, unconcious ISF Agent. He was still breathing normally, thankfully. Every other soldier had either been decapitated or crushed during the crash. Noticing unknown, armed creatures amassing outside of the cracked window, Anatoly and Boris clutched their guns in case any of the bipeds started to close in. Apparently unknowing of Anatoly and Boris, the blue-clad bipeds approached the shuttle. Boris noticed that the creatures had no idea that they were inside, and softened his grip on his gun. He grabbed a translator from a dead passenger's belt and tested it to ensure that it worked. He set the wireless earbud firmly in his ear, and turned the voice projector on the translator to medium.
"Unidentified sentients! We are not hostile! We have wounded!" He spoke, facing the torn-open left side of the hull.
Many of the creatures screamed and ran. The blue-clad ones stayed, however. One of them cautiously walked towards the smoking hulk of metal. Anatoly got up from his seat and carefully walked towards the gaping hole in the hull. He poked his head out, his hand by his pistol's holster. The sentients in blue raised their weapons at the sight of him, which caused Anatoly to pull his head back in instantly. He grabbed laser rifle from the floor and readied himself for combat.
"He said that they weren't hostile!" He heard one of the sentients scold.
"Come out! We won't fire!"
Anatoly heard this through his own advanced translator and signaled Boris to go out. Boris cautiously walked out while the other soldier clutched his rifle in wait.
"Oh my god..." One of the police officers said fearfully of the short alien exiting the horrid wreck.
The alien slowly stepped out, holding his hands in front of him to show he was not holding any weapons. The humans loosened their grips on their weapons slightly, unknowing of how to respond to first contact. One of them, a Sergeant by the name of Koln, approached the unarmed Eteno soldier. Boris reached into his bag, which elicited fright from the humans gathered nearby. Assuring them with gestures that he was not pulling out anything harmful, Boris continued to rummage around, feeling for a translator earbud. After a short moment of searching, Boris produced a pristine and unused earbud. He tossed it at the approaching human, who caught it akwardly. Boris gestured to his own ear. Sergeant Koln, understanding the gesture, placed the miniature electronic device in his ear. After ensuring it was snug in place, Koln noticed that the alien had one too.
"Wh... what... what are you?" The human police officer managed to get out.
"Lance Corporal Boris Maoin, serial number F3097TA21346, Imperial Devil Brigade, Eteno Imperial Triumvirate. You?" Boris replied.
"I... uh... Sergeant Koln, Washington D.C. police... United States of America... human."
Boris nodded and reached out with his right arm. A nervous Koln finally collected himself and meet Boris halfway. He shook the alien's hand, noting his unusual shortness.
"United States... so you're a commonwealth?"
"No. Our states are like provinces, or regions. Sub-levels of administration. So if you're a triumvirate, that means three people rule you, right?"
"Not exactly. With us it sort of means three branches of government. The people, our leader, and our senate. "
"That sounds like our country..."
Boris and Koln jolted as they heard tanks rumbling down the street. Anatoly revealed himself and ran to Boris. The tanks turned around the two corners to the left and right of the shuttle crash, cutting the two Eteno off if they tried to escape. Anatoly, being the slightly more paranoid one, immediatlely interpreted this as a show of aggression. He turned hard as stone, and raised his rifle. Shocked police humans then raised their guns.
"Prasagni vendallonyem!" Anatoly blurted out.
In his native tongue, that phrase meant: "Disarm yourselves immediately!", but nobody understood that but Boris. The Lance Corporal immediately told everyone to calm down. The rumbling tanks stopped as they reached the barricade blocking off the shuttle. Anatoly and Boris noticed that they were adorned with stars.
"Listen. We need to start diplomacy now because if we know you are here, then the Grox will know in a matter of days. You need us, and we need you for the time being." Boris said, turning to Koln.
"General Kaston, Captain Kawa reports a shuttle crash in the Sol system. They landed on the only hospitable planet in the system. Apparently, the locals call it Earth. Should we send a Division to turn the locals to our side and recover our men?" A young page spoke to the esteemed General Dostya Kaston.
The High General turned to the page and nodded.
"Th' fou' ahmy is still in the sy'em. Send down a div from tha' uni'."
"Yes, your honor."
The page saluted and made his way out of the office and into the highways and byways of the Armed Forces Military Command Plaza on Hsthius. He walked towards the nearest phone bank and stepped in a booth. He connected his eypiece goggles with the comm system and began conversing with the mechanical voice.
"What unit do you wish to contact?"
"Fourth Army. 107th Quadrant Army. Sol system."
"What soldier do you wish to contact?"
"Captain Joseph Kawa. ENS Terrace."
The aide sighed at the monotonous system he had to go through many times a day, every day. It was comforting to him, though, to know that there were so many brave Imperial soldiers that he had to go through this system.
"Captain Kawa, ENS Terrace, who am I speaking with?"
"Master Sergeant Franklin Kensington, Armed Forces Military Command Plaza, on order of High General Dostya Kaston."
"Ah. Dostya's orders, eh? What did she request?"
"High General Kaston has requested you have General MacMillian send a Division of troops to the planet Earth to recover the shuttle and the crew as well as turn the locals to our side.
"Alright, Master Sergeant. I'll let him know."
"Thank you sir. Have a good day."
Captain Kawa switched off the communicator and turned to a comm officer on the bridge.
"Contact the general. We need a div on Earth pronto."
Part 2 Edit
Anatoly and Boris were led into a lavish room with many splendorous paintings adorning the wall. The two Eteno's boots caused a crescendo of echos in the room. They were instructed to sit down, and did so quickly.
"The president himself will be with you shortly." One of the humans spoke humbly.
Boris nodded while Anatoly grunted in affirmation.
"He is excited about meeting you both. The moment he heard about you he said that he needed to see you face-to-face."
"Good to hear that your species seems to have good will."
"Well, I wouldn't say the whole species. North Korea, the Soviet Union... we have our fair share of problems. You probably don't though, I mean... you're an empire! A spacefaring empire!"
Anatoly chuckled at the aide's obvious misinterpretation. The aide became nervous and lost face, prompting him to leave the room quickly. A minute or so later, a somewhat-elderly looking man walked into the room, flanked by two men with glasses and pitch-black suits. Concluding that was the country's president, Anatoly stood and handed him an earpiece translator.
"Zezno pracilionem!" Spoke Anatoly.
It was a basic Eteno greeting Anatoly said for the sake of testing the president's earpiece. The human obviously understood and returned the phrase.
"Please sit down, Mr. Nyaschez." He said in a friendly voice.
Anatoly nodded and sat down in his chair next to his comrade. Amazed by the presence of extra-terrestrials, Reagan extended his hand for a universal greeting. Both Boris and Anatoly shook his hand firmly.
"I understand that your ship crashed here." President Ronald Reagan said normally, containing his amazement.
"Sort of. Our shuttle was damaged by a Grox raider group and we just barely managed to get to your planet before our life support died." Boris said in reply.
"Grox? What are they, pray tell?"
"Dasterdly creatures bent on the destruction of any sentient not their own." Anatoly answered.
"So, your nation is at war with them?"
"Yes. We have been for over a hundred years."
"We've actually been in a state of near-war for about forty-five years. The only conflicts have been political wars in far-off countries."
"Interesting. The Kklxin, however, would be a much greater threat to you than your near-state of war."
"What can we do to stop them, Mr. Nyaschez?"
"Once we can repair our ship or the Imperial Navy finds out we're missing, we can put this system under protection. Providing it is approved by command."
"By the way, sir, what is your name?"
"Oof, please excuse me. I've been so caught up in meeting a true extra-terrestrial that I forgot to introduce myself. I'm Ronald Reagan, but please call me Ronald."
Reagan nodded and smiled.
"I have one question. Your planet isn't unified, which is unusual to us. With apparently so many factions on your world in conflict, how will we establish diplomatic operations? A hundred diplomats for one world is quite a large amount." Anatoly inquired.
"You could set up here, for NATO. My country is a member and we lead the world in economics, military strength, and technology."
Boris and Anatoly nodded and stood up.
"If it is alright with you, I would like to see more of your city. I may acquire information useful to the empire when they finally come."
Reagan smiled and stood as well.
"I wish I could join you, but I am heading to Berlin tomorrow. I had just enough time for this meeting, I apologize. I will assign you aides to assist you in understanding our culture. I will also give you Secret Service escort."
"Alright. I do not know when I will next see you, but I hope it will be soon."
Anatoly nodded, and they were led out by two aides and a black-clad agent that had walked in with Reagan. He being the only one in the room, another aide scrambled into the room.
"Mr. Reagan! We have something on long-range radar!"
The assembly of Eteno paratroopers jumped to their feet in the jet/helicopter hybrid. The cargo door of the mighty craft opened, revealing clouds above, other Hawks on the sides, and a large forestland below. The cabin was bathed in a red, luminescent light on the side of the hull.
"GO, GO, GO!" The dropmaster exclaimed, gesturing out of the craft while holding onto one of the hydraulic door supports.
In line two abreast, the soldiers jogged up to the exit and jumped out into a sky filled with parachutes and yellow figures. Beyond the plasti-fiber filled skies was a gigantic, five-piece transport carrying the majority of the 300,000-man force.
"Clear the DZ, men. If you encounter the locals, calm them and assure them that we are not hostile. If they resist, pacify with minimal force. We want a cleared landing zone, not a bloody battleground troopers! Now get to work!" Colonel Xavier exclaimed over the unit's radios.
Soon, most of the paratrooper force hit the ground and didn't encounter any humans in the vicinity.
"Cleared for landing, pilot!" Xavier commed to the pilot of the gargantuan transport hanging above the cloud cover.
The silver beast descended upon the quaint, green forest below and lowered it's landing gear. The area it was landing in was relatively devoid of trees. It looked as though it may have been a campground at one point. After several minutes of surveying the landing zone for any life signs, traps, or serious obstacles the craft's pilots decided it was suitable. The transport lowered itself down upon the site, snapping the odd tree scattered around the area. When it hit the dirt, the enormous pods of the T-300 lowered it's ramps. In giant formations, Regiment and Battalion sized squares of infantry marched off the ship in immaculate synchronization. From the side pods came armour of all sorts. Tanks, walkers, APCs, trucks, artillery, and cargo carriers rolled off in lines twenty abreast. From the top cavity of the T-300, dozens of helicopters and fighters were released to patrol the airspace and mobilize the paratroopers below.
"... Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" The American President said loudly to the amassed crowds of West Berliners as an aide shyly approached him on the platform.
"Ahem... Mr... Mr. President?" The aide spoke.
Reagan turned, with frustration visible on his face.
"Something big is going down in Washington State. Like that shuttle crash, it came from outside the solar system. We do not think it crashed, though. The Washington National Guard is deploying as we speak to determine if it is a thr-"
"Mr. Nyaschez and Mr. Maoin informed me... implied in our meeting that their empire was going to find them. Send someone from the CIA if it means that much to you."
"Ah, yes Mr. President."
The aide quickly left the podium, unwilling to further disturb the inspiring speech at the wall.\
Colonel Xavier observed the marching square formations of Eteno Imperial Marines. He paced around the hastily erected camp, which was built around the stationary T-300. He observed the complex, intricate towns of tents and command trucks while whistling a redundant, but calming tune. Eteno, for some strange reason, took a keen liking to those kinds of brief musical pieces. Full symphony never really appealed to the short species. Without any reason other than the fact that he wanted to, Xavier changed direction and headed for the perimeter post furthest away. He dismissed the two Black Jackets guarding him as he arrived at the grass-covered, truck-mounted tent. Colonel Xavier climbed onto the bed of the almost unseeable vehicle and entered the tent on top.
"Good evening men." The ranking Eteno officer spoke nonchalantly as he made himself known to the two oblivious sensor operators.
"Good evening, sir!" They said simultaneously as they snapped to attention.
"At ease, gentlemen."
The two operators softened their stances and returned to their perimeter observtion. Xavier sat on the grass-covered metal bed of the floorless tent.
"Loote-nount, somesing is approa-ching!" The Helerun (French)-accented soldier spoke to the other officer in the tent.
"Wo' is it?" Lieutenant Skarn said as he walked over to the other man.
Xavier stood and observed the sensor console along with the Helerun soldier and Skarn.
On the topographical radar was the icon of an APC and infantry. The Helerun immediately grabbed his radio and alerted a sniper team.
Agent Hampton warily observed the forestscape as her car proceeded at a slow pace. She checked her map as the driver kept the vehicle moving, taking care not to run into anything. The sky was getting darker, so it was difficult to see small obstacles. Without warning, three searchlights shone on the vehicle, startling Hampton and her driver.
Three Eteno soldiers approached the vehicle with weapons raised. Hampton became very worried. She was not carrying a weapon and she told the National Guard to wait several miles away. She was defenseless. An official-looking Eteno walked up to the window, and tapped on the bulletproof glass. The driver rolled the window down, and Xavier activated his sound-projecting translator.
"Ekski? You lost?"
Anatoly observed the lit city he was walking in with great interest. All of the structures seemed to be ablaze with lighting. Boris and himself were both thoroughly annoyed with the human escort they had. Did they not know they were elite soldiers? Despite being different species, when a guy is in a unit named devil, they are probably well trained. At least, that's what Boris and Anatoly concluded. Their ISF Agent friend was in a hospital, no doubt being observed well over by the astonished doctors there. Boris stopped as he noticed a carriage-like thing being manned by a husky man wearing a striped apron. He was handing out cylinders of hot meat in bread handles. He waltzed over casually, having waved off his guard temporarily. He caught the attention of the human almost immediately.
"Uhh... how many'll ya have, pal?" The meat-bread human spoke nervously to Boris.
"Ie. One." The Eteno replied, utilising his translator yet again in the urban environment.
The man nodded warily, and grabbed a cylinder of red meat from a hot, meat-filled grease compartment. He placed the round, smoking hot dog in a wheat bun. He handed it to him, and rubbed his fingers. Boris took the meat with one hand and rummaged through his bulletproof vest's cavernous pockets for a few Sporebucks. Grasping a small handful, he set it in the meat human's hand.
"Consider it an alien treasure." Boris said understandingly.
"Yeah... have a nice day... God, no more burritos and beer." The round meat sentient mumbled, almost incomprehensibly.
"Hey Anato-... Anatoly?" The Lance Corporal inquired to nobody in particular.
Anatoly observed upon a horrible scene occuring in an alley. A man with a knife was taking a frail man's wallet without any heed towards who the man may be. He pointed at a store, distracting the two Secret Service agents watching over him. Anatoly ducked into an alley and unholstered his high-powered laser pistol. He slowly approached the thief and his victim.
"Drop the knife and put your hands behind your head!" He commanded solidly.
"Yeah, or what freakazoid!?"
There was no change in Anatoly's posture or facial expression as he shot the thief in the leg.
"Next time I won't miss the bone. Drop the knife."
Between screams of agony, the thief dropped his knife.
"Here pal, lemme help you." Anatoly spoke as he approached a battered would-be victim of theft.
Elite Devil Brigade commando Sasha Miller, perched on one of Washington D.C.'s taller buildings, observed Lt. Colonel Nyaschez helping a battered human to his feet. She tapped a button on her watch and crouched lower.
"Kherlo-nel, I have located two of ze chrew. Ohrders?"
"Refrain from revealing yourself to the sentients. Meet up with the scout team on the outskirts of the city, and head back to base with them. See you in a few days, Captain."
Sasha removed her watch gingerly, and burned it with an electric heater bud to prevent anyone or anything from tracking her. Peeking over the edge of the building she was perched on, she noticed three gangsters approaching Anatoly from behind. Sitting rather precariously on the edge, she whipped out her long-barreled rifle from it's sling and carefully aimed extremely close to the lead gangster's foot. The moment the small cylinder of photons exited the barrel, Sasha had already rushed away from her perch. The commando hurried to the other side of the building and lept off, landing gracefully on an unfolded fire escape. Sasha lept over the side of the metal staircase and hit the ground. She ran from the scene before anyone suspected she was there.
Major Dmitry Iosif observed the sterile, sentient-filled, white room he lay in, angry and confused. Confused, because he had not a clue where he was. Angry, because he knew that there were inferior sentients around doing things to him, or at least, they had the intention to. He raised his head, gazing down at his bandaged body. His vest had been removed, and his glasses lay on a table next to him. Cursing himself for not taking PFC Charles' advice and hiding his radio in his boot, he frantically looked around for it on the tables flanking his hard bed. He eventually found it face-down by a lamp, and discreetly reached for it with his left arm. He grasped it and quickly brought it under his chin. Figuring that if the sentients wanted to kill him, they would have, he decided that nothing too horrible could come of him speaking in a language unknown to his captors. He activated the small device and spoke into it.
The phrase meant Help Now, and he figured that any orbiting Eteno ships or nearby Eteno units would pick up the radio signal and rescue him from his plight.
"What is your name?"
"What is your species?"
"Why did you come to Earth?"
"Sir! Sir! When does a pile of sand stop being a pile of sand?"
The translator beside Dmitry blared the many questions in his own tongue, and he replied to them all with one simple canned response:
"Dmitri Iosif, Major. Imperial Security Force, Ninth Directorate, Sixty-Seventh Department. Glumkoppfel. Serial number 23042JD83HWOA915."
"Sir, why are you here?"
"Are you here to destroy humanity?"
"Where is your species' from?"
"Under the rules of the Voskin Convention, I am not required to offer any information other than my name, department, rank, and serial number."
The sand-colored APCs rumbled across the vast desert, on the look out for any sign of a prison or military base. The lead vehicle, Tiger One, carried part of the elite force of commandos towards the origin of the radio distress signal. Inside the vehicle sat Captain Franklin May.
"Yo-Yo, how long 'till we hit the contact?" Franklin asked casually to the driver.
"I'm reading about seven Decigrams from target. Suit up."
The cramped inside of the vehicle turned into borderline frenzy as the soldiers donned their helmets and armor jackets. Immediately after, a dozen guns were hefted and loaded. Without warning, a sentient voice blared over the vehicle radio.
"Unidentified convoy, turn back now. This location is under the control of the United States Army."
"Negative, negative. Our destination is your doorstep." Yo-Yo replied.
The radio went silent, and suddenly, bullets began impacting and bouncing off of the vehicle.
"We're going in hot, boys. Grease, Hans, go out the front and lay down supressing fire! Axel, Spencer, out the back with me. The rest of you head out on your own! Move out boys! And set your weapons to stun!"
The front and rear doors of the vehicle burst open and out ran a dozen elite Eteno soldiers. Other squads followed their lead and exited their vehicles as well. Clutching his rocket as a trumpeteer clutches his instrument, Franklin aimed a careful shot at the installation roughly a hundred feet in front of him. Comfortable that his rocket was going to impact the metal front door with the phrase AREA 51 inscribed on it, he fired his weapon. The projectile sped towards the door, and knocked it clean out of it's comfortable, closed position.
"Move forward on them, their position will collapse if we press our advantage on them!"
Laser fire erupted from the Platoon of elite Eteno, and the rather unprepared sentients guarding the facility either dropped, stunned by the Eteno's weapons, or dropped their weapons in surrender. The fifty or so men advanced leisurely towards the human position and jeered at the bipeds.
"Grease, Yokel, take the POWs to the trucks and keep them under guard. The rest of you advance!" Captain May said loudly over the growing sandstorm.
While the humans coughed as the sand entered their bodies, the Eteno stood unfazed, as their mouth-covering poison masks kept their powerful lungs immaculate against the millions of small particles orbiting around them. Soon right next to the humans, Yokel and Grease led the half a dozen camoflauged men towards the assembly of vehicles awaiting them. Frank and the many other commandos then entered the base through the blown-open entrance, guns raised and fully alert. May went in first. The dark lobby he stepped into was illuminated by the goggles he was wearing. He detected no life signs in the large room, but did detect some on the floor below, as well as the radio the distress signal they were responding to originated from.
"A'ight boys, when we hit the room, clear it out as quickly as possible. Arrest any and all non-Eteno!" May said to his men.
The troopers charged down the hall beyond them until they reached a staircase. Two of the men went slowly down the flight of stairs, looking around cautiously with their SKAR rifles. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, they motioned to the troop above them, showing that the area was clear. The rest of May's group moved down the stairs rather loudly and gravitated closer and closer to a giant collection of body signatures. The twelve or so men not guarding the area stacked up on the walls to the left and right of the door leading into the room holding their target. May, closest to the door on the right side, unhooked a flash grenade from his belt. For reasons nobody quite understood, some levels of brightness aren't absorbed by Eteno eyes. May always believed that it was related to the fact that Eteno didn't have eyelids. But of course, May was not a scientist as he very well knew. The Captain tested the doorknob quickly and making little rattling noise, and determined that it was locked from the inside. He took a shotgun from the short soldier to his rear and put the barrel to the knob.
Dmitry was shaken from his state of relative obliviousness by a loud band across the room. He raised his head and looked up to see an opened door and a small cylinder rolling across the floor. It exploded abruptly, unfolding like an origami cup. Dmitry noticed nothing but a pop as the many sentients in the room with him covered their eyes with their arms and stumbled around. A dozen armed Eteno burst into the room with weapons raised, ordering the humans down, much to Iosif's delight.
"Down! On the ground! Dowwwn!" One of the soldiers yelled.
The humans, despite not knowing the language the intruders were saying, immediately dropped to the ground and covered their heads in response to the loud, aggressive voices. Captain May walked up to Iosif on the table and helped him off, serving as a standing aid. Dmitry finally managed to stand on his own after much struggling, and hobbled with great help from the Captain out of the room, surrounded by his helper's men. They exited the structure without facing any resistance, and radioed for a medivac.
Nobody in the United States of America had a clue who had shot at the criminals sneaking up on Anatoly, but they did know that the Colonel had shot the mugger in defense of the man being robbed. Personally, everyone who knew of the Eteno's existence thought it was good that the man had stood up for the defenseless poor soul, but they also knew that it would be a PR nightmare. An absolute nightmare. Despite this event and the frenzy that followed, most of the people that had witnessed it and weren't government officials were either paid off or convinced that they were on a mind-altering substance. Regardless, the Warsaw Pact nations had discovered the existence of the extra-terrestrials using their established spy network in North America. Some thought it was horrible that the Soviets now knew of the US' possible ally, and some were overjoyed that the Soviets knew that there was an insurmountable force leaning towards NATO's side. Secretly, this split Congress and the Senate. Publicly, however, they did their best to look as if nothing had ever happened. On top of the rapidly deteriorating situation, two more events threatened to turn the whole situation inside-out. The first was a break-in at Area 51, where the wounded Eteno was being treated and interviewed. The second was the presence of a huge object in orbit. Astronomers observing the object all reported that it looked like an alien spaceship. The whole thing gave President Reagan a headache, so he pushed the papers aside and ate a few Jelly Bellies, then rested his head in his hands.
Kawa looked out of the viewport and at the blue and green ball, covered in white patches that slowly rolled across the atmosphere.
"What a fine planet. Billions of our kind will eventually inhabit this world." The Captain said, gazing at the cradle of humanity.
"I concur, sir. I also have a report from Colonel Xavier. He says that they have two humans that were sent to investigate their landing site. He wants further orders from command and wants us to pass it on to CentCom." An officer on the bridge said.
"Good. If you don't need me to hold your hand, I'm pretty sure you can manage to forward that message. Keep it flowing, Lieutenant."
The Politburo had everything planned and ready. The USSR would reveal to the world the existence of aliens, and blame the US for hiding extra-terrestrial life from the world. The Soviet Union would then take the aliens under the guise of protecting and providing them with what they wanted and needed, and then begin secret talks with them. Bribery, technology, materials, manpower, whatever the aliens needed in exchange for their help in defeating the Americans. Unfortunately for the creators of this clever plan, the USA's spies found the plan while digging up missile information. Now they had to make a choice: Reveal the aliens now to ruin the plan, or hide the three Eteno from the world, prompting the international community to take the Soviets' word with the same weight as cheap tabloids sold at street stands. America chose the first option, figuring that there would be much less risk. Little did the Soviets and Americans know, the Eteno knew about the plan as well.
"Mr. Nyaschez, Mr. Maoin, you've been requested for a live television appearance with the president from Air Force One. Would you please come with me to a helicopter that will take you to Air Force One now?" A tall man with dark glasses and a suit said as he approached the seated Eteno in their government suite.
"That was a thinly veiled command, sir. With all due respect, we Eteno do not and will not take orders." Anatoly spoke to the man.
"I apologize, but this is a matter of national security."
"Getting our close-ups is a matter of national security to you?"
"No, it is to foil a Soviet plan to take you to the USSR."
"I see. If this wasn't so impportant to you, we would refuse. But since you seem to have a good reason, and I would prefer your people to know of our existence, we accept your offer."
"Thank you. Follow me."
Boris and Anatoly followed the man out of the suite, downstairs, and out of the building to a helipad on which an official-looking chopper was resting, pilots sitting in the cockpit. As the three approached the aerial vehicle, the pilots started the helicopter, and a nearby US soldier opened the door and lowered some steel stairs, which the four walked up. They sat down in the helicopter as it slowly took off.
"This reminds me of the helicopters I rode in during the Xorgrarian Raid, sir." Boris said casually to his superior officer.
"It reminds me of our aircraft as well. However, I would much prefer you treat me as your equal for the time being. My authority pretty much is worthless here."
"Whatever you want, Anatoly."
The two striked up a conversation with the two seated humans sitting next to them, and idly chatted for the rest of the ride. When they arrived at the airfield hosting Air Force One, they set down on a helipad close to the mammoth jet.
Anatoly and Boris walked up the stairs leading into Air Force One and were led by a servant into a lavish meeting room, in which a cameraman and newswoman were standing, setting up their equipment.
"The president will be with you shortly. If you need anything, please just talk to the guard outside the room. These two are with the news company that will be broadcasting your appearance." The servant said to the two short-statured troopers.
Boris nodded and Anatoly grunted as the worker human left the room. The two newspeople worked in silence to set up their equipment, no doubt either disturbed or nervous in the extra-terrestrials' presence. For several minutes, the four were the only occupants of the room. While the humans toiled, Boris and Anatoly observed them working. That camera is incredibly primitive, Boris thought to himself. Soon, the president entered along with Secret Service agents, and he signaled for the newspeople to start recording in thirty seconds.
"Mr. Nyaschez, Mr. Maoin, I am unsure if you have this kind of media on your planet, so just act normal and pretend the lens of that camera is a large fraction of Earth's population. We'll be revealing your presence to the world over this, so please try not to be aggressive, if I may request."
"No problem Ronald. We have mass media as well. Only we speak to star systems and even the galaxy, at times."
Reagan chortled, and the cameraman silently mouthed 'three', 'two', and 'one'.
"Hello, good people of America and the world. I am the president of the United States of America, and I am here to give you news that will cause you great awe. I have with me two intelligent, extra-terrestrials. If you do not believe me, please do listen and see for yourself."
Reagan gestured to the two Eteno next to him, and they nodded at the camera as Boris began to speak.
"Hello humans. We are the Eteno and we hail from the Eteno Imperial Triumvirate, a major galactic hyperpower. We mean you no harm." The translator spoke in the same voice and emotion as the speaker.
"That is correct. We came to this planet when we crashed after being shot down by Grox fighter craft, and landed in one of your cities. We look to colonize and ally with your world, and hope for warm relations between our species." Anatoly said, building on Boris' statement.
"Those are most likely very comforting words to many people around the world. I have with me a list of questions, and I was hoping you could answe some?" The newswoman, now on-camera said to the three.
They nodded and mumbled yesses, and the woman began her questioning.
"First: What is the Eteno's home..."
The interview began, and the whole thing ran for almost an hour. When they finished, the cameraman stopped recording and took the tapes to a makeshift broadcasting station a room away.
"Well, how did we do?"
"You and Mr. Nyaschez did very well. Shall we check the progress of the broadcast to our stations on the ground?" Reagan replied.
Boris nodded, and the three walked to the broadcasting station. When they arrived, they saw many panicked engineers working furiously.
"What is going on?" The US president asked hoarsely.
"The Russians have begun their broadcast and our radio broadcasts are jammed!"
"Land as soon as you can and get the tapes to any news station you can!" He replied.
"We're already beginning to set down in Albany, sir!"
"Good! Keep trying to broadcast!"
The president and the Eteno walked back into the room in which they were interviewed.
"Why does it matter if the Soviets broadcast whatever they're broadcasting?" Anatoly inquired curiously.
"If they do, the Soviets have more than enough of an excuse to take you to their country! And I doubt they are doing it to let you guys meet the people of Russia."
It was not a good day for America. The US wasn't able to broadcast quickly enough to make it look as if they were planning to introduce the aliens to Earth without any sort of outside prompting. The UN also said that the US was "Irresponsible" in their hiding of Anatoly and Boris, and had already sent a plane to take the Eteno to Estonia, which was an SSR. President Reagan was sullen, and Boris and Anatoly began planning their escape from the jet. They would neutralize anybody guarding them and steal some parachutes. They would then jump out over the Earth country of Switzerland and hope for the best from there. The US appealed the UN to let the aliens choose for themselves where to stay, but the huge organization said that there was no way to be sure that the Eteno weren't being bullied into wanting to stay with the Americans. In the cleared-out Gate B10, the Eteno duo sat in thought. They were startled when Anatoly's radio blared:
"To Colonel Anatoly Nyaschez, this is Colonel Xavier in command of a Division of troops. We are encamped in the Western US and have sent a flight of helicopters to spring you from the airport."
Anatoly recovered from shock and replied.
"Roger, Xavier. You don't know how happy I am to know you're here."
"Copy. That jet should arrive in five minutes, and our flight estimates eight minutes ETA. Try to buy them some time."
Anatoly and Boris were led out to the tarmac as a large cargo plane bearing the UN insignia landed and taxied over to where they were going to be picked up. A UN diplomat walked off of the plane and waved at the Eteno.
"Ah. you must be Anatoly Nyaschez and Boris Maoin. I am Chaserk Duloo. Shall we board and leave for Estonia?"
"Ah, just a minute." Boris replied.
The diplomat smiled and nodded, and Boris turned to Reagan.
"Ronald, we have a flight of choppers inbound to spring us from this, and Anatoly and I are gonna make a run for it. If we don't meet you again, it was an honor." He whispered.
Ronald nodded, and then pointed up to the sky and said,
The Americans and UN diplomat looked up, and Anatoly and Boris ran off to nowhere in particular.
"Thank you, president Reagan!" Anatoly yelled as many UN officials left the cargo plane and started chasing the two aliens.
Boris and Anatoly vaulted over an airport truck and split up. Boris ran down the runway as fast as he could, and Anatoly ran into the airport. The men giving chase also split up.
Anatoly dashed into the building and raced up a staircase to gate B10's waiting area and the adjacent food courts and pathway through the huge facility. He stopped to catch his breath until he saw his first pursuer come up the stairs. He started running again and vaulted over some seats. The officials were closing in on him, as were two present security guards. As one of the guards closed in, Anatoly made a sharp 180 degree turn and slammed into the guard for all he was worth. This toppled the man and Nyaschez kept going down the path as he maneouvred around two officials and the other guard. He grabbed a wrench lying near an area under maintinence and tossed it behind him, landing right where an official stepped seconds later. His feet flew out from under him and hit the ground. The Colonel continued running down the spacious hallway as the remaining pursuers continued the chase.
Right after Chapter 2...
Boris raced down the runway, oblivious to his pursuers. He was pretending that he was at the track back on his home base, running against his comrades in friendly competition. He continued to go faster and faster, despite his legs and lung screaming that he was tired. He heard the buzz of rotors and an official running close behind him. An Eteno Imperial Air Force HV-17 flew extremely close and dangerously next to Boris, the door on the side open. An Eteno soldier in the doorway yelled at him to jump, and Corporal Maoin lept to the side and into the doorway, being caught by the soldier. He and two other Eteno pulled him in and closed the door behind him as the helicopter began to gain altitude.
In the airport...
Anatoly continued to run, his lungs burning from exhaustion, his legs threatening to give out. He saw a Dragonfly gunship fly by the window to his right, prompting him to push just a little further. He found himself at a raised walkway, with the Dragonfly waiting just beside it. A gunner in the Dragonfly broke the glass with his gun and Anatoly crouched and covered his head to protect himself against glass shards. The helicopter drew a little closer, and the soldiers in the exposed cabin yelled for him to jump. The short Colonel looked behind him, and saw a guard and two others about to run up to him. So he jumped. He grabbed onto the floor of the cabin when he was about to fly under, and two soldiers helped him up.
"So... Lieutenant, where exactly is Xavier camped?"
"The Colonel is encamped in a place these humans call Washington. It has a lot of green. Reminds me of Herit." The pilot yelled back to Anatoly.
"Lotta green. That sounds like Herit all right.How secure is the camp?"
"When we left the camp last night, there was a Company erecting some walls to keep out thieves and animals."
"Good. Let's see if we can get there before dinner, eh?"
"Yes sir. I forgot to ask, did you hear about what's been going down?"
"What's going down?"
"Well, these American humans are on full alert, and it seems a country called the CCCP is trying to bully the Americans into handing you two over. Doesn't take a scholar to see that they want our help in fighting whoever they are in conflict with."
"Looks like you've been left outta the loop, pilot. The people you rescued Boris and I from were gonna take me to a satellite state of the CCCP."
"Well, if worst comes to worst, we can count on further support from the fleet in orbit. I think that Admiral Groot called in for some reinforcements."
"Good, keep flying."
Xavier was studying up on some human history. The prisoner Hampton had suggested in a rather rude tone that the Eteno would adore a civilization called Rome. She was right. Xavier was completely intrigued by these Romans. An imperialistic republic ruled by the people. Xacier also fancied the gladiators and huge battles that were held for entertainment.
"Sir, we have dozens of unknown contacts converging on out location." A soldier said as he poked his head into the room Xavier was occupying.
"Scramble all fighters and mobilize all anti-aircraft assets. Hail them and give them exactly two warnings. After that, blow them outta the sky."
"Right away sir!"
The Colonel left the room close behind the soldier and exited the transport. Near the exit ramp were Colonel Nyaschez and Corporal Maoin. They had just left the helicopters that dropped them off, and were both startled and confused in the face of the alarm. The AA guns in position in the camp began to fire at the many helicopters in the sky, and the camp turned into complete chaos. One of the gunships set down amidst the confusion and several humans in full armor abducted two random Eteno. The craft immediately lifted off and left at full speed as other helicopters stayed to cover its escape. Almost as soon as they arrived, most of the covering helicopters were blasted out of the sky, and any passengers or pilots that were alive after their helicopters' crashes were taken prisoner.
"Adjust angle two degrees! Two degrees!"
"Over. Angle adjusted! Fire one!"
"On the way!"
"On the way!"
The ground quaked as dozens of heavy guns fired at the sky to make sure that no hostiles were still in the air. After a radar sweep and several visual checks, the guns fell silent.
"Head count! Squads, report to your Lieutenants. Platoons are to report to their Brigades!" Xavier yelled over his radio.
Thirty seconds passed, and the reports began to roll in. Three were dead, and two were missing. Missing. In a closed camp? Two men were abducted by these people. Xavier observed one of the helicopter wrecks from a guard tower. These were CCCP aircraft. Russians had kidnapped two Eteno. Xavier climbed back down the guard tower and went into the huge transport. He walked through a maze of corridors until he came upon the communications center.
"Warrant Officer. Send a message to CentCom. We need a lot more men if we're going to get those two back and pacify these humans."
The cover of night is always kind to one trained in using its benefits. Sasha was living proof of this. She slowly crept through the camp, making sure not to wake anyone. She treadded towards a parked HV-17 and three men resting by it, drinking warm coffee. She approached them, and in a hushed voice, spoke.
"You three. I am Cap-i-tan Miller. Get this chopper wahrmed up. Vee are going to Russia."
"Ma'an, by whose authority is this taking pl-"
"No time for zis. Warm up helo. I'll take care of everything else."
The pilot went inside the craft and started it up. The mighty bird's rotors began to turn, and soon leaves and loose items were being blown around, rousing many soldiers from their slumber. The two other soldiers that were with the pilot got into the craft and beckoned for Sasha to join them.
"Good. Set a course for the human city of Moscow."
The bird slowly began to lift off, and soon rose above the camp.
"Move at full speed and tell anyone who asks that we have permission from the Supreme Commander himself."
"The Supreme Commander, ma'am? If he finds out, he'll be angry."
"No he won't. He'll be glad we're springing some POWs."
"Springing POWs, ma'am?"
"By order of the Office of the Supreme Commander and the Council of Generals, the Imperial Armed Forces have dedicated 50,000,000 men directly to the situation on Earth, and a further 30,000,000 auxillary troops ready for deployment at a moment's notice." Said the transport's main computer in a monotone voice to Colonel Xavier and his assembled staff.
"Well men, it looks like I won't be the one in charge of this theater anymore." Xavier said, smiling to himself.
"Sir, do we have any plans for these troops? I mean, it's not like we can just ask these humans for a province." One of the radio officers stated.
"I concur. Either we'll have to expand our sphere of influence here or take new territory."
"Well sir, should we plan ahead of time for the main force?"
"Alright, sir. Personally, I think that it would be best to take a heavily populated city in order to demonstrate our power."
"I agree, Captain."
The two observed a political map of the Earth that was acquired through rudimentary search of the human agent Hampton's vehicle. Many populated areas were considered, even the American Washington D.C.. However, a more apt location was selected in the end. By majority vote of the radio officers and Xavier, it was decided that the cities of London and Paris were both very suitable candidates. Xavier would leave the decision between those two cities to whoever was in command of the battlegroup heading to Earth.
Two days later...
High General Marc Unsverter was in command of the Eighty-first Battlegroup. For days, the unit had no post and spun its wheels on the colony of Wurrtep. The natives were positively annyoing. Yes, they meant well, but the fact that they thought that constant, cheap gifts were actually very flattering got rather irritating after a while. Marc was thankful for his post, but occupation was simply not his thing. All throughout his life, Marc vied not to hold on to anything. So naturally, holding onto a colony was not Unsverter's cup of tea.
"General! We've arrived at the Sol system and our transports are ready to deploy."
This loud message over Marc's personal quarters' speakers abruptly broke his train of thought.
He stood from his bed and slammed the input button on the wall with his fist. Not out of rage, but excitement.
"Roger. Launch the invasion at once! The target is Paris!"
Outskirts of Rostov-na-Donu, CCCP...
"Aye, ma'am. The rotors are shot and the engine is screwed." Yohannes, the pilot, said rather casually, as if the situation was commonplace to the unusually tall pilot.
"Augh. It is of no consequence, pilot. If we can cover the heli-copiter vith brush, we can proceed on foot after acquring transpor-tation."
"Pardon me for asking, but how are we gonna explain this missing bird, ma'am?"
"I already said to leave it all to me."
"We should set out. There is a good chance we can find a mode of transport in the nearby settlement."
"That's probably a good idea, ma'am."
The four Eteno observed the distant city from their position, and noticed a few motor vehicles. They looked somewhat like Eteno civilian vehicles.
"Truhpers, zese vehicles shall serve us vell."
The city of Paris was like a huge, shining light sticking out from the calm, pastoral night countryside. The city was churning with many thousands of people in some areas. Little did the citizens know, however, that their city was soon to be a battleground. High above in the distant skies were thousands of helicopters, fighters, and bombers of alien origin. While the simple citizens were unaware of what was to come, radar stations across France and some in Belgium and Luxembourg were picking up the fleet of aircraft. A few of the radar stations sent out orders for interceptors, most of them registered the mass of aircraft as an error. Far above the city of lights, many thousands of Eteno airborne infantry made their first live jumps. To the Eteno, Earth was nothing more than another planet to occupy. "Expansionary Pacification" it was called, was normally the first type of assignment for greener troops. Some Parisians looked up and saw the descending alien soldiers. As the figures drew closer, and became easier to see, the people panicked and ran.
"Russes! Russes!" They all screamed.
When the first of the paratroopers hit the ground and the rooftops of Paris's many buildings, their pack mechanisms pulled their parachutes back inside and the soldiers whipped out their rifles. Just like many other soldiers. it was Rostiatov Groln's first operation. He had hit the ground running, his backpack automatically retracting his parachute. He grabbed his laser carbine from the sling on his back and fired at the ground. He made a gesture towards the ground with his palm repeatedly, until the humans frozen in fear near him dropped to the ground. Rostiatov was going to round up the civilians and take them to a secure area, but before he could, a French Army AMX-10P came around the corner at the intersection and trained its gun on him. Instinctively, Rostiatov dashed into an alley and blindly fired in the APC's direction. Luckily for the Eteno soldier, an AT trooper and three regular paratroopers ran down the alley.
"Indigenous APC out there! I'm guessing 1/25 Unigram gun!"
The AT soldier creeped up to the edge of the brick-walled alley, and then dashed out to the back of a van. The French vehicle's 20mm gun fired away at the trooper. The bullets tore through the van, but the Eteno was quick enough not to get hit. He hit the deck and aimed at the vehicle from next to the rear left wheel. The trooper pulled the trigger of his weapon, and the glowing cylinder of energy flew out of the barrel, and hit the armored vehicle. It exploded into a ball of flame, and the four troopers in the alley charged out of their cover at the instant when they heard the boom of a vehicle exploding.
Paris fell in a matter of hours. The unprepared French Army and NATO forces were rapidly overrun by the twenty-million man invasion force. One day after the initial assault, the Eteno invasion force had fought to Rouen in the North and Orleans in the South. After the very rapid advance, the troops of the Eteno Army slowed, and stopped their progression, and consolidated their position. While there was still resistance from scattered pockets of NATO troops, the majority of the human troops had been beaten back. Although millions of Eteno had participated in the initial invasion, there were still many in orbit ready and waiting for the green light to land in France or begin another invasion. Command had nothing planed yet, but it was common knowledge among the officers that there would be more attacks.
Meanwhile, across the galactic arm, Supreme Commander Elrich von Eibeer was planning a personal visit to Earth. The field data collected about the humans fascinated him. These were creatures that had a great capacity for strength and intelligence.
But they were tall.
Eibeer always visited newly-taken planets with intelligent, developed inhabitants but was secretly annoyed whenever the newly-conqured species was taller. Still, his face revealed only optimism about the empire growing to include the new species. It also never ceased to comfort him that the Eteno's robotic war machines were more than tall enough to make new additions to the empire mess their pants.
The most powerful man in the empire also was studying data collected on the atrocities and inhumane governments that humanity spawned. These governments would have to be elimnated and replaced with democratic leadership. Earth would also have to be governed by fewer nations. A species so divided would be difficult to govern. Normally, the Eteno completely annexed planets and established their own governments, but Earth was of course a special case. Some of Eibeer's advisors suggested the humans ruling themselves on a continental level, and others suggested a few nations per continent.
"Ah, Mr. Eibeer? We have more data collected from spy drones. There's one nation in particular that General Unsverter wants to invade. He says it might be a good start for establishing larger governing bodies." An aide said as he nervously poked his head into Elrich von Eibeer's surprisingly drab office.
"Well, tell him that as long as an invasion would follow all guidelines set by myself and the Council of Generals, then he has the go ahead to launch an invasion."
Now this was Marc's cup of tea. He was going to personally spearhead one of the assaults on the North Korean coastline. While the invasion wasn't going to take place for several days, he and several lower-ranking generals under his command planned twenty missions dropping living supplies and food into the poverty-stricken communist nation by transport craft as part of the effort to win the hearts and minds of the poor country's inhabitants. The first sortie was to be flown tomorrow. Well, tomorrow to Marc. He was still running on Wurrtep time. While it was mid-day for the huumans in Europe, it was past midnight to him. His mind was further burned out by the three-hour long planning session for the defenses around the occupied territories in France and the safe movement of Colonel Xavier's forces from America.
Across the world, the Colonel who made the second landing on Earth by Eteno was himself also going to command an operation. However, it was much different than an invasion. The Eteno Colonel didn't tolerate any aliens trying to kidnap Eteno men, and didn't tolerate aliens actually doing it even more. Sasha's mission was no secret to Xavier. He always knew what his troops were up to, and had the helicopters in the camp all checked for any maintinence issues, to ensure the commando's flight would be uneventful from a mechanical standpoint. Unfortunately, this action was moot due to Soviet AA fire.
Anyways, Xavier was confident that the two men kidnapped by Russia would be recovered and those responsible punished. What he was focusing on was the attempted kidnapping by the human organization known to him as the UN. The Colonel was aiming for a less-violent approach than the one that Sasha was undoubtedly going to take. Commandos would sneak into the building and annihilate all of the information, records, and other data stored there. After Earth was fully annexed, the organization would no doubt be dismantled.
Well, human cars were now the pet peeve of the day for Sasha and the men with her. Only the pilot Yohannes was tall enough to reach the pedal and see beyond the steering wheel at the same time. When the group sneakily entered the city, they chose what looked like the most advanced car in the area, which wasn't much compared to Eteno vehicles. So Private Woln had to run back to the crash site, get the gas converter, run back, and hook it up to the car's gas tank with the help of Yohannes and Sasha. Private Kolber stood guard, warily scanning the surroundings for any people. It took almost an hour, but the four Eteno finally managed to get a working method of transportation, and fuel was of no consequence. The fuel converter was common technology across the galaxy, but the Eteno managed to perfect it. The Eteno fuel converters could take multiple different gasses and convert them to the fuel needed for whatever vehicle it was attached to. However, the human car was so incredibly primitive that Woln needed to rewire it slightly to be compatible with a human car engine. Once the car was checked for maintinence problems, the four set off towards Moscow, a bright red blip indicated on their holographic maps.
The people of the world were all shocked.
All of the screens, every television and electronic sign stopped playing whatever was on at the moment, and cut to a yellow alien sitting behind a desk, flanked by armed guards standing like statues. The alien smiled lightly and removed his officer's hat, placing it next to his right arm.
"Humans of Earth, hello."
Across the world, people panicked, cheered, thought they were crazy, and sat in silence waiting for the alien to continue.
"By now you'v eprobably recieved hazy details about an alien invasion, or the end of the world. I am here to tell you that we, the Eteno, have indeed come to your world. However, we are not here to kill you, or conquer you all and make you slaves. We are here to bring you our civilization, our technology, ethics. Our prosperity and quality of life. We will give you freedom, citizenship, and rights. All of this, in exchange for loyalty and service to our empire. Do not look at us as oppressors. See us as intelligent life in the galaxy. Just like you."
The world's populations rumbled with hapiness, sadness, anger, hatred, surpirse, and all emotion felt by intelligent life all across the galaxy. Emotions felt by both Eteno and humans at one point or another.
"Oh, please excuse me. I have forgotten to introduce myself. I'm High General Marc Unsverter of the Eteno Imperial Army Eighty-First Battlegroup. The reason we have brought such force are multiple. A force of evil that the civilized galaxy knows as the Grox are dedicated to annihilating all non-machine life in the universe. Neither you nor I are mechanical. We entered space, we mobilized our men, and for almost a thousand years we have fought. A Grox interceptor patrol severely damaged one of our shuttles carrying commandos, and the shuttle crashed on your planet. Three men of ten survived, and one was in critical condition. He was taken without our knowledge or permission to a secret medical facility where he may have just been healed, or experimented on, or studied... anything. We didn't know, so we sprung him. In the meantime, the two well soldiers were guests of you humans' nation called the USA. However, a trick by another power called the Soviet Union enticed one of your global organizations to help them kidnap those two men. By then, about 300,000 of our men had landed on this planet and a wing of helicopters was dispatched to recover them. They succeeded, but soon after, the same Soviet Union that attempted that kidnapping attacked one of our bases and kidnapped two soldiers. Now you see the reasons for our military presence here. Unfortunately, we are also now officially at war with the Soviet Union. I hope that the conflict will be resloved shortly. Thank you for your time, humans, and good-day."
Time flew after the Eteno solidly established their presence. Never in all of human history was the world so shaken by an event. While people celebrated and rioted across the Earth, politicians and power-holders in all of the nations of the planet met and feverishly discussed the great issue in front of them. over the course of two or three days, official talks began between NATO, the French Republic, and the Eteno Imperial Triumvirate with Cornelis De Jager representing NATO, the captured Francois Mitterand representing France, and High General Marc Unsverter representing the EIT. The meetings produced nothing, and much of central France was still in Eteno hands. However, the Kuril Islands were seized from the Soviet Union by Imperial Marines in an amphibious assault. It was more or less bloodless, because of the great airshow put on by the Marine Airborne and the Imperial Air Force. Thousands of small radar drones flew far above the clouds above Soviet airspace. The drones tricked the Soviets into thinking a massive air force was on its way to annihilate them. So, most of the Soviets surrendered when the Eteno showed up at the superpower's Pacific island holdings. The Kuril Islands were selected by an assembly of Commanders and Colonels to be the staging ground of the invasion of North Korea. Quickly after the predicted successful invasion, Eteno command planned to launch an invasion into Eastern Russia through Vladivostok.
A sleepy village lay on the coast of North Korea, a thick fog coating the distant hills and the water beyond the shoddily-built wharf. Fishermen from the collection of wooden huts on a hill walked down to their small boats. A few of them heard a faint humming. They informed the other fishers, and all strained to listen. There was indeed a humming noise, which was continually getting louder and louder. From the wall of fog came dozens upon dozens of huge hovercraft, spewing water into the fog behind them. It seemed the stream of water vehicles coming from the wall of vapor never ended. The first wave of hovercraft stopped when the water level was about half a foot and dropped their metal doors with a loud thud, and hundreds of Eteno charged out into the water. The hovercrafts promptly moved off, allowing the next wave to unload their troops. By then, the fishermen were running off in terror as the aliens charged towards the town. A few North Korean soldiers were in the town patrolling at the time, and ran towards the noise and commotion. About five of them dashed to the edge of a hill, and gaped at the thousands of aliens. They collected themselves and fired down on the Eteno blindly. The low-quality human bullets fired from the primitive human guns just bounced off of the advanced alien armor, in which a sum of money equivalent to the GDP of several African countries was invested. Before the marines at the front shot the humans dead, an officer yelled not to kill them, and instead had a more-heavily armed soldier stun them with a low-power laser. The five North Koreans were swept up by the advancing troops, who quickly took the town ahead of them and brought in reinforcements.
"General Unsverter, I bring disturbing news." A young PFC said as he walked into the general's office.
"What is it, boy?"
"It's the Grox. Intelligence reports indicate that they've acquired information on this planet from a captured supply convoy. They plan to catch us off-guard here. If they can get here fast enough, the Third Fleet can-"
"We don't need reinforcements to send off these wretched beasts. What we need to do is draw them in, make it look like we're unprepared."
"Yes, sir. We've also found that they intend to raid another shipping convoy headed to a colony nine systems away."
"How vital is that convoy to the war effort?"
"Not at all, almost. It's just carrying basic consumer electronics."
"Alert command and tell them that the convoy must be allowed to be raided at all costs. If we stop them there, they'll know that we have this information, and a fantastic opportunity to squash a Grox army will be removed. This information must not be compromised."
"As you wish, sir. I'll make proper arrangements."
"Good. I'll gather more information and devise a battleplan. I suppose I'll also tell the humans about this, we can't have their forces in disarray impeding ours."
The PFC left the room, leaving Unsverter to carry out his course of action. Thinking it would be good to get it out of the way, he picked up a primitive human phone given to him solely for the purpose of calling world leaders, and dialed the priority line to the White House. The phone rang once before the US president picked up.
"Hello, Mr. Unsverter, how are you today?"
"I'm very fine, thank you for asking. I apologize for bothering you at this time of day, considering the tense negotiations taking place between everyone, everywhere."
"It's no problem. What may I help you with today?"
"I've received word that a Grox force is going to be attacking this planet, with no intention of keeping any of us alive. I implore you not to tell the public, but I would advise you to alert your military and other friendly world leaders."
"Of course, I will do so as soon as I can!"
"Good. One more thing, Mister Reagan."
"If other world leaders say we look like we don't see this coming as a whole, tell them that it's because we do."
"Thank you ver much, Mister Reagan. I must go now. Joy for your day."
"Good day to you, as well."
Unsverter hung up, and turned his attention to other things.
The clunky, dark, blue Soviet car steamed along the long stretch of road, that seemed to go on for an eternity. The long road trip of the several Eteno soldiers was filled with endless boredom while traversing hundreds of miles of road, stealth during the night, and clever thieving when their stomachs were empty. Fortunately, the team had passed Kursk the day before, and had made it as far as Chekhov before the vehicle simply broke down. Sasha, Yohannes, Woln, and Kolber were all equally frustrated by the disastrous human engineering. If they had all reflected on that afterwards, however, the four probably wouldn't have looked on the car so harshly considering the fact that they had essentially run it into oblivion by driving for days on end, with hardly a quick engine checkup. Regardless, the blue vehicle had the courtesy to buy the farm in the parking lot of an old textile factory, which the team of four decided would be a good place to find useful materials for their mission in Moscow. Woln and Kolber carefully removed any useful parts from the car along with the gas converter while Sasha guarded, and Yohannes plundered the textile factory. Overall, much good came from this. Yohannes found another car, and with the help of Woln and Sasha, upgraded it with the spare parts and gas converter. Sasha had also come back with many large pieces of clothing that would serve well to disguise the four when walking the streets of Moscow. After securing their loot and new vehicle and plundering a grocer at night, they set off again down the M2, hopefully for the last time.
Time flies during tense events. Politics in France had cooled down, with the Eteno handing over the territory they conquered back to the French. General Unsverter decided to move all ships in orbit around Earth, to Mars, in hopes of drawing the Grox in with an even greater sense of security. The US set aside land for the Eteno in preparation for the Grox attack, giving them full access to all military installations across the East Cost. Hampton Roads was made GHQ North America. In Korea, Eteno marines made incredible progress in a very short time. After a week, nothing remained in the hands of the North Korean dictator. Pyongyang was made GHQ Asia. In other parts of the world, the Eteno also made good progress. Italy and Switzerland granted small parts of the Alps to the Eteno to use as a secret missile installation, which also served as GHQ Europe. Canada ceded Baffin Island, Egypt was forced to cede Cairo, which was made GHQ Africa, and Australia shockingly ceded everything from Devonport to Tomahawk in Tasmania, with Devonport becoming GHQ Pacific. To top that all off, the Eteno improved their relations with many countries, and held trade talks with some of those countries. Imperial High Command predicted that the Grox would try to capture as many humans as possible and turn them into slave laborers, good for a few months until they just worked them into total extinction. However, the stark differences between the population densities of many areas also suggested that the Grox wouldn't want to waste time or soldiers taking over those regions. High Command could only suggest that they would use nuclear weaponry to cleanse less-populated areas. The areas they would attack for sure with ground troops would include China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Indochina, and India in Asia, Britain in Europe, the Nile Delta in Africa, Colombia and Brazil in South America, and the US East Coast in North America. Thus, Unsverter's men set up in those locations. Troops stationed in these areas did their best to covertly prepare for what was to come...
"This is an Emergency Action Notification. This station has interrupted its regular programming at the request of the White House to participate in the Emergency Alert System. During this emergency, most stations will remain on the air providing news and information to the public in assigned areas. This is KOMO-TV. We will be discontinuing programming. You should now tune to stations providing news and information for your local area. This station will be discontinuing programming. Do not use your telephone. The telephone lines should be kept open for emergency use."
"The following message is transmitted at the request of the United States Government. An invasion of this country has been launched by an alien army known only as the Grox. At 4:30 AM Eastern-Standard Time, at least twenty high-yield nuclear warheads impacted several locations around the US, and a further two-hundred and nine have impacted on other parts of the globe. You are advised to move into a fallout shelter, basement, or storm shelter immediately, taking only essential items. Please remain calm, and remain in a shelter until the alert has been lifted. You are advised to take with you food and other essential supplies good for five weeks."
"This is an Emergency Action Notification. This station has interrupted its regular programming at the request of the White House..."
"So they used the nuclear option... what a surprise."
"With all due respect, it's not like anyone expected it to turn out in any other way."
"Well, command expected it to turn out in another way and that's all that matters, because command is god." Unsverter replied, sarcastically.
"Sir, we did cover most of our bases barring that. None of our troops stationed anywhere were in any position to be hit by a nuke. That's a plus. Europe, Russia, Spain, most of the US, and mainland Australia is wasteland, just as we predicted. That's... sort of a plus, and the Grox are starting to attack the areas that we've been building up at. This all adds-"
"I know, Colonel. What I'm worried about is not anything that you have listed, but the fact that command is gonna be on our asses because we didn't save enough of the indigenous population, despite the fact we're in no position to fight their fleet."
"Be that as it may, the-"
Colonel Xavier was cut off as air raid sirens began to blare.
"How the hell could they get to Hampton Roads this fast?"
"They came from the West, Colonel. They bask in that radiation."
9:13 PM, Osaka, Japan...
"Sergeant Arkadiy! This is Lieutenant Dnepr with convoy eight! We've got a full load and we'll be heading by your position at any moment now!"
"Negative, negative! Grox troops are coming in from the bay, they took out our disappearing guns! You'll have to take the long way across the river!"
"Convoy eight, can you read me, over? C-eight, can you read me, over?"
The only reply from the radio was static and heavily jarbled speech and gunfire. He switched channels and attempted to contact another group of soldiers a couple of streets over, wanting to ask if they had been engaged yet.
"Polyar Two, can you read? Polyar Two?"
"Polyar Two here, we've been pushed back to Minamitsumori school! We're gonna hold here and wait for armor and air support, I suggest you pull back to the same street!"
"Negative, the flank will collapse on the civvie convoy. We're staying here. When you get your support, make a push to our grid point!"
"*gunfire* Roger that! We'll break the advance and move up to your location, Polyar Two out!"
Isidor put the radio back into its' holder, dangling from his belt. He turned to his squad, which was fortifying a small street next to a hospital. It was seven of his men and two tanks disconnected from their armor group preparing to hold back a bloodthirsty Grox assault force. He could only hope that Polyar Two would be able to make a push and help them fend off the attack that was undoubtedly coming. If Sanmotodaisan Hospital fell, the Grox would be able to maneouver past Polyar Nine's barricade near the underpass. That barricade was essential in keeping the Grox from hitting the evacuation convoy route. Isidor walked away from the hastily erected barricade manned by his soldiers and two tanks, and towards a lone Aphbrec working on a small computer sitting on the hood of a car.
"Corporal, have we any news from other fronts?"
The monstrously tall creature stood and turned to face (read: look down at) Sergeant Arkadiy.
"Yes sir, but just a little bit. Our positions in the Southern part of the city are holding, and we have not yet seen any trouble from the East. Unfortunately, a few Brigades of Eteno and American troops were overrun at Yokosuka. Chigasaki survived an assault at the same time and just got armored reinforcements from Hadano, so the routed troops are heading to Yokohama to set up another defense. Hopefully, they can hold out long enough for the Tokyo evacuations to be completed."
"If Marana is in a good mood today, they will."
"If she is, then we'll also be able to hold this hospital."
"Then let's hope she's having the time of her life right now."
"Amen. Ok, so the-... wait... do you hear that? Vehicles. Take cover!" Arkadiy commanded.
Isidor and the Aphbrec ran to the barricade blocking off the street along with the other members of Isidor's squad, and sat against it, peeking over.
As Arkadiy and his men predicted, the Grox began attacking their street. The first attackers to come around the street corner were a handful of Grox infantry with laser rifles alongside three anti-infantry tanks. Grox anti-infantry tanks were like square coffins when facing down an Eteno MBT. The HE shell fired from the main cannon could barely hurt a T-1 tank, much less an armored beast like the Conqueror. The only practical weapons on the Grox vehicle were the twin machine guns. They let loose an impressive volley of bullets, but they were ineffective against other vehicles. One of the Mammoths aimed its' two barrels at the three tanks coming around the corner. The faster Grox vehicles all fired their main guns at the mighty Eteno tank.
"Poor, poor novice tankers. Chipov One, light 'em up!" Isidor said over the team radio, into the microphone coming out of his helmet, chuckling.
"Roger that. Fire one." The tank commander said.
"On the way!" The gunner yelled.
Isidor could only imagine the last words of the Grox tankers. He reasoned that they would be along the lines of:
That was all they would have time to say, as two gargantuan energy rounds came rocketing out of the Conqueror's twin barrels, and into the Grox tanks. They burst into a towering pillar of fire, bright red and deep blue flames twirling around like a tornado. The explosion killed most of the Grox infantry moving alongside the tanks, as well. After the brutal destruction of the first wave, the Grox made the somewhat-better tactical decision of sending in an all-infantry force. They stayed away from the street, attempting to flank Arkadiy's unit by going around the buildings on both sides of the Eteno. Fortunately, the Aphbrec Corporal noticed this, and alerted Arkadiy.
"Sergeant, they're going around!"
"I figured. Karamazov, flush them out!" Isidor yelled and pointed at a flametrooper sitting against the barricade.
"Yes sir. They will make nice barbeque meat!" It yelled.
The lumbering giant stood, and jumped over the barricade. He smelled of cooked flesh. The flametrooper laughed loudly and maniacally before spraying fire all over the buildings and grounds to the left of the barricade. Arkadiy had made it clear when they arrived not to put the hospital in danger, as there were probably some civilians holed up there. Orange flames quickly consumed the entire left flank, and the number of screaming Grox soldiers steadily went up every second.
"Left flank is probably secure, Sergeant. Little baby meat packets will bother us no more."
"Good job as always, I'm terrified and pleased. Altman, Serevyitch, make a sweep of the left flank the moment the flames let up. Thild, Karl, Friebbe, take the right flank. I'll check out the hospital and see if I can get any civvies out and to the rear before the next wave. Chipov Two, see if you can get behind the Grox attacking Pirov Two's position and aid them, we might be able to move up and combine our forces. Move out!" Isidor yelled over the team radio.
His speech was followed shortly by a chorus of yes sirs. Arkadiy's soldiers split up and went to the left and right of the barricade, one of the Conqueror tanks carefully went around the barricade, crushing several cars, and Arkadiy walked into the hospital. He aimed the flashlight on his rifle ahead of him, and searched the first floor.
"If only the damn lights were on..." He muttered to himself angrily.
Unfortunately for Arkadiy, none of the lights were on in Osaka. However, he got an idea. He stomped on the floor loudly multiple times, and yelled out random words in Luuschtuntski. The civilians inside, if there were any, wouldn't understand him, but it might prompt them to start whipsering among themselves. His universal translator would be able to pick it up. It was designed for that.
They did start whispering. It was incredible faint, and upstairs, but the translator still picked it up. It hummed for a few seconds, and a small light came to life on the side of the rectangular device, signifying that it had registered another language. It would then attempt to connect with any other universal translators, and copy the information. Of course, only a few squads of soldiers were in range, and they all had reported in no civvies ten minutes prior. Arkadiy held the translator, and pressed several buttons. It made a small beep, and he began to talk.
"Japanese civilians! I am Sergeant Isidor Arkadiy! You have nothing to fear from me! There has been a lull in the fighting and we need you to exit this building, and head to an evacuation point! If you meet me outside the front doors of this hospital, I can get you moving!" The translator blared, masking Isidor's speech.
Footsteps. A man came downstairs to Arkadiy's left holding a fire axe and a flashlight. He pointed the flashlight at the Eteno, and the Eteno pointed his flashlight back. Isidor waved, and beckoned for him to follow. The man said a few things in Japanese, and a group of civilians followed him down the stairs and outside the building. With no prior warning, Isidor's radio came to life.
"HEE-YAH! This is Polyar Two here, the 2nd Armored linked up with us and we made our way back to the intersection! If that ain't enough, air support is on its' way!"
Isidor pulled the radio out of its' holder.
"Great news. I'll see if we've made any progress with our own advances. If the 2nd has any trucks, we're gonna need them. I found some civilians. Out."
"Roger that. Out."
Arkadiy turned to the assembled civilians. The same man from before spoke.
The Eteno Sergeant put away his radio, and pulled out his translator.
"We will be taking you in trucks away from the city. Remain calm, and wait here."
Several in the group nodded. Arkadiy turned to the Aphbrec still sitting at the barricade.
"Has anything happened with my boys yet?"
"Yessir. Nobody was killed, and everyone including Chipov Two moved to the intersection to our East. Polyar Two pushed forward."
As they finished speaking, two large trucks came around the corner, in front of the barricade. The driver of one of them stepped out of his truck as they came to a stop in front of the hastily erected barrier.
"Heard you needed truckers. Those civvies are our cargo?" He pointed to the group of humans.
"Yeah. I'll help you load them up. Sergeant, get this barricade out of the way and then meet up with Polyar Two."
"Yes, Sergeant. I'm transferring command of the unit to you for the time being, I'm going with these civvies to help escort them to the evac zone."
Isidor gestured for the civilian humans to follow him, and they walked to the trucks. He lined them up, and they began loading up into the two vehicles. However, one of them, a civilian no older than ten, was holding a small animal. Against evacuation policy. Arkadiy broke out his translator.
"Excuse me, but you're going to have to let that animal go." He said, trying to be as comforting as possible.
The same man who spoke up twice before talked again.
"Please, it's bad enough that you are taking us in these trucks to a location we do not know of, at least let this child bring her cat."
Arkadiy furrowed his brows.
"Fine, load up."
The man smiled and the civilians finished loading into the trucks. Arkadiy got in last.
"Roll!" He yelled to the driver.
The truck lurched forward, and started towards the evacuation zone to the East. Still holding his translator, Isidor decided that he would try to comfort the civilians riding in the truck with him. He could relate to sitting in fear inside an evac truck. Isidor lost both his brothers that day.
"Where do you all come from in this city?" He asked.
The humans sat apprehensively until one of them, A young woman, spoke.
"We are all from Tennoji. When the raid sirens turned on, and we heard instructions. They said that everybody from our area and a few others must gather at the Hanshin Expressway for evacuation. We started heading there in cars and bicycles, but when we reached the first checkpoint, we were told we couldn't bring any vehicles, as they would clog up the roads. From there, we went on foot, but a collapsed building blocked the path to the evacuation point. That's when the blackout kicked in, and we got lost. We found the hospital and tried to wait out the attack there. Then your men came by."
"I see. Well, I was brought in by helicopter right after the blackout so I don't know what the city looks like from above, just a few city streets filled with rubble. What is it like to live here?"
"It is a very nice place. I do not know what it is like where you live, but in Osaka, things are... normal."
"Well, I know a bit about your species and some of its' culture, and it seems similar to ours. We all hold jobs, we all have families, we all go to school when we're young... we aren't that different, you know. All I see between us is technology, military strength, and height."
Several of the humans forced a laugh. Another human spoke up, a boy that would fit in perfectly in an Advances computer club.
"So... you are aliens?"
"To us, you're the aliens. It's just that we've encountered foreign species exponentially more than you."
"But, if you've encountered so many intelligent creatures, why are you going out of your way to help us?"
"Do you want the political reason, the military reason, or the common sense?"
"Eh, well... all of them, please."
"Well, the political reason is that we have to be noble, and help out those in need. The military reason is that if we save you, the creatures attacking this planet waste their resources. The common sense reason is that we've been in your place, and it's just what you do."
"So you were once attacked, and an alien group came to save you?"
"Not really. What I meant was that we were once absorbed in our own hubris. We thought we were invincible, the masters of our domain. The difference between us and so many extinct empires is that we learned from our terrible mistakes. We rallied, and to this day we fight a war that will not end until one of us is extinct."
"Amazing... when this is all over, will some humans be able to leave Earth?" The boy said excitedly.
"Of course. It's the reason the conquered races love us. Your world has resources we could use, and many corporations exist only to exchange resource extraction rights for passage off-world."
"And then they sell the rights to a resource company, or something?"
"Exactly. If you went into that line of work as a pilot, you could see some of the most majestic worlds in the empire."
"E-empire? You're an empire?"
"It takes an empire to fight the Grox. Yes."
"So these are the Grox, the ones attacking Earth with their soldiers and nuclear weapons?"
"Yeah. They have experience extracting resources and laborers in short time to feed their war machine, and we have experience in stopping it. Every man in the empire at one point joins this fight."
"Got it. From eighteen to twenty-two, a man fights for his nation, regardless of his species or background. Divided by genetics, united by flag. That's the credo." Arkadiy looked as though he was becoming lost in the memory of an idealistic youth.
"What is it like, being drafted?"
"It's the most exciting thing in the galaxy. Marrying your lady love or seeing a child say their first words could never amount to the blind, idealistic jubilance that exudes from draftees. The happiest noobs normally get the lowest jobs. My friend was one of them. He was so hell-bent on joining the fight as soon as possible, he passed up every opportunity for military schooling. After a few weeks in training, he was stuck loading missiles and changing the batteries of fighter craft for the pilots."
"But he could've been a pilot?"
"Of course! He always loved flight films, and he drooled at the propaganda posters of 101-craft flights of Defenders. But he was too eager. He was stuck replacing missiles and batteries while watching in envy the cool, tough pilots. 'Course he left after his four years. Not like me, fifteen years Marana bless!" Arkadiy pumped his fist into the air, but retracted it the moment he realized how stupid he looked.
"Where are you from, in your empire?"
"A metal-rich world called Kaprov. Why?"
"Please, take me to Kaprov. Take me to your empire. I want to see it, please." The boy pleaded.
"Now that depends on how long I'm here, and what refugee camp they're sending you to."
"Can you try?"
"Sure, sure. I like you. You're a curious one."
"Don't they have men trained to do just this, Cap?" Lieutenant Kosov grumbled as he pasted the poster to the side of the small shop.
The poster read: "Who's absent? Is it you?" A man with a white beard and a hat with a blue stripe adorned with stars stood in front of a line of soldiers, pointing to the person reading the poster. This, and other posters, were meant to attract human men who hadn't yet joined the Human Anti-Grox Force. Kosov figured that the Eteno force on Earth was enough to repel the Grox, but every unit needed cannon fodder, or gun munchies, as they were called by the pilots.
Not that all the humans were bad or useless fighters. The Soviet, Japanese, and American navies in the Pacific did the best they could when fighting against the technologically superior Grox seaships and landers. In fact, two USN carrier battlegroups working together stopped the invasion of Shikoku dead in its' tracks. In the air, the humans also had a bit of success. The RAF and IAF together achieved air dominance over Cornwall and Edinburgh, last Kosov heard. USAF jets over New York took heavy losses in the last few dogfights, but miraculously managed to protect a flight of HV-17s carrying soldiers and extra weapons for any human recruits they came across. Unfortunately, the USAF lost a lot of planes on the ground during the initial stages of the Grox invasion, and found that they had a whole bunch of extra pilots. With the capacity to build extra Defenders with nanobots using rubble and destroyed Grox vehicles/equipment, the head IAF officer on Earth deemed it prudent to give the grounded USAF pilots a chance.
"We're heading back to the base. We got a tip from the army saying that the Grox are sending in bombers and fighters to take out the Hampton Roads barricades. We're going up there to help 'em out. Look, ride's here."
Captain Dvot pointed at an APC driving towards them. It hit a lamp post as it stopped next to the handful of pilots. The rear door was opened by one of the passengers. Kosov, Dvot, and the other five pilots putting up fliers walked around to the back of the vehicle, and got in. It pulled away from the sidewalk, and thundered down the street.
The APC came to a stop when it reached a checkpoint on the freeway. Two human soldiers and five Eteno sat underneath camoflauge netting on the Northbound side of the frewway. One of them, an Imperial Army Corporal, stood and walked over towards the APC idling before the road closed signs. The APC's driver waved at the Corporal, who waved back. The soldier pulled the signs out of the way, gesturing the APC through. Along the sides of the freeway were parked jets and helicopters, as well as wrecked vehicles and aircraft pushed off of the converted freeway. A USAF A-10 Warthog taxied off of the Northbound side, pulling into a large parking lot. The APC pulled into the same parking lot alongside two civilian fire trucks. Everyone got out of the APC, and the pilots lined up beside it. Captain Dvot stood in front of them.
"Ok, pilots, I'm pretty sure you know what to do. Keep clear of those delicate human planes, and get in the air as soon as you can. Chekhov, Dolph, your Defenders are still in the bombed market, so be careful rolling them out. Get a human to help you. I'll see you in the air in five."
"Yes sir!" They exclaimed unanimously.
Two of the pilots ran towards a devastated grocery store, its' wall and a part of its' roof missing. The inside had been gutted so Defenders could be moved inside for cover. Kosov and the rest of the pilots ran towards an assembly of fighters parked wingtip-to-wingtip, resting above the ground on wheeled supports. Dmitry Kosov went to his fighter, and quickly inspected it.
"Missiles, check. Batteries, check. Covers off, check. Engine blocker removed, check."
Satisfied with his inspection, Kosov climbed on the wing, and quickly climbed up towards the cockpit. He pulled open the canopy, and jumped inside. He put on his helmet and oxygen mask, and performed a radio check before activatng his fighter.