More writing practice: in response to a new writing prompt.

by w3woody

Writing prompt: “When alien ships were seen heading towards earth many flee to escape. Many years later they return to liberate earth only to dsicover the aliens weren’t hostile”

It’s been nearly a hundred years since The Fall of Earth. We even reckon our calendars now by the Great Exodus, the year when They were spotted above our planet and the year we left for Kepler-452b, some 1400 light years from Earth.

It was fortunate that we had just discovered the principles of hyperspace travel a decade before, otherwise all would have been lost. As it was, the invasion happened so quickly that only the asteroid miners as well as the workers on the Mars orbital platform and the mining way stations on Ceres, Ganymede and Europa were able to escape with the hyperspace researchers on Callisto. Less than 10,000 humans survived The Fall, and with only a third being female, barely enough to maintain the genetic variety necessary to allow us to create a new civilization.

A hundred years of surviving the harsh environment of our new home made us tougher, but stronger, and after building a stable civilization in orbit around that harsh planet, we felt we were strong enough to send an expedition back to Earth to find out what had happened.

“Day 112, 103 GE,” Captain Huxley spoke into his comm mike, the computer transcribing his words into a computerized log designed to survive everything but the core of a star. “We have reached the jump point and are about to make the jump back to Earth.”

A hundred ships of various sizes made up the fleet; the largest, a battle cruiser named The Lafayette and containing perhaps a thousand men, was at the center. Most of the ships were just large enough for a hyperspace drive, a few guns, and a computer core; unmanned drones capable of interstellar flight. Their job was to meet the threat before the threat reached the battle cruiser. Aboard the battle cruiser were smaller drones, too small for more than a reactionless drive, a few lasers and a computer core. A few, however, were manned, because sometimes computers just can’t deal with the weirdness of battle, and sometimes decisions needed to be made locally due to the lag of light-speed communications.

“Jump!” Huxley spoke into his mike and to his bridge crew. In front of him, the screen turned a strange shade of magenta…

High above Saturn, a hundred specks of light flashed, turning into a hundred space ships of various sizes. Instantly two of the smaller ships flared up and started moving forward of the rest of the fleet, in an accelerated fall towards the sun. They focused a communications laser back to the battle cruiser in the center, sending their automated findings back to the crew who poured over the results. While it would take nearly six months for the main fleet to fall towards the third planet of this solar system, the two smaller probes would make the trip in a matter of a week, giving the crew time to assess the tactical situation.

Almost immediately the probes started receiving results; leaked radio communications between various worlds and moons, which the signal analysts aboard The Lafayette. They plotted the results on a large computerized map on the bridge.

“We show communications between the Earth and orbital stations around Venus, Mars, all four Galilean moons, and Titan.”

Huxley looked worried. “Do you think we’ve been detected?”

“We haven’t seen any movement around Saturn to suggest anyone is moving in to meet us, so I suspect not.”

“Very well. Continue monitoring and let me know if the tactical situation has changed.”

“Day 149, 103 GE. We have spent our time analyzing the signals from Earth and the inner planets. The encryption used on the signals is making it harder for us to understand the tactical situation, but from what we can tell, the Others have apparently entrenched themselves and expanded throughout the solar system. We also believe humans must be completely subjugated, as Earth remains a major communications hub with all of the other settlements.”

The two smaller forward scouts had been in orbit around the Earth for nearly two months. If it weren’t for the fact that their masters had been absent several generations, they would have immediately recognized something strange–or rather, a lack of strangeness: everything seemed perfectly normal.

It had taken several months for those aboard The Lafayette to realize the so-called “encryption” being used on all communications channels was simply a new form of data compression which made transmitting video even more compact. But once they figured this out they were finally able to decrypt the signals–and noticed, well, that everything seemed quite normal. Television broadcasts of entertainment shows, runway models showing off the latest fashions, movies transmitted to theaters around the solar system. A few showed strange tall slender aliens in them, but in all of those movies they were shown as kind and benevolent, though a little–well, “stoned” seemed the best word for it.

It all seemed quite insidious to Captain Huxley, a way to help subjugate a population of nine billion humans by making everything seem normal.

Day 205 of the sunward fall seemed quite like any other day; the black ships of the Kepler fleet practicing war games while trying hard to remain undetected. But during the war game practices (mostly involving coordinated maneuvers to protect the Lafayette from any conceivable situation), a new ship popped into existence just a few hundred kilometers behind the Lafayette.

Support ships scrambled in confusion.

The new ship, garishly painted in bright florescent colors, made no attempt at hiding itself; instead, started radiating radio transmissions on a variety of frequencies.

The analysts, realizing it was an attempt to talk, finally decoded the signals and figured out what they may need to broadcast in order to respond.

“Captain Huxley, what should we do?”

Huxley, covered in sweat from working out at the gym, emerged onto the bridge. “They know we’re here. Let’s talk to them and see if we can’t understand the tactical situation better.” Despite his training was quite nervous. “Can we arrange a camera up here on the bridge so we can talk face to face?”

An hour later, a camera plugged into the network (but pointed slightly upwards to make the captain look larger than life) began broadcasting Huxley to the alien ship.

“This is Captain Huxley of the Lafayette. Identify yourself.”

The video screen popped to life, showing a human being aboard the other ship’s bridge. He suddenly smiled expansively.

“Duuuuude! Hey, how are you?”

They arranged a meeting aboard the Lafayette. A small troop transport aboard the Lafayette was converted into a shuttle of sorts; benches were installed so people could sit down. It took a day to jerry rig a pressure seal to fit the other Earth ship so it could take on passengers, and it departed, picked up a handful of representatives, and returned to the bay in the Lafayette.

At an improvised meeting room in someone’s crew quarters, the representatives of the Kepler fleet sat at one end. In through the door stepped the representatives of Earth: two humans, and a tall spindly alien.

Immediately two of the officers of the Kepler fleet shoved their chairs back and drew guns. The alien flinched, holding his hands in front of his face. One of the humans at the other end waved his arms, and started yelling. “Woah, dudes, chillax! He’s our friend. Stop it!”

Another of the Kepler crew stepped up, and gently placed their hands on the gun arms of the two officers. The guns were lowered.

Captain Huxley stood up. “Who are you and what are you doing here?”

“Look, dudes. A hundred years ago these dudes from, oh, hell; what did you call it?” he turned to the alien, who shrugged, “Well, they call themselves the Huan, the Huon, the …”

The other human piped up “the Huonan?”

“Yeah, the Huonan, yeah, dude, that’s it!” Beaming smile. Captain Huxley shifted, uncertain.

“Yeah, dudes, they came by and scared the living shit out of us. But dude, all they wanted was to trade for our chronic.”

Captain Huxley asked, “Your what?”

“You know, our chronic. Our weed, Mary Jane?”

The other human piped up, helpfully. “Marijuana.”

Captain Huxley repeated, more incredulously this time. “Your what?!”

“Our weed. They think it’s the best chronic in the galaxy, and dude, for about a hundred years we’ve been making serious bank!”

“Yeah,” the other human piped up. “How do you think we paid for our bitchin’ ride out back? Dude, we’ve been following you now for nearly three months, and we thought you were just part of the Kethral fleet, because those dudes know how to trick out a black ride, but when you kept hanging out, we thought we’d drop by.”

The first human spoke up again. “So, we got about a ton of Mary Jane in back. How much do you guys want to buy?”