Space Date: Part 9

The drone flew away, dodging the Xiniti ships by moving into the routes reserved for traffic coming out of the gate.

Even though most ships slowed down before using a gate, they didn’t have to, and could come out at theoretically any speed, so cutting across lanes wasn’t smart.

At the same time, the drone was freakishly fast, accelerating away from our ship in a blur.

The Xiniti were just as fast, however, and their ships changed direction instantaneously, making ninety degree turns.

I’d have tried to follow the fight, and possibly help the Xiniti out, but the alien spaceship drives in the League jet weren’t as advanced as theirs. We had another problem to deal with.

“Exiting from our approach to the gate,” I said into the comm unit. “Relaltive to Earth’s orbit, we’re going up.”

Hopefully the Xiniti’s translation programs would interpret it clearly.

I fired off the directional jets, pointing us upward, and then activated the main drive, aiming so that we’d fly above the gate.

It didn’t take much power to fly above it. We hadn’t had much momentum when I decided to change course. Within seconds we flew above the top cylinder of the gate’s three.

Not taking her eyes off the screen that showed our position, Haley said, “They’re all behind us. Turn around!”

While I turned the ship, she reactivated the shields.

Outside, the space around us turned completely black except that the cockpit windows and even the ceiling above us glowed, showing the space around us as well as it had before.

When we came around, it wasn’t easy to see the drone or the Xiniti ships. Not directly at any rate.

They all had their shields up, and while they weren’t trying to be stealthy, only weapons discharge gave away their positions. Beams of bright light seemingly appeared out of nowhere, and then disappeared.

The Xiniti ships fired as a group, hitting the drone, then scattering almost randomly, and firing again, nearly simultaneously.

The drone fired back. In fact, it never stopped firing. It had no choice in the matter. Good shields absorbed almost all the energy thrown at them. If a ship absorbed more than it could use or bleed off somehow, the best case scenario involved burning out its shields and any systems closely associated with them. Worst case scenarios depended on the ship, but could include explosions.

It hit a few Xiniti ships, but not in a way that made any of them explode. Meanwhile the Xiniti kept on firing at it, scattering as it fired back, and reforming into groups that almost all had clear shots.

The drone didn’t last long.

When the Xiniti reformed their lines the next time, and fired, the drone’s shield fell, allowing the hull to be hit by lasers, particle accelerators, and who knew what else.

It exploded, fragments shooting off in all directions.

While I doubted it had intended anything good for us, I wasn’t sure it deserved what it got.

“It’s just gone,” Haley said.

“Yeah.”

I’d barely adjusted to the idea that the drone had been destroyed when the comm started beeping. We were getting two calls. The screen showed the first as SoCal Defenders Podjet. Raptor had said he’d meet us near the gate. He could have been faster.

It labeled the second Gate Command and Control.

Haley said, “Raptor can wait.” She clicked on the button for Command and Control.

The screen showed a room full of Xiniti busily checking screens, their hands manipulating ghostly controls that floated in the foggy air. Grandpa had told me the Xiniti preferred a more humid atmosphere than we did.

The Xiniti themselves looked just like I’d always heard—grayish skin, big black eyes, big heads, and child sized bodies. They looked like “the Grays” in UFO literature except for one thing.

Their mouths were wide, and they had too many teeth, multiple rows on each jaw.

Like sharks.

9 thoughts on “Space Date: Part 9”

  1. I wouldn’t call them “Grays of UFO literature” — in a setting of real aliens, where people know what aliens look like, I don’t think UFO literature would catch on.

    I would call them “the Grays of pre-Contact UFO literature, when factions in the government were trying to cover the Xiniti up”.

  2. Or maybe the covering up of the Xinity was itself a coverup? Maybe the Xiniti were already there on earth, having infiltrated the government. They then manufactured a coverup of UFO sightings and alien abductions so people would stop trusting their government relative its position to aliens. THEN, they show up in a way that can never be covered up just so they can bring earth all these great things from knowing the Xinity, and making the governments that covered things up look like evil, sinister organizations…

    Yes..or maybe that’s just what they WANT me to think…*X-files music plays*

  3. Emote Control/Psycho Gecko: Here’s a problem with telling a story from Nick’s perspective. Nick and his friends grew up with having more knowledge about what’s going on available to them than most people.

    For normal people, the only time aliens were in actual trustworthy news sources was briefly during the early 1970’s. Both since and before then, aliens have avoided coming to Earth (in keeping with their policy of not passing any knowledge or technology along). Thus, the name of the Xiniti is known, but pictures are few and far between (and usually taken in the middle of combat situations/poor lighting). The gate and spaceships are known to exist, but are only seen through telescopes.

    As Earth sits in the middle of an area of space primarily populated by beings with human DNA (we’ll get into the details of that sometime), the average problem with aliens has been a problem with things that are basically human, and thus not recognizably alien.

    Thus, there’s plenty of room for paranoid speculation about whether aliens really exist, whether the government’s hiding them, or whatever.

    It takes a different tone though in that normal people accept that aliens exist, and that they don’t know much about them. Conspiracy theorists deny they exist or claim to know massive amounts about them based on secret information, or wacky interpretation of commonly known information.

  4. Yeah, little details like that are tricky because you have to a) keep it relatable for real world readers and b) keep it believable for the story world’s characters.

    Like sometimes I wonder why anyone in this story would read a comic book from DC or Marvel when there’s actual superheroes — but then, the Fantastic Four had a comic within their comic to share their adventures with the world.

    People just like awesome stories.

  5. I tend to justify the existence of comics in this story as follows:

    Superheroes tend to appear out of nowhere, make something major happen, and disappear. No one gets the story behind it except in dribs and drabs through the papers, and sometimes also through the hero’s publicity people.

    Thus, much of the stuff seems really mysterious, and sometimes cool and inspiring.

    That being said, the idea that people like stories works too. Certain sorts of professions lend themselves to conflict (and conflict lends itself to stories)–cops, lawyers, spies, soldiers, private detectives, bounty hunters, etc… Superheroes would too if they really existed. I’d bet the tone would be different though. I’m not sure if people would want more escapism/realism or less if supers were real.

    I suppose it might vary with the times, much as it does with cop shows.

  6. @Jim: Thanks for clearing up the aliens question.

    As for superhero fiction, I absolutely think there would be superhero fiction in the LON universe. In our universe there are real cops, real spies, real soldiers– and we have fiction involving cops, and spies, and soldiers. I don’t see why the existence of real superheroes would prevent there being fiction about superheroes.

    However, Nick should think, at some point, that the superheroes in fiction are completely unrealistic — just as a lawyer I once know told me that lawyers in fiction are totally unrealistic.

  7. Practical ethics 101 – With no real knowledge of YAM’s intentions, let’s all assume the bald guys poised to nuke us from the orbit if we misbehave are the good guys and hope real hard (with optional prayers to divinities of choice) that it’s true.

    Interesting to see whether our heroes are about to get a pat on the head for turning in the je… ahem, illegal ali… err, enemy comba… whatever they call it or a scolding for space traffic n00bness.

  8. Mazzon, this assumption that bald guys will nuke us from orbit is frightening indeed, given my long locks of curly hair.

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