High Earth Orbit, +55 minutes
Aboard The Void’s Edge
“|Well it still doesn’t look calm – or happy.|”
U’iki’ri sighed, tail drooping to rest against the deck plating. Everything – and he meant everything was going legs-up out there. When he called in for a simple sitrep and his next round of orders, he was sent to the wrong department, then put on hold. When he called again he finally got to the right person – or at least, the right officer level – but they just shrugged and told him to wait it out. So they pulled what bits of their station they could find into a stable orbit, lashed the rest into a big bundle and stuck it behind their own ship, and parked.
Seeing this did nothing to mollify their guests.
The first 30 minutes were the worst; as soon as the infiltration squad released the suited-up locals they began bouncing around, latching onto his fireteam, trying to stab them or wrestle weapons from them or puncture their suit or press all the buttons they could find – or any other number of mischievous things. When they realized their attacks were ineffective, they tried to run – and run was such a generous term – only to realize, hey. You’re on a different ship and doors don’t work for you.
So then they attacked again. That lasted another 5 or so minutes until, U’iki’ri assumed, they tired themselves out. Now they had lowered themselves onto the deck – one was sprawled out with all it’s limbs against the floor, and the other had squatted down and was just watching.
“|Do we want to try to open the hatch again, sir?|”
U’iki’ri gave a full-body shrug, not breaking eyes with the helmeted “eye” of the squatting alien. “|Honestly, why not? Surely they can’t have anything else to throw at us.|”
With a nod the technician scooted around the crude emergency life-pod and began to unscrew the hatch, swinging it slowly open-
And with that came a torrent of what looked like personal effects, some cabling, a few cushions, writing utensils and a boot. The Technician, to his credit, just gently swept the bric-a-brac over to the side, creating a neat little pile. The screaming stopped once he left the visual range of the open hatch, and for a brief moment U’iki’ri dared to let himself hope that they could make some progress. He cleared his throat and thumbed on his external speakers.
“|. . . .|”
There was an unceremonious thump as what looked like an article of clothing – possibly a boot – was tossed haphazardly and unceremoniously out of the open hatch. U’iki’ri stared at it, and then looked back at the squatting alien space explorer on-deck, locking eyes with the single black helmeted “eye” again.
The alien seemed to somehow squat deeper.
“|Don’t you judge me.|”
– – –
Kunshan, China +35 minutes
The explosion ripped through the industrial city, followed by another and another. The shock wave of the first blast – a petrochemical plant – was enough to flatten the warehouses directly next to the factory, blow buildings off of their foundations within that same block, and shatter windows a couple kilometers away. The frequency of the following explosions eventually drove the citizens numb, huddling behind vehicles or makeshift barricades – anything to lessen the punch of the blast wave, the deafening ringing in their ears.
Lucky children coughed dust. Most coughed rust.
Streams – some natural, most now man-made – formed in the city, pooling and pouring a sickly concoction that never quite caught the light right, that stank of industry and heat and blood, that caught fire when it finally oozed down to the sparking, fallen electrical poles.
Those that weren’t lucky to die in the blast soon found their homes, what lives they had, engulfed in a chemical fire.
The fire spread; emergency services weren’t exactly quick at the best of times, and seeing as how it’s just personal belongings and not industry being destroyed – and given the current state of affairs – well. The fire spread.
The fire kicked off another few rounds of explosions, and the people gave up hope.
Then the Karnakian Drop Pods landed in a completely unrelated city.
– – –
Tokyo, Japan. +35 Minutes
“|Alright, let’s hold here.|”
Krrroioi checked his sight lines – a long passage to his right and to the left was kept clear, meaning they could escape underground if necessary. Urr’gra and Ikir’rei were keeping an eye on the stairs to the upper and lower levels, respectively, so if they met resistance they ha-
Krrroioi looked down at the little-insistent-innocent alien, who did not meet his gaze but defiantly stood before him. His translator had not been updated with anything even remotely rudimentary, so he was not only unable to ascertain what the smaller being wanted, but he couldn’t even tell him to escape like the rest of his kin so he’d be safer.
“|I’m- I’m sorry-|” Krrroioi said through public speakers, causing the being to jump in place. “|But this is the most defensible position for us right now. You must go to you-|”
“?Please move. I have never been late for work, and I don’t want to start now.?”
Krrroioi grumbled, making a point to rear back and look over and around his living roadblock. “|What’s the chatter?|”
“|Nothing useful-|” Urr’gra chirped, poking her head around the corner. “|-Maybe they’ll have some sort of language package in the next few hours. Until then, same orders before planetfall.|”
“|A few hours?-|”
“|Yeah, apparently there’s hundreds of languages, not counting dialects. That’s not taking into account picking which of our languages will have the auspicious honor of being the first to-|”
“移動してください。 私は私の子供たちが私を知らないほど家族の時間を犠牲にしました。 これで私が残したのはこれだけです。 遅くしないでください。”
“?Please move. I have sacrificed so much family time that my children don’t know me, and my wife hasn’t touched me in 10 years. This is all I have left. Please don’t make me late.?”
Krrroioi sighed yet again. Apparently body language did not translate across species. With a practiced, delicate movement (after the commnet was spammed with “DEAR GODSOUL WHAT” and “HIT IT WITH STASIS WE CAN FIX IT” a couple dozen times) he gently lowered his head, pressing it against –
– the alien raised it’s bag and pressed back.
Krrroioi gently extended his neck, and the alien lowered his body, lower limbs scrabbling for purchase against the tiled ground as they fought the strangest engagement of Krrroioi’s life. This continued in agonizing slow motion for a few moments before there was a rumble – something big and fast was coming. Krrroioi tensed up, his HUD beginning to stream information about theoretical densities, speed, location-
Krrroioi stood up and turned to face this new threat, the sudden lack of pressure causing the local alien to stumble forward. The two of them looked at each other – one tensed for battle, the other adjusting it’s clothing – as the train finally pulled into the station, gliding effortlessly to a stop right on time and right on place.
“|. . .oh.|”
– – –
The first few trains after the salary man pried open the doors and stepped on, refused to take new passengers. Word had apparently gotten out about the aliens sitting in the station, and for public safety’s sake the conductors would just skip that exit and move onto the next one.
This lasted, as I said, for just a few trains, as there are few things that can get in between a Japanese salary man and the crushing debt of guilt and feelings of obligation he has to provide for his family by sacrificing his life at the company which owns him. Eventually people started to politely but pointedly pry open train doors, and at that point the conductors just shrugged, locked their compartments, and let nature take it’s course.
And seeing as how the aliens didn’t stand in the middle of thoroughfares, didn’t take hostages – didn’t really do much but stand and look around awkwardly, a few calls were made on their behalf. For as you know, if you’re not Japanese then you’re a 外人 – a Gaijin, and well. You can’t really be expected to function properly in society to begin with. It’s not your fault, you’re just, yanno. Not Japanese.
And so with much bowing, the transferal of pamphlets and the waving of white-gloved hands, the first (and only) intergalactic tour of the Tokyo Transit System began.
– – – –
Literally anywhere in Brazil, +60 Minutes
“Você veio! Oh graças a Deus, alguém finalmente veio!”
“?You came! Oh thank God, someone finally came!?”
– – – –
Bristol, England, UK. +1H 15M
“I’m not sure I like this.”
Susan peered over her book, looking at her partner-in-crime (but mostly fellow bridge player) Caroline, as the two enjoyed afternoon tea on the outside patio of their local cafe. The weather was just nice enough to allow it, and Susan was quite tired of living indoors for so long that she just had to get out and get some fresh air. The fact that there was a minor invasion going on had absolutely nothing to do with her decision, and would absolutely not impact it in any way, shape or form.
As far as Susan was concerned, the aliens must have had the same idea, because the weather was just right.
“Oh stop it. I for one quite like these new Bobbies – you know I heard the Davis’ boy ran at ‘em with a bayonet? And they just confiscated it right there! Faster than you could blink, they say!”
“A bayonet. You sure it wasn’t a butterknife again?” Caroline said flatly, snapping her biscuit on her plate. “Because we are talking about the same little Tim Davis – the one with the unfortunate head and the missing-”
“Yes, yes! He was so angry, they say! Bellowed somethin’ about not letting nobody near his skunk, whatever that means-”
“And this ‘they’ says… A bayonet, from world war one, I assume, to those things–” Caroline dipped her head to the left where one of those things, in question, was standing right on the street corner, looking quite uncomfortable as more and more people deposited hatchets, knives, gardening trowels, forks, spoons, electrical cabling, tape, VHS cassettes, various hard candies and other dangerous equipment at it’s feet. The other police officers milling about around him gave him a sort of legitimacy, and the local MP had already begun ordering banners hung for an impromptu “bin the blade” initiative/drive.
“Yes, indeed. Thank Goodness we’re getting those dangerous things off of the street.”
Caroline met eyes with the helmeted alien as it made a (what she assumed to be) plaintive gesture of “please stop giving me sacrifices this is really uncomfortable”. She shrugged and smiled into her tea.
“Yes. Those things sure seem deadly.”
– – – –
Somewhere outside Oulu, Finland. +1H, 30M
“|This, is -|” Ra’gri panted hard, resting against one of the towering flora of the planet. “|-Absolutely, insane.|”
“|Look, I don’t know, I just don’t know-|” Re’tji sputtered, his head on a swivel as he looked around the frozen terrain. “|I just, I just hear and then-|”
“?I won’t miss.?”
The duo jumped and spun on their heels, being rewarded with the dual crack of a long rifle firing from somewhere, the bullets slamming into the shield matrix of their helmets, blossoming their vision in vivid blues and piercing whites. Then-
“|Why. Why can’t we see them-|”
“?Olet kaneja ennen minua.?”
“?You are rabbits before me.?”
“|Please, we mean you no ha-|” Ra’gri began, before another two-round burst of rifle fire from somewhere slammed into the side of his head, his shield matrix again saving him from the concussive strike.
“?Saanko myös lihaa, ihmettelen??”
“?Will I taste your flesh, I wonder??”
Ra’gri tensed for the shots, but they never came. Re’tji just shuddered, his helmet forcefully and rapidly switching through the entire visible EM spectrum, head still on a swivel, and still unable to see where his attackers lay.
“|I don’t like this at all, I really don’t, I’m ok if we can fight back but to just sit here and die-|” moaned Re’tji, claws working over themselves in a nervous tic. “|It’s just shots, constantly, out of nowhere, and then a voice-”
“|Listen, calm down.|” Ra’gri reached forward, tapping his helmeted head against his teammates. “|Our translator packages should be updated soon…ish. Just… let’s just keep moving. At some point they’re going to have to tire out, and we can keep moving – regroup with the rest. Lose our tail, take a breather. Good?|”
“|Come on now. You good?|”
“|Yeah. Just. I really let my guard down and-|”
“|I know, but let’s just go.|”
“|Y-yeah.|” Re’tji nodded. “|Yeah. It’ll get better once we regroup.|”
And as the two of them began to run towards the Russian border, the snowbank laughed and took a Pervitin tablet.