When the history books were written – or tablets transcribed, given how technology advanced so quickly – everyone universally agreed on a single point: It sucked to be a government leader during The Great Clusterfuck.If you accepted the necessary invader-aid to rebuild your society, your society didn’t trust you. If you didn’t accept the aid, your people starved, died and rebelled against you for not accepting the aid. You didn’t have the funds to build up a military to take aid from the aliens (what with having to rebuild everything else first), and once you started to work with them you’d be treading a fine line taking raw material and turning it into weapons… right in front of them. The universal draft was truly universal, if only to spread the sense of control and “peace through strength”(and that putting a human in a suit and giving him a gun was infinitely cheaper and more discrete than building a new tank).

Then you had the problem, once the universal draft was universal, as to where the fuck do all these bored recruits go? It’s not like you can just hop over the border and have a quick war without literally starting World War 3. Eer. 4.

So maybe as a world leader you finally start relaxing the draft and letting the whole free market be free again; the people that remained got to see the absolute worst trading day in all of human history. Absolutely no asset was safe – stocks tanked, bonds were declared worthless, hell, even T-bonds dropped their rates.

Have you ever seen a savings account lose money?

……that is, if you were lucky enough that your bank somehow kept your records. Seeing as how everything was digital and how shielding against EMPs wasn’t even on their to-do list, well.

…look it turns out that millions of people who suddenly had absolutely no money or credit but training with guns made for a very hostile work environment.


Site 8, USA. +3MO After First Contact.


President Carter had gained a limp.

The limp wasn’t permanent by any means, but his emergency offices’ chair was not the most comfortable one in the world, and it happened to just pinch a nerve in his leg that… well. Over time, gave him a bit of a limp. The Surgeon General wasn’t too concerned, as once Carter finally stopped working 19 hour days at a cold-war era desk, got back to a workout routine and changed seats it would go away. Unless it was psychosomatic. Or it just didn’t.

President Carter also sported an eyepatch.

Now this was absolutely temporary, but again, another casualty of the condition he found himself in. Bunker air just didn’t agree with him or his special eyes, and over the course of the night he rubbed the damn thing raw. The patch was more for his own protection, as continuing to fuss with the itchy orb would only do more damage. Thankfully he was able to get the gauze pad under it coated with a topical anesthetic that took some of the actual sting away, but there was still a dull ache that gave him a soft scowl. As he limped his way up a concrete ramp to a nondescript spartan elevator he grunted a greeting to the awaiting Senator Armstrong. “’Mornin.”

“Good Morning to you too, Mr. President. You look like you’re suffering a fair bit today.”

“Sometimes I wonder why we’re still here. If they haven’t fired any more weapons, why the hell can’t I go back to The White House?”

Senator Armstrong shrugged as he made space for the temporarily-crippled President, nodding to an attendant to work the elevator controls. “You know as well as I do – if the White House isn’t secure you’re no-”

“Yeah, yeah, not allowed back in, but hell, even this bunker isn’t secure. For fuck’s sake, we’re meeting the aliens for another weekly conversation right outside.” Carter grumbled, idly pressing his fingers against his patch – as pressing didn’t count as rubbing and he wouldn’t get in trouble with the Surgeon General.

“It’s… less from the aliens and more from your constituents. We had another missile attack on the front lawn again.”

President Carter sighed, and remained silent and still for a few seconds as he took in the news. “Well. Did the bastard at least watch for back blast this time?”

“Yep. Three of ‘em, actually. Still didn’t take down the shields, but, having alien tech stapled to the lawn of our seat of government isn’t-”

“Yeah. Bad Optics.”


Carter looked flatly at his friend, who looked away sheepishly. “So that wasn’t a pun?”

“Steven, I’m drinking powdered coffee that’s older than my parents, I’ve been eating MREs for months, and I shit on a hole in a concrete slab with toilet paper that feels mummified. The thought of getting out of this hellhole is the only thing that’s keeping me together-”

“Right, right. Well. Good news is that our ‘friends’ are here to talk about…yanno. The everything.”

“You mean the global depression that actually put the Fed on suicide watch? What are they offering now?”

Armstrong grinned widely and swept his arm forward as the elevator door opened up, the ‘secret’ door built into the side of the mountain slowly swinging open in the distance to let in the pure, unfiltered sunlight.


– – –

They were arranged in a semi-circle again. The Heads of State, not the paperwork – though that was too, if you wanted to get technical about things. Each Secretary was behind their very own fold-out desk, under a gigantic makeshift-but-semi-permanent tent, the idle wind bowing in the canvas ‘walls’ every so often. Although it should’ve been spacious – the tent was one of those massive event tents, after all – it felt very cramped due to the various attaches, generators, satellite equipment, servers, refreshment tables and the guards.

Good lord, there were a ton of guards.

This was partly because of the most successful jobs program in the history of Mankind, and also because of the small contingent of aliens who were coming down in the same pockmarked ship from the initial invasion. Whether it was a sly jab at the military prowess of the United States, or if the aliens were concerned about our object permanence, President Carter didn’t know or care. Right now, it’s about survival – survive the next day to see the next week to see the next month… one fire to put out at a time.

“[IS GOOD?]”

President Carter sighed externally and slumped again. Man-made fires were one thing; For instance, Texas had declared independence again – immediately followed by various counties within the nascent state deciding against independence, and then forming some microstates – now that was a fire, but one that could be handled. This, this was another conflagration and unfortunately, as this was being recorded for posterity’s sake there were no handy bottles of liquor available for him to steal a few moments of peace from. Other than the few discontented murmurs from the rest of his staff the tent was quiet. His Health and Human Services Secretary, Andrew Hernandez, took the easy way out not five minutes ago via a temporary sanity break once he finally parsed the new gift bestowed upon us from the heavens, and had to be tranquilized and hauled out of the tent after he wouldn’t stop laughing.

The lucky bastard.

“No. Is not good.”


The Diplomat, who was absolutely unceremoniously named Aaaaa (on account of how it looked and your usual response to what it sounded like) tilted his head in an almost birdlike fashion as it’s translator parsed what he was hearing from the exhausted president’s lips. It thumped it’s padded tail against the ground – again, whether that was a display or a nervous tick, Carter had no idea and still didn’t care.


“And we thank you for that. But it’s… not good.” President Carter said, dropping the debriefing folder down on his fold-out table. It contained… well, a lot of things he just didn’t understand, but the gist of it was that it was a machine that built nano-machines that cured about 90% of diseases – if you trusted the alien technology enough to inject it into your body. Considering he was sitting in a tent in the middle of the Appalachian mountains with fully-functioning electrical everything based off of solar-powered satellites, alien tech had a great track record. They were offering multiple machines to every single population center that wanted ‘em. Hell, some were probably agreeing to get them not even realizing what they are.


“It puts more people out of jobs. It ruins more infrastruct- more building. More investment.” President Carter said, his one good eye screwing shut as the same conversation played in his mind from a few months ago. ‘What about…all this? All of it?’ he asked himself, wondering idly if a depression could get worse. Aaaaa stood there, tilting it’s head one way, then another, before turning around and saying something to his team behind him. There was very obviously a heated conversation, datapads and trinkets being pulled out and referenced furiously. His guard used to raise their weapons whenever any of ‘em moved, but now…

Again. It’s the greatest Jobs program of all Time. It’s also not like they could stop ‘em if they decided to go all blood-sport about it.

“[BUT SAVE LIVES. MONEY FOR LIFE.]” Aaaaa suddenly said, rounding back towards the President quickly – as if he was struck with an epiphany. “[MONEY FOR LIFE.]” Aaaaa repeated, almost incredulously.

“Well, yeah. Hospitals don’t grow on trees.”

“[SAVE ALL. ALL FREE.]” Aaaaa growled, obviously frustrated at the limitations of his translator, as he began to wave his arms about. “[LIFE NO PRICE. NO MONEY FOR LIFE.]”

President Carter shrugged.

Aaaaa just stared at him in confusion.

Another 8 Trillion dollars of R&D, Medicine, Infrastructure and jobs evaporated between the two of them.


The interesting thing about the Armada was not necessarily just it’s size, although it was massive, nor it’s firepower – even though you could argue at the time of it’s assembly it was the most powerful fighting force in all of creation. No, the most interesting thing about the Armada was it’s diversity, because when dealing with a known unknown you have to prepare a little bit for everything, and The Diarchs made sure everyone put aside their petty differences for such a momentous occasion. As with any of the species’ empires, it was less one homogeneous galactic bloc and more a few very large states and some medium-to-minor outlying conclaves that all agreed to play nice. More or less. Regardless, they assembled science barges, medical ships, military ships – of course – but also trading vessels, biome ships, entertainment yachts, floating museums… the list really did go on.

Certainly, soldiers at arms numbered in the hundreds of millions – but the sheer personnel necessary to muster those millions numbered in the billions. For every drop pod soldier there were quartermasters, mechanics, armsmen, priests, doctors and other support personnel. For every one of those there were also chefs, janitors, therapists, maintenance crew, subordinates and miscellaneous ones besides. For every one of those there were logistics captains, cargo haulers, raw material processors, entertainers, street vendors, civilian shuttle pilots… you get the point. The tip of the spear is useless without the rest of the spear, and without the hand that holds it, and…

Anyway. Billions of Karnakians stood in confused, often mute stupor as the primitive world below them bowed, broke, stood up again, and then fell over and caught fire. Repeatedly.

You have to understand, Billions stood and watched this. Billions, who had their own hopes, dreams, allegiances and alliances, their own senses of right and wrong. Even if you sniffed through and filtered all traffic, you’d have to watch the watchmen, and then watch those who watch the watchmen, and…well. That’s assuming your pyramid of paranoid parsers could determine what messages were really talking about food poisoning from Ship Sector 118-F’s kitchen, and which ones were coded to Inquisitorial agents back in the home worlds updating them on the unfolding clusterfuck out in the field. That’s not counting tracking all the ships that are coming and going, resupplying and returning home.

So really, everyone in the back of their mind knew it was only a matter of time until the Diarchs stopped getting filtered reports about a “slight kerfuffle”, and a short amount of time after that when the Galactic Community as a whole saw what had happened and would come knocking.

High Lord Inquisitor-Commander Tr’’’’r’’ of the Eternal Holy Karnakian Crusade And It’s Infinite Legions’ knew this in the back of his mind, and so spent every waking moment of his and his advisors’ time to setting right the great tragedy that they had inflicted upon this primitive race; not only was it the right thing to do, but it would also allow the necessary negotiating room for his people to… hopefully not face reprisals from their other neighbors.



Site 8, N.A.E. +7MO After First Contact.


High President Carter of the New American Empire sighed as he limped his way back to The Damned Tent. As the Healthcare Industry crashed, bounced back up and then crashed again, more and more jobs were furiously created by the Government in order to… well. Not have a civil war. Problem is, you can only ship soldiers around to the same few cities doing the same few ditch-digging jobs before some of them wise up and begin to cause trouble. When that’s the case, and your external enemy is not longer really a thing, well… you’ve got to get creative.

A few backroom deals here, a few nods there, and it was determined that the best thing for everyone involved was for America to absorb it’s neighbors.

And sure, there were the few patriots who refused, and the ones who fought against the “liberators” of his armies, but in the background almost everyone was for it. Once Canada and Mexico were “freed”, infrastructure projects began in earnest. Rebuilding roads, putting up bridges, all on the backs of American laborers.

All for jobs. For a temporary distraction, to buy much needed time to rebuild whole economies and ways of life.

For putting out a fire.

“Aaaaa.” High President Carter said, nodding to the alien ambassador as he walked into the tent, unceremoniously dropping his constantly-weary body on the fold-out metal chair. 7 Months in a bunker, with no end in sight – especially now since he was dealing with insurgents from former NAFTA members – had removed his last fucks to give. “So. What’s this now?”


“Ok, starting off with an understatement. This is good so far.” He grunted as he lifted his now apparently permanently damaged leg with his arm, crossing it over his good one. Xenos tech worked – some said too well – but as a head of state he couldn’t be compromised on the off chance that there was something … not above board in the technology. So he remained merely human, and suffered for it.


The tent grew quiet, and Carter smacked his lips together. “I feel like… Something got lost in translation there, but, alright. Fuck it. Here? Or-”


“Of course. Of course I can’t escape this fucking bunker… right! Well. Go ahead and put him on video by screen, then.”


– – –

High Lord Inquisitor-Commander Tr’’’’r’’ of the Eternal Holy Karnakian Crusade And It’s Infinite Legions shifted uneasily in his chair, a slightly exhausted warble escaping his throat as he prepared to have the first of what would hopefully be many fruitful conversations in his… well.

It was an apology tour, plain and simple.

First Contacts are always touchy subjects, and it takes months, if not years for languages to get translated to the point that you could feel confident that what you said is what you meant. It was an unfortunate truth, because languages evolved differently based on underlying biology, and then have millenia of culture ontop of that to add nuances that are so ingrained into the language as to appear almost natural. Then, of course, you had to throw out all assumptions on how to speak that language, because you didn’t know if words changed based on who you spoke to, or your position in society, or your distance from the home star – nothing was a given.

His programming team would be commended on any other circumstance; quick thinking and long hours had shortened their timeline down to just a couple months, and the idea of starting with the periodic table and moving out from there helped lay the groundwork for some of the more basic words. The real problem was that there were just so many words: Not only did they speak thousands of languages on this one planet, but each language in and of itself had regional dialects, and then slang ontop of that!

He was assured that their language matrices were far enough along that they would convey more complex meaning, and that by careful and slow conversation they could begin negotiating a withdrawal that would not only leave this species in a better position, but also not create an entire race of enemies that would hunt them down in a couple hundred years in a bloody genocidal war of attrition.

At least, he hoped so.

Straightening his back he rolled his head, his neck popping in various places.

“|Um. High Lord-|”

“|Uri’krei, please. It is our duty to not harm our brothers, and we have done them a great ill. I will not be persuaded from returning to them 7-fold what we have taken.|”

“|It’s uh. Not that.|”

“|Well then, what is it? We’re about to go live with one of their leaders-|”

“|Ah. I’ve… received an encoded message.|”

 High Lord Inquisitor-Commander Tr’’’’r’’ sat there, flatly looking at his EM Lord. “|And.|”

“|It’s… from the Embassy of the Noble-Family-Hunters-Yearning-For-Life… asking us what we’re building way out here in the middle of nowhere, and reminding us about our mutual defense pact.|”

“|No.|” High Lord Inquisitor-Commander Tr’’’’r’’ groaned, vigorously scratching his molting feathers free from his neck in an uncontrollable stress response.

“|And they wanted to let us know-|”

“|Noooooooo.|” High Lord Inquisitor-Commander Tr’’’’r’’ growled, his claws dragging up and down his neck in anxious patterns.

“|-that they should be warping in any minute now-|”

The cameras turned on.

“|GREAT SOUL DAMN IT.|” High Lord Inquisitor-Commander Tr’’’’r’’ roared, his fists slamming against his console.

“[GREETINGS. SAME GREETING TO YOU. WE ARE SAME SOULS.]” A very haggard looking local said, dipping it’s head in greeting. “[A GOOD DAY FOR YOU TOO.]”

High Lord Inquisitor-Commander Tr’’’’r’’ screwed his eyes shut for a moment, composing himself, before opening them again and plastering on a forced smile. “|Greetings, Noble Leader.|”


“|We are very, very sorry for the pain we have caused you.|”


High Lord Inquisitor-Commander Tr’’’’r’’ winced. “|Y-yes… and we are sorry. We wish to give you more-|”

“[NO. PLEASE NO.]” The local said, shooting up straight in his seat, his arm lifting up in a possible pleading gesture. “[NO MORE HELP.]”

“|You… would say what that help is. We want you to prosper.|”

The local put it’s head in it’s hands, letting out an untranslatable groan that High Lord Inquisitor-Commander Tr’’’’r’’ could identify with on a spiritual level. “|We… we want to be allies. To help you on your way to the stars.|”

The leader looked up, his gaze seeming to pierce The High Lord as if he was but a mere hatchling. “[WHAT COST.]”


It was at this fortuitous time that the (who we wound up calling The Dorarizin) ‘scouting’ fleet showed up in orbit around the planet Earth, hovering for only a few moments before gently – but loudly and insistently, broadcasting a signal that roughly translated to “{Well what’s all this then? Is that a new species?! WHY IS EVERYTHING ON FIRE-}” but High Lord Inquisitor-Commander Tr’’’’r’’ wasn’t paying attention to that particular hail. No, his eyes were plastered on the screen before him, where the local leader was hailed by his own EM Lord-equivalent. There was some yelling – parts of it translated, parts of it not – before the leader stood up and ripped his top clothing off, letting out an untranslated and inarticulate yell as he bodily lept onto Diplomat Quri’rurag, attempting to choke him through his environmental suit.

“[TINY MACHINES, CHILD. I CAN ONLY BE HURT EMOTIONALLY.]” A much larger native bellowed as he tackled Quri’rurag, dragging him down to the ground.