Vik, Iceland. +They stopped caring, After First Contact


High President Carter sighed as yet another intern just…. Didn’t show up.

It wasn’t that interns dodging their daily duties was anything new, per se – the youth had been slacking since there were youth and things to do. It was more that this intern was part of his delegation to meet the new species that had just appeared in orbit a few days ago and triggered another wave of panic, paranoia, and brutal global crackdowns. When they finally broadcast the whole “Oh God please stop we’re not doing anything relax” message, mankind learned a few things:

(1) What had happened to them was absolutely not how First Contact was supposed to go

(2) There are more of the xeno bastards

(3) We should probably accept their offer of unconditional alliance

(4) What do you mean there are more that aren’t here yet


So the few remaining now nigh-unstoppable superpowers of Earth got together and tried to figure out where negotiations would happen. Every country naturally said “Not in my backyard” and so, well. Iceland was voluntold that it would hold negotiations because (1) it’s basically in the middle of nowhere that’s still easily-reachable, (2) it’s still large enough to wage a limited and desperate land war if necessary and (3) what were they going to do in retaliation, not sell herring at us? Aggressively win Eurovision? Please.

And so Iceland finally came to terms with the fact that more military might and expendable lives were going to be put on it’s soil than in anywhere or at any other time in history, and subsequently voluntold the small, southernmost city… eer. Town. Hamlet? Collection of buildings the locals called “Vik” that it really should dress in their Sunday best and be prepared for guests.

The entire town shrugged, got in their fishing boats and set sail to the Faroe Islands.

So that chain of events led to High President Carter sighing in another windswept kevlar tent, tightly holding his cup of cold-war era coffee as he spoke through a translator to European Union Chancellor Viksburg, Oceania Defense Pact Minister Gopi, and Chinese Extended Economic Cooperative Zone Administrator Zheng.

“…and still no word from the Russians?”

The Chancellor shrugged and shook his head. “No. From what we can tell they’re acting as if it’s a totally headless government. We know there’s someone pulling the strings, but they’re so underground and through so many layers of smoke and mirrors that…”

“It’s impossible. We’re still months into, ah, questioning their embassy representatives, but we’ve got no luck.” The slightly overweight Adminsitrator said, rocking slightly in his fold-out chair. “Either they died, which our visitors refute, or their ambassadors weren’t kept in the loop to contingency plans.”

“None of this matters.” The Minister said, making a chopping motion with his hand. “We can embargo their people, or take their lands if necessary to find them. Right now, we have more pressing concerns.”

“Mmm.” Carter grunted, taking a sip of bitter, strong coffee. “The Latin Coalition still hasn’t finalized… anything, and I don’t think the African Union is going to join us, so it’s just us for today.”

“Yes. Just about 70% of Humanity. I think we’ll be ok.” Minister Gopi said, smirking.

“Still.” Viksburg sighed, straightening his leg with a slightly sickening pop. “It would be better to show a unified front, and not doing so doesn’t help project coherency to our new guests.”

“I think we can be given a pass, what with the civil wars and shenanigans going on.”

“Regardless, we should pr-”

There was a hail from a separate tent that was echoed by multiple others; although Humanity was becoming more interdependent on each other, there was still absolutely no way in hell that the various factions trusted each other.

That would be madness.

So instead, There was a single main welcoming and negotiating tent, and then linked to that were separate staging areas for each new Empire’s various soldiers, intelligence officers, communications technicians, interns, and various other people who stood around the coffee machine and justified their existence. Each tent was connected to various mobile staging trucks with various radar and long-range communication and identification equipment, and each one of those had apparently picked something up at the same time.

Their new visitors were arriving.

There was the subsequent flurry of activity from each Empire’s subordinates – anti-aircraft defenses kicked online and began active tracking, honor guard lined up in impressive formation, special operations soldiers buried themselves into the surrounding area – and the leaders all shared a look with each other…

…and did absolutely jack shit.

“So what are you thinking, Mr. President?”

“Trial by combat. You, Administrator?”

“Hmm. Tribute, of course. Why destroy when you can farm?”

“Aah, of course.”

There was a supersonic rumble of jets – both human and decidedly not, as the new alien dropship was enveloped by Terran atmosphere, rapidly burning off speed as it’s escorts began a lazy, high overwatch.

“Whelp. Kick ‘em in the balls if they take me out.” President Carter said, slamming back the rest of his coffee.

– – – –

Gwe-Zgranzre-of-Ngrul stretched in the cramped compartment, clicking her teeth in anxious frustration; This was no place for a princess of the Emperor!

Well. “Princess”. She was definitely in line for The Throne-at-The-Center-of-All-Things, but it wasn’t an immediate ascension; More like… well. If there were a few unfortunate accidents and a couple dozen abdications and if her Aunt Gruazng would just go explore the unknown reaches for another 500 years then maybe. But she knew her position within the family and she knew that position is why she was there; after Fleet Operation Dust and Echoes all the policy wonks got together and decided to send their own Armada to this new alien species’ home system, heavy in culture and science ships and much much lighter in naval armaments than their Eternal-All-Lights-Within comrades. Of course a Royal Representative needed to be there, and she was trained in negotiation, cultural appreciation, etiquette…

…she was also expendable. Granted, her life would be paid for dearly, and there was an almost zero percent chance that any of the locals would try anything, given their unique… physiology and current technological level, but.


But there were Eternal-All-Lights-Within dead. There was a near-zero percent chance that their AI missed, that turned out to be true. This home world did burn.


So here she was. Standing shoulder to shoulder with other various ambassadors, attendees, waiting-staff, and a handful of honor guard, all stuffed into an admittedly spacious and luxurious dropship that would have allowed for room to move had it also not been stuffed with various trinkets, sweet-meats, bolts of cloth, art… To be honest, she was used to being pampered, and having anyone other than her accustomed waitstaff in the same ship sector as her was enough to put a frown on her face. The fact that she had to share it with cargo was downright demeaning! So what if they wanted “a single target to escort in case of emergencies and to reduce groundside anxiety”, they were a star-spanning empire, Damnit! They could’ve afforded a couple more ships!

Gwe-Zgranzre-of-Ngrul inhaled deeply, and exhaled, idly reaching up to adjust her recently-fabricated translation collar. This home world did burn.

‘{Pull in your temper}’ she said to herself, rolling her shoulders. ‘{This is a momentous occasion and you’re Blessed by the Hunt-of-Good-Lands to have been chosen among your siblings to go.}’ She straightened up just as her Dropship bled that last bit of speed, landing on the soft alien soil so delicately that only the all-clear from her Pilot’s communicator gave any indication that they had ended their journey, let alone broke through atmosphere from the heavens. The ramp extended, the door slid open, and gentle alien sunlight bathed the interior of her ship.

And so her Honor Guard marched out, and she and her retainers followed.

– – –

“Good God.”

“Don’t you mean Good Dog?” Carter quipped as the brightly armored, slightly-larger-than-polar-bear sized …well, wolves? Bears? Gorilla-dogs? Exited the ornately-decorated ship, marching in perfect formation down the ramp and to either side. Carter knew enough from his time in the military to know honor guard when he saw them, and there was a 50-50 shot that the weapons they held weren’t loaded.

They probably carried the ammunition on them somewhere, though.

His own – and that of his colleagues – quickly snapped to attention, flags and standards waving gently in the cool breeze. He idly scanned the line, seeing the same steely-eyed yet bewildered look on everyone’s faces.

‘Welcome to my world’ he said to himself, grinning as he stood up as the Officially-looking Official disembarked. “Anyone mind if America takes the honors?”

“Go ahead, Gweilo. I’ll wait here.”

“Suit yourself, Zheng.” Charter said, adding in an over-exaggerated nonchalant shrug. “Can’t get much worse at this point, and nobody’s giving me hazard pay.”

And with that, High President Carter of the New American Empire marched forward in greeting.

– – –

“{How in the world do they balance?}”

Gwe-Zgranzre-of-Ngrul turned her head slightly to her attendant’s outburst, making a mental note to discipline her later. “{That is inappropriate.}” Gew-Zgranzre whispered, keeping her eye on the local leader as he… essentially wobbled towards them. “{But not totally incorrect.}”

“{Apologies, Ma’am.}”

“{Mmm.}” Gwe-Zgranzre-of-Ngrul acknowledged, plastering on the slightly bemused but totally uninterested mask of the elite, mentally slipping into practiced and drilled forms of etiquette. Feet placed just so, arms bent just so, bracelets of heraldry extended to show lineage and birthright – she posed herself slightly, delicately, dipping her head in a greeting of equals. Mostly equals. Ok, she might have still had some knots in her fur over being shipped with the fucking cargo, but, it would be wrong for her to take it out on these innocent and relatively tiny-

“?H—z ppbt **.-@#—%r GUH.?”

“Welcome to Earth. Care for some coffee?”

“{Okay, seriously-}” Gwe-Zgranzre said, blinking as the tiny local flashed his tiny teeth at her in… greeting? She turned to look at her Banner attendant, who was doing his absolute damndest to not start laughing.

“? ##A ** …. W@@@s—** b-BU r*^^*^?”

Holy shi- eer, wow. That’s a sound right out of my nightmares.”

Gwe-Zgranzre-of-Ngrul inhaled deeply, letting the cool air calm her down. She took in notes of alien flora, of the spray of their water, of the scent of her comrades and the burn of the engines.

It grounded her, and she smiled to herself. ‘{Your new translator, you fool.}’ she chided, and reached up to flick on the slim collar, the external devices’ speakers popping on as the local bravely drew closer.

“{Greetings, locals of Earth.}”

“[GREETINGS PEOPLE.]” Her translator boomed, and she gave another small dip of her head at the leader within arm’s reach.

“Seriously, why are your lips wiggli-is THAT YOUR TEETH?!”

“[VERIFICATION. I SEE YOUR TEETH.]” The local said, leaning back and staring intently at her mouth. Gwe-Zgranzre-of-Ngrul thought to herself for a moment and gave a mental shrug – customs were customs, and who was she to judge? She passively opened her mouth and performed a gum check, moving her upper-outer, upper-inner and bottom-middle row of teeth one after the other, from left to right, before loudly rippling them back in the opposite direction. She sheer surprise of her ability – teeth use must be important to them – impressed the ambassador so much he started to fall backwards.

Started to. Quickly and delicately she reached forward, loosely wrapping her arm around the torso of the alien and holding him steady. She had… seen the footage, and knew how to better act.

As was expected of someone of her station and breeding, to another.


“[FIRST FATHER. EXPLAIN.]” Her translator helpfully chirped, causing the local to again do a full-body flinch. She tried to stand up, to make sure the ambassador wasn’t hurt – or would be hurt, and breathed deeply to center herself. She took in the same notes of alien flora, of the spray of their water, of the scent of her comrades and the burn of the engines, of a newborn pup.


Gwe-Zgranzre-of-Ngrul furrowed her brow and inhaled again. Flora. Water. Pack. Need. An Emptiness that needs to be made whole. Wrongness.


“{Please, forgive me. Are you alright?}”

“[APOLOGY. YOU ARE UNINJURED?]” Gwe-Zgranzre-of-Ngrul stood up the Ambassador, resting her hand on his side in a comforting manner. The local grabbed her much larger arm with his smaller hands, grounding himself.

“Ye-yes. Yes. Thank you.”


“{Good. I’m glad.}”

“[GOOD.]” Gwe-Zgranzre-of-Ngrul said, smiling gently at the little one before her. He stood up fully, adjusting his clothing before pulling away –

-ah. No.

Gwe-Zgranzre-of-Ngrul gently tugged him back towards her, adjusting his torso covering slightly; it had folded in on itself, and was terribly wrinkled, which really wouldn’t do. The Ambassador nodded his thanks, and stepped backwards –

-ah. No.

Gwe-Zgranzre-of-Ngrul gently but insistently tugged him back towards her. Although she was with her Honor Guard, and various house Attendants, it wouldn’t do for him to fall over again, especially when she was responsible – somehow – for the first time. No, she should make sure he was properly grounded… a chair, perhaps? Something to lounge on? She couldn’t just leave him alone, even though she trusted these people with her life-

“Thank you, um. May I… introduce you to my people? Perhaps, my wife as well?”


Gwe-Zgranzre-of-Ngrul furrowed her brow again. A head wife? Already? Sure, she was no stranger to political marriages, but no, this was too early.


Gwe-Zgranzre-of-Ngrul very purposefully unclenched her hand, letting the ambassador’s clothing go, and he took a few quick steps backwards away from her. By the empty sky, what had gotten into her?! She was The representative for Her Empire, Her People, HER FAMILY-

She gently and insistently reached forward towards her family, grabbing only empty air.

-ah. No. No. He’s… this thing was not an abandoned pup. It was not her kin, it was not her people. It was not part of her empire, it was not part of her pack, it was not from her litter, it was not, it was not, it was not.

It was not being a very obedient child.

Gwe-Zgranzre-of-Ngrul darted forward, wrapping the abandoned alien boy in her arms gently but forcefully. She inhaled deeply in reflex; Flora. Water. Pack. Need. Wrongness. So much wrongness, and she would set it right. Gwe-Zgranzre-of-Ngrul looked down at her new charge, smiling warmly as the alien went completely limp, draping over in her arms.

That was ok. He was not being a very obedient child, but he just needed to be loved-

Sighing to herself, she picked up the abandoned Ambassador and cradled him, turning to walk back up the ramp.


“[MALE GENITALS. PAY ATTENTION TO THEM.]” he called out to no one in particular, his petulance continuing as he was taken into the ship. As the minutes dragged on, He was joined along with a couple dozen of his other abandoned brothers and sisters, wrapped in warm cloth and protected in the center of their ship.

So much wrongness, but they would be set right.


BOOKER sighed in the cumbersome HAZMAT suit, using his approved tungsten-aluminum procurement device – AKA “the pokey stick” – to sift through some of the less reactive rubble in Piedmont Park. After the global ceasefire he and everyone else from the CDC were basically carted over here to figure out what the fuck is going to kill us all.

So far, the deadliest thing they could find were shards of aluminum from a damaged ship, a couple abandoned MREs, a few alien nuts – which were taken to a blacksite hangar, along with roughly 15 tons of dirt that they rested on – and some scattered alien tech.

“Having fun over there?” MISTY said, chuckling deeply. “Come on, we’ve got another 5 minutes and then we disrobe.”

“Yeah, but fuck this suit, man. They could’ve at least given us the airpump ones-”

“Closed system, friend.” MISTY smiled, his voice heavily muffled. “Now, let’s just finish sweeping this grid and-”

There was a noise.

Usually, this is no point of concern, but when you’re at the site of an alien ship with scattered xeno technology about, this was a point of concern. With a simple arm gesture, both men pointed in a direction and made a sign with their hands.

Roughly an entire company’s worth of weapons were pointed in that vague direction.

“What the fuck was that?” BOOKER said, scanning the area.

“Dunno, sounded like-”

MISTY never finished his sentence as out of a fucking trashcan leapt a small, dirty, feral-looking-

“Is that a DOG?” BOOKER exclaimed, laughing. “Oh my FUCKING GOD, that’s a dog!”

The two men laughed for a moment, waving down the surrounding military as the animal bounded off, obviously very distraught at spending the past few days stuck in a trashca-

-the animal stopped, and started to devour something on the ground.

“Wait. WAIT. What’s that it’s eating? It’-”

BOOKER began to run forward as the small dog ate something decidedly not terran. Other ABC agencies – the FBI, ATF, NSA, CIA – began running as well, realizing the situation. It looked up at the sprinting HAZMAT suit, opened it’s mouth and borked.

The miniature shield drone that was lodged in it’s throat took the subvoalization rush of air as a command, and ejected a small amount of energy at an appreciable enough speed to knock BOOKER right on his ass.

Everyone froze in place, save for the ATF Agents, who rose to fight their greatest battle.