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Those from Beyond
We came from beyond. Beyond the planets and the moons and the stars and the galaxies.
At the same time, we came from within.
Within the darkness and the emptiness.
Our ships, thousands of midnight-black specks, entirely invisible against the cold vacuum of everything, emerged and devoured.
But something went wrong.
Instead of the wondrous, complete victory that was supposed to be ours, it was a suicide mission. Our ships, while blowing up the enemy, blew themselves up as well. Because of our own foolish designs, we lost millions that day.
But we learned.
And this time, we’ll be stronger than ever.
The day the world’s scientists learned about the aliens was a day much like any other. It was the middle of March, crisp and clear. Thousands of men and women woke up, drank their coffee, dressed and went in to work. The real shock came when they turned their telescopes skyward and saw something alarming: a corner, where once a constellation could be seen, was now covered in something that wasn’t quite a cloud. In fact, it looked like a swarm of insects was covering up the stars. Scientists consulted with others across countries and continents and found that the same phenomenon was visible everywhere. But what could it be?
As the days passed, the buzz of public interest around the phenomenon died down significantly, as civilians moved onto more interesting news. One scientist in particular was concerned about this. An Indonesian woman, she noticed that the swarm was getting steadily larger by the day, as though it were moving closer and closer. Although she pressed this point to her co-workers, they ignored her, saying that it must be nothing, or a trick of the light. And yet the black dots, always tucked away in a corner of the sky, grew bigger.
It was several months before the world at large took notice of the ships in the sky. It came about because of a different scientist, one from the other side of the world. He was a NASA scientist in Florida and when he mentioned the fact that the black cloud was significantly larger than it was on that fateful day in March, nearly everyone took heed of his warning. The news spread fast. Laboratories worldwide began to research what the swarm in the sky truly was, working furiously. The Twitter conspiracy theorists went wild.
We aimed for the orange planet Venus, second-closest to the star Sol.
We approached our target slowly, but with precision. Venus’s closest neighbor was populated with- well, not necessarily intelligent life, as they still hadn’t noticed the intelligent life all around them, but they had crude ships and had taken several baby steps into the galaxy.
They didn’t notice us until it was much too late.
Our war against the enemy on Venus raged on.
The scientists of the planet Earth continued in the summer and fall of that year to discover the source of the ever-larger swarm of black in the sky. A popular theory among people who worked in the industry was that a shower of asteroids was approaching. If this were true, they believed, an event on this scale could lead to asteroids that could make it through the atmosphere, leading to threats of life or property. There would be nothing anyone would be able to do to prevent that, if it were the case.
A popular theory among teenagers on the internet was that there would soon be an alien invasion. The vast majority of actual scientists dismissed this, ignorant to what was truly going on. There were, however, a handful of more imaginative astronomers who thought that, just maybe, aliens could in fact be on their way. These few believed that the black dots were too large and clustered together to be asteroids, but the majority drowned them out.
We were so close. The enemy was nearly in our sight and our weapons were ready.
For Venus’s sins against us, we would obliterate it entirely.
The mistakes of our past were grievous, but they were of the past.
We would do better this time.
We had to do better this time.
Time was running out for the scientists on Earth. As the swarm drew closer, it became clear that these were no asteroids. Several probes were sent out, and the results were baffling and terrifying. The black objects were unquestionably of extraterrestrial origin. They had what appeared to be engines and wings, but the style was incredibly futuristic, like nothing anyone on Earth had ever built. This information was kept as quiet as possible by the world’s governments, but whispers spread fast. The terror of other was creeping across the populace.
By all predictions, the alien spaceships - for now, nearly everyone was sure that was what they were - would reach the Earth in a mere eleven months. All the countries of the world were open to ideas of how to destroy the invading aliens. The United States had a brilliant, creative, and peaceful idea: bomb the aliens. How this would be accomplished, no one knew, but a certain group was convinced that killing the ones who came from away would be the only solution. Others held out hope that perhaps the aliens were friendly, that they ‘came in peace’. They thought that aggression upon the aliens would just yield more aggression. The two sides continued to argue for months and months, with no action taken on either side.
Time ticked on, day by day, week by week, and soon the aliens were much too close for comfort. The people of Earth still had no solution to the problem of what they would do when the aliens arrived, and there was no time to figure out anything. So the people of Earth went about their business as usual, ignoring the giant swarm of alien ships in the sky, sitting on their hands.
Our weapons were loaded and our fingers on the triggers. The citizens of Venus would pay for their crimes against us.
It was time for sweet revenge at last.
On the twenty-fourth day of July, the aliens arrived in the space between Venus and Earth. The people of Earth were fully prepared for the world to end on that day. Preachers on street-corners shouted at passers-by to repent before it was too late. The more superstitious folk wore hats of tinfoil. People hid in their basements with emergency supplies. It was chaos. It was terror.
And immediately realized our fatal mistake.
Just as last time, despite our testing, our weapons were miscalibrated for their own strength.
They exploded and so did we.
At once, the people of Earth saw an enormous explosion, bigger than Hiroshima or Nagasaki or indeed anything that anyone had ever seen. It shone as bright as any star in the night sky, as bright as the sun. People braced for aliens to fire at Earth - but nothing came. Hours later, the fire in the sky faded, and everything seemed the same, except for one thing. Actually, except for two. The swarm of alien ships in the sky was gone.
So was the planet Venus.
Although several people were killed and much property damaged due to the shrapnel from both thousands of alien ships and a rather large planet exploding, the fallout was minimal.
In the years to come, many theories of what had occurred were brought forward. The most prevalent was very close to the truth: the aliens came to destroy Venus and succeeded in a kamikaze attack. However, no one was ever sure, and the only creatures who could have told the tale were killed in their own attempt at destroying their enemy. Although the citizens of Earth survived their first close encounter, this was only a taste of what was to come in their future.
We came from beyond and within.
We came with weapons and fire.
We failed twice, but we learned.
And next time, facing a new enemy, we’ll be stronger than ever.