Xenonautical Adventures – Part 8: A Heavy Loss
15th of October, 1979, 12:23
No new reports have come in for a few hours. Maybe they’ve stopped? For now? I have a feeling my dreams won’t be especially calm tonight.
16th of October, 1979, 00:01
Major Merrywhiskers has claimed my lap yet again, so I go over the new construction plans for the American base. They’re finishing up the living quarters and first hangars right now. Time to sign the transfers orders and order new soldiers, along with a Condor and a Charlie. There has been very little activity in America this month, but if we’re getting this base online, we might as well get the important stuff ASAP.
This will put Cpls Grump and NotSoGrump off of Charlie-1, so let’s assign Sgts Niña and Labor back on there.
16th of October, 1979, 08:16
We held a short good-bye and god-speed ceremony for McNutcase, Grump and NotSoGrump. Major Merrywhiskers helped see them off. I hate to let go of good soldiers, but the American base needs a good start.
17th of October, 1979, 07:19
The trio have arrived safely in America. Good news. I imagine they have some boring days ahead of them until things are online, but it will give them time to get to know Commander Dosjevsky. I’ve recommended that he involve them in the base set-up.
18th of October, 1979, 09:02
It’s been a quiet day. Major Merrywhiskers and I have gone topside. It’s become quite chilly this time of year, but Major Merrywhiskers is fuzzy, and I came well-dressed. I plan to head up a hill where we’ll get a good view over the Gobi desert.
18th of October, 1979, 15:28
I have gotten the report on the new alien material. Chemistry was never my strong suit. Hyper-advanced alien battery, that I can sort of wrap my head around. I agree that we should collect as much as we can.
The two new projects offered to me after this both seem interesting, however I believe the next project we should focus on is laser weapons. I’m afraid we’re being out-escalated.
19th of October, 1979, 07:02
The new aircraft and soldiers have arrived at the American base. Let’s look at the list. Some riflemen; Pvts Asi Sumanai, Alan DeHaan and Loa Vecre. Assaults; Pvts Ian Madwater and Nick Angnor. Snipers; Pvts Cara Sibana and It Whispers. A rocketeer in Pvt Ian Specktre. And even someone trained in use of a riot shield in Pvt Jami Havoc. It seems Commander Dosjevsky will have slightly different tools to work with than me. Though I actually wouldn’t mind giving someone riot shield training…
19th of October, 1979, 10:27
Went to introduce Major Merrywhiskers to Lt Gardes’s possum. Major Merrywhiskers did not approve. Had to take her away again post-haste.
20th of October, 1979, 07:18
A month ago since my birthday. And my gift of the end of the world is still playing out, so lucky me.
Nothing new to report, alien-wise.
We took inventory and inspected all our equipment yesterday. We didn’t need to do it again this early, but I wanted to give people something to do.
20th of October, 1979, 17:14
“Contact, sir! Confirmed extraterrestrial contact!”
That reprieve lasted longer than expected, though as ever I would have rather they didn’t come back at all.
“Launch Condor-2! Intercept course!”
So close to us though… I assume it probably must have come straight from space?
20th of October, 1979, 17:35
“Second contact, sir! Confirmed extraterrestrial contact! South China, almost directly south of us!”
I look at the radar and the readings. The speed would suggest another Scout. Are we suddenly the hot seat now?
“Launch Condor-1! Intercept course with second contact!”
20th of October, 1979, 20:54
“Both UFOs confirmed down, sir! Condor-1 and Condor-2 both heading home!”
The second went down in the Pacific, while the first, which we caught last, went down north of us.
“Launch Charlie-1! Set course of the crash site.”
Let’s see what we can recover.
21st of October, 1979, 00:05
The American base report that their radar array, and the vast majority of the rest of the base, is now operational. And we had report of a blip in the Caribbean only 40 minutes ago. This could be a birth by fire for them. Their engineering crew isn’t scheduled to arrive for another 3 days, so they can’t get any projects started yet.
21st of October, 1979, 00:18
The American base have found the UFO, and launched Condor-3 to try to intercept. It’s a an hour out and heading away from them at Scout speed, so we’ll see what happens.
21st of October, 1979, 00:37
“Charlie-1 has reached the crash site, sir!”
“Understood. Have them land and engage.”
Charlie-1 Response Team on the ground. Day-time mission. Weapons at the ready. Dropship doors opening.
As far as we can tell there is absolutely no civilisation in the area, so we don’t need to worry about civilians.
We can see the outline of the UFO as soon as we get off the dropship, but the area seems suspiciously devoid of movement.
We split into two groups. Charlie-1 landed right next to a pond, so Lt Riddium takes Cpls Jonely, Volatar and Wanyal, and heads east below the water, while Lt Gardes heads north and around with Sgts Labor and Niña and Cpl Squirrel.
Lt Gardes’s group advance slowly on the UFO. Everything is eerily quiet.
Lt Riddium’s group finally spot an alien, a lizard, as they make it past the water. The Cpls all try to take it down, but can’t score a lethal hit. So there’s really only one thing to do.
In response to the explosion we hear the door of the UFO open, but whatever opened it closes it again before we get a good look. However, there’s also another lizard that comes charging out of the trees towards Cpl Volatar, but he manages to take it down before it gets too close.
The door opens a few more times as Lt Gardes’s group draws nearer, but still nothing has come out.
Lt Riddium and his group keep sweeping the forest as the others start setting up to guard the door.
The woods seem clear and they start swinging around to approach the UFO from the other side, signalling to Lt Gardes’s group through the trees.
In that moment a lizard suddenly comes charging out of the UFO. They start firing on it, but before it goes down it manages to unleash a burst of plasma fire.
Sgt Niña finally finishes it off, but Sgt Labor drops to the ground. Lt Gardes checks her, but she’s gone. That point-blank plasma bolt basically carved a hole in her chest, which they see when they turn her around.
Lt Riddium and Cpl Wanyal come rushing up. Cpls Jonely and Volatar were further into the woods and take longer to reach them.
As it finally dawns on us what has happened, a cold rage comes over us.
Cpl Wanyal spots an alien taking cover behind some trees east of the UFO. Cpl Volatar tries to spot it, but the trees are too thick.
Upon informing Lt Riddium, he takes a look at the cluster of trees. Without even bothering to confirm the lizard is still there, he raises his rocket launcher and fires at the trees.
The unearthly shriek the alien lets out as it’s consumed by the fireball does nothing to douse our fury.
Cpl Volatar makes sure it’s truly dead before everyone converges on the front of the UFO.
When everyone is ready, Sgt Niña and Cpl Volatar open the door. Only a single alien remains alive in there, but not for long as both shotguns ring out and take it down.
We do a count to make sure there aren’t any more aliens running around, while Lts Riddium and Gardes carry Sgt Labor’s body back to the dropship. She deserves a proper burial.
With heavy heart Charlie-1 takes off and sets course for home.
21st of October, 1979, 00:57
I sink into my chair at the dark news. Sgt Sascha Labor, killed in action. I’m not sure if I believe it yet… I’ve known her for over a year…
The whole command centre has grown quite sombre.