Science Fiction, Short Fiction, The Fall Years

The Fall Years, Roswell: CHAPTER FOUR – THE DERELICT –

The Derelict loomed over them, in its scarred trench. And compared to humanity’s own spacecraft this thing dwarfed them. The Alpha team had set to work securing all possible exits from the craft. Despite the impact, the hull remained mostly intact and so far there were no signs of anything emerging. They didn’t want to take any chances and had deployed large, black, spiked energy pylons that looked noticeably alien in design and marking. And positioned in a circle, close to them were also high powered electro-magnetic turrets that would disintegrate anything that left the ship. In order to oversee things on the ground, the Secretary of Navy, James Forrestal had arrived not long after everything was in place. He had made it absolutely clear that no one was permitted to enter the craft until he gave the order. The last thing he wanted was Mortans to overrun them. And if survivors belonging to the craft still lived, he had no guarantee they would be friendly. Word had reached him that a survivor had been recovered from the other downed shipt. But one friendly xeno didn’t mean they all would be. 

“I have the right mind to use the bomb on this wreck. One less mess that way.”

The senior advisor that had joined him for this trip looked a little shaken by that statement. “Is that not a little excessive, sir? It would also require us to evacuate any civilians nearby.”

“We know the Soviet’s Deterrent overran Lazarus. Therefore, it’s not out of the question that the ship may have fallen to a similar fate. It doesn’t hurt to have all options on the table, and the last thing we need right now is a Deterrent outbreak on American soil. I considered us lucky to avoid the worst of it when things went awry in the Middle East and Eastern Europe…”

At that point, someone came on over the radio. “Sir, before we proceed. There’s someone that wants to help. I wanted them to rest and relocate but they were insistent.”

It didn’t take long for Forrestal to understand who Doctor Kate Underwood was referring to. A short distance away from base camp, a helicopter was heard making land. He left the tent and watched as the grey man in her care now approached him. The alien easily stood over him despite looking humanoid, the mandibles around their mouth and larger two fingered hands with opposable thumbs gave away some key differences. The Secretary and his advisor met them halfway.

“I guess the Doctor made progress on your ability to communicate with us. I am James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy for the United States of America. Any questions you may have about this operation go through me or my advisor here.”

The alien looked past him toward smouldering wreckage. “I can’t say this enough. Use what you have at your disposal and destroy it. Failing that, I know my way around the ship. I can destroy it from within.”

“Impressive, so you understand us.”

“Enough to make my point. The ship needs to be destroyed,” The alien said. “Has anything come out?”

Forrestal shook his head. “Nothing yet. We have strike teams in place ready to enter at a moment’s notice.”

“If anything survived the crash. They can’t be allowed to leave.”

“The president’s orders were to recover intelligence surrounding the incident on Lazarus and your ship. The data and technology onboard would be vital to the future of this planet.”

“James, if my people couldn’t stop them. What makes you think yours can?”

“I assure you, we have contingencies in place to keep the Mortan threat contained. And I hear you are just part of a preliminary force. The contents of that ship will help us prepare for the inevitable arrival of any allies you may have. But you seem more interested in sabotaging the vessel.”

The alien shook their head in frustration. “I don’t know at which stage this Deterrent as you call it is at. It’s already likely forming the foundation of a Convergent Mind. If that happens. You’ll face more than just feral monsters. A single seed can consume a planet. They will not stop. No matter how many you destroy they just keep coming back. You have to believe me. Our people – we didn’t fully understand what they were capable of… until… until it was too late.. And we lost. Why do you think we came this far seeking life!”

“I understand your concerns but that wreck is worth more to us than you could possibly realise. I want to at least try and recover something. Anything that can help us long term. You want us to destroy the craft, we will but first, let us secure any intel we can.”

The alien scratched at the back of their neck and cocked their head at the craft. “If you must insist on entering the ship. I know a few ways inside, the outside of the ship has hatches used by maintenance personnel to carry out outside work. Get me to one of those hatches and I can get your men inside.”

“And you won’t be going alone,” Commander Miller stated as the Welcome Wagon fell in behind him. “It would be unwise for us to send multiple squads, they would just be easy pickings for the Mortans. Send us in, we get the data and blow the ship to high heaven, how does that sound, sir?”

“Are you confident in your abilities Commander?

“This is what the Welcome Wagon has been preparing for, ever since we were assigned to Site 51. If we fail, you can go to Plan B. We all know the bomb is ready for deployment.”

The Secretary of Navy grimaced but looked over to the ruined vessel. “Fine, I’ll let the Welcome Wagon take the lead on this. But know this, you will be up against a force that decimated Lazarus. They won’t go easy on you… that’s if any of them are still alive of course. We can only hope the impact killed most of them. ”

“Then it’s settled, we’ll prepare for insertion, and our new friend here can tell us where to find one of these hatches.”

“Then you best not hang around, you’re dismissed, Commander.”

The Welcome Wagon departed to one of the nearby tents, hesitant to follow, James patted the alien on the back. “I promise you, we don’t bite. Besides, we need to leave a good impression, especially if more of you show up.”

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