Estimated reading time — 27 minutes
As you may have expected—though probably not with the particularly correct prescience—the siege of Area 51 ended disastrously for everyone involved. How do I know? I was of the deluded though determined congregation that stormed the base. Our numbers were minuscule in comparison to those who had pledged their participation online, but still, we raided as a formidable army; hundreds sprinted collectively in a kind of mutually-shared mania. Our speeds, though impressive, did not surpass those of bullets.
The guards were posted in a perimeter around the base befitting any other military establishment. They hadn’t expected a serious effort, at least not one of our size, and when we approached en masse, bored, inexperienced, and sun-fatigued soldiers snapped to delayed attention as we beleaguered the compound. Some of us were immediately dispatched by on-site deterrents; buried proximity sensors activated anti-personnel turrets loaded with non-lethal rounds. Bodies fell in clusters, and a sizable portion of our admittedly pitiful army immediately turned back towards their vehicles.
Those of us that persisted, determined to uncover the secrets of that legendary base, continued the onslaught, armed with naught but our cameras, makeshift gadgets, and curiosity. I remember leaping over a fallen comrade, his eyes pouring tears, as he dabbed delicately with a napkin at large red mark on his forehead where he had been struck by one of the automated defense system’s pellets. The group-born energy was quickly depleted in the face of the base’s efficient weaponry.
By the time myself and others reached the actual fence that enclosed the base, the guards had taken up a position of suppression which would have easily been our doom, if some of us hadn’t anticipated such quick failure before we had even set foot on the actual grounds.
No one had brought weapons, so as to avoid being charged with any major felonies, though we had equipped ourselves with various devices which we believed to be inimical to the human psyche. Every manner of hypnotic and hallucinogenic construction was employed: devices meant to stun, disorientate, confuse and befuddle, hastily prepared and not-so-expertly used. Most of the guards targeted merely laughed, while others seemed to succumb, albeit minimally, to the desired effects. However, this momentary lapse in concentration and formation was all we needed, and our sheer numbers collided with theirs to our favor.
Upon breaching the perimeter fence a great, exultant roar could be heard, as our forces tasted a small yet totally unforeseen victory, and the guards who had been gatekeepers merely stood in disbelief. Though our numbers had been reduced to only a few dozen, we surged through the massive plot of land with as much fervor as before, and dispersed into smaller groups to cover more ground. My group, comprised of those who sought the answers to Roswellian mysteries and hoped to capture images of an extramundane nature, entered a long and seemingly spacious building to the east of the compound.
The building’s construction suggested use as a hangar for aircraft, and I’m sure you can guess what sort of aircraft we expected to find. More guards were present there, though we dispatched them without issue using our hypnotic gadgetry. Inside, though indeed a hangar, we found only the regular, mundane aerial vehicles of Earthen design.
We maintained radio contact with the other groups, and to our great disappointment, they reported similar failure in uncovering any extraterrestrial artifacts. Strangely, the group that believed the base housed non-alien yet equally preternatural objects or presences hadn’t reported their findings. My group unanimously agreed that this was troubling, due to that group containing the hardiest and most devoted of our congregation. We set out to find the silent detachment—a flame of interest reignited within us.
By then our numbers had dwindled to a fraction of what had first entered, most of them having been detained or slain by the armed personnel who saw our ransacking and loitering as troublesome enough to warrant serious retaliation. Gunfire was heard, blood was smelled, and screams were unnervingly cut short all around us.
My group came across a duo of rather trigger-happy guards who had just neutralized an entire gang of truth-seekers, and if it hadn’t been for the sacrifice of a brave inquisitor, we all would have fallen. He charged at the guards, tackling them to the ground, allowing for us to escape into an unmarked building whose stairs led into the earth. Behind us we heard struggling and then the report of a rifle.
The building’s stairs led down for a great distance, and though I was never particularly good with determining geographical scale, I am at least certain that our descent measured a mile, perhaps more. Concrete walls and stairs descended interminably; the passageway illumined at intervals by simple bulbs that dangled from chains affixed to the ceiling. We grew weary despite the downward trek, and two members fell from exhaustion; when we turned to help them up, they demanded we continue on.
Eventually, we arrived at a large metal door, with a simple crank serving as a knob. I turned the crank, and after a strenuous effort managed to open the door, which revealed a massive, dimly-lit room whose walls were lined with humming machinery. I recognized none of the devices and terminals that littered the room, nor did my companions, and most of what we saw seemed to be of a technological order several years beyond anything of our time. The room was a gallery of super-scientific design.
In the center of the room was a raised, square black pad, about 12×12 feet, slightly bigger than a bedroom, with a metal podium linked to machinery nearby. A sort of lamp hung over the platform, and a network of thick wiring and tubing led from the space into the unlit recesses of the room. Despite the ostensibly inert state of the machinery, we heard and felt a consistent vibration emanate from the construction; a power of some kind that flowed to or from the weird platform.
As we circled the thing, examining the various aspects of it which I’ve related here, we at one point heard gunfire from the stairway we had left, and, subsequently, the agonized cries of the exhausted couple therein. Our awe-struck examinations turned to panicked, frantic searching, as we looked for some manner of defense from the attackers, or escape from the room. No doors could be found, and the only items capable of being weaponized were several steel chairs placed before the bizarre machinery.
Doubting our success against military combatants, I decided to try and make use of the focal pad. I’d seen enough science fiction media to speculate that its use was of a transportive nature. Intuition and common sense allowed me to activate the machine to some degree, and the pad’s overhanging lamp glowed hotly above us. Still determined to fight off the guards with chairs, my companions gathered at the door and attempted to bar it with a chair leg, leaving me to operate the machine.
After a series of button presses of no particular order, the pad began emitting a low yet powerful hum, and a digital display on the podium began counting down from thirty. A small screen to the left of this displayed a series of numbers which obviously pertained to date, and without needing a second of self-reassurance, I plotted a temporal location considerably before the current date. I practically leapt onto the pad, and just as I felt the vibrations and strange, inexpressible pulsations overcome my body, I saw the door-defending group blown back by some explosive device.
What happened next, I cannot accurately describe. There was the sensation of dematerialization, of atomical destruction and subsequent reformation, and then a transference of form not across a physical distance but through some more abstract, illimitable expanse, as if I were blasted to particles and my constituent debris remade elsewhere among a wholly different sphere of existence. I do not know if it was through time or reality I traveled; if my instantaneous voyage was one of chronological reversal, or if I had been admitted to a reality where the entity resembling myself had not yet embarked on that ill-fated assault.
If this is truly my original world, and I’ve defied the once irreversible current of time, then I can only warn you all of what will happen if you attend that stupid, perilous storm. If the machine’s purpose is of an arguably grander nature and I’ve been cast into mirrored realm of my own, then my admonishment still stands.
I’m not sure what to make of things. I feel as if I’ve merely been given a second chance in my own timeline, however, there are certain things which puzzle about this place. Namely, how no one in this realm seems to have heard of the recently-declassified lunar compound that our group planned to siege after area 51, where the secrets of the extinct antehuman Lizardmen are rumored to be kept.
Despite what had happened during the first raid, I chose to return and hopefully uncover any overlooked secrets—now that I knew there was a method of returning back in time, or at least to another reality in which the raid hadn’t yet taken place. This time, the siege went mostly the same. Thousands charged, sprinting as fast as they could manage, arms thrown back so as to achieve speeds far greater than the typical style of running. The automated defense systems spat nonlethal rounds and expelled noxious gases, decimating our numbers and sending fractured groups fleeing away.
The devices we had used during the first raid—handcrafted hypnotic devices and hallucinogenic elements—had the expected success rates, though this time a few chargers brought other, more dangerous tools. As I ran towards a noticeably unguarded section of the perimeter fence, a shadow fell over me, and upon looking up I saw a man soaring through the air, his arms outstretched as if truly flying. I looked back and saw that among the horde were actual medieval siege engines. Catapults and trebuchets, ballista and battering anchors built and placed atop low-roofed vehicles, which slowly drove towards the gates.
The guards, having spotted the vehicles of war and the wild men launched by them, began assembling in defensive formations and firing upon the vehicles. Despite our reduced numbers, the sheer amount still present thronged about the gates, overwhelming the comparatively small assembly of soldiers, and after suffering only a few casualties and the destruction of one engine, we, at last, entered the grounds of that enigmatic base.
This is where the story differs, greatly. The group with which I had splintered during my previous raid was mostly the same, though the two members who had fallen during the stairway descent were not among us this time. In their place was a man dressed in what could best be described as civilian-tier combat gear. It hadn’t the tactical aspects that would suggest military issue, but still seemed to be of a functionally useful nature. He hadn’t disclosed to us what he held in the various pockets of his attire, but he did assume a position of leadership among us, and directed us towards a squat, dome-capped building in the rear of the compound; far away from the building that housed the teleportation device I had used.
We sprinted past small skirmishes, narrowly avoiding the unpredictable firing of crazed guards as they tried to combat the deluge of wild truth-seekers. In the chaos of the day, morality seemed to have been abandoned; despite our lack of arms, the guards fired at non-combative groups, even some who had turned away to flee. Whatever secrets the base kept; they were apparently worth killing for. When we arrived at our destination the self-assumed leader had us wait in hiding while he attempted to unlock the door, which had a keypad affixed to paneling at its side.
As we waited, the six of us, we heard strange sounds echo in the distance, and amidst the smoke and battle-thrown sand currents I saw strange shapes skulk about, though the specific details of their forms were hidden by the enshrouding plumes. The leader called us back, returned a hacking device of some sort to a pouch at his belt, and together we entered the mysterious building. The interior was brightly lit, and the metallic sheen of the equipment and machinery made me dizzy for a short while before my eyes managed to adjust.
Unlike the machinery of the building I had entered during my ill-fated past raid, everything here was recognizable, and their purposes were plainly obvious; computer terminals and lab equipment, mostly. It was a room for scientific study, of a specifically biological nature. The objects of study, however, were far from familiar. “Dear God!” said someone beside me. “I don’t think God had anything to do with the creation of these things.” responded our leader. In sophisticated cells thickly glassed and reinforced by even thicker steel, were massive, unmistakably alien creatures. There were three, each contained within their own cell. They appeared to be in some sort of stasis; standing erect yet completely still.
Three eyes sat deep within a round, nose-less face, aligned in a distinctly triangular arrangement above a closed, thin-lipped mouth. There were no discernible ears, and their large heads were hairless. Faint, purplish skin was stretched across a tall, gaunt body, and a slight translucency of the skin showed a complex vascular system beneath the topmost dermis. A network of blue and pink veins spread through its six limbs; two long primary arms laid at its sides, while two smaller, vestigial appendages were curled against its chest. Its hands were balled into fists, preventing a count of its fingers
Multi-jointed legs the length of our entire bodies held the beings upright, and ended in odd, squarish feet that resembled hooves; though lacking the mammalian aspects of hair or keratin. “I can’t believe it, they’re actually real!” The woman who had spoken walked towards the middle cell, totally awed by the extramundane trio. The rest of us followed, careful to not bump anything that could awaken the dormant extraterrestrials.
The sound of gunfire had died down, but the other sounds of ransacking, doors being thrust open, and shouts of surprise all persisted, and I assumed our forces had completely taken the base. We had time to breathe, but knowing the US Military, we didn’t have much before a formidable attempt to reclaim to the base was enacted.
As we studied the creatures, noting various, more intimate features such as small elevations of the skin under which ribs would be encased in a human, I couldn’t help but feel that something was wrong. It was an inexplicable sense of unease, as if the advent of a vague horror loomed. It hadn’t been the anticipation of the impending military action, nor the finding of the aliens—they were, for the moment, harmless.
After minutes of study, when not much else could be learned from mere visual observation, we tried to access the data on the computers. Password protection locked them all, so our leader once again set to hacking. I was the only one who had heard the door close and lock behind us. I called out to our leader, who ceased his efforts and ran to the door. Before he could connect his device to the access panel a bulkhead slammed down, nearly crushing him.
All the monitors in the room turned off, and the lights switched from their once blinding intensity to a dull red. An automated voice, vaguely female, announced that containment had been breached and sterilization procedures were underway. A man, dressed in an MMA t-shirt, khaki shorts, and holding an energy drink, shouted at the repeating message to stop and let us out. When his demands were ignored—as they obviously would be—he began pounding on the bulkhead.
As his fists collided with the steel, I heard something stir in the room. I first glanced to the monitors, thinking they had turned back on, but I was met with the same black screens as before. It wasn’t until I had looked everywhere else that my eyes landed on those three cells, in which the aliens slept; ignorant to our presence. At least, until the man who at one pointed shouted, “Kyle wants outta here!” started his tantrum.
The alien in the rightmost cell shivered, as if blasted with cold air. Its eyes flickered, and its mouth opened and shut spasmodically. If it were human, I would’ve guessed that it had been having a seizure. Its hands unclenched, revealing three thick, pointed fingers ending in talon-like protrusions. I called out to Kyle to stop his pounding, and brought everyone’s attention to the waking creature. Gasps were made all around, and a few curses as well. Kyle, hopped up on whatever liquid energy he had been drinking, strode over to the cell.
“Bro, this thing is waking up.” An educated man he was, and as the creature’s eyes ceased their flickering and the tri-numbered gaze landed on him, he chugged the rest of his drink and began a clumsy dialogue with the being. “Hey man, we uh, came to check you out. Uh, see what they were hiding. And it’s you! Haha, yeah.” The alien merely looked at the man, its face imparting no sense of hostility or even comprehension of Kyle’s nonsense.
“Hey, how do we let you out?” Kyle gestured to the cell, and pantomimed various ways in which he thought it could be opened. The alien, finally understanding, pointed a talon at a terminal a few feet away. Kyle motioned for the leader to come over, who approached hesitantly but did not unpack his tools. “Are you sure this is a good idea? That thing doesn’t look very friendly.” The leader’s words were true enough, and I saw on the faces of our companions that they felt the same. We had come to find aliens, sure. But this colossal being didn’t exactly look like something you’d want to have walking around.
Kyle, not at all perturbed by the creature’s menacing stature, goaded the leader on, while calling us a vulgar word that in its derogatory vein meant coward. The leader eventually gave in and attempted to access the terminal. After a series of button presses and dial shifting, he informed us that he couldn’t gain access, to our secret relief. Kyle, on the other hand, expressed his dissatisfaction loudly, as would a child denied some toy.
“Sorry, bro. We can’t get to the controls. Do you know how?” The alien glared at Kyle and raised its hand. He closed his three fingers so they formed a point, aiming it at Kyle. When the fingers were opened, Kyle jerked as if seized by some invisible force, and began hovering a few feet from the floor. Corresponding with a movement of the alien’s hand, Kyle’s body hovered backwards towards us, and with the retraction of the guiding hand, he was thrown rapidly against the cell.
The psychokinetic puppetry continued, and Kyle’s screams halted as his body finally cracked the glass. Dead, yet still controlled, a final slam broke a large chunk of the cell’s front glass, and Kyle’s limp body was then tossed aside.
The alien stepped through the bloody threshold, stooping so as to avoid the jagged edges, and observed us with what appeared to be a grin of satisfaction. “Oh, shit,” I spoke this time, and the leader, who was closest to the self-freed specimen, concurred with my statement with his own expletive. We all backed away slowly, though our retreat was mostly an instinctual action; we still had no way of getting through the bulkhead that sealed the room.
I hadn’t come back just to die, so without any options of retreat and no chance of defending ourselves in combat against the towering horror, I raised up my hands in what I hoped would be recognized as a sign of peace. The alien mimicked my gesture, and for a second I was filled with a sense of relief. Only a second, because an act of ultra-violence followed his beguiling mimicry.
He again closed his hands and pointed them in the deadly way which indicated the use of his telekinetic abilities, and before I could even think, two of our group were seized by intangible tethers and slammed against the two unopened cells. Back and forth their bodies flew, until only bloodied masses remained. When the cells were finally opened, the alien tossed the remaining clumps of flesh at opposite walls; cratering the concrete.
It then put the tips of its pointed hands together, closed its eyes, and began emitting a deep hum. A violet aura emanated from its body, which mixed with the containment procedure’s red light to fill the room in a magenta haze. On each side of it, the aliens in the newly-broken cells awoke, and exited their cages. The first alien stopped the action that had aroused its brethren from their slumber. The remaining members of our group—myself, leader, and a couple that cowered under the table—couldn’t have hoped to stand against the otherworldly beings, if I hadn’t been inspired by Kyle’s brash ways.
I grabbed a metal chair from one of the tables near me and without voicing my plan, tossed it at the aliens. As I had hoped, it was caught, suspended in mid-air by their powers, and after what I swear was a chuckle, tossed back with astounding force. I barely managed to dodge the projectile, which collided with and destroyed a portion of the wall behind us. Daylight flooded the room. The leader, who had been standing fear-struck the entire time, turned to me in wide-eyed surprise. I shouted at him and the hiding duo to run, and we all sprinted through the hole.
As I ran, I made sure to zig-zag and turn around corners, hoping that by breaking line of sight, the aliens wouldn’t be able to use their abilities on me. I shouted to my companions to do the same, despite my lack of certainty on the tactic. The base was in a state of severe disarray, with various sirens blaring as crowds surged throughout the campus. I saw people running with strange objects that I assumed were alien weaponry, while others rode gleefully atop wheel-less, hovering vehicles of alien design. We had claimed the base and plundered its bounty, but some secrets may not have been worth uncovering.
I glanced back and saw that we had not been pursued by the released captives. I tried to warn people of their escape, even grabbing random raiders as they ran by, but no one paid attention and went about their personal businesses. It was total chaos. It was only then that I noticed my companions had all dispersed, and I was alone in the madness. Other groups ran by, oblivious to the impending threat, but I didn’t want to link up only to be led to some other doom.
I decided that this attempt was a complete failure. When the military arrived, if they didn’t just start shooting the looters without discretion, they would probably start a battle with the aliens. As cool as it would be to see, I didn’t want to be around when bullets and lasers—or whatever the aliens shot—started flying. My only recourse was to go back—to use the machine I had stumbled upon during my first siege.
I ran towards the building in which it was housed, all the while dodging the flying vehicles that sped around the compound, and the sometimes-impassible hordes of people that still loitered around the general grounds. After several minutes I found it, and descended the massive stairs. I arrived at the door, opened it, and sped into the room towards the machine. I did the same series of actions that I had done before, and the machine started up with the same vibratory hums and pulsations that I remembered. I stepped on the pad, relieved that the nightmare would soon be over.
Just as the strange teleportational forces washed over my body, another sensation seized me, and I felt a crushing pressure overwhelm me. I was frozen in place, held by some unyielding, unseen grasp. To my horror, I saw a shadow fall upon the stairs, and a figure stepped through the doorway. The alien stood before me; its hand pointed. My assumption that it required sight of me to use its powers was proven false. It retracted its hand, meaning to pull me from the pad, but the machine’s gravity contested it.
The dual work of forces was agonizing, but I silently thanked the machine for its powerful hold on me. Just as I felt myself slipping into unconsciousness from the terrible pain, darkness overcame me and I was again cast into that illimitable gulf of black, and then subjected to the paroxysm-inducing violence of temporal and dimensional travel.
I came to cleared consciousness at my bed. I checked the date and sighed in great relief; I had returned once again to the past, well before the September storming of the raid. I stood and was about to go for a walk to clear the residual unease, but a scene flashed within my mind. I saw the alien that had followed me down into the room from which I teleported. It wasn’t doing anything, merely standing and staring at the pad, but something about its manner made me afraid. My mind then cleared and the scene faded away.
I shook away the image, chalking it up to trauma, and continued on. Before I could leave my room I was beset by another series of images. Area 51 was a flaming graveyard. Its buildings were smashed and lay in crumbled heaps, some littered with bodies, while massive conflagrations burned within others. Tanks, Humvees, and other vehicles were crushed into masses of crumpled metal, or upturned and inoperable. Great piles of civilians and military personnel were stacked throughout the destruction. Night had come, and though the blazes illuminated only some of the carnage, I could tell that not a single human remained alive.
The vision changed, and I was shown the teleporter’s room. In it stood the three released aliens, surrounded by other beings of a somewhat similar morphology and color; though smaller and lacking the same number of appendages. The leading three stood before the pad and performed the same behavior that their leader had done to wake them from their stasis. I saw the pad glow, and even heard its signature hum.
A terror overcame me, and the vision ceased. I felt tears slide my cheeks. They were coming. They’re obviously intelligent, perhaps far more than the smartest people of our species. I don’t know if they can read our symbols, but I doubt they would need to operate the device by its intended mechanisms. Judging by the visions, I think some sort of space-time-transcending link had been established between myself and the alien when he had tried to seize me during transportation.
They hadn’t yet arrived, which made me think they couldn’t transport directly to me without telling the machine to do so. Despite their apparent inability to read our language and symbols, something tells me that such things won’t be an impenetrable barrier to their success. They’ll find me, I’m sure of it. My only hope is to return to the base, one last time, and try to undo all that I had done.
“One last time,” I told myself as stood beyond the base’s fence, while my fellow raiders surged throughout the compound, knocking over soldiers and thrusting open doors. I had yet again attended the siege of Area 51, though this time I neglected to associate myself with a raiding party. I would need to move alone, surreptitiously, if I was to complete my mission. I would also have to prevent the release of that damnable trio who had been unleashed upon the base during my last visit, and who had established some sinister, cross-cosmic link with my mind.
Our numbers seemed even greater, and the base’s meager assembly of soldiers—some of whom fought as if they had never seen true combat—only managed to resist the onslaught for a few minutes. After their forces fell, ours claimed the base and spread throughout its various buildings, searching for extra-solar visitors and artifacts.
My first destination, the building in which the dormant telekinesis-capable aliens were housed, was unmanned by any guard, and I waited in the shadows of a nearby building’s awning for the arrival of my past-group. It only took a few minutes for them to appear, and I saw the familiar faces of the one adorned in tactical gear that had named himself leader, the belligerent one called Kyle, and the unnamed others. A guard had fallen nearby, either dead or rendered unconscious, and it was from him that I had taken the rifle, which I aimed at the group preparing to enter the building.
“Do not open that door!” I shouted, voiced laden with authority, although I doubt I looked the part of someone fit for commanding others. They turned, weapon-less, and threw their hands in the air. I motioned for them to move away from the door. They complied, and I began marching them away from the structure. Before we had gone far, the leader put his hands down, and before I could question his sudden resistance, a blow struck me in the side; knocking me to the ground and the weapon away from my reach.
I turned, and before I could focus on my assailant, a boot came down hard on my stomach, and a knee followed—landing on my chest, ejecting the air from my lungs. A man, stout and dressed in what appeared to be an X-Files shirt and ripped jeans, squatted atop me. His fat, sweat-slick hands wrapped around my throat, and through his yellowed teeth he hissed, “traitor!”, while his eyes glared at me with a patently crazed intensity.
My vision went red, and the world around me seemed to grow dull, as if filtered through a crimson haze. As he strangled me, I remembered that I possessed those life-saving appendages known as arms, and with a weak strength tried to push the man away. My efforts were nothing against the weight that bore down upon me, and it seemed as if my death would not be at the hands of some hyper-cosmic being, but a fat, alien-hunting lunatic.
Just as I thought to accept my demise, a shot rang out, and the man that knelt on my chest fell away with a pained grunt. I scrambled to my feet, winding myself in the rapid ascension, and looked around for my savior. A soldier had his rifle raised, trained not on the shot man—who writhed in throes of agony on the ground—but on me, and with a fierce, commanding voice he said, “Leave, now. Or you’ll be next!” Before I could even think to protest, he sprinted off to deal with a large commotion to the east, in which several detonations of some kind had gone off.
Ignoring his orders, I scooped up the rifle and sprinted towards the building. The door was open, yet the inner door had been locked, and I surmised that the group had already entered. I banged on the door, demanding they leave the contained creatures alone and exit the building, but they either did not hear my shouting or chose to ignore it. I considered firing at the access panel, hoping it would somehow override the system and allow me passage, but before I could discharge a shot, I heard a heavy THUD, and an automated voice announced the initiation of containment protocols.
The bulkhead had descended and the room was totally locked. I swore, and exited the building. I knew the series of events that would be shortly underway, and without my presence there to facilitate their escape, those within would surely die some gruesome death at the hands of the freed aliens. There was nothing I could do from outside, and I hadn’t come all this way just to restart yet again by means of the time-teleportation machine. I needed to find another way to end the madness, regardless of what it cost me.
I ran to a sort of courtyard in which several hundreds of the invaders had convened, and pushed by as they shared information and made plans of action to besiege buildings in which guards had fortified themselves. I ignored most of what had been said, and kept my head down so as to avoid drawing attention to myself, should someone recognize me as the girl who turned a gun on her own side.
As I passed through the throng, I heard a piece of information that made me stop in place, and listened intently. A woman had said that a building to the south had a sort of vault in it, and that nothing short of high-yield explosives could breach its thick, reinforced door. Those who listened deemed it a lost cause, and made plans to enter other, more easily-accessible areas, and the information was discarded from the group’s collective mind just as easily as it had entered. I, however, considered it very valuable information, and resolved to gain access to the stronghold.
I figured that whatever lay inside that nigh impenetrable vault may help me in undoing the mess of this raid, and stop the aliens who had most likely broken free of their confines. I hadn’t yet heard the screams or the mass stampede that would surely arise from contact with the three entities, but I didn’t want to stick around and see what happened.
I found the building the woman had mentioned, and agreed with her conjecture that it would take quite a sizable explosion to bypass the vault’s massive door. Its lock system seemed like something out of science fiction, with a massive rotating wheel and several smaller dials of unguessable purpose, along with several supplementary locks, a keypad, and a scanner of some sort. There were at least 500,000 people that stormed the base, and even if every single one had simultaneously launched themselves against the thing in a singular wave, it would not have budged an inch.
My problem of getting past the massive door was solved almost immediately, as if my unspoken prayers were heard and answered by some benevolent deity. A group of people had exited a hangar, riding on several alien vehicles similar to those I had seen during the last raid. Mounted on a few of the vehicles were two cannon-like armaments, and judging by the ease with which they blew through the hangar doors—and the opposite building’s wall, as the projectiles continued their aimed path—I speculated that concentrated fire from those weapons would punch through the vault’s door.
I hailed the riders and waved at the vault’s door. They sped towards me and, halting the vehicles to hover in place, fired at the impassible barrier. Three vehicles, each with two cannons, spat greenish, missile-like projectiles at the door, and after only a short volley the metal had been melted away, revealing a cavernous, unlit room. Just then, a scream rang out a few dozen meters away, and the riders shouted out their well-wishes and sped away. I was alone to uncover the mysteries of the vault.
The vault’s interior was unblemished by any sort of decoration or fixture, and not even the typical machinery I had come to expect was seen anywhere within. As I progressed into the darkness I noted a strange wetness to the atmosphere, and an accompanying smell that suggested the presence of a body of water, if not an entire aquatic ecosystem. A strange, yet potent observation, and despite the desert location, the air was thick with the olfactory elements typical to a water-based biome.
My passage into the greater darkness was at last met with a point of visible interest; a pool, set within the floor, and spanning the width of the building, sat before me. Its still, black waters revealed nothing, nor did they reflect my figure as I attempted to peer beneath its surface. With time dwindling and the destruction of the base by the hostile aliens imminent, I then acted somewhat impulsively; I fired a burst into the strange water, hoping to stir from dormancy whatever strange creature dwelt therein.
I half-expected a violent outburst; some aqua-alien, retaliatory being that breached the surface to see who had disturbed its slumber, but for a few moments after the shell casings stopped clinking against the ground, nothing happened. It was only when I considered firing once more that a change within the still waters occurred; a figure reared its head, and then shoulders, and then an entire upper torso cleared with water’s surface, and its almost human morphology was a welcome sight—though at the time, I knew not why.
“You took long enough.” The creature, though partially submerged in the water, was still noticeably short, standing no taller than five feet. It had three eyes, just as the malicious aliens had, yet the triangular formation of its visual organs was in an inverted order to those of the hostile beings; the tip of its triangle pointed down, whereas theirs pointed up.
I stood, utterly shocked at its appearance. I certainly hadn’t expected to be spoken to, especially not in such casual English. You seem surprised. Funny. Do you think they would have kept alien hostages for so long without establishing a means of communication? We were allowed to study your dictionaries, pour over your literature and scriptures until our grasp of your languages was as efficient as your most learned scholars. We know the cultures of your world as well as we do ours.
I realized I still had my weapon aimed at its general direction, and lowered it quickly. The creature hadn’t seemed to care either way, and continued its speech, still submerged in the black water. A few select members of my species arrived at your ever-contentious rock a few decades ago. I was part of the exploratory party that came to investigate whether or not you people had attained an echelon of civilization compatible with our own. If you had, we would have revealed ourselves, and suggested extragalactic trade between our species.”
I watched intently, and only after it had spoken for several sentences did I realize that its thin-lipped mouth never moved; its words were telepathically transmitted directly to my mind. We realized your species was still in its infancy and planned to depart—allowing you the necessary centuries to develop to a level with which we could adequately converse. However, we were captured, and in staying true to our inter-species interaction protocols, opted to allow our imprisonment. We could’ve easily broken free and annihilated your “Western Civilization”, as you’ve dubbed it.
We stayed true to our virtues, and decided to learn as much as we could from you humans, in the hopes that we would find some common ground on which to build a foundation of sentient cooperation. You and your people greatly value triumph over others, and my species have been the victors of countless struggles, well before the early creatures of your planet crawled from the primordial mire.
But, enough about us. You’ve come here to find answers, to see how you may end this horrible, repetitive nightmare. I am the last remaining member of the party that first descended upon your planet all those years ago. The rest of my people have, to put it in words you could understand, perished in experiments by your military, though their “souls” persist elsewhere. I’ve remained here, awaiting you. I’ve seen the future—mine, yours, and all who dwell within this sphere of causality—and have determined that only with my assistance may you end this tiring succession of events.
The alien then strode towards me, abandoning its lake-like home. It was similar to the aliens I had seen before, yet smaller, and without talons. It had three large fingers, without nails or any sort of protrusions. Its purplish skin radiated with a slight bio-luminescence, which was admittedly quite beautiful.
Allow me to take you to the room in which your destiny has been so troublesomely entangled. The alien then clasped its hands and a brilliant pink light filled the air. When my vision cleared, we had been transported to the room in which the time-teleportation machine had been housed. We were alone, and due to the alien’s almost magical relocation of our forms, the door hadn’t been bothered. I ran to it, made sure that it its lock was secured, and sat against its cold steel surface. For once, I was not in a rush to do something.
The assisting alien looked upon me with the same smiling demeanor as a parent would a child, and I felt a fleeting feeling of shame. My human inclination to ensure that a door was properly secured was most likely a whimsical thing to beings that could trans-locate by mere thought. Having caught my breath and accepted his presence as benign, I questioned him as to how he knew of me, and my goals. His responses would’ve floored me, if I hadn’t already been seated on the ground.
Why do you think it was so easy to get in? You gave them two months’ notice, do you honestly think they wouldn’t prepare for such an event, and allow you to just storm in without taking advantage of the situation? They welcomed you. All along, you were meant to find all that you did. They orchestrated the siege, hyped it up, and placed all the secrets practically at the front door. It wouldn’t have taken more than a small military effort to deter the thousands of you, but they put on a show; killed a few of you, even, so that your victory seemed earned, felt real. It was all an experiment.
They bioengineered those things that have latched onto to your mind. When we were first captured, they extracted our DNA, tweaked it, weaponized it, and created those towering monsters—even providing them with the telekinetic abilities exclusive to my species. And, decades after stabilizing their creations, you all were the first combat test. The teleportation machine, as you’ve called it, is what they’ve dubbed a “reality splitter.”
Initially built to as a sort of super-sophisticated virtual reality projector, they found that with the inclusion of my species’ technology, the realities they fabricated could be made real, be given material substance, by projecting them into sort of pocket dimensions, the locations of which they discovered through our stellar cartography devices. You left your original timeline—to use your own terminology—and have been bouncing through duplicates, microcosms of your world, where events, people, and this base are as real as anything else.
Essentially, each time you activate the machine, you are creating a new domain, and populating it with live clones of everyone here. Even derivative reality splitters, though the one in your world is still the “master” device. Your government has created a world engine, and to every born world, you are God.
Using the data of these not so unreal simulations, the government will perfect their experiments, and use them as a spearhead for all offensive military operations. Imagine a world in which those creatures exist, your world, and the chaos that would follow. Once strong enough, smart enough, they could raze entire cities, destabilize entire civilizations in days. I’m not sure how many simulations the military expects, or needs, but in just the second one the creatures had destroyed this entire base and established a cognitive link with you that stretched through dimensions. They have proven themselves to be reality warpers.
My question for you is, what will you do now, knowing this? The only way to stop this nightmare is to return to your true timeline. I can show you how, and how to collapse all the others, thus destroying them entirely. You must then destroy the true base, killing the creatures, soldiers, and achieving the destruction of this machine. It’s genocide, of an unprecedented scale, but if you don’t act, if you simply let things play out, those abominations will eventually cast aside your government’s flimsy control of them and annihilate your species; I’m sure of it.
Time seemed to pause. I was at a total loss for words after the alien’s exposition, and if it had been spoken by anyone other than this undeniably extraterrestrial entity, I would’ve laughed in their face. As I digested the information, I came to realize that worry had grown within my core. Not for myself, nor for the countless sub-creations which must be destroyed if I hoped to end the cycle, but for this creature before me, who had allowed himself to remain captive for nearly a century.
If what he said was true, his consciousness, and all its derivatives that existed in the worlds created by the world engine would be eradicated, if I understood the convoluted machinations of the confounding machine. As if sensing my thoughts, the alien spoke: I have been dead for centuries, in thousands of realities and have yet to be born in countless others. The entity that I am, and the species from which I hail, are eternal, and as essential to this universe as the very atoms of which you are composed. I could not die, truly, even if I wanted to. Go, now. Be free of this dreadful causation.
The alien held out a hand towards me, as if pushing some invisible force, and before I could respond to its statement of immortality, I felt myself thrown through the immaterial sections of ultra-reality that separated my origin from its subsequent clones. Depth-less voids yawned before me and were subsequently left in an immeasurable distance as I sped through the higher cosmos, propelled by the forces of my newly-acquired alien companion. After a while, I found myself back at the base, in the room of the teleporter.
I knew it to be my own reality, the original place from which I had traveled, and resolved to complete the mission laid out by my otherworldly guide. It took a few minutes of fiddling with the machine’s controls to find out how to permanently collapse the realities I had foolishly created. With a hesitation born of empathy, I delayed in approving their destruction. I had created thinking, feeling beings, entire worlds, and wondered if I could truly live with the utter obliteration of uncountable lives.
It was only after the alien’s words had echoed in my head, as I stood before the control panel, that I resolved to finish what I had started. If I had relented, a multiverse’s worth of lives would’ve been subjected to the terror of those experimental creatures. I activated the termination sequence and ascended the stairs that led up to the upper grounds of the base. I then input the necessary commands to initiate the device’s self-destruction protocol, which, in theory, could obliterate the entire base. I gave myself ten minutes before activation, and in that timeframe, I’ve recorded this message and—using the machine one last time—passed it through a linear, non-divergent tunnel of space-time, which hopefully ends in the past of my respective timeline.
I’m sorry for all the trouble I’ve caused, the lives I’ve sacrificed during my selfish invasion of this base. To whoever receives this, forgive me. Do not participate in the raid, if its effort should ever come up again, or if, somehow, the base survives the destruction I’ve meant to inflict upon it.
If I fail, and the base continues to exist, rise up. They can’t stop all of us, and it will surely take every last person who has pledged their participation to stop the evil our military has created.
Credit: Bryce Simmons
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