Before the Aftershock
Chapter 1 – The last meeting of The Council of Earth
We’ve waited forty-two years in the silence. The alien ship that was built for us, made to accommodate five thousand human lives, is now bursting with over ten thousand. We are on the verge of disaster. We cannot accommodate more people and, as I feared, too soon will come the day when oxygen and food we produce, will be insufficient for us all.
We are the elite of humankind. Generals, scientists, engineers, professors, scholars, all taught by the best that ever were on Earth.
Today, the last elder of The Council as perished. No one remains to uphold the old bargain. The Alien Council never said a word since we are here. Their scientists, along with a group of our best brains, had upon hands the humongous task of turning our planet, our beautiful Earth, into a living planet, so we all could live on it, in peace.
I fear we’ve been tricked! Over seven million other souls remained on Earth, the few who survived the Nightfall, the Twilight and the Invasion War. I fear this was nothing but a cunning plan to strip them of their leaders, sending them to this worthless council, in order to pursue the extermination of the human race. Their own forces were dwindling when we left. We had a chance. We decided to avoid another blood shed. We just as well killed seven millions souls with that choice.
Still, now we’re stoic on our resolution and, if there is one human survivor at Earth, only one, we will find him! We will rebuild our homes and, once again, strive and prosper.
At approximately six o’clock of the last day of this month, our orbital engines will be stopped and we will set course to land on Wien. A periodic communication will be sent from today on, in all frequencies. The Council of Earth will land on Wien on the 30th of April!
Jerzy Novak, New Prime-Minister of The Council of Earth – 14th of April 2052
Chapter 2 – The Rabbit Holes
Tetsumo Kobayiashi was a man with a lot of warfare stories to tell. The aliens knew him as Du’ab-te Likam, Deadly Human, for, under his command, thousands of aliens had been decimated. He had fought on all parts of the Earth. He was a skilful pilot and a sharp-shooting foot soldier and, in spite of his age nearing the seventy, he was in top physical shape.
The average living time of an human soldier in the front during the first phase of the Annexation Wars, prior to the The Last Hope Treaty (June 1st, 2008), was forty-two seconds. Kobayisahi has been on all fronts for the last forty-nine years. He was the morale, and the strength of the last survivors. Many saw him as a Messiah.
For Kobayiashi the treaty had been a scam, The Council of Earth had bought their lives with the lives of seven million. The aliens kept on moving to the last untouched regions of the planet, killing and destroying. Because of all the deadly spores spread during the Nightfall, the survivors decided to go underground, fearing another chemical strike. The “rabbit holes” were created using the old sewer systems as base for completely new cities, cloaked away from the aliens. These complex underground facilities accommodate weapon factories, mines, hospitals, even camouflaged airstrips.
Eleven years after the Nightfall a vaccine was discovered. With the population dwindling fast as the aliens started to discover the rabbit holes. The fast human reproduction became a huge advantage. The human females either were fighting, or giving birth. In the year 2014, General Kobayiashi conquered the first alien outpost in Jawa. The decision to take the war to the aliens, helped the proliferation of dozens of rabbit holes, for the invaders were occupied fighting this new insurgence, immune to their chemical warfare.
The plan had worked, but only to some extension. After forty-four years of struggle, human casualties were over four million. Still, the population topped twelve million; unfortunately, over six million were teenagers, two thirds of them less then fourteen years old. Kobayiashi’s fighting force was diminishing. Already, many sixteen year old boys were filling the gaps in the ranks.
The thought of having to use even younger boys in the future was eating his mind away but, for the time being, he had more pressing maters to attend. A large battalion of aliens had pinpointed a rabbit hole in New Zealand and were unloading a massive drilling machine. Kobayiashi usually came to this hole to rest, this time his plans had been foiled, and he was now concocting a way to pay the aliens back, when he was urgently called to the war room.
When Kobayiashi reached the war room, it was bursting with activity. Everybody was closely gathered around their radios and taking notes.
News from outside? – asked the General.
Sir, we’ve inconsistent reports from our scouts. – informed Colonel Figueroa
On the far side of the room, Lieutenant Maute was waving furiously. Short after, he added his shouting voice to his movements.
SIR. GENERAL SIR. YOU MUST EAR THIS. QUICKLY SIR, PLEASE!
Kobayiashi rushed to his Lt. and putted the headphones on. There was a little noise, but most of the words were clearly audible.
Rabbit 3 to Hole, I repeat! There are two groups fighting …ove the surface. The drilling machine was tak… …rocket fire, so has been a couple of alien transports. The …ing resumes in the surface. They both seem alien. – at this remark Kobayashi’s brain multiplied into various scenarios. What could it mean? Aliens fighting aliens? - …man troops involved. Impossible to precise, they are humanoid, that’s for sure!
The General must had heard wrong…He shouted.
REPEAT THE LAST COUPLE OF STATEMENTS RABBIT 3!
Human troops involved. …cise, they are humanoid, that’s for sure!
That was enough for Kobayiashi. He had to see for himself.
Colonel Figueroa prepare two battalions! We are going to surface!
Relying on the scout reports, they decided to surface in the back of the original invading aliens. The force was made out of two battalions of five hundred men, mostly armed with modified M4s. It was the first surface battle for many of them, so Kobayiashi decided that a cautious approach was the best way to play this battle.
After the smoke cleared a little, the first play opportunity came along. About 90 meters northwest of their position laid the debris of a fallen transporter, about 120 meters wide and 200 meters long, with a height of ten meters.
Colonel, take your men to that transporter. Eliminate all resistance and cover our progress from the top of the debris. – ordered the General, speaking and pointing at the same time.
With the main alien force concentrated on the unexpected assailants, Figueroa’s man took less then three minutes to clear the area and secure their positions.
It was a measly looking force. A part from their weapons, vests and boots, their clothes we’re stitched up rags upon stitched up rags. Still they stood high and proud. Most of them never knew peace on earth, so, for them, that was normality.
They were taking their first steps into North when the fighting stopped. The first thought that came to the General’s mind was that they had been tricked and were now facing an ambush. The smoke was now just a shallow fog and they could see the battlefield properly. It was filled with alien corpses, sometimes piled up in couples or more. They had been totally surprised and utterly, mercilessly, eliminated.
They could see the silhouettes of their unexpected allies, thousands over thousands. A small group looked human, the remaining force looked alien. How could it be? The doubt was inside the head of all Kobayiashi’s men. Both forces were about 300 meters apart, well within sniper range, when a group of unidentified soldiers began to move right into the General’s direction. Everybody stood in guard following Tetsumo’s gesture. He then picked up his radio and called upon Figueroa.
It’s a group of five humans, Sir. Very well armored and equipped with alien weaponry. They are moving with the weapons above their heads. They clearly seem to want to talk.
When they were about four meters away from the General’s position, he ordered them to halt. They wore an amazing armor, which caused the many of the soldiers to gasp in pure awe. They seemed to be dressed in blue rock. Kobayiashi had only seem that kind of armor in the hands of the leaders of the alien army. He suddenly felt very curious.
Name and rank soldier. – he asked.
Jack MacKinnon, Sir! The men call me “The Ghost”. – he added with a broad smile and a wink
The Ghost? Tetsumo had heard of him many times. He was the grandson of Roderick MacKinnon, one of the scientists the council had left behind to, supposedly, work with the aliens. After his grandfather and his parents were killed, he was taken as a slave worker for some alien big shot. The legend, for he, like Kobayiashi himself, was a true legend, said that he managed to escaped, rally a small army, and has been freeing slaves and prisoners ever since. The General wished he had time to unravel the whole mystery. After a short silence, he finally admitted:
I’ve heard many stories about you and your men. – he said, offering no visible emotions.
Good ones I hope! – Tetsumo gave a sympathetic smile.
First of all I must thank you for your intervention. Second, what brings you here? And who are those unexpected allies?
Sir, we are here because there is hope. I bring you Prince Adu’op Kjlok of the Huikam!
Chapter 3 – A new hope
Always untrusting, Kobayashi allowed a meeting between the three, him, Ghost, and the Prince, but first decided to disarm the whole contingent. The next day they met in the war room. They sat facing each other, him and the Prince, with Ghost sitting next to the alien leader. Prince Adu’op was a creepy figure. His milky skin, almost transparent, was the complete opposite of his large dark eyes, fully opaque. He whore a yellow robe, which covered his clay-red armor. He spoke in a very strange manner, metallic, melodic, very high pitched, although, completely comprehensive.
Statement. Greeting: Greetings, General Tetsumo Kobayiashi. I am honored by your presence. Statement. Information: My son Gha’hi… – said the Prince pointing out to Ghost.
Your son? – asked the General, a bit perplexed.
Statement. Correction: My adoptive son. Statement. Apologize; Information: I’m sorry, we don’t use that word. Not all of us are viviparous, only royalty. The remaining populace is grown in-vitro, where they are conditioned to become whatever suits our needs the most. We don’t have adoptions of any kind.
Thank you for the enlightenment. – replied the General, twitching uncomfortably in his chair. – What brings you to our assistance? What is that you need from us?
These were the questions he really wanted answers for. He couldn’t care less about adoptions or the twisted alien society.
Statement. Explanation: My brother, Sels’op Jium, Great Commander of the Huikam Armies, betrayed me! Earth lives in a communications’ cocoon for the last fifty years. That’s why all your satellites don’t work anymore. They cannot receive any transmission. That’s why you cannot contact your leaders. That’s why I cannot contact my father, the King.
Ghost made a gesture to the prince and spoke some strange words, incomprehensive to Kobayiashi. Ghost could clearly speak their language, Tetsumo thought. Then he turned himself to the General, and took over the conversation.
General, after the Last Hope Treaty, there was a rebellion within the alien forces. Sels’op knew that the gross of the army was conditioned to obey him, and only him. Sels’op was not in the best of graces with his lordship, King Skhiam’op, and he thought he could regain them by hasting the conquer of the planet, disregarding the sluggish plan of turning it into a living planet like Hui, the Huikam home planet. So, he imprisoned Adu’op, and killed all the scientists, including the human ones. Their families were made slaves in the mothership, back on Texas. That’s were I met Adu’op. – finished Ghost, sharing eyes with the prince.
Statement. Information: My brother stands in a cross-road. He cannot call home for reinforcements, only I can do that, that’s why he kept me alive all these years. When my spies got hold of the information that he wished to use me for that purpose soon, me and my son, made arrangements for my escape. The army I brought here today is only a part of my total personal force. There are still two barracks filled with hibernating soldiers. They are conditioned to obey only me. We only stand a chance against my brother if we managed to release them. It has been told that the General has the means to such an endeavour. – Adu’op stopped and gazed deeply on Kobayiashi, waiting for an answer, which came shortly after.
It seemed too desperate to be a trick, after all, he had four hundred thousand unarmed, unarmored aliens in his grasp. He could wipe them out with a single order. He would play along.
How many soldiers are we talking of? – asked eagerly.
Statement. Information: Six elite battalions, from my father’s personal guard. I would estimate, at least six hundred thousand.
Four days after he was leading an infiltration force in Texas. Adu’on and Ghost knew their whereabouts so well, that the operation only suffered one casualty. They also found a trapped communication in the main frame. The Council of Earth, which Kobayiashi thought had fled to a distant galaxy, was returning, and the aliens already had set in motion an operation to take them down after they crossed the atmosphere. The aliens inability to be creative, prompted the General into believing fully in that transmission.
- So, the Council didn’t abandon us… - Kobayiashi mused to himself, suddenly feeling a deep regret, for believing otherwise all those years. We would do everything in his power to save those men and women.
Ten days later he was leading an army of over three million men, machine and aircraft, towards Wien, all the men that him, Ghost and Adu’op could muster. The Council of Earth’s ship had to survive at all costs and the people needed to be rescued and taken to a safe hole. Inside that ship lived engineers, scientists, free thinkers, the basilar stones needed to establish a new order.
At 03:00 hours of the 30th of April, 2052, an Allied fighter squadron engaged an Alien squadron trying to shoot down the Council’s ship. The War of Dawn had started!