Author's Note: Holy shit! How long has it been? Wow! Do I have any readers left? I decided to add on because a reader added me to their favorite stories list. You should like this chapter! It's about why the homeworld left them stranded out there. In this story in 2009 Christopher Johnson is 56 years old. In this chapter I'm taking a step back to before the ship even left the docks, heading to the solar system. The only way humans will be involved is on a very general basis. A new character will be added: James. Yes, the cast will be getting larger. In this chapter even though Christopher and James would have different names being on their home planet I decided to stick with their Earth names because I just don't know what would be a good native name for them. Read and review!
Christopher didn't like the mission. If anything went wrong the whole ship could be stranded, or even destroyed. The elders were reaching over their heads with the well sought after prize. "Rizh, why did you recommend me for this mission? The plans for this trip are vague, it's fraught with danger."
"What is there to worry about?"
"It's illegal, it goes against the policies of the local galactic government. If something happens we would be caught and penalized in the best case scenario."
"The local galactic government has a policy against interacting with more primitive civilizations. We would be completely bypassing the inhabited planet. They don't even have the technology to detect a passing spacecraft."
"We would still be trespassing on restricted territory."
Rizh sighed. "Look, it's risky, but it's worth it. There is a huge deposit of the raw material for fuel on one of the moons orbiting the outermost gas giant. We could refine fuel that could last our world generations. It's worth the risk."
"What if something goes wrong? If it was in our galaxy retrieving a downed ship is easy, but not when it's two million light years away. Not only that, if we're stranded anything we do will gain the attention of the local galactic government which will take swift action. Even considering the material we would be able to refine the risk is still too great."
Rizh nodded, "it is risky, but the elders think it's worth it. They've already approved the mission. Christopher, you should go to make sure it's safe! You'll be a hero when you get back if all goes well and you can save everyone from destruction if something goes wrong! You know, I've pulled a lot of strings for you to get this opportunity. Sending a fresh graduate on such a high profile voyage is quite a risk in itself."
Christopher sighed, defeated. He was 25 years old and fresh out of engineering tech school. On his planet he was not one of the top ranking members who made the planet wide decisions. He was an engineer, responsible for maintaining stellar vessels and ensuring that they run at top efficiency. Christopher was always very serious, making sure everything went according to protocol. Rizh knew exactly what to say to encourage him to join this mission. Then again, he never guessed he would have been stranded on Earth for close to 30 years.
James whooped in the air, excited at the news. He was going to outer space! He grabbed the notice from the ship's manager and dashed down the street. Outer space! He was getting off this rock! He would be seeing stars unobscured by the atmosphere, by galactic haze. They would see aliens, real aliens as they travel outside of the bounds of their own sun and planets. He would be able to see something new and interesting every day instead of the same boring city he had been all his life. Not that there was anything wrong with his home planet. It was beautiful, ideal, pristine. Cities populated with millions dotted the surface of the giant continent while most of the surface was left for nature to maintain her own. Everything was clean, everyone healthy and happy, and it was BORING! James was fifteen, and he was tired of seeing the same streets, the same people, the same plants, the same sky. Everyone talked about the same thing, everyone ate the same kind of food and he was ready to jettison off the surface.
James would be a supervisor for the laborers on the ship. He would be making sure everyone was working together, motivated, and not slacking off. His education and job were basic, but the travel was what drew James in. They would not be stopping off at nearby planets for trade and resource gathering as they normally did. He was going to another galaxy, something that was very rare. He would be seeing species that weren't normally seen, visiting planets completely outside their local collection of worlds. Through gossip he learned that they were even breaking some laws to get to their destination. The leaders on his world made arrangements to trade some rare resources with the galaxy they were visiting. This was the excuse they used to give them access to the system they were going to. They were going to sneak into the system to get a rare resource, mine it, and then sneak out and then travel back to the home planet. It was dangerous, if they got caught they would not only lose the material they were mining but could possibly be banned from visiting the foreign galaxy again.
Not only that the local inhabited planet was populated by a strange species. The leader of the voyage recommended having no interaction with the local species. They were still developing and were just in the stages of working together despite different racial morphologies. They often shunned each other because of different skin color! They were still divided into nations and warred with each other over ideas, territories and resources. Having any interaction with them would only be hostile.
This voyage was going to be very exciting!
The trip would take only three weeks to reach their destination. Even though 2.5 earth years would be progressing outside since they were traveling past the speed of light time slowed down dramatically. The trade diversion in their trip would add a week. The layover they had at the Edui homeworld stuck with James for the rest of his life. This was exactly what he expected his travel to be like. The aliens were definitely novel. They spent their life in the ocean. The atmosphere of their space vessels consisted of salt water. When meeting aliens they went to the surface in bipedal suits to interact with air breathers. The market place was peopled by aliens far and wide from the local galaxy exchanging goods and bargaining for the best price. Some aliens were short and wispy, some were very hairy, brash and loud. One in particular that stuck to him was the Grweg. They were extremely tall, fifteen feet, and very lean. They were bipedal, but with a face stuck upon their neck stump with no discernable head. They had to kneel down to interact with any of the other aliens. James spent hours stalking them, watching them in amused wonder. He heard that the gravity on their planet was very low, allowing their form to grow so tall. They also had many species that were air born, which is why their heads were shrunken in to look at the sky with a better range. He wanted to stay there, stalking aliens and gawking in wonder at the diversity of different forms.
After a few days the Captain of the ship felt that the deceit had been performed well enough for them to set off for their new objective: Neptune.
The journey from Edui to the Earth solar system was only going to take a week, but disaster struck. Somehow, when they landed one of the officers contracted a virus. Before symptoms started manifesting it already started spreading from the officers across whole divisions. As they approached Neptune, the upper divisions started dying off. Nobody knew why by the laborers were unaffected. Maybe there was a slight genetic difference that the virus could attack in the upper strata members that the lower strata was immune to. Nobody knew if it was the air they were breathing, the water they took on board or the food they ate, but it killed every officer.
Christopher realized something was wrong when multiple people started getting sick at the same time. It seemed minor, but he instantly knew it was bad since it struck so many people. He did the only prudent thing he understood: he sealed himself up in a control module and severed the air supply. He was fortunate. The ship became crippled. Without officers controlling the ship systems it was dead in the water. Christopher could do nothing while the illness tried to take control of his body. Thankfully, since he secluded himself and cut himself away from outside systems he was not as exposed to the virus as the rest of the crew. After several days he recovered, as quickly as it struck it was gone.
Christopher tried to send out a distress signal to Ishven, 12 light years away. He was denied access. Before the captain died he disabled the distress call beacon. He decided that it was better for them to die then to expose their purpose to the local galactic government. There was not enough fuel to get them to another planet so Christopher had one option left: Earth.
The laborers grew frightened, restless when they found out all the officers were dead. The bodies were scattered across the ship. The workers were dependent upon the crew to monitor and operate the ship and without them there was fear they would not survive. Panic spread throughout the ship. James tried his best to encourage and calm his workers but they did not respect him. He may have been a supervisor, but he was too new to trust.
Christopher was able to restore vital functions of the ship and to get it to slowly move to Earth, but that was all he could manage. He was an engineer and did not have access to many of the most important systems. He tried bypassing them, but the security system kept him locked out. What could he do?
The workers were panicked, they feared that they were either going to die of starvation or get sucked into outer space. The ships resources of food and water dropped and chaos started spreading. As the ship limped over to Earth starvation started to set in.
The ship landed in the worst place on Earth, aside from the ocean. The frigid wasteland of Antartica would have been better then the turbulent country of South Africa. Had they landed in a more chaotic country, such as Sudan or Somalia the more developed countries would have transferred them to a more developed territory. But South Africa was on the chaotic cusp between developed and developing and was given full authority from more developed nations to handle the alien spacecraft as they saw fit. It was 1982 and South Africa still practiced a diabolical social structure that even the deep south of America swept away all legal remnants of in the 1960s: Apartheid. Separation of individuals in a society based on a chosen set of features.
Christopher separated the control center from the ship and buried it under the surface of District 9. After carefully concealing it from detection he went to look for shelter, food, water, the basics required for life. As he searched for resources for survival he found a species clearly not ready for an encounter from aliens. Every time he ran into a human he was met with screams, people would run away, or take on threatening postures. He was able to take over a shack and gather supplies by clearing out a supply store. Eventually he pieced together what the natives thought of the unfortunate landing.
They did not know whether to welcome the alien craft or to raise defenses in anticipation of an invasion. They decided to wait and respond in kind to whatever fashion the aliens greeted them. There was an expression of extreme hope and fear. Did they have revolutionary technologies that could take them to new worlds? Could they cure diseases? Were they immortal? Were they going to try to take over the world and enslave everyone? They were too primitive to see the simple truth: these aliens were nowhere near godlike, had no interest in destroying them, and were simply stranded. It took three months for the humans to figure it out and decide to take action.
The condition of the ship deteriorated quickly. The water supply and air circulation remained intact but food provisions ran out quickly. There was no way for the Poleepkwa to get to the surface below and could only wait for help. Since no help came they ended up fighting to survive. Starvation set in quickly, fights broke out over what little food rations were left and after three weeks people started dying. Desperate to survive those that did not starve turned to cannibalizing those who already died. After a few days the bodies became too putrid and toxic for consumption and some moved on to living targets. Aliens banded together in groups they could trust and looked for food, each other. If they could come upon a fresh body it was shared with the members, but if not they would set up traps or hunt for a target. The ship descended into hell where the only way to avoid death was eating a brother. Without the elite madness and chaos devoured the remaining workers.
James had to resort to eating his brothers himself. Thankfully he never had to kill anyone. But to be in a gang of 14 scavenging for a fresh body to fill up on, with some leaving to look for a stray Poleepkwa to feed on changed him. He felt guilt consume him, but he could only think about was survival. Survival was the only thing that mattered. For the rest of his life he would end up running, hiding, scavenging, scraping, apologizing, submitting to human torturers just to keep alive with no end in sight.
Eventually the humans realized that the aliens were not coming out with weapons loaded, or with open hands, nor was the vessel leaving. Weeks passed as the debate flew around the globe. Shared humanity tightened, questions were answered. There was indeed life on other planets, life advanced enough to travel through the great emptiness, and this raised more questions. If aliens had the means of getting to Earth why did they ignore Earth? Why did they not invade? Why did they not help? As debates on extraterrestrial intention grew more heated the decision was finally made: open the ship and find out what lay inside.
The world was horrified at what they found inside. The first thing they found was filth and bodies rotting away in the vast corridors and catacombs of the ship.
Note: I could go on and on, but let's see if you guys will be commenting on my work.