Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer
The ship had stopped in between Earth and the moon, twinkling like a massive cathedral made of glass and crystal. No shockwave or energy point. It was just suddenly there.
Our Earth defenses reacted immediately. The defenses of the asteroid belt and Mars rendezvoused with us around the alien craft.
We surrounded it, pointed weapons at it, and screamed orders at it to stay still and be calm. It didn’t react. It was hard to tell if it was following our orders, if it was truly dead in the water, or if it had even heard us at all.
The world was watching and the space defense forces of three solar governments were bristling with fear in a pinpointed sphere of death around it.
I was sent to take a look.
I had no need to storm an airlock because there were vast open portals in the sides of the ship. I thumbed my jets on my suit forward, nosing my way cautiously into the interior of the ship.
The ship appeared to only exist when light was hitting it. The hull and interior were only visible when the light of the sun or my suit’s flashlights played across it. Anything not being illuminated was transparent to the point of not existing.
The ship was half here and half not here. What I could see of the ship looked like ice or clear glass but when I reached out to touch it, my finger slid off of it. Completely frictionless.
According to our sensors, it didn’t have any mass. Obviously impossible yet here I was.
Movement caught my eye and I snapped my weapon up.
I saw the crew.
Odd, transparent, segmented snake-like creatures that flowered into an ornate nest of tentacles halfway up. They had the same properties as the ship itself, completely disappearing when in shadow. It was hard to tell if they were manufactured out of the same material as the ship or if they were merely in the same state of existence.
One thing was for sure; they were reacting to an emergency. I couldn’t detect any visible damage but the creatures were running around in what looked like panic even though they were ignoring me completely.
My headlamps were bringing the chaos into sharp relief. I wasn’t even sure if they could see me. They made no effort to avoid me yet somehow they never collided with me.
This looked like a cockpit of some kind but from what I could see through the translucent walls, the same activity was taking place in similar rooms. I couldn’t detect a central engine or chain of command.
Experimenting, I turned off my head lights and spun slowly to look behind me.
Lit by the sun from behind, my long shadow was a perfect me-shaped hole in the floor with only the depths of space staring back at me. I nudged down towards it and dipped a toe into the hole.
And my toe went through the floor.
I recoiled. “I’m leaving the ship!” I said into my comm. I couldn’t help thinking about drifting through a wall only to have the light change its angle when I was halfway through and trap me there.
Another part of me did not want to be aboard when the aliens fixed the problem.
I needed to leave. The ship didn’t appear to be a threat. It was just stranded.
I left the ship and angled back to my waiting defense craft to debrief.
I was going to recommend leaving it alone.
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