Author: Toshihisa Nikaido

The woman jolted awake, surrounded by unfamiliar sterility. She didn’t know where or even who she was, until a cracked nametag dimly illuminated by a slit of light from across the room caught her attention—the letters “Ali” remained. She approached the faint glow, stepping on something sharp in the process. Her surroundings were too dark to determine what the item was or how badly her foot was injured, but she decided to pocket whatever she’d stepped on.

A heavy metal door slid open, revealing an endless corridor. One side boasted a spherical window showcasing an astonishing sight—Earth!

A noise rang from behind Ali. She spun, finding herself facing inhuman creatures looming from the depths of the dim halls. Fear consumed and paralyzed her.

“Remember your mission,” a voice echoed in her mind. “Our objective was to do a preliminary assessment of the planet and initiate the terraforming procedure.”

“You can’t do that,” Ali protested. “We’d all die.”

“Not us.” The alien’s appendage appeared to be gesturing toward Ali’s pocket.

Ali reached into her pocket and pulled out a small sharp object, the broken end of a nametag displaying the two letters “en.”