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When the Stars are Right

Water plummeted down from the sky as it had done the last six months; billions and billions of big drops, all across the planet called Earth. Ricky swiped his hand across the scanner as he got out of the cab, letting the microchip pay for him. He’d hated the thought of it at first, but now he had come to love it; physical money was not only going out of style, it was practically spit upon these days.
  Ricky put his hand down in his bag, feeling around for the small stick which fit perfectly in his hand. It was still quite the walk to his office, and he didn’t like to get wet. He took what looked like a metal stick out of the bag and activated it; the force-field was turned on, almost sealing him away from the outside world. One could use this as a shield, a vest or an umbrella. Since he rarely got into fights, Ricky enjoyed using it as the latter.
  He walked closer to the building, then took a left into an alley. It was dark, but not dirty. They’d have to do something about that, if they wanted to stay hidden. There had been too much jumping around for his tastes; right now, he just wanted to finish this. And, from the message he had gotten this morning, that was exactly what they were close to doing.
  Ricky swiped his hand across a tiny, tiny hole in the wall. The scanner sensed his microchip and opened the door. He looked overhead, up into the sky where vast and pitch black clouds were sliding, moving with ease, even without any gust of wind. The clouds themselves were tentacled, ending up in a “body” of sorts; they looked like warped versions of giant squids. Ricky was worried; they might have a chance at beating this thing, especially if they had a break in the case, but he didn’t think it mattered any more. Too much time had passed. Too much rain had fallen. They were already too late.

Ricky stepped into the elevator, which closed automatically behind him, then went down into the base which Marney had kept secret for over twenty years. Ricky still remembered the first time he had been down here. He grinned at the memory; it wasn’t worth smiling any more. When you had something to be glad for, to hold on to, you had to grin. Taking the good with the bad was no longer an option. There was too much bad, and not enough good.

Marney was sitting in a chair in the “room of detecting”, as she herself had dubbed it. She was throwing a Wilson A1030 baseball with a cork center and full grain leather, from hand to hand. It looked as she was in deep thought, but anyone who really knew her would’ve known that she was bored out of her mind. She was waiting for someone; someone who’d be able to get the case moving forward, to make sense of it all. She was stuck on a dead-end right now, and she really, really needed to get out. For the good of the Earth.

Far, far above Marney, in her secret base, and Ricky, heading down to her, above the city, the mountains, the atmosphere and the planet sat Loye, Captain of a Sonas Class 9 ship. She was waiting patiently on a message; a message that she’d picked up six entire galaxies away. She did not know if the human race had developed the technology to send such a message, but she didn’t think they would’ve been able to send it so far. Her commanding officer had agreed and, with a little help from the Elders, she had gone out with her crew, tracking it, trying to decipher it. It had been around six months, Earth time, since she’d picked up the message. It was getting ever stronger. She wondered if she was about to get some answers soon.
  She was.

Ricky stepped out of the elevator. “Marney! What’chu got for me?” he uttered the moment the elevator door slipped open. “You remember what we found in the Pacific Ocean?”, Marney answered, as Ricky deactivated his forcefield, took of his jacket, put his bag down, and eventually sat down. “Yeah, sure, what about them?” he said, still in the process of doing said things. “Well, they’re growing stronger every day. But that’s not all. It looks like we have visitors.” Marney, having not moved from the control chair, flicked her fingers, thus bringing up the video feed from the satellite she’d hacked into. Ricky’s jaw opened wide, as if he was a baby waiting for the food train. He would later remember thinking that if there had ever been a moment of his life where his jaw had been on the floor, this was it.
  What he saw was a spaceship.

Ricky dumped down into the sofa behind the control chair which Marney was currently sitting in. “No one else knows about this?” he asked Marney. “Nope. No one’s picked it up yet. I’ve made sort of a “blind spot” where the spaceship is with the other satellites. We’re the only ones getting this image as of now.” “Prob’ly for the best” Ricky answered. “What are we going to do?” Marney continued, looking over her shoulder. “Contact it?” “Yes.”, Ricky answered. It was the only thing they could do, really. “Remember the Christmas Tree-case?” Ricky continued. Marney nodded; it was going to be long time till she forgot that disaster. “We need to do the exact opposite of it. I’m willing to bet my life on the fact that the ones up in that spaceship has way, way better software than we have. If we play this right, we can pull this as the ‘bait and switch’ of the Atlantis Operation.” Marney thought this to be an excellent plan, and she started setting up a contact service running with her computer, aided by the super-computer she’d built by herself in this very safe house, and through the satellite. It would’ve worked too, if it hadn’t been for those meddling government agents, who had picked this exact day to follow Ricky walking to the hideout.

Loye had almost fallen asleep when something on the dashboard blinked; a lamp of sorts. She tapped it twice, and the hologram-screen showed up. “Finally”, she muttered. “Something’s happening.” The screen showed a bunker of some sorts, with a lot of men dressed in black, with some tool on their head, holding what she knew where Earth weapons. A woman and a man stood inside a room made of glass. A message came up, written in English. Loye was suddenly glad that she hadn’t dropped the course she’d had, oh, three hundred years ago, though she was a bit rusty, had to admit that. The message said; “Here’s our data. Hope you’re here to help. Scan the clouds. Good luck.” Then the video feed went dead, and the machine started downloading Ricky and Marney’s files around the investigation they’d been running the last three or four years.

She scanned the clouds. She wished what came up on her screen wasn’t true, but it was. Loye was suddenly very, very scared. She tried contacting the Elders, but no one answered. No. It wasn’t that. The signal was blocked. She was cut off. So many miles from home…
  She turned on the Crisis Alarm and picked up the microphone to address the ship; “This is your Captain speaking. We are in deep, deep shit. Get out of your bed, kickstart this ship and get us the hell out of here. And you, Mister Richoy; you will try with all your wits to contact anyone outside this sector. Report for duty on the bridge. Come on people, we’re in code black, as in dead if we don’t do something NOW!”
  Loye wished she’d been able to talk to the man and woman who’d contacted her. They must be very smart people. She wondered where they were right now. Who had come for them. What they had done. She knew, deep inside, that she wouldn’t get away from here now. She knew the engines were shut off, and wouldn’t work. She knew they wouldn’t be able to communicate with anything other than Planet Earth. And she knew that whatever had made Marney and Ricky want to scan the clouds, they had been on the right track; those damn ionittes were back. The possible outcomes of their plan and the goals they might try to achieve flashed through Loye’s head. When it had settled, her jaw dropped. She still remembered the frightening story her grandmother had told her, about the only species, or creatures, powerful enough to kill, no, DESTROY the Elders. And as the conclusion, the truth and the goal of the ionittes’ plan hit her, something woke up, deep into the abyss of the Pacific Ocean.

Its climate had changed. All that was needed was a bit of rain. Imagine if the Black Brotherhood had known about this; they’d probably begun praying for something else entirely. It began to move - it felt weird. But that’s understandable, as it hadn’t moved for an awful lot of decades. It still had a grudge, though. Its kind knew how to keep those. Still; there was a lot of things that needed to be done before the grudge was payed back. But it would come. It had been waiting for a long time - a couple of years longer would go by in the blink of an eye. Well, many eyes to be exact. It was quite looking forward to making people go insane again. It had been so long.



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