Aphelion Issue 281, Volume 27
March 2023
 
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Alien Ordinance

by Ed Sullivan



Excuse me, Third Lieutenant. There is an anomaly in the flight path.

"Thank you, Turing. Can we plot around the obstruction?"

It is not an obstruction, Lieutenant. I said there was an anomaly. There is no physical obstruction in the way of the craft. It is more like a gravitational flux. I am analyzing it now.

"Let me know when you have results, Turing."

Affirmative, sir.

Third Lieutenant Carl Higenby put his feet up on the console and closed his eyes. Nothing ever went wrong on an outer patrol. That was why the crew slept away the duty and monitored everything in five shifts of four man teams. The teams each had an officer, a pilot, a navigator, and an engineer. A pilot and a navigator on team two had gotten into a knife fight and had to be left in stasis. The corresponding members from lower teams were sent up to make senior officers jobs easier. The Captain had team one. The XO had team two. First Lieutenant Gormley had team three. Second Lieutenant Harris led team four. None of them were going to run a short crew nor were they going to pull extra shifts. That meant that Carl would be doing his tour with just Junior Engineer, Dormer. Kip Dormer would be first team engineer if it wasn't for three things: his low rank, his copious body odor, and his tendency to spend a bit too long in the privy. None of these factors bothered Carl much as it leads to him having the most capable natural engineer on ship working his team. Turing could plot courses and astro-navigate as well as any crew member. Dormer took care of almost every problem beyond that. That left a lot of time for a Third Lieutenant to read, watch films, pretty much do whatever. He ruled the upper decks and Dormer did his thing in the lower decks which he purposefully didn't think about.

Lieutenant, I believe I have something to report.

"Report."

It is a morphogenetic field, sir. I have run the computations twice.

"WHAT? It is in space. It is a vacuum. I mean like no air. Explain yourself, Turing!"

Do you recall your historical cosmo-biology class at the Academy, sir?

"Vaguely, I suppose."

Do you recall that in the 21st century scientists found that Tardigrades, also known as "water bears", could survive the vacuum and radiation of space?

"Now that you mention it, I do remember that. It was interesting enough to take note of. Why?"

This ship is about to encounter a tardigrade like creature 510 feet long, weighing 9200 tons. It is not in suspended animation of any kind. It is closing distance with this vessel.

"I'm sorry, what?"

This ship is about to encounter…

"I heard you the first time, Turing! How is that possible? How is it oxygenating? How is it hydrated? Just how everything for God sakes?"

It seems to have some form of dermic seal and is storing water and oxygen. My best hypothesis is it maybe an organic form of space transportation. It also maybe a self-contained entity capable of individual space travels.

"I thought you said there was no physical obstruction, Turing!"

There was not, sir. The creature came through the anomaly as I was analyzing data. According to my sensors, the anomaly became the creature. It was there, then it was not, but the creature was in its place.

"Turing: Intercom. DORMER, GET UP HERE NOW."

Sir, Junior Engineer Dormer is currently in the lower barracks rest room.

"What a surprise! That man is a vile corpuscle on the Fleet."

Sir, you just related to me yesterday that you felt he was the most able engineer in the service because he never required your assistance or attention.

"Shut up, Turing!"

Shutting up, sir.

"Can you hail that thing?"

Sir, it seems to have some large bioluminescent organ which is flashing. I believe it is attempting to hail us.

"Well...?"

Attempting to decode and translate, sir. It will be a moment.

"Fine. In the meantime, Turing: Intercom. DORMER, GET UP HERE NOW!"

Sir, Engineer Dormer is en route to the bridge.

"Finally. It took him long enough."

Sir, I believe I can reliably translate the messages if you wish.

"No, Turing, I have no desire to know what the alien outside our ship who is as large as an old Earth battleship has to say."

Very well, sir.

"That was sarcasm, Turing."

You are wrong, sir. The entity is the size of an old Earth destroyer which is significantly smaller than a battleship.

"Was that sarcasm, Turing?"

No, sir, that was a fact. I am not capable of sarcasm, sir.

"Just give me the message, please!"

Translating, sir: EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. BLOW UP. It is those five words over and over, sir. The intensity of the transmission has been growing since it established communications.

"That sounds threatening. We should prepare to wake the Captain and all the teams. We may have a hostile life form."

Sir, the intensity is increasing. The same five words over and over. It is also intermittently transmitting: EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.

"Turing, warm up the main guns and shields. Prepare to sound general alert and begin crew stasis interruption."

Dormer came walking on the bridge smiling his dumb smile. Carl wanted to punch it off his face. How could he smile at a time like this?

"Hey LT, what's going on?"

"We are under attack by an alien species that is what. Quickly, man a science station. I am about to wake everybody up so we can kill this thing before it stops talking and starts attacking."

"Whoa, LT, what did it say anyway?"

"I will tell you what it said! Turing, play the message back!"

EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.

BLOW UP.

"Umm LT? I don't think it is hostile necessarily."

"What the hell do you mean?"

"I assume an organic entity that can space travel is hermetically sealed somehow, correct, Turing?"

Yes, Junior Engineer.

"How far has it traveled, Turing?"

I do not know, sir.

"Estimate."

My best hypothesis would be at least 100 light years, sir.

"What the hell are you getting at, Dormer? We need to get ready to fight!"

"Turing, play the message again."

EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.
EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW.

BLOW UP.

"That sounds pretty hostile to me, Junior Engineer. Prepare to wake the crew and attack."

"LT, if you traveled over 100 light years and were completely airtight; do you think it is possible when you got to where you are going you might have to poop?"

The look on the Third Lieutenant's face was priceless. Dormer had the kind of grin you would expect. They both swore afterward they might have heard, Turing laugh.

EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. EXPEL. PURGE. VOID. NOW. PLEASE. PLEASE . PLEASE. PLEASE. BLOW UP.

"Turing, tell him just to proceed to Earth's coordinates. He can take a dump there. Our race has been crapping on the planet for years."

"LT, did you just make a doody joke?"

There was definitely a sound that time. It was an undeniable snicker. It actually was more of a stifled guffaw.

"Turing, did you just laugh?"

Yes, sir. Sorry, sir. It is something the entity just told me. It is holding data in the form of organically programed data in the majority of its being. It is on a mission to share its knowledge with our race. It is asking permission to go to Earth and perform a core dump.

The two crew members both laughed so hard that Turing had to activate the automatic medical drones to see to them.


THE END


2014 Ed Sullivan

Bio: Ed Sullivan is an enthusiastic newcomer to getting published. He has been writing fiction for twenty five years. He has taken the leap just recently and begun submitting. He raises his daughter, works, writes, and spends time in his own strange thoughts most days. His last Aphelion appearance was Far Darrig in our April, 2014 edition.

E-mail: Ed Sullivan

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