The Deadliest Menace
The entity stretched across the immense void to what seemed to be infinity. Its energy field was almost undetectable in the universe, with its energy mainly being scattered multidimensionally in various formations. Always altering, seeking the achievable. Floating through all eternity with nothing other than the twinkles of radiation and energy forces beyond, from very distant galaxies, which it had never known.
In fact, it had never known anything of the normal universe. It had never properly seen a galaxy and its stars. It had no proper knowledge of other life. I was alone and floating in an abyss, only conscious of itself, and weak clouds of gas surrounding it, which it absorbed, fed on, and used for its uses.
Since the creation of the universe it had formed itself, and it still recalled the first immense amounts of energy of its original existence, and it forming out of the immense energy explosions of the formation of the universe. Its first thoughts had been strange, as it had never had anything other than itself, and outer energy. Its original state of existence seemed as though it had recently happened, but when it recalled all the billions of years of its existence it became mesmerized, and it would wonder if there were others, and about what the distant galaxies were.
It had come from the reactions of massive amounts of energy that had been unable to form normal matter, and star formations, which existed in an immense void in the galaxies. It was an immense energy formation that had advanced and fabricated itself, formed with strange unknown energy structures, vaguely comparable to life forms.
Ceaselessly it increased its powers and structure as it drifted on, voyaging into infinity, but never ever achieving an ultimate.
One of its first conceptions of the creation of the universe was a strange deadly encounter that had nearly caused its destruction. An explosion had blasted through it, but it had survived by controlling its forces and drawing itself away from it, and together, and restoring its elements.
It had become far more conscious while it had changed itself to survive reoccurrences, and it had improved its powers and had moved on, and had learned to control its formation and powers.
It floated endlessly through emptiness on an everlasting quest, trying to reach an ultimate goal that it was never sure was, drifting to the galaxies that it surely would be astounded with if it ever were to reach if it ever found a way to increase its acceleration, as its size had grown to the size of a small galaxy and its expansion grew more with any increase in energy, and if it ever came into contact with even a single star its transformation would be diabolical, and it could well be the first threat of destruction to the galaxies themselves since their creation.
THE DEADLIEST MENACE
The Exploration Team
For a moment Carl Kruger thought he had died and gone to the afterlife. The sky outside, over the space vehicle, was so peculiar and empty of stars that he was sure that it was not in the universe, or at the outer limits of the universe, at the most distant point.
He switched on a small light, avoiding the larger bright light, to see only the interior about him, and he and the other passenger stared out the windows at the surrounding darkness, and into visible landscape in the light.
The world that they were exploring had no sun, and there was at least a billion light years of empty space between them and the nearest stars. This was why they were exploring there!
The world about them was a flat stretch of barn ground full of nothing but space dust and rocks, with no atmosphere, resembling areas on Earth’s moon, and some large asteroids.
“What happened then?” Major Ripley finally moaned, and tried laughing, and woke himself by slapping his face three times, as though he had woken from hangover trying to recall the night before, in wonderment – and he staggered up to the front window to look out in more detail.
Kruger could barely remember Major Ripley! Why? He knew he had, and had known him well! He had made it a personal mission to know as many members of the military aboard the galactic spacecraft GX1 as he could!
In fact, he could not even remember any of the crew in any detail, and suddenly realized that he could not properly remember who he was. He remembered everything else, but basic stuff about himself and everyone else. He could not remember anything about anyone other than some names and small details. It was as though someone had deliberately wiped particular stuff from his mind, for some unknown purpose.
It made him shiver thinking of it and what the consequences of it would be.
Their accident had to have done something to an area of his mind for recognizing people. Yet he found it hard to believe. Could Major Ripley be behind it? Who else was near there?
Did the military not want him to know something?
“We had to have hit something?” he announced absurdly, shrugging, breaking the silence, feeling his head for bruising – which he confirmed never existed.
“I do not recall hitting anything,” Major Ripley replied, looking about, and under the vehicle. “Did we? We’ve only skidded to a standstill against some boulders, and the vehicle has stopped itself automatically! You’re the scientist here! If I can still remember correctly! You work it out! How come I can hardly remember anything about you or anyone else?”
“Perhaps gas escaped ...?”
“I know this vehicle, and there’s none in this model! And if this gas exists, I’m sure it would be of interest to the military – as I’ve never heard of a gas that only makes a person forget people.”
“There could be some gas in the atmosphere outside. We may have a leak!”
Major Ripley checked the shuttles instruments, and replied, “There does not seem to anything here. It would have to be very small to be undetected.”
Suddenly, Kruger jumped, and his heart leapt, when a figure in a spacesuit shifted out from the darkness at their side, and Major Ripley moved for his weapon at his side.
“How far do you reckon it is to the nearest shuttle?” Major Ripley whispered, to confirm what he knew.
“Well, there are four others, and the nearest has to be vehicle three with the famous biologist Mendez, and it has to about three miles away at least.”
“We better contact the others, and check what is happening!”
Kruger watched the strange figure move in close, and bang his glove hard against the vehicle window, near him.
There was something strange about him and the way that he shifted that interested Kruger. He could not place it and put it down to memory loss again, and the strange environment.
“I cannot reach them! There could be some damage to the communications equipment at the moment!”
“You mean something is blocking the transmissions!”
Major Ripley studied his face and the figure outside, and tried to see the face of the man through the silver screen of his faceplate, but gave up.
“We will have to let him in!” Kruger stated, after minutes of silence – to the unsaid question. “Who else could it be?”
“That is a good question! Who or what else could be out here in this hellhole! Away out here!”
“They must be in trouble if he traveled all the way over here – in complete darkness!”
“And how did he find us? That is the question! And why did he know we would be sitting here? We could easily have left here, before he arrived!”
Kruger studied the man in the spacesuit, and realized that he had not moved or done anything since he had arrived.
“And if they monitored us and knew we had stopped here, and he walked here from away over there, it would have taken him far longer to reach here – especially in that spacesuit, without any lights!”
“We cannot leave him, Kruger!”
Major Ripley moved into the back of the vehicle and removed the spacesuits, and they fitted them on and tested them for leaks.
Major Ripley then moved away from the door where the stranger was and removed his weapon, and allowed Kruger to unlock the door, and they watched the air gush out into the outer desolate world.
They watched the man enter and close the door behind him, and they remained silent as the air filled the vehicle, and with amazement they watched the man remove his helmet and reveal his identity, and that he was an identical duplicate of Kruger.
Kruger could not realize who was more amazed him or Ripley!
They both sat staring, dumfounded.
“Just tell me – who the hell you are?” Major Ripley demanded.
“What’s up, Carl!” the stranger announced, exhausted, after his march across the world, and through the dust, with the heavy suit on. “What don’t you recognize your own brother?”
“I never knew you had a brother?” Major Ripley continued, amused, trying to find out what he was missing. He clearly thought there was a hidden joke to it all.
“I don’t remember any of my relatives though!” he replied, not knowing what to do now.
“So you lost your memory as well!” the stranger replied, amused.
“What? You lost your memory? Where did that happen?”
“On my way back here!”
“Back here!” Major Ripley replied, and laughed loudly. “What? You are claiming you were here, and left ...?”
“Of course! I woke up over there!”
The stranger pointed over in the direction that he had come from.
“I woke up over there, and I never knew how I got there, and saw your headlights and walked back.”
Major Ripley heard a noise from the communication device, and jumped in beside it, and picked up the part of the device to communicate.
“Vehicle four here! Any information on what happened to the communications?”
“Ripley! This is Douglas. Major Douglas! Vehicle two. All the communications were down! They returned to back to normal ten minutes ago. We have a problem! All the people here and aboard the GX1 have lost their memories – relating to identification of people. We do not know if it is permanent or if something is causing it. All the vehicles crashed too! They’re working on the problem back at the GX1. All the vehicles are to return there now!”
“This is Ripley! What’s the distance to the nearest vehicle, vehicle number three, from us?”
“That’s Mendez! It’s just over three miles from you! Why?”
“Do me a favor! Just tell me what was the number of passengers in this vehicle?”
“Wait a minute, and I’ll check!”
“That’s strange! All the stuff on the personnel of the GX1 has been erased!”
“So what’s your name then?” Kruger asked the stranger.
“Dan Kruger! I think you called me Dan! I believe we’re twins!”
“How do you think you got over there?”
“I don’t know. I just woke up – over there!”
The stranger took his entire suit off, and they saw how identical he was, and to Kruger it was like looking at himself in the mirror, and he saw Major Ripley checking for differences in their features to identify them, for the future.
In the depths of its infinite surroundings a spectacular energy surge had exploded out, with radiating beams, mystifying the entity for the first time for an immeasurable length of time, as it had continued its regular routines of regulating and improving its vast existence.
From nowhere a concentrated sphere of energy had appeared, vaguely even being detected by its senses due its minute size. Except its acceleration soon left it staggered! It had never known anything of the outside universe, and everything about it was beyond its knowledge, and it considered if it was something to do with another like itself, with even a far greater degree of knowledge and powers.
It had observed that it had clearly traveled a great distance, and from the distant energy fields, of the galaxies. Its technology interested it the most, and its size was so small that it had confused it. Was it sent by another of its kind? Could it itself recreate such a thing to explore its surroundings? Should it actually conceal itself or attack and capture it?
Thus it soon set itself the task of exploring it to gain all the knowledge that it could before it left, or anything happened.
A surge of energy forces that it had never conceived existed hit its probing forces, shocking it and fascinating it at the same time. It had been unbelievable and glorious, and it admired it greatly, but had sensed great danger, as with its encounter with destruction on its creation.
Through its thoughts a blur of radiation had swirled out of the blackness. Strange energies without any meanings had sent sensations through its structure.
Amidst its awesome powers it had detected its core, the GX1 spacecraft, surrounded by its propulsion forces and energy protection shield, force field, which defended it against the forces that propelled it through space, and stopped it being damaged by anything else. At the speed that it traveled, at hundreds of times the speed of light, even the smallest object could cause indescribable damage.
The entity had always thought of things in size, and small had always been powerless and useless to it, and it had realized that far greater powers could exist in the smaller and concentrated.
It had visualized its appearance as it had probed its force field, as a speck appearing with spectacular beams spraying out into the stars. Its outline emerging out of obscurity, and it had imagined its shape hurtling on to the distant formations.
A vast line of energy had stretched out across space from it, left behind, and it had fascinated it in that it could discard such great amounts of energy. Its body had absorbed it with enchantment, as it could not recall having taken in such forces since its creation.
After many probes, and unsuccessful probing, including through multidimensional sensors, it had accumulated everything that it could as swiftly as it had done anything for a long time, and started to examine what it had accumulated.
Its unique acceleration had allowed it to travel the immense depths of the void, and it had been controlled by altered forms of it. The whole object had been controlled by parts of the object itself, but regulated by small mobile separate forms, which had free thinking states, unlike the object itself.
Even though it had gained knowledge, which it would study for years to come, it had gained little on its construction and how it and everything in it had worked, and it had realized that it could be the only time it would come across such a phenomenon, as it began to reach the limits of its reaches.
The deep emptiness about it had become so vivid, and it had thought of its original thoughts of the object’s discovery, and then of the finding of the things in it, and at the same time it had detected with amazement its sudden deceleration, and it had considered if it detected its surveillance, and if it intended to make contact with it.
Yet it had then gone into orbit around a world, which it had not even known was there, over to the side of it, and it probed the world with fascination. It had never seen a world before, and it had been fascinated that it could have been there without it knowing, even with it being outside its normal reaches. It wondered if it had been missing many things while it had been drifting and building itself.
What strange place had it come from? What other wonders were there? Where had it been traveling to on its voyage into the depths of space and time?
The denseness of the world had surrounded it with mind-bending wonders and visions as it had explored it, seeking answers, and it had returned to surveying the GX1 as it landed, and later on it detected some of the small separate intelligent forms had left it and were outside the energy screen, and it had examined their free thinking states and realized that it could reproduce them, and it had decided to make one of them from itself, to get aboard the GX1.
The GX1 was the most advanced spacecraft that would ever be created. Centuries of technology advances had created it, and decades of work by millions had been used to build it.
It had been built twenty miles long by ten miles deep with a flying saucer shape, with the sole intention of it be used to travel to and properly explore the galaxies, and reach the final frontiers of the universe.
It had been built with much of the technology found centuries before in a fifteen-mile alien artifact that had been found buried away for millions of years in an immense crater in a lost desolate Pacific island.
Many human worlds had collaborated in its creation, and it had been launched when nobody thought it could be improved further.
People from all over known space had tried to take part in the first voyage, and the first visit to the galaxies, and the people aboard it numbered close to a hundred thousand. The majority were scientists and explorers that were needed to make it a proper exploration of the universe. The rest were military and people to run everything.
The first voyage had taken them to the immense void, which had only been discovered decades before, as its strangeness had warranted it to be the first place for the DX1 to explore, and as it was located in the direction they wanted to explore.
The answers to many unanswered queries of the creation of the universe were thought to exist there!
Kruger considered himself lucky to be on the voyage, even though he had been chosen because of him being one of the most experienced in aliens (in knowledge and experience).
The confrontation with an identical twin on the world had left both the passengers on vehicle four bewildered, especially when they had realized they had lost their entire memories of who had been aboard the GX1, as well as in the other vehicles, and their communications to the GX1 had been lost, so the only thing they could do was continue with their mission and return to the GX1.
While the vehicle automatically carried out its programming, floating over the surface of the world at hundreds of miles an hour, still mapping and checking for anything of interest, and any abnormalities, Kruger watched Dan, examining him for anything unusual, but he never saw more, accept that he was more secretive than he had noticed, and that he was hiding something, and tried to question him every time he could, but he was good at avoiding giving anything out.
He was starting to think he was part of scheme to carry out some illegal activity aboard the GX1. But what could it be?
He recalled his own little scheme to find anything of value, and take it back with him. Though all the findings brought aboard must be declared and checked, with invaluable items usually being allowed to be kept, due to lack of interest and them not wanting to end up with heaps of useless items, and returning with ninety percent of their specimens from the galaxies as junk.
He was sure they would even discard most of the stuff before returning to the base, near the Earth, and he was sure that something could be found. He knew many of the explorers, who were to make explorations outside the ship, including Major Ripley, had an agreement to search for such items. Yet he was unsure how far they would go, but he did see the point, as he was not sure he knew how valuable an item he would keep, or if he could tell the value of some items found in space.
There had been valuable alien life forms that had been traded, and he knew that they would be very keen to stop anything getting aboard, and he did see the point there, and never wanted anything from out here running around the ship creating unknown dangers.
If anything seriously dangerous were to get on the habited worlds, like Earth, they would have serious problems. Such creatures could inhabit entire worlds!
“Do think there is anything of value out here?” he asked Dan, trying to get his views.
Dan laughed again, over some hidden joke, either about him or something that he could not quite grasp.
“I have checked a few times,” Major Ripley replied. “None of the instruments indicate anything! What do you think Dan? Could there be anything of value about here?”
Dan looked over at Kruger, still slightly amused, with his amused expression, and replied, “Out here! I don’t think so!”
His reaction to him confused him. If he was what he claimed, why did he not act like he was his twin? It was more like a joke to him! It had him searching his memories searching for long lost relatives that could easily have hid away aboard to play something on him.
Yet how the hell did he get out here? He would have to have captured a vehicle without them knowing it, and sneaked out of the ship, which was just about impossible. Moreover, he would also have to have left his vehicle away out here, which would have cost a great deal, for nothing other than a stupid joke on an unknown relative.
Or he could have found some alternative means of transportation. He could have been hidden in the back of the vehicle all along – where they kept the supplies, and had sneaked out after the crash.
But what would he have done if they had not crashed and stopped? And what the hell did he want?
He decided to try to solve how the crash took place, and why they all went unconscious, with their memory loss. Then he decided to leave it to the engineers back at the ship to work out. They were the ones that would have all the details, and scans, and be able solve the mystery.
Suddenly, he remembered something, and that they were the only people to know fully what the main objective of their mission was, and the few officers that had ordered it.
“Dan! What is the main objective of us checking this world? And who ordered it? As my memory seems to have gone!”
“That is an easy one! It was to check it because it was out here in this void. It was Pratt that ordered it.”
“And where were you when he ordered it?” Major Ripley asked.
“I was near both of you!”
They all went silent again. Again neither Major Ripley nor Kruger could fully recall what happened, nor prove that he had not been there, and they continued to search for clues.
It was clear to Kruger that Major Ripley intended to catch him out somewhere, and was waiting for his moment, and he was sure Dan also knew it. Yet he could not get why he was so amused, confident, and waiting for something to occur.
Kruger then saw the immense shape of the GX1 in front of them, and saw Dan’s pupils widen, as if he had been waiting on some event to occur, and it was now finally going to occur.