Aliens are Real – By Elizabeth Garber
The Invaders fanfiction



Disclaimer: The Invaders, its universe and characters belong to their legal owners, who unfortunately aren't me. This is an unofficial fanfiction that is not officially endorsed in any way. It was written solely for enjoyment and I make no money with it.

Title
Aliens are Real – By Elizabeth Garber
Status
Completed (26th February 2021)
Genre
Science-fiction, in-universe documentation
Rating / warnings
Mention of death and other crimes.
Spoilers
The entire series.
Characters
Elizabeth Garber
Summary

In-depth study of an alien species who tried to invade the Earth covertly in the late 1960s. Common and arcane facts on their biology, technology, culture… Everything you never suspected you must know.

This story is also available on AO3.


Table of contents

  1. Note From the Editor
  2. Preamble
  3. Biology — The aliens' human forms are very credible outwardly. They made sure to leave no evidence behind when they died, to hide their distinctly alien inner characteristics. This chapter also presents the similarities and differences of their metabolism, emphasizing their intolerance to oxygen. It then elaborates on their natural form and their life cycle.
  4. Technology — The aliens favor pentagonal symmetry and don't label their control panels. Their scientific advance encompasses physics, especially fundamental physics, medicine and neurology-psychology. On the other hand, they have limited automation and essentially no computers. They also have no prior experience in dedicated weaponry.
  5. Psychology — While highly pragmatical, the aliens aren't entirely emotionless. They focus on the group and dismiss the individual, except when it comes to their Leaders. These psychological differences led them to despise and fear humanity. They practice a form of intellectual entertainment using hypnotism.
  6. Social Organization — The rate of change in the aliens' civilization is slow. Their language, as different as it sounds, uses similar grammatical constructions to ours. In place of countries and institutions, the aliens have a hierarchical society under the Leaders. They live as united communities, but with a lot of exchanges between groups. They aren't free from prejudice; it makes them look down on emotional people and the unfertilized.
  7. Home Planet — The aliens come from a planet comparable to Earth. The major difference lies in how life evolved, with no oxygen-producing organisms and no animal-plant divide. The aliens' population is comparatively low and their ecological impact controlled; however, the ongoing destabilization of their star is rendering the planet uninhabitable.
  8. The Invasion — This chapter elaborates on the aliens' motives for fleeing their home planet, choosing the Earth and deciding to use conquest. It then lists the main tactics they used against us, primarily discretion, murder and manipulation. Finally, it explores the flaws that led to their continued failure.
  9. Afterword
  10. Addendum: Letter to Recipients
  11. [NEW] An Update From the Editor

Note From the Editor

Mace Publishing received the following document earlier this month, and after intense internal debate, we decided to publish it verbatim with the accompanying letter. Did aliens truly try to invade us half a century ago? It seems too implausible to believe. Yet if all of this is real and not an elaborate hoax, it is our duty to broadcast the information to the general public.

We trust our readers will exert cautious judgment and avoid extreme reactions. The information presented in these pages deserves to be treated with a critical eye without falling into hysteria, but without rejecting it out-of-hand either. If you decide to investigate in turn, we also urge you to proceed with caution: if the aliens are real and if they still maintain a presence on Earth, they are dangerous. As the saying goes, better safe than sorry.

As of the time of publication, we are still trying to contact the author.

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Preamble

I was briefly involved in unusual events in October 1967, although at the time, I didn't think much of it. Only several years later, as a teenager, did I grow curious. What my brother and his childhood friends told me made me want to know more, and I started to investigate seriously. I have spent the decades since then unearthing articles and reports and seeking first-hand witnesses all over the world.

The truth I discovered is as fascinating as it is frightening. Aliens are real and tried to invade the Earth in the late '60s. A ruthless war for survival was waged right before our unsuspecting eyes.

In these pages, I have tried to be as comprehensive as possible about everything I learned on these people.

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Biology

The Human Form

With only one known exception, killed at the time of the invasion in the '60s, the aliens can't survive on Earth in their natural form. It is assumed the root cause is the high toxicity of atmospheric oxygen to them. Even in human form, they still need to regenerate themselves every ten days or so. On the other hand, they obviously also perfected their human disguises to infiltrate us, to the point even intimate partners might not realize the deception.

In their obsession to prevent discovery, they also engineered themselves to burn up entirely upon death on our planet, leaving only traces of ash and soot behind. While oxygen would always have caused the incineration of their dead bodies, they accelerated the process and made it more complete. The combustion is so intense they can even disintegrate the objects they touch: the clothes they wear, and even a mass as big as themselves if they hold onto it as they expire.

Despite their efforts however, some telltale signs remained. Even in everyday life, some of them –albeit only a minority, especially as time went on– suffer from an anomaly in their hands and are physiologically incapable of bending their little fingers. Additionally, while those who pass themselves off as women can fake intercourse, the men are, by our standards, impotent.

The differences become truly apparent upon closer medical examination. They lack a central circulatory system, meaning they have no heart and no pulse. Open wounds, no matter how deep, merely expose pale bloodless flesh. X-ray scans reveal inner structures totally different from our bones although they tried to emulate the general shape. Said structures are closer in composition to some hard wood than to bone; indeed, their cells are cellulose-based generally speaking. By some respects, they are more similar to Earth plants than animals.

Due to their vulnerability to oxygen, they are somewhat fragile. Even moderate injuries can lead to death, particularly open wounds. And because the human form remains alien to them despite intensive training, their eye-hand coordination is average at best.

Metabolism

They eat and drink the same as us, but excess salt and sugar makes them sick sooner. Apart from this restriction, they're very tolerant in their diet as long as it provides them with the base nutrients they need. Alcohol has no effect on their rational mind; too much of it, however, makes them clumsy. As for tobacco, they can smoke for their cover, without taking satisfaction from it.

Like us, they have a circadian circle and are mostly diurnal creatures. In place of actual sleep and dreaming, they rest daily by entering a sort of meditative state. During these periods, they remain aware of their surroundings and even capable of simple communication, although they are distinctly sluggish.

On one hand, their eyes aren't as sensitive as ours to direct bright lights; on the other, they also feel comfortable in less bright-lit environments. They don't mind loud and screeching noises either. Generally speaking, while they do feel pain when injured or sick, it is never as overwhelming and crippling as what we experience.

As already mentioned, they are very vulnerable to the high oxygen content of our atmosphere. Inhaling pure oxygen kills them instantly. They don't need to breathe the way we do and can hold their breath longer; they still need some air exchange to evacuate the gaseous byproducts of their metabolism, especially during effort. They, too, will pant after intense physical exercise, just not entirely for the same reason.

They will also sweat to evacuate excess body heat and keep their inner temperature constant, around 100F in their human form. Their environmental conditions of comfort are more or less the same as ours.

Natural Form

Their natural form is difficult to describe, in part because they look so different to us, in part because they have less definite features, and in part because their form is actually quite malleable. It varies from individual to individual, and also for a given individual depending on the environment. This natural plasticity explains how they were able to mimic our appearance despite starting from a vastly different form.

On their own, their body is squatter than an adult human, under three feet in height, and mostly in hues of green or brown. Like us, they have a head, with two eyes and a mouth, and four limbs, flatter and shorter than our legs and arms. In this form, their body temperature is naturally lower, around 80F.

The reproductive organs are rolled up under their upper limbs and only uncurl for the sexual act. Spores, for the females, and seminal fluid, for the males, are produced at the end of these peduncles. It is noteworthy that they are somewhat hermaphrodite, in that they may change sex during their adult life. However, it normally only happens if there's a large imbalance between males and females in the group they belong to. Some individuals possess a male peduncle on one side and a female peduncle on the other, but the occurrence is rare.

Life Cycle

They reproduce through external fertilization: once mature, the spores detach from the female's peduncles and can then be fertilized by a male; it has to happen within a quarter of an hour or so. Unfertilized spores can still grow into functional adults, but their lifespan is shorter and they're more sensitive to sickness.

A female produces on average five spores at a time, and up to eight when population levels are low. Spores take up two weeks to mature and can start growing before the previous ones are released; it gives them the ability to repopulate very quickly after a catastrophe. On the other hand, in normal circumstances, most of their people never reproduce at all: on balance, their population tends to remain very stable.

The spores undergo three successive stages before the fourth and final one, each separated by a chrysalis. During this transition phase, they are wrapped in a thin translucent film in place of the cocoon you'd find for Earth insects, they don't eat and are only semi-aware of their environment.

The first stage is very reminiscent of a plant. If the conditions are right, the spore grows roots of sorts to absorb water and nutrients from the soil and gets its energy from sunlight. This stage only lasts for a few hours before the first chrysalis.

The next day, the young child emerges, now mobile and able to eat food but still using photosynthesis for energy. They start socializing, though it remains limited at this point, and learn basic speech. This stage lasts for several months.

They become fully reliant on food for energy during the third stage. They show an adult body structure, except their reproductive peduncles are still sterile. During this stage, they become very sociable, both with their peers and with adults, and tend to imitate more and more complex behavior as they grow up.

During the first three stages, the children are neither male nor female but strictly neutral. Finally, the fourth stage sees them fully adult. Moreover, only then can they be given human form.

You might add a fifth optional stage, although it doesn't involve a chrysalis. Indeed, when their population reaches around ten thousand individuals, one of them emerges as a Leader. Above a million people, the group splits and produces a second Leader. The state goes way beyond a mere social position: it involves significant hormonal changes as well, both in the Leaders themselves and the people who depend on them.

Barring accidents or illness, fertilized aliens can live to at least 250 to 270 years.

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Technology

Design

Most of the aliens' technology relies on regular pentagonal arrangements, often enclosed within a larger circular shape. While not entirely absent, squares and symmetrical crosses are significantly rarer, and probably imposed by the device's design requiring an X-shaped structure.

While the aliens rationalize the five-point disposition as being the smallest number to achieve a somewhat uniform effect, you get to wonder whether there might be an underlying psychological drive. I suspect instinctive factors play a role in shaping their preference for pentagons, especially knowing they also count in base 5. Their five life stages –if you include Leader–, the average five spores per reproduction burst, even the roughly pentagonal shape of their children before the first chrysalis might make them find this shape more natural.

A surprising aspect of their control panels is that they don't label buttons. Instead, they rely on position and color coding to remember the various functions. Obviously, it offers the advantage of obfuscation. Should someone stumble upon their technology, the person would have no idea what it does or how to use it. The primary reason, however, simply comes from the way they train: with their teaching devices implanting knowledge directly into their brain, the purpose of each button is immediately obvious to them.

Spaceships

The aliens vastly surpass us in physics, medicine and neurology-psychology. I couldn't start without, obviously, mentioning the very technology that allowed them to reach our planet: their spacecraft, shaped like typical flying saucers, are capable of both faster-than-light space travel and gravity manipulation.

To cross the vast distances between stars, they create and manipulate a bubble of space around them in a way to overcome the laws of relativity. As for normal flight in the gravity well of a planet, it involves a large central engine, and five spherical stabilizers on the periphery. These emit a loud high-pitched noise, as well as electromagnetic radiation which interferes with our own equipment and might stall planes and cars.

While the aliens' lack of blood allows them to withstand more G's than us, they also control gravity inside the ships to limit acceleration to tolerable levels, and conversely, prevent weightlessness.

Despite how impressive their space travel is, it suffers from a major limitation: the FTL engine overheats exponentially with the covered distance and is irremediably damaged after a while. This is the main reason why their saucers have repeatedly suffered failures upon arriving to Earth, the distance to our planet requiring them to be pushed to their limits.

Advanced Physics in Other Domains

The aliens' mastery of fundamental physics is significantly superior to ours. They can create and store antimatter, and exploit radioactive processes with precision. Indeed, their primary energy source is nuclear fusion. They can also remotely stop electricity from operating, like a controlled equivalent of the effect of their ships on our vehicles. Unlike an electromagnetic pulse, everything starts working normally again the moment this cancellation field is lifted.

Similarly to how their bodies burn up when they die, the aliens know how to produce energy beams that will disintegrate targets. They use a variety of tools based on this technology, from asteroid protection for their ships to handheld vaporizers.

Finally, without going into particulars, they also display a general ability to control geophysical systems, such as altering the weather or causing earthquakes.

Medicine

The likeness of their human form is, of course, proof of their advancement in precision surgery. Interestingly, they bastardized one of their devices into discs small enough to fit in the palm of the hand, which cause a cerebral hemorrhage when applied on the nape of a human's neck. What was turned into a weapon for murder was originally a healing instrument.

Besides surgery, their advance in medicine is very apparent in the regeneration tubes they need to repair the damage oxygen causes to their bodies. These devices can also heal injuries, albeit not regrow lost limbs –surgical tools are needed for that. On a human, the default setting would stop the heart; but with appropriate adjustments, the tubes can be used for healing us as well.

Although the regeneration tubes are sufficient for general uses, infections and pathogens require a different and more complex kind of equipment. To the layman's eye, the process looks similar to standard regeneration, but it involves larger generators and more precise controls. In their respective field, both regeneration tubes and disinfection chambers can heal the sick within minutes. Compared to what we have, their efficiency appears almost magical.

Neurology-Psychology

The third domain in which the aliens are fundamentally more advanced than us relates to the mind. They can extract information directly from the brain, and implant it into another person without the need for what we call learning. They also know how to manipulate a person's thoughts and actions. Nonetheless, due to physiological and psychological differences between us, their attempts to control humans through brainwashing or implants didn't always work as well as they'd hoped.

Among a variety of devices, ones they relied on regularly during the invasion were trance-inducing crystals. These small devices are deceptively simple, looking like a harmless transparent glass bauble; but when activated, they swirl in place and project changing pastel lights that have a strong hypnotic effect. On their own people, it never fully overrides the will, and they actually use it as a form of immersive virtual reality. On a human however, it gives the bearer total access to the victim's subconscious. They can extract information, implant false memories, and even program delayed behavior.

Weaknesses

Although some areas of the aliens' science remain so far advanced we can't begin to understand them, others seem surprisingly backward, especially in retrospect. Because they never switched from analog to digital, their automation always needs to be specifically designed for a given task. In fact, they do a lot of things by hand we wouldn't today. They don't have generic-purpose computers, even if they are capable of storing vast amounts of information in data crystals; without question, the lack of artificial processing power slowed down their technological progress historically.

In the specific context of the war, it should be noted they never developed weapons prior to their decision to invade us. I already mentioned the discs they use to cause cerebral hemorrhages and the hypnotic crystals. It is no coincidence either that their vaporizers look so similar to guns: they took inspiration from us. And powerful as the underlying physics is, the vaporizers are slow, hard to aim, and only have a limited range. Predictably, the aliens themselves ended up mostly abandoning them in favor of good old-fashioned Earth-made firearms.

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Psychology

Characteristics

If you were to ask the aliens themselves, they would tell you that unlike us humans, they are unencumbered with emotion. It his, however, a self-delusion, or more precisely a taboo. They can actually feel a whole range of emotions –from hope to worry, to curiosity, to contempt, to sympathy… Most of our emotions have an equivalent in them, except perhaps for greed, jealousy or ambition. As surprising as it may sound, they can even feel pity and remorse. Simply, like physical pain, it is always filtered through their rational mind. Even then, a minority of them display almost human-like levels of emotional response.

Even if the aliens aren't truly emotionless, they are pragmatical way beyond what would pass for normal in a human. It doesn't help that they also hold different values: to them, individual life is mostly unimportant. Is it due to how quickly they can reproduce? Either way, only their people as a body matters. Though they can and do form personal friendships, they would never hold the interests of a friend above those of the entire group.

Their focus on the whole rather than the one doubles with long-term thinking. They are much better than us at planning for the long run, and also at anticipating consequences. Unlike the typical human behavior of denial followed by panic once it's too late, they are quick to acknowledge the predicaments they face, and willing to make efforts and sacrifices to overcome them.

Those traits, while preexisting, were considerably reinforced due to the circumstances surrounding their invasion attempt. Desperation united them beyond how much they already were historically, and convinced them to disregard the well-being of the individual altogether –not only ours, but their own as well. The survival of their species took precedence over just about any other consideration. No sacrifice was too big if it assured their safety.

Leaders

The one exception to the aliens' repressing of emotion concerns their relationship with their Leaders. They are biologically compelled to conform to a Leader's will, although it remains possible to go against it with some effort. But what is truly significant is the aliens' grief upon the death of a Leader. It takes different forms depending on circumstances: sadness for a natural death, guilt in case of a potentially preventable accident, or anger if a specific party was directly responsible. These emotions are so strong they might cause the aliens to act directly against their longer-term interests.

At any rate, their turmoil fades quickly, and will have become a mere regret after two or three days. A new Leader will then emerge if the population is sufficient.

Relationship With Humanity

Rational decisions in all circumstances, global thinking and total dedication to the group. Because these are such fundamental values to them, and the human psyche generally goes the opposite way, they were quick to dismiss us as irrational and primitive. And as a consequence, they didn't think of trying to negotiate. Yet, even as they considered killing us all, they never stopped acknowledging us as people.

In their direct interactions with humans, it might seem surprising that such level-headed and selfless people often appeared so stubborn and haughty, and so closed to supplications and arguments. The reason lies, of course, in both their desperation and their disgust for our character flaws. They aren't naturally violent, but they were very paranoid against humanity. Even what we see as positive emotions, like love, was for them the proof of our innate selfishness, by placing the fate of a single person above the whole of humanity.

In truth, they are perfectly willing to accept a compromise that preserves their interests. It just rarely happened. Trying to appeal to their humanity will, obviously, fall into deaf ears; they are more likely to listen to dispassionate arguments. Even then, the traitors who worked with them for personal gain would've been eliminated the moment they outlived their usefulness. Those aren't the kind of people they'd want to spare.

Art and Entertainment

Unlike us, the aliens don't care much about aesthetics or entertainment, and obviously, they don't practice activities aimed at eliciting an emotional response. They have no music, no fictional literature, no poetry, no sports teams. They don't dance, nor do they celebrate specific days or famous people.

Although they are very obviously distinct individuals with each their own personality, talents and interests, they don't try to set themselves apart from one another. Fashion, jewelry and makeup are pointless to them. Even on Earth during their invasion attempt, they all dressed the same when not mingling with the population. Their typical blue-green coveralls, designed for practicality, were a direct adaptation for the human form of the clothes they wear on their home planet.

With all of the above, you might think them without creativity, having barely more inner life than technologically-advanced ants. You'd be wrong. They are actually naturally curious and enjoy imagining different ways of thinking and behaving. The trance crystals they used to hypnotize us were originally developed to expand their horizons beyond their immediate surroundings, and to remind themselves the universe is big and still full of unknowns.

Crystal-based immersive storytelling plays a significant role in their society. Most of them enjoy it to some degree, and they are encouraged to not just listen passively but become narrators themselves. The most talented among them can make others experience purely invented environments and cultures as realistically as if they were physically present.

Even then, they remain bound by their own psychological biases. They were unprepared for the chaos of human behavior.

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Social Organization

Historical Stability

Due to a combination of factors, the aliens' civilization –both their societal organization and the technologies they employ– is remarkably stable and slow to evolve. In part, this is due to their general lack of emotion: the acceptance of their own mortality, combined with their longer lifespan, makes them less desperate to leave their mark on the world. They don't seek fame nor feel a drive to compete with their peers.

Their rationality also scales to groups, small and large. They don't normally engage in sustained operations to dominate their environment, let alone others of their own people. Instead of competing for resources, they seek compromises which will satisfy the needs of all parties at a minimal cost. Their history is very plain, and without wars, they never launched into an arms race, military or scientific.

Additionally, their lack of computers plays a role, leading to much slower technological advances than what we enjoyed on Earth in the last century or so.

That being said, an existential threat to their home world forced them to alter rapidly and radically their ways, and it became the sole focus of their entire civilization. I shall go into more detail about this in the remaining two chapters.

Language

To a human ear, the aliens' language doesn't sound like language at all; the noises they make would be more reminiscent of groaning and creaking leather or wood. As might be expected, it is totally unpronounceable by a human mouth, including their own. This is why they used human names at all times on Earth, even among themselves.

Beneath the pronunciation itself, however, the grammatical structure is fairly mundane. They build sentences out of nouns and verbs, they use conjugations and adjectives… If the sounds weren't so foreign we can't distinguish them properly, it wouldn't be too hard to learn their language.

Regarding their writing, it is syllabic. As a form of easy encryption when using our computers, they devised a direct transcription into the Latin alphabet: it allowed them to communicate with one another without risk of eavesdropping. Most of the time however, they would write in the local language of the country they were infiltrating. Presumably, a wholly alien language might be more incriminating than what could pass for a conventional foreign conspiracy.

Note I used the singular in the previous paragraphs: indeed, the aliens all share a single language. Although they have settlements all over their planet, they have possessed remote communication technology for so long it led to standardization, especially combined with significant population mixing over vast areas. For all intents and purposes, they form one single society. They still show some minor regional variation, including slight accents.

Institutions

The aliens don't have countries. Instead, they unite around individual Leaders. The function is very different from our own political figures, whether democratic or autocratic. The link between a Leader and those under him or her is deep and goes both ways. On one hand, it is very hard to oppose one's Leader's will; on the other, Leaders are always an emanation of the global will of their people.

Normally, a Leader stays in place until death. Although it is theoretically possible for one to be deposed and replaced if the population's consensus becomes incompatible with their own views, the event is exceedingly rare and requires exceptional circumstances. Maybe being driven off the Earth and forced to face their probable extinction caused such a change…

Hierarchy under or without a Leader is much more flexible. While there is a clear chain of responsibility at a given time, who occupies the upper grades simply depends on the respective skills of the involved members. Everyone accepts their position readily with the pragmatism that characterizes the aliens. It also helps that children are assigned their future function within society according to their abilities and inclinations: nobody is forced into a role that doesn't suit them.

At all levels of the hierarchy, subordinates are given a lot of autonomy in how to reach the objectives set by their decision-makers. Even a choice as major as whether to eliminate the human race altogether or "merely" to subjugate us was left to the appreciation of each team: the Leaders only decided the Earth needed to be brought under their people's rule, one way or another. The how wasn't their concern.

The aliens don't have politics, and they don't have an economy either. There is no currency of any sort among them, nor do they hold private property. They are provided what they need, available resources permitting of course, without having to justify it.

Sometimes, scarcely ever, an individual will try to abuse the system. Historically, the offender was cast away, which equated to a death sentence most of the time. In more recent times, especially with the threat looming over their planet, those who knowingly endanger the common good are executed on the spot. The desperation to survive made them even more intolerant to betrayal than they naturally were. Still, this is extremely rare. Between their dedication to their Leader and their innate selflessness, crime is virtually non-existent in their society.

Personal Relations

The aliens tend to live in communities of up to several dozen individuals in the same building, sharing spaces with little room for privacy. They don't keep personal effects of their own, and will change accommodations as necessary for their missions. Most of them rest in common dormitories and eat in canteens –even Leaders, despite being given more consideration.

They don't have a concept of family units; the couples that may form for reproduction only last long enough for the spores to mature and be released from the female's peduncles, although it may reoccur if the participants are friends in general. The spores, fertilized or not, are then raised in groups by dedicated carers, with no involvement from the parents.

As mentioned in the chapter on their biology, the aliens can have vast numbers of descendants in their lifetime. In practice, there is a huge variability between individuals, leading to some genetic homogenization. To compensate, there is a lot of geographical intermixing.

Interestingly, how much a given individual reproduces is mostly independent from his or her social role, though there is a slight bias in favor of particularly successful scientists and crystal storytellers. Conversely, unfertilized people reproduce less, or often not at all during their entire life. They don't really seem to miss it, and are neither more nor less attached to the children than the biological parents.

Prejudices

Unlike what we're so used to here on Earth, the aliens don't discriminate against different races or sexes. As already mentioned, they mix their population to avoid inbreeding, which leads to reduced geographical variation. As for gender, they learned the concept for us; to them, sex only becomes relevant for reproduction. Although they sent to Earth both males and females in similar proportions, the vast majority of their workers were given male human forms and adopted male identities without thinking anything of it.

But it isn't to say they have no prejudice at all. I brought up their taboo about emotion in the previous chapter. Even if they have the ability to feel a variety of emotional states, they are raised to always, under any circumstance, subordinate them to the common good. Historically, their less scientifically-minded ancestors were also more willing to embrace their emotions. Naturally, seeing how strong human emotions are, they immediately dismissed us as a primitive people.

The unfertilized among them also suffer a form of discrimination. While it is true they tend to be physically weaker, their lives are shorter and they fall ill more easily, they can be just as intelligent as the others, yet they're never granted positions of authority. Still, for everything else, they have the same duties and rights as the rest of their people.

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Home Planet

Astronomy

The aliens' solar system is located just under twenty-four light years away; traveling takes them around three weeks, plus a couple of days of slower-than-light departure and arrival.

Their home world is a rocky planet similar to Earth. It orbits a G2-type star marginally brighter than our Sun, at a slightly wider distance, closer to the outer edge of the habitable zone. As expected, their atmosphere contains no free oxygen. Instead, it is made overwhelmingly of nitrogen, with significantly more carbon dioxide than on Earth and traces of methane, carbon monoxide and other gases. Greenhouse effects keep the climate temperate on most of the planet.

The gravity is only 95% of Earth's, and until their star started to destabilize about a century and a half ago, tectonic activity was very moderate. I will go into more details on this recent change later. The planet doesn't have continents as such; water and land are more intertwined than on Earth, with smaller oceans but more numerous inland seas and lakes. Their mountain chains tend to be older and more eroded than ours.

Ecology

Life followed a roughly similar evolution pattern to what we're used to, beginning with unicellular ocean life, then slowly becoming more complex and diversified, eventually spreading to all potential habitats. Nowadays, it ranges from microorganisms to beings even larger than our elephants. In place of oxygen, photosynthetic processes produce more complex molecules, which the organisms tend to store in their bodies for energy. Both oxidation-reduction and acid-base chemical reactions play a role, depending on the species.

There are as many different ecosystems as you might expect, adapted to the local climate and soil composition. Because no region is really isolated, genetically related life forms tend to be found across very distant areas. Even then, geographical barriers lead to local variations and the emergence of endemic species, on islands for example.

A major difference with life as we know it is that there is no fundamental plant-animal dichotomy. Some organisms can produce descendants out of a cut body part, some can't –the aliens themselves can't–, some stay fixed to a support for their entire life while others are mobile from birth, some are photosynthetic and some aren't, but these differences tend to transcend the large categories we might call kingdoms.

Impact of Civilization

The aliens' population totals under a billion individuals and has remained stable for millennia; they congregate in dense urban areas sprinkled all over the planet. Outside inhabited regions, the planet hosts large swaths of wilderness, much more widespread than here on Earth. Most of the land, indeed, is uninhabited and more or less untouched by civilization.

In part, this is due to the aliens' long-term thinking. With their people's ability to keep in mind global and delayed consequences, they have long learned to avoid destroying the ecosystems that sustain them. While they very much adapt their immediate environment to their needs, and their industrial processes can be as disruptive as our own civilization, the impact always remains limited in scale.

Not all of it stems from a conscious decision, however. Some factors simply derive from other aspects of their psychology. Because they care little about personal status, they don't seek to accumulate wealth; because they concentrate on the well-being of the group, they only seek basic individual comfort; and because they lead communal lives, they benefit from economies of scale. Combined with their smaller population, this overall frugality leads to a much lower footprint.

Moreover, being less fearful of death, they are more tolerant to the risk of predators, and generally speaking to a nature existing outside their control. Instead of trying to exterminate dangerous wildlife, they merely work to keep it away from inhabited areas, and avoid going into dangerous zones themselves. And if someone dies, they take it as an unfortunate accident and move on.

In the end, the aliens' impact on their planet's ecology is significantly lower than ours: if it weren't for the ongoing cataclysm, the global biosphere would have remained balanced and healthy for the foreseeable future.

Stellar Cataclysm

I alluded to a destabilization of their sun. Indeed, it started emitting chaotic gravitational waves a little over a century and a half ago. While the anomaly also alters the star's emissions and will eventually lead to its collapse, tidal forces are the main concern as they strain the planet's crust and cause increasingly violent phenomena.

Because the first effects were detected when the development of faster-than-light travel and gravity manipulation was still relatively recent, the aliens believed they were directly responsible, and tried to compensate to the best of their then current knowledge.

Unfortunately, their analyses were wrong. Not only was the phenomenon natural, their misguided attempts to revert it actually accelerated the process. It took them a couple of decades to come up with corrected models and to conclude there was nothing to be done at this point to stop the cataclysm.

What had originally begun with small tremors had, by the 1960s, turned into fully-fledged earthquakes and volcanic activity. The aliens have to spend ever more efforts just to keep themselves alive: they need not only to protect themselves from the direct effects, but also to neutralize toxic gases and remove the excess dust particles from the atmosphere.

At the time of the invasion, it was estimated they had a century left at most before they were overwhelmed; within half a century now, the resources of their entire civilization won't be enough to keep the planet even remotely inhabitable. If they haven't found another place to live by then, they will become extinct.

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The Invasion

Motives

Three factors combined to make the aliens decide to invade us. The first, of course, is the impending death of their home planet. Remaining in their own solar system would mean near term extinction for their people.

Why specifically the Earth, then, when our atmosphere is so unsuited to their form of life? Plain and simple, there is no other candidate. As explained in the section on their technology, their space engines have a limited range. Earth merely happens to be the only rocky planet with liquid water orbiting a G2-type star they can reach. The few outposts they had built on sterile moons and planets before this all started relied on regular resupplying from the home world. They could never have scaled from small scientific bases to autonomous biodomes fit to host a significant population.

Finally, their first contact with humanity convinced them coming openly would be a suicidal endeavor. The few people who saw their scout ships and their people in their natural form reacted with irrational –to them– fear and violence. While human technology made it obvious we are a sentient people, the reaction was, incomprehensibly, more consistent with very aggressive wildlife.

In part, they are responsible for the human hostility they received, albeit unwittingly. Remember their values are vastly different from ours. When they first reached Earth, and decided to study its native inhabitants, they captured a handful of people to learn our language, culture and knowledge. Unfortunately, because of the biological differences between us, the devices they routinely use on themselves to extract information from the brain caused pain and permanent damage in the human test subjects.

They hadn't meant to cause harm; but what they saw as necessary scientific study for peaceful ulterior communication was interpreted as attacks, abduction and torture committed by horrific space monsters. The violent reactions sealed their judgment of humanity as nothing but an irrational and aggressive people. Ulterior, more discreet studies only reinforced this opinion.

The final nail in the coffin of peace happened at the end of World War II. Would you believe they first thought the explosions on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to be industrial accidents? Of course, they soon understood the truth. Not only was humanity xenophobic, it was so violent it purposely caused uncontrolled nuclear reactions on their own major population centers, for no discernible reason.

If the aliens had held a sufficient technological advance, they would have exterminated us on the spot. But because they realized we are as dangerous militarily as we are primitive psychologically, they made the decision to infiltrate and sap our defenses from within.

Tactics

Because the aliens knew they might not win a direct confrontation against humanity despite their superior technology, at least not without rendering the Earth uninhabitable, they relied on secrecy for their attempt to invade.

The first step was to give themselves near perfect human forms, and to learn to mimic human emotions and behavior. Imitating us credibly is too complex for their knowledge implantation technology: they had to train much the way of an actor. For this reason, only those of them who were expected to interact with humans went through this teaching. Lower-ranking guards and workers appeared stiffer than their superiors, not because they had less personality, but because they didn't know how to express it in human form.

Preventing official discovery had the utmost priority for them, which is why they went to great lengths to cover their tracks. Whenever one of their installations was compromised, they needed just a few minutes to dismantle it and make it look like an abandoned or innocent place. Their people would kill themselves without a second thought to avoid capture; in fact, many carried suicide pills for this very purpose. Sometimes, they did so specifically to destroy a compromising piece of equipment, grabbing it to vaporize it as they died.

Depending on the alien, they could be quite liberal in killing potential witnesses. Some of them murdered whomever happened to get in their way, while others only silenced those who directly threatened to expose them. Sometimes, they were content to merely discredit the people who had learned the truth. But if they decided to kill, nobody was safe –neither men, women nor children would be spared.

Just as often, though, they relied on less deadly preventive methods. They planted sleeper agents at all levels of human society, especially among the military and police forces. These undercover aliens would exploit the trust of their colleagues to derail an investigation before it even started, simply through arguments and diversion. A lot of evidence was destroyed or tampered with, keeping in the dark both those who had submitted it and the intended recipients.

Moreover, imitating a voice comes easily to the aliens among their abilities. Many people were tricked, believing they had a relative on the phone, when in fact it was an alien. When all else failed, they employed whatever means allowed them to reach their goal: threats, manipulation, blackmail… They often sought the power-hungry, a kind of humans they particularly despise, to lure them into a Faustian deal.

I couldn't conclude this section without mentioning their expertise in matters of mind control. They tried brainwashing, brain implants, drugs… In the end, their most reliable tool remained the trance-inducing crystals, although their human enemies eventually found a way to thwart them with fake memories implanted in their subconscious.

Failures

Thankfully for us, the aliens make poor conquerors. Despite both their scientific advance and the advantage secrecy gave them, their attempts never came to fruition. In the United States, a man in particular consistently thwarted them; in the rest of the world, those who fought them were less persistent and many sacrificed their lives, but they stopped the aliens all the same. Most of these people were civilians with little to no experience in warfare and counter-terrorism.

This isn't really surprising. Historically, the aliens didn't engage in war or conquest; they had to learn everything about it from us. Although they can competently plan for the long term, competition and conflict as such, both between individuals and between groups, are unnatural to them. Despite the psychological traits helping them cope with the situation, those who were sent to Earth were basically civilians. They never became very good at coming up with workable tactics.

Even to protect their installations, they failed to develop ways to make up for their physical inferiority in combat. They aren't particularly strong, and with the human form being unnatural to them, they are not very deft either. They must have realized even their security guards tend to lose one-to-one fistfights against an average human. Yet surprisingly often, they allowed this weakness to let their opponents gain access –or escape.

Also worthy of note is how little consistency the aliens showed in their plans. Some were foiled more through luck than because of an intrinsic flaw, yet they were invariably abandoned after the death of the specific mission leader. In part, the aliens feared humans would have known what to look for and would have been able to notice the signs early. It doesn't explain everything, however.

Probably more significant is the large autonomy of individual decision-makers. Indeed, as explained in a previous chapter, the aliens' society is only loosely hierarchical, and they are given a lot of leeway in how to fulfill their goals. When they failed, the plan literally died with them.

Between so many setbacks, the approaching demise of their home planet and a better understanding of humanity, lines of fracture started appearing within their ranks. Opinions became more extreme, with some of them doubling down on wanting to destroying us while others argued for abandoning the Earth altogether, and yet others wanted to prepare humanity for a reveal. For all we know, they might have collapsed into a civil war. Maybe it is, ultimately, why they haven't appeared again since 1969. Maybe they learned about war enough to destroy themselves before their sun killed them.

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Afterword

As dangerous and other as the aliens were, you can't have spent as much time studying them as I have without starting to find them fascinating, and maybe even to feel a bit sorry for them. For all the many crimes they committed, they aren't what we would call evil. They are a different, complex, sometimes paradoxical people who happened to be in conflict with us for a scarce resource.

Beyond circumstances, arrogance on both sides made them enemies of humanity. While they see us as primitive maybe, but people nonetheless, many humans who learn about them refuse to consider them people at all. Is it any wonder they thought coexistence impossible? The responsibility is shared.

The invasion seems to only have lasted a few years. Are they truly gone? Could they truly leave? If so, unless they found another planet to settle on, they are extinct or soon to be. The universe would be poorer for it.

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Addendum: Letter to Recipients

Greetings,

You're receiving this document because either you know me personally or you have access to a publishing service. Please read carefully, whether you take it as fact or fiction.

Following a strange series of events when I was a child, I discovered alien invaders once tried to take over our planet. I have spent decades learning about them, and summarized my findings in the attached document.

Until very recently, I thought they were gone for good. But a few days ago, I spotted what I suspect is an active alien installation. I will go check it out tonight. I've arranged for copies of this document to be sent to several unrelated people if I don't come back; if you are reading this, it means I'm likely dead.

Best regards and stay safe,

Elizabeth Garber

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[NEW] An Update From the Editor

Elizabeth Garber contacted us. She wants to reassure our readers she is perfectly fine, and she apologizes for any worry her silence might have caused.

The document was sent by mistake by the person to whose care it had been entrusted. Since it is now published anyway, Ms. Garber decided not to take it down; however, she asked us to add the following disclaimer:

Please keep in mind the information gathered in this document is over half a century old. People, regardless of where they come from, change in this kind of time frame, and so do circumstances. Also if anything, the aliens are rational. In the three or four years the invasion attempt lasted, they had to realize their approach was fruitless and even counterproductive.

Responding now with fear and hatred would only restart a vicious circle of violence. Let the past rest and the hatchet remain buried. And if some day, maybe not long from now, the aliens make themselves known, I urge you to at least listen to what they have to say.

Nevertheless, we at Mace Publishing reserve the right to carry out our own investigation into this highly unusual subject matter. As always, we aim to bring out the truth to our readers, whatever shape it takes.

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THE END

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Laura+web@Espezon.org

The Invaders fanfictions.
My home page (in French).
Last update: 26th February 2021.