'Attention! You are entering Palemalite atmosphere. Please provide your authorization codefor clearance.'
Gasgango leaned back in the pilots chair as three of his arms went to the task of punching in a variety of odd symbols on the control panel. He stabbed at the enter button and awaited the reply.
'Please wait, processing data... '
Gasgango fiddled with his view screens tint, adjusting to the bright light of the star that was creeping up over the topside of his home planet, Palemalon. A harsh beeping noise from the control panel stole his attention.
'Error, authorization code invalid. Please re-enter.'
The palemalite cursed at the monotonous beeping and re-entered the password, only to have the same effect. Once again, the orange lettering appeared on the control screen. He typed in the password for one last valiant attempt but the computer rejected him for a third time.
'Attention! Your authorization chances have expired. Please leave the Palemalon System immediately or your ship will be subsequently destroyed.'
Gasgango took hold of the flight controls and manually steered himself out of orbit and into the eerie depths of space. How could the code be wrong? It had never failed before. He then decided to seek the council of his older brother, Thrakus. Flicking a couple switches, a holographic view screen appeared in front of his four eyes and a model of another of his species rendered itself onto the 3-D panel.
'What's up lil' brother?' said Gasgango's brother.
'Thrakus, I can't get into Palemalon. The access code is apparently invalid. Here, I'll repeat it to you.'
Thrakus listened to the access code and verified it. 'Yeah, that should be right. I can't see why it doesn't work though. Say, just wait out there and I'll come and pick you up in my ship alright? Keep your beacon on so I can find you.'
Gasgango nodded. 'Sounds like a plan.'
The holopanel shut itself off once the transmission had concluded. Gasgango sagged back into his chair and awaited the arrival of his brother. All his eyes began to close, one by one. As the last of them was beginning to shut, his radar pinged dramatically. Opening all eyes at once, he focused them onto the red dot on the radar which was heading in his ship's direction. Moving at an alarming rate, the object soared by his ship and he just managed to get a glimpse of it through the side view screen before it entered Palemalon's atmosphere. It was shaped like some kind of missile, a model which he had never seen before and was of a peculiar design.
Gasgango watched in horror as he realized the missiles ambition. It was on a collision course with planet Palemalon! As if triggered by the missile's presence, glowing domes of light erupted from down below as giant particle beam cannons fired from Palemalon's crust, just missing the incoming missile by a matter of meters. It took ten seconds for the planetary defense systems to recharge their cannons before letting loose another rip. The second shots scored its target, hitting the missile head on with a blinding bang, just moments before it made contact the planet's surface. Gasgango gasped as an apocalyptic disc of nuclear energy scythed outwards from the origin of the missile, expanding at an impossible rate. The disc ripped across the surface of Palemalon, annihilating the landscape that stood in its way. Surging into an unfortunate city, the disc cut through homes, vehicles and people alike, the blast leaving a permanent stain among the city, a great black streak of death and destruction.
'What kind of weapon could do such a thing?' thought a bewildered Gasgango as orange lettering flared up on his control screen. He looked down to see what it read.
'Attention! Unidentifiable craft located within firing proximity of your ship — recommend evasive maneuvers.'
Gasgango worked furiously at the control panel, attempting to set up his ship's combat controls as his holoscreen created a 3-D model of his planet's perpetrator, outlining all its distinctive features such as weaknesses of body armour and weapons systems. Gasgango's craft was an elite version of its kind, a Scepter-LVX, which was much more equipped with the likes of jamming and stealth systems than its counterpart, the Scepter-LVII, which was more designed for defensive operations. The Scepter-LVX was normally used as a patrol ship in Palemalon, but with Gasgango's modifications, it now packed a mean punch with its new miniaturized Solarbeam Cannons and could be essentially used for heavy combat.
A silver ship seemed to materialize before him, an impressive, long and sleek vessel with sharp, scythe like wings that protruded from both sides at the center. It had been hardly noticeable against the blackness of space until it had moved into a position where the sun could be seen reflecting on its shiny surface. Mounted on the underside of the wings were what appeared to be a series of missile launchers and they were glowing furiously. The silver ship was tilted aggressively towards the Scepter, obviously in attack position and posed a definite threat. The craft only showed hostility towards Gasgango and the palemalite decided that he was going to show some of it back.
'Danger! Ship within proximity is preparing for fire — switching to auto-evade.'
'Oh no you don't!' bellowed Gasgango as he cut the computer off and took manual control. The radar pinged as four dots beeped their way across the monitor in his direction. The enemy ship had released a volley of lethal looking missiles and they were screaming at him at an alarming pace. Gasgango threw the controls at a hard angle and his ship barrel rolled to one side, the enemy's missiles glancing harmlessly off his side armour. Gasgango watching in confusion as the missiles, instead of continuing their path forward, veered around and charged at his vulnerable rear. Gasgango just managed to avert all power to the rear shields as his ship rocked from multiple explosions.
'Warning! Shields now at 55%.'
A loss of 45% was a crushing blow. Had he not had all power on the rear, he was sure that he would've been blown completely apart. Some of the blast had made it past the shields and this was evident for Gasgango's radar was picking up several bits of metal which were flaking idly off the back of his ship. Gasgango made a mental note to upgrade his shields the next time he was in town. His control panel beeped again.
'Attention! Target position confirmed. Fire when ready!'
Gasgango smiled evilly as he pulled the trigger. 'Have a taste of the stars you inferior scrap of metal!'
Having been previously charged by the rays of light from Palemalon's sun, Gasgango's solarbeam cannons were ready and waiting for action. A metal visor slid down in front of Gasgango's face, the standard procedure for the firing of such a weapon. Looking directly at the ray of a solarbeam would burn out ones eyes and it was necessary to get as much protection from it as possible.
Four pincers opened up at the end of each cannons, reflecting the light particles into the center of the main chamber where the power stored up and reflected outwards by a magnification mirror. Rays of light erupted from the solarbeam cannons, blasting into the enemy craft at speeds of up to 300,000kmps. There was no maneuvering of such a weapon, and nothing could stand against the raw fury of a star.
The enemy spacecraft was ripped to pieces; half the structure vaporized by the deadly beams. The rest of it was sent spiraling harmlessly into space.
'Boom!' cheered the palemalite as his computer showed him the battle statistics.
'Confirmation : Target destroyed.'
Gasgango punched in some buttons, sending out a scavenger probe to collect the remains of his assailant. When the probe returned, he analyzed the scraps of armour and metal that were placed on an identification table. Some of the sheets of cooling metal had strange symbols printed on it, a language that he was unfamiliar with. This was strange because Gasgango was an expert in many alien tongues from systems all over the Andromeda Galaxy. It could be a new species, and an advanced one at that. He had never seen target tracking projectiles before and the missile that had been fired at Palemalon had been exceptionally powerful. This wasn't a primitive race.
Gasgango knew that H.Q would find this case extremely interesting.
After being dropped off by his brother Thrakus, Gasgango checked in the ship remains at Andromeda Defense H.Q and guided them down the immense hallways of the gigantic structure to the Foreign Objects department where a fat squid-like creature was waiting for him.
Esska snorted and threw a sheet of paper at him. 'Please sign here so I can take the parts off you for inspection. And once you're done there, if you would please continue down the corridor to H.Q so you can give your report. They're expecting you.
Gasgango took up four pens and signed his name in four different places on the paper. Esska snatched the form from beneath him with a purple tentacle and rolled it up before placing it in a suction tube where it was sucked into a network of cylindrical pipes and sent to wherever it needed to go.
'I'll be seeing you back here in half an hour, maybe earlier!' called out Esska to Gasgango as the palemalite disappeared down the corridor.
When Gasgango was gone, Esska studied the ship remains, taking photographs of the symbols that were printed on the sheets of metal and taking notes. 'Hmmm, how interesting, ' he said to himself as he traced the markings with a snaky arm. A confused expression marked his ugly face. 'Looks kind of familiar... but where have I seen it before?'
He pulled out an extremely thick book from beneath his desk and started flipping through the pages. 'Warp speed... weapons management... security and repairs... ah, here we go!'
Esska placed one greasy tentacle on the bold heading. 'Galactic History.'
The golden doors slid silently open to Gasgango and he found himself walking into a large spherical shaped chamber where three palemalites where sitting on throne like chairs that hovered above the ground. They were the high council of Planet Palemalon, the capital of the Vatican Solar System, rulers of all the fifteen planets that orbited around the Vatican sun. They are the law, the right, the reason and whatever they say goes.
The one on the far left spoke to him first. 'Gasgango, it appears that you were a prime witness to the cause of the crisis at City Center One.' He held up a sheet of paper with his file on it. 'According to your report and your ships computer history, you encountered an unidentifiable spacecraft orbiting Palemalon. Is this correct?'
'Your report also states that it used foreign weaponry against you which also could not be identified. You have printed here in bold writing that you were struck by target seeking projectiles, a weapon which no technician in all of Andromeda has been able to produce yet. The council would've dismissed this impossible entry if it weren't for the video footage which has confirmed such an event. It was good of you to collect the remains of the phantom craft, and you shall be commended for this. We will wait for Esska's report on them before this case goes any further.'
The palemalite was cut off when a voice sounded over the intercom. 'Your majesties, this is Esska, come down to the Foreign Objects Department. I have something to show you. You may find it very interesting.'
This caused a stir amongst the elders that were seated before Gasgango. 'Very well, ' replied the middle palemalite to the intercom. 'We will be with you shortly Master Esska.'
The elder turned back to Gasgango who was waiting patiently. 'We will meet you at the Foreign Objects Department in five minutes. We just have something else to discuss. You are dismissed.'
Gasgango bowed and left the chamber, eager to find out more about the phantom ship.
Esska slithered up to the elders as they arrived and led them to the starship parts. He picked them up, one in each of his eight tentacles and waved them around, causing them to wobble
'Flexible you see? It's more flexible than any metal that we mine on this planet, or any metal in this galaxy for that matter!'
'Yes, yes Master Esska. I do believe that we have all seen foreign material here before, ' said an elder. 'That is after all what this department specializes in. So do you have something of relevance to the event at hand, or are you just going to bedazzle us with your flimsy metals?'
Shrugging off the sarcasm with an angry glint in one eye, Esska placed one of the metal sheets on the table and motioned the elders to inspect it. 'Now this is what I wanted to show you - these markings.'
'Interesting, ' said one of the elders as he observed the white lettering. 'But do you know what it means? And what has this got to do with anything? Anyone could have drawn these here.'
Esska pulled out the thick book he was looking at before and dropped it heavily on the tabletop with it opened on a designated page. He pointed at the section under Galactic History.
'This passage here tells us the journey of Rykal, the only alien that ever survived an intergalactic space jump. He explored the part of the galaxy that he arrived in and found only one planet in one solar system where life existed. Being a scientist and all, he landed on this planet in secret and studied the inhabitants' ways of life and communication. He even wrote down the various alphabets that they used for us. And that is what we have written here.'
'Hey, some of these symbols in the book match up with those on the armour plates!' observed Gasgango.
'Precisely, ' replied Esska. 'I believe that the craft that Gasgango encountered in our atmosphere was an intergalactic starship that came from the same planet that Rykal observed all those years ago.'
'Well, what do the markings say?' said one of the elders.
'I wouldn't have a clue, but I'm sure that Rykal would know if he were here, ' Esska said. The squid snorted again and spat out orange mucus onto the floor. 'But I do know one thing.'
'And what's that?'
Esska pointed to an underlined word in the book. 'That this spacecraft hailed from a planet called Earth!'