Authors note: this story contains several spoilers.  If you have not played UFO: Aftermath right through and you don’t want to know the plot in advance, you may prefer not to read on.


“Why am I not dead?”

“We kept you alive because we wish to speak to you.  There is no point in talking to the humans as they will not listen to what we have to say.”

“Are you surprised?  You have already killed seven billion of them, and the few survivors know they are fighting for the very survival of their species.”

“The harm that has befallen Earth is to be deeply regretted, but I assure you that it was necessary to create something infinitely greater.”

“Do you really think that anything could justify death and destruction on such a scale?”

“That is what we wish to discuss with you.  We have the ability to create something that is both radically new and immensely powerful.  Surely you are aware of the strange patches of vegetation that have taken over several regions of Earth?”

“I am well aware of your plan to create a planet-spanning entity.  I also know that things are going badly for your Planetmind project.  The areas controlled by the Biomass are rapidly shrinking due to human activities.  You are losing.”

“It is necessary that we succeed.  Our civilization is barely 40,000 years old.  We are one of the youngest and weakest spacefaring races in the galaxy.  What will happen if one of our more powerful neighbours decides to conquer us?  How will we defend our worlds against their advanced technology?”

“Sheer, unjustifiable paranoia.  Ours is the only spacefaring species in the galaxy to have launched a war against another species in the last five million years.”

“People like you always talk about respecting the diversity of other races and not interfering with their development, but we know that you have recently interfered with the humans.  The incident known as the Cuban Missile Crisis actually resulted in an exchange of nuclear missiles.  You destroyed all the missiles in mid flight and forced their frightened leaders to accept your peace deal.  They never told their people all this because it hurt their pride.”

“You must know what happened when our people last sought power.  The Corporate Wars came close to destroying us.”

“History has been unkind to the large corporations of that era.  They led us to the stars when the ecology of the homeworld collapsed.  The weak government of the day was too obsessed with political infighting to deal with any of the real problems.”

“The environmental collapse was caused by the greed of the very corporations who controlled our colonization efforts.  The Sol Conglomerate was the worst of them all.  When they colonized Earth, they launched a genocidal war against humanity.”

“What you think you know of that era is what the government that replaced the corporations wanted people to remember.  And they needed the corporations to be remembered in a negative way because it justified their coup.”

“Surely you did not bring me here because you wished to discus your foolish notions of the history of our race?”

“You are correct about the reason for this meeting.  We know that you and your companions are helping the humans to oppose us.  Your efforts are endangering the entire Planetmind project.  We hope to persuade you to reverse this policy and to urge them to come to term with us.”

“Although we have helped the humans, they are quite capable of defeating you on their own.  Less than one human in a thousand survived the Fall, yet the survivors banded together and fought back against terrible odds.  They have decimated your fighter coverage and captured or destroyed many of your installations on their world.  It is only a matter of time before they capture an intact battleship and use it to capture or destroy even this base.”

“It is true that we greatly underestimated the abilities of the surviving humans.  We knew that some would survive the Fall, but we anticipated that the first wave transgenants would prevent any serious problems.”

“Then end this war now!  You know that you cannot win, so what is the point of further loss of life on both sides?  We will guarantee that the humans do not kill you in revenge if you place yourselves in our custody.”

“Impossible!  We will not abandon a project of such magnitude at the first setback.  If we must sacrifice our lives for the project then so be it.”

“You speak with the true sincerity of a staff officer in a base 240,000 miles from the fighting.”

“Perhaps you have spent too much time among humans.  It would appear that you have picked up an understanding of sarcasm along with that ridiculous human accent of yours.”

“We find that it makes us seem more acceptable and less alien to them.”

“Pandering to their tribalistic attitudes.”

“I accept that they have made mistakes in the past, and they will continue to make mistakes.  But they have also demonstrated their capacity for greatness as well.  Who has not been impressed by the translated writings of human philosophers?  Who has not compared the vibrancy of human music with the paltry offerings of our own culture?  Who has not been impressed by the courage of human explorers in the most inhospitable parts of their world and now space as well?”

“Whenever human explorers encountered a different human culture, the result was always violent conflict.  And as soon as they started exploring space, the first thing they did was to pollute it.  Just like they polluted the land, the sea and the very air they struggle to breathe.”

“So not only are you afraid of the other spacefaring races in the galaxy, you are also afraid of humanity.”


“Far from it.  You know their civilization will soon exceed ours, just as their soldiers are winning this war.  You are frightened that they will treat us in the way you have treated them.  Any planet would have done for your twisted experiments, but your paranoia led you to combine your project with an attack on Earth.  This is the same tribalism you think you see in humanity.”

“I will not debate this point further; however there is one more thing you should consider.  Have you wondered how we had managed to develop our project and assemble the personnel and ships without our government knowing?”


“The government knew.  It helped us.”

“I cannot believe this.”

“If you think about it, there is no other way we could have done it.  Obtaining thousands of ships without the tacit support of the government would have been impossible.  The spores and the Biomass were developed in a government laboratory in the Delta Pavonis colonies.”

“But why?”

“You need to ask?  Ever since our race developed space flight, we have been held back by the Pan-Galactic League.  The League intervened on behalf of the wretched humans in the last war; it was not merely the actions of that vomit inducing traitor Nelfar and his human friends that derailed the Sol Conglomerate.  Millions of people starved to death when the grain shipments from Earth were stopped.  The League strictly limits the size of our military and merchant fleets and has prohibited any form of weapons research.  When we want to colonize a new system we have to seek the approval of the League as if we were hatchlings.  They usually refuse by claiming that some species of microbe might evolve into intelligent life in about five billion years.

“The Planetmind project was developed by the government in the greatest possible secrecy to prevent the League from finding out about it.  The notion that we are a renegade faction is a myth put about to deceive both the League and those of our citizens who are unable to understand what we are trying to do.  Destroying the Qport ensured no League interference for over twenty years, and attacking your bases was necessary to create the illusion that we are renegades.  By the time the League realises the truth, it will be too late.

“When Planetmind awakens, the power it will give us will enable us to end thousands of years of humiliation.  Anybody who dares to oppose us will be utterly destroyed.  Our race will rule the entire galaxy in less than a hundred years.”

“You think you will be able to control it?  The human scientists think that it will attempt to destroy anybody who gives it orders.  They say that anybody powerful enough to control it will be so powerful that they will have no need of it.  The League is right; we are hatchlings, and we deserve to be held back.”

“There is risk, but there is risk in all great endeavours.  You must understand that we have kept you alive in the hope that you can be persuaded to join us.  If you refuse, we will have no reason to continue to expend resources to keep you alive.”

“So despite your grand arguments, it simply comes down to cooperate or die.”

“A rather blunt way of putting it.”

“Then I choose to die.  Even a telepathic execution would be preferable to assisting you."

“Clearly your petty mind is closed to what we are trying to achieve.  It had been our hope to persuade you to become an envoy on our behalf.  It would have been far easier to persuade the humans to end this misguided war if someone they trust advocated accepting our offer.  However, we shall still make our offer in the hope that they will see reason.”

“The humans will never ally with you after what you have done.  They will continue the war until you are utterly destroyed.”

“That we shall see.”

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