The History of the Universe
First Contact – Part 9

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“What are you?” James said to the creature ahead of him.

The creature appeared out of the tin air moments after they teleported to the platform. It was twice as high as the average human and bulky. Its skin, or what resembled skin as it was interconnected with the armor and other mechanisms, was a smooth inky black color. The head was not proportional to the massive size of the alien creature, it was smaller, comparable to the human head, and instead of hair, it had short tentacle-like extensions that moved on its own. The head was decorated with a bright orange set of eyes. Behind the creature, dozens of tentacles with orange orbs at their tips danced as it moved toward them.

“We are the Qhiks,” The alien said with a commanding voice, sounding a lot deeper than over the comms of the Anoi ship. “Come follow me, we will explain everything.” The alien said and turned around.

The creature moved and looked way too agile for its size and walked with a and it walked in such a style that it caused awe to the ISS crew.

The scenery they walked by was beyond breathtaking. The trees were ablaze with hundreds of different vibrant colors, the frass was a mix of green and blue, similar to the sky. Little animals that resembled squires but had popped in and out of the forest, dancing between trees.

They followed the alien for no more than five minutes before reaching the magnificent-looking building. The building was a pure almost shining white color, made out of a material that looked like a stone. The doors were made for Qhiks and made the astronauts look and feel tiny in comparison.

Once inside they were greeted by several more Qhiks that led them to a huge room that had a giant table in the middle. The aliens offered them seats around the table.

“Ever since we got a readout that you were on the Anoi ship we scanned and studied everything about you. You need water to survive, luckily for you so do we, and we are going to get you some right away. Regarding the food, we can’t get you the food that would suit your digestive system, but we can make a substitute that will have to work until you get back to earth,” One of the aliens that welcomed them said.

“So you are not going to kill us all? We are going to go back to earth?” James asked.

“No we are not going to kill you, you can relax,” The alien answered. “Take a seat and we will explain everything.”

The ten astronauts took the seats around the table looking ridiculous on the oversized chairs. One of the Qhiks brought them water shortly after in glasses made out of a material they never felt in their hands before.

“Why are we here?” Chloe broke the silence as most of them were still gulping the water.

“Right to the business, as you humans would say,” The bulky alien said. “Before we start, my name is Uussils and,” pointing toward another Qhiks “Its name is Vulirls, he will get you up to speed.”

“Where do you want me to start?” Vulirls asked Uussils.

“Start from the beginning,” Chloe cut them off. “We are tired, scared, terrified, we woke up one morning not knowing if we were alone in the universe and now there are more advanced species than we can count and things get more complicated and complex every second.”

“We have time,” Uussils said and did a gesture towards Vulirls with her tentacles that in Qhiks culture must have meant approval.

“So I will start from the beginning, then we will get to the point,” The large alien said. “Eons ago four intelligent species evolved on four different sides of the universe.”

“And you are one of those species?” James couldn’t contain his curiosity.

“Ohh, no we are not,” The alien almost chuckled. “But we were created by one of them, the Ellads they were called.”

“What do you mean created?” James asked.

“We thought we evolved on our own as do you, but the truth is that evolution to the point of intelligent life that can travel the universe is extremely rare, so rare that we still believe that only those four original civilizations evolved on their own, and the rest of us were aided by them.” Vulirls continued. “By the time we discovered all that we were already capable of using hyper jumps and in war with two other races that were similarly developed. We only found out because we stumbled onto Ellads home planet and discovered all that was left by them. Their technology and other advancements are what helped us make the next leap in our evolution and in that process we became immortal. You can kill us, yes, but on our own, we can live to the end of time.”

“What happened to Ellads? Where are they?” James asked.

“We don’t know, we have some theories, but we couldn’t find a living soul out of those four original races, Ellads, Illdrel, Onnid, and Enphill, the Founders we call them” Vulirls answered. “But we weren’t the only lucky ones that stumbled onto the Founder’s planets and technology. We were in a three-way war at the time versus Ekzin and the alliance between Quex’uth and Astor. The Astors are extinct.”

“You kill them all, the Astors I mean?” James asked shifting uncomfortably in the chair.

“Ohh, no. We were savages back then, destroyed and killed a lot but never whole planets, never to the point of extinction, we fought for supremacy, territory, and so on, not purely to kill. What deleted them from existence is the reason there is no more war between us and why we are idle for a long time now.” The alien said.

“What is it?” Chloe chimed in.

“You saw our gate, you saw our ships so you must have seen the orange matter has been there. We call it the source because the Ellads called it that, they were the ones that found it according to their records and our ability to understand them. That orange matter is the way they created us, and you, that’s one of the things we wanted to tell you Humans, and one of the reasons we brought you here after scanning that Anoi ship, you are a direct descendant of Ellads, only known living direct descendant besides us. That makes us connected on a deeper level” Vulirls said.

Uussils walked around the table and shocked humans and activated a HOLOGRAM, that showed the hierarchy of the alien races according to Qhiks.

“You want to tell me we are the same as you, in what way, shape or form does that make sense?” James asked.

“We are not the same, and you evolved much later it would seem, but we came from the same seed, that’s how they called it, Ellads had one formula for creating life. They would send a seed to a planet that could contain life at one point in its future, and only a small percentage of those seeds came to be. Most of them failed, some civilizations arose and destroyed themselves, and some never became space nations and died on their planet, some did and vanished into space and there are probably still some seeds on some planets that never activated. As you can see on the hologram we, the Ekzin, Quex’uth, and Astors continued their work, but not anymore, not after what happened to the Astors.”

“This is way too confusing, holy shit,” James said and the rest of the astronauts confirmed.

“Anoi’s are descendants of your enemies?” Meng asked and the giant alien confirmed it with what seemed like a nod as he pointed toward the hologram with one of his tentacles.

“So what happened to the Astors, can you elaborate and stop being mysterious?” Chloe asked.

“It’s hard to describe the Source to you at this stage of your evolution and knowledge, but to put it in simplistic terms its one of the essences of the universe that can manipulate space and that’s how we made the gates, create life that’s how we and you came to be, be used as a power source and so on. At the time we thought it was the only thing in the universe, but we were so wrong, like most things in the universe there is always some form of balance, and we found it in the worst way possible. The thing we called Void, the essence that seeks out Source and devours it and everything it touches. The void was dormant for who knows how long and it came alive as four of us used the Source and the more we used it the bigger the Void and its hunger became.” The bulky alien made a short pause and took a sip of water.

“We first noticed some of our ships going missing,” Vulirls continued. “And we thought it was our enemies, but then their ships started disappearing, then theirs and our colonies and at that point, we all retreated to our safest points and our original Solar Systems. We watched each other closely and then we saw it, the Void coming out of nowhere into one of the Asters colonies ravaging everything ahead of itself and leaving no trace behind. One of their ships took the gate to their original solar system and the Void followed and that was the end of it, Asters were no more.”

“Fucking hell,” James said. “I thought things couldn’t get any crazier. How come that Void didn’t destroy the rest of you?”

“Once it devoured Astors it calmed down but as soon as we used the Source to create more things it came back attacking and devouring again. So ever since then, we haven’t used the source again to create anything, we haven’t left the safe space of our own solar system and dozen colonized ones, and we used to have thousands of them, we left them all behind and made our best to hide the existing source. Ekzin and Quex’uth did the same.”

“Ok, I’ll say we get it, even though this all seems insane and like we are telling the ants about the discovery of the AI, but what does any of this have to do with us?” James asked Vulirls.

“We will need your help, we couldn’t ask Anoi, Kraz’ox, or any other from their coalitions, first of all, they are not one of our sibling races but that’s not even that important, and second of all and more importantly we suspect that the Ekzin and Quex’uth already got them, I mean Anoi and Kraz’ox,” Vulirls said. “We can’t leave our systems as I said, our bodies are bonded with the Source, if we came to your system we would risk awakening the Void once again and destroying your system and ours as well. So when the Anoi ship jumped into our colony we were about to destroy it as we thought they came under the guidance of the Ekzin, but then we saw you and took the opportunity to get you here. We need our own player in this game”

“You want to use us as a proxy for your war?” Chloe asked

“No, not really, you will keep an eye on them and be our eyes and ears in the space, but once you assimilate and learn to roam the space we can work together to find a solution to stop and destroy the Void.”

“How do you know we are not working for the enemy already?” James asked.

“When took control of the Anoi ship we saw all their footage, we know how they stumbled on your planet and that they are your first contact with alien life.”

“Makes sense,” James added.

“But how can we even help, we can barely get to the closest planet in our system. And to make things worse as we left with the Anoi the Kraz’ox ships came around the Earth, God knows what’s happening there, that is if Earth even exists still.” Chloe said.

“You don’t need God to know that,” Vulirls said changing the expression of his stoic face to something resembling a smile and the hologram shifted to what seemed Earth with hundreds of ships around it. “We can see your Earth and it’s fine, the Kraz’ox did land on your planet but they will not destroy it, they need manpower most likely.”

“Ok but that still doesn’t explain how could we possibly help? What are we going to do? They just move back behind the mars and we can’t even reach them… And how will we even get home from here?” James asked visibly frustrated.

“No need to get angry human, what is your name I never asked?” Vulirls said.

“It’s James, what does my name have to do with anything?”

“See James,” Vulirls continued. “We have thought of almost everything, I know this all must be overwhelming, but you stumbling upon us is the best thing that could have happened?”

“Anoi said the similar thing, I am guessing the Kraz’ox did the same on Earth. I am sensing a pattern here…” James said.

“Fair enough, but as you can see we are as open as we can, we told you everything, we are far superior to both of those races, but still I understand this all must feel crazy, we felt similarly when we found out about Ellards, we thought we were top of the universe but then we found out not only we were not, but we were made by one of the races. You find yourself in the middle of two coalitions going head to head and now a third party needs your help. But trust us, if you help us you will get yourself out of this situation as well if we get rid of the Void, no one will ever touch you again and we will share all of our technology with you.” Vulirls added.

“Yeah, fine…” James sighed. “How could we actually help what’s your plan.”

“What we thought was…” Uussils jumped into the conversation. “We can’t give you any of our ships obviously without the fear of attracting the Void, even if we didn’t, the Ekxin and Quex’uth would eventually find out and we would risk all-out war once again.”

“Makes sense,” Chloe rejoined the conversation. “So what then?”

“We will have to use Anoi ship to get you back.”

“They will never accept that, we barely escaped…” Chloe said.

“Unfortunately, they will have no choice,” Uussils responded. “We will make few of them, or however many of them are needed to fly the ship back and keep the rest of the prisoners, only once they deliver you to earth, we will let them go.”

“Won’t Kraz’ox just shot us down once we enter the solar system once again?” Chloe asked.

“You will tell them that you hijacked the ship to come back home and that you have a few Anoi for them as prisoners and their ship as a gift,” Uussils answered.

“Won’t they just kill them?” James chimed in.

“That’s the chance we will have to take, hopefully, they don’t, but the deaths of a few Anoi won’t make difference in the grand scheme of things, thousands of them died in the last battle before they came to Earth,” Uussils said without a hint of hesitation, they were obviously didn’t care for Anoi life at all, so Anoi fears were justified.

“But then what? What can we do to help if we manage to get back to Earth unscathed?” Meng had questions of his own.

“Best is to play along with Kraz’ox, we will give you schematics, plans, and everything you need to make a fleet of your own with technology more advanced than anyone in those two coalitions. But you will have to build it in secret somehow, you will have to play it smart and find people on Earth you trust.” Uussils continued with the plan. “We will give you means of contact with us, if Earth ever gets in serious trouble or any of them threaten with mass destruction we will find a way to help you even if we have to come ourselves risking the wrath of the Void, but as I said you will have to play it smart. Once you find trust-worthy people on earth and establish a base of operations we will start to make the next moves, for now, let’s get you back home safely.”

The conversation continued for almost an hour more, astronauts asked questions and the Qhiks had all the answers, it to the ISS crew like they were fully prepared. Sometime later they brought them pills as substitutes for food, ensuring them these pills would give their bodies everything they need to function properly for weeks with just one pill. The astronauts took the pills, it’s not like they had much choice, they haven’t eaten in days and there was no food in sight.

As the conversation finished, Uussils took them on a tour of the planet. Explaining along the way that this was their home planet before they became a space nation and that the planet now was more like a big museum or one big national park as they tried to keep it as original as it was at the point when they left for stars. The architecture of builds was similar to earth in the sense they build tall buildings to house as many people as possible, but that’s where the similarities stopped. They built them out of the white stone-like material arnd the building rarely had any windows, they all looked like fortresses. The nature of the planet was fascinating, along the way they came across multiple animals, all had bright colors for their fur or skin and none of them were big then your average cat. Uussils explained they had wild animals much bigger than them but non on this continent.

Eric asked questions about the massive constructions around the sun and how come all the planets seemed like they had life. Uussils explained they built Dyson Sphere with help of the Source and then spread that energy across the solar system to all ten planets with help of the huge platforms across the system and beside each planet. The platforms took in the energy and gave each planet light and heat as much as they needed in order to make the atmosphere as similar to the home planet as possible.

After they finished the tour they came back to the huge building where the meeting was held. By the time they came back they transported the rest of the Astronauts and the Anoi down to the planet and kept them in separate rooms. James could tell by the look on their faces that they were all briefed on the information they received.

Vulirls called James, Meng, and Chloe, as he thought they were the leaders of the Crew.

“The Anoi have agreed, four of them are needed to fly the ship and they will drive you back to the planet. The rest of them will wait here and once they deliver you we will let them go. They are aware that they will most likely be enprisoned by the Kraz’ox but are willing to take the risk.” Vulirls told them.

“But won’t the rest of them just tell the Ekzin what you’ve done here?” James said. “That we are helping you now.”

“They don’t know that, we told them we are protecting the undeveloped civilizations from the touch of those far above them and that we will deal with Kraz’ox later if they start to misuse their power on Earth,” Vulirls answered. “Don’t worry about that.”

James nodded and they went to the rest of the crew that initially stayed back on the ship. The three of them told them about the plans and the parts that the Qhiks might have left out. Some of them have similar worries to the original ten, but they all came to a conclusion they really had no choice if they wanted to get back to earth.

A short time after, the Qhiks brought the four Anoi that were about to take them home, Azcrawford wasn’t among them and Uussils took James, Chloe, and Meng to the side once again. She gave them what seemed like an external hard disk explaining that it contained all the necessary information on how to build their fleet and other technology and medical advances they would need to get themselves on the space map. She explained that our computers should be able to read them without much problem. She gave them a device that the Qhiks would eventually use to contact them down the road.

Qhiks wished them good luck and teleported thirty-five astronauts and four Anoi up to the ship. Apparently, they used the time the Astronauts were down on the planet to patch up the Anoi ship to the point where it would work enough to get them back to earth, but not look fully fixed to the point where Kraz’ox would be suspicious.

The Qhiks’ ships escorted them out of the Gate and back to the original position they intercepted them, wished them luck over the comms, and went back into their own solar system.

James stood tall looking out of the window thinking to himself that maybe this all was meant to be, that he was meant to spend his life in space and help humans off the planet.

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