The Votoons

Jason, the new guy, I mentioned him in my last post. He got a busy start with us!

A short while ago, Colin brought him to the HQ and introduced him to the rest of us. He will be joining my team. One of ours, Matt, has been home for a while after having a baby, so Jason will take his place on my team for now.
He’s from the army, like me and Mickey, and thank goodness for that. He arrived on the wrong day. I think he had been with us for 2 hours when a call came in about hostile aliens. They were in the next city and they were wearing som form of body armor. Whenever they talk about body armor, we get a bit nervous, it could be the Votoons.
And it was.

The Votoons are pretty stupid, but so well organized in battle, you wouldn’t believe it! They love war, it’s their whole reason to live. And they don’t mind dying as long as it’s in a fight. Because of their armor, they’re also pretty hard to injure or kill. Oh, and did I mention their blood is dangerous to humans? Yeah…

Me, Mike, Adrien, Mohammed, Jason, Matt (wrong day to visit, good thing he didn’t have the baby with him), and Luke left (by helicopter, I love helicopters!) and I think that was the quickest briefing I’ve ever been part of. Jason had no idea what he was up against, but when you’re in, you’re in.

There were 6 Votoons wrecking havoc in the middle of a street. Shooting things, destroying buildings… There were people everywhere, some dead, others injured.
Once we got close enough and could see their armor, we were in for a bit of a surprise. They had upgraded it. There was pretty much nothing of the creatures showing. There was a tiny gap at their shoulders, hips, wrists and ankles, that was it. The only way we would be able to stop them would be explosives or getting some piece of their armor of them to shoot them. Obviously we couldn’t blow them up, they were in the middle of a street! But getting close to them? Removing a helmet? I could hear both Mohammed and Matt say a prayer. I think Jason got a bit pale, but who didn’t at the first meeting with a Votoon? Since he’s the new guy, I told him to stay with me and Mickey. The others were split up in pairs.

The Votoons helmets didn’t look like they would be too difficult to take of, it was getting close that would be a problem, attacking them one at the time from front and back seemed like a good idea at the time. The 6 Votoons were spread out so that helped. Even if we managed to disarm them, we would be in trouble. That would only leave us with a “monster” way stronger than any of us. Yay..

But we made it. We took them out. There was running, screaming, shooting, and a few of us did a bit of flying (me included, ouch).
After the first 2 Votoons had been killed (yes, we had no choice there), the other 4 got together and attacked us.
We retreated, we needed to rethink the situation, and Matt had the best idea he’s ever had. “We could use the helicopter to knock them out” he said. Of course, the Votoons may be strong and wear armor, but how much weight can land on top of them and not stop them?
You see the downside here, don’t you? How do we stop them from shooting at the helicopter? You see the answer too, huh? We draw the fire. And another problem. The innocent people all over the sidewalks.
We had to get out in the street, exposing us completely to the Votoons and pretty much hope for the best. The Votoons are 8ft tall, and are built like He-Man. And then body armor on top of that. Huge! This is where you ask how we got the helmet off 2 of them. Cars. We get a bit taller too when we’re up on cars. Now we would be more like ants. Ants who needed to get the big monsters to follow them so innocent victims lying on the ground wouldn’t get hurt more, or killed.

It took some time to get the helicopter ready, we had to have Colin and Victor flown in to help us, we were busy with the Votoons, and one pilot doing everything on her own would just take too long.

Once the helicopter was in the air, we got out into the street, drew the Votoons fire. I have never fired my weapon that many times in one day before. But seeing the helicopter was pretty cool. It was like a wreckingball! Just, WHAM, and 2 of the Votoons were out. The other 2 turned to the helicopter and we had to get closer. Matt, Adrien, and myself were injured before the helicopter got its second chance and took out the remaining 2 Votoons.

And guess what, Mickey found the Votoon ship by accident! Mickey and Luke were clearing the road as much as they could so ambulances could get to the injured people. Mohammed and Jason were doing their best to help people until the medics could get to them.
One of the cars that was in the middle of the street was still working, so Mickey drove it to the side, to the grass, and crashed into nothing. With a cut on his head he got out of the car and started walking up an invisible ramp. That’s a look I won’t forget anytime soon!

Remember I told you the Votoons are pretty stupid? Yeah, Mickey could just walk right in to the ship!
I started walking towards the ship too, I wanted to see this, and was quickly joined by Jason. He wasn’t happy I got up, but what could he do? A really great guy!

But the ship! Oh I was dissapointed… It was so simple, even I could fly it! I’m pretty sure I won’t be allowed to. I may or may not have a bad record with trying to fly alien ships.
Every button and lever had a marking in Votoon. I recognized a few words, they were telling us what the buttons do. The first ship we didn’t need help with to know how to fly it.

Just don’t think it was over yet. Nope. That’s a story for the next entry!

Questions

I’ve been forced to stay in the hospital for a while now, I got injured on our last mission (I will tell you more about that later), so I figured I would explain a couple of things, answer some questions that people usually have. (Also, there’s a new member on my team, Jason, I’ll tell you more about him another time.)

Q – Our translators. We meet a lot of alien races, and talk to them. But how does that work when we don’t even share a language?
A – Since we don’t have a TARDIS to help us (wouldn’t that be awesome?), we use a sort of translator-patch. It’s almost half the size of a nicotine-patch. It’s placed behind the ear and it will sting a bit when you first get it, then you don’t even feel it. A lot of others “out there” use these patches. We got our from Victor and his people. So far we haven’t met anybody with a language it couldn’t translate. Dialects can however throw it of and make it not work. A patch will work for about five years before we need to change it.

Q – Ships, do we have them or not?
A – I wish… We have smaller ones, but they can’t go very far. THey can however protect this planet if needed. I think the moon is far enough for them. Technically, we can go further, but since it would take forever just to leave the solarasystem… We need hyperspeed (or is there another name for it when it’s not in movies? I think I need to talk to our tech people more. The ships we use when leaving earth are ships provided by the Garba (Victors’ people). There are a few on loan to us, but we don’t have any of our owns. I hope they’re working on that, it would be so cool!

Q – How long have The Agency been in operation?
A- Since april 14th, 1852. I’m gonna ask around and see if I can get any good answers on how it got started, and see if I’m allowed to share that with you.

Q – Who’s working for The Agency?
A – It’s really people from everywhere, all kinds of people. For working in the field (like I do) you need a background in the military or law enforcement. Then we have a lot of tech people, linguists, doctors, nurses, scientists (lods and loads of them!) and so on. All have combat training, before or after being recruited.

Q – How does The Agency recruit?
A – The recruiters, Colin and his people, have eyes and ears everywhere. They keep a close watch on everyone that could be of use to us/the planet in some way. They also have contacts in pretty much every university, college, military base etc. If you stand out or if they think there’s something extra about you, trust me, you’ll know!

Q – How do you apply to work for The Agency?
A – “Don’t call us, we’ll call you!”

Q – Does The Agency hire as many women as men?
A – Out in the field there are more men than women, but there’s still quite a few of us. The lab at the main HQ (where I’m stationed) have more women than men. And for the rest it’s actually pretty even.

Q – How does The Agency feel about LGBT+?
A – The only thing that matters is your job. Everyone’s welcome. Adrien (that I wrote about in my journal entries a while back) is a trans man and Adalina (one of our alien scientists that I’m not sure if I have introduced yet) is a lesbian. (I think Lucy at the front desk has a thing for her, but I’m not sure. Lucy is really hard to read.)

Q – Where is The Agency located?
A – I can’t tell you that. We have a main HQ in one of the biggest cities in the world, then we have smaller ones on every continent and a few bases spread out over the world too.

Q – What country do we work for?
A – All of them. There are 5 people (currently 4 men and 1 woman) who make up the board. They take all the major decisions. Then there’s 1 director in the USA, Canada, Russia, China, the rest of Asia, North Africa, South Africa, Europe, northern South America, and souther South America. Every 4 years there’s a vote on who will be on the board.

Q – Do we answer to a president or another ruler?
A – No. Most presidents, head of states, whatever, don’t even know about The Agency (unless they read here..). They would have nothing to say in the matter. We’re here for planetary protection.

Q – What’s The Agency stand on religion?
A – We don’t care what people believe in or don’t believe in as long as they do their job.

Q – What kind of weapons do we use?
A – We mostly use alien weapons that can both kill, injure, and stun. If it’s a rescue mission, we will use pretty much the same weapons the military uses. We always carry handguns and knifes.

Do you have any questions? Just write a comment 🙂

July mission – the end.

Some of the details are still a bit fuzzy.
We were found by the X:es and we gave all we had, but it wasn’t enough. Our weapons didn’t do much damage to their exoskeletons. The ones we managed to take out was more luck than skill.

We were taken from the cave to the base of the mountain and I think they were trying to interrogate us, but our translators didn’t recognize the language. We have the X:es language added, but not all dialects.

Mohammed did his usual thing. He tried to talk to them, tried to use bodylanguage, handsigns, anything he could think of. They didn’t go for it, putting a gun to his head was a pretty good way of saying “stop it”.

They started marching us towards the village. Not good. Their sun and nothing to protect our skin. Adrien was given Alice to carry.
We can’t have walked more than half an hour before the sun got to us. We couldn’t stand and Adrien almost dropped Alice.

I vaguely remember hearing a familiar noise, but couldn’t see from where. Mohammed was trying to help me get up and the X:es were screaming and raising their weapons. Next thing I know, Mohammed was down in the sand next to me and I couldn’t tell if he had been killed or not.
And then I heard shots fired. P90, I was sure of it! And yes, our people. I was too exhausted to get up, everything was spinning when I tried. I saw Mickey to my side, covering Adrien and Alice as well as he could.

It felt like an hour went by, but it was probably only minutes and the X:es started to retreat. I heard a different sound, one I couldn’t place. Was it friendly or not? Shade, it gave us shade. Probably friendly.
It was a ship. One I hadn’t seen before, but I would regonize that design anywhere, it was a Garba ship. I tried getting up again but was held down by Mohammed. Thank goodness, he was alive!

I don’t remember much before waking up the floor of the ship. Mohammed was sitting to my left and the others were lying on my right side. Victor showed up shortly after, telling us to relax and not to worry. Now, me being as stubborn as I am, won’t really listen to stuff like that, so I got up, fell right back down and forced myself up again.
Victor finally grabbed my arm and held me steady.
“You need to take it easy,” he said.
Yeah, that’s gonna happen…

I told him what happened to our Garba friend, the pilot, but he already knew. They had followed a tracker he had on, one we didn’t know about. Victor told us that three days after we had left Earth orbit, they had found out that our information was wrong. We were already closing in on the X:es planet and didn’t respond to any communication. It was directly agreed that something must have gone wrong, and a rescuemission was organized. It wasn’t until Victor was here that he discovered the X:es were jamming all transmissions.

Thanks to the ships flying over us, it was easy to understand where to find us. The X:es may have technology way beyond us, but we have bigger ships! The X:es were held back long enough for agents to get a hold of us and get us inside. (And by “we have bigger ships”, I do mean our Garba friends…)

Two from The Agency, two Garbas, and Victor had come for us. Lawrence, one of our fellow agents, was taking our blood and doing tests while being a real sweetheart to Alice. Olivina, the other agent, was going through my journal entries while asking question after question after question. She was trying to piece everything together.
The information we had gotten before we left turned out to come from the Votoons. A race of creatures that wants nothing more than to destroy everything they can. The Votoons are damn hard to fight, because they aren’t afraid to die. They look forward to it. It’s even an honor to die in battle. We’re gonna ignore what they did this time. Last thing we need is to go to war with them!

We were now in for a three day travel home, but the best thing was getting a not-so-very-homemade-meal. That was just amazing. Food!!

Journal entries. Day 3 – 5

All is good. We had an unexpected visitor, but it’s taken care of. I even got to sleep, so all in all it was a good day/night.

Day 3, entry 1, July mission.

The cornerbuilding had one window on each side, just like the one we needed to get in to. I could see the X:es close to one window. Two of them had their backs to the door and I could see a sofa close to it too.
I had the cloth we had been dragging behind us to cover our tracks that I could set on fire, and the X:es had bottles and cans and all kinds of things in one of the corners. Maybe they weren’t guards, cleaningpersonel?

The X:es were turned away from me so it was easy getting in and behind the sofa. A few minutes later the X:es left, but didn’t close the door. I hurried over to the corner and grabbed as many cans and bottles I could and poured it all over the sofa, just hoping some of it would burn. I hid behind the sofa again, waiting. When the X:es came back, they were in a pretty heated discussion and didn’t see me get out. I dragged the sofa in front of the door and used my monocular to set a fire. Oh sweet someone that thing burned! I don’t know wat was in the cans, but it was dangerous!
The X:es inside were screaming and as I hurried out of view, more came around to their rescue. I ran as fast as I could back to Mickey who had managed to get in to the building unseen. We could carry four bottles of water each so that was good. They were pretty large too.

Since we didn’t have anything to hide our tracks with, we had to make a detour, we couldn’t go straight for the mountain and the cave. It wasn’t until we were at the foot of the mountain that ships were starting to approach. We had to hide under a rock for a while before we could go higher up and then try to get back to our cave. The last couple of hours were hell. It was so hot and so bright and we were exhausted. But we found our way back.
We have burns on our faces now, but they’re not too bad, I don’t think there will be any permanent damage.

Day 3, entry 2, July mission.

We’re gonna try to get som sleep. All batteries are dead, Paul is unconscious, and Alice is getting pretty weak too. We need to be rescued soon.

Day 4, entry 1, July mission.

Paul didn’t make it through the night.

Adrien and Mohammed have done their best to keep a lookout during the night, there are X:es everywhere. IF rescue is on the way, we have two options. Go up the mountain and somehow mark our location, or head back to our crashed ship. I’m not fond of either. Mickey and Mohammed are working on a plan while Adrien and I take turns guarding the entrance.

Day 4, entry 2, July mission.

They’re close. Closer than they’ve been before. If they keep this up they’re gonna find us. Mickey and Mohammed have been able to have a look around the cave, there are a few narrow paths up the mountain but there’s nowhere to hide. Unless the X:es back off, we’re trapped.

Day 4, entry 3, July mission.

I’m listening to the ships fly over. Again and again. But I guess it could be a good thing. We can’t leave, and if rescue is coming, they will guess we’re here.

Some of the X:es just passed way too close to us. We’ve had to move back a bit so they won’t see us.

Day 5, entry 1, July mission.

Alice just have enough strength to sit up. We’re all exhausted and hungry. The heat will take us soon.

Day 5, entry 2, July mission.

Two X:es went by the cave just now. Right outside it.

If this is found. Tell my dad I love him!

Journal entries. July mission, day 1 – 3

I’m spending the weekend at The Agency, on stand by, so I need something to do other than drive Mickey crazy. Here are more journal entries from the July Mission two years ago.

Day 1, entry 2, July mission.

We’ve been in the cave for 12 hours now. Mohammed finally woke up. He assures us he’s fine, but I’m making him take it easy. We don’t know what that weapon did to him. It may just be some form of stunner, but what does it do to humans?
I won’t let him guard the entry to the cave, Micke, Adrien and I can do that for now.

Since the last entry, there has been massive movement among the X:es, maybe it’s because of Alice and Paul. Two dozen smaller ships have been launched and they have been flying over us every now and then since. Do they know there are caves here? Everything about them is high-tech so we’re hoping caves are too primitive for them to even think about.

The opening to the cave is pretty small and I don’t think they can see it from above. We could hardly see it from the ground, it was pure, dumb luck that we found it. It doesn’t go very deep, just enough to shield us from the worst heat. We can’t go outside at all right now, we can’t even go near the opening, it’s so damn hot! The walls are a bit cooler so we’re just sitting here, hoping for the best. Alice says it will be daytime in about six hours, it can’t happen soon enough. I don’t like not having a lookout at the opening, I feel safer knowing what’s going on outside.

Day2, entry 1, July mission.

We made it through the night, but it wasn’t easy. Even though we have food and water for 4 days, I’m not sure we can take the heat for that long. Paul is pretty taken by it, we’re gonna need to give him more water if he’s gonna survive. Alice told us about one of the buildings in the village, there’s plenty of drinkingwater. But I don’t know, can we risk going?

Mickey is talking about going up the mountain. There could be better shelter and maybe we could find a spot to signal our possible rescuers. Another risk. Even the easiest things are difficult on this planet. But better to have a plan than not.

Day 2, entry 2, July mission.

We’re tired, we’re warm, and we’re hungry. We’ve been up all night hoping not to be discovered. It was late yesterday when we saw a few X:es moving closer to the mountain. An hour later, they were still there. They weren’t making any attempts on going up. You either have to climb or walk on really narrow paths. Can they do either?

Paul is worse. He won’t drink anything. Besides giving him water, there’s nothing we can do. We’re all exhausted.

Day 2, entry 3, July mission.

Our communicators are low on batteries. Maybe they will work a handful more times.

Day 2, entry 4, July mission.

We’re talking about going to the village for water, me and Mickey. Adrien is the best shot and is best suited to guard the cave. Mohammed is still not showing any signs of trauma, mental or physical, from being stunned, so I feel comfortable with leaving them.
If we’re going, we have to do it tomorrow, before the X:es come back. IF they come back. It’s been hours and no sign of them.

(We’re going!)

Day 3, entry 1, July mission.

We did it. We made it to the village and back. It’s almost night and we barely made it to the cave without passing out.

We set out first thing this morning, when the temperature was low enough for us to be able to go outside. There were no signs outside saying the X:es had been here during the night, so we decided to risk it.
We covered our heads and faces and walked as fast as we could, which, granted, isn’t very fast here. Adrien forced us to take more water with us than we wanted. And we had a piece of cloth dragging in the sand behind us to cover our tracks. But there would be no hiding if a ship flew over.

We expected guards all over the village, but there were none. It wasn’t until we could see the doorways to the buildings that we saw any. One guard at every door.
The building we needed to get to was the second from where Alice and Paul had been held. It was smaller than the others, and the entrance wasn’t out along the street like the others. Still, the door could be seen by 3 other X:es. Their weapons are much more powerful than ours, not to mention that they have those damn pulseweapons.
There were three windows on the building, one on each side. On earth, that would be easy. Here, the windows aren’t made of glass. I don’t know what it is. Then there’s the technology. Alice didn’t know if there were any alarms.

We talked for a bit on how smart the X:es are. Yes, they’re smart enough to be as technological advanced as they are, but are they too smart? If we’re thought of as so primitive, then the way we think, and plan, and strategies, must be too. At that point, it was just crossing our fingers and hope.

There were no places to take cover, it was the cleanest village I’ve ever seen! In the end, we had to sit down behind one of the buildings and make up a plan. What would the X:es do in case of an explosion? Would they even care? Or a fire, would it make the ones guarding the doors leave? We didn’t know, but it was all we could do. If we set fire to something it had to be pretty close, we couldn’t do much running in the heat.
In the end, we decided that I should creat the diversion just a few buildings away. The second the X:es would move, if they moved, Mickey would go in to the building, get as much water as he could and leave. I would join as soon as I could, and get more water if possible.

Some X:es moved down the street and in to the building at the corner, 5 houses away. They didn’t leave a guard at the door, they left it open. Maybe they were a sort of police?
I headed for the same building, very carefully, while trying to loosen the glass of my monocular.

——————–

(Sorry, an alarm is sounding, and Lucy at the front desk is calling for us. I’ll continue to write later.)

Journal entries. July mission day 1 – entry 1

I have a few journals from older missions. There’s usually not time to write anything while we’re out, but sometimes there’s a lot of waiting and it’s beyond boring to just sit and do nothing. I decided to share one of these journals with you. I’ll give you a short backgroundstory for the mission first.

On July 26 two years ago, myself and three others, Mickey, Adrien and Mohammed, were sent on a rescuemission.
Adrien is the most quiet person you’ll ever meet, and one of the best snipers I have ever worked with. The first couple of times I worked with him, I hated him. Not one word. At all. But his work speak for itself. These days I’m happy to have him with me.
Mohammed is the absolut opposite, you can’t shut him up. He’s really the life of the party and will make anyone feel right at home where ever they’re at. If you’re in a jam, you’ll want him there, he will make you feel safe and you just know everything will be ok.

I will admit that I was a bit worried for myself and Adrien on this mission. He’s got scottish ancestry, and he’s got amazingly, bright, red hair. I, on the other side, am as pale as a human can possible get. Redheads and pale people don’t do too well in the sun. And where were we going? To one of the warmest and sunniest planets we’ve ever been to. SUNSCREEN!!

For a few months, 11 people had been reported missing. This is nothing strange on its own, but they were all from different countries, and all policereports said the same thing – there had been sitings of UFO:s before. The police didn’t take it serious, they dismissed it as hoaxes. But The Agency knows better.
Turned out, it was a race of humanoids called Xtrghngsxklxk that were behind it. (If you think their name is odd, you should hear them talk. They don’t have vowels at all, and they always sound like they’re about to be sick.) We usually just call them X:es.
The X:es had been taking people from earth to sell on their planet. They considered us so primitive that we couldn’t possible do anything about it. Wrong!

With some help, we got a location on them. Planet, coordinates, the works. The Agency have a few ships, interstellar travel IS possible! But this time, we needed Victors aid. He had another Garba take us to the X:es planet.

And that’s where the problems began. My journal from this mission will follow in the next few posts. But it starts here:

July mission day 1, entry 1:
The days here are much longer than on earth, so I’m not sure what day it is. But the mission is close to a disaster.
We were shot down while approaching the planet. Turns out the X:es have a pretty good survilance of the space surrounding their planet. Our Garba pilot has never seen the likes of it. We all survived the crash, the Garba with a broken arm and an injured shoulder, the rest of us with bruises. Early readings from before the crash said the temperature on the surface was somewhere between 50 and 60 degrees Celsius (between 122 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit). 4 hours of walking later and our Garba friend couldn’t take it anymore. He couldn’t even stand up. The sand and the heat was too much. We did what we could for him, but he passed away. Mohammed’s guessing on internal damage. We were forced to move on, but we buried him in the sand as deep as we could. It took us another hour to reach the village we had gotten the coordinates for. It’s like a small village from the wild west about 10 klicks south of our current position. STAY AWAY FROM IT!

We weren’t prepaired at all. There was so much information we had gotten that was completely wrong. The X:es are hig tech like you can’t imagine. Survilance everywhere. Nothing is wooden, it’s all made from a substance that looks like metal. We still don’t know what the X:es look like, they’re all wearing exosceletons when outside.  Mohammed got a glimpse of something humanoid with a fuzzy skin, like peaches.

We managed to locate the kidnapped humans. I’m afraid only two of them were alive. They still are, they’re here with us now, Alice and Paul. Mohammed got shot while we rescued Alice and Paul. Some form of pulseweapon. He’s alive but unresponsive. If he doesn’t wake up soon, he won’t survive. It’s just getting warmer and warmer here. Turns out the nights are warmer than the days.

The only luck we’ve had so far is that the X:es consider us too primitive to be a threat. Our weapons easiliy escaped the survilance in their village. They never bothered to check our crashed ship either, I guess they just assumed we wouldn’t make it. This made for a pretty easy rescue of Alice and Paul.

We have taken refuge in the mountains, 10 klicks north of the village. There’s a cave just a short climb up that we’re taking refuge in. It’s getting warmer by the hour here, and even if it’s still really hot in the cave, it’s a lot better than outside. We would never survive there at night!
We have rationed our food and water, I give it 4 days. Possibly 5. Alice and Paul are in pretty ok shape, they’ve been given food and water, but the heat has gotten to them.

We’ve been in the cave for 6 hours, so there’s still plenty of time. Adrien is sending messages out to whomever might be listening. The Agency and Victor will send help when it becomes clear something has gone wrong. But I doubt it will be in time.

I will update the journal daily. At the end of the noteboook, I’ve written down everything we know about the X:es and the village.
We will keep sending messages until our radios die. We are thinking of a way to mark the cave so our allies can find us, but not the X:es.