Not a Friend but Not an Enemy Either

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Moon base, the year 2210

As I sit at a round table, a tall, athletic person enters the room and sits opposite me. His positive, smart but piercing eyes give him an attractive demeanor. He seems to be waiting for me to start the conversation.

“Hello, nice to meet you. I am here because all our inbound communications are switched off. I was informed that this is due to some alien threats that we think would infect our systems. We did not know you were contacting us. You are probably one of the long-lost human colonies,” I say.

He smiles and responds, “Yes, we tried to contact you. My apologies, we did not mean to be intrusive. After all, we had been searching for this star, and I think we finally found it. It matches our records perfectly. Although all constellations look somewhat different, the time difference can explain this. We sent a signal your way a long time ago, but it probably got lost in one of the interstellar dust clouds. This is very exciting to be here again and meet you. We call ourselves thinking beings, as you do.”

“I am very surprised that we can’t find any records about your colony. Is it in the Andromeda galaxy as you say? How is that possible?” I ask.

“We have some advanced propulsion systems. Though we can’t travel faster than light, we can bend space,” he responds.

“I wonder what year your group left,” I say.

He smiles and says, “You call it 1.500.125 BC.”

It’s at this point that I notice how strange he is and the way he walks, which I had never seen before.

“Did they leave from Mars?” I ask.

“Yes, one spacecraft was sent out. Nobody was on board, just a spacecraft for exploring another star system. I can show you our latest spacecraft, but you must keep your space suit on as it has no life support system yet,” he replies.

From this point, I know what he is.

Darkest Space

“Jim, Jim, do you hear me? Jim? Can you check what’s going on with the solar panels? I can’t manage the power, it’s overloading.”

Jim walks through the corridor. I hear the clicking sound of his metal-reinforced shoes on the metal floor.

“Jim, tell me what’s going on. What’s happening?”

“Duuuuun, turn everything off, now. Cut the power, now. Oh my god.”

Flash. Strange noises. Darkness.

I see the countryside, a lake, people fishing next to it. It’s a sunny and hot day. I see a flashlight, it’s Jim.

“Jim, what the heck is going on? What did you do? I have a really bad headache. I thought you were going to fix it. What the heck, my wristwatch exploded. I’ve never seen anything like that. A line of smoke is coming from the piece of electronics that used to be my wristwatch.”

“Dun, are you okay? I thought you were hurt.”

“I am okay because I was in the suit. Are you okay?”

“Yes, I think I’m fine. What the heck, Jim.”
“The Sun, a corona ejection. The big one.”

“You’re serious? I thought it was something you did or an asteroid.”

“Well, it hit us pretty badly. The whole base was shaking.”

“Did you manage to turn anything off?”

“Of course I did. The solar panel power line, the explosive bolts. I think it worked.”

“Let me check that. Jim, did it work?”

“Yes, there’s a 1-meter wide gap between cable ends. All three cables. We’re lucky, I would say.”

“That’s good. What else? Anything fried inside?”

“A couple of radios don’t work and a laptop, that’s what I’ve checked already. Everything else seems fine.”

“What’s fried outside, Jim?”

“Everything, I mean all electronics. All of it.”

“I suspected that. What about the capsule?”

“No idea, need to run diagnostics.”

“Listen, I’ll do some work tomorrow. Now I need to get to my family. They’re probably stranded somewhere on Earth.”

“Jim, I’m wondering why that synthetic human left so quickly. There’s no spaceship on launch pad 7 anymore. He didn’t tell anyone he was leaving.”

“I have no idea. He didn’t take anything. He just left. Maybe he knew what was going to happen or maybe he did it.”

“No, I don’t believe that. He has no reason to do that. Does he want something? He has everything he can imagine. Did you see their molecular printer? It’s quite an astonishing invention. I just hope none of them got hurt from the Sun. Do you think he’ll be back?”

“No idea. Maybe. A solar corona ejection already happened, so that means about 50 years will be quiet. We’ll see.”

“Yes, we will see.”

I found Jim in the garage.

I told him that we have 90 days of food for two people. Water isn’t a problem. I’ll go to the North Pole and dig up some ice, so we’ll have a supply for about four months. The real problem is the food.”

“I have 60 MREs in my rover. So that makes 120 days for two people. I think it’s plenty of time. We’ll figure something out.”

“Just in case we get in trouble, I’ll see what we can synthesize. That molecular printer would be really handy here. I wonder if it can print meat-free burgers.”

“I would like pizza.”

“Yeah, right. Are those MREs pizzas?”

“Yeah, mate. Can’t live without pizza.”

“Okay, food problems temporarily solved. What about the capsule?”

“We need to replace the electronics.”

“Do we have a spare kit?”

“Yes, we do.”

“I wanted to ask you, Jim, are you from the army by any chance?”

“Yes, US Space Force. Why do you ask?”

“I just wondered how you managed to get 30 days of MREs and the rover.”

“From there, Dun, from that place.”

His answer made me happy temporarily, but I had more questions. Not for today though. I wondered what the Space Force was doing here and why most of their equipment didn’t fry. His rover still works despite being outside during the storm. It has some electronics, I think, but why it didn’t fry is interesting.”