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IN:FLUX

Return to Earth

Commissioner Eloni stood still in his transport pod. The Neonoan forcefield’s subtle humming filled the void in the pod. Eloni, alone with his thoughts, knew this would be the last chance for peace on Earth. He was enroute to a parlay. It was most likely a trap, just like the CIN agents sprung on them when they returned after their 2000 year voyage to the starcluster of Venza. It was decided by unanimous vote that the Neonoans would display honour and impeccable morality when dealing with their unfamiliar brother factions, even the inter-dimensional mutants from the Genesis station, who hardly seemed human at all.

Eloni was thinking about the past. He remembered the Earth being a much different place before they left. It was dying then. World governments had fallen apart and the threat of climate change fractured even old familial alliances. It was a broken world where sisters killed their brothers for survival, and the weather itself was imploding catastrophically, darkening the skies for weeks at a time. The First Collective pooled their resources to leave the planet to find a new home. They did this because it seemed there was no other option. Now…Well, now the world was ruled by fear under the authoritarian control of The Supreme Leader, whoever he is. It seems that humanity, has survived after all — some in a space station orbiting a neutron star, others in subterranean tunnels, and others yet submitting to the whims of a vile dictatorship.

Eloni remembered making landfall on Neonoa, the fertile planet at the end of their cosmic journey. They landed in golden fields, surrounded by lush tropical gardens with trees that bore toxic fruit all year long. None of the biosphere of Neonoa was friendly to Terran biology. The settlers were running out of food, struggling to survive on the feces of native insects, the only digestible thing on the entire planet. But the true conflict happened when the science collective discovered an alien fortress buried beneath the surface of the world. The advanced technology, they claimed could solve all their problems. They wanted to stay and dig more, but they were running out of food, and alien diseases were claiming pioneer lives. They had to return to Earth to survive. And when they left, they assumed they were the last sons and daughters of humanity.

In his pod, whirring high above the clouds, the Commissioner turned on some music. He interfaced with the computer to bring up the files on Agent Carré. They would meet and discuss the potential for a truce. Carré was the same shapeshifting nano-entity who ambushed the Reconciliation Committee when the Neonoan spaceship returned to Earth. There was bad blood. The Committee loathed the fact that the CIN scientists had captured Neonoan tech, but Eloni realised they, too, were simply trying to survive in a hostile world. He had sympathy for these poor rebels who lived underground.

The interfaced beeped, and the pod dropped altitude. It was time. The next few minutes would determine who would survive to inherit the Earth.