The compartment was dark, silent, and cold.
A small light flashed on and off; a signal of some sort. In response, more lights powered on and lit up the interior with soft green light. Now revealed, the room was barren, save for a circular dais at its centre. Smooth rounded walls of obsidian tapered towards a sealed airlock in the ceiling.
A hidden hatch in the wall slid open with a hiss of pressurised gas which mixed with the stale air of the compartment to produce a thick layer of mist. As the gas dissipated, a humanoid form was unveiled… no, not quite humanoid. It would be a mistake to call it such anymore, if ever it had been.
The thing was an entangled hybridization of machinery and flesh; the deranged machinations of a madman’s nightmare. Wires detached from its body as it was awoken from hyper sleep and three glowing mechanical eyes shone from its macabre face. Where one might have imagined other features typical of a head as we have come to know them, was instead nothing but scarred and deformed tissue stretched across an elongated skull.
The monstrosity lifted itself out of its chamber upon four spindly spider-like limbs, each with a number of irregularly sized digits at their end. As it scuttled across the room with inhuman agility, each step made a metallic clang against the floor. It positioned itself upon the dias at which point the centerpiece sprung to life in a whirl of machine-driven motion…
Cables and wires hooked into ports on the creature’s torso and a throne-like chair assembled itself beneath the being’s frame. A control pad contraption rose to encircle the dias upon which the being’s limbs rested functionality as arms.
Designated by the 20th letter of his people’s alphabet, ‘T’ was not of our world. Commander of the likewise designated fleet, T was bred and designed for but a single purpose: planetary subjugation…
The command seat tilted back and rose towards the porthole in the ceiling. The doorway opened to reveal the star-speckled scene of outer space with a small blue dot in the centre; Earth!
T’s limbs moved rapidly across the control panel and a holographic projection of the target planet appeared before him. As the image rotated, a series of numbers, coordinates, and other less-easily interpreted symbols rolled across his view. T responded to these with swift computational precision, and parts of the globe began to light up as he marked them as targets.
The entire process took all of a few minutes, such was the prowess of T’s bio-engineered mind. The invasion plan completed, the holographic projection changed to a display of a dozen or more similarly ghoulish faces. T addressed his sub-commanders with a series of clicking chirps and robotic tones in what could have been interpreted as language, although given his lack of a discernible mouth, it was unclear where these sounds emanated from.
The hologram vanished and T paused momentarily to gaze out through the view port at the blue dot growing slowly larger and larger as the star ship approached its destination. Whatever thoughts consumed his mind, or if T was even capable of self-conscious thought, was beyond the contemplation of a casual observer; a question perhaps best left to scientists or philosophers to debate, should any ever have the chance to examine such a being.
As it was now at this moment, no one could have predicted the looming horror approaching their little slice of paradise in the vast sea of emptiness. Earth was unsuspecting and unprepared. With any luck, the planet’s radars and satellites might just have picked up a signal from the swarm of locusts as they broke from hyper speed at the edge of the solar system. Should the alarm have been raised, nations might be turning their attention to the skies, wondering if these alien visitors had come with peaceful or hostile intent. The less optimistic governments may even be preparing their arsenals in vain hope that their primitive weapons could make a difference.
T resumed his solitary endeavor with meticulous fidelity. Thousands of potential scenarios raced through his mind and each was raked according to probability based on a plethora of prior experience; this was far from his first rodeo, after all. A million worlds lay in his wake, and a million more before him. Earth was just another number.
All the pieces were in place. It was time to begin…