During the time the three Earth spacecraft and the alien ‘Rag Tag Fleet’ waited for their launch window to planet Earth, both sides used the time to get to know each other a little better. Or rather, the Quetzal and the Turukal that had been thawed, answered many of curious humanities questions and revealed a lot about their cultures, their worlds and their shared history.
One of the first pieces of information they shared was both surprising and not surprising to mankind and its politicians. Neither the Quetzal nor the Turukal had been a monolithic species with a united planetary government or even a united culture, and neither were the now destroyed Sleallver and E’gtf.
To a good number of people, who were pretty much used to seeing monolithic alien cultures and unification policies in science fiction, the notion of many different cultures among all these species as well was disappointing to say the least. Many scientists and politicians on the other hand were not really surprised, because when seen realistically, no intelligent species could be as socially perfect as to form unified global nations. Nevertheless they were very intrigued to meet the aliens. Especially anthropologists, sociologists and linguists were eager to write all new chapters in their respective areas of study.
The composition of the nations was another interesting piece of information, containing a wide array of governments that were very similar to those on Earth. There had been purely democratic nations, kingdoms and dictatorships, as well as a number of rather wired governmental systems. To the Soviet Union and to a degree the Chinese the fact that the one of the most powerful Quetzal nation was something of a communist nation, was a confirmation that communism was a logical political development.
Another surprise was that one of the privately owned Quetzal craft actually was the personal spacecraft of the king of one of the smaller Quetzal nations, Sovereign Rynem of Thriem, who had packed up himself and a number of his subjects and fled from Cterin, the Quetzal homeworld, before the planet had been bombed by salted nuclear weapons.
The reason for The War was unknown as The Enemy had one day simply appeared near a colony world of the E’gtf and instantly opened fire after the initial attempt to communicate with it and then proceeded to assault on any spacecraft and other space assets. Soon afterwards more spacecraft arrived and proceeded to assault the colony and destroy all orbital assets before destroying the surface installations with nuclear weapons.
The War itself lasted the better part of ten Earth years, where The Enemy systematically discovered colony worlds of the four races. This terrible threat caused them to fight and fight together within the first year of the initial encounter. Of the four homeworlds, the first to fall belonged to the Sleallver, its surface bombarded by high yield thermonuclear weapons salted with Cobalt to turn the planet into a radioactive wasteland incapable of harboring life for a long time. The E’gtf followed soon after, with the Turukal and the Quetzal holding out the longest.
Communication with the E’gtf and Sleallver was spotty during the destruction of their homeworlds as couriers that had been used to carry important informations between the militaries had failed to call back in, leading to the assumption that The Enemy had intercepted them. When the couriers finally were able to make it through again and report back, it was too late. The worlds of both the Sleallver and the E’gtf had become utterly barren due to the orbital bombardments.
Other pieces of information were also shared, most importantly in the short term the designs needed to create the docking and berthing ports needed for the spacecraft once they arrived at Earth.
Finally, the Rag Tag Fleet and the three Earth craft began their burn towards Earth. While the Marco Polo did its own burn for the four hundred day journey, the Smirnova and the Lewis & Clark were forced to be towed by the alien spacecraft to be able to arrive at Earth at the same time as everyone else.
They entered Earth orbit by June 3, 2019 and slowly approached the International Orbital Dock in medium Earth orbit. As the first spacecraft tried to dock, the rushed work and partly incomplete planning showed. In two cases the berthing systems were placed incorrectly and while the docking worked, astronauts needed to anchor the spacecraft with cables to keep it in place. In another case the docking ports themselves were not only incompatible, but also simply set up wrong, damaging the docking port on the spacecraft to such a degree that it had to be repaired before another docking attempt with a correct docking port could be made. Two spacecraft had their docking and berthing ports set up in a way that actually docking would lead to a collision with their radiators.
While the civilian spacecraft were more or less docked to the IOD, the two AI and one brain controlled combat spacecraft kept themselves on a slightly different orbit around Earth, slowly circling the IOD to provide security and keep a close look over the craft. The two conventional combat spacecraft meanwhile docked to the IOD as well, but kept a skeleton crew for security reasons.
While the aerospace planes were readied to slowly take the survivors down to Earth and land them on Diego Garcia, the remaining fuel of the civilian spacecraft, a little more than three kilogram helium 3, were transferred to Enthat, Haing and Em’beli. Deuterium to top off their tanks was delivered by ESA, as was some water, but with the specifics on their engine systems and the need for helium 3 to achieve fusion the three could not really even leave cislunar space.
A fleet of fifteen aerospace planes, each capable of carrying 20 tonnes of payload, be it crew or cargo, slowly landed the survivors in groups of a fifty at a time, before taking on hydrogen fuel on the island and returned to the IOD to pick up another load.
The camp on Diego Garcia slowly filled up and for the first time in over three thousand years ago, aliens walked the Earth. This time the tables were turned though as they were aided and observed by human helpers, scientists and physicians instead of the other way around.
In the surrounding waters of the Indian Ocean a joint task force made up by a large number of frigates of various nations and commanded from the HMS Ark Royal, was busy to keep people outside of the quarantine zone around the island. Close to a hundred yachts, rented fish trawlers and other ships were trying to get to the island, for various reasons. Many people onboard the ships just wanted to see the aliens, maybe even shake a hand or two. Some ships spouted slogans about either space invaders preparing their invasion, while others went on how the aliens were kept away from the public view by the government, to stop them of sharing their knowledge for the salvation of the human race.
While the so called Preservation Force enforced the quarantaine, some ships were still able to slip through. Most were stopped before they could make landfall and a single ship was sunk by an unlucky warning shot from the F223 Nordrhein-Westfalen. Two ships did make landfall, one containing an Evangelist preacher from Minnesota and the other a group of french esoterics. As the fear from alien diseases was still there, these ten people had to be detained on the island, which they were fine with.
Following planetfall of the alien survivors, a surprisingly human problem became apparent in them. Many of the survivors suffered from various psychological problems following their escape and survival. Survivors guilt and post traumatic stress were the most common problems and made it necessary to ‘import’ psycho analysts and therapists to try and help them, increasing the number of humans on the island.
Even with that additional help, sixty three Quetzal and eleven Turukal committed suicide over the first few weeks. There was also a Turukal who killed a group of five Quetzal in a mess hall with his natural weapons, blaming them for the loss of his homeworld. He was shot by a security guard, but survived and was put into arrest.
Sovereign Rynem, who used to be the king of the Quetzal Thriem nation, gave up his title and office two weeks after planetfall, stating that he had failed to be a good king and that he should have died with his nation, rather than fleeing like a coward.
Following the initial phase of allowing the survivors to settle down a little, the leaders of the survivors came together in the small convention center that had been built on the south end of the island, to talk about what they were going to do, now that they had made it to a world where they could live and hopefully survive, maybe even thrive.
To the Turukal, a society of borrowers with naturally strong family and clan structures were relatively quick to decide that they would try to find a place where all of them could live and rebuild. To them it did not really matter that they were of over ten different nations and cultural backgrounds.
For the Quetzal the situation was less clear. The Quetzal society was rather fractured in its nature, not very unlike that of humans. The survivors were of at least twenty three different nations, culture, languages and religions and the moment things had cooled down a little, discussions began and showed no signs of ending, fracturing the stability that the survivors had been in since the destruction of their homeworld.
While a few groups within the Quetzal survivors were in agreement with others and formed something of coalition, the survivors remained splintered.
All groups were united in one thing however, they would be using the technology they had available to secure themselves a place to live.
The various governments, involved in the largely improvised spaceport on Diego Garcia and the survivor camp, did not at all try to get the Quetzal to get back together. Instead, out of self-interest many nations separately, and as a bloc, tried to persuade groups of Quetzal to settle down in their respective areas. Some tried to cause fractures among the Turukal as well, but failed, yet it did not stop them from lobbying them to settle in their nations.
Time passed and the Quarantaine was used by human exobiologists, xeno psychologists and xeno physicians to understand the aliens and their physique better. It became quite apparent that the aliens were not in danger by Earthly diseases, nor was there any danger of alien diseases.
By May 2021 the United Nations tentatively allowed the aliens to select the places they wanted to settle down after Diego Garcia, though preparations for the resettling would have to be finished before the actual relocation could happen.
The Turukal were the first to make their a clear decision. The Australian outback resembled large parts of their homeworld and was the most obvious choice. They even went as far as asking for settlement rights in Coober Pedy, stating that the place was perfect for setting up their new home.
By now, there were eleven clearly visible factions within the Quetzal community and a handfull of less clear possibilities. They asked for a number of places to be allowed to settle down. Among the nations they requested to settle in were the United States, the Soviet Union, Mexico, India and France. That a group asked to settle down on Sealand was a cause for embarrassment, as the place was not an officially recognized nation at all and even if it had been, would have been much too small for three hundred Quetzal anyway. Instead the group opted to remain on Diego Garcia, together with the crews of the aerospace crafts and the rotating crew of the combat spacecrafts.
While the individual groups were more than willing to pay for the places to settle down with technology and scientific information, their spacecraft were out of the question. Once they had access to helium 3, some of them intended to go back to Cterin and other places to try and find out what had happened after they had fled. Additionally they felt that their spacecraft would make a good source of income by transporting humans all over the solar system at first, followed by the close solar systems around Sol.