Australis' Accident

by Eldrich Storm

Constable Gabriel Clifford drove along the long stretch of road, his eyes red and raw from lack of sleep. He had recently been assigned to duties in western New South Wales, out in the middle of nowhere, policed by him and another constable, a man that made Gabriel uncomfortable; there was something he did not like about him. Not many people knew, or cared for such a place, apart from the occasional tour bus passing through to the centre of the big brown land. The communities he and one other officer policed included a vast array of people, from city people escaping the urban sprawl to indigenous folk who usually liked to keep to themselves. It was the middle area that was the problem, where the two overlapped.

Recently their had been even more commotion though, within the traditional indigenous population, something about a ‘return to the Dreaming.’ The earth itself coming alive and taking shape, Birdmen, oddly enough of all some ancient feline creatures and ‘real world’ stirrings of a Thunder God, what was his name? Mamagooni? Moripovich? Mamaragan?

Either way it was all insanity spoken by old tribal shamans…. strange thing was, all the tribes had the same account, and each believed fervently that the earth, indeed the Dreaming, was responding to the ‘call of the world’. Gabriel thought it was a load of whallop, all he had to count on was cold hard facts, evidence, and solid objects seen with his eyes. Science was mankinds answer, not some long forgotten stories.

Shaking his head from the reverie of the strange week he had just endured, trying to focus on the long stretch of road ahead of him, he could not help but wish their was more to it all. Here he was, out in whoop whoop, granted doing something he loved, while all around the world, earth-shattering consequences unfold. Slumping slightly of the wheel he snapped out of it, he had to get back to the station by morning and meet his partner in the area, and again he slumped, slightly veering before jumping awake.

There was a rumbling, a sound, and the earth began to shake. He kept driving, thinking it and earthquake off in the distance, or even blasting in the uranium mines, which was common. Moments passed with silence, and then a huge blast of wind, shunting his four-wheel drive sideways.

“What the f…”

A massive fireball tore through the cloud cover, burning the air and leaving a sizzling charge in the atmosphere, forcing the vehicle to tip sideways on two wheels. It was bearing in from Gabriel’s right, right at him. Gunning the vehicle as it landed he was wide-awake now, speeding along the dirt road with an awful feeling of impending doom in the back of his mind.

The ground really began to shake now, causing the vehicle to handle poorly, skidding sideways as the fireball encroached upon the earth, the sheer heat Gabriel could feel against his skin as the object tore the atmosphere asunder.

The object touched ground with an earth cracking shatter, the burning roar replaced by a deafening impact. Gabriel had managed to avoid the object itself, but the fall out and shockwave caught his vehicle and flung it into the air like it was nothing, like the hand of a god and just decided to slap the vehicle sideways. The half rolled, half flew, impacting into a lone old tree sitting in the middle of nowhere. The wave of fire soon followed, swallowing the vehicle in intense heat and flame. Gabriel had lost consciousness from the impact and was not awake to feel the lick of flames burn his skin through the side of the vehicle, the doors long torn away.

Then everything when quiet, the night returned, no longer the sky was lit up and the earth was still.

***

The stealth plane flew low, keeping his profile low to the ground to avoid detection. The Council troopers on board determined for their prize. Command had contacted the long dormant Council cell on the East Coast of Australia with a mission of great importance. An alien vessel, a threat to the Council and their plans had been badly damaged on its descent across the Pacific Ocean. Somehow the Council High Command had managed to track the ship while many of the world’s nations had failed too. They had severely damaged it in high orbit but it had managed to evade them and somehow, or for some reason, had turned around and headed southwest towards South East Asia.

The call came to the Adjutant in the evening, that an alien vessel would be crashing somewhere in the state of New South Wales in Australia, and that they would constantly update them on its position. Orders were to capture the vessel and whatever was onboard alive. If the mission was compromised, destroy the ship but keep the alien, eliminate any immediate witnesses, which he doubted would be any. There was hardly anyone out in that part of the country, sparse communities at best and locals who would have thought it superstition.

His now active cell had spotted the fireball in the distance, the shockwave messing with their flight systems when it had impacted. It was still kilometres away, but in such open country could be viewed from a great distance. Meteor impact, he had already made sure his contacts in the local media and authorities were prepared with their stories.

***

“Human, are you awake?” A voice spoke, almost celestial. Gabriel tried to open his eyes and move, everything hurt, and everything was black. His eyes were open, but he could not see? He began to panic.

“You have been severely damaged in the crash. It is my fault, but I had no where else to land, and thought the place uninhabited.” It sounded coldly like an apology. “You optic sensory has been damaged greatly, much life fluid comes from the wounds and the many others on your body. Your inner structure and outer layers are shattered, torn and cauterized respectively. Vital components are failing.”

“I’m dying?” Gabriel coughed in blood.

“Yes.” The voice replied almost sincerely, but all too alien.

“Bugger.” Gabriel was hanging in his seat belt, upside down, his vehicle resting against a tree, the normal blue and white exterior scorched and blackened. “That’s a bummer.”

“I am unfamiliar with such terminology.” The voice stated.

“Well, I could use more colourful language…” Gabriel almost laughed.

He sensed the entity to speak; feeling its warm glow on his unhurt skin. It was almost serene. It must have decided, in his last breaths, Gabriel had decided to make fun of it, but then it did speak.

“Human, I am a creature known as a Kheldian, known as Polaris. I have come to earth to aide a struggle against the enemy of my kind-“

“That’s nice.” Gabriel interjected, feeling dizzy.

“As it stands,” the alien continued unabated, “that my kind cannot survive long in such environments. We require a host, willing to enter a symbiotic relationship with us.” It waited for a reply, but Gabriel’s life was slipping. “I can join us as one human, I can save you as you can save me. However, it must be done quickly, enemies approach.”

Gabriel could not think. All he heard was ‘save you’. He felt death quickly approaching, and with the last of his strength, he nodded to the creature and spoke “Yes.”

It was an odd sensation, like a second wind. Light flowed over him…light? He would see? His eyes had repaired, now revealing white irises, his burnt hair growing in the same white. The burnt and scarred skin re-knitted and reformed, taking a blue hue in the process. Internally, bones reformed, muscle and flesh became as it should be, organs becan to function again.

“Woah." Gabriel felt so strange. Reaching for his seatbelt he undid it and fell awkwardly to the crushed ceiling of his car.

Careful human, we are still both in questionable states of health.

“Eh?” Gabriel turned around, looking for the alien, then remembered, speaking out loud. “Yeah, well, we aren’t dead.”

True. But we must leave now. The enemy comes.

“Where we going?”

Paragon City.

***

The Adjutant kicked the burnt police fwd door. It was mangled, but there was no body in the wreck or nearby. He had reported this and no sign of the alien life form to Command. Silence on the communicator before the voice instructed him to destroy the ship, already military channels and government agencies had become aware and were closing in. It then asked to confirm the designation of the vehicle again.

“New South Wales Police Force.” The Adjutant replied.

The voice on the communicator then went silent for several moments before giving new orders. The Adjutant was to contact the local Council agent in the area who was now aware of the situation, one of two Police Constables responsible for that area, and they were to find the other Constable, and track him down, wherever in the world he had fled.

Gabriel had briefly said he was going over seas to his family, and gave no reason. He put in his resignation to Police Headquarters in Sydney. He no longer looked completely human, but had used the wreck of his vehicle from the ‘meteor’ as an excuse to cover his skin in bandages. People were surprised he was up and moving considering what they found left of his vehicle, but unsurprised he had suffered such burns. For Gabriel, it was a pain in the arse; wearing bandages in forty degree Celsius heat in summer was not fun. Headquarters was not happy he was leaving; apparently his station partner had resigned and disappeared as well.

Upon arriving in Paragon City, he was somewhat surprised. Half the people he saw were, well, you could say different. Shedding the bandages, Gabriel heading towards the city center, hoping for a place to say.

Many of my kind are here, good and bad. We must go speak to one in particular.

“Ok.” People, including himself, took a while to get used to the one sided conversations, often dismissing him as crazy. Here though, people seemed to understand.

Traveling to Atlas Park, Polaris guided him to a tall and imposing figure, dressed in red and yellow with glowing eyes.

“Hello Polaris.” The man spoke.

Gabriel pointed at himself with a questioning look.

“Yes, you and your friend. Relax and let yourself take the backseat friend, I need to speak to Polaris. I guess your arrival did not go as planned?” The man was calm, almost assuring.

“You are correct Sunstorm, I was intercepted in high orbit. Nictus. Tried to lose them, ended up an ocean and a continent in the incorrect direction and crashed.” Polaris spoke with a heavy Australian accent, Sunstorm raising an eyebrow in recognition of the accent.

“In Australia?” He asked.

“Shit yeah, landed right on me.” Gabriel interjected before Polaris continued. “Yes, I unintentionally landed upon a law enforcement officer, who agreed to combine with me.”

Sunstorm’s looked serious, and then he face cracked a wide smile. “A fellow cop! Hah, trust me Polaris, good choice.”

“It was not really by choice.” The other replied, Sunstorm unsure which replied.

“Well, now that you’re here, and learning the ropes, I advise you go into City Hall and see the people in there, they can help you get settled so you can learn about each other and the symbiotic relationship you are now both in, soon you will almost become one.” Gabriel raised an eyebrow. “Trust me, it isn’t a bad thing.” Sunstorm assured him.

***

“Name?” The clerk asked.

“I already gave you…”

“Hero Name?”

“Oh…er….”

The TV buzzed in the corner, a massive man made of rock spoke, his accent sounding awfully familiar. Australian!

“Can you turn that up please?” Gabriel asked the clerk.

“…lending me protection from the very bones of my ancient land. So now I stand before you, and I declare to all those who would do wrong that their free reign is over. I call to those Heroes who love their southern sky to join me, Terra Australis, as we make a stand against evil. Together we shall bring balance to the land.”

“Woah.” It made Gabriel think of the Dreaming stories the old shaman had told him while he was in one of the Aboriginal communities. He liked the old man, who often told him wild tales about the Dreaming while he was in town. He even spoke to Gabriel about fire from the sky changing people. The realisation slapped Gabriel in the face. The old man had knew? He shook his head of the notion.

“How about the Ascendant?” Gabriel asked the clerk.

“Taken.” Was the answer.

“The Transcendant?”

“Taken, want the correct spelling of that name?”

“That is the spelling?”

“Transcendent.” The clerk replied.

“That’s not how you spell it."

"Yes it is."

Gabriel sighed. He thought of names so he could go meet this Terra Australis guy. Terra Australis was a great name for a man made of rock, and a throw back to the original Latin for the continent of Australia. Well, if he was the earth, which left the great Australian sky, and Polaris assured him that eventually Gabriel could fly.

“How about The Ascendant Australis?”

“Done.” The clerk seemed relieved.

***

Gabriel arrived at the address, it had seen better days. Shrugging, he knocked on the door.

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