When the Randall video of JFK’s assassination was discovered in 2011, everyone thought it would always be the most famous video of all time. Connie Randall’s grandfather, Cochran Randall had stashed it away and only after he died was it finally shown. To this day no one knows why he never revealed her had it, or why he left it to Connie, but Connie Randall became the most famous person alive because she was the person who finally answered all the questions as to who killed JFK.
One hundred years later I know exactly how she must have felt. Everyone wants me to talk about the video I shot, the most famous video sequence of all time now, and all I did during the entire war is make one flight, in an unarmed drone, and no one expected me to return from Ellen Three at all.
When mankind made its first trip to Alpha Centari in 2060, we thought we might find a planet or two but we found a dozen, and since Prime Minister of the United World Confederacy was Ellen B’mari, the first one was named Ellen Three. Actually, the first two discovered might have had that distinction but they were declared “dwarf planets” and unworthy of the honor. The planet was inhospitable, covered in thick clouds, but the surface was a brilliant electric green sea made up of methane. There was a giant mountain range, and the first explorers that cruised through the thick atmosphere stumbled upon the Aliens all by accident, and that first video of them swarming out of Keyhole Falls was one I’ll never forget, I tell you. Keyhole Falls was spectacular and I remember how wondrous it looked. It did look like a giant keyhole in the mountain, and there was this enormous rush of liquid methane roaring out of it, a thousand times bigger than Niagara, and it had eaten its way down the mountain away from the original cavern so it looked like a keyhole. Those terrible alien spacecraft came out and blew all our ships out of the sky, and it was shown on every vidscreen all over earth.
It had taken us nearly eighteen months to get to Alpha Centari , but it took the AC’s as they were known, just forty-eight hours to get here. Their ships used some sort of invisible ray to cut down buildings, destroy air bases, and pretty much tear up anything that might be used to launch more ships. Anything large than a twelve passenger bus was shot out of the sky that first day and the lunar base was totally wiped out, every man woman, child and animal. The hydroponics there were obliterated, but it didn’t matter. There were no transports left to carry food to earth anyway. They got the base on Mars, and convinced we were hiding something on Titan, they bombed the hell out of the research station there. It was pretty bad that first day, and we only managed to knock down a dozen or so of their craft. The AC looked like they were made of pipe cleaners, all razor thin and fuzzy looking, but our atmosphere dissolved their eyes and most died screaming before we could get any information out of them. The humans captured and taken back to Ellen Three suffered worse fates than that, or so the rumor had it. We never found out.
Ellen B’mari surrendered the United Earth Forces on the third day. There wasn’t a reason not to do so. We didn’t have anything at all in the air, and everything on the ground was being systematically destroyed anytime we fired at them. She pleaded with them to allow us to have Luna back, so we could get the farms working again, but they refused. We were to remain earthbound, so as to teach us never to trespass again. They considered an alien on their world as the deepest offence, and to keep us in our place, they demanded that we reduce our population by one quarter. We had to submit a plan to them as to how we would do it in one earth year.
They hadn’t hit our sub bases, and Atlantis was still working, so the plan was to take what few ships we had left and send them all in as a suicide mission. It would take them eighteen months to get there, unless they stripped away all the protective gear, and then it would take damn nearly a year. Of course the mission failed. They saw us coming a long time before we got there and their fleet had actually formed up beside ours right before we broke light speed. They seemed to know we were going to try something like this, and their demand went from a one quarter population reduction to one third. To help us on our way they put some sort of force fields up around the Earth’s ten most populated cities, and starved them to death.
I was drafted for the last suicide mission to be flown. I couldn’t fly anything large than a taxi, but high commanded wanted a drone there with a camera, so they could tell what went wrong. What did we have to lose? The AC’s could isolate a city and all we could do was watch as the people inside torn themselves apart trying to survive. Already the unity of the Earth was falling apart as one nation accused the other of hoarding resources or demanding the most populated sacrifice their people more quickly. Food was more precious than credits, and people were fleeing into the poisoned zones to try to escape the mobs. The McCullen Raid was the last best hope of humankind, and we fully expected to fail.
We were to go in, a thousand ships cobbled together as a fleet, and we were going to get cut to pieces just like last time, only worse. But some of the ships were designed to break apart as they took fire, and to crash into the methane seas, not in pieces but in parts. Once under the surface, specially trained technicians would build a super missile, made up not of some nuclear material that might be discovered, but of methane, oxygen, and the water from whatever dead could be recovered. I was sent behind the fleet in a one man drone, and they hoped I would be so insignificant I would get toasted. I was sent in a month behind the others, two days before the missile was to be launched.
What did I have to lose? I was given food enough to make it there and get back, and that was a gift beyond measure. People were eating the dead back on earth, bombs were being set off as people tried to kill as many people as they could, in hopes the AC’s would be happy with the carnage. I didn’t think they would leave us alone. I thought, as many did, the one third reduction was a way to get us to kill off each other before they rode in and finished the job.
I popped into the thick atmosphere and there wasn’t anything in the sky. I buzzed the Keyhole for a day and realized I might just crash myself into it anyway. Why not? Go back to Earth? Maybe I could take one of their ships out with me. I think open flame was unknown to the AC’s so the jet’s exhaust many have caught them off guard. It roared out of the ocean and towards the cave at Mach 12. I saw it break the surface and I hovered, begging the old gods for it to get close. The AC’s never saw it coming, never knew what hit them, and as I held the trigger down on the camera gun, it flew straight and true right dead into the middle of that big ass cave.
The techs didn’t survive the launch, of course, so they couldn’t tell us exactly how they built the damn thing, but we do know they must have discovered something under the surface of Ellen Three to ramp up the missile’s capability. I watched the missile fly in, and I was told to zoom in so if there was any sign at all of an explosion I would catch it. Sign? The entire mouth of the Keyhole shot out fire that went over the surface of the sea for seventy kilometers. I was cruising at nearly fifty kilometers up, and it damn near shook me apart. Later the video was taken apart, and we could see bits and pieces of AC ships fluttering through it like litter before the flamed out. The mountain shook for hours and I kept the camera rolling. Finally, it collapsed upon itself, and one of those big ass military AC cruisers picked me right out of the sky.
It was odd me being the human to accept their surrender. I told them I wanted them to take all the force fields down on earth, right away, and they were to help rebuild Luna, and they were to release any prisoners, but they said they didn’t have any of those, but the rest, yes. It really didn’t matter what I said on the way back, because they were more than happy to do it as long as I didn’t bomb them gain. They assumed we had more bombs like that, and I told them the first raid planted hundred of them. It really didn’t matter what I said. They had surrendered, and in their culture, that meant it was over.
So that’s the famous “Dawson Drone” video of Keyhole Falls. My part in the war was to fly an unarmed piece of nothing drone over an explosion then ride home with the bad guys at my feet. If you’re wondering how we got everything put back together again so quickly, it’s because I told them for every billion cubic meters of foodstuff they could get growing on Luna, we would remove one bomb. If you ever wondered what went into that one bomb we had, we’re still analyzing the video.
This short story is dedicated to Len Maxwell, who should have been given an “A”.