The invasion wasn’t like the ones you’ve seen on TV, all giant ships and death rays. There were ships, sure, but they weren’t anywhere near as impressive as the old sci-fi movies had led us to imagine they’d be. The enemy was strong, yes – stronger than us anyway – but not unbeatable. What we lacked in strength we made up for in numbers. If they expected a quick victory, they were sorely mistaken. In a way, a quick victory may have been better for everyone.
Tomorrow marks the five thousandth day since this war began and none of us can ever see it ending.
No single country fell first. We were always told to expect certain nations to crumble before others; we were considered the strongest, the most prepared. The most prepared for what? Certainly not this. The enemy first appeared over China, sure, and China was definitely the first to attack (it’s still not known who fired first), but they didn’t fall. Many thought they had, some of the things we saw on the news – back when there still was news – gave the impression they’d been destroyed, but we still receive sporadic transmissions from the region; they’ve dug in, found a way to fight and live on.
That was perhaps the enemy’s biggest mistake. After the Chinese “announcement”, they soon spread out. Too thin, in my opinion. I’m almost certain they didn’t bank on our strength, on our will to survive being so strong. Their warships soon hovered over capitals around the globe, an intimating sight at the time. This was all before we realised how vulnerable they were, of course; before discovering our weapons could harm them almost as much as theirs hurt us.
Russia were the first to discover this, we’re told. They certainly said so anyway. I’d grown up to believe all alien space craft had force fields and laser-guided protection systems, so it came as quite a shock when I was told Russian ballistic missiles (UR-200s, ironically) had brought down one of the enemy crafts. No one knows how many missiles it took, but if the attack was anything like those which we carried out after, it was many. It will help explain why the Russians seemingly ran out of firepower so quickly. The missiles may have worked, but they work a lot faster if you know where to aim the buggers.
That’s where Professor Rupert Bhutra came in. It’s crazy to think that in a war fought between two vast and powerful species, a single man would have such an impact. I wish I had been there when he first discovered the apparent area of structural vulnerability. It wasn’t big, but it was enough. I bet the soldiers around him couldn’t fire quick enough once they were told. I know I couldn’t. In hindsight, I bet it seemed pretty stupid to have even a single area so poorly protected; design oversight, I guess. No doubt one of those spiny buggers saw the underside of a boot – or whatever their equivalent may be – for such incompetence. Regardless, once the word had spread, they dropped like flies.
You’d think this would have swung the battle our way, but it didn’t. After all, this all happened in the first five hundred days.
The fight then became mainly ground-based. We still used aircraft when we could, but they were easily shot down if discovered. The enemy still found a way to produce smaller aircraft of their own, but they were nowhere near strong enough to take over entire cities. We took care of them when and where we were able. That just left soldiers, ours and theirs, us and them.
This is how it’s been ever since.
A decade of war passed and the old men who made the decisions in those early days had died, by enemy hands or the hands of time. Soon, it became unclear who exactly was in charge. Regiments split, factions formed. This doesn’t just go for us, either. Our satellites – the few we still had working, anyway – told us that, three thousand three-hundred and seventy-two days after they first entered our orbit, the enemy’s Mothership (for lack of a better word) drifted back out into the darkness of space. Again, you’d think this would have ushered an end to this war, but it didn’t.
Hundreds of thousands of enemy troops remained, now marooned on our planet. Various peace treaties were attempted, some even worked. Most didn’t. The alien creatures who accepted peace deals stopped fighting us, but refused to help us fight their brothers and sisters. I kinda get that. We gave them asylum anyway – where it was safe to – and they currently live alongside the few remaining civilians in pockets of life across the globe. The rest of us still fight. I’m not even sure why any more.
I think it now comes down to a battle of will. The problem is that they’re just as stubborn as we are. They’re on a foreign planet, their superiors have long-since left them behind, but still they fight. Why? We’re fighting for the right to remain the dominant species on this, our planet. Why are they? It’s the question I ponder every night, and the question I wake up every morning still unable to answer.
It will have to end eventually. At least that’s what I tell myself. Whether or not I’m still around when it does, I’m not sure. We’re clinging on, fighting for our lives, doing everything we can to survive, to live. I just hope there’s enough of us left when the fighting’s done to rebuild this planet. I’ve got plenty of fears, but this is by far the worst. If there’s only one man left come the end, if he’s one of ours, it’s all been worth it.
That’s enough for now. Morning calls in four hours and there begins my five thousandth day on duty. We’ve been given word of an enemy group holed up a couple of clicks West from our current location; far too close. The end’s not quite in sight yet, but I still hope for it.
That’s why I’m writing you these letters, Claire. If I’m not around to tell you myself how it all happened, at least you’ll know. I just hope that, by the time you’re old enough to read them, the fight has already been won.