The Menagerie Crash

On 6th February, 1999, millions of people around the world were woken, or looked up from their daily routines, as an irregular line of fire circumnavigated the globe. It first appeared over Greenland, creating a shockwave of superheated air that outshone the aurora borealis and bringing thunder that shattered glaciers to powder.

The cause of the fire was an enormous cylindrical alien spacecraft bouncing through the atmosphere at terrific speed, shedding pieces of metal from its superstructure as it tore apart.

The line of fire reappeared over Canada, and swerved madly across the sky, moving generally south and west, leaving traces of alien metal all along its flight path and even dropping escape pods. Somewhere over the Pacific, a large module came loose and plunged to Earth in Brazil, while the ship continued its trajectory over Asia. It crossed the skies over Siberia and Turkey, heralded by an electromagnetic front that knocked out all power in the superhuman tyrant-state of Ubyezhich and a dozen Central Asian cities, and by the time it was plunging down over the Middle East it was so low buildings were demolished by the bow waves and flaming wreckage. It first connected with the Earth in central Chad, creating the equivalent of a Richter 6.9 earthquake and knocking the peak off a small mountain before rebounding and tumbling westwards in a storm of gravel and smoke. Whatever systems remained active on the ship were able to stabilise it, barely, and it landed again in Nigeria, tearing a 300 km long swathe of ruin in the landscape before finally coming to rest outside the town of Ijebu-Igbo in a screeching, flaming trench.

Military, scientific, rescue and superpowered personnel scrambled all across the globe in an operation on a scale never seen before or since. No one knew if this was an invasion, the testing of an alien weapon system or simply the greatest humanitarian disaster in decades. All across the world people banded together to free survivors from the rubble, recover bodies, and organise relief to the distant corners of the globe that had been struck worst.

But it was the main body of the ship, lying in Nigeria that attracted the most attention. The Primacy's Space-Threat Assessment Group quickly allied with the Pact, the pan-African superhero coalition to deal with the disasters in Chad and Nigeria, and to secure the crash site itself. 600 metres in diameter and 4000 long, the now bent and buckled silvery cylinder had hundreds of rents and gashes in its surface, from which flaming machinery and damaged containment pods poured. Many of the pods were breached, and from them walked, oozed, crawled, flew or teleported aliens from a dozen or more species, creatures of every conceivable hue and form. Some of them tried to communicate with the surrounding humans, while others strove to free the other aliens from the metallic inferno and collapsing cells that held them.

With the assistance of psychic Primes and members of the sarn, a race with translinguistic telepathic abilities, a common language was quickly established, and enough information exchanged for the humans to begin helping with the rescue. After days of work, the fires were at last extinguished and all the survivors freed from the wreckage, though placed into 'protective custody' at a fortified camp outside Lagos while they underwent security and medical examinations.

The truth was soon discovered. The ship, known as the Menagerie, had been a sample collector from an unknown civilisation, cruising the galaxy for untold aeons, locating and retrieving clusters of creatures from every species it encountered, according to some cryptic plan by its makers. Many of the aliens that had been aboard were actually descendants of the original abductees, and had forgotten much of their culture. All were far, far from home, with little hope of getting back. Many non-sentient species had also been brought along, and some of them had escaped into the wilds of North America, Asia and Africa when their pods had been released.

Reactions to Earth's newest asylum seekers varied. Mankind had encountered a few alien invaders, explorers and diplomats over the 20th century, but these aliens were the first 'civilians' of another race to come to Earth. Fear was common, because of the destruction wreaked by their arrival and because watching the Primacy battling aliens on TV was different than meeting one face to xenocranial appendage; but overall curiosity and slowly developing acceptance predominated. Over the years, many of the aliens either tried to integrate with humanity or sequester themselves in out-of-the-way places to form their own communities, in each case with varying desgrees of success. The majority, though, find Earth too strange, hostile and frightening to explore, and remain in the multi-species ghetto that was established near the crash site: X-town, Lagos. Current Estimates put the number of Menagerie aliens on the planet at around 5000, with at least 3500 of them in X-town.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License