Visitors

aliens manning

Cover art for the comic book science fiction series “The Aliens.”

NEW YORK - Anne Cenzeno, Associated Press - 22 March 2176 - In the aftermath of the return of Earth's first interstellar ship the "Aquila" commanded by Colonel Allen Parker, the delegation of four alien beings whose ship they encountered in space are being taken on a guided tour of Manhattan in the company of the Aquila's command crew.

While some have welcomed our first visitors from the stars, other groups have organized protests which have erupted along the publicized route of the tour through Times Square...

“There seems to be elevated levels of anxiety, fear, and anger from many of your citizens, Colonel Parker.”

“Yes, unfortunately, my species isn’t very enlightened when it comes to differences and change, Zarz. We have a hard enough time dealing with variances within our own people groups.”

“I wonder if they are all your people, Colonel.”

“What do you mean?”

“My comrades and I detect that although, to your senses, everyone nearby appears to be of your species, some indeed are not.”

“What?” Parker stopped and both the aliens and his four crew mates paused at the unexpected interruption.

“I suggest we continue on our journey since we are attracting additional attention by stopping.”

“Fine, but what did you mean?” Other aliens?”

“Not from interstellar space, no. To us, they appear as amorphous, incandescent shapes, biological, living, but not organic. The senses of our species allows us to experience additional dimensions and these entities seem to originate outside of what you call reality.”

“The protestors.”

“Some of them, the most vocal, I would say their leaders.”


“The aliens detect us.”

“Agreed. The human knows only fixed time, but the extraplanetary species have expanded senses. If they alert the authorities, our incursion into their realm will be known. So far, we have absorbed only a handful of their race but if we are impeded…”

“I have a way. Signal the others.”


“Colonel, we detect increased energy emissions from the incandescent beings, they…”

The first person to start screaming and writhing on the pavement was named “Marcy.”

“Marcy. What’s happening? Someone call 911. I think she’s having a seizure.”

“There’s a another one.”

“That little boy…”

“All around the aliens…”

“It’s the aliens. They’re infecting us, killing us. Get them.”

“Zarz, you and the others protect yourselves. I’ll call security.”

“The stones and other debris they throw at us cannot harm us.”

“Well, they’re not doing the rest of us any good.”

“One of the incandescent beings draws a firearm. ⎎☍⊑⊬⎍⟊⌇⎎⊑⌿⍜⟊⟟⎍ ⟟⏁ ⟒⋏⎅⌇ ⍜⍀ ⟟⏁ ⎅⍜⟒⌇⋏’⏁. ⏁⊑⏃⏁’⌇ ⍙⊑⏃⏁ ⊬⍜⎍ ⌇⏃⊬. ⏁⊑⏃⏁’⌇ ⊑⍜⍙ ⊬⍜⎍ ☌⟒⏁ ⏁⊑⍀⍜⎍☌⊑ ⟟⏁”

“Force screens are up, Colonel. The weapon’s discharge can no longer harm us. ⏁⊑⟒ ⏁⎍⋏⋏⟒⌰, ⏁⊑⟒ ⋏⟟☌⊑⏁, ⏁⊑⟒ ⌿⏃⟟⋏, ⏁⊑⟒ ⌰⍜⎐⟒”

“Colonel, we believe the affected humans have been attacked by the incandescent beings. Our comrade Karek can help them.”

“It had better hurry. The riot police are here, but they’ll never get through this mob in time.”

Ringed by the other aliens and Parker’s crew, one of them within the bio-generated force field faded and vanished.

Karek emerged in a kaleidoscopic swirl of timelessness, a void in which the essence of the people affected had been projected causing the screaming insanity or their bodies in the physical realm.

“Come with me, my children. I will help you.” The alien whose body exists in more than four dimensions, reached out and gathered the others to him.


“Wait. They’re all right. They’re coming out of it.”

Marcy, the first victim, stands and yells, “Stop it! Stop trying to hurt the aliens. They’re the ones who saved us!”

“Mommy! Mommy! The aliens saved me from the bad men.”

By the time the riot police were able to get through the crowds, the protesters had started to listen to the victims and realized that the aliens were rescuers, not attackers.

“Major Cecilia Renfeld, Colonel. New York State Riot Police. You say the riot was perpetrated by outside infiltrators? From what faction?”

“At ease, Major. My friends here tell me they aren’t from a faction of human beings but rather some sort of inter-dimensional invader.”

“Can you be more specific, Sir?”

“It’ll all be in my report. Meanwhile, Commander Zarz and his people would like to return to their compound at Ascaria Base.”

“Yes sir. My troops will provide escort. Please remain here until the transport vehicle arrives.”

“Thank you, Major.”

As the Riot Police Commander briskly walked away, “Do you think your people will trust us now, Colonel?”

“That’s difficult to say, Zarz. Our species can be unpredictable and easily panicked.”

“We have noticed that, but we have also seen they are capable of compassion and readily defended us once they realized our true intent.”

aliens manning

Art from the story “Nightmare,” written and drawn by Russ Manning for “The Aliens.”

“But now it’s not just my people we have to worry about.”

“Correct, Colonel. The invaders would have been successful in infiltrating your societies had we not arrived on Earth. I fear both your species and mine are now in great danger.”

“With your help, I’m sure we’ll discover who the invaders are and ensure the safety of your people and mine.”

“I am grateful our two species chose to join together in peace. I fear that such a peace has now been threatened but we shall defend against it, combining our resources to help each other when individually, humans and we who you call aliens would have failed.”

I wrote this for Tale Weaver – # 164 – Helping Others – 22nd March 2018 hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. Today, the idea is to write a poem, short story, or other creative work based on the concept of helping. It could be helping others, a disadvantaged group, family, friends, even yourself overcome a difficult situation.

Admission time. I plagiarized the heck out of my source material. Russ Manning (5 Jan 1929 – 1 Dec 1981) created some of my favorite comic book characters including Magnus: Robot Fighter which began its run as a Gold Key publication in 1963. He also created Captain Johner and The Aliens which was a second story that ran in the Magnus comic books.

The tale began with Earth’s first interstellar exploration craft encountering a strange alien vessel in deep space. They almost went to war but managed to find a way to communicate. They agreed to exchange some of their crew members so that humans boarded the alien ship and returned to that world to develop relations, while Commander Zarz and three of his companions boarded Johner’s ship and returned to Earth.

Particularly for the mid-1960s, this storyline was very advanced and largely dealt with xenophobia and overcoming radical differences, the humans and aliens often combining their abilities and skill sets to solve problems that neither could have overcome alone.

In a 1965 story arc, the Aliens, who can see into more dimensions than humans, discover that visitors from the human colony on Venus are not human but some sort of extra-dimensional time beings dedicated on taking over the human race.

The tale I’ve described is taken from one of those encounters. When I saw the theme was “helping,” I vividly remembered one of the Aliens rescuing “lost” humans who had been projected into a timeless realm by the invaders, and especially the alien addressing those people as “children.” I remember a few such moments from my childhood so I decided to replicate this one here for you today.

Oh, I needed a way to indicate when the aliens were talking to each other without a translator. In the comic books, this was shown as squiggly lines, but I couldn’t do that at the keyboard, so I found an “alien language translator at Lingojam.com and used it for my purposes.

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10 thoughts on “Visitors

  1. Well, I’m glad you didn’t ask for help editing *this* story, because my linguistic skills don’t extend to this alien language. I presume they have names for their species, their cultural identity, and their language, though your excerpt didn’t happen to mention them. Nonetheless, original or no, it’s an interesting story and juxtapositioning of alien types. But are you sure there aren’t any typos in that text? [:)]

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    • You’ll never know. 😀

      Yes, the aliens where translator boxes on their chest so that their “words” can be heard in English, but many of their concepts, including names and such, would be incomprehensible to human beings. I liked the way Manning created them so that they are bipedal, but breathe through gill slits and have almost entirely different senses. That said, there were some stories where they proved vulnerable in situation where the humans were able to freely act, so it wasn’t a matter of the aliens always being “super powerful.”

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      • That description raises all sorts of zenobiological questions about conditions on the planet where their species originated, which would have influenced their development. Gill slits imply a significant degree of filtering required for them to extract what their biology requires from their “atmosphere”, and the description of their senses suggests a very complex set of energy fields and dimensional intersections operating in their native environment.

        On the subject of typos, however, I presume these aliens “wear” their translator boxes.

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      • In both of the comic book pages I posted, the translation boxes are prominently displayed on their chests. If I recall correctly, their atmosphere is similar to automobile radiator coolant. Keep in mind, these stories originated over 50 years ago and were written for children, so scientific accuracy may not have been on the forefront of Manning’s mind.

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      • I’m sure you’re right that Manning was not thinking in terms of “hard” science fiction or exobiology, but if one were to encounter such aliens, one might ask a few such questions, particularly if one of them were to be injured or if its environment suit were to be damaged. Interestingly, ethylene glycol (radiator coolant) is capable of carrying a variety of dissolved gases that might be extracted by gills; and the drawings of their other appendages could suggest a liquid native environment.

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  2. By the way, I did attempt to translate the alien language to evaluate its editorial aspects. I wasn’t sure who was speaking, whether Zarz, Karek, or one of the others, but whichever one it was certainly has a colorful way of expressing itself, including what appeared to be an un-translatable expletive. [:)]

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  3. The above conversation between you and ‘Proclaimliberty’ was as fascinating as always, I hope it is not disrespectful to say the two of you, sci-fi nerds is as intriguing as your tale. When I began your story I immediately thought of that scene in ‘Men in Black’ where one informs the other of the aliens living within society whom we would never suspect of being from another dimension. Thanks James for adding your thoughts to this week’s tale weaver, I did like where you took me, alien language and all.

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