The pale moonlight shone on the balcony of Mr. Grinn. Mr. Grinn was one of the remaining members of the CIA, but being in charge of an intelligence agency in a dying world is very monotonous. The main thing they focus on is the thing that everyone else on the planet knew. The world was dying. It’s funny how people’s true side comes out when they’re about to die. It turns out the planet was full of a lot of assholes. His cigar’s orange glow was the only thing illuminating the now purple sky. As the smoke rose up into the clouds he could not distinguish where the smoke started and where the clouds began. Mr. Grinn was always a rational man. This was not the thing that he expected to end his career. He expected that he would reach the age of sixty-five, hand down command to one of his underlings, and retire, spending his days practicing hobbies that he had picked up through the years.

Things seemed as though he wouldn’t have enough time to do that. The world was living in a state of confusion. The world was going to end, but people continued with their lives. It was going to be a gradual end that was nearly impossible to avoid. They were given an ultimatum by some of the tops minds on the planet. They had twenty years to live. It would in no way be a quick death. The amount of time they were given was nowhere near enough for them to adapt, but it was far enough away to avoid panic. It was odd really. There had been a bit of rioting and panicking when it began, but it wasn’t a grand ending to a grand society. It was just a return to normal life. People realized that twenty years was enough time to rectify things they did wrong, and they would deal with their deaths when it came.

A slow death of humanity is a sad thing. It brings out hopelessness in people that can’t be argued with. You can give hundreds of sappy speeches and play cheerful music, but it won’t go away. It’s an underlying despair that comes out when a parent has to explain to their child why they won’t live much longer.

Mr. Grinn smiled because he realized the futility of it all. They’re all dead men walking, but weren’t they the same thing before? A slowly dying earth wasn’t going to change anything. They would have all died eventually, this just speeds it up a bit. The futility only allowed for more emotional bonds that were even stronger than before. Parents grew closer to their children, people grew closer to their neighbors, and nations grew closer to the rest of the planet. Mr. Grinn needed a solution. Since he was a child, he was taught that all problems have solutions; you just need to find them. Mr. Grinn has spent the last few years trying to find this solution. Mr.Grinn believed that the thing that doomed humanity to this futile existence might save it yet. Other people’s happiness or acceptance was not enough for Mr. Grinn. He had children at home whose future he needed to secure. His daughters were the only things that mattered to him since his wife died. He was not going to let them die on his watch. His wife would be proud of him if she saw him today.

This whole strange world was the result of one thing that may have been mankind’s downfall, the discovery of alternate realities. Contrary to popular belief at the time, alternate timelines did exist. It was quite clear now. Its discovery was a hectic one, and resulted in this limbo they called existence.

It all started a few years before we met our cigar smoking Mr. Grinn on the balcony. It was a perfectly normal day in Maine. It was warm but had a slight breeze that made the temperature just perfect. The summer had hit and most of the children were out of school already. It was a period of late June where most students were out, but some lagged behind. Many kids from other parts of New England went up to Maine to cool off. It was warm for the first few hours then began decreasing. The temperature eventually reached a low level that meteorologists did not expect. The forecast was for sunny days for the entire week. This did not catch anybody by surprise because trying to predict the weather is like four year old trying to decipher Einstein’s riddle. As temperature dropped, storm clouds began to form. The clouds looked ominous, so at this point many beach goers had already left. Though many lagged behind in hopes of the rain to stop. This was a cataclysmic mistake.

Precisely one minute later lightning began to strike the ocean. It was as if Zeus was fighting Poseidon. In this gargantuan battle between gods, a faint light began to appear through the clouds. This light was mistaken for a sign that the storm was clearing, but was something much worse. Soon the light grew brighter and brighter, but the storm clouds were still there, and the lightning and rain did not cease. The light began to develop into one of the brightest hues seen by human eyes. An older woman leaned over to her husband as they were staring through their bedroom window. She said in an awe struck voice “It looks like the lord almighty is opening his gates!” The older man snickered and replied, “You think I’ll get to meet Saint Peter.” His joke wasn’t very funny, and you could tell by the look on his wife’s face. The light eventually reached a climax as something appeared in the sky. Some sort of yellow light now began to travel down from some point in the atmosphere and eventually reached the ocean. The spot it hit reflected the light into a rainbow. This site was truly beautiful.

Beauty can sometimes turn into something awful. A loud noise boomed across the earth, and landed on the ears of listeners hundreds of miles away. The sound almost deafened some of the spectators who had hearing problems. Soon the path that the yellow light traveled along started to split. The light was almost like a zipper. People wondered what could be behind such unimaginable beauty. As the light opened up, it appeared as if they were looking through the now circle of light. It was just ocean. Many people around the scene were confused and generally concerned for what this light meant. They were waiting for a weatherman to come on the TV and explain it to them like it was some thing easily explained. But the TV’s never came on. Nor would they ever come on again. The light had some how let out a sort of energy that represented an electromagnetic pulse, shutting off most electronics all the way down to Vermont. The lightning had stopped, only the clouds remained.

Police surrounded the circle with older boats because the newer boats had been affected with the EMP. The officers waited patiently and tried to escort any civilians on the beach to a safe distance. Media coverage was focusing on a suspected EMP attack from a European nation, considering the west coast would have been affected if it had come from China or North Korea. The world’s governments were frantic. None took responsibility for the attack and none of them knew of the circle of light. They would know in the years to come, though.

As the police went into their first hour of surveillance of the circle, a man named Richard Philmore sat down on boat. Richard was complaining about shortness of breath. He began to break into a cold sweat. His face turned red and he fell to the ground grabbing his chest. A few minutes later, Richard and three other officers died of heart attacks. The police backed their fleet of boats up almost 200 feet to be safe. From the distance they could see what was going on. A purple gas was starting to come from the front of the circle. The gas was completely invisible from the back of the circle, and the boats in the back of the circle were completely invisible to people in front of the circle.

At exactly 5:47 PM noises began to come from the circle. They aimed their rifles, shotguns, machine guns, and handguns at the circle. A few minutes later at 5:56 PM it started. From the front of the circle, officers saw a large black cloud approaching from miles away. The officers from the back did not see anything in the distance. As the cloud came closer they saw something coming closer. They thought they were a fleet of planes at first, and they prepared for a possible attack from a foreign government. But that was dismissed when it was seen that they had not already fired. Next, it was theorized that they were birds flying in a pack. That was debunked due to the shear number of objects and the peculiar shapes of the objects. Soon the clouds from began to part and the things began to shine. They were silver hued and flying faster now. They gleamed in the sparkling sunlight. A trumpet sound emanated from the front of the pack. The officers at the front of the circle heard screeching. The time was 6:00 PM. It was 6:00 PM when the invasion started.

The creatures in the front of the attack carried six-foot tall spears and were suited in silver armor. The creatures demolished the police resistance and began on a campaign down the east coast. Their armor was tough, but not tough enough to stop bullets. It surprised them that these creatures were able to discover this kind of technology, but they were still unable to compete with mankind militarily. Scientists discovered that this portal opened to an alternate reality, a reality that these creatures had come from. The scientists also discovered something even more shocking. These creatures carried bacteria from their reality that could eradicate all of humanity. They could not discover, however, the source of the portal.

The bacteria would infect plant life and change their biology drastically. The bacteria would spread to the plants and slowly alter them. Once the plant's biology is completely changed, the plant would release spores that would infect other plants and in some rare occasions, humans. Instead of releasing oxygen, the newly converted plants would release an alien gas into the planet’s atmosphere. The gas would slowly decrease the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere and kill all life on the planet slowly, but surely. The bacteria were slow spreading, and would only have effect on the planet within the next fifteen years. The scientist who made this discovery was Orsen Durrale. He was a smaller man who was unheard of before the invasion. The man was incredibly smart, and must have used the invasion as a way to make an appearance in the scientific field. Not much was known about the man besides he was the man who would save humanity.

Mr. Grinn took another puff of his cigar. He was now in the White House discussing events. Orson stepped forward and pulled his glasses off and cleaned them. He looked around the room and smirked.

“I know you gentlemen know the inevitability of our current circumstances but I believe I have a solution to this endeavor. We’ve used the data we’ve gathered from the portal to recreate a smaller version that we’ve done research from. We’ve discovered a reality quite close to. There are only three realities that have been created: he reality of out invaders, the one we recently discovered, and ours. With funding and troops from the world’s armies, we would be able to create a new world for our people. I know you gentlemen may not support the slaughter of these people, but our survival should be ranked among those of these people. We are more advanced than these people, therefore, we have more potential. If we mount an invasion soon, we will be able to secure the planet for ourselves. Please, Mr. President, the survival of our species depends on your choice right now. You can doom our planet, or inhabit theirs.”

The choice was a tough one, but Mr. Grinn was the deciding factor. He convinced the president to support the idea. This, in turn, led to the president giving one of the most powerful speeches uttered in the last decade. The people realized their false sense of happiness and were ready to take up arms against the denizens of the alternate reality. The speech convinced congress that a war was needed to ensure the survival of the human race. Other government joined in the effort. Almost the entire planet would be involved with this invasion. Only a few nations disagreed with the invasion. They would be left to suffer in this dark reality. Since only three realities existed, this would be their last chance at creating a new home. The planet was very similar to theirs, only a few differences. There was one war they did not share, they seemed to have a few different rulers, and there was one major difference. They had a different name for their planet. The denizens of the alternate reality called their planet: Earth. 

Written by The Damn Batman
Content is available under CC BY-SA