There had been an alien invasion.
This in itself wasn’t too unusual. This sort of thing just happened, the way there’s always a war somewhere on Earth, between human beings.
This time, however, it had come at a particularly critical time for the HHL.
“The HHL spox is coming out,” one reporter near the back said to another, who’d been immersed in her phone.
“What d’you think we’re gonna hear about?” she said, rolling her eyes without looking up. “They sent their kids to fix it again?”
The actual spokeswoman was a highly-polished, well-dressed, well-pressed corporate mouthpiece, hired by a consulting firm. She was flanked by representatives from the U.S. and Canadian militaries, members of AEGIS, and other official sorts. The reporter had to admit it gave the whole thing an air of legitimacy, which was a nice change from all the dirty laundry of last year.
“We’re here to share with you everything we know, at the moment, about the entities known as ‘the Blot’ whose recent invasion we all remember. There will be time for questions, and those questions will be answered, but for the moment I ask that you hear us out.”
The spokeswoman shuffled papers on the lectern and began reading, making eye contact at regular intervals to keep the audience invested. “Physically, the Blot appear to be a distributed fungal intelligence that release an ink-like substance. Our scientists have compared their anatomy to Coprinopsis atramentaria, or the common ink cap mushroom.”
“Culturally, our analysis of the Blot indicates that while they appreciate beauty, art, and other aesthetic pursuits, they have been unable to create such art themselves. Consequently, they have become slavers. They will attack cultures with an artistic tradition, kidnap members of that culture, and force them to create art for them. They often focus on the young of another species, believing them to be more capable of artistic and imaginative activities.”
The audience rumbled a bit. This sort of thing hit a lot of emotional buttons.
“The Blot learned of Earth after following a group of escaped slaves here. They sent a recovery team, which were driven back by an American superteam. However, that recovery team took word back to their mother-fleet, and they decided to stage their invasion. That too, of course, was driven back.”
The two reporters near the back were dutifully taking notes, but “rah rah Earth kicks ass again” isn’t a super-amazing story. The kidnapping and enslaving angle was pretty juicy, but also exploitative, and needed to be handled with care. Unfortunately that would probably be the same angle everyone else in the room took. If only there was some unique–
“Due to the rather shocking nature of the Blot’s culture, several members of the Halcyon Heroes League have volunteered to go into space and try to free as many captives as possible from the Blot’s control, and prevent them from taking more.”
Flashbulbs started to go off. Reporters were writing notes in earnest.
Everyone knew the HHL had been dealt a blow. But this? This was something. It wasn’t clear what it was yet, but it was something, and that’s what the news is about.
Questions started coming in. “Which members of the HHL are going?” “Are any of the second-generation heroes going along?” “What about Tempest?”
The two reporters in back nodded at each other. This was dynamite, but they needed something original. It was time to conspire, and go dig up something really good.