Reminiscences of Aucturn

📅 Published on September 8, 2021

“Reminiscences of Aucturn”

Written by Kyle Harrison
Edited by Craig Groshek and Seth Paul
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 7.00/10. From 2 votes.
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They were never even supposed to be here.

Forty-seven kilometers past the Arctic Circle, the lone helicopter neared its target.

According to the classified reports she’d been graciously given, the facility wasn’t even supposed to exist.

Even from this angle, it wasn’t much of a surprise to see that the majority of the structure was still covered in ice and debris from an explosion.

Meaning rescue would likely take days if not weeks without the right resources.

Even with that added bonus, the chances were slim.

What were the odds that the scientists and other personnel below would even survive hours with limited oxygen?

Beverley knew better than to voice her concerns, though.  Her employers didn’t pay her to ask questions.

Take samples, catalog the findings and eliminate all damaging evidence.  That had been her mission statement for the past seven years.

The pilot landed the helicopter near to where her envoy was waiting, and she gathered her belongings, preparing herself for the harsh cold beyond.

Not many dared to brave this pocket of the world, and most who did would likely be considered insane.

“Doctor Warren!  Welcome to Site Levichion,” the rescue team captain shouted over the noise of the copter as she climbed out.

“How much of the survey have you completed?” she asked, holding her mask over her face and following him into the bowels of the earth.

“My team has just finished placing the beacons, which will relay the radar image to us here.  I wanted to wait for you to arrive before we performed the scan,” he explained.

She gave him a very condescending look.

“There are men and women that are struggling to survive below, Captain.  Next time don’t wait for an audience when considering their lives.”

A few short moments later, the beacons activated, and the monitor lit up with all kinds of data.

Thankfully despite the weather, the beacons were able to pick up the precise structure of the facility and the geothermal activity around it.

“Have you been able to determine what caused the collapse?” Beverley asked.

“Initial reports tell us it was some kind of explosion near the north observatory tower.  I believe most of the astronomical equipment was being kept there as well, so it’s likely the Ulthar telescope has been completely destroyed.”

That saddened her to hear even though it wasn’t unexpected.  The entire Levichion facility was purposed for all kinds of scientific research, but she had always had an affinity for the stars.

When the UN had provided the funding necessary to give the group state-of-the-art astronomic equipment, she thought it would be the first step toward new discoveries in the solar system.

Now it was looking like only frustration and destruction had been meted out by these loner researchers.

“Do you believe it’s possible that there might have been a spy among the team?” Bev asked as she checked the data herself.

She wasn’t sure if the captain had simply failed to mention it as a test of her own skills, but even a cursory look at the blast analysis told her that this sort of collapse had to be man-made.

Someone inside the facility had deliberately sealed them in.

“We have speculated about that, but I think it’s best to leave that sort of theory behind until we can attempt to make contact with any survivors,” he responded.

She gave him a curt nod and passed the tablet back before remarking, “Then let’s begin immediately.”

1900 hours

Point of entry was determined by the scans to be viable near to the western entrance of the site, a long series of chasms ran through the ice split apart by a wide sloshy river that plummeted into the depths of the Arctic.  The only obstacle that currently prevented the team from entering was already being drilled into by the massive rescue vehicle, its loud thundering on the wall enough to wake the dead.


“Fifteen meters left,” Operational Supervisor Yuri Sarkomand announced as they paused the drill to let it cool down.  Despite the freezing temperatures, they could only use it in short, ten-minute intervals to avoid overheating the battery.

“How many physicians do you have on staff?” Beverley asked as she stood on a nearby observational platform and looked down another one of the deep pits.  It was dizzying to imagine that these miners went into the ice at least three times a week for all kinds of material, everything from geological finds to fossil fuels.

“All of my team is trained in proper first aid and CPR, if that is what you mean…” the captain answered.

“I’m not one to give up on human life,” she replied curtly.

She put her safety goggles back on and watched the drill finish its work, the raw dark hallways of the site becoming visible moments later as the ice sheet fell apart.

An hour later, they were moving in.

“Western sector was for residential, recreational centers.  Looks like all of this is in good repair,” one commented as they checked the first series of rooms.

“Or never used at all.”

As they arrived at the next depth meter mark, the captain raised a hand for them to pause and remarked, “Oxygen will begin to grow thinner as we get further in.  It would be advisable if we remain together and keep communication to a minimum.  Remember, we only have six hours of breathable air, so moving fast from area to area will be in our best interest.”

“Were most of the survivors near the northern tower?” she asked.

“As far as we know, the Levichion site was running on a skeleton crew at the moment.  Full operations were meant to begin this October, but I’m guessing that won’t be happening now,” he said.

Once the entire room was depressurized, all of the team entered a freight elevator, and Computer Specialist Anthony Maxland began working on getting it restarted.

“There were seven generators; only one of them is currently online.  Rerouting power might take a little bit of time,” Anthony explained.

“Work your magic,” the captain reassured him as he placed his assault rifle down.

Doing so gave her a moment to inquire about it.

“Did the UN authorize weapons in the event of hostile takeover?” she whispered.

He gave her a short but discerning nod.

“It’s pointless not to bring up the obvious; we have been circling around the subject ever since you arrived, Doctor.  Clearly, someone on the team did not want their findings to come to light and took it upon themselves to sabotage this entire mission.  We have no way of knowing if that person is still alive or not.  Protecting ourselves is my top priority here.”

“Shoot first, ask questions later, hmm?”

“I will attempt to remain peaceful toward all of them for as long as necessary,” he said firmly.

She considered another query when the elevator jerked to life, and the freight doors slammed shut.  They were on the move to the northern tower.

“No turning back,” Maxland teased as he grabbed his own weapon.  He was doing his best not to seem nervous.  None of them knew what to expect up ahead.

2200 hours

There was darkness, foreboding and even the scent of death.  It also looked foreign; strange architectural designs that shouldn’t have been made for any human ran oblong down the side of the walls,  as though they had simply repurposed a far older ruin.

The moment the elevator came to a halt, they saw a few bodies frozen on the ground, likely exposed to the initial blast.  At least their suffering was quick, she thought as she followed the rescue team down the eastern corridor.

Most of the rooms were completely collapsed, piles of rubble pushing into the main structure.

It was already beginning to look like there weren’t going to be any survivors.

Soon they reached one of the main data centers, a row of monitors flickering on and off from the last little bits of power that were flowing through, and Beverley noticed that several of the displays were showing what appeared to be satellite readings.

“Does anyone happen to know what they were working on before the event?” she asked out loud.

It was at that moment she realized she had wandered off from the group.  The room was silent except for her and the echoes of her fingers clicking against the dusty keyboard.

A few failed passwords later, she was into what remained of their findings.

It looks like someone tried to wipe this memory, she realized as she worked to uncorrupt the files.

Then abruptly, the power came on entirely.

“Doctor Warren!  In here. There’s something you might want to see,” a voice from the next room over called to her.

Soon she was awestruck at the impressive planetarium that was on display.  It was clearly far more advanced than any technology she was familiar with, but it also looked old, perhaps even older than all of them combined.

There were planets and stars that she did not recognize, and the holographic readings only further confused her.

“Am I reading this correctly?” she asked.  The captain took a look as well.

“You might as well be asking me to translate Greek,” he laughed back.

“It’s weird that this room was not destroyed, right?”

“Everything above us has totally collapsed.  Structural integrity is holding at about fifty-eight percent,” a soldier added after finishing his scans.

“So far, we have found six bodies from the manifest.  That leaves Commander George Arwan, Chief Astronomer Howard Curwen and Chief Physician Marginy Lang as unaccounted for.  How much more of the facility do you think is still intact?” Yuri asked as he returned from the eastern conference room.

“Spread out and search, Doctor.  I take it you wish to remain here to gather clues?” the captain asked.

She gave him a nod, waving him off.

After several attempts to simulate a cycle for the system on the display, she watched as the holograms circled around the star in question until suddenly freezing in place, glitching because the data went back no further.

And then she saw.

A bold and white orbiting planet that fell into place from beyond.  It was no bigger than their own, beautiful and isolated all at once.

Speeding the simulation forward, her eyes watched as the little planet seemed to flourish with life, changing from pale white to a familiar bluish green.

“They called it Aucturn, the Living Planet,” a voice said from the shadows.

“Who are you?” she whispered, her hands shaking as she realized this had to be a survivor.

Down here with no food for nearly a week, she could see blood coating his hands and mouth, evidence of cannibalism in his crazed look.

“Curwen.  And you must be Doctor Beverley Warren, from the university,” he said with a smile. He sounded almost excited to realize who she was.

“You…know me?” she asked carefully.

“I know of you.  And I recognize why you are here and welcome it.  Surely you’ve seen by now why I took the steps necessary to seal us in this icy tomb?” Curwen said, taking a step closer.

“You do realize that you just confessed to several crimes?”

He flailed his head back and laughed madly before pointing at the holographic display.

“And what about them, Doctor?  Are you also going to charge them with crimes?”

She pursed her lips together.

“I’m not sure I follow you.”

“Don’t lie to me.  Do not insult my intelligence,” he said as he got right next to her.  Then he activated the sequence again, and they both watched as the data showed what happened next. And Curwen narrated.

“The quiet planet was about to reach for the stars.  They even designed this entire structure to communicate with the heavens.  And what did they get in return?”

A dark moon appeared, hurling toward the planet like a bolt of lightning.

And then it was trapped in the cycle of the blue planet.

“I don’t understand what I am seeing,” she admitted.

“Aucturn society was invaded by an exoplanet.  The newcomers took to their world, their technology.  And they killed any survivors.”

“This is not possible,” Bev admitted.

“I think you will find that the satellite imagery is accurate.  Sixty-six million years ago, humans were the invasive species of this world.  A parasite taking hold of their world and killing the original hosts,” Curwen spat.

“If what you are saying is true, there should be evidence on the moon of its origins,” she whispered.

Curwen gestured above toward the collapsed observatory.

“Why do you think I had to do that?  If word got out that humanity was, in fact, alien, what do you think would happen?  Our very existence would be shaken.  The entire human race has been nothing but a lie,” he laughed.

“If your goal was to make sure this information never got out, you failed.  The whole world will know about this soon enough,” one of the rescuers said as they entered the room from behind Curwen.

“What I did was an invitation for people like you, Doctor Warren.  You see, before the blast, we uncovered evidence of the Aucturians still here on earth,” the mad man answered.

“They have been waiting a long time to take back their home,” he snarled.

Suddenly his body began to twitch as though something within was desperate to break free.  She could hear bones breaking and skin tearing apart as he fell over in pain, a bulging mass of spores pushing themselves out of his flesh.

Then her team tried to open fire on Curwen.

It had the opposite of the intended result.  The spores burst out, scattering strange black mists of toxic fumes into the air as Curwen let out what sounded like a scream of pleasure.

Beverley stumbled away from the shadowy fog, watching as the two men suddenly began to choke on it, their bodies actually withering as the strange material engulfed them.  Immediately she sealed the room off.

Moments later, the captain and the others returned from the rest of the facility, mortified at what they saw.  Their companions were slowly being melted alive by the spores, their thrashing bodies fusing with the floor as a purple mucus oozed from Curwen.

It looked like it was filled with eggs.

“We need to leave this place immediately,” Beverley insisted.

“We’ve managed to discover what was left of Marginy’s body.  Do you wish to take it back to the surface for an autopsy?” Anthony asked her.

She went over to the gurney where the half-eaten corpse was lying and checked it quickly for any signs of possible infection.

“It’s too risky…whatever this is, it’s been trapped here for centuries and evolved to use our bodies as hosts.  We can’t allow any of the remnants to come to the surface,” she insisted.

0200 hours

The journey back was silent, filled with melancholy.  Their comrades dead, entering the freight elevator to return felt like it was giving up to some of the rescue team.  But they didn’t know what Doctor Warren had learned.

She gave a full report to them as the elevator moved away from the north sector, including the bold claims Curwen had made.

“The astronomers were likely able to make contact with these aliens somehow.  This facility must have been their last resort for survival millennia ago.”

“And Curwen, in a last-ditch effort to save mankind, impacted the tower,” he said with a nod.

“I think not.  I believe he wanted us to come here.  It was an alluring trap.  The survivors were the bait.  I think the Aucturnians infected him first and hoped that by bringing others here, they could find a way to escape,” she explained.

“If they wanted to spread themselves beyond this strange prison, why not simply do so in secrecy?” he asked.

“I’m not sure…Curwen claimed that he wanted people like me to know the truth,” she admitted.

“Do you suppose now that the world will be ready for the damning truth about humanity?  It will change everything we ever knew about ourselves,” he said.

“These reports will need to be classified.  What was left of Aucturn died here today.  We can’t let the world crumble simply because our society has made mistakes in its past.”

“But surely you must see that eventually, this whole charade will crumble…if there are other things left from them that we have hidden.  What do we do then?  And what if the leaders of our world are all part of this grand conspiracy?”

Was it possible that Curwen knew the powers that were in charge of her own life would openly suppress this information?  Was he appealing to her for another reason…hoping she would be a traitor to her own kind?


She looked down at her own skin, a dreadful thought forming as she realized she had been the only one unaffected by the spores down below.

Was she…not as human as she believed?

Then she saw the captain’s fingers slowly reach toward his weapon.

“We tell no one,” she reiterated.

He relaxed, and the elevator moved them closer to the surface.

But slowly, as she caught glimpses of the sun and her mind wandered toward possibilities of alien children millennia ago looking up and basking in its rays, she realized that would not be the end of the story of Aucturn.

She looked at the fading shadow of the moon, the secret exoplanet the invasive humans had come here on and knew that silence would mean that the truth could not be spoken.

No, this world was once theirs.  And by my hand, it will be again, she thought.

I will tell everyone of their songs.

And slowly, we will remember what it was like to live.

Rating: 7.00/10. From 2 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by Kyle Harrison
Edited by Craig Groshek and Seth Paul
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Kyle Harrison

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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