28. May 2021
Added new short story.
This is the phase of secretly infiltrating human society to finalize the takeover plans. Phase 3 starts around 2022.
Eventually during Phase 2, the beings left behind in the other dimension figured out a way to improve the entry process. They started Phase 3.
They finalized the design of their bodies - one that allows them to lift up their turret to reveal a partial face with a functional mouth.
While the turret is still attached to the head of phase 3s, they have muscles and a second jaw that allow them to lift it up to a certain degree. Underneath, the lower part of their head becomes visible - it features a mouth with sharp teeth and fangs that regrow similar to shark teeth, as well as the visible part of the cannon breech.
Other than their older "cousins", the phase 3s are perfectly able to process food and drink. They don't need "conventional" human nutrition to survive, but some find themselves becoming almost addicted to eating and drinking because the sensation of taste is something they didn't know before their entry. However, they will start to deteriorate if they don't feed on other living beings for a long time. They believe that their key to immortality is consuming humans. As long as they keep doing this, their bodies heal faster and don't age.
To be able to keep their existence a secret for the time being, they can lower their turret to the "default" state, which makes them almost indistinguishable from the phase 2s.
The phase 3s completely skip the memories stealing process, so they keep their memories of their life in their home dimension. To humans, this previous life is almost incomprehensible.
Phase 3s still call themselves "tankheads" to keep the pretense of being phase 2s, but in their own culture, they call themselves "perennials", or the equivalent in their own language: "vezny". In their home dimension, there are several cultural subgroups who speak their own dialects, but they all understand the "standard" version of their language.
A drawback from not stealing memories is that perennials who just entered the human dimension don't speak any human languages. There are attempts to study human languages "on the other side", but with very mediocre success. Therefore, a phase 3 has to learn the language(s) of the human country they spawn into. One way of spotting a phase 3 is therefore a strange, foreign accent and trouble with the local language(s) to varying degrees; they tend to play this down as "being from another country".
To make sure the eventual takeover will run as smoothly as possible, the perennials agreed on a handful of "rules" for their kind. Not all of them are doing a good job at sticking to them.
The ultimate goal of phase 3 is to get all perennials into the human dimension and then start Phase 4, the phase of consumption.