RETURN TO DOOMSDAY SAMPLE

doomsday cover 2

Welcome to my preview series of my new novel Dimension Lapse II: Return To Doomsday. For the rest of this week, I’ll present a chapter a day of my new story. I am also working on a 6 X 9 version as well, as the current 8 x 10 edition. The larger ones are for us older folk(50 and up) who don’t see as well as we used to. Although both versions will be updated to 12pt, the larger version is much easier to read. For those of you who like the traditional paperback, I’ll be producing the new 6 X 9 version as well. My goal is to be diverse in versions, so that everyone will enjoy the tale of Angelica Avery.

Prologue:Our story opens where Dimension Lapse left off.  Jeff Walker and the Republic have destroyed the Tolarion base and the Belorion Death Ray, and Balta is presumed dead. Walker has settled down to a peaceful  life on his tropical island with his bride to be, Lori Anderson.

During this time, Dr. Louis Avery’s daughter has landed on Tolaria in search of her father, traveling through light years of space, and through a wormhole. She doesn’t realize that her whole life is about to be turned upside down.  Her android is damaged, and she must rely on her own resources.

And so our story begins…….

DIMENSION LAPSE II
RETURN TO DOOMSDAY

CHAPTER ONE

The lone spaceship drifted slowly towards the cold barren world. Angelica Avery was still in suspended animation, lying in the cryo-chamber, waiting for the initiation sequence to trigger the device that would bring her back to the world of the living. She didn’t realize at first she traveled a great distance across space and time to find answers about what happened to her father. He was working on a device that would enable him to travel through wormholes, and actually was successful in doing so. It allowed her the opportunity to do the same, even though she had a farther distance to travel once she reached the wormhole entry point. Although she didn’t fully understand the process, her father arranged to operate the system on her ship using a programmed flight course, and being an astronaut herself she knew how to pilot the craft according her father’s instructions.

As the ship came within orbit, the sequence initiated the cryo-regeneration process, and she slowly began to breathe. After about an hour and a half, she began to awake and rose herself wearily to a sitting position. She ran her hand through her black unkempt hair, rubbed her face, and then shook her head. “I wonder how long I was out,” she said aloud.

She looked at the control panel, and couldn’t believe the date; she thought she had only slept a month or two. “2163!” she exclaimed, and rose to her feet. “How is that possible?” She stumbled to the main control panel and pressed the button to turn on the manual systems. She activated the onboard android she created named Cely to power up his system up as well. He was about five feet tall, and had a robotic skeletal structure within his ‘housing’ which was really synthetic skin. His tan skin was similar to hers, with brown hair, and seemed to very human other than his synthetic system, and sensors that allowed him to see, as well as speak and hear. Angelica wasn’t able to give him the sense of smell, but she was working on it, and emotions anything close to human were out of the question.

“Good morning, Ms Avery,” he said.
“Morning, Cely,” she said. “We’re a long way from home, Heh?”
“That is true,” he answered. “Nineteen point nine light years away from Earth to be exact. That is, from where we entered the wormhole.”
“How is that even possible?” she asked, still trying to grasp the fact that the wormhole generation was successful.
“You’ve been asleep for over eighty years, and you’ve been traveling at one quarter the speed of light.”
“That’s not possible, either,” she reiterated, still feeling a little dizzy.
“You were thrown from the force of the singularity. You’ve been drifting in space for the past ten light years. Also the fact that we are no longer in your universe.”
“Where exactly are we?” she asked
“In orbit of the planet Tolaria.”
“What were the last coordinates that my father gave before we lost his signal?”
“Here.”
“Are you sure?”
“I’m positive, Ms. Avery.”

She couldn’t understand why he picked this particular planet. She was still unsure what was to become of them, but had to follow her father’s orders, even though he was long dead by now.

“Very well.” She was reluctant to land on this hostile world. There was no way of knowing if there was actually an installation there or not. “Is the beacon still active?”
The android walked over to another panel, and checked to see if there was a signal. “Yes, it is.”
“Prepare to land,” Avery told him as she put on her silver external spacesuit over her flight suit, and returned to the control panel. Chills shot through her blood, but she didn’t know why; they made these types of landings many times before during her academy days.

Cely sat in the extra seat, strapped himself in, as Angelica activated the after burn rockets, and began to enter the atmosphere. There was quite a bit of turbulence as the craft entered the thick, gaseous Nitrogen atmosphere. She approached the rocky surface and knew it was going to be a rough landing. Her ship violently shook, as lightning sparked all around them and panel after panel shorted out. The thick purple-bluish clouds were all around them, which made the surface invisible from their view. When lightning struck the ship, they heard an explosion on their right and left sides. “Systems are failing,” Cely reminded her, and tried to compensate. “Rockets two and four are inoperable.”

The ship descended and caught on fire as it slammed against the rocky plain of the surface on the world, but went out due to the oxidizing effect of the atmosphere. It bounced once or twice, flipped at least three times and then came to a stop against a hill of ice. Angelica felt the impact as she shook around in her seat, banging her head on the panel in front of her. Fragments of the ship broke off as it crashed, leaving part of the hull exposed to the atmosphere. Angelica found herself dazed and slightly injured with a small gash on her arm and a bumped head, but still very much alive. Her companion, however, hadn’t been so lucky.

His strapping was cut by a flying fragment of metal, which left his arm dismembered from his mechanical body, and his head damaged, but was still repairable. His memory banks suffered some damage, and it would take time to rebuild themselves. The fierce, frigid, high velocity winds ripped across the surface of the planet. She was having trouble breathing, so she put down her external suit’s visor, and turned the valve on her oxygen tank. She bent over the android, which was now lying on the floor of the ship.

“Cely,” she said, trying to revive his system. “Cely, can you hear me?” There was no answer from the unit. She regretted leaving him behind, but she needed to try to get to where the beacon was before her air ran out, even though there wasn’t even a guarantee there was oxygen on this planet or in the underground base. The beacon was very strong now, at least a half mile away. She grabbed limited supplies of food and water, placed one loaded Berretta M9 pistol into her belt, and one in a pocket in the back of her suit, then started out towards the east in the howling blizzard of frozen nitrogen particles, as she remembered why she started this whole journey in the first place.

Her father was working on several experiments in the fields of genetic research and space propulsion technology. His opinions were once well respected by his superiors and his ideas were far ahead of anything that was being presented at the time. After they committed him to a mental institution, they deliberately discredited him. She still didn’t understand where his ideas came from; ideas that were years ahead of anything being developed at the time. The basis of his theory was that by using the density of a black hole or star, one could develop a device able to create a singularity or wormhole that allowed the traveler to pass through it to a parallel universe, or another region of space. It was a shame that in later years, NASA dismissed him from future projects, and tried to get him to turn over all his research to them.

When he refused to, they arranged to have him committed, recanting his theories, and calling him mad. They would be the ones to change their opinions of him if they saw what he ultimately achieved. NASA funded his entire laboratory, and just before the institutional admission, he entered a code that only he could access to the device. NASA found the device was useless because it was far too advanced to be reverse engineered. Shortly after he escaped from the institution, he stole the spaceship that NASA designed for such a journey, and his two favorite chimps as well. Angelica was ordered by the academy to use the other prototype to stop him, if at all possible. She of course had no desire to do this, and in reality was more than willing to help him achieve what he planned.

She knew he made it through to the other universe, because the signal that was preprogrammed into his ship’s computer registered on her systems after Angelica passed through the singularity. Once she entered the singularity, the signals became stronger. The problem was that the actual location would take months to travel to. After emerging from her own universe, she plotted the course for the beacon signal and placed herself into cryostasis until she reached her destination. Her father must have found a shortcut of some kind to get to where he was now, or he was no longer alive. She also didn’t know that she would be floating in space for such a long time either.

As she followed the beacon signal, she could feel a strong gust coming at her. She quickly dropped behind an ice hill as the seventy mile hour winds blew over her head. She weighed only 80 1bs here and could easily be blown away. While there was a moment of calmness in the storm., she continued to jump and ran quickly towards the direction of the beacon. She stopped when the beacon beeped continuously, but found no hatch in sight.

She kicked the frozen nitrogen beneath her feet, then dropped to her knees and began to tap the frozen surface with the handle of her pistol. The wind picked up again, and she feared that a gust would knock her over or carry her away. She tapped on it about five minutes, until she was finally able to pull the ice from the surface of the hatch where the beacon was. She pulled open the hatch, which was lighter than in normal gravity, shined her flashlight into the hole, and looked for the ladder to climb down. ‘I hope that nothing is at the bottom other than Papa,’ she thought, very nervous. She dropped herself into the hole, climbed down the sixty feet deep entrance, and remembered the message her father sent her just before he disappeared. He stated something about molecular changes he was going through while entering the singularity. Angelica hadn’t experienced this effect, only a little dizziness upon waking. It could have been the opening of the wormhole, but why wasn’t she affected in the same way?

Wherever and whatever this place was, it was very dark until she reached the bottom of the shaft. There were tunnels in both directions at the bottom, and it was lit with emergency lighting, which didn’t surprise her. Even though the lights were operational, the main power was shut down. She pulled out her pistol, and followed the tunnel that went to the right.

Angelica reminisced of being a little girl, and the time her father first took her to his science lab. She was amazed at all the scientific equipment, and animals he kept for his experiments. Especially fond of chemistry, she could name every element in the periodic chart by the time she was eight years old. Her fascination for science was as strong as his. For her fifth grade science fair, she built a primitive laser. Her father taught her the process, and she designed a smaller system using solar panels, lithium batteries, and a little ingenuity of her own.

He was so proud of her that day. He always wanted her to be a scientist like her father. He trained her in lots of areas; genetics, physics, and quantum mechanics. By the time she was 18, she was beginning to understand his theories, and learning how to apply them. There was a secretive side to him as well, and he only confided partially in her assistance, spending the late hours of the night by himself. One night when Angelica was twelve, she entered his lab, and he put his notes away as quick as he could.

“What are you doing?” she asked him.
“Just working on some formulas, Sweetheart,” her father said. “It’s a little complicated and I don’t think that you would quite understand it.”
“But I like chemistry too.”
“Not this stuff. When you’re a little older, I’ll explain it to you.”
She also missed her mother, Marie, who died when Angelica was very young. Marie was a brilliant woman, no less than her husband, and it was a shame she contracted an incurable disease that even her father, the great Dr. Louis Avery didn’t have an answer to. She had thick, dark hair like Angelica, and was very beautiful. Her mother rocked Angelica in her arms to sleep every night, as she sang to her. Although she didn’t understand it at the time, her parents would stay up after that discussing their theories, and bond together as a team as well as lovers.

It was hard for Angelica to believe that her mother only weighed eighty lbs when she died. It was horrific to watch her slowly fade away, until the morning she was only five years old, and woke up to find her dead; on her mother’s birthday no less. She never fully recovered from the tragedy, and cried for weeks on end, asking herself why. The young woman and her father vowed to find a cure for the disease and any other that was terminal. Fate had a way of changing the way she looked at life from that moment on.

After her mother’s death, Angelica decided to devote as much time with her father as she could and assist him where her mother had left off. They had reached fruition in their theories, and she was right behind him in the other spaceship when he suddenly vanished. Now she was facing an alien world without his help, and there was no guarantee she would find what she was looking for, or any evidence he had even been here, except the beacon. He confided in her that he found a suitable world for his experiments, but didn’t tell her where it was. There was something about this planet that interested him. She knew he brought his favorite two chimps with him to use their DNA, but she didn’t know the exact nature of what he was doing with them. Most experiments he was very open to her assistance, but not this one; he kept it very private, even from her. She knew about the wormhole vessels, but not about what his motive was once he reached the planet.

Back at the ship, Cely activated his own backup code, and restarted his system. His vision pixels were fragmented, his left arm was missing, and one of his hearing sensors was damaged. “Oh dear,” he said with garbled speech. “I’ll have to manage.” He rose himself from the floor and grabbed a soldering iron from a compartment next to him. While soldering the loose wiring and closing tubes that dripped hydraulic fluid onto the floor, Cely sensed the structure of the wrecked ship shake all around him from the winds. He put on a flight jacket and grabbed a pistol from the armory compartment. He knew that it would be futile to leave while the winds were so strong. He didn’t breathe oxygen, eat or sleep, but negotiating the storm was more than he could undertake.

“Ms. Avery must have set out to look for the beacon,” he computed in his memory. “I’ll wait until the storm passes, and then look for her.”

In the complex, Angelica came to a large metal door which had a keypad next to it. When she punched in the code her father had transmitted to her to open it, nothing happened. “What the hell?” she asked, puzzled. Her first decision was to turn in the other direction, but the door opened, and revealed what was left of the main control center. She entered cautiously, holding her pistol in front of her, and her legs wide apart. She was a little suspicious and frightened of the door’s action, suspecting that it might be a trap. Being dark, she turned on the small flashlight attached to her pistol.

Angelica could feel a rush of cold air from the open section of the ceiling that was torn apart by an explosion. Frozen nitrogen covered part of the walls and floor at the far end of the complex. She entered, shocked and unable to believe what she saw. There was destroyed machinery and rubble, and it didn’t look like any of the computers could ever be operational again. Walking through, she could see human bones scattered amongst the rubble, decayed and charred. There was also something else, something alien. Some of the skulls looked like some form of primate, but with only one eye socket, and then there was some kind of insect exoskeleton, which had six limbs, but obviously walked as a biped. There were also decayed pieces of some kind of humanoid, but not quite human.

It was obvious to her there was some kind of battle here, and an explosion as well. The walls were burned from extreme heat, and ash was everywhere. To the right, there was what appeared to be a landing deck for spaceships of some kind, but most of them were shattered or unusable. Angelica now assumed whatever happened, her father was in the middle of it somehow. She started to cry, but stopped, knowing that it would only use her oxygen supply quicker. She was curious to find out if the air was breathable, so she pulled out a small sensor from her suit pocket and activated the button that checked the air quality. Seeing it was Oxygen, but more Nitrous Oxide, and extremely cold, she felt it would be safer to keep her helmet on for now, and keep her suit temperature control at 68.

Putting the sensor back, she pulled out her pistol again, and walked in the direction of where the catwalk was. The catwalk ladder was wobbly, but she weighed lighter here due to the gravity, and she felt it would hold her. She climbed it carefully, holding tight to her weapon. She still felt the need for a little added protection; there were no guarantees she was totally alone here.

It shook a little and when she reached the top, as she jumped onto the catwalk, crouched down and kept her pistol ready. She rose to her feet, and headed down to another door, which opened into a corridor. It was empty, and led to several other rooms. Angelica decided to head towards the door that was at the end of the hallway first. All of the corridor doors appeared opened.

When she came to the door, she found it led into another corridor, and went to the room farthest from her. She walked into the room, which was a conference room of some kind. Cold wind rushed at her from outside where the window was severely smashed. She immediately left the room and headed to another room down the hall.

He entered the doorway, and there was a smaller control center with viewing screens, but none of them were operable. She glanced at the panel, and saw a button that read activate force field, and deactivate force field, but neither one was on or working. She also saw several buttons for each section of the complex. It was obvious this planet had a defense system, but it somehow had been compromised.

It didn’t surprise her everything was written in English; since her father spoke and wrote in English. What did surprise her is how he could operate this entire complex by himself, unless these aliens helped him somehow. Perhaps his father was successful with his cloning experiments to some degree, and these alien beings were the result of it. Everything was too fragmented at this point, and she wasn’t sure what the full picture was. She decided to investigate further, when her communication device activated.

“Ms Avery, are you there?”
“Yes, Cely,” she answered, as she touched the transmitter on her helmet. ”I’m all right. I see you made it as well.”
“That is correct,” Cely responded. “I will locate your position as soon as the storm passes. I’ve suffered some damage, but I still am operable. I wish I could say the same for the ship.”
“You sound a little garbled,” Angelica answered. “Are your other systems functioning properly?”
“My vision is a little fragmented, my defense system is down, and as you can hear, my vocal system is compromised, but other than that, I’m fine.”
“Well, unless I find some Oxygen in this complex soon, I’ll no longer be fine. I’m going to investigate a little further, and then I am heading towards the lower floors of the complex. Be careful, there’s a lot of debris down here.”
“Affirmative, Ms Avery,” he said. “I will locate you as soon as can.”
“Roger that,” she said. “See you in a bit.”
She left the room and walked down the hallway to find a way to the lower floors. She came upon a door marked “laboratory,” only to find the room was in shambles. There were broken specimen dishes everywhere, and bits of different colored chemicals on the floor. She didn’t want to enter, in case there was a possibility of contamination. She didn’t see any computers working that would give her an indication to what her father was working on.

Angelica left the area, and headed to a nearby stairway. As she opened the door, she aimed her light down it for protection, and kept her pistol handy. She began to breathe heavily in fear, and carefully descended down four flights of stairs, checking each floor for intruders as she kept her back to the wall. She opened the last door, and found the emergency lights on this floor were on as well. Avery edged her way down the hallway until she reached the end, which led to a hallway with piping on the walls and ceiling. Her helmet visor began to fog on her, indicating heat and condensation.

She felt the piping, the heat and steam from a broken pipe further up the hallway penetrating through her gloves. She holstered her weapon, turned on her helmet light and pulled her Oxygen sensor from her pocket. To her surprise, it said there was a high level of it up ahead and in this hallway. She put her sensor away, took off her helmet, and carried it in her left arm. She pulled out her pistol again, and ducked the steam pipe by crouching under its spray.

Angelica could feel the heat and humidity of the place and she wanted to remove her suit, but her intuition told her not to. Who knew what her father created here; she had a feeling there was a correlation with the cloning and the corpses she saw earlier. She didn’t know if anybody else was down there with her, and she needed to be extra careful until Cely found her. Cely’s tracking system in his memory banks was especially homed in on Angelica’s whereabouts using her unique genetic code. Once he was there, Cely was a good defense device. He could fire a pistol faster than any human she ever knew. He also had a force field barrier that sent a voltage of 100,000 volts of electricity into his aggressor, but unfortunately it was inoperable at the moment.

Angelica got past the piping which led to an open room with computer systems and viewing screens. To her amazement they were all working and operational, their color vibrating throughout the room. The main lights, however, were not working, and the place was completely empty. She walked over to the nearest computer, scanning at the viewing screen. It blinked a repeating sequence, but she didn’t quite understand it or the hieroglyphics that were written next to it.

It kept saying “Defense compromised, initiate self destruct sequence code,’ but nothing here was damaged. She was reluctant and scared, but tried to type in some numbers to see the reaction. She wasn’t going to be able to get off the planet if she wanted to anyways and if she was going to die, it might as well be here and now. Absolutely nothing happened, however, and she felt she better not mess with it any longer, so she headed towards another hallway on the other side of the room. Most of the doors were inoperative and either closed or forced open by whatever explosion that happened here. This particular door was closed and there was a green light next to it on her right within arm’s reach. She touched the light and it opened. She entered the well lit hallway and she started to go to her right. That’s when she saw it.

When it approached, she saw the shadow first; a large dark figure, the silhouette at least ten feet tall. As it rounded the corner, it noticed her as well. It was an eight feet tall hairy figure, with one of his eyes deformed along with part of his face, had fang-like teeth, huge feet, and large arms that hung to his knees, like an ape. It came towards her, she raised her gun and fired twice, but it kept coming down the hall. Angelica was so scared all she could do was run. She went to hit the door exit, and started to run through the computer room towards the hallway out, when she was intercepted by a grayish haired man in his fifties who held an unfamiliar type of gun. “You have nowhere to run!” he yelled, as the beast also entered the computer room.

She turned and faced the beast, aiming her gun at him. The wounds on him were healed, he held out his hand, and dropped the bullets on the floor in front of her. Awed by this, she dropped her helmet to the floor. “Give me the gun,” the man said. “Give it to me, or I’ll have Gorzor take it from you.” She turned back to the man, handed him the pistol, and gazed at the many scars on his face, obviously from rough living in this complex, or from battle. His skin was rather dark for a Caucasian, and he couldn’t have been more than 5’9”. Angelica was 5’ 11’, rather tall for a woman, and if it weren’t for his companion, she felt she could’ve easily disarm him.

He looked over her weapon. “A little bit of an antique, isn’t it?” he asked. “I haven’t seen any guns like this in twenty five years, and only in a museum. What’s a pretty girl like you doing in a place like this?”
“That line is as old as I am,” she answered, sarcastically.
“And just exactly how old are you?” he asked, as he put the gun in his coat pocket. “Twenty. Twenty one?”
“I don’t think that’s any of your business!”
“I’m holding the laser so I’m making it my business!”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
“Why don’t you try me?”
“About one hundred and five.”
“You must be joking!” he laughed. “You can’t be that old, you’re only a human.”
“I’m very old. I was cryogenically frozen on my voyage.”
“Ah. From where?”
“I’d rather not say.” They may have worked for her father’s establishment, but just the same she didn’t want to volunteer any more specifics yet.
“Have it your way,” he said. He frowned, gesturing for Gorzar to tie her up; He grabbed her arms and put them behind her back, then started to tie them with a rope. She turned to the beast.
“Ow! Take it easy, will you?” she said. She turned to her human captor. “Is this really necessary?”
“Are you willing to tell us what you’re doing here?” he asked, staring into her blue eyes. She just turned her head towards the ceiling in defiance. “I didn’t think so. Take her down to the committee. I want to make sure she doesn’t have any friends with her.” He nodded, and pushed her to walk back towards the door at the other side of the computer room. She turned back at him, and stared at his grotesque face.
“What happened to you?” she asked. “Did you get your face stuck in a grinding rover or what?”
“What do you know about grinding rovers?” The man asked. “Are you from Mars?”
“None of your business.” She gave him a cross look and the man just smiled.
“Well to answer your question, he was an unfortunate victim of Akros’ experiments,” the man said.
“Who is Akros?”
“He was the keeper of this place. Enough talk, Gorzar, get her down to the committee.”

They went down the hallway where she came from in the surface. She was pushed through the door at the far end of the room and down the hallway, unaware of who or what her welcoming committee would be.
CHAPTER TWO

When the winds died down, Cely prepared to leave the ship; and was now able to get his sensory functions working properly and locate where Ms. Avery was. From what he could ascertain, his master was located into the lower floors of the complex. There wasn’t any way he could tell if there were other life forms; that part of his sensory bank was still damaged, as well as his defense mechanism. All he had was a Beretta pistol with only one extra cartridge of bullets. The armory was very limited, with only three guns, and Angelica had the other two.

Cely knew now they were marooned here and there wasn’t any way to fly the ship off the planet. He knew that Angelica wouldn’t survive if she couldn’t find water, food, or air. He grabbed a pack containing a first aid kit; some hand held devices needed to repair his functions, some extra freeze dried food for Ms. Avery, left the destroyed vessel, and headed in the direction of the beacon.

Following the beacon for a mile and a half to the hatch, he brushed the frozen nitrous-oxide that lay on top. His computation of the surface temperature was -250º. This was way too cold for human existence without a spacesuit of some kind. Hopefully below the surface was considerably warmer.

Noticing it was dark inside when he lifted the hatch, he turned on the light on his suit, and climbed down the ladder. He pulled out his pistol, started to walk towards the right until he reached a door, and punched in the code, as he could sense the sound of footsteps behind him. He entered the numbers, and as the door opened, went into the dark control room, waiting next to the door for his pursuer. The door opened again, and he put his only arm around his follower’s neck, who was wearing a white spacesuit, an Oxygen mask and a small tank on his back. Still holding his pistol, gripped him tightly in a headlock with the gun at his head.

“Who are you,” he asked the human, who struggled in pain.
“Malone,” the man said. “Steve Malone!”
“Where is Ms. Avery?” he asked, and squeezed tighter yet.
“Who?”
“Ms. Avery,” he answered. “She is 5’11”, has black hair and is wearing a silver spacesuit.”
“Let me go, and I’ll tell you!” he pleaded. He fell to the floor choking, and sat there for a moment or two, trying to catch his breath. “She’s going down to the committee. They’re supposed to meet me there.”
“Well then,” Cely said, and directed him to rise. “We don’t want to keep them waiting, do we?”
“What are you,” the man asked, as he regained his footing.
“I am an android.”
“An android?” he asked puzzled.
“Apparently, Ms. Avery is ahead of your current level of technology,” Cely remarked. “Shall we get going?” He pointed the pistol at Malone, who walked towards the catwalk ladder. Cely scanned the room, as he analyzed the sight of the dead beings in the room and their anatomical structures from the decomposed remains. He deciphered that one was a type of insect and the others were either humans, or derivatives thereof.
As they got to the catwalk, Malone turned towards him. “Is this going to hold you?” he asked him, sarcastically.
“It will hold me just fine. I’m very light weight,” he answered. “I probably weigh less than you do. Now, get going!”
Malone laughed. “That’s good to know!” he remarked. “Maybe later, when things are a little different, I’ll play kick the can!” Cely didn’t understand what he meant, but a memory search suggested an old Earth children’s game. He determined it was another sarcastic remark.
“Very funny, Mr. Malone,” he said. “Please climb the ladder, and do not attempt to escape or I will shoot you.” He complied, and Cely followed behind him. When he reached the top, the man quickly turned to kick him, as he climbed onto the floor from the ladder. Cely grabbed his foot, threw him about three feet in the air, and he landed on his back, dazed. The android put his pistol in its holster, reached down to grab Malone, and lifted him to his feet. “Are we done playing games?”

He subserviently nodded, and started to walk down the hallway in front of them. As they ventured further, he detected the gravity was beginning to get heavier, indicating to him that certain systems in the complex were operable. He entered another hallway, which led to a stairway he determined went down three or four flights. When Malone started down it, he ran down them faster as he went lower. Cely kept up with him, grabbed the railing as he descended to the bottom, and ran down the hallway. Cely didn’t want to waste bullets, but it was obvious this human was trying to elude him. He pulled out the pistol and shot him in the foot. He screamed in pain, but continued to run until he was out of Cely’s sight.

 

 

 

Welcome to day 2 of our sample series.  If you read Chp. One already, then you’re aware of what’s going on. If not, then I’ll recap the first chapter.  Today we’ll be presenting Ch. Two.

Angelica Avery has landed on Tolaria, a planet her father chose to set up shop, building an installation there. Consequently, the base has been destroyed, and she has just met the survivors. She has been in contact with her android, Cely, who is suffering from some minor damage, including a missing arm.  She is just going down to meet the survivors, after being attacked by an eight feet creature, who is controlled by a former Martian colonist named Malone….

CHAPTER TWO

When the winds died down, Cely prepared to leave the ship; and was now able to get his sensory functions working properly and locate where Ms. Avery was. From what he could ascertain, his master was located into the lower floors of the complex. There wasn’t any way he could tell if there were other life forms; that part of his sensory bank was still damaged, as well as his defense mechanism. All he had was a Beretta pistol with only one extra cartridge of bullets. The armory was very limited, with only three guns, and Angelica had the other two.

Cely knew now they were marooned here and there wasn’t any way to fly the ship off the planet. He knew that Angelica wouldn’t survive if she couldn’t find water, food, or air. He grabbed a pack containing a first aid kit; some hand held devices needed to repair his functions, some extra freeze dried food for Ms. Avery, left the destroyed vessel, and headed in the direction of the beacon.

Following the beacon for a mile and a half to the hatch, he brushed the frozen nitrous-oxide that lay on top. His computation of the surface temperature was -250º. This was way too cold for human existence without a spacesuit of some kind. Hopefully below the surface was considerably warmer.

Noticing it was dark inside when he lifted the hatch, he turned on the light on his suit, and climbed down the ladder. He pulled out his pistol, started to walk towards the right until he reached a door, and punched in the code, as he could sense the sound of footsteps behind him. He entered the numbers, and as the door opened, went into the dark control room, waiting next to the door for his pursuer. The door opened again, and he put his only arm around his follower’s neck, who was wearing a white spacesuit, an Oxygen mask and a small tank on his back. Still holding his pistol, gripped him tightly in a headlock with the gun at his head.

“Who are you,” he asked the human, who struggled in pain.
“Malone,” the man said. “Steve Malone!”
“Where is Ms. Avery?” he asked, and squeezed tighter yet.
“Who?”
“Ms. Avery,” he answered. “She is 5’11”, has black hair and is wearing a silver spacesuit.”
“Let me go, and I’ll tell you!” he pleaded. He fell to the floor choking, and sat there for a moment or two, trying to catch his breath. “She’s going down to the committee. They’re supposed to meet me there.”
“Well then,” Cely said, and directed him to rise. “We don’t want to keep them waiting, do we?”
“What are you,” the man asked, as he regained his footing.
“I am an android.”
“An android?” he asked puzzled.
“Apparently, Ms. Avery is ahead of your current level of technology,” Cely remarked. “Shall we get going?” He pointed the pistol at Malone, who walked towards the catwalk ladder. Cely scanned the room, as he analyzed the sight of the dead beings in the room and their anatomical structures from the decomposed remains. He deciphered that one was a type of insect and the others were either humans, or derivatives thereof.
As they got to the catwalk, Malone turned towards him. “Is this going to hold you?” he asked him, sarcastically.
“It will hold me just fine. I’m very light weight,” he answered. “I probably weigh less than you do. Now, get going!”
Malone laughed. “That’s good to know!” he remarked. “Maybe later, when things are a little different, I’ll play kick the can!” Cely didn’t understand what he meant, but a memory search suggested an old Earth children’s game. He determined it was another sarcastic remark.
“Very funny, Mr. Malone,” he said. “Please climb the ladder, and do not attempt to escape or I will shoot you.” He complied, and Cely followed behind him. When he reached the top, the man quickly turned to kick him, as he climbed onto the floor from the ladder. Cely grabbed his foot, threw him about three feet in the air, and he landed on his back, dazed. The android put his pistol in its holster, reached down to grab Malone, and lifted him to his feet. “Are we done playing games?”

He subserviently nodded, and started to walk down the hallway in front of them. As they ventured further, he detected the gravity was beginning to get heavier, indicating to him that certain systems in the complex were operable. He entered another hallway, which led to a stairway he determined went down three or four flights. When Malone started down it, he ran down them faster as he went lower. Cely kept up with him, grabbed the railing as he descended to the bottom, and ran down the hallway. Cely didn’t want to waste bullets, but it was obvious this human was trying to elude him. He pulled out the pistol and shot him in the foot. He screamed in pain, but continued to run until he was out of Cely’s sight.

It was no matter to him, however. Cely scanned the area and determined where he was going. His range was delayed due to the crash, and was just starting to pick up an area below the original complex where there were other human and alien life forms. The android headed for that area, followed the blood trail, and entered the bottom stairway into a piping area, which he indicated contained vaporized water steam. He started down the hallway, until he came to an open room with computers throughout.

He entered, eyed the room, and determined that Malone wasn’t in it. He walked over to the main computer which was still waiting for the self destruct code. He pulled open the compartment which was under it, pressed his finger against the metal of the computer, which opened his right index fingernail, revealing a small metal tip, and inserted it into a section of the wiring to connect to the computer. Through this, he connected to the mainframe, allowing him to override the sequence. Within about a minute, the computer uploaded the code. “Self destruct sequence aborted,” it announced.

He then glanced over to the communication panel. He pressed the transmit button, and tried to make contact with anyone who was listening. “This is Tolarion base,” he announced. “Is there anyone there?”
There wasn’t an answer at first, but after he repeated the transmission, he received a response. “Tolarion base,” the voice answered. “This is the Starlighter. What is your status report?”
“The base has been partially destroyed,” Cely answered. “There are some survivors here, mostly human.”
“Human?” the voice questioned.
“Yes,” Cely reiterated. “There are some alien life forms here as well. There are livable conditions on the lower floors; some systems down here are functional.”
“Very well,” the voice answered. “We will be en route shortly.”
“Over and out,” Cely responded, and tried to decipher the reason for the common use of English. As far as he could tell, there was no correlation these humans had anything to do with Earth; they carried weapons that resembled laser pistols, and they were living in a complex with technology much more advanced than anything he saw on the space stations orbiting Earth. He rose from the panel and headed towards the green light next to the door on the far side of the room.

Cely touched the light, the door opened, and he walked down the hallway to his right. He heard voices in a room nearby and carefully stepped towards the open doorway. He entered and pointed his gun at the group of twenty who were in it. He could see that Ms. Avery was present, and Malone, who sat and wrapped his bleeding flesh wound with bandages. Gorzar was behind Angelica, her hands tied behind her back. There were a couple other aliens in the room as well as the humans; one was a six feet tall reptilian creature, green and scaly, and didn’t have a tail like most reptiles, and the other was a grayish humanoid about three and a half feet tall with an over sized head, a small mouth and dark, almond shaped eyes.

“You shot me!” Malone yelled at the android.
“It was necessary,” he answered. “Please let Ms. Avery go, or I will have to take her by force.”
“You’re going to fight all of us?” Malone jested.
“I will do what ever is necessary to protect Ms. Avery.”
“Gorzar!” Malone commanded to his gigantic henchman. “Disarm that robot!”

The mutant moved from behind Angelica and towards the android, and right then she wished that his electrical force field was working properly. The only defense was a pistol he fired three times at the beast with no effect before his arm was gripped, and it was taken from his hand. He threw the weapon over to Malone, who looked it over.

“Another Berretta M9. These were used by Earth’s military,” he said. “Where did you two get these guns from?” Neither Cely nor Angelica answered, they were at a loss; and didn’t expect the beast to be stronger than Cely was. He was brought next to Avery, and sat down in front of Malone.
“Are you all right, Ms. Avery?” he asked.
“Yea,” she groaned, puzzled why he gave in so easily. “I’m just peachy!”
“Enough formalities!” Malone said, as he pointed the gun at Angelica. “Now start explaining who you are and why you’re here or I’ll kill you right now!”
“My name is Angelica Avery,” she sighed. “My father was supposed to meet me here. I came from Earth.” She tried to untie herself, but found it extremely difficult.
“Here?” another human asked, as he stepped forward. He had blonde hair and blue eyes and Angelica was immediately drawn by his handsome appearance. She could sense he had a little compassion for her. “On this planet? That’s impossible.”
“It’s very possible,” Cely said. “And very factual as well.”
“Tell your android buddy to keep quiet, or I’ll have Gorzar rip off his other arm,” Malone snapped, as he pointed the Beretta back at its owner.
“Let’s get on with it,” the blonde man snapped at Malone, annoyed by his attitude.
“Anyway,” Angelica continued. “I received a beacon signal from him that he was here.”
“There’s nothing left here but us and what’s left of this horrific civilization,” the blonde haired man said. “Hello, my name is Rollings. It’s a pleasure to see such a pretty face around here. Gorzar, please untie our guest.” Rollings continued to explain as Gorzar followed his order. “They left us here for dead with little food and water, other than what we could salvage. There were many more of us, but as you can guess, we had to resort to desperate means.”
“Who left you?” Angelica asked. “What desperate means?”
“The Republic,” Rollings said, his eyes narrowing in anger. “The Galactic Republic of Peaceful Planets. And you probably don’t want to know the details of the rest.”
“That doesn’t seem like something that a Galactic Republic of Peace would do,” she quipped.
“That’s exactly what they did,” Malone barked. “You must have came on a ship of some kind. Are you going to do the same as they did?”
“Of course not,” Angelica said. “Unfortunately, my ship was destroyed when I landed. We are as stranded as you are.”
“You and that hunk of metal you call an android?” Malone sneered.
“Enough,” Rollings snarled. It was plain to see he was the leader of the group. “If she says her ship was destroyed, than it was destroyed.”
“If I may interrupt, “Cely remarked. Rollings nodded to him. “Before I came down here, I was able to contact one of your Republic ships called the Starlighter. They are en route as we speak.”
“Are you out of your mind, you stupid fucking robot?” Malone yelled. “The Starlighter is a Tolarion ship! You sent them right to our damn doorstep!”
“What could they possibly want from us?” Rollings asked Malone. “Other than to finish our extermination!”
“Perhaps they seek the energy source I detect nearby,” Cely reported. “It is what’s left of a fusion reactor system.”

Rollings thought about what he said for a minute, and then realized the seriousness of the situation.
“They want the reactors!” he said. “Balta! He must still be alive!”
“Who’s Balta?” Cely asked.
“He is the leader of the Tolarion government,” Rollings answered. “He was supposedly killed before the explosion here. There used to be a large civilization here. It was destroyed by a massive fusion explosion, and the only survivors were those who could escape to the lower floors of this complex. It knocked the planet off orbit. This used to be a warmer place. It was still unlivable for humans, though. Only down here we’re safe. He wants the reactors to recreate his weapon. They are encased in cobalt shells which keep them safe from exploding. Even one of them can destroy what’s left of this planet in a matter of seconds if the power is harnessed correctly.”
“I don’t mean to be rude,” Angelica interrupted. “But what about my father? Have you seen him, his name is Dr. Louis Avery?”
“Never heard of him,” Rollings said. “You still haven’t explained why he would even be here, or how you could have possibly came from Earth-it was destroyed long ago.”
“He was trying to find a planet suitable for his experiments,” Angelica explained, still reluctant to give out too much information. “I’ve been asleep for eighty years in suspended animation.”
“What kind of experiments?” Rollings asked.
“Human cloning,” she sighed, as she folded her arms across her chest.

She was nervous because of the way the other human men were staring at her, having not seen a woman in a long time. Angelica could be a strong, fearless woman, but nothing in the NASA space academy prepared her for this.

“We’re the only humans here, and we were brought here from other planets,” Malone stated.
“By who?” Angelica asked.
“The Tolarions,” Rollings answered. They brought us here to be their work slaves. How could your father know humans would even be here?”
“I don’t know,” Angelica answered. “I just know what he told me before he disappeared.”
“Wait a minute,” Rollings said. “Avery… Akros. Your father was Akros!”
Malone rose, agitated, and leaned on his chair due t pain of his flesh wound. “This just keeps getting better and better!” he laughed. “Why don’t we just kill her now? She’s already given us away to them!”
“Another word, Malone, and I’ll break your other foot!” Rollings yelled. “Ms. Avery, Are you aware that your father is the reason why we’re here?”

Angelica didn’t quite understand what he was getting at.

“What do you mean?”
“He created this place, with the help of his clone army,” Rollings said. “They were far from being human though. They were ape-like creatures and extremely powerful.”
“Like Gorzar?” Cely asked.
“No,” Malone answered. “He was a mutation. You’ll soon find that he is more human, than the monstrosities that they are.” Angelica looked up at the beast while he was standing behind her, and he smiled at her.
“Well,” Rollings said, nervous. “I don’t know how to break this to you, but he was killed in the explosion.”
“Killed?” Angelica asked, as she rose from her seat. “When?”
“Yes, I’m afraid so.” He reached for her shoulder to console her, but she pulled away from him.
“Ms. Avery, it’s a miracle he could have even survived the wormhole,” Cely said. “Either one of you could have died just traveling through it. There wasn’t any guarantee his theory would even work. He wanted you to finish what he started if he didn’t make it. That’s why he sent you through afterwards.”
“Why didn’t you explain that to me earlier, Cely?” she asked, as she wiped the tears from her eyes.
“He told me not to,” he answered. “You can be as determined as he was.”
“Speaking of wormholes,” Rollings asked. “How did your father know of such technology?” Nobody on Earth used this technology eighty years ago?”
“How would you know that?” she asked.
“My dear lady,” he said. “I know that because I’m from Mars. Most of are either from Mars, Zeloria or Andomis.”
“Mars?” she asked, bewildered. “Zeloria, Andomis?”
“Mars was colonized in 2102. Zeloria and Andomis are from this galaxy.”
“My father was right.”
“About what?” asked Rollings.
“That they would colonize Mars next.”
“It was the logical choice,” Cely added.
“Why don’t we get back to the matter at hand?” Malone remarked. “What are we going to do about the Tolarions?”
“Shut up. Malone!” Rollings snapped. “I asked her a question, and I’m waiting for an answer. How did your father know about that technology?”
“I don’t know,” she said. “I only helped him build the device; I don’t know exactly how it works. He knew the specifics; he didn’t tell me everything!”
“She’s lying!” Malone barked, but Rollings just ignored him.
“Well,” Rollings said. “That’s not important right now. What is important is whether the device is still onboard your ship?”
“Yes, but it’s probably no longer functional,” she answered.
“If the Tolarions find it, we’re in trouble,” Rollings said. He addressed an Afro-American man in the room, also under his command. He had several scars on his face, longer curly hair, and stood about six feet. “Tamar, take ten men and head towards the main entrance. Gorzar, take five men and go to the hatch. Malone and I we’ll stay here with our guests. If you see anyone try to get down here, shoot first. Understand?”
They nodded and left the room. Angelica turned towards Rollings. “Would it be possible to get our weapons back?” she asked him.
“No,” he said. “Not just yet. I’m not quite convinced I believe your story. If they come back in one piece, we’ll talk. Besides, they won’t be any good against laser pistols. Since we don’t have an adequate suit to go on the surface, you’ll have to retrieve the wormhole device yourself, but not until we know that Balta hasn’t brought an armada with him.”
“What relationship did this Balta have with my father?” Angelica asked.
“He was his second in command,” Rollings told her. “Akros’ right hand man, if you pardon the expression. Really he’s not a man at all, but a vicious, ruthless monster and dictator.”
“Why do you keep calling my father Akros? And why are you saying those awful things about this Balta?”
“That was his name.”
“That doesn’t make sense!” Angelica stated. “Why would he change his name?”
“Maybe he had something to hide?” Rollings suggested.
“It appears that he hid many secrets from me,” she said, bewildered. “And I always thought we were closer than that. How come you know so much about Balta and my father?”
“One doesn’t get to be Director of Martian Intelligence without knowing things,” Rollings said.
“There are several alien life forms entering the complex from the hatch and the main entrance,” Cely reported.” His self repairing functions of his sensory banks were starting to do their job.
“How does he know that?” Malone asked.
“He has a sensory system on him,” Angelica explained. “What he’s telling you is the truth.”

Rollings grabbed a hand held radio on the table. “Tamar, are you there?” he asked.
“Tamar here,” the subordinate answered.
“Any sign of Tolarions?”.
“Not yet,” Tamar reported. “We’re about a half mile from the main entrance, next to the landing bay. Nothing to report yet.”
“Keep on your toes,” Rollings told him. “The android says they’re right around the corner. Be careful.”
“Are you going to listen to that damn robot?” Malone asked. Rollings ignored his pessimism.
“Yes, Sir,” Tamar said, as he put his radio back in his belt.

During this time, Tamar just rounded the corner nearest to the landing bay area, and main entrance, which was exposed to the elements. They put on their oxygen masks and suits before they ventured into the landing bay area, which was exposed to the coldness of the atmosphere. Tamar directed two men to go to the left side of the bay, three to the right, and the other two up towards a catwalk. The other three stayed back by him, next to the main control center.

When they were all in position, three canisters of green gas were thrown into the area by their unknown intruders. This of course blinded their sight, as a barrage of laser fire came from Tamar’s men and the main entrance. “Retreat!” the Afro-American yelled, but it was too late. An explosive device killed seven of the men instantly, and the three that were with Tamar were injured badly, torn apart from the intensity of heat. All he could see was red blasts through the green light as he ran towards the catwalk. Coming from Grocer’s direction were several other Tolarion soldiers with their lasers all pointed at him. Tamar dropped his laser to the floor in desperation.

Meanwhile, Rollings tried to raise him again. “Tamar? Are you there? “Tamar?” he yelled. Rollings grabbed his laser quick and handed two more to the other men. He turned towards Angelica, handing her and Cely their pistols back from the table. “Whatever happens, do not leave this room.” He exited, leaving her, Cely, Malone and the two aliens, who all had weapons.

“Cely what did I get myself into?” she asked.
“I cannot answer that at this time,” he said. “However, I have a theory, if I can elaborate.”
“Sure, go ahead.” She wiped her forehead, which sweated a little from the suit.
“Perhaps your father was working on cloning experiments here and was using the chimpanzee’s DNA because it was the closest to humans. Something could’ve went wrong.”
“That still doesn’t explain him building this place,” she said. “He must have had help.”
“That is true,” Cely said. “The effect could not come before the cause.”
“Could it have been this Republic?”
“That wouldn’t be likely if they came to attack the place,” Cely said. “More likely he had outside help of some kind; but not this Republic. It had to be somebody else.”

After ten minutes more, Tamar and Rollings entered with a stranger who wore a spacesuit, his face hidden by his helmet. There were two others with him who also wore suits and carried laser pistols pointed at the two humans who pushed them into the room. Before anyone could fire on them, the leader lifted his laser pistol at everyone in the room.

“No one make any sudden moves!” the leader ordered. “Everyone drop your weapons, sit down and relax!”

Much to Angelica’s surprise, he spoke in English as well. She wondered why every alien she met were fluent in this language? Was English the common language in this galaxy?

They complied, the leader lifted his helmet visor, and revealed the ugliest sight Angelica ever saw. If this was truly her father’s creation, he made a fatal error of judgment. It was a hairy creature with fangs and only one eye, with a face resembling that of a gorilla or chimpanzee. What became of his beloved chimps, Rocco and Clyde? Were they also casualties of his experiments gone wrong, or ancestors of these creatures?

He walked over and put his left hand on Rollings shoulder in a tight grip. He pointed the laser at his head.

“So!” he hissed at the human. “You thought you could ambush me, heh? I keep telling you humans that you are the ones who should be serving us. You’re inferior, in every form of the word.”
“Then why did you lose the war?” Rollings asked him. He had his right hand over the black eye which Balta gave him before they returned to the room.
“We haven’t lost yet,” he said. “I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve. The reactors are being boarded on my ship as we speak.”
“Same old Balta,” Malone said. “Still hanging on to the past. I thought you were dead, killed by Jeff Walker?”
“He was not successful,” Balta answered. “Although I will give him credit. He was one of my toughest adversaries that I’ve faced yet. He gave me a nasty acid burn on my hand.”
“Those reactors won’t do you any good,” Rollings explained. “Only two work, and that won’t be enough to achieve your purpose.”
“And what purpose do you think I’m trying to achieve?” Balta asked.
“A fusion laser weapon that destroys planets,” Rollings answered. “You’re too predictable. You also don’t have the plans to build such a weapon because they were lost along with Walker’s friend, the Belorion.”
“That’s what you think,” Balta said. “Anyway, you’ll never live to tell anyone about it.” He struck him across the face with his left hand. Starting to back up, he pointed his laser at Rollings.
“Stop!” Angelica pleaded. “You can’t do this! This is all my fault!”
“Who is this?” Balta asked Rollings. “One of your people?”
“I’m Angelica Avery!” she blurted, not knowing what else to do. She didn’t want anyone to die, especially Rollings, who at least tried to be nice to her.
“Avery?’ he said, smiling at her, as he remembered the not too distant past. “You’re Akros’ daughter. Well, it is a pleasure. Maybe I might be able to find a use for you at least. As for Rollings…”
“I won’t help you at all if you kill anyone else,” she told him. “You’ll have to kill me first!” He lowered his pistol and put it back into its holster.
“You put me in an awkward position, Ms. Avery,” he said. “I guess I’ll have to let you all live for now.” It was obvious to Angelica that he needed her alive for some reason. At the moment, it was the only bargaining chip that she had.
Rollings looked over at Tamar. “What happened to Gorzar?” he asked.
“Your mutant friend has been exterminated,” Balta reported. “Along with your other friends. I see that you also have an android with you as well. Where did you come from? There were no operational androids on this planet.”
“He’s mine!” Angelica answered. “His name is Cely. I created him.”
“Pleasure to meet you as well,” Balta laughed. “Akros’ little girl is even more intelligent than I expected! You will be very useful to me as well. Now, shall we all head out to the Starlighter?”

They rose from their seats, and were directed into the hallway, where ten more guards were waiting. They were guided into the lower entrance of the landing bay not exposed to the elements, where Balta’s crew landed their craft earlier. Angelica couldn’t believe her eyes; the ship looked very similar to the old flying orbs that were sometimes seen orbiting the moon and near Earth. It was black and spherical in shape, had fins on the side and top, and landing gears on the bottom. She didn’t believe in the alien stories she had heard-until now.

She knew that she got herself into a terrible situation. Where were these Tolarions taking them, what were their plans for this weapon, and how could the six of them possibly stop them?” They were bigger, stronger and more adapted to this environment than humans. She did have one ace up her sleeve, however, and that was the other Beretta M9 she concealed in her suit near her waist. She turned back to what was left of the complex staring at the debris, as they boarded onto the craft,. Whatever her father was working on obviously died with him, and her hopes of carrying on any kind of testing here would be futile. She began to wish that all of this was just a dream, and she was still asleep in the comfort of her cryo chamber.

Today is the last day of  my preview series, where I’ll present the third chapter. Balta has captured the survivors of Tolaria and Angelica Avery, and makes plan to reconstruct his death ray, and reclone his dying race.  He has already demonstrated his authority by regaining control even after an escape attempt by Angelica an her android.

Before I continue with the last chapter, I would like to remind people who live in the Syracuse area that tomorrow I will be with other CNY authors at the Onondaga County War Memorial from 10-6pm for a special event dedicated to Frank Lyman Baum and his Oz series. There will be memorabilia from the movie and the books, as well as presentations towards Munchkins and actors past, food, and other activities. I am very proud to be participating in this event, as I was raised on these books, first read to be by mother, then by my grandmother, who grew up in the era of Baum. Everyone knows The Wizard of Oz, but not everyone knows he wrote several books, and not all pertaining to the land of Oz.

If you’re in the area, stop in, and browse the many authors who will present fantasy, science fiction, romance, children’s books, and fantasy. Until Monday, have a great weekend; hope to see you there!
CHAPTER THREE

Angelica knew she was good in arm to arm combat. She won two medals in the military academy presentation, defeating the two top opponents in her class. She was just as deadly with her Beretta M9, hitting ten out of ten targets dead on. At this particular moment, she was counting on that for her salvation. Just before she was boarded, she drew it quick with her right hand, and killed the guard on her left. The guard on her right grabbed her arm just as quick, and as they struggled, she shot two more guards. In the commotion, Rollings and the others reacted, disarming their guards as well. In the confusing melee, they were able to kill three more guards, leaving only five left. Tamar went to grab one of them, and another pulled out a knife from his belt, stabbing him in his side. “Tamar!” Rollings yelled, as he shot his aggressor.

Balta ran to Angelica, who just threw the guard she was fighting with to the ground. With her back turned towards him, he grabbed her around the neck and pointed the laser at her head, and she dropped her pistol. She found herself unable to break his tightened grip. “Drop your guns!” he yelled to her other companions. They complied reluctantly, and dropped the stolen lasers on the floor. He gripped harder as she tried to fight him off. “Maybe you’re more trouble than your worth! Maybe I should just kill you now!”

The four guards that were left collected the weapons, and directed them inside the ship. Balta released Angelica and faced her, his hideous blue eye staring into hers.

“You will help me,” he said. “You have no choice. You have no world left to go back to. Earth has been destroyed for over one hundred years as well as the Martian base two years ago. I saw to the Martian base invasion personally. And you can’t stay on this ice ball of a planet without living underground.”
“You are so optimistic!” Angelica jested. “What makes you think I’m just going to let you kidnap me and use me for whatever without a fight? Just give me an opportunity, I’ll kill you personally!”
“Now who’s being optimistic, Ms. Avery?” Balta responded. “You’re forgetting who’s holding the laser. Now get on board, before I change my mind!”

She boarded, reluctant to leave this world for who knows where. She wouldn’t have helped her father in his experiments if she knew it involved her in this kind of mess; Angelica still had many unanswered questions. Why did he create this race of barbaric simians, and what other terrible facts did he hide from her knowledge? She was a little nervous about helping him in the first place, knowing she violated orders from her superiors. It was a crime punishable by dismissal from the academy, and thirty years in the penal division on the lunar colony.

When he left the mental institution, she could sense things weren’t exactly right, but she refused to believe what the government said about him. She loved him, and would do whatever he asked because he was all she ever knew. His reclusive and peculiar behavior got worse the more they got involved with the project, and he almost locked her out completely emotionally, other than their plan to steal the special spaceships. She became more of his subordinate than his daughter.

That, at the moment, was inconsequential, and escape was the only thing in her mind. It would have to wait, however, until they were firmly back on the ground at their destination, wherever that may be. The doors closed, and they were directed towards the back of the ship, where they were placed in a brig of some kind. The guard turned on a force field, and they could hear the sound of the antimatter engines begin their operation to leave the cold, barren world. The prisoners each looked at each other in disbelief as they began to take off. They were sure they could have overpowered the creatures.

“Cely, is there anyway to disrupt this force field?” Angelica asked.
“No,” he stated. “It’s emitting some form of electromagnetism that’s interfering with my system.”
“What do you know about the Tolarions?” Angelica asked Rollings, feeling that she could trust him the most. Malone was repeatedly hostile towards her, and the gray alien and reptilian were just too strange and frightening for her to trust.
“They are a hostile, murderous race,” he said. “They’ve been raiding planets for years, stealing their beings and resources. If it wasn’t for Jeff Walker, we wouldn’t be talking here today. He saved us from their destruction.”
“Come on!” Malone belted out. “If it wasn’t for Walker, we wouldn’t have been left here to die! Him and that damn Republic!”
“Instead of being spiteful and unproductive,” Angelica responded. “Why don’t you help us come up with a plan of escape? Rollings, I need to know more about what this death ray is. You say it runs on fusion?”
“Yes,” Rollings said. “But like I said, he doesn’t have enough power to complete such a weapon.”
“Can he use them to power a ray within this ship?”
“Yes,” Rollings answered. “But he doesn’t have the ability to achieve such as device. The Belorions have that knowledge.”
“Who are the Belorions?” Angelica asked.
“They were a race of intelligent, telepathic arthropods,” Rollings answered. “They were originally from a planet called Zacharas. They colonized on Belor several years ago. They invented the weapon as a deterrent, until Balta’s friend Riona used it against them.”
“Like the nuclear weapons in the late 20th and early 21st century.”
“They never intended it to go into enemy hands. It was given to the Tolarions by Riona, a traitor and former president of the Republic’s council. He too was killed in the explosion on Tolaria.”
“He must have given him the plans.”
“It’s a possibility,” Cely said. “If the weapon runs on fusion, however, it must draw its source from a nearby star, or some other form of energy such as a black hole.”
“A smaller based weapon wouldn’t need that much power,” Angelica stated.
“No,” Cely said. “Just a couple of compact fusion reactors would be sufficient enough to make a powerful fusion ray weapon. Its range would be limited though.”
“Tell me more about this Jeff Walker,” Angelica said. “Just who is he?”
“He was a Martian, like us,” Malone said. “He started this whole war! The Tolarions were abiding by most of the treaties until he got involved with them! He destroyed one of their bases!”
“They would have eventually attacked us anyway,” Rollings stated.
“Why do you defend that traitor?” Malone questioned.
“He was not a traitor!” Rolling yelled.
“He was a traitor to his own people!” Malone recanted. “He left us to die on Mars, and then he left us to die here!”
“The Republic did that, not Walker,” Rollings reminded him.
“What’s the difference?” Malone asked. “If I ever get away from this mess, I want to go somewhere where there aren’t Tolarions or a Republic!”
“It’s obviously not in this universe,” Cely stated.
“Shut up!” Malone told the android. “If I wanted your opinion, I would have asked for it.”
“We’re not going to get anywhere if we don’t work together!” Angelica said. “Rollings, where do you think they’re taking us?”
“I have no idea. Their main base used to be on Tolaria. They must have found another planet or moon to build on.”
“Well it would probably have to be nearby for them to get to us this fast,” Malone said. “Within a couple billion miles.”
“Well I hope that it’s a planet with Oxygen, or we’re doomed,” Rollings said. “However, I have heard that they accommodate their prisoners as well as their guests with the luxury of oxygen. No human can stand laughing gas too long.”
“Laughing gas?” Angelica asked.
“Yes,” Malone said. “Nitrous Oxide.”
“I know what it is!” she said, annoyed. “I just don’t understand why my father would create a hybrid race that survived on Nitrous Oxide.”
“Perhaps he wanted them to die happy,” Malone joked.
“That is highly unlikely,” Cely added. Malone rolled his eyes. “It was probably a catalyst agent that he used in the cloning process. Something could have gone wrong, and mutated their lung organs in some manner.”
“Makes sense to me,” Rollings said.
“Did this Jeff Walker know my father personally?”
“Not that I know of,” Rollings answered. “As far as I know, he only met him once, just before Akros was killed.”
“I’m having a hard time gripping this whole situation,” Angelica stated. “I knew coming here would be risky, I just figured my father would still be alive. I realize now that he is dead, but I don’t understand why he would be part of such an evil plot. And I don’t understand what this Balta wants with me.”
“It probably has something to do with the cloning process,” Rollings suggested.
Balta, who was just outside the door, overheard everything they said. “You are so right, Mr. Rollings!” he said. “But as to why I need her will be discussed with her only. And she will do it, or the rest of you will die. I have arranged a demonstration of my power. In exactly ten hours, we will reach the Republic’s territory. When we do, you will observe my wrath upon those who dared to defy me! I will give you all one chance to join me, and I will spare your pitiful lives.”

The group stared at each other in wonder as to what he intended to do with the reactors. They knew he was going to put together some form of portable weapon, but didn’t know what he was going to attack with it. Rollings guessed that it might be the closest base, which was on the planet Darmo, in the Vortar I system. There were other humans there, and they were rather vulnerable to attack, being on the edge of Republic territory. Malone seemed disinterested in the whole affair, still having bitter feelings about being left on Tolaria by them.

“I owe them nothing,” he stated. “If Balta wants to attack them, who cares? I say take his offer. At least we’ll still be alive.”
“Look!” Angelica said to the roughneck. “I don’t have any more to do with this than any of you. But we can’t just let him kill hundreds of people!”
“Why not?” Malone responded. “They let all those people on Mars die! They let the people on Zeloria die!”
“It has to stop at some point,” Rollings added. “Or there won’t be anything left.”
“If I may interrupt,” the reptilian said, as he reached his leathery green hand out to Angelica. “With all the commotion, we’ve been improperly introduced. My name is Garlona, and the gray being over here is Varloo.”
She shook his hand. “Pleased to me you,” she responded, really shocked that a reptilian creature spoke English as well. “Does everybody speak English around here?”
“I also speak Tarlonese, Adomisian, and Alokian,” he answered. “But you would not understand any of those languages.”
“Whatever,” she quipped, not interested in the degree of his linguistics.
“I do not believe that the Republic or Mr. Walker has been truthful with us,” Garlona stated. “I feel they have known about this association that Balta and Riona had with Mr. Akros for a long time, and refused to acknowledge it. Varloo and I would tend to agree with Mr. Malone on this matter.”
“What proof do you have of this?” Rollings asked.
Angelica could hear the Gray’s voice, but didn’t see his small slit of a mouth move. “None, only speculation,” he said in a high voice in her mind through a form of telepathy.
“Well your speculation is wrong!” Rollings barked. “I for one will not succumb to vengeance of the Republic by joining forces with Balta! It’s like dealing with the devil!”
“Who?” Garlona asked. Angelica was pleased that even in the future there was still some form of religion left. The same metaphor entered her mind about Balta a short time earlier.
“He’s an evil figure from Earth’s folklore,” Valoo said. “In their form of religion, he is supposed to be responsible for all the famine, pestilence and disease on their home planet Earth. We have known the real truth about this subject for ten millennia.”
“Silly humans!” Garlona laughed, as he shook his head.
“And what is the real truth, Mr. Valoo?” Angelica asked, a bit offended by his remark.
“I would not profess to tell you the real truth because you would never believe me, even if it is true. That is the power of human suggestion. Your kind has been susceptible to it for as long as our kind has visited you.”
“Thanks for the compliment,” she answered. “I have to agree with Rollings however. I also believe that we have to at least try to find a way to stop him from his plan. After we take control of the ship, you guys can do whatever you want. Just drop me off at the nearest human colony and I’ll be fine.”
“What do you suggest?” Rollings asked.
“There are five of them, and six of us,” she stated. “Once they get us up front for the demonstration, we make our move.”
“If we fire any lasers in the ship,” Malone said. “The ship will be damaged, and we’ll all be killed.”
“Then we’ll have to figure a way to overpower them without firing lasers,” the determined woman said.
“That will be next to impossible!” Malone said.
“What do you think, Cely?” Angelica asked.
“The probability of executing such an act is not promising,” he stated. “You will do better to try to persuade him not to attack.”
“And how do you propose to do that?” Garlona asked.
“Bargain with him,” Cely answered. “Agree to help him if he breaks of the attack.”
“It couldn’t hurt,” Rollings said. “And we really don’t have any other choice.”
“I guess you’re right,” Angelica said. There was an interruption from the intercom by Balta’s voice.
“Ms Avery, may I see you up front, please?” he said. Two guards were at the door and one turned the force field off. Malone stepped forward, and one of the guards pushed the gun at his face. Angelica complied, walked through a long hallway, which led to the main bridge of the ship.

She was extremely impressed at the interior of their vessel. It was unlike anything she ever saw before. She thought her ship was advanced by her own current technology, but this ship was far beyond her expectations. There were thousands of red, green, and blue computer buttons in the main bridge. There was a huge viewing screen at the front, and it seemed to her that it ran on a form of advanced propulsion other than ion or fusion. She wouldn’t even know how to pilot it if she did take over the helm. Balta rose from his seat, and turned to face her.

“Ms. Avery,” he said. “Or do you prefer, Angelica?”
“Avery’s fine. I prefer not to know you on a first name basis.”
“Well with me you have no choice. Balta is my only name.”
“How convenient. It’s too bad you only have one eye as well?”
“I did not bring you up here to comment about my appearance. I brought you up here to discuss an arrangement.” She wasn’t overjoyed to have any negotiations with this ugly beast.
“What kind of arrangement?”
“I will let your friends live, if you help me in my research. I will release them to a colony nearby and they can go in freedom.”

Angelica was about fed up with this whole situation. She felt she wasn’t getting any cooperation from the others, except for Rollings. She was beginning to not really care what happened to the rest of them, but on the other hand, she didn’t want to see innocent humans die either.

“First of all,” she stated. “They’re not my friends! I was looking for my father, whom Rollings said, died in the explosion two years ago. He was working on experiments involving chimps, but I’m sure you know all about that!”
“Yes I do,” Balta said. “At one point I trusted your father. We both had the same vision- at least I thought we did. It turns out that all he wanted was to be human again, like you. That’s when I felt I could no longer trust him.”
“He was trying to cure his disease!”
“And he was successful, but it cost him a fair price, mainly his life.”
“You killed him?”
“No, you said yourself he died in the explosion.”
“I don’t believe you!” Angelica said, her eyes narrowed in anger.
“You’re evading the subject, Ms. Avery. What about it, are you willing to help us in our research?”
“If you know how to clone your own kind, what do you need me for?”
“Your genes, Ms. Avery, your genes. Akros’ genetic makeup consisted of three species. Chimpanzee, an alien gene, and one other distinct gene-your father’s. So you see, without your gene, our DNA makeup is incomplete. I also need you to assist with the cloning process your father created. He left notes, but we have been unable to decipher his codes.”
“As far as I know cross mutation of animal genes with humans is impossible. My father knew that. Why would he do such a thing if he knew it wouldn’t work?”
“Maybe your father was more intelligent and diligent than you think?”
“It’s against his ethics. He came to Tolaria to prove his theory about wormholes, and to find or create life. He was looking for a cure for his disease. He thought the answer could be found there.”
“That’s what he told you?”
“Yes, he was my father. I have no reason to doubt him.”
“He came here because he was sick of humans and wanted to do research on his own. I was his first creation. I helped him build an army, an army to destroy the human race! Once I convinced him that it was the human race who betrayed him, the rest was easy. That and the fact that he was infected with the alien life form himself. It slowly mutated him, and for some reason, probably from the mutation, he was able to breathe two gases, Oxygen and Nitrous Oxide. Did you know that he had four lungs?”
“Why are you telling me this?” Angelica asked. “Because you know eventually I’m going to kill you?”
“That’s the spirit, Ms. Avery!” Balta laughed. “Never give up the fight! You remind me of Mr. Walker. He was as determined as you are! So was your father! It must be something in the human genes!”
“I keep hearing about this Jeff Walker,” she stated. “Who the hell is he anyway?”
“He’s the man who really killed your father,” Balta said.
“What are you talking about?”
“Just what I said. I was with them in the conference room. Walker broke in, and I went to shoot him with my laser, he grabbed my arm, took my gun from me and shot your father. The conference window shattered, and he fell to the rocks below dead.”
“You’re lying!”
“My dear lady,” Balta sighed. “What would I have to gain by lying to you?”
“My trust, my cooperation, my blood, and my genes!”
“You are a very perceptive woman, Ms. Avery. But you’re wrong. I’m telling you the truth!”
“What guarantee will I have that you’ll let them go if I help you?”
“You have my word.”
“That’s not worth much to me right now.”
“Once I let them go and you help me achieve my task, I will release you as well. I can even arrange for you to live on a colony with your own kind in peace.”
“What a cheery thought,” Angelica quipped. “Most humans I’ve met lately are just like you, assholes!”
“You have so much of your father in you. Are you sure you don’t want to join me in my conquest?”
“Yes, I’m positive. Once I do what you ask, I’m done with this whole charade. I’d like to carry on my father’s work somewhere else. I need my android too, in one piece, he needs a new arm. What about this weapon of yours?”
“Who said anything about a weapon?”
“You have two fusion reactors onboard!” she snapped in anger. “I know that they’re not just for decoration!” Balta laughed heartily.
“You are observant,” he said. “However, I don’t want to spoil the surprise just yet. By morning we’ll be in Republic territory. Then I will show you, all of you, why the Tolarion empire will rise again! Varlos, Tentron, take her back to the brig. Our conversation is over.”

The guard followed his order, and brought Angelica back to where the others waited to know what was going on. She entered, and Rolling rose to his feet in anticipation.

“Well?” he asked.
Angelica slapped him across the face in anger. “I trusted you!” she said.
“What are you talking about?” the bewildered man asked.
“You told me my father died in an explosion, not killed by this Jeff Walker!”
“What?” Malone asked, suddenly in glee because his position was more justified.
“Believe me,” Rollings pleaded. “Jeff Walker didn’t kill your father! Balta is lying to you!”
“Right now I don’t know who to believe! He agreed to let you all live, by the way, as long as I help him with their cloning process.”
“Thank God for miracles,” Malone mumbled. “He’ll probably leave us on one of their mining colonies to breathe dirt for the rest of our lives.”
“No,” the young woman said. “He said he would leave you on a human colony free of your own will.”
“Boy,” Malone said. “Are you ever naïve! You think he’s just going to let us all go?”
“That’s what he said,” Angelica answered.
“Well, we’ll see if he’s a ‘man’ of his word,” Rollings stated. “In the meantime, we all better get some sleep.”
“Ms. Avery,” Cely said. “May I ask you a question?”
“Sure, Cely.”
“What do you hope to gain by this alliance with this creature?”
“Why would you ask that when you already know the answer? Survival, of course. Besides, you’re the one who told me to negotiate.”
“I just wanted to make sure you weren’t doing it to save these beings,” Cely said. “They really don’t seem to be very appreciative of your efforts.”
“Don’t you ever shut up?” Malone said to him. “Doesn’t he have a shut off button?”
“Cely,” Angelica said. “I don’t expect you to understand, but although I think these beings are some of the most selfish and arrogant I ever met, I still would rather not see them die.” Garlona and Varloo looked at each other as they felt insulted.
“Nor would I,” Cely answered. “My prime directive has always been preservation of progressive life. It’s just that they don’t seem very progressive to me.”
“Cely, keep watch, and try to lock your sensors into their data bank if you can break through the interference,” Angelica said. “If they do anything out of the ordinary, let me know.”
“Yes, Ms. Avery.”

While the others slept, Cely tried to use his sensors to determine what power source ran the ship, but had no success. The energy surge from the force field interfered with them, and the computers within the ship were inaccessible at the moment. He knew his defense system, which before was inoperable, now had repaired itself to full power, and his speech system also self constructed itself. Other than his arm, he was almost back to himself again.

By morning, they entered Republic territory, and were just about twenty five million miles within its borders. Balta released them from the brig, and brought them to the front of the ship. When they were brought in, Balta’s guards were also all in the bridge area as well.
“Gentlemen,” he said. “And Lady. I have arranged this little demonstration because I wanted you all to know the power behind my race. We were once a powerful empire, as we will be again.”
“And you will fall again, Balta,” Rollings interrupted. He walked over and grabbed the blonde-haired man by the throat with his right hand.
“If you interrupt me again,” He sneered. “I’ll forget Ms. Avery’s agreement and kill you with my bare hands.”
“I told you we couldn’t trust him!” Rollings gasped.
Balta let go of him, and continued, turning his back to him. “As I was saying, we were a powerful empire that will live again. And this is why. Galtron, where is that small Republic scout fleet?”
“Two hundred and twenty two thousand miles from us, Sir,” Galtron stated.
“Have they detected us yet?”
“No, Sir.”
“Lock in on their coordinates.” The subordinate responded, and pressed a couple of buttons on the helm.
“Balta,” Angelica interrupted. “Please don’t do this. If you have any shred of humanity inside you, you wouldn’t.”
“I don’t have any shred,” he answered. “I am and shall never be human. So I don’t care about humans. Please don’t interrupt me again, Ms. Avery, or we’ll end it here, I’ll kill your friends, and you will work for me whether you like it or not!”

She backed away from him, part terrified of his monstrous appearance, and the other part of his murderous intentions, but she knew she had to stop this somehow. Before she could react, Balta gave the order. “Fire main fusion lasers!” he yelled.

Galtron pressed the button, and a massive beam of light projected into the cosmos. All they saw was a distant glow, as the fleet slowly disappeared into disintegration. The group remained silent for a few seconds in shock, looked at the empty viewing screen, and then at each other.

“Now, Ms. Avery,” the vicious terrorist said. “You have two choices. You may continue to defy me, and your friends will die, or I will spare all of your lives, and you help me complete my task.”
“I already agreed to help you,” she said. “This demonstration was unnecessary!”
“It was necessary to prove that I’m not to be trifled with. You’re trying my patience, Ms. Avery. You will do as I ask. You will see. We have methods of making humans do what we want them to do, and not all of them are pleasant. Tentron, take them back to the brig until we reach Garlicia.”
“Yes, Sir,” he answered, and pointed his laser at Rollings to move.

Angelica was curious to see how well this Balta and her father were connected, and as long as she was his prisoner, she figured she might as well take advantage of the situation. Maybe later, once they landed, she could figure out a way to escape. As long as they traveled in space it was going to be risky to take over the ship, and she wasn’t familiar with workings of the propulsion system even if she did. She thought it would be difficult to get this ragged group of leftovers to work together, but somehow she had to. One thing she knew for sure was this man named Jeff Walker was the key to finding out the real truth about happened to her father.

Advertisements

SCIENCE FICTION AND SCIENCE REALITY

%d bloggers like this: