The Dart ship shuddered when the tripod landing gear settled into one of the many craters on Lumina, second moon to Hydra. Logan Riggs reached for the
Envirosuit, but there was no time. Only eighty yards to the caverns. No choice but to breathe the thin air. He stepped from the exit, shielded both eyes from the
strong glare of the Procyon Twin stars, then stumbled across the rugged landscape, paused every ten feet and gasped while his lungs absorbed enough to continue.
He clawed up the jagged surface until reaching the last ridge before the cave. When he crested the rim, there it was, the evidence of what he’d done, what they had
made him do.
One by one the peaceful blue skinned prisoners proceeded out of the grotto, up the ramp, and into the stellar cruiser. His penetration of the Salterian trader thoughts
had rung true; the Vegans had been transported here in their quest to flee oppression. The lie was from the Council and their willingness to re-enslave the cast out
children of new Earth. The alien merchant had not helped hardened criminals as Logan had been told. No, the Salterian had transported the peaceful people exiled for
being mutated by their own government. Again the Vegans would be punished, only this time, Logan was the Judas that turned the key, unlocked the secret of their
hideout and dashed their last hope to escape.
Their heads sunk downward, not by the weight of the chains binding them together neck to neck. It was the knowledge of what came next. Because of him, their
attempt to fly from the cage of their desert world had failed, and they would pay. Not with their lives, that would be too humane. The rebellion survivors from the
Vega star system would be forced to endure one of the many labor camps of the New Order.
In his mind, Logan heard laughter, men grunting like rutting dogs. He felt her tears drop to the dirt floor inside the cave. All his telekinetic abilities flared throughout
every neuron, every nerve, in response to the visions burning his brain. Like a blast furnace, the images stoked the flames in preparation for cremating the slag
above his Cali. Logan rushed past the pink skins at the entrance and lunged into the pack of hounds abusing her. He destroyed the first by grabbing his neck and
blowing out the jugular. The second bounced back up from the ground, but not fast enough to avoid Logan’s wrath. His thumb and forefinger burned into the
trooper’s eye sockets like a fire poked penetrating lard.
He ignored the smell of toasting flesh and turned to the final attacker still thrusting into her body. Where his hand slammed against the man’s skull, a three-inch
chuck of bone exploded outward, followed by a blob of brain, as if the soldier’s head had been mangled by a shotgun blast.
Logan tuned out the voice from behind, the orders to stop. He continued slamming his fist in and out of the dead man’s torso, until a giant’s arm hoisted him into
the air. It was his old mentor, Paxton. “You Bastard. You fucking bastard. I’ll kill you and the Council.” He grabbed the large man’s massive hand and where he
made contact, the flesh boiled.
Paxton released his hold. Logan spun and jammed his thumb into the giant’s left eye. Smoke from the burning victorious humor escaped from the socket and
Paxton cried out an instant before the discharge from a blaster weapon slammed into Logan’s side and…
Logan bolted up from his bed. “Cali!” His chest pounded, the air rushed in and out of his lungs, the blood surged through his ears. His body responded to the
recurring nightmare and muted the surf hammering the beach below their cottage.
Damn dream. Always the same.
He searched the empty space to his left, felt the dampness in the bed sheets from his sweat, and finally reached out with his telepathy senses.
She’s on the balcony.
In his mind, he listened to her chant, watched her toned small form sway back and forth in rhythm with the waves licking the shoreline beneath her prayer platform.
Logan pushed up from the bed, walked through their small bungalow, leaned against the doorframe and waited behind his wife, careful to block his thoughts. The
cadence of her low pitched song, the purring in her throat; he never grew weary of Cali’s plea for guidance from her All Father.
Fantasy or not, it was the Vegan way, their means to escape the legacy, the shit they endured at the hands of the Council and its chamber of twelve fanatics that
used the false premises of the New Order to dominate a dozen star systems. He recognized the beliefs for what they were, pure conjuring to explain away the plight
of their history. Yet he empathized with the search for something better, an existence without the oppressive rule of twelve madman and their brutal actions in the
name of The Common Good.
Logan inched onto the balcony. In the glow of the twin moons he studied her exquisite shape, her nude form.
How could anyone not find the Vegans stunning creatures?
There soft hairless bodies, tiny childlike lips, oversized pupils, the dark navy sclera of the eyeball with its creamy iris; while most on Earth confronted Vegan
telepaths with unjustified hysteria, he found a strange affinity to these lovely people.
Especially the women.
Five feet from his mate and he could still smell her erotic aroma. The outline of Cali’s silhouette against the pre-dawn horizon, her tiny cup sized breast reaching into
the heavens; she was the epitome of sensuality, and his hormones reacted naturally.
So damn beautiful. Always in a state of perpetual arousal.
Like blue skinned fairies; their petite feminine form, seductive movements, and hairless flesh were intoxicating to any male, regardless of the species. Perhaps their
telepathic ability to link with the primal emotions of males was the true unspecified justification for abandoning all GenOne experiment telepaths on Vega Minor.
Everything I’ve become, my salvation from slavery and naive servitude to the New Order; all I am is because of you, my love.
Cali had given back the life he’d lost when he joined the Service. In the old days, when he was blinded by pride, Logan embraced the opportunity to contribute to
the betterment of his species. Once the veil had been lifted, the truth about the missions assigned specifically to him, especially his part in the Lumina capture, he
could no longer ignore the inhumanity of the Council.
Her serpentine motion ceased. The chant, the skyward stare; everything stopped.
She’s picked up something.
Logan penetrated her thoughts, absorbed the chaotic images; conflict, battles, scorched flesh, alien and human bodies floating in space, purple winged creatures
swirling in a nest. The clairvoyant burst, snapshots forward and back in time, the journey to places far away; Logan had touched her temporal leaps before. He had
tried to make sense of the confusion, the overlaying patterns like a kaleidoscope flashing hundreds of vignettes, things that may or may not be, in the here and now,
or what will come. But unlike Cali; his telepathic and kinematic skills extended into other realms; not the visionary, the whispers beyond the present. Finally he
recognized a fleeting image, a giant man with one patched eye.
Copyright 2013 by Michael W. Davis
|Three stellar wars have stretched the ability of Earth’s ruling authority, the Council, to control the populace across
twelve star systems. Unrest among the people threatens the oppressive reign of the government and they’re left with
but one option: to execute the Final Solution. Their grand scheme is so abominable, so immoral; should the truth leak
out, it could threaten stability of the New Order and incite open rebellion. For their plan to succeed, they must
depend on the unique talents of one telepathic man and his blue skinned wife. The couple become unwilling pawns
to help the Council expand beyond Dominion space into new regions of the galaxy. They unravel lies within lies and
discover the Council’s scheme risks, not just the New Earth Empire, but the very fabric of the universe. The destiny
of humanity itself, and the quest to resolve the ultimate enigma of all sentient beings, falls upon the unlikely duo.
The darkness spattered with flashes, micro explosions in the distance. Blaster bolts, bright laser beams, missiles searching for a designated IR or radar signature.
Voices cried out, human, alien. Pain, agony, despair, and finally prayers. Debris, metal, chunks of flesh blown outward in all directions.
Logan jumped from the bunk. “Cali, get up, now!”
“I think we’ve drifted into the middle of a damn battlefront.” The ship jolted sideways. “Shit, take this, put it on.” He extracted two Envirosuits from the storage
rack and extended the smaller one to his wife while stepping into the other. Logan raced into the command module. Bright lights, bursts of blue and red filled the
view port outside their cockpit as far as he could see.
“This is why he was here, the scout, only this time, looks like things are different.”
Cali sealed her suit. “What do you mean?”
“See the blue explosions, I think they’re Anpian, and I know the red ones are from Dominion forces. Appears losses are roughly equal on both sides. I guess now
that I Corp broke the encryption codes of the alien communication channels, things wouldn’t be so lopsided.”
Seconds turned to minutes as the battle raged far off and all around their ship. “Damn, the front has spread everywhere. Didn’t think the Dominion had that many
interceptor ships left.”
Several craft from each side streaked by their vessel. “Logan, why aren’t the Anpians firing at us?”
“I think it’s because their instruments tell them we’re no threat. Our engines are shut down. We’re on standby power only and our low-grade armaments are shut
off. They don’t fire at inactive objects, otherwise they’d keep blasting destroyed fighters and that’s a bad use of limited assault resources.”
“I think we should leave right now.”
“We can’t. Soon as we bring our engines on line it will light up the sensors in the Anpian ships near by, and they’ll figure we’ve been playing possum; knock us
right out of the sky.”
Cali returned her gaze outside and crossed her fingers together beneath her chin. “All the pain, the death, I sense the destruction to machine and life even from this
distance. Yet from so far away, the carnage is delusional.”
Logan nodded. “I know. I’ve seen it before. It’s always the same in these major battles.”
“I’ve been in a half a dozen force-on-force confrontations. It always felt…I don’t know, I guess the individual life and death exchanges when expanded across a
hundred thousand mile battlefront becomes surreal, kind of a conflict between your intellect and your visual senses. The mind tells you that beings are dying every
few seconds, yet your eyeballs become enraptured by all the colors and flashes.”
As they watched from afar, he felt Cali’s small hand search for his. “My second stellar level battle occurred off the moon of Lateen, just inside the asteroid belt of
the Sigma Draconis star system. I was in the reserve units behind the front evaluating the progress of each skirmish, then making adjustments.”
“What kind of adjustments?”
“Sometimes I’d have unit telepaths within the squadrons shift their focus to an impending change in the enemy’s Order of Battle. Like if a commander from the
other side decided to bring up his reserves. I’d detect such shifts the moment it was a mere thought in one of their General Level officers. Then, while they issued
orders to their individual division sub-commanders, I’d send our forces to ambush them, like a spider waiting for the beetle to drop into his trap.”
Cali appeared confused. “You…I never realized…the things you did, so many falling because of…”
He cut her off. “Other times, once the enemy’s numbers dwindled, I’d refocus on individual attacks versus their command decisions. At that phase of the conflict,
I’d simply make an adversary shoot at targets that weren’t there, or ignore our ships vectoring up their ass, or see their own craft in the image of our fighters.”
He glanced at his wife for only a moment then stated the obvious. “The telepathic Branch within I Corp was a significant multiplier to Dominion force capability.
Without them, without me, I’m not sure they could have won all those battles. It’s why they were willing to spend the billions of credits on the DNA experiments at
Ryan Four. And it’s why telepaths were afforded special privileges, permitted to openly voice dissention without reprisal. We made a chamber full of little frightened
monkeys become rulers over all the reachable planets in this sector.”
She didn’t talk, just stared at the man she loved.
“You wanted to know, Cali. All along, since that first night together, you’ve struggled to peer inside, see my dirty little secrets. I’ve kept you away from that part of
me all this time. I sealed off those memories for a reason; so you’d never know what I did, what I was capable of doing to others. It’s why each time you tried to
pierce my wall, I always blocked you out.”
“Then…then…” She stuttered.
“I’m not sure, exactly. Perhaps it’s all the things we discussed the last few days, especially the arguments. I thought…perhaps, if you understood the nature
of…the shit I’ve seen, the things I’ve done, even worse things, dirtier secrets; it’d help you understand. Ah hell I don’t know. I just sensed it might, in some
strange way, improve communications between us.”
She said nothing, just continued to stare.
He paused, replayed the images, side by side with those unfolding outside their ship. “It’s always the same. In a massive stellar clash like this, the fight spreads to
multiple fronts, the give and take, ebb and flow of the battle line changes moment to moment.” He closed his eyes for a second and drew in a long deep breath.
“Telepaths like you and me, we can even feel the adrenaline coursing in every trooper when they fry one of the enemy; or the instant they realize it’s their turn to go
out in flames.”
They stood together, not speaking, only watching the destruction unfold; the disintegrated metal, the ripped flesh. “From afar, there’s a macabre beauty to it all, as
if some deity were pulling strings of the ants fighting at his feet, choosing who dies today and who lives to kill again tomorrow. Almost like a damn video game.
When you go in after it’s all over, sweep for debris, things of intel value, and survivors you never find;” His body shivered for an instant, “the body parts, iced
globs of blood, gabbing mouths locked frozen in a scream, it’s truly a gruesome experience, even for the veterans.”
Something streaked by the starboard engine, like a stellar fighter in chase. A bright blue light flashed beyond the cockpit. An instant later, SPLAT.
A neon green colored body splattered across the windshield. In the last moment of its life, the creature gazed inside the ship with its large red eyeballs, then it
crystallized in the near absolute zero temperature of space and floated away.
An explosion rocked their ship and caused it to gyrate in random directions. His head slammed into the bulkhead like a ping-pong ball in a fish bowl seconds before
"This is a story that pulls at your
brain, and your heart. Logan Riggs,
our hero, fights hard for what he
thinks is right, and he loves just as
passionately... I have no minuses, or
caveats. It’s a remarkably good
story, well thought out, touching,
and very worth every bit of 5 stars."