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JMH last won the day on December 5 2011

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  1. Why do I feel like I need three keyboards whenever I write a fight/battle scene.

    1. Daddydavek


      A soldier never has enough ammo?

    2. sandrewn


      I am sneaking this in here. Wishing you a Very Happy Birthday!

  2. Final chapter of Book II of the Sole Scion Cycle is now up. I hope you've all enjoyed it so far.

  3. JMH

    Chapter Twenty: Escape

    Chapter Twenty: Escape As a result of his clandestine research Ray had learned many of NET’s most guarded secrets. He now knew the origins of Blue, how it was rediscovered, and how it was now being mass produced. He also learned that Blue was one of many substances produced by a Neo core’s… all of which were classified as being one of many animas. There was the Blue giver of great strength, the White and its soothing healing properties, the Purple, which like the Nano’s would cause the body to mutate in either in a divine or demonic fashion. Then there was the Red… the rarest of all anima. It was the giver of long life. Each had their strengths and weakness. It was the weaknesses that the NSP research division had focused almost all their resources on removing. Their first breakthrough came when they discovered that by intermarrying with the people of Earth those Neos who would have died at the age of forty could live a long and normal lifespan. There was however one problem that the NSP’s best scientist could not resolve and that was the drug was highly addictive. Limiting the mutating effects of Purple anima involved preforming a series of complex calculations where body mass, metabolism, and neural brain chemistry that resulted in formulating the exact amounts needing to be used. The benefits of the resulting formula would extend a person’s life as well as their youth and good health. There was one problem though. While the oldest records make no mention of it, those who ingested the drug would either go mad, or develop a form of blood poisoning that, while not fatal to the person who took the drug, would kill anyone else who came in contact with it. While the drug did what Ray needed it to do, the negative side effects were not worth the risk. That left Red, the rarest of all animas. Because of its extreme rarity very little research had been done on the drug itself. Instead the research division had focused their efforts on counteracting the only major negative side effect. The drug did everything Ray need to keep Daniel young and alive for as long a thousand years. The negative aspects of the drug however were considerable. First, as the drug was highly unstable, it needed to be consumed almost as soon as it was produced. Collecting it however required cutting out the core of a natural producer. He knew Daniel would never go along with something akin to human sacrifice. Ray wouldn’t love him if he did. The other negative problem with the Red was that it caused profound cases of hemophilia in those who took the drug. As Daniel was already a hemophiliac, a fact that Ray was already sick with worry about, the only known means of stopping the uncontrolled bleeding were ever increasing doses of Blue. Taking so much Blue would result in the worse sort of addiction. The person who not only need massive amounts of the drug to counter the hemophilia but also they would need to constantly take the Blue just to avoid the negative effects of withdrawal… which including body wasting, narcolepsy, and eventually ending up in a coma. There were some surviving records which described the God Emperor’s own addiction and while they all said he had found a way to be cured they said nothing on how he managed to do it. Ray was deep in his thoughts working on his research when he saw his security bracelet flash. It seemed someone wanted to meet him in private. He was to come alone and not tell anyone where he was going. Ray found the precautions amusing… so cloak and dagger. Still it got him curious. Instead of telling him exactly where to meet he was instructed to follow the directions provided by the bracelet’s internal compass. Before he left he gave Daniel a quick peck on the check. He was certain he would be back before his lover woke up so he didn’t bother leaving a note. After an hour of walking he began to wish he had. The compass sent him down to the abandoned lower levels. Usually he wouldn’t even try to enter the forbidden sectors of the complex. No one was supposed to come down here after all. The last people who had gone down to the Vault had gone to stop the person who had succeed in breaking in. It was not until he reached the very bottom that the compass went still. Ahead of him, past a thick vault-like door he could hear the sound of sparking electricity and whirling generators. Carefully he tiptoed to the door and peered inside. “Hello… anyone in there?” “We are here.” Ray had heard that voice before but he could not put a name on it. There was something artificial about. It came across as being more flat than that of the stoic Bionoids. “And exactly who are you?” “We are Logan.” Ray arched an eyebrow. “We are… and aren’t you supposed to be dead? Don’t tell me you’re his evil twin brother.” “I am one of many Logans who were built by our creators to serve the God Emperor and all those who were to follow.” “Okay…” Ray didn’t understand any what this one of many Logan’s had said. Still he was not scared. He stepped all the way inside the room. He quickly saw Logan. He was dressed in what looked like a space suit. He stood between to metallic pillars, each around ten yards high and twenty yards apart. Between them the air fluctuated and curved. Ray could only assume it had to be the legendary Gate. Wasn’t the reason the Captain had to kill Logan was to stop him from using this very device. “Uhmmm… what are you doing.” “I am calibrating the Gate so it will take me to my destination so I can complete my mission.” “Take you where and what is your mission.” “I am attempting to connect this gate to the one in the holy city of Mordel.” “Isn’t that supposed to be where the God Emperor is entomb. I thought it was nothing but a myth.” “It exists… or at least it once did. The location of the city was lost soon after the people of Ares landed on this world.” Ray removed Logan’s helmet and placed it on the ground. “How can you lose an entire city?” “Because it is hard to remember a city when you have no means of visiting,” The Logan Cybernoid replied. “You must have been able to reach it at one time or else how did it get built.” “It was not built on this world but Ares. The city disappeared thousands of years ago not on Earth but on the world you call Mars.” “I guess in the bronze age you were a little short of space ships.” Ray replied. “We were.” Logan slumped his shoulders as if the android felt defeated. Ray looked into Logan’s brown eyes trying to see if he could find the camera. “If you don’t know where the city is then how will you find its Gate?” “The answer can be found with the simple use of logic.” Logan replied. “And?” “I will not find it.” The android fell down to his knees. “I have tried every means I know and yet I have failed to find it.” For an emotionless android he sounded very depressed. “I need your help.” “I don’t know what I can do to help but I’ll try. First answer me this… why should I help you?” “Because I must fulfill my mission.” “I understand you want to get to this lost city of yours but you haven’t told me why?” Ray felt the need to point out. “I wish to ask God why.” Great an esoteric robot. I have my work cut out for me. Ray thought to himself “Why what?” “Why he has not returned to us? Why has he forsaken his people? Have we in some way angered him?” “I do not know what to say. I’m not a priest.” “Julian Lordon was our High Priest but he has long lost god’s path.” Ray couldn’t agree more. “Lordon is a power crazed madman. No one should listen to him.” “Does God listen to you?” “I can’t say he does. Back to what you want to ask him… why do you think he would be mad at you?” “Because we failed to protect his children. Some among us even took part in their killing. What father would not hate his children’s murderers?” “Are all the children dead?” “I do not know. The one you first knew as Logan believed he found one but his programing had long become corrupted.” “I guess there’s no point asking him where one is. He’s dead… or is the proper term deactivated?” Ray asked. “He is not. The one your people deactivated was a different model. He let himself be destroyed so my brothers could continue on with their mission without further interference.” Ray couldn’t help but laugh at the depressed robot. “Well you just ruined that secret. Back to what you said. You said the Logan I knew escaped. Where did he go?” “He did not escape… he was sent into exile. His programing had been irreversible corrupted. While we can self-deactivate our programing forbids us from permanently deactivating one our own kind. We therefore sent him where he could do no further harm.” “Which is where?” “We sent him to the Gate known as the Eye.” Ray’s eyes went wide. “The Eye! I’ve been there. You might as well have deactivated him because he won’t survive one minute there.” The horrors he had his father had endured why escaping from Azrael still haunted Ray. “Well it’s been nice talking to you. Good luck finding whatever you were looking for. Bye…” Android or not, Ray wanted nothing to do with the Eye. “Don’t go. Please don’t go. I don’t… I don’t want to be alone.” The sadness in the android’s voice stopped Ray in his tracks. “I see. I didn’t know an android could feel lonely.” “I was design to serve but with no one here there is no one to serve.” Ray suspected the robot was more trouble than he was worth but he couldn’t just abandon it. “You could come back with me.” “Will I be able to serve you?” “I think I can come up with a few chores you can do. But look… your malfunctioning brother did not leave a good impression. What I mean to say it that they might try to kill… I mean deactivate you.” “We have done nothing wrong. The authorities cannot hold us responsible for the actions of a malfunctioning unit.” Ray rolled his eyes. “The one you hung out to dry didn’t do so well.” “His mission was to protect the Scions. Self-preservation is a low priority objective.” “Well that’s going to change. From now on self-preservation is to be categorized as high priority. Keeping me alive is your top priority.” A red beam of light from the android’s left eye scanned Ray. “Your orders are contradictory. They are no logical. They can’t be obeyed.” Ray frowned and looked back at the Cybernoid. “Can’t be obeyed? What is illogical about keeping me alive?” “You are not alive.” “What did you say?” Ray felt his heart sink. “You are not alive. I cannot keep alive that which is not.” “I am most certainly alive!” Ray shouted as he stomped towards Logan. “You do not fit the basic requirements to be defined as a living organism,” Logan said as if what he had said about Ray not being alive was completely reasonable. “And what parts, of what I am sure is your limited narrow minded raciest definition, do I not fit.” Logan raised a finger as he went down the list. “You are neither a single cellular or multicellular organism. You do not have the ability to reproduce. You lack any genetic material, you cannot evolve. Without these things you are like me, a machine.” “You take that back!” Ray shouted. “I cannot take back that which I’ve already said. To do so would be illogical.” “Fine… if that’s how you’re going to treat me you can stay here and rot… I mean rust.” Ray headed toward the exit. “Please… please don’t leave us here alone.” “For someone who’s desperate for company you don’t know how to treat people right.” “Please.” Logan begged. “Alright… but if anyone asks if I am alive or not you will reply in the confirmative.” “That would be a lie.” “You’re telling you can’t lie.” “We can but only when it will aid in the completion of our mission.” “Then let me give you a new mission. From now on your only priority is to keep me happy and it would make me really happy if you were to tell people who ask that I am indeed alive.” “Mission accepted.” As they made their way back to the habitual levels Ray had time to text Daniel and let him know what was up. From his reply Daniel wasn’t amused but he said he would do what he could so the guards wouldn’t destroy them both on sight. Just thinking on what Daniel would do to him when Ray got back sent a shudder down Ray’s spine. “What is the matter? Are you not happy?” Logan had noticed the sour expression on Ray’s face. “I’m happy… I’ll be very happy if Daniel doesn’t beat me to a pulp. Did I tell you he’s known to do that to boyfriends who piss him off?” It wasn’t a fair statement. Poor Albert had deserved what he got. Ray didn’t think sneaking off in the middle night risking his life going down to the forbidden levels came anywhere close to what the Major did. At the very least one of them will be spending extra-long nights in the lab. Daniel and at least two platoons of security personnel met them just outside the restricted levels. The frown on his face proved his wasn’t please. When Daniel raced over to Ray and hugged him tightly, Ray became less fearful of a beating and more eager to make up scaring Daniel under the bed sheets. The arrival of another Logan was not so well received. After trying to cuff, chain, and collar the robotic giant, Ray gave the lump of titanium a list of new orders, each was preface: it would really make me happy if you…” By the time Ray convinced Logan allowed himself to be taken away Daniel looked ready to explode with the giggles. “Don’t you dare laugh?” Ray demanded even though he was already laughing himself. “I’m not laughing.” Daniel insisted thought it was clear he was already giggling. “Sorry I just find it so cute… It’s like you’re trying to teach a giant two year old proper manners.” Ray leaned against a nearby wall. “And failing miserably at it. I hope you’re not still angry about me sneaking off.” Ray let out a deep sigh. “I was not so much mad as I was upset. You had no business going down there.” “I know. Do you forgive me?” Ray fluttered his eyelashes knowing it would annoy Daniel as much as it would amuse him. Getting Daniel to focus on a less serious reason to be angry worked more times than not. “Don’t do that.” “Do this?” Ray puckered up his lips like a fish. “Don’t.” “How about this?” Ray walked ahead, swishing his hips as he held up a limp hand. Daniel might be have his moments where he would get over emotional, become oversensitive, or swoon over a hot guy he liked like a love sick teenager but outside those moments he acted no different than a college quarterback who also happened to be a brainiac. It was among Daniel’s few prejudices that he could not stand hanging around someone acting like a flaming queen. He also didn’t see the entertainment value of watching a drag queen lip sync. One of the worst brawls he and Andrew had ever gotten into was when Andrew dressed himself up in high heels, fishnet stockings, a yellow leather miniskirt, with a beehive wig and tons of makeup and told Daniel he wanted him to fuck his wet pussy. Each ended up with a black eye as a result. “I don’t see why you get so upset when I get all femininely,” Ray giggled. “Men are supposed to act like men and women… well I haven’t seen one in ages but that’s probably a good thing.” Soon after Daniel went back to live with Andrew and his father the government passed a law which required the separation of the sexes. This was supposed to help eliminate the spread of the plague but Daniel also suspected it was another means by which the NSP would increase their numbers. You sexist pig.” Ray elbowed Daniel in the ribs. “Seriously you need to open your horizons a bit. Would you have still fallen in love with me if I decided to be a woman? I can do that you know.” “Don’t you dare! I like you just the way you are.” “You like me even better with my cock up your ass.” He gave Daniel’s rear a hard slap. “Anyway it would do you some good to not get so uptight around more effeminate men. At the very least it would make getting along with the Greys easier. You do know they’re fully equipped.” Daniel could not help but laugh at that comment. “Fully equipped? I never thought of it that way. It’s not like Al let me experience that side of him.” “Don’t lie I know you did. By the way I’ve done some research…” “I take it I’m going to get an earful of your ‘research’ aren’t I?” Daniel asked. Ray wrapped an arm around Daniel’s shoulder while they continued to walk. “You need to listen. You might find it useful. What I discovered that men are far more likely to be physically violent toward other men than women among themselves. When it comes to being emotionally sadistic women are far crueler to each other in that regard. Think of it this way… men are brutal… women are, well, in the case of Al, are just cruel.” “Which is why I will take a good beating then deal with someone’s sadistic mind games any day,” Daniel replied. “Don’t say things you know nothing about.” Ray chided “I only meant it as a joke.” Daniel didn’t know what had soured Ray’s mood but he knew he had stepped on a land mine he didn’t want to set off.” “I know. Just take my word for it that I’ve seen people suffering the worst kind of abuse. It doesn’t matter what kind it is… no one should be made to endure it.” Daniel took hold of Ray’s hand and squeezed it. He didn’t know what else he could do that wouldn’t make things worse. Ray rested his head on Daniel’s shoulder. “Look, I didn’t mean to put you on the spot. It’s my fault really. I tried so hard to keep you distracted from why you might be angry with me that I ended up getting this prissy,” Ray said. “We can both deal with it when we get back in the apartment where we belong,” Daniel promised. “Top or bottom.” Ray asked excitedly. Daniel slapped Ray’s hand away from his ass. “I’m most certainly going to be the one who’s going to end up on top.” “Who am I to say no to a hot, horny and very determined ass pounder?” “When you are the one who wants to do the pounding,” Daniel said matter-of-factly. “Touché.” Ray took hold of Daniel’s hand and gave it a hard squeeze. ____________________________________________________________________________ While Daniel had tried to get Clive moved out of solitary the powers that be weren’t going to let bygones be bygones. Even after the Major tested positive for the Plague the Praetor was not going to let Daniel off the hook so easily. The arrival of another Logan android however left them no choice to move Clive out so the Logan Cybernoid could be held in the high security cell. That did not mean he was sent back to Daniel’s department. Instead they transferred him to psi-research and development department. Clive wasn’t thrilled by the prospect of being used as a test dummy while inexperience and untrained young Greys using him to hone their telepathic abilities. It could have been worse. They could have sent him to Richard ‘The Butcher’ Grey and his slaughterhouse of horror. The bastard claim that vivisecting all his specimens was necessary for him to research how to improve a Neo’s core but every section head knew the sadistic bastard enjoyed it. With the Major gone Colonel Richard Grey was next in line as Daniel’s arch-nemesis. It didn’t help that the Butcher’s outranked Daniel which allowed him to greatly interfere with Daniel’s own research. As Captain Sidney Grey, head of the psi research department, shared space with the Butcher, when Daniel learned where Clive had been sent… he nearly went into apoplectic shock. “We have to get him out of there.” He told Ray when he came back to his lab after finding out where Clive and ended up. “You could ask the Captain to sign Clive over to you.” Ray replied. He would not let himself get as panicked as Daniel. “I can ask as nicely as I can and the powers that be won’t allow it. Damn… you know Richard won’t miss an opportunity to cut him open.” ‘I think you are being overdramatic. Clive is NET’s most prized specimen. Say what you will about the Prelate but you can’t make me believe he would sit on his hands while his son’s core is ripped from him.” “If that were the case why did the Prelate allow his son become a lab rat in the first place?” Ray didn’t have a good answer for that one. “Uhmmm… probably because Clive still swears he will kill him if he ever gets the chance.” Ray saw what he had said so far had not convinced Daniel. “You might think you know Clive but I’ll bet my ass that you don’t know him as well as you think.” “And you do?” “I’m sure I know more about him than you do.” “Like what.” “Like the fact that Clive has known no other kind of life than that of a lab rat.” “He was born one?” “Pretty much. You would hate your father too if ….” Ray snapped his mouth shut. He had done it again. He had brought up Daniel’s father and suggested he was capably of hating him. Couldn’t get any worse than that. When Daniel stormed off he tried to stop him. “Look I’m sorry. I really put my foot in my mouth this time.” “It’s not your fault.” Daniel replied coldly. “Oh yes it is.” Daniel turned around and let Ray see how fast his face had turned red with rage. “No, it’s not! I’m the one who has a mental breakdown whenever anyone hints they might be talking about him. I need to toughen up and get over it.” “I love you just the way you are babe.” Ray let his hands wrap around Daniel’s narrow waist. He rocked them while he waited for Daniel to get a control of his anger.” Like always Daniel relax in the man’s arms. “I’m such a bad boyfriend.” “No you’re not… you will always be perfect for me,” Ray replied. “Now you’re poking fun.” Ray turned Daniel around and kissed him until both were short of breathe. “I mean it. Whatever happens I’ll always love you.” “You’re too good to me.” Daniel whispered. “Maybe you should remember that when you take me out on our first date.” Daniel let out a deep sigh. “Not that again.” “Come on you owe me.” “We’re a half mile underground… it is not like this is Paris. First of all where would we go?” “I’ll get back to you on that.” Ray said. Hearing someone call out his name Ray left Daniel with a questioning look on his face. Daniel shook his head he couldn’t understand why Ray was so hung up on them trying to have what would pass as a normal relationship when there was nothing normal about it. Deep down he knew he had just given himself the exact reason. Ray had never known a normal life. He had not even known what it was like to be human, let alone be in love with one until recently. Ray deserved a chance to experience some sort of normality. As nervous as he was, Daniel knew he was the only one capable of giving it to him. After checking his watch Daniel poked his head inside the main lab and said; “Look, I’m going to be out of the lab for a while. Think you can keep an eye on things while I’m gone?” One of the techs could not help but laugh. “Hon… you have us so well trained I don’t think even a nuclear reactor leak could put us behind schedule.” “Then I’ll leave it in your very capable hands.” Seeing Ray’s worried frown he gave him a quick peck on the cheek before leaving. If Ray wanted to go out on a date… a real date, then there was only one man with the authority to make that possible. As Daniel waited for the express elevator, he typed out a half dozen short text messages. He hoped the recipients took the messages seriously. From the sub-levels he rode the elevator up to the top of the mountain. As the elevator shot up the shaft he looked up at the security camera and waved. On his hand he had scribbled a short message: ‘We need to talk’. He was sure whoever was in charge of keeping an eye on him today would pass the message along to the proper person. Once out of the first elevator Daniel walked to a richly furnished waiting room and sat himself down in the only available chair. As had been the case when he lived on the Labatt Estate, the fancier the chair the more uncomfortable it was bound to be. Unfortunately they were all fancy. With his nerves already running high he ended up pacing up and down and constantly checking his wrist for the time. When his name was finally called Daniel let out a high pitched squeak that drew every eye in the room towards him. If he had one he would have put a bag over his head just so he didn’t have to see their smirks and finger pointing. What made it worse was that he stuck out like a sore thumb as he was the only person on the entire floor who did not have red hair. He could practically hear their snide comment about the stupidity of Norms. When the elevator doors that would take him to the Praetor’s office finally closed Daniel finally felt he could breathe. He was an idiot trying for coming up here. People like him… Norms… shouldn’t dare think they could ask the feared leader of NET for a personal favor. Not when he was seen as genetically inferior. They would laugh and joke about it for months… stupid monkey asks one of the most powerful man in the world permission to take his silly boyfriend out on a date. Not going to happen. Still he was inside an elevator taking him all the way to the top. Either the Praetor was actually curious about what he had to say or was planning to throw him off the top of the mountain as a lesson to others. When the elevators stopped Daniel didn’t automatically step out. He was certain he was on the wrong floor. He had only been allowed to visit the executive floors once… and that was so he could be used in a photo op to celebrate his discovery of the Nano particles that caused the Plague. As quickly as the photo was taken he was ushered out of the Praetor’s presence and back to the sub-levels where he rightly belonged. Where the elevator had stopped did not look anything like what he saw the only time he had entered the executive elevator. Instead of rows of desk and offices he found himself in what looked like the foray of one of the New York townhouse mansions his mother had dragged him to back before his stepfather had abandoned them. The floor was covered by a checker-board pattern of green and red marble tiles. In the center of the grand entry was the radiating golden sun emblem of the NSP. On the left and right sides of the x-shape chamber were more elevators. In the center of the entry was a grand staircase that one could climb to reach any of the six floors that Daniel could see above him. Feeling just as out of place as he had when his mother forced him to visit such places he kept his hands tightly behind his back and looked for an empty corner to sulk in. “Now is that any way to act when one has been invited to a man’s house.” The voice did not come from any part of the house. It was transmitted directly into Daniel’s mind. Daniel hated it when a Grey wouldn’t show him enough respect and force their thoughts on him like this. Feeling his temper rise he bit on his tongue, hoping the pain would divert his emotions away from being peeved. “Now, now Dr. Winters. We all have our foibles. The best thing to do is not let them get the better of us. Don’t you think?” From out of nowhere the Praetor shimmer into sight not even three feet from where Daniel stood in his corner. “Come… don’t’ be shy.” The Praetor offered him a guiding hand. Daniel knew better than not to take it. “That’s it… see I don’t bite.” Though Daniel was terribly nervous in the man’s presence he didn’t think he needed to be talked to like a frightened child. “But you are frightened…” Praetor had continued to read Daniel’s thoughts. “…any sensible man would be. I’ve done many terrible things for the pettiest of reasons. You however have no reason to think I will harm you. You are my brightest star.” He reached to pat Daniel on the check. It took an incredible amount of self-control for Daniel not to flinch at the man’s touch. “You really are that scared of me…” For a brief moment the Praetor frowned but quickly went back to smiling. “Come… we’ve prepared lunch.” “Lunch sir?” “You know the meal between breakfast and dinner. I am certain you know what lunch is.” “I do sir and I was most fortunate in being allowed to enjoy one regularly growing up.” Unlike most unprivileged Norms living in the New York Ark who were lucky to eat just one meal a day, Daniel had been allowed to enjoy all three meals since he had moved back in with the Labatts. Since his imprisonment however he had been allowed only two. That was still twice as many meals as most Norms got. “Times are indeed hard… the people have been forced to tighten their belts. Like you.” “Sir…” “I’ve read your file… back when you lived with your mother you were lucky to get more than dried cereal.” Daniel could not stop his back from shuddering when he was reminded of his early childhood. “I would rather not remember those days.” “You should… you need to look back on where you once were and be proud how far you’ve come.” The Praetor gave Daniel’s shoulder a reassuring squeeze. The man seems to know more about me than I thought…..probably more than is good for me. As he was led through the house Daniel tried to gather his wits. Something was very wrong about all this. The Praetor was not known for his kindheartedness. So why was he treating him with kid gloves. It didn’t make sense. The only thing Daniel was certain of was that displays unexpected kindness always came with a price. Whatever the price Daniel knew he would not be left in a position where he could avoid paying for it. The first hint of what that price would be was waiting for them at lunch. The man standing at the table was of course a Grey. He looked about five years his senior but Daniel knew age and appearance among the Grey were distant relatives. By the single stars on each shoulder the man had to be a brigadier general. Before Daniel could sit down far away from everyone else, the Grey officer pulled out a different chair and held out a hand. “I would be most honored to have you sit next to me.” Daniel felt his gut twist into double knots. So that’s what this is about. The Praetor wants me to become friendly with the good Brigadier. More than friendly. God Ray… what have I done. I don’t understand how this is happening so fast. It’s as if the Praetor knew I would ask to see him weeks before I decided I would. Daniel only needed to look at Praetor’s short wavy red hair to understand how the man knew. The idea to ask to speak with the Praetor had not been his own but had been implanted in his head by one of the Praetor’s telepathic agents. It has to be one of the people working for me in the lab. “Is everything all right?” The brigadier saw the tears building in his eye and thought he had done something to cause them. “If I’ve offended you in some way I…” The Praetor started laughing softly to himself. Don’t’ worry... he’s just not used to such kindness from our kind. Those are tears of joy are they not Lieutenant?” Daniel felt his head being forced to nod. “See he’s speechless.” Daniel could not see but he felt the general’s peevish glower on him. “I hope one day for you to become more accustomed to the finer things in life. I also hope you will become accustomed to me as well.” Daniel wanted to scream but the Praetor’s had wrapped his angry under a wet mental blanket. Seeing a servant arriving with a silver soup bowl Thomas clapped his hands excitedly. “Ah here comes the first course -truffle soup. I suggest we take the time to enjoy its rich flavor. With most of France under ice… it will not be long before wild French truffles be unobtainable.” “Can they not be farmed?” The general asked. “They can but they lack the subtle flavors one can only explore with the wild variety.” The brigadier turned his attention back on Daniel. “It is quite delicious… don’t you think dear.” How dare he? He’s already talking like we’ve been married for years. Daniel wanted to tell the man were he could stuff his truffles but the blanket’s cold hold left him only diluted how he really felt. If he could not break the Praetor’s grip with direct force he had to change tactics. “I never tasted anything like it.” “See… even a Norm is capable of enjoying the finer things in life.” The general replied. “We are not all cut from the same cloth.” Daniel said. That should please the bastard. “He most certainly isn’t,” the general agreed. Daniel felt the Brigadier slide a hand under the table and placed it on his inner thigh. The Praetor beamed at the pair. “I do not have to tell you how proud we are of him. He’s only been working for us for little over a year and he’s already found a way of hunting down the Sleepers hiding among us.” “That is quite an accomplishment. Those monsters are the greater threat to humanity than those mongrel Sino-Russians.” The Praetor lifted his wine glass up to a beam of sunlight checking its clarity. “Once we’ve removed the chafe from the wheat… we can turn our full attention on dealing with the Russians and Chinese.” He stuck his nose into the glass and took a generous sniff. “My nose tells me you will enjoy the wine as much as the truffles.’” The Brigadier nodded. “The wine is indeed excellent. But what of Mars? We cannot let the Martians continue to think they can be independent of Earth.” The Praetor lowered his glass and leaned back in the chair. “Mars is another matter. The colonial government has been spending half their tax revenue building up the Martian Fleet. We could more easily build one capable to smash it to pieces but then what? We’ll have lost who knows how many ships with twice as many too damaged to return to Earth. We could bomb the domes but the Colonies were built by the mining industry and they’ve had plenty of time to dig in deep. I hate to say it but bringing the Martians back into the fold isn’t worth the cost or effort.” The Praetor took a second sip of his wine. “But they mock us.” The general replied. “They might publically mock us but behind closed doors they fear us. They know that if we really set out minds to it we could wipe them all out. Don’t you agree Dr. Winters?” The question caught Daniel off guard. They seemed so interested in their little debate he didn’t think they would ask for him to put in his two-cents. “I would actually like to visit Mars.” “Really?” The Brigadier looked at him with new interest. “Yes. I think I could do a lot of good there.” Daniel replied with more eagerness. “How so.” Daniel saw the Praetor’s lips curl inward, leaving him with a thin flat smile. He didn’t know if that was a good sign but he didn’t think he would stop him from answering. “There is the immunity factor.” “I thought your specialty was working on Sleeper… sorry Nano research.” The Praetor corrected himself if only grudgingly. “The Nanos are nothing but machines… microscopic in size and able to self-replicate but in of themselves there’s nothing sinister about them. Given enough time and resources they could be reengineered to serve all sorts of useful purposes… such as fight off disease in people who have no immune system.” Daniel said. The idea of using the Nanos as a form of medical treatment was one of the first possibilities Daniel had been working on since his discovery of the source of the plague. It was a subject he was very excited to start exploring. “Is such a thing possible?” The general asked the Praetor. Daniel felt the telepaths hold on him weaken. Before the Praetor could reposed he said; “Yes it is. It is very possible.” “You are quite the noble thinker.” The Praetor replied with the gracious tone as if he was impressed. Instead of looking angry that Daniel had dared to cut him off he looked surprisingly pleased. “Of course dealing with the Nano infestation on Earth must come first.” “Oh yes… Earth must always come first. The general stood, raised glass in hand. “A toast… to Earth and the better future you will help create my dear doctor.” Daniel could feel the Praetor force his hand toward his wine glass. At first he fought not to take it. Sometimes the direct approach is not the best. Before he could think better of it… and before the Praetor could react. He grabbed the glass, stood and threw it right into the general’s face. “What the hell!” the general shouted. “Sorry general. Nervous tick.” Daniel said as he jumped out of his chair Whatever hold the Praetor had over him had been broken. “I seem to have offended our guest. I must excuse myself before causing further insult.” Before he could turn around the brigadier had an iron hold of his left wrist. “You aren’t going anywhere.” The Praetor stood. “Oh do calm down. I’m certain he didn’t mean anything by it. You know Norms… completely unable to act in a civilized manner.” “Then I will just have to teach him how to behave in front of his betters.” The general ripped off his belt so he could teach his would be fiancé with a harsh whipping. “You will do no such thing.” Daniel slammed his heel down on the man’s boot. The man let go, not because he had actually been hurt but because he hadn’t expected Daniel to fight back. The Praetor burst out laughing. “I told you he was a wild one.” The General wrapped his arm around Daniel’s neck and held him in a tight head lock. “Just the way I like them.” The man ran his tongue up Daniel’s face. “Be careful what you ask for,” Daniel warned. Dropping his back forward he flipped the soldier over his head and onto the table. Glass and fine antique china went flying. “Now this is getting to be too much.” It had been fun at first but the general didn’t care for how things were turning out. He attempted to roll off the table but Daniel didn’t give him the chance. With strength he never knew he possessed he flipped the entire table over hoping to trap the general beneath it long enough for him to escape. That was what Daniel had intended at least. Instead of just tipping over the entire table flew through the bay windows and out to the other side. When Daniel couldn’t find the general he went to the smashed windows and looked out. There was no balcony, no edge. There was nothing but a flat drop down a crevice that went straight down a good two hundred yards. “What… what have I done.” Daniel forced himself from the edge. He had just killed a man. The temper he had never been able to control had now cost a man his life. “What have I done?” The Praetor clapped his hands together and walked towards Daniel. “You did exactly what you needed to do.” For a man who had just witness his guest being murdered the Praetor looked quite pleased. The Praetor had never intended Daniel for that pompous lout. He had only invited the man to intentionally goad his grandson into using his abilities. He knew if he pushed hard enough Daniel’s latent psi power would manifest itself. Having achieved that Thomas could not be happier. Daniel felt his face go cold. “No I didn’t… I didn’t want this. All I wanted was to spend one day outside with the man who loves me.” “What about Andrew…has your new love caused you to forget about him?” “No… you don’t understand. You can’t understand. Ray is the only one who lets Andrew and I be together.” Daniel knew he was saying too much, putting him and everyone he cared about in reckless danger but he couldn’t stop himself. Not even when he realized it was the Praetor forcing his confession. He might have told him everything if the Chief Examiner had not chosen that exact moment to return home. “Enough!” With a mere thought he snapped a mental shield around Winters, cutting him off from the Praetor’s control. “What the hell is going on here?” “Just some light entertainment,” Thomas said. Daniel felt the Examiner probe his mind. He did not so much as read his thoughts as explore the parts where the Praetor had affected. When he was finished he shut down Daniel’s ability to hear. “You bastard. You couldn’t leave well enough alone.” Scott shouted at his lover. “He needed a little push.” The Praetor pointed to the spot where the pompous general had met his end and burst into laughter again.” “Push… well he just push the son of one of your supporters out the window!” “Bastards like the general are dime a dozen. He was not worthy of Daniel. All he saw in him was a good fuck.” “Then why did you put them in the same room?” “As I said… he needed a little push. Oh don’t look at me that way. I didn’t break any of your silly rules. None of this would have happened if you would have let me tell him the truth from the start.” “True…It is my fault. I assumed you had learned from your mistakes. I thought you would control yourself this time. I could not have been more wrong.” Thomas’s anger began to rise. “He’s my grandson, not yours. I will raise him the way I want.” “Your grandson…? If you’re his grandson then he’s my son!” “What? What nonsense is this?” The Praetor summoned the servants to reset the table. Knowing the damage had been done Scott didn’t hesitate from sharing the rest. “You never did wonder who the mother was. Did you really think he would bugger one of the tramps who followed his army? He wanted someone he could trust… someone he would feel proud of carrying his son. He wanted someone who would protect the child from you! Who do you think he picked? Who!” Thomas’s jaw dropped. “You knew he had a son and kept him from me.” “Brutus and I had a son and yes I hid him from you. That was the only thing Brutus ever asked of me… to protect our son from you!” The Praetor fled. He couldn’t endure hearing more. Scott knew Thomas would not remain shocked and unable to act for long. The Chief Examiner had to get his grandson as far as possible before his lover could think clearly enough to stop him. He removed the block on Daniel’s hearing. “Come…we don’t have much time.” He held out his hand. When Daniel didn’t automatically take it he mentally forced him to. “We don’t have time for your stubbornness. I have to get you out of here.” “What about the others. I won’t leave without them.” Daniel felt himself being dragged back to the elevators. “I already have my people getting them to safety.” “Even the infected.” “Yes even him. Is that enough for you to stop fighting me.” “Fighting you?” “Sorry… I forget I’m dealing with a novice. Take a deep breath hold it when you release it imagine you are opening the door to your mind. That’s it.” Daniel felt a wave of calmness sweep over him. He could feel the Examiner inside him changing things in ways he could not understand. When his mind cleared he was back in the elevator. The Examiner was collapsed on the floor. “Sir… sir…” He shook him but he could not wake him up. There was a ding and the doors opened. He found himself in an underground hanger. Line up on one side were what looked like Zephyrs but they were not a variation he recognized. He had barely stepped past the doors when the elevator slid shut behind him taking the Chief Examiner with it. “What am I to do now?” Daniel thought “We’re going to fly one of these buggers and get the hell out of here.” It was the Examiner’s thoughts that spoke to Daniel inside his head. “What happened? I couldn’t wake you up.” “Don’t worry about that. I’m still here to help you.” “But…” “Don’t fight me Daniel. You need to let me be in control. It’s the only way you’re going to get out before the Praetor can stop us. Now breath.” Daniel felt another wave of calmness wash over him. He let the Examiner take control. He could see him walking to the largest of the three craft. He could feel the cold steel as he climbed inside. He could hear the rumbling of the engines as they prepared to take off. Soon they were flying up, up and up, higher than Daniel had ever flown before as the Zephyr rose into space. “Take a good look at it…It might be a while before you see her again,” the Scott said as Earth shrank in the distance. Daniel looked out a side viewport. Up in space he could see for the first time the full extent of the devastation visited upon the Earth by the Azrael Meteor. He saw a world tilted so badly on its axis it had become divided between eternal night and never ending day. On the night side only the mega city lights of the Ark refuges could be seen from space. Where Azrael fell, the ocean and land was cover by pyroclastic smoke and ash from the ring of still active volcanos created by the collision. Circling the Earth around its equator Daniel thought he could see thin rings of frozen ice crystals. They had been created when over a half a million cubic miles of sea water was blasted into orbit by the collision. The world was in ruins but still not without its beauty. If he did as the Examiner suggested and left his homeworld he would miss the shining sun, cool night breezes, crashing ocean waves that out of all the planets in the Solar System only existed on Earth. “You will be back my child.” The Examiner cooed. “Will I?” “Yes… it is your destiny.” Turning forward, he could see the moon growing in the distance. They would be docking in several hours and from there… well, he would have wait and see. “Where are the others?” “They’re safe… that’s all that matters.” “Are… are you safe?” Daniel didn’t know but he was pretty sure not even the Praetor, who was world’s most powerful telepath, could transmit his thought from the Earth all the way to the Moon. “Don’t worry child… We are safe.” Daniel knew it was not as simple as the voice in his skull was making it out to be but he didn’t risk pressing the issue. He knew he wouldn’t like the answer. “Be at ease child and rest. I will let you know when we reach the space port.” Daniel hadn’t noticed until now but he was completely exhausted. Going to the back he found some bunks that had been built into the bulkhead. They looked very inviting. Soon he was laid down, his eyes closed, and fell into deep dreamless slumber. While he slept Scott used the opportunity to familiarize himself with all the nooks and crannies of his new host body. Back on Earth what was left of the Chief Examiner’s former shell was being locked away in a cold stasis cubical that might as well serve as a tomb. _______________________________________________________________________ This Ends Part II of the Sole Scion Cycle.
  4. Working on three rough drafts, two second drafts, and five final drafts and I don't know which one to take out of my to-do box first.

    1. WestcliffWriter


      What one excites you the most? :)


  5. What do you do with a 40 year old older brother who still has two year old temper tanturms over the fact I graduated from college before him?

    1. Show previous comments  3 more
    2. Timothy M.

      Timothy M.

      how about asking him if he thinks being born with a club foot or with diabetes entitles that person to be offensive or cruel for his or her whole life?

    3. Timothy M.

      Timothy M.

      when he says no, ask him very sweetly why he then thinks being born dyslexic gives him the right to behave like that?

    4. Timothy M.

      Timothy M.

      if that doesn't work tell you've always heard people with dyslexia aren't stupied, but he seems to be an exception, lol.

      Good luck, you have my sympathy.

  6. Second to last chapter of Book II of Sole Scion now posted

  7. If Vampires come out only at night, when would vampires in outer space come out.

    1. MarcW


      like everyone else .. they'll come out when they are good & ready :)

    2. Daddydavek


      In dark matter?

  8. Writing a two chapter action scene is very exhausting but fun

  9. JMH

    Chapter 22

    Jonathan was one of their servants that Philip didn't want to have to execute with the others.
  10. Oh joy... My main computer's psu burned out. :(

  11. What has started as six page index has blown up into a 50 page glossary

  12. The five I would pick 1. J.R.R. Tolkien: Middle Earth Books (Each year at summer camp I would go through all the books during rest time) 2. Robert Jordon Wheel of Time: (Because the number of books and how long they are would be able to keep me entertained for quite a while) 3. Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's: Pendergast Series (Because the main character would be my idea of the perfect boyfriend) 4. James Clavell Shogun/Gaijin Series (Enjoyed the books so much I was read both them in less than a week. Bad part was my older brother (who has dyslexia) was reading them at the same time so when he found out I had already finished them he had the twenty-one year old's equivalent of a two-year-old's temper-tantrum and gave me the silent treatment for over a month. 5.Martin Buber: I and Thou (A book of religious philosophy dealing with one's relationship with god compared to all other relationships an individual can have with other people or objects)
  13. About 1/3rd of the way through a reediting of Sons of Mir. Should be able to start reposting by October.

  14. Chapter Nine: Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire Andrew knew a lie when he heard one. He’d been pacing up and down the runway of the British airbase on the tiny island of Ascension since landing. During past trips between the Falklands and Europe the plane spent only an hour at the refueling station. It been eight hours since they landed and there was no sign that the plane would be taking off any time soon. While his plane waited for clearance to take off, countless dragonfly shaped Zephyr military class VTOL Zephyr aircraft had been leaving the island, heading south, Whatever it is I’d bet my dad’s fortune Daniel is at the heart of it. Not seeing the point of continuing to wait patiently, Andrew went searching for his minder. This time he had been paired with the annoying regulations obsessed Captain Timmons. When he could not find the usually ever-present public relations officer Andrew’s suspensions grew ten-fold. The captain would not have left his sight if he wasn’t trying to avoid him. After searching the plane and the disembarkation greetings station, he searched some of the more restricted portions of the airbase. With his famous face he thought he could squeeze out some information from the base staff but each man he tried to talk to answered him with tight lips and barred doors. It was as if they had been warned not to talk to him. So desperate for information he decided he would go over their heads and contact his father. His dad might not be the one in charge of the situation but as the world’s largest military supplier he could demand answers from the one who was. Taking out his cell phone he dialed his father’s office in Washington and got… nothing. He dialed again and still didn’t get a single ring. Examining the phone he thought its battery might have died but it showed a 93% charge. He was about to dial again when he noticed no signal bars showed in the left corner. But I’ve always gotten a strong signal here before. Fuck. They must have secured and encrypted the comm. towers. If he was flustered it was only for a few second. Quickly he came up with a solution. He would use the plane’s satellite communicator. Quite clever but not clever enough. The plane’s communication station was equipped with a top-of-the-line anti-electronic warfare package. He should know… Labatt Industries was the top supplier of that sort of military grade equipment. He also had been trained on how to use it in case of an emergency. That was one of many things Lanyon had insisted the boys learn in case they ever got into trouble. While they might be mirror images of each other’s personalities getting into trouble was one thing both boys were guilty of on multiple occasions. Be it one of Daniel’s exploding experiments or a very drunk Andrew hiding out in a rundown hotel while he sobered up the two had each other’s backs. This time Daniel was the one in trouble. Back on the plane he saw that except for a few maintenance workers he was the only one on board. Dressed in his cadet officer uniform he could easily be mistaken as regular military. He even got a few salutes as he passed. The door to the cockpit was of course locked but as the plane was manufactured by his father’s company he knew all the override codes. Once inside he scrabbled the codes so only his would now work. From there it was easy. He reprogramed the sat-line to the company’s emergency frequency. He was first going to dial his father but at the last minute thought better of it. He never understood why his father was so uncomfortable around Daniel but it was enough of an issue that it caused Andrew to pause and decide it best not to contact him. Instead he dialed Commander Smith on his private line. He knew he could always count on Lanyon where Daniel was concerned. Lanyon answered the phone before the first ring went silent. “Andrew is that you?” Andrew could hear the panic in the security chief’s voice. “Yes…” Your identifier shows you in Ascension. Is Daniel with you? Please tell me he’s with you.” “No… He’s the reason I’m calling. I’m stuck on this rock when I should be back in the Falklands. Something is going on back at the school… something bad. I’m certain it has something to do with Daniel.” “I cannot say if it has anything to do with Daniel but if he’s still at the Academy then he can’t be in worse danger.” He then filled Andrew is with what he knew of the Plague outbreak. “They’re nuking the island!” Andrew shouted when the security chief got to that part. “They can’t do that!” “The order has already been given.” “But the school… the cadets! The ruling elite send their kids there.” “There have been protests but the government is not the one in charge of the situation.” “If not the government then who?” Before he had finished asking he knew the answer. “It’s the NSP. Isn’t it.” “They are the true power behind the government. What you and I see as a disaster they see as an opportunity.” “By killing their own people?” “Yes… damn the bastards. They think that by letting Daniel and the others die in a purge they’ll prove that not even Neo sapiens are treated any differently when the plague is involved. The Homo sapiens will need to believe that when they are forced into the Arks.” “The Arks?” “The Arks were never meant to be anything more than giant concentration camps.” “But that would turn the Arks into prime breeding ground for the Plague.” “They believe that by containing the male population as they have the women they’ll be able to confine the plague among the Homo sapiens.” “But why… the Plague has no effect on us.” “We are usually immune to the mutating effects of the plague but we are still mortal. The Sleeper outbreak at the Academy proves that so long as the Plague exists NSP will live in fear that the mutants will end up on top. “Damn the NSP and the mutants. I won’t let Daniel be sacrificed like a pawn in a game of chess. Can’t you do something… like send in the Specials?” The Specials were the elite military force of the Directorship. They were also the Mega Corps’s trump card against the NSP. From the other end Andrew heard Lanyon moan. “The Specials can only be deployed if a majority of the Board vote to do so. You know quite well how divided they are. Except when it comes to fattening their pockets it’s impossible to get them to agree on anything.” “Then we send in our own people.” “You would have Labatt Industries oppose the NSP on its own?” “We will have to one day.” “Not if your father has his way. I… I understand why you hate them.” “Fuck you do.” It was all about Daniel. The NSP saw Homo sapiens, now more commonly derogatorily referred to by Neos as Norms, as the inferior race. It was their belief that one day Norms would go the way of the Neanderthals and become extinct leaving the Neo sapiens as the only dominate species. Daniel, while a Neo citizen, had been given the title as a courtesy to the Labatts who were true Neos. In a way this placed him in the worst of both worlds… Norms glared at him with envy while Neos snubbed their noses at him as if he was nothing more than a subhuman pet. While Daniel had come to accept his place in society, Andrew was less forgiving. He swore a long time ago that when he sat on the Board and the Directorship he would see that people like Daniel would be respected for their true worth. “I’m going after him. You can either help me stay the hell out of my way.” “I can tell you not to do something that stupid but I know you won’t listen to me.” Lanyon pleaded. “Look… If want to save Daniel you will have to do it on your own. Get caught and you should expect no help from your father.” “So be it.” Andrew cut the satellite connection. What now? Whatever I do I’ll have to act fast. Lanyon will rat me out. I’m certain of it. Andrew quickly decided that the only way he could save Daniel was to steal a plane. He was a qualified pilot. It sounded easier than it was. In most cases such a plan would not work, not when he had to get through restricted airspace. For that he needed something that was fast and stealthy and nothing was stealthier or faster than Labatt Industries’ Mark XII Shadow Phoenix. With all the planes coming in and out of Ascension he knew there had to be at least one Mark XII on the base. Finding it before being arrest was the true challenge. Going to a weapons locker he found a Walker Industry power suit. It was not the latest model but it was fully charged. Once activated the suite split in half. Stepping between the two parts he pressed the seal button. As the suit closed around him it released a form fitting foam. The biologically active substance protects the wearer from physical concussion weapons as well as the suits inertia. The foam also acted to transmitter that would allow the wearer to control the suit as if it was his own body. Since Andrew knew he would need second suit for Daniel, he powered up another and slaved circuited it to his own. This time when he went through the plane the cleaning staff noticed. They looked at him wide-eyed but did nothing to stop him. When he left the plane he sealed the hatch and ramps and scrabbled the locks. That would hold them long enough for him to make his escape. Now that he was in the power suit he was able to access the base’s database. Among the information he found he discovered the ETA of four heavy bombers carrying the nukes intended for the Falklands. While he had been wasting his time talking to Lanyon they had refueled and taken off. The planes were expected to reach their target in less than six hours. That made finding the hypersonic Mk XII even more vital. Luckily for him the database showed the hanger where at least one Shadow Phoenix was parked. According the maintenance records its missile targeting systems were undergoing an upgrade but it was otherwise flyable. Making his way to the far hanger he passed several Cybernoid patrollers. On the outside they appeared no different than a normal soldier encased in a power suit. There was, however, no human being, Neo or Norm, inside the casing. Cybernoids were the opposite of Bionoids. Though synthetic, Bionoids were still made up of living tissue, just not the human sort. Cybernoids on the other hand were robots controlled by an encased human brain. Luckily, instead of asking for his I.D. they ignored Andrew as if he wasn’t there. He found the hanger open and unguarded. In the back he could see the repair crew playing cards. From their laughter and the blue smoke that came from their cigars Andrew suspected they had to be under the effect of Blue. With their heads fogged by the drug they wouldn’t present any real threat to stopping him. But they might bring others who could. To make sure no one would arrive to stop him he had to disable the security and communication systems. The radios were easy to deal with. The power suit was equipped with jamming equipment. Of course if someone from another part of the base tried to radio in it would bring unwanted attention but he had come too far to stop now. The alarm system was another matter. The panic button was located in the backroom with the crew. He could try to pass himself off as an officer and order them to leave but they might try radioing in to confirm the order. That was out of the question. He could try shorting out the electrical system powering the alarm but that in of itself would trigger several alarms. He couldn’t do that either. Instead of either plan he decided to take a more underhanded approach. He went to the break room and tapped on the door. The crew looked up from their card game, saw him and frown. They hadn’t expected anyone to intrude on their fun. “Damm’t Gale I told you a patroller would come by.” The speaker waved his arm through the clouds of smoke, trying to dissipate it. As if that would do any good. The crew boss, Gale, removed his cap. He scratched his balding head and said, “Well patroller, how we help you?” “Ration cards.” As Andrew spoke, the foam transmitted his voice through a synthesizer. His voice sounded no different than that of an android. “See I told you. They sent a god damn Cybernoid.” “Then I guess there’s no point offering you a bribe. Is there?” Gale asked. “Ration cards.” Andrew replied in the same monotone voice. Given his past encounters with the patrollers he knew exactly how to act like one. “Take them out boys… It won’t be leaving until we do.” Each took out a metallic card. Andrew took each one by one and scanned them. It was as he suspected, their cards didn’t show they were entitled to any Blue, let alone beer and cigars. “You are in violation of the Emergency Rationing Act. Put your hands your head and line up.” They placed their hands over their heads and one by one lined up behind the Shadow Phoenix. Andrew then had them fall to their knees. “You are to be detained until an MP squad comes for you. “Detained? Fuck… it’s going to cover us with that shit.” Gale could see the murder in his men’s eyes. Being foamed was no different than being put in a full body cast. Using the suit’s foam cannon Andrew cemented the maintenance crew where they knelt. It was all he could do to stop himself from laughing. With them dealt with Andrew boarded the three-seat Mark XII. Most of the controls were located in the standard configuration of any Zephyr assault craft. Its shape and propulsion system however wasn’t. Instead of the four engine quad-winged dragon-fly shape structure, its frame resemble that of a large gage sniper rifle bullet. It had only one engine. It was located a fourth of the way down from the tip. The thrusts circled around edged the circumference. At full thrust the craft could reach as high as Mach 8. At that speed he would have no problem catching up with the subsonic bombers. Taking off was simple enough for the VTOL. Once the engine was powered up the Mk XII rose from its berth and headed up. Once it passed the bay doors in the ceiling Andrew launched the craft through the roof like a rocket. Before the base knew what was going on the Zephyr was heading south at Mach 5. As the craft accelerated to Mach 8 the base commander received the call from the NSP Council. Karl Labatt, on learning what his son was planning went to the council to plea for his son’s life. They must have reached some sort of agreement because the general was ordered not to interfere. The NSP would deal with the future head of Labatt Industries in their own way. One option that was not on the table was letting Andrew interfere with the purge. As Andrew disappeared from radar, ICBMs were launched from South Dakota. The general overseeing the purge had just received new orders. On the advice of the NSP officials within his government the Prime Minister of the United Domains had the head of missile command launch three multi-warhead missiles from their launch bases in North Dakota. The Government was not going to risk that some over pampered brat would prevent the bombers from delivering their nuclear payload. ___________________________________________________________________- By the time Glenn had gotten him and Daniel to the airfield every craft capable of flight had been destroyed. Even if he could find one, the bombing had left the runways pockmarked with craters. With the sound of more jets approaching Glenn turned the jeep around and headed towards the road that would take them to Stanley. Hopefully he would be able to find some sort of boat. Mantis can’t swim, can they? What a Mantis could do is stop a jeep running 50 miles an hour dead in its tracks. It appeared so fast that Glenn was only aware of the approaching crash a fraction of a second before the jeep collided with the giant insect. It was like hitting a brick wall. The vehicle flipped a complete 180°, landing on its roof. The Nano they hit grunted and glared in the offending jeep’s direction but was otherwise unfazed. Now if Glenn had been any normal man he would not have survived. But like Ray and the notorious Talon he had a secret identity of his own. He stepped out without a mark on him. Daniel however was in bad shape but that is why Glenn always carried an emergency supply of Blue on him. Rolling the jeep back onto its wheels he opened the back. Daniel was still drugged but at least Glenn had taken the time to strap him in. Lifting him out, he carried Daniel to the nearest building. It was a machine shop so Glenn was certain it would have a first aid kit. Laying Daniel down on a work table Glenn began searching for the first aid kit. He found what he was looking for in the back bathroom. Before examining Daniel he gave him a shot of morphine. He then carefully stripped him down. Daniel had at least two broken ribs and a broken arm but those were minor injuries. What concerned Glenn most was the risk he might have internal bleeding. A double dose of Blue could help but Glenn had something better. With his army issued knife he sliced his palm open. Instead of blood however a white milky fluid oozed out. He squeezed some of it into Daniel’s mouth and smeared it around the worst of the bruises. With Daniel unconscious Glenn could hold on to the hope that his true nature would remain undiscovered. He was a Segundo… one of the children the Primes that had been born through the holy union between the Primes and the God Emperor. Like his famed forefathers his blood was a natural source for the drug White. He knew he should wait for Daniel to wake up before continuing on but it was only a matter of time before the decision was made to sterilize the island. By now the Stanley was out of the question but if he were to head west to the docks of New Haven… he might find a schooner. It might not be able to take them back to the mainland but it should be able to carry them to across the Falkland Sound to Port Howard on West Falkland Island. An airfield had been built there ages ago. NET might have declared the island as a high security no-man zone but beggars couldn’t be choosers. As soon as the bombing stop they got back into the jeep and drove west. Everywhere they drove was marked by the sort of death and destruction only awakened Sleepers could cause. When they reached the ferry town of New Haven they found it abandoned and all the boats were gone. Glenn was about to give up when he found a catamaran under a pier. It had a sail but no engine which is probably why it had not been used by others to try to escape. Glenn was no expert on sailing but he had watched over the boys when they would go on sailing trips to Hawaii. It could work but he would need Daniel’s help to navigate. He therefore had no choice but to wake Daniel up. This time he used Blue sand prayed the stimulant would fight off whatever sedatives had and been put in the coffee. It worked. Seconds after Daniel swallowed he jerked up with a start. “Where… where am I?” “On the eastern shore of the Sound.” “The Sound? What the hell are we doing all the way out here?” “Sleepers.” That was all Glenn had to say to get Daniel to understand. Daniel nibbled on his lower lip. He didn’t know how to respond. “Then everyone is dead? Andrew?” He could not help but place some of the blame on himself. The Nanos would not have wanted his experiment to succeed. That’s why they attacked. The Sleepers didn’t want him discovering the cause of the Plague. “His plane hadn’t arrived before all hell broke loose so my guess is he’s safe.” “He better be.” Daniel’s stern tone was close to a threat. If Glenn had left Andrew behind his bodyguard would have more to fear than just Sleepers. He must really love him, Glenn thought to himself. “I’m sure he is alive and well. Hell, even if the plane didn’t turn around there’s no runway for it to land. I swore to your father I would keep you safe and by god I will.” “Karl?” “No… your real one.” He knew he shouldn’t have mentioned Avery. It never failed to upset the young man. “I’ll tell you what I know on the boat.” “You better.” Glenn didn’t know if Daniel’s irritability was due to the after effects of the drugs or a desperate attempt to hide his fear beneath a mask of anger. Leading the boat off shore they raised the sail. With Daniel’s help they caught the coastal winds and sailed northwest. Just as the sun rose over the horizon the nukes began to fall. Stanley and Mount Pleasant were the first to be flattened. The narrow span of land between Darwin and Goose Green was hit so hard that the southern landmass of East Falkland became separated from the rest of the island allowing the sea to rush through the gap. When the shockwave hit the boat, the heated winds tore through the sail and nearly flipped the boat over. Both men were easily thrown over the side. Daniel, still partly drugged and without a lifejacket struggled to keep his head above water. It was a hopeless battle. Seeing Daniel sinking under the waves Glenn dived to save him. With no floatation device of his own keeping Daniel’s head above water was tiring. They had to get back to the boat. The boat however had other plans. The sea current and nuclear winds was guiding it to the northeast. The course would take it out of Falkland Sound and into the South Atlantic. If Glenn had not been burdened keeping Daniel afloat he could have caught up with the catamaran. Things being as they were he would not abandon Daniel, not even to save his own life. With the boat drifting further away Glenn had a stark choice to make. He could swim back the way they come or continue on heading west. Swimming to Port Howard was out of the question. The jut of land shielding the harbor from the Sound was the best and only option he could think of. The three mile swim would however be impossible if he had to carry Daniel the entire way. He had to give him another dose of Blue. Digging into his pocket he pulled out the box of vials. Even though the box had been sealed tight sea water had gotten into the vials, diluting the mixture with salt water. Since the first injection didn’t work he would have to deliver the second dose directly into Daniel’s heart. He tore the buttons off Daniel’s uniform. He then primed the syringe with his teeth. “Sorry Daniel… this is going to hurt.” The direct injection of the salt water contaminated Blue jolted Daniel to attention, the shock causing him to swallow a mouthful of sea water. To keep him from swallowing more, Glenn, used his great strength to lift Daniel over his head. This gave Daniel a chance to clear his lungs. The combination of the Blue and salt water played havoc with his body however. Pressed together Glenn could feel the erratic pulse of Daniel’s heart and rapid shallow breath. After Daniel had stopped coughing the two swam the remaining distance to the shore. With the current pulling them north, they ended up on a rocky beach on the opposite side of the bay several miles from Port Howard. Crawling until they were above the shoreline they collapsed and slipped into unconsciousness. There they rested until Glenn heard the crunching sound of boots stepping on the pebble shore. Knowing better than to jump back onto his feet and confront whoever was coming. He stayed where he lay. He let his eyes open just wide enough for him to see through his eyelashes. Luckily his head was facing Daniel. He could see his chest rise and fall but otherwise didn’t move. Standing over him were three sets of black boots. As a Segundo Glenn had some telepathic abilities. He could use them to check to see if Daniel was okay but of the men standing over them were what he thought they were then he might as well shout to them what he was. Given he couldn’t hear them talking on their greatly suggest what he suspicions were correct. One of them knelt and leaned over Daniel. He held some sort of diagnosis device. More important to Glenn was the tuffs of red hair on the man’s head. Be they their rescuers or captors these men were telepathic Greys… NET’s most feared agents. If Glenn had used his own telepathy they would have known at once what he was. That they had come, instead of NETs more common thugs spelled bad news for him and Daniel. When the Grey finished gathering readings from Daniel he injected something into Daniel’s neck. Glenn could only guess that it was a sedative. A stretcher was brought. Glenn thought he would be taken next but when he heard the sound of a vehicle starting and driving off he dared to hope they had left him for dead. They hadn’t. The moment he tried to stand up he felt something roll off his back. It was a grenade. Damn you Thomas… damn you to hell. The grenade went off and that was that.
  15. The master copies of two whole "books" have gone missing from my cloud account. Have no choice to rewrite both of them. Ahhhh!

    1. Zombie


      bummer! I thought cloud backup + storage was copper-bottomed safe :(

    2. Cia


      back up back up back up. I keep my writing on Onedrive, which backs up to a micro SD card automatically on the Surface, and I also periodically download to separate thumb drives. Paranoid maybe, but better than losing novels. I'm so sorry you are dealing with that!

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