June 2005 Archives

Eagle Has Landed

Exploration - Part 2

Essdy Yarnspinner continues his story.

This first voyage of the starship Iguana gave this group of Nimrovs a great deal of confidence in their ability for intergalactic travel. They had gone farther from their home world than any other Nimrovs and were hoping to continue their adventures. They would have to turn what they had learned into supplies to mount another mission. They believed that their next mission they would interact with other races. These other races may even be friendly towards the Nimrov race. This is what Sparky Daniels had hoped. He was the linguistic expert on the crew and he was by far the best of the crew of the Iguana in using the gestural Galactic Commonwealth language.

These Nimrovs were hoping to become adventurers and explorers. They wished to travel where they could and exchange their knowledge for supplies. They had hoped that the United Nations of Earth government would be interested in their enterprise. Sadly, this was not the case. Thus, the Iguana's crew had to be adventurers for hire. They would have to find sponsors and patrons to mount each expedition. This would be difficult without the prospect of some tangible return. The next mission of the Iguana may be the last, as it was simply a charity run. Few were willing to help mount the expedition without the hint of profit. Without governmental sponsorship, the second mission of the Iguana may have been its last.

They gathered as many resources as they could and loaded them on the Iguana. The ship had as much supplies as she could hold. This mission was going to last as long as possible. They were going to run the "Izanian Gauntlet" and find some friendly individual in Commonwealth space. Perhaps they could find further sponsorship in alien worlds.

After entering Commonwealth space as they had the previous journey, they picked gate GC63:54:15. They had a few to choose from, but that one was similar in designation to the one they had just passed. Thus, if their records were lost, they should still be able to find the way home. While it was not a particularly busy Commonwealth system, the Nimrovs found themselves at the Selrach trading hub. They could dock at their first trading center and interact with Commonwealth citizens.

The bureaucrats of the Selrach system were annoyed by the Iguanas lack of Galactic Commonwealth certification. This would require them to fill out a great deal of paperwork. Further, since they were dealing with an unfamiliar vessel, some standard precautions also made more work for the Selrach crew. Thus, upon docking with the port, the ship and these Nimrov explorers were placed in quarantine. They could go nowhere until a Commonwealth representative arrived.

After several days of non-communication with anyone, the Iguana received a message from the Galactic Commonwealth. It stated:

First contact required a scanning of the crew and cargo. Any harmful organisms must be removed from the vessel before formally making contact. If self-contained breathing apparatus is not available to the members of the crew, an escort will be provided for the ship and it will be immediately escorted to the hypergate that they had passed through. Further communication will be made prior to the scanning process.

Sparky remarked how odd it was be the first person of his race to receive a Galactic Commonwealth form letter. However, they did have environment suits, so they were ready to meet their Commonwealth ambassador. Nevertheless, it took several more days for a member of the Commonwealth Council to make their way to the Selrach system.

There was a standard procedure and the crew of the Iguana and the Commonwealth first contact crew played it by the numbers. They asked many questions and they took many notes on the Nimrov conflict with the Izanians. They were pleased that the Izanians were unsuccessful in conquering another star system.

The crew of the Iguana took the first steps for the Nimrovs to join the Commonwealth. They filled out the proper forms and indicated the location of the Nimrov home world. It was then that they should have said something about their standard names. They did not, and thus these humans were stuck with the name of 'Nimrov'.

Further, the commonwealth began the process of building a hypergate directly from Nimrov space to commonwealth space. It would not be to the Selrach system, but to a more central location. There would not be free passage through this gate, so the crew of the Iguana would need to be certified and pay the fees if they were to continue to explore. The Commonwealth would allow them to use their ship to begin trading, and they explained the rules and regulations for commerce.

Once the gate between Nimrov and Commonwealth space was established, a government official escorted the Iguana to Nimrov 3 and the seat of Nimrov authority. This official had the power to establish normalized relations with this emerging world. This was an exiting time for the Nimrovs.

However, the Iguana was going to have to cease being a scout ship and become a trader. Eagle's crew had little interest in being traders. The crew abandoned him and decided to stay on their home world. Sparky Daniels offered to stay on board the Iguana, but Eagle decided he could use the room for more cargo.

Eagle refitted his ship to be a cargo ship. He greatly increased the capacity, but he was not sure what to carry. Plant goods are unique among the various planets. Thus, there is always demand for unique edible plants and processed plant products. Thus, Eagle decided to trade these commodities. Nimrov is the original source and the best source for 'Chocolate.' They are also responsible for the corn that is referred to in Galactic Standard as 'Maize.'

Since Eagle's ship was not originally designed to haul cargo, it was difficult for him to make a living as a trader. Eventually chocolate would become a big demand item, but there was no way he could keep up with the demand. It became difficult for Eagle to compete with other traders who began making contacts on Nimrov 3. The Nimrov Chocolate run became very lucrative to several traders. All of which were Eagle's competitors.

Eagle became increasingly frustrated with being unable to compete with non-Nimrov traders. On one chocolate run, he met a trader by the name of Fejj Recked. The Izanian Empire displaced Fejj. His home world had been 'conquered' by the Izanian when he was just eight. His parents were traders, and continued to trade. They just no longer had a home or home world. When Fejj came of age, he obtained his own ship and went into business for himself. He was a bounty hunter, trader, cargo hauler, and part time pirate. He had a mid-sized trading ship that was no thing of beauty, but it was still more advanced than the ship Eagle had designed.

Eagle and Fejj began to exchange goods regularly including maize and chocolate. After several transactions, they became loosely tied business partners. However, Eagle's ship could never handle a large enough load of goods to please Fejj. Demand was always outstripping supply on Nimrov goods. Therefore, Fejj would occasionally make the run to Nimrov 3 himself. Competition was increasing, and Eagle was lagging behind. Eventually, Fejj made Nimrov 3 a regular stop on his trade route. Thus, it eliminated the need for Eagle.

In the mean time, Eagle was bored with the day-to-day grind of being a trader. He wanted more. He liked being in charge, but he could not afford to do any exploration like he wanted. So when Fejj offered him a position on his ship, Eagle jumped at the chance. Eagle signed up with Fejj in order to explore more, and to learn what he could about the vast technologies the Galactic community had to offer.

At his first opportunity, Eagle sold his ship and trading route information to one of his Nimrov friends. This individual was interested in exploring the galaxy and was a much better businessperson that Eagle. This trader made chocolate even more in demand.

Eagle on the other hand was ready to be an engineer again. He was always a quick study with technology. Although he started as a grunt mechanic, we quickly earned his way up the ladder in Fejj's enterprises. Once he learned how something worked, he could think of several ways to make things better. Eagle became a very valuable asset to Fejj. Once Eagle knew how the systems on Fejj's ship worked, he could fix them quickly.

Fejj's ship was prone to breakdowns. His ship is one of those early Model G freighters. They are getting up there in age, but they are still a quality ship. Eagle eventually learned how the Model G worked backwards and forwards. To this day, there is probably no one who knows more about its systems. Moreover, if Eagle was given the right equipment and parts, he could vastly improve any system on board the 'G.'

At one point, Fejj's ship failed a Galactic Commonwealth inspection. The propulsion system had developed a major plasma leak. This had to be repaired before the ship would be allowed to leave the inspection station. Eagle went to work on it, and when he was finished, the inspectors tried to hire Eagle on the spot. The overhaul had improved the performance of the propulsion system by 25 times. In fact, it was far greater than most brand new ships.

Furthermore, in one instance when Fejj had to run a blockade in order to complete his mission, the improved propulsion system allowed them to outrun the enforcing body. With this upgrade, Fejj's ship was now one of the fastest ships around. Not only that, but the reliability was greatly improved. Fejj rewarded Eagle with a large bonus.

Fejj also set Eagle up with the task of learning other systems on the ship. Eagle went through the various systems one by one. Learning how they worked, and improving each system as he went along. However, it was destined to end at some time. Eagle was not good at following orders, and Fejj was not great at giving them. Nevertheless, the alliance was very lucrative while it lasted. Fejj could earn plenty of credits with his regular and legal trading that it was becoming uncommon for him to need to run from the authorities.

One day, one of Fejj's trading partners, a ship from the Mitciv star system was late for an exchange. Fejj did a quick scan of the area, and he discovered the cargo ship drifting in space. Mitciv ship had been attacked by a group of pirates. The ship had minimal life support, and Fejj's ship arrived moments before their power systems failed.

The Mitciv trade routes had become targets for these pirates. They pleaded with the Galactic Commonwealth to do something, but a segment of the route was not in their jurisdiction. The Mitciv offered a small reward, but no one would accept the challenge against these well-established and ruthless pirates. After several rounds of negotiations, the Galactic Council upped the ante and included a large reward of its own. Fejj's crew agreed to take on these pirates with the hopes of earning this large reward. However, every attempt by Fejj to thwart these pirates had failed. They were just too well organized and too well armed.

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Eagle Has Landed

Exploration - Part 3

Continuing Essdy Yarnspinner's story:

However, Eagle had a plan. These Pirates had a rag-tag fleet of ships. In fact, they had a few Model Gs. In order for them to be as organized as they seemed, Eagle guessed that they had to coordinate their attacks using their computers. Thus, the computers must communicate between the ships. With them being in contact, that meant that their communication could be intercepted. If he could intercept their network traffic, and communicate with one of the computers, he could wreak havoc on the pirate attack.

Of course, the problem was he did not know how they communicated or whether he could hack his way in. Thus, determining the link protocol was the first order of business. As a first phase of this process, Fejj provided escort duty for several Mitciv trading runs. However, the pirates kept their distance during these runs. However, they did not establish a communication blackout, and Eagle got enough information from this escort duty to determine what communication standards these pirates were using. He also managed to capture a few of the communications streams for further study.

With the upgrades to Fejj's computer system, Eagle had no problem discovering the means of communication between the ships. He was ready for step two. Now that he was able to read the communication, he needed to be able to speak to the computers. With the continuing escort duty, he eventually was able to establish two-way communication with the pirate computers. Thus, he was ready to place his plan into action.

Since the pirates' attacks were well coordinated, these ships were lax on security to improve the performance of their ships. Most ships use their computers to manage all of the ships functions. The navigation and the sensors were all fed through the computer. Thus, if you tell the computer that the sensors detect a ship, the computer will report this to the ship's crew. This is true even if no ship is around. This is what Eagle planned to do.

If Eagle could get into one of the pirate ship's computer system, he could give that pirate crew false information. If the computers were passing information about enemy movements, this could be passed on to other pirate ships. With the proper sequence of events Eagle believed he could somewhat control what happened. Once he was confident that he could affect the pirate sensors, he created a program that the human's call a 'Trojan horse.'

Let me explain this reference. A Trojan horse is a reference to an ancient Earth story about the ending of a long war. The city of Troy had nearly impenetrable walls. Their enemies spent many years attempting to get inside the city walls. Eventually, one group built a large horse out of wood and gave it to the other warring faction. Inside the horse was a group of soldiers. So, once inside the protected city, they could spring out and do whatever they wished.

A Trojan horse program is one that sits inside a computer, and when the time is right it will spring into action. What Eagle planned to do was plant this program in the Pirate's computer system. With his ability to enter the pirate's communication stream, he could plant this program on any one of their escort missions. The pirates were wary of Fejj's ship and never attacked with his ship in the vicinity; however, they were close enough to make computer contact.

What the program did when it was activated was to inform the pirate crew that they were under attack by the Mitciv. No matter how this crew responded to the threat, the computer would indicate that the Mitciv had successfully counteracted their actions.

The program would activate as soon as they locked their weapons on any Mitciv ship. This program would cause ships to appear out of nowhere, and appear to inflict major damage on these pirate ships. Thus, no matter what actions these pirates took, their ship would become disabled. At least, that is what the computer would tell them. Since all system status went through the computer, the ship could be completely disabled without a shot being fired.

Once the program was implanted in several pirate vessels, Fejj stopped the escort trips. They just waited to see if their plan would work. After a few runs, the pirates noticed that the Mitciv were making unescorted runs again. Therefore, they attacked. The computer program activated, and the pirate ship would eventually be completely disabled. They had no choice but to surrender to the intended victim's ship.

This system worked remarkably well, and in a relatively short amount of time, the entire fleet of pirates had been captured. The Galactic Commonwealth put them on trial, and the pirate raids had been ended. For their work, Fejj received the reward promised by the GC. The Mitciv were so grateful, they rewarded Eagle with his own ship. The Mitciv received the pirate ships for compensation, and they offered Eagle his pick. He thought about taking one of the Pirate's Model Gs, but they required a crew to operate. He did not relish the idea of rounding up any type of crew. He knew the Model Gs backwards and forwards, but he decided not to take one of them.

He chose one that could carry plenty of cargo, but needed no crew to operate. It was a newer model than the G's, but no one knew what model it was. It was a custom ship, and it was just Eagle's style. It would give him the chance to learn different computer, propulsion and other systems. He could customize this ship to be one of the best ships in the galaxy.

He instantly renamed it to 'The Iguana II.' It was the same name as his old ship. This ship was much more fitting of the name Iguana than the original. At some point, someone had it painted green. Some of the paint had come off giving it the appearance of a green ship with brownish stripes. This is roughly the color scheme of an iguana. However, it did not look anything like the long skinny reptile. If you thought of a lizard eating its own tail, perhaps you could make out something vaguely lizard-like, but Eagle just liked the name. The whole ship suited Eagle just fine.

It was not at all pretty, but it was Eagle's ship. It was Eagle's Iguana. Once again, he was free to go anywhere he liked. While onboard Fejj's ship, he had saved up many galactic credits for provisions and tolls. He was ready to go out on his own and make his own way.

He was a trader again, but he had some valuable experience behind him. He made some contacts while working for Fejj. He had some trade routes and cargo in mind. He knew how he was going to make money without working too hard.

He learned quite a bit about galactic space ships while on board with Fejj Recked. However, now he would be able to customize his ship to his own liking. He did not have to answer to anyone but himself. It is how he liked things. Eagle Douglass was now a bounty hunter, trader, cargo hauler, and righter of wrongs. He could be his own boss and travel where he wanted. He was a human with knowledge of more technology than any other human was. He would go farther out than any other human. He would make many friends and have great influence on the Galactic Commonwealth.

"That is quite a tale. Thanks. Hey tender, give me one of those carbonic acids and sucroses. So, Yarnspinner, how do you know so much about this Eagle fellow? Yarnspinner? Hey tender, where did he go?"

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Terra Mortis

Chapter 1

By Dwayne MacInnes

Brady West was trying to relax at the family summer cabin deep in the Cascades. The sun was shining for a change, a nice change from Washington's usual rainfall. He often came here to get away from the busy and hectic life in Seattle. This cabin has always been a place of comfort in Brady's life and now was a time when he really needed some comfort. Especially when he would have to tell his parents that he had just flunked out of college.

Three years of aimless academic pursuit finally culminating in failure. "Yeah, the old man is going to flip over this one," Brady thought to himself.

His parents always wanted Brady to be more responsible and make something of his life. Finally, his father proposed that either he go to the University of Washington or join the military. Brady chose U of W over the military. He wasn't too anxious to be sent to the Middle East to either kill or be killed in some remote desert town. "Hell, the old man even promised to pay for everything if I would just get a degree in anything," Brady mused.

Nevertheless, after borrowing over a hundred thousand dollars for school, Brady failed. This failure meant more than just another lecture from his successful surgeon of a father, but also the entire cost accrued during those three years. There was no way his father was going to pay for his failure once again.

Well, it would be another couple of months before his parents would even notice that he was no longer at school. They seldom kept in touch save for the occasional email. In the meantime, he could stay at the family summer cabin. It was more than the usual summer retreat that most well to do families had in this area. In fact, this cabin was built by his great grandfather as a year round residence. There was an old water pump in the rear and deeper in the woods was the old outhouse. The trail occasionally had to be cut back because of the rapidly encroaching foliage. Fortunately, the cabin had been upgraded with modern conveniences such as electricity and indoor plumbing. The old wood burning stove was still the only source of heat though. The cabin offered a great deal of seclusion being off a rarely used gravel road on thirty acres of land.

Brady's grandfather had added a lot onto the original cabin after he retired from the railroad and had decided to spend the rest of his life up here away from the sprawling city. As a lonely widower Brady's grandfather found the seclusion welcoming. The cabin sported two stories. On the ground floor was the living room in front of the kitchen/dining room. Windows lined the wooden walls letting in a lot of natural sunlight. There were a set of stairs that ran up to the second story balcony. The balcony itself led to the two bedrooms and the bathroom on the upper stories. Across from the balcony high on the wall over the living room were the mounted animal heads from the various animals that Brady's grandfather loved to hunt.

This cabin had many amenities; there was a well-stocked pantry, a radio, television, and even a telephone. If he wanted to access the internet, he could use the dial-up modem for his computer. His father never believed in getting Wi-Fi or a cable modem for the cabin when one was supposed to be getting away from it all. It was quite a big deal when the television was brought into the cabin. Of course, there was no cable or satellite; there were just some local stations that he could tune in with the old aerial. It was far from the lifestyle Brady was used to but it was far better than living on the streets, which may very well be his future after he was disowned by his father. So until the time when everything came crashing down around his ears, he would enjoy one last summer as a hermit.

Being alone wasn't something new to Brady. He was an only child to a father who was always at the hospital and a mother who ran her own flower shop. Brady's mother used to bring him to the shop to watch over him before he entered kindergarten. He would always play in the back of the shop with his toys. Rarely was he able to play with the few friends he had as a youth. From grade school through high school, he tended to stay to himself. Of course, being one who tended to spend his free time reading outside or in the school library studying there was a lot of teasing and being bullied. College was better because it was very easy to get lost in the crowd. It was seldom that he would have more than one class with the same person.

The college courses weren't hard for Brady. He was actually a very bright young man. However, finishing anything wasn't something he did. The simple task of just turning in homework was beyond him. This would infuriate his professors to no end. It was obvious that Brady was intelligent from the very high test scores he received, but the lack of turned in work assignments would force the professors to give him marginal at best grades. This finally ended up with Brady winding up on academic probation and finally in flunking out of the university.

The cool breeze flowed in through the open window bringing with it scents of green leaves, budding flowers, and the sounds of chirping birds. "This is a life I could get used to," thought Brady.

Once again, he remembered the letter informing him of his being kicked out of college and he suddenly felt sick to his stomach. It was too late now to go back and turn in his homework. "If only I would have just turned in those stupid assignments," Brady thought angrily.

He shook his head and sat down on the couch. He needed something to take his mind off his problems if only it was for a few hours. Kicking his feet up on the coffee table, something that would get him a disapproving look from his mother, and grabbing the remote he flicked on the TV. There was some old sitcom on. Usually he didn't care for these shows but it was better than getting an ulcer worrying about his fate. After a few minutes, Brady found himself chuckling to himself over the antics of the unfortunate castaways on some deserted island. Brady had totally forgotten his troubles when a breaking news report disrupted the broadcast.

The reporter was an attractive middle aged woman sitting behind a desk with the image of a flame with the word "fire" superimposed on the background blue screen. She began, "Sorry, to interrupt your scheduled programming but a terrible fire is burning at the ColTech pharmaceuticals plant. We have Terry Lang on site to bring you more information."

"Thank you, Miranda," a young man in white shirt and red tie standing in front of burning complex surrounded by rescue vehicles replied. "I am now in front of the ColTech pharmaceuticals plant. Authorities have reported that the fire started in one of the test labs at around 6:00 this morning. This fire then spread quickly throughout the building and has been burning through much of the morning. Firefighters are trying desperately to get the blaze under control. Authorities haven't released any names, but they believe there were only a few people inside the building when the fire broke out. I have no information as to whether anyone has gotten out. The firefighters will try to determine the cause of the fire after it is under control. Back to you, Miranda."

The newsroom once again filled the screen. "Terry we at the news desk have heard that this lab was the target of the Animal Liberation Army. Is there any evidence that the A.L.A. may be involved?"

"There was an initial report of a possible break in before the building caught fire, but so far the police and the spokespeople from ColTech are denying this. We know that there had been many protests over ColTech using test animals in the past couple of weeks. Though ColTech denies..." suddenly behind the reporter, a small group of firefighters are seen bringing out a struggling and screaming girl in her twenties. "Just a minute Miranda, there appears to be a young woman being brought out by the firefighters. She looks to be in a lot of pain by the way she is screaming and struggling."

A police officer approaches the reporter and his crew. "I'm sorry, but you'll have to move back."

"Officer, can you tell us what is going on?"

"I'm sorry, but you'll have to move immediately."

Behind the reporter and the police officer, a fireman jumps back holding his arm. "Damn bitch just bit me!"

"Restrain her!" yelled another firefighter.

A paramedic runs over to the firefighter and starts looking at his arm. Another paramedic starts working on the restrained and still struggling and screaming woman. "Get another monitor over here," yells the paramedic bent over the woman, "this one isn't working."

The momentarily distracted police officer turns back to the reporter, "I'm sorry, but you will have to move back now!"

"Miranda, as you can see from the drama unfolding behind us, we'll have to relocate. We'll reestablish contact at our new site."

"Thank you Terry Lang," responds the newscaster back in the newsroom. "Let us recap the facts as we have them. Around 6:00 this morning a fire broke out and quickly spread throughout the ColTech pharmaceuticals plant. There may or may not have been a break in by the A.L.A at the plant at the onset of the fire. There were a few people working at the plant, but it is uncertain as to if any are now still in the building. We have just seen one individual brought out and she is now receiving first aid. She has been badly burned... what's that?" Miranda is holding a hand to her ear to help her hear the tiny earphone that is in it. "We will now take you back to the scene with Terry Lang."

The scene returns to Terry standing now much further forward of the rescue vehicles. "Well, Miranda, there is much going on now. We have been asked to move further away from the scene. But as you can see, we can still see the paramedics working on the young woman. She has just been strapped down onto the gurney. She appears to be trying to bite the paramedics and firefighters." The paramedics are seen lifting the gurney to its fully extended position and begin quickly wheeling it to an ambulance.

"Get her to the hospital immediately, these signs have to be wrong!" yells a paramedic, "Her signs are all screwy. She has no pulse and the equipment says that she is DEAD!"

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The Last War

To Whom It May Concern:

We have always been a warring race. We could never get along with our neighbors, and we are about to pay the ultimate price. You see, I am one of the premiere scientists of our people. The last few years I have forsaken the warrior ways and have concentrated on space travel. Our planet does not have long. The launch will happen shortly, and I do not have a lot of time.

10 years ago, I created a "Doomsday" weapon. This weapon was very dangerous, and it was a weapon of last resort. It was a weapon that would destroy our world and everyone on it. When I designed it, I believed it would be used only as a deterrent. This weapon was most destructive and there is nothing that can stop it. It was a masterful method of destruction.

In fact, it bought us 3 years of peace. Those were three glorious years. I believed that there was no more reason to pursue methods of killing. This is when I began looking into other careers. There was not much money to be had outside the military. I considered going back to the University, but my bosses would not let me. I knew too much, and they would sooner see me dead. We may have been at peace, but there were still dangers.

I had always been interested in astronomy and space flight. It is what brought me into science in the first place. I was intrigued by our sister planet. It was so blue. I remember hearing about the interesting creatures that inhabited our neighbor. It had long been suspected that we could live on that planet. I had often dreamed of visiting that far off world.

As part of my job and in my spare time, I researched rocketry. Our people used rockets for missiles. Since I had top security clearance, I had access to much research. I tinkered with various designs in during my off hours. That was a peaceful three years.

A breakdown in security changed everything. Suddenly, we were not the only people with my doomsday weapon. Another group got the weapon and threatened to use it. Apparently, they did not comprehend the power of the weapon. They ignorantly believed that this terrible weapon would be useful in a limited way. Thus, they restarted the wars.

Before our warring ways we lived on a lush and green planet. Our planet was very much like our neighboring planet is now. Under its blue exterior, it is green and full of life. There were still pockets of thick greenery like my beloved house and garden, but those are all gone now because of our ignorant use of our brains. The destruction of our planet was senseless.

We were once a thriving people. The other countries that shared our world were also thriving. The few years of peace revived portions of our war torn world. Some of our cities were on the mend. Some places were becoming green instead of being red with the blood of our citizens. We threw all that away.

There are no cities on our neighboring planet. We will have to find a place to live somewhere in its wild areas. It looks like there are vast stretches that are completely habitable. We will just have to pick one. Perhaps we will just go where the computer takes us.

Soon their will be nothing left on our planet. The red dust is taking over everything. It is red like dirt soaked in blood. That is what my weapon did. It would break everything down and turn it into a fine red dust. Nothing can stop it. I guess the irony that they used it so close to their own boarder should be somewhat satisfying. The wind blew it towards them, and everything they had built was soon destroyed. The weapon has almost run its course, as there was little left that was not turned into that awful red dust.

I hope our blue neighbor has rich soil. I long for black dirt. I long for the days when we had a fine garden. My wife and I had not started a family. We did not want our kids to live with the daily threat of war. We are both still young, so if it is feasible on our new home that we will have children.

When the wars started up again, my hobby engulfed me. I felt that our only hope would be to colonize our friendly neighbor. I planned to have an exploratory mission to scout out places to colonize. Once this awful weapon was unleashed, I had to scramble just to get the rocket ready. It is too bad that I could not fit more individuals on the rocket. When I originally designed it, it was only meant for one with enough cargo for a return trip. However, with the removal of some of the cargo space, I can now save my wife and myself.

Our home here felt like paradise during peaceful times. It was lush and my wife was an excellent gardener. We had all of our wants taken care of. Our property had plenty of fruit trees and the eastern portion of the garden provided a great bounty. It was full of trees that were pleasant in sight and good for food. A river flowed through their garden that was quite pleasant. This river provided water and fish. We were fortunate to have that place.

The river is now gone. It is a red dusty riverbed now. The trees are gone too. The destruction of our world is nearly complete. Why are we such a warring people? People have been saying for years that our warrior ways will be the end of our planet. Why didn't we listen? Why couldn't we live in peace?

I was a University professor when we bought our place. I was not making a lot of money, but we were getting by. However, my wife wanted more. She spoke with an awful man. I rue the day that she spoke to that serpent, I mean person. He spoke of great wealth that I could gain from using my knowledge. He lured me into that life with his ways.

I developed several weapons for this man. He paid me well, but I now feel bad about the evil that I have unleashed. Once my terrible weapon was unleashed, they could not stop me from quitting. However, the damage had already been done. I would spend all my time getting ready to save my wife and myself. What a terrible thing I have done! I am responsible for the great destruction of our world. I did bring us a few years of peace, but that is of little comfort.

Now my beautiful place is gone. The trees are all dust. I had to leave my home and we must flee before it is too late. We will have to live with our decisions. Luckily, we have a place to run. There must be other civilizations that go extinct because they have no place to go. They simply destroy all that they build and no being knows they ever existed. It is probably too late, but I hope our children learn from our mistakes.

That is why I am writing this. Someday, someone will discover what we have done. I just hope our warring ways are through. I hope we can learn to live in peace and harmony. We are all the same. We all have the same wants, hopes, and desires. We all want what is best for our children. We all want to feel safe where we live. We cannot do that with the wars. We can only do it by learning to get along with our neighbors. If they do us wrong, we must forgive. Otherwise, we begin a great cycle of destruction.

I must run. The red dust is quickly encroaching. The rocket is ready and my wife is aboard. I hope I have not dallied too long. The last non-red spot is where the rocket will launch, and that spot is getting smaller all the time. I must dash. Eve and I will make the best of our new home after being cast out of paradise. Please forgive me for eating from the tree of knowledge and using it for evil. Do not be like us!

Yours faithfully,


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Terra Mortis

Chapter 2

By Dwayne MacInnes

The rain lightly drumming on the roof woke Brady up. It was hard to tell how late he slept-in this morning due to the overcast skies. His hand fumbled around the top of the nightstand trying to grab his watch and in the process knocking his glasses to the floor. "Damn," mumbled Brady.

Finally grabbing his watch, he pulled it close to his face. 11:36 A.M. the watch proclaimed. It was not quite as late as Brady initially thought. He then strapped the watch to his wrist and then gently began searching the floor with his hands for his wayward glasses. If he accidentally broke them, he would be practically blind. Fortunately, it was not long before his glasses were recovered with nothing worse than some fingerprints on the lenses.

Brady took a long shower and then began scrounging around the pantry looking for something that would appeal to him for breakfast. Instant oatmeal was about as much time he wanted to spend cooking. His father absolutely refused to have a microwave at the cabin. So it'll have to be some old fashioned hot water boiled in the coffee pot on the electric range. As the water was starting to heat up Brady turned on the radio. His father loved the oldies so it was still on K-98.5 home of the 50's and 60's.

"This is news on CNN radio, the fire at the ColTech pharmaceuticals plant in Marysville, Washington has been put out. In yesterday's blaze it has been reported that six firefighters are missing and it is feared that they may be trapped inside the plant. Only one person was retrieved of the nine people reported working at the plant. She was reported as suffering from convulsions probably brought on by some of the chemicals in the plant. This is news on CNN radio."

The CNN music died out as the ads started playing. Brady found some instant cocoa and started adding water to a bowl of apple cinnamon oatmeal and a cup of hot chocolate. The CNN music piped back in and the reporter started reporting the news from around the world. After ten minutes of news, the music started playing. It was an old Stones' piece. One thing that Brady shared with his father was a love for classic rock music. They both loved the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and the Doors.

"Well, I guess something of my father rubbed off on me," Brady thought to himself.

Brady didn't really have ill feelings towards his father. He loved him very much. It was that there were so many regrets. Dr. Herbert West was always at work or on call. It was only two weeks a year that the West family got together and spent the time at the cabin. A time that with increasing frequency was spent with Brady's parents lecturing him and lamenting his seemingly lack of goals and accomplishments. They just didn't understand him. Brady really didn't understand himself.

As the last song died off the announcer started reading the news. "It is 65 degrees here in the downtown area. The rains will continue throughout the day with a 35 percent chance tomorrow. The woman taken to the Marysville hospital yesterday from the ColTech fire has been identified as a local student and a member of the Animal Liberation Army. Her name is being withheld. She is reported to be in critical condition and is in the intensive care unit.

"In other news, a family of five in Marysville has been brutally murdered. Police believe that this is the work of a cult. There doesn't appear to have been a weapon involved and the family members have been partially consumed.

"Now that is sick! We all hope that the person or persons involved are quickly apprehended. If you have any information please call your local police department or call us here at the radio station, K-98.5 your home of the 50's and 60's classic rock."

"Man," thought Brady. "It appears I got of town in time."

After finishing his breakfast, Brady opened up his laptop and plugged the modem into the phone jack. After the annoying electric handshake and the agonizingly slow dial-up connection was complete, Brady accessed his email. About twenty pieces of spam were quickly deleted without a further glance. Another email about his new status or rather lack of it at the University that was also quickly deleted. The last message was from his mother.

"Brady, how are you doing? Your father and I are doing quite well. Maybe you can drop by for dinner sometime this week. I'm sure they can't beat a home cooked meal there on campus. Well, we hope that your summer classes go well. Love, Mom and Dad."

Brady briefly responded saying that he'd be tied up all week with lab and fieldwork. That sounded official enough and should buy him some time before he'd have to make another excuse. He hoped that he could keep them from figuring out his stalling tactics until he could find some way of breaking the news of his failure to his parents without them killing and possibly eating him. "Damn, that wasn't funny," Brady thought.

The announcer's voice broke over the station again. "Hey people! this is not a joke. I've had four people call in claiming that they saw eight people, three of them in firefighter's uniforms leaving the murdered family's house last night. How sick can you be? The tragedy of the fire and this murder isn't something for you people to be joking about. So please get your friends to stop calling in. You are keeping calls with potentially real information from getting into the station. Now, here is Snoopy versus the Red Baron by the Royal Guardsmen."

Brady turned off the radio. It was getting too depressing listening to it. He was already grappling with his own personal depression without having to deal with the sad state of the world adding its own crappy load to it.

Grabbing a book in his backpack Brady started to lose himself in ancient Roman history. For some reason he had always found history particularly fascinating, especially Roman history. Brady knew more about dead Roman emperors than he did about U.S. presidents from the last ten years. Politics never interested Brady. His parents had differing opinions on this one thing. His father tended to be more conservative and his mother more liberal. Brady supposed it was because that his father came from a well off family where as his mother grew up on very little. Brady's mother every once in awhile would comment on how she got her Christmas presents from the Salvation Army or that her parents would skip a meal so that she and auntie Jane could eat.

The fading light outside made Brady aware that he had spent the last six hours reading his history book.

"I guess I should make some dinner. There should be some mac 'n' cheese in the pantry and I brought up some milk along with the other groceries," thought Brady.

As Brady was getting dinner ready he decided to watch a little TV. He grabbed the remote and hit the "On" button with his thumb. Brady stood there staring at the TV from the kitchen/dinning room while he was preparing dinner.

As the screen warmed up the image of a reporter outside a hospital and in front of a police cordon came into view. It was already dark out and the flashing lights and sirens made the scene even more eerie.

"The hospital has been sealed off," huffed the rapidly speaking reporter, "There have been tales of unspeakable horrors from within. The 911 call from the nurse's station claimed that there was a group of naked and half-clad people butchering and eating the patients from within. Two SWAT teams have taken up position around the hospital and another team has gone in to try and subdue these Cult Killers as they are being called."

Suddenly shots were heard coming from within the building. Brady could only stare transfixed to the screen. "What the hell is going on?" asked Brady. The police in the background started sending in more officers as the fire intensified. Flashes from the muzzles of the guns could be seen in the hospital's darkened windows.

T"here appears to be some sort of gun fight going on. From the intensity of it, this matter should be resolved in short order. We all pray that there will be a minimal number of innocents..." Suddenly, a group of people dressed in hospital gowns staggered out of the front automatic doors. Their arms were outstretched, all appeared to have been wounded in some manner by the Cult Killers.

"It looks like we have some patients leaving the hospital now," the reporter continued.

The gunfire in the hospital was more sporadic now as the police outside started opening fire on the patients leaving the building.

"OH MY GOD!!!" screamed the reporter. "The police have open fire on the patients. Don't they know what they are doing?" The reporter turns around and starts running towards the cordon. "Stop firing! You are killing innocent people!"

As the police begin firing into the mob leaving the hospital, it starts to become evident that their bullets are having no effect. Shortly, the patients start grappling with the police closest to them.

"Get back!" yells a police officer. "They're breaking through!" The officer is grabbed by an old man in a gown from the back. The old man's grey hands grab the police officer's hair and pull back the officer's head as the blood stained teeth sinks into the unsuspecting victim's neck.

The camera operator drops the camera as the mob overwhelms the police cordon. Before the camera hits the ground and static fills the screen, the sound of gunfire has all but stopped and the carnage is rapidly spreading.

Brady is unaware of the hissing water boiling over onto the stove instantly turning into steam as it hits the burner. All he could do was stare at the TV.

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The Founding

The year was 2138 C.E. and the sun was bombarding the earth with an unusually large amount of cosmic radiation. Furthermore, Gamma Radiation from the nearby Hasenpfeffer Nebula began reaching the Earth. This year also saw Haley's comet returning for its 76th year visit. It was the year that a probe landed upon the surface of this icy comet to study it. Unfortunately when this probe returned to earth, it was lost in the Pacific Ocean. This was the year that the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste facility had a minor problem and irradiated some local wildlife. In addition, many of the existing members of the mutant and super hero population began having children. Yes, 2138 saw a huge increase in the number of super heroes.

It was a major concern among many citizens of the towns and cities of the world. Once there were a couple dozen super heroes helping protect major metropolises. Now, small towns and rural areas may have the protection of a group of extraordinary individuals. There just wasn't enough crime and super villainy to go around. Something had to be done. Thus, the world leaders got together to look for a solution.

After much debate, and objection by a particular super hero, it was decided to convert Ultra-Keen Guy's "Citadel of Reclusiveness" at the South Pole into a city of super heroes, by super heroes, for super heroes. Then they realized that Cleveland had long been abandoned, and decided that would be a much better place. It was decided that the government was going to create a brand new city where superheroes could live in peace and harmony, and that city would be called "Supervania!"

Super Supervania
Where good folks know no pain-ia,
Where justice shall ever reign-ia,
Yes Super Supervania.

A home for the mightiest of the mighty!
A home for the rightiest of the righty!
It would be a home
In which you could call your own!
And evil would be nowhere in sighty!

Super Supervania
Where the rain falls mainly on the plane-ia
It's mostly free of megalomania!
Yes Super Supervania!

Many of the world's super hero and super hero families moved to the city of Supervania. They were hoping for a better life without the scorn and ridicule of the non-cape wearing and unmasked citizenry. However, without the prospect of an occasional super villain uprising, there was not much for these trained crime fighters to do. Thus, it was decided to create a few evil ninja cyborgs to keep the superhero crime fighting skills sharp.

However, because of a computer malfunction and a programming bug, these evil ninja cyborgs would not fight against their superhero foes. These beings created for the sole purpose to oppose the actions of the superhero citizenry of Supervania would not partake in any fiendish endeavor. They instead opened up shops and stores inside the Supervania city limits. They turned away from their former lives of crime and mischief and decided to become lawful business owners.

To counteract the lawfulness of the created evil ninja cyborgs, the world governments began sentencing the worst criminal minds to become evil ninja cyborgs. Thus, the prisons were being emptied and the government was creating more and more evil ninja cyborgs. However, these former criminals still would not rise up against their superhero overlords and would simply opened up more and more businesses.

Further, do to perceived discrimination and unfair competition from the superhero community; the evil ninja cyborgs began to form support groups. At these meetings they would discuss the oppression they felt from the government and the superhero community. Eventually, the businesses of these support groups began to band together to better compete with the superhero businesses. With this new found unity, their businesses began working together and gaining more and more wealth and power.

Under the direction of their Head Ninja L. Edward Roy, an increasing number of small evil ninja cyborg businesses began working together. In direct competition with the superhero community, more and more services would be offered by their evil ninja cyborg counterparts. L. Edward Roy would gather resources and purchase businesses throughout the world. Eventually this loosely knit group of unrelated businesses became a large conglomeration which became America's Original Evil Ninja Cyborg Incorporated.

After a few years, America's Original Evil Ninja Cyborg (AOENC) Inc. became the largest corporation in the world. There was not a business venture around that did not have an evil ninja cyborg competitor. There was AOENC Records Ltd., AOENC Video Productions, AOENC Dry Cleaning Services, and on and on. With each passing year, the government office in charge of evil ninja cyborg creation (OCOENCC) would transform criminals into evil ninja cyborgs. The evil ninja cyborg working population was becoming immense.

Eventually, these evil ninja cyborgs began running most of the shops and stores in Supervania. Once AOENC Inc. ran most of the businesses in Supervania, tensions began to rise between the evil ninja cyborg shop owners and the citizens of Supervania. Furthermore, there weren't enough jobs to employ all of the created evil ninja cyborgs. Some of these unemployed evil ninja cyborgs would enjoy causing trouble for the Supervanian citizenry. This is when the fighting between the two groups began in earnest.

It started with evil ninja cyborg teenagers just looking for some "kicks." The evil ninja cyborg residents of Supervania chalked it up to "kids being kids." However, the superheros of Supervania didn't see it that way.

"These over exuberant youths are harassing the fair citizens of our city," proclaimed the superhero spokesperson, Spokeswoman. "Up with this we shall not put!" she continued.

The tensions between the two groups began to rise. Clashes between the two groups became more common. Suddenly, Supervania became the town that the superheroes and the world government had all hoped.

Super Supervania
Where yarn comes by the skein-ia,
Restaurants have little problems with ptomaine-ia,
Yes Super Supervania.

This story in PDF form

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Terra Mortis

Chapter 3

By Dwayne MacInnes

"Damn it!" screamed Brady as he slammed the phone back into the cradle. He had been trying for the past five days to contact his parents. But all the phone lines were busy and there hadn't been an open line since the quarantine. Without the phone line he couldn't even check his email.

The TV had been playing nonstop since the hospital incident in Marysville eight days ago. The news had been constantly reporting a strange and growing number of gruesome murders by an insane mob. The latest speculation was that a terrorist organization had poison the water supply with some sort of waterborne disease that was causing its victims to go insane. The governor had called out the National Guard to help control the panic and take control of the situation. So far to no avail.

Marysville, Seattle, and even Tacoma have been quarantined. The Bremerton naval base had been evacuated. It was reminiscent of the last days before the fall of Saigon. People were trying everything to get out of the cities. The president had called up federal troops to enforce the quarantine. There had been a no fly zone instated and any aircraft that violated it was instantly shot down. Oregon and Vancouver had their borders closed down so no one could get in or out. Any ship or boat that tried to leave the coast or Puget Sound was instantly destroyed by the navy and coast guard. There would be no rescue attempts.

During the State of the Union on the previous night, the president declared the western half of the state of Washington off limits in order to try and contain the growing and seemingly incurable disease. Martial law was in full force now. All the passes in the Cascades had troops manning the blockades with orders to shoot anyone attempting to cross them.

Brady kept thinking to himself that this couldn't be happening. Not here. Not in the United States. The whole thing was happening too fast. Everything looked to be out of control.

"The governor still encourages people to lock themselves into their homes and to stay off the streets. Troops of the National Guard and the army are sweeping through the streets to clean out the diseased mob that seems to have taken over many neighborhoods. Hazmat teams are investigating the cause of the sickness and so far they have no ideas as to source or even if there is a clue to the cure. Once again please stay in your homes. If you have any personal weapons have them at hand incase the mobs start to move into your neighborhood. But once again stay in your house and do not try to confront the mobs on your own if it can be avoided."

The reporter sitting at the desk had obviously not slept in a long time. His hair was in disarray and he hadn't shaved for awhile either. His shirt's top button was undone and his tie hung loosely around his neck.

"There have been several calls to the station stating that these people are not alive. This of course, is not a substantiated rumor. But the one piece of advice that is being offered is to shoot them in the head. It appears that only head damaged will kill these diseased people.

"Remember do not try to leave the city. All people approaching the checkpoints will be shot. We are still under quaran..."

Just then the room in the cabin went completely black. It was about 11:30 p.m. when the power went out. The sudden darkness and complete silence started to work on Brady's imagination. He found himself starting to hyperventilate. Calm down, calm down. Brady told himself.

He slowly walked to the closet where he knew an oil camp lamp was stored. Brady thought for sure he could hear the sounds of someone walking around outside. What was that outside the window? "Calm down you are letting your imagination get the better of you," Brady told himself.

Brady made it to the closet and a couple of minutes of rummaging around he found the lamp and some matches. As the lamp flickered to life and the darkness evaporated so did the imaginary sounds. "I now know why man invented fire," Brady thought.

He did a quick inventory of his food stores and supplies. Brady still had plenty of food and oil for the lamp. The water could be obtained from the old pump in the back. A thing better left for the day light.

"Wait a minute!" yelled Brady, "Grandpa always had his shotgun up here." Brady rummaged around the various closets in the cabin. He found the old 12 gauge Remington in the master bedroom's closet along with a box shells. "Thank God, it was buckshot instead of bird or I'd only annoy the suckers if they ever made it this far. Let's see... it can hold five shells if I remember right," thought Brady.

Brady used to do some hunting with his grandfather when he was still alive. But Brady hadn't even held a gun in a good seven years. He sure hoped that he could still shoot as straight as he used to. The gun was quickly loaded and Brady carried it and the lamp back to his bedroom where he crawled into bed and fell into a fitful sleep.

It was the third day after the loss of power that Brady had a dream full of thunder with the earth shaking about him. Suddenly Brady woke up. That wasn't thunder! It was the sound of engines, large aircraft engines and so many of them that the cabin was shaking as if in a moderate earthquake. It was only 1:47 a.m. according Brady's watch. The sound soon receded to the west. Brady tried to turn on the light only to remember that the power was off. He was awake now but there wasn't anything he could do. The TV was out and the laptop only had the power stored in its battery. Brady tried the phone only to find out that it too was still out of commission. Brady found his portable radio and turned it on. All it picked up was static. There hadn't been anything found on AM or FM since the power loss. It was obvious this was a complete blackout.

This was total isolation. Brady felt truly alone for the first time in his life. He was quite content in being a loner and getting away from people for weeks at time wasn't new to him. But to be totally cut off from civilization against his will was not something he was used to. Brady turned off his radio and the lamp and fell asleep on the couch.

He couldn't have been asleep long when the sound of thunder started crashing down from the west. Brady ran out of the cabin not even thinking of taking his shotgun. Off to the west Brady could see that the skyline above the trees was lit up. It was as if the sun was starting to dawn in the west. The thunder still rained down in the west, northwest, and even the southwest. Brady watched until the real sun rose in the east. But the thunder still came rolling up the mountainside. This continued until about seven in the morning.

Brady stood transfixed, he hadn't moved for hours. He just watched the skyline not comprehending what was going on. Then it hit him. They were bombing the cities. "Mom, Dad... NO!" screamed Brady.

Brady ran into the cabin barely aware what he was doing. Brady emptied out his backpack and started stuffing it with boxes of food, and water bottles. The radio, lamp, the box of matches and some spare oil was also crammed into the pack. He grabbed the shotgun and his jacket and ran out to his motorcycle. He put on his helmet and jumped onto the bike and sped off down the dirt road.

The dirt road down the mountainside was empty which was not surprising. Most people were still in the cities. Brady drove like a mad man. He pushed the bike to the limits of his ability to control it. When he hit the main road Brady pushed the bike even further. He had never driven so fast. Nor was he really aware as to the speed. All that consumed his thoughts were that his mother and father were stuck in Seattle. Probably at home if it hadn't been bombed. With that thought Brady looked up and noticed the entire horizon to the west was filled with smoke.

A gas station was just a few miles further down the road and Brady desperately needed gas. He only had a quarter of a tank and that would barely get him to the outskirts of Seattle. As the bike sped down the road Brady realized that he hadn't seen a single person. Certainly he should have passed someone either going to or from the west.

The gas station was soon on the horizon. Brady started to slow down as he approached the station. He pulled up to the pumps and stopped the bike. Brady laid the shotgun against the bike as he lifted the pump and put it into the tank. He tried to insert his credit card but the machine wouldn't work. Then Brady remembered that all the power and phone lines were out. There was no way for him to get any gas short of stealing it from another vehicle. Brady quickly looked around. Damn! Not a car to be seen. He threw the pump handle to the ground, grabbed his shotgun and retied it on the back of his bike. Then Brady jumped back on his bike and sped off hoping that he'd have enough gas to make to the checkpoint at least.

It didn't even occur to him until he was miles down road that he had not even see anyone at the gas station. Or for that matter at the speed he'd been driving there wasn't even a law enforcement officer trying to pull him over. He was making good time. It could only be about 10:00 in the morning. The cloud of smoke was growing ever closer as Brady raced on.

It started to rain again and Brady had to slow down. It would do him no good to crash his bike and break his leg. The delay was agonizing. As the rain poured down even harder Brady had to slow down even further. It soon became so bad that he had to pull off to the side of the road to find shelter. Brady pulled his bike under some sheltering trees to wait out the storm. Real lightning and thunder started crashing all around him.

The wait was insufferable. Brady finally broke down as he waited. He started sobbing and sat down at the base of a tree. Brady knew that he shouldn't take shelter under a tree during a thunder storm, but he didn't care. All he could think of was for the first time in his life he realized how much he really did love his mother and father.

"Please God, let them be all right. I'll make something of myself I promise. I'll take things seriously from now on." Brady prayed.

Two hours passed before the storm finally abated. By that time Brady had finally come to grips with himself. He slowly remounted the bike and resumed his trek. Driving now more slowly Brady started thinking things out more thoroughly. He knew he had to somehow get past the checkpoints. He didn't know how. Maybe they'd let him in even if they wouldn't let him out. But he would cross that bridge when he came to it.

As the sunlight started to recede Brady realized that even despite the violent storm the horizon was still lit from the burning of the cities. Even now as the motorcycle slowly approached the suburbs he still hadn't passed a single person. Hell, he hadn't even seen a real person since he went up to the cabin.

The last of the light showed that there was a major road block on the road ahead. Brady stopped his bike. He dismounted grabbed his pack and shotgun and slowly approached the jumble of vehicles. Brady noticed that there were a medley of military vehicles blocking off all the entrances and exits from the suburban community.

"Hello?" called out Brady. "Is there anyone out there?" Only silence returned his question. Brady continued walking toward the vehicles.

He noticed that there was a tank, some HumVees, and a Bradley fighting vehicle stretched across the road. "This is strange," thought Brady. "There should be someone out here to man the checkpoint."

That's when Brady noticed a man sleeping behind a HumVee. Brady approached the man, noticed that he was a soldier and shook him. The man was drenched. He should have changed his clothes after the storm thought Brady. The man was still just lying there. Brady shook him again a little harder.

"Excuse me, sir?"

Brady shook him a third time and when he didn't respond he turned him over. That's when Brady realized the soldier was dead. The stiff body rolled over and the dead eyes stared straight up. Brady jumped back and fell onto the side of the road. As he looked past the roadblock Brady noticed miles of vehicles. They stretched endlessly down the road. The blood colored sky bathed the landscape and revealed the countless bodies stiffly lying among the vehicles. In the last couple of minutes before the sun exited the horizon for the night, Brady saw movement.

Brady just sat there stunned. His mind was overwhelmed. He couldn't think of anything. Not even to scream. He just watched as a body slowly picked itself up from the human debris spread out in front of him. The man stiffly stood up and jumbled over towards Brady. Then another body stood up and started approaching.

"Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God," was all Brady could get his brain wrapped around. "This wasn't right."

Then the stench hit him. The wind must have changed direction blowing the reek of death towards him. Brady started to gag. The smoke from the burning city started to blow into his eyes. The bodies silhouetted against the burning cities approached closer. Brady just sat there with his eyes watering. The shambling diseased bodies slowly and stiffly approached arms outstretched.

The closest reeking man was only an arms distant from Brady. Then Brady closed his eyes. That was all he could will his body to do. The man's hands started to tighten around his leg. My God he has a strong grip. "This is it," thought Brady.

BLAM! BLAM! The night air exploded with the sound of the gunshots. Brady opened his eyes to witness the head of the man grabbing his leg was blasted apart. The hand released his leg. The shots brought Brady to his senses. He stood up in time to see the second man's head jerk back as another shot echoed in the night.

As the second body fell lifeless to the road a small person ran up behind Brady. Brady took a quick glance as he jerked back in surprise at the leather clad person with a riot helmet and a smoking automatic pistol that appeared to be pink in the soft glow of the burning city.

"Come on", called a female voice "let's get out of here!"

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Recent Comments

  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks Larry! It is definitely some of Dwayne's best writing! read more
  • Larry: Pretty intense chapter. I feel bad for Brady having to read more
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  • Douglas Gogerty: Thank Ejaz! I am glad you enjoyed it. read more
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  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks for the kind words Kerry. I too am very read more
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