August 2008 Archives

Iapetus Saves Albuquerque

Chapter Three

By Douglas E. Gogerty

"What do we do now?" asked Dr. Maland.

"If you could get some help locating our mechanical protector, my people would be most pleased."

"I guess I could make a few calls," replied Dr. Maland. "I could contact General Chever of the Florida National Guard. I spoke with him briefly after the last run in with -- ummm -- the protector. If I don't get anywhere with him, I could probably get a hold of General Mann. He'll remember me from the New York incident. They may be able to locate the Cyber-Iapetus."

"It would be much appreciated."

"They may not give me any information. If they locate him, they may classify that information. They also may see the machine as a threat and attempt to destroy it."

"That is a chance we are willing to take."

"Okay, I'll see what I can do," Dr. Maland said escorting the storyteller to the door. "I know where to contact you."

"Thanks. You are a good friend to our people."

Dr. Maland called both generals to inform them of the situation. Needless to say, they were both quite concerned about the malfunctioning giant weapon system. They would both take steps in an attempt to locate Cyber-Iapetus.

General Chever would send some reconnaissance planes over the gulf. If it surfaced anywhere close to Florida, they would know immediately.

General Mann had more resources from which to work. He had submarines which would use their sonar in the attempt to locate the machine. If it were in the water, sooner or later they would locate it. However, he made it quite clear that if it were discovered in United States waters, they would not hesitate to attempt to destroy it.

Dr. Maland could not blame them for attacking the powerful weapon. It caused major damage to Tallahassee before Iapetus could stop it. They certainly did not want a repeat of that incident.

The next day, Dr. Maland went to West Lake Park to see the storyteller. This was their typical meeting place as the Iapetian did not like to be confined. On a bench with a nice view of the lake, Dr. Maland saw the Iapetian storyteller. He sat next to him and reported what the military men had told him.

"Hopefully, we will find it before your military."

"Do you have facilities to perform a worldwide search?"

"We do have a communication channel for our mechanical protector. If it in any way responds to one of our commands, we will be able to pinpoint its location."

"I forgot about that."

"So far, it has not responded to any of our return commands."

"I hope it does before our military finds it."

"This mechanical protector has been a great burden for both our lands. I wait in great anticipation for our true protector to swim once again in our waters."

"Is that going to happen soon?"

"It is up to him. He is currently bonding with his offspring."

"That is right, he went to spawn in Loch Ness."

"He is raising the sole male of this great event. For a time, they will share the duties of protecting our island. However, our great protector is ancient. He will leave us soon for the great waters. The young will provide what the old once did."

"Iapetus Jr. is very young, so I am guessing it will be a while before he is ready to follow in his father's footsteps."

"According to my ancestors, it will be at least 200 more cycles of the moon before the young one will be prepared to take on his duties."

"That would be a lot of responsibility for a 20 year old," Dr. Maland joked.

"That is indeed true. The time cannot pass too quickly."

"It is clear that Cyber-Iapetus has been a great burden on *you*."

"It has taken me away from my own duties in training my own successor."

"Are you retiring my good friend?"

"It is tradition. When the young protector takes over, my protégé will take over for me."

"What will happen to you?"

"Right now, anything would be better than fretting over our situation."

"I don't believe that for a second."

"Our protector will determine my fate, so even I do not know what will become of me when our new -- er -- record keeper -- begins."

"From my experience with Iapetus, he is most gracious. You should not fear."

"Thank you my friend."

The two men sat and conversed for a while before a beep came from the storyteller's briefcase. A cellphone was not in accordance with their native tradition, but it was an expedient form of communication. Thus, it quickly became part of their culture.

He spoke quietly to the individual on the other end. A sense of relief passed over his face, and then the look of concern returned. He made the conversation short, and then turned to Dr. Maland.

"Our mechanical protector briefly responded to our call," he said to Dr. Maland.

"Briefly? So, you know where it is?"

"Roughly. It is off the coast of Argentina -- near the Falkland Islands."

"Wow! It is a long ways away from home. Did it turn back?"

"The interface was alive for just a short period of time. It briefly stopped, and returned to its course."

"We have know idea where that is do we?"

"None. It could be Antarctica, it could be anywhere."

"At least it is not in U.S. waters..."

"That is a small conciliation, but fortunate nonetheless."

"Did you find anything else out?"

"It is still malfunctioning. We still do not know where it is headed. We still have no solution to our problem. We just know that is somewhere in the South Atlantic. We have no way to get to it, so we are almost in the same situation we were before."

"At least for now, it is safe from destruction."

"But for how long will that last?"

"I don't know my friend. This worrying will get us nowhere. Let's get some lunch."

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The Captives of the Lost City of Alhassar

Chapter 16

By Dwayne MacInnes

Everyone was surprised to see us as we exited the sewers. At first people held their noses in disgust from the rancid smell until they realized that the lost party of adventurers had returned. Imperial City was all abuzz with tales of Mogutz and her party of adventurers. I guess it put many at ease to know that the earthquake they experienced the day before was the final battle with the evil cabal under their feet.

The Emperor rewarded Mogutz and her party handsomely. I too received my reward for finding the lost party and for helping bring down the greatest evil threat in Imperial City history. However, neither reward was as handsome when compared to the value of the treasures we collected while down in Alhassar.

Mogutz, Nanoc, Treena, Quint, and Gandelf all became instant celebrities. I was already the famous "Black Arrow" so I am not certain if my fame increased. Though I am certain that our adventures did not hurt my publicity any. Just another chapter to add to my mystique I suppose.

Poor Mobius had a hard time at first winning over the public. Most people do not naturally associate with talking skulls. He even, for a while, tried to find a mage to reverse the spell upon him. Unfortunately, it was one of those cases where only the mage who ensorcelled him could remove the spell. We discovered that the mage had died centuries before. Poor Mobius had been in that iron bound box for three hundred years!

Well, Mobius being who he is did not let this get him down. Soon he began by telling the tale of our adventures in the lost city of Alhassar to small groups. To trump up bigger crowds Mogutz and party would gather to reenact the battles beneath Imperial City. I would bring Mobius to the Imperial Arena and use my influence to get him inside as the opening act before the fights. All the while, I had taken the skull in to live with me until he could establish himself.

Soon Mobius had established himself and it was not long before people were gathering near and far to see the great 'Skull Jester'. Mobius could tell many a tale and many people even found his old and stale jokes amusing.

We did not find out what happened to Cadwey. Somehow or other the lich escaped the great battle in Alhassar. Fortunately, Gandelf confirmed that the rising of Zormandus and the subsequent opening of the gate between our plane and that of the Nine Hells could not happen for another two thousand years until the stars were in conjunction again.

* * * * *
Gwendolyn

Over the next few months, the Emperor established a committee to study Alhassar and Gandelf became the leading researcher in excavating the lost city. The High Elf could not have been happier.

Mogutz and Nanoc established themselves with the Fighters Guild. Quint accepted my offer and became a member of the Theives Guild. Treena returned to the Temple of Athena where as a reward for her duties the high priest proclaimed her a novice priestess. Aly Eska returned to his gnomish workshop to perfect his invention and Mobius decided to take his one skull act on the road.

Mobius and I were the last to part. The skull's goodbye was a little emotional for during our adventure, and later as housemates, we had formed a bond with each other. Not many people have talking skulls as friends.

"Well, I guess I better head out," Mobius said as he prepared to leave. Then he began to laugh, "Get it? Head out because all I have is a head. Ooh, that makes me a headliner! Get it? Headliner."

"Yeah, I get it," I replied laughing holding back the tears.

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Iapetus Saves Albuquerque

Chapter Four

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Dr. Plate stretched out on the back of his pick-up truck. He looked at the moonless sky, and looked for more from the Quadrantid meteor shower. Eventually, he drifted off to sleep.

It was a few hours before sunrise when Dr. Plate was shaken awake. The earth rumbled and the ground shook. Just as quickly as it came it was gone. The startled Dr. Plate just stayed still in the back of his truck. Eventually, he relaxed, but he was not going back to sleep.

"Dr. Plate," the Sheriff from Vaughn said gently.

"I'm awake," replied Dr. Plate. "What time is it?"

"It is 6:30am. You looked quite comfortable there, so we let you sleep through the night."

"I appreciate that sheriff, so what do you have to report?"

"One of my deputies -- well she spends too much time on the internet -- but that is beside the point."

"Go on sheriff."

"Any ways, this deputy got on the eBay. She found that someone from Santa Fe posted an item for sale. An item you might be of interest in."

"What is it?"

"The listing reads, 'Quadrantid Meteorite from New Mexico. Obtained during camping trip. Saw it land. Genuine meteorite from space.'

"What?"

"This here deputy fired off one of them e-mails to the folks at eBay, and that there meteorite will be waiting for you at this address."

"Sheriff I could kiss you!"

"I'd appreciate it kindly if you refrained."

"Okay sheriff I will."

"Although that deputy might not mind -- she might like it."

"That's alright sheriff."

"Then again, you never know with the kids these days."

"Anyway, I had better get going. Thanks again!"

Dr. Plate jumped out of the back of his pick-up and into the cab. Before he sped off, he rolled down the window and whistled at the sheriff.

"Sheriff!" he yelled. "Did you feel an earthquake last night?"

"An earthquake -- in these parts? Nah! It was probably just a deer running into your truck or something."

"Perhaps you're right."

"I'll ask the deputy about the kissing!"

"Um -- okay. Thanks sheriff! I'm off for sure this time."

Dr. Plate sped northward. He tried to not let his excitement overcome him too much. After all, there were still enforced speed laws. The 100 mile or so trip would take as long as it took.

Fortunately, speed was not going to be an issue. As he drove along, some stretches of the road were in terrible condition. He had never seen it so torn up. In some places the surface collapsed into a rut, and others it was uplifted into a bump. He had driven this stretch a few weeks before, and it was in much better shape then.

The closer he got to Santa Fe, the worse the highway became. He thought the interstate would be an improvement, but it was not. It was a mess too. Fortunately, the address was on the south end of town. He would not have to drive along these roads for very long.

His thoughts kept returning to the earthquake. It sure looked like an earthquake tore up the roads. While the sheriff could be right and the shaking of his truck was mostly part of a dream, the evidence was pointing elsewhere. He would have to check on New Mexican earthquakes when he had the chance. Perhaps the sheriff did not know about the earthquakes of the region.

After a few hours of driving, the roads became unusable. He got off the interstate and began using side roads. They were not any better. The closer he got to his destination the worse the roads were.

Could it be possible that the earthquake's epicenter was in Santa Fe? Could the tremor be felt 100 miles away? The shock wave Dr. Plate felt was awfully strong. From looking at the roads, the damage would certainly have been greater to the city. As he reached the outskirts, he dreaded to think what the center of town would look like.

About a mile from his destination, the roads were impassible. His rugged pickup truck could not even drive along the roads. He would have to walk the rest of the way. This was not going to an easy stroll in the park as the damage was quite significant.

After toughing it out for the short distance, it was clear that his destination was no longer in existence. It was simply a giant hole in the ground now. The address appeared to be the center of the earthquake as any building that once existed here was completely destroyed.

It was the least of Dr. Plate's problems now. Not too far away there appeared to be a giant sand storm. It easily dwarfed the tallest building in Santa Fe. Further, the sand was moving with great force towards the center of Santa Fe. It was not like any sand storm Dr. Plate had ever seen. It was not the usual strait winds blowing sand, nor was it the swirling dust-devil kind of storm.

The storm appeared to have some sort of legs for locomotion. It had four arm-like structures that swung at objects in its way. Further, it appeared to travel independent of the wind. It would veer one way and smash a building, and quickly change direction to destroy the building across the street. From Dr. Plate's point of view, it appeared to be a giant sand monster rampaging towards the center of town.

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Raid on the Island of the Dead

Chapter 1

By Dwayne MacInnes



August 17, 1942. 23:06 hours

The surf crashing on the beach softly penetrated the still night. The moon nearly in its first quarter with its neighboring stars shed their low radiance upon the sandy beach. Captain Jennings looked back towards the ocean. Not half an hour before, a US submarine had disembarked the officer and his nineteen raiders. After hitting the beach, the soldiers hid the rubber rafts inside the deep jungle brush that rose into the clear night a few yards from the beach.

"Is she still there Cap?" a young Sergeant Reynolds asked in a harsh whisper.

Jennings only shook his head. The submarine had penetrated deep into Japanese controlled waters to bring this small group of raiders here. The American boat had to remove all of its torpedoes save for those kept in the tubes in order to make room in the forward and aft torpedo rooms for the soldiers now lining the beach. The captain of the submarine would not have wasted time to ensure that the raiders had reached the beach safely before it dived. It would return in twenty-four hours to retrieve the raiders before returning to its base in Australia. More than likely it began to head out to deep waters as soon as Jennings and his army raiders motored a safe distance from the sub.

"Gather the men just inside those trees," Jennings ordered the sergeant.

"Yes sir," Reynolds said quietly his boyish face barely visible in the limited light expelled from the quarter moon.

The men gathered their supplies and all congregated in the area that the captain had indicated to Reynolds. When Jennings was reasonably sure that they were safe in the canopy and deep underbrush, he addressed the men in a low whisper. The nineteen raiders crouched low and huddled closely so that the captain would not have to make his voice more audible than necessary.

"Okay, boys you have been training for weeks for this mission, and now I am going to tell you where we are and what we are expected to do."

The excitement mixed with tedium on board the sub did little to ease the men's anxiety. Rumors spread that they were going to hit a major Japanese airbase in the Philippines or maybe free some POWs from the Japanese prisoner camps. Captain Jennings neither confirmed nor denied any of these stories. He was under strict orders not to reveal their true mission until they were actually on the beach.

"I know some of you believe that we are here to raid a Japanese controlled island. I'm now going to tell you that you are wrong," Jennings whispered.

Some of the men just looked on with stone expressions on their faces others showed obvious surprise. Jennings chuckled inwardly; these latter men would make terrible poker players.

"Lieutenant," Jennings nodded towards the one man who was not an American in the group. In fact, he was not strictly a fighting soldier but instead a chaplain.

"Right," Lieutenant Brodin whispered in a thick Australian accent. "Some of you have been wondering why an ANZAC chaplain was selected to join you. The answer is quite easy really.

"Before the war, I was a missionary on a nearby island. Now this island had a different group of missionaries that were German. I believe you can see where I am going with this.

"Though we are in Japanese controlled waters this island here is actually controlled by the Nazis and is believed to be a rendezvous point with the Japs."

"Our mission," Jennings took the over the conversation, "is to scout out what the Jerries have been up to. It is believe that they have a fortification not more than a few clicks from here.

"We are to sneak around and observe what the Jerries have been up to. If possible we are to make contact with the natives."

Jennings looked around the circle of soldiers in silence. He could read more puzzled faces than he did before. Finally, one soldier tentatively raised his hand to gain the captain's attention. Jennings nodded towards Private Williams.

"Sir, there are only twenty of us. Why didn't they send a larger force?" the private asked.

"First of all, the USS Nautilus and Argonaut are the only subs large enough to carry a large force and both are currently on another raid. Secondly, British intelligence and ours believe that the Jerries have left the island. I have also been assured that there isn't any Japanese presence."

"Military Intelligence," sniffed Corporal Vanders. "Now there's a contradiction in terms."

"Oxymoron," Williams whispered.

"What did you call me?" Vanders voice rose in a barely controlled whisper.

"Pipe down," Sergeant Reynolds ordered. "The private was just giving the proper name to what you described. A contradiction in terms is called an oxymoron."

"If the English lessons are over are there any other questions?" Jennings asked.

"Sir," Private Quaid began in a small voice, "What is the name of this island?"

The captain looked over towards the chaplain. Brodin cleared his throat before he spoke.

"This island here is called by the natives Na'h Tu Putalaki or translated -- The Island of the Dead."

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Iapetus Saves Albuquerque

Chapter Five

By Douglas E. Gogerty

When Cyber-Iapetus crashed through the Mexican/American border security at El Paso Texas, Dr. John Maland and the storyteller left Florida for the remote Iapetian Island in the Bermuda Triangle. The owners of the mechanical weapon would have to take drastic actions in an attempt to regain control.

When the storyteller and Dr. Maland arrived, preparations were made to summon the island's protector. The natives dug the trench between the ceremonial pillars. They lined the trench with leaves and filled it with fruits from the native trees. They built a fire farther up the beach and kept it burning until sunset.

Just as the sun began to set, the hypnotic drumming began. The islanders began their chants of join us. After several minutes of the drumming, the priestess exited her hut and danced her way towards the pillars. The drummers started in softly, and gradually returned to their loud hypnotic beat. The priestess bowed towards the ocean and the drumming stopped. She sang her ceremonial song asking for Iapetus's help.

The islanders began the drums a second time. The priestess returned to her dance. The islanders returned to their join us chant. It all stopped, and the priestess repeated her request for the help of their protector. It was all to no avail, Iapetus did not appear.

It was completely dark when the third attempt was made to summon Iapetus. However, the island's protector did not make an appearance. They extinguished the fire, and the priestess returned to her hut. Everyone returned to their homes.

"He is not coming," sighed the Storyteller.

"We can try again tomorrow," Dr. Maland stated in an attempt to lift the storyteller's spirits.

"He is too busy with the education of his son. We are alone in this crisis."

"You don't know that..."

"It is kind of you to say, but we assured our protector that Cyber-Iapetus would allow him all the time he would need to bond with his son."

"How were you to know that an electrical pulse would cause the machine to malfunction?"

"That is beside the point," sighed the Storyteller. "We have no right to ask for the help of the protector during his leave."

"He'll understand."

"We must handle the situation ourselves. We should not ask the protector for help."

"What do you suggest?"

"I do not know. Let us get some sleep. Perhaps a new day will bring fresh ideas."

"Good idea."

The pair received some good news the next morning. Cyber-Iapetus did not cause any damage during the night. Further, the mechanical monster was no longer in motion. Upon entering the United States, it made its way directly to Roswell, New Mexico and stopped. It stood outside the nearby airport, but did not crash the fence. It just stood there.

Dr. Maland and the Storyteller sailed back to Miami and arranged flights to New Mexico. With the heightened security because of the giant mechanical weapon, Albuquerque was as close as they could get. However, a rental car could get them the rest of the way.

Perhaps if they could get close enough to the mechanical protector of the Iapetian islanders, the storyteller could regain control over it. At least, that was the hope. However, before they finished the 200 miles to Roswell, there were multiple news reports regarding Cyber-Iapetus. However, the radio had a difficulty tuning in any station. All the stations experienced some sort of interference. Thus, when they stopped to fill their rental car, they picked up a newspaper.

The front page headline of the first newspaper the encountered read, "Aliens Have Returned to Roswell". With this, they were not hopeful for discovering real news. However, even the New York Times headline contained this message. The newspapers printed the alien message in its entirety.

It read:

"People of Kablon-Sanpli 3 [Earth]," it began 100 metlons ago [some sort of time measurement - similar to years], our people sent an ambassador to your planet. It took 25 metlons to reach your planet for this mission of peace and understanding. According to our records, the craft experienced technical difficulties and performed a hard landing here in the desert instead of its intended destination. The governmental center of this country was its planned landing area; however, the pilot did not wish to injure individuals in a more populated area. Thus, it landed in a remote portion of the desert.

"From careful study of your records which we have done over the last several days, the landing location was near a place you call Roswell New Mexico. However, the ambassador has not reported back to us, and your records do not indicate any such exchange. That is what brings us here.

"Our ship has traveled for 25 metlons in an effort to recover our property and to retrieve our ambassador. Again, after studying the records, our ambassador would have made his landing on July 4th, 1947 in your calendarical system.

"If you doubt our sincerity and power, we have captured the most powerful weapon system on the planet and placed it at the airbase where, according to your records, the craft was taken. Further, we have released a Sletfernian Sand Monster. It has assembled itself north of the site. Perhaps it has already began its mission of destruction.

"In a few kwantleerns [another time measurement - perhaps hours or days], the giant sand monster and the weapon system will gather at a prearranged meeting spot. They will then destroy the largest city in the vicinity [Albuquerque]. Once the total destruction of this major metropolitan area is complete, and our artifacts are still not returned, the two forces will continue on their mission of destruction.

"This will continue until our ambassador is returned unharmed and all the pieces of the device from our world are returned. You are in no position to negotiate. You have limited time left, so bring the items to the mechanical weapon sitting outside Walker Air Force Base [now Roswell International Air Center]. Time is short, and destruction is certain."

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Raid on the Island of the Dead

Chapter 2

By Dwayne MacInnes



August 17, 1942. 23:06 hours

The men began to grumble lowly before a stern look from Captain Jennings quieted every man. He could see that the high-charged soldiers who just a few minutes before were looking for action now began to dread their mission on an island with an ominous name.

"Relax mates; the island received its name over two hundred years ago because this is where the Portuguese had established a leper colony. It had long since stopped housing lepers and should be just like any other island in the South Pacific," Chaplain Brodin quickly offered.

"Alright, now that everyone has an idea of what needs to be done, let's get this show on the road," Jennings ordered. "As the corporal pointed out we should not rely too heavily on the intel report. So, we are going to do this by the books. Vanders, Pike, you guys have the point. Everyone else, follow me and keep your traps shut."

Thomson Sub-Machine Gun

Corporal Vanders and Private Pike each carried the standard M-1 Garand as they took the lead. Captain Jennings looked down on his Thompson "Tommy" submachine gun. He slapped the 20 round box magazine home and primed the cocking handle. He carried another four magazines on his belt alongside his M1911A1 .45 automatic pistol.

Sergeant Reynolds carried the squad's M1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle or BAR. This light machinegun could fire between 300 to 650 rounds per minute. However, its 20 round magazine box would quickly expend its .30-06 rounds long before that time was up. The sergeant also carried some spare magazines on his person.

The rest of the squad carried the M-1 Garand with its eight round internal clip and everyone carried at least two hand grenades and a bayonet. Jennings would have preferred to have his men carry the marine's KA-BAR knife but the army would have none of it. The captain remembered a Marine 2nd Lieutenant showing him the formidable knife and had to admit it was a weapon to be reckoned with.

M1 Garand

Jennings could not see why a knife used by those self-propelled sandbags called Marines was insufficient for the army. After all this was a highly unusual squad formation. First of all, an NCO usually operated a squad and not an officer. This squad not only had a captain by also a lieutenant who not only belong to another country, but also was a chaplain to boot.

It made sense when the brass pointed out that Jennings had done some work with British Commandos against the Nazis, so his experience was invaluable for this mission. Lieutenant Brodin with his experience with the locals and the knowledge of the islands in this part of the world was also in great demand.

* * * * *

A slight breeze rustled through the palm trees refreshing the stalking soldiers with its cooling touch. Other than a few buzzing insects, no other animal noises greeted the raiders in the still night.

As the raiders cautiously crept down a well-worn dirt road, the breeze for a slight moment changed direction. In that instant, the over-powering smell of decay overcame the party. Men started to gag. Most were able to maintain control over their stomachs; however, a few heaved the contents of their innards into the surrounding foliage.

Fortunately, the wind quickly changed back and the fresh air rapidly erased the foul odor. Jennings started pulling his men back up off the ground mildly cursing them for their weakness.

"What the hell was that?" Reynolds asked near the captain's ear.

"Probably some dead animal in the woods," Jennings replied.

"Cap, I've grown up on a farm, and I know dead animals. That was like an entire heard of cattle rotting out there," the sergeant continued.

"It's not important to the mission. So forget about it. Help me get the men moving."

The squad was barely moving again when Private Pike came jogging down the road toward the party. Jennings motioned for the men to stay where they were while he approached the private.

"Captain, we found something strange up ahead," the boy panted.

"What did you find?" Jennings asked the winded private.

"We found an abandoned kubelwagen..." Pike said before swallowing. Jennings noticed that even in the low moonlight the private's face became noticeably whiter. Something had definitely shaken the lad.

"Okay take me to it," Jennings finally said motioning for the rest of the squad to follow.

Kubelwagen

Within a few minutes, the raiding party came upon the vehicle that Pike was referring. Corporal Vanders stood in front of the German light transport with his M-1 readied. On seeing Pike returning with the rest of the squad, Vanders relaxed.

The kubelwagen appeared to have veered off the road and entangled itself in the dense undergrowth of the surrounding jungle. The MG 34 machinegun mounted on the passenger side of the vehicle hung at an angle on its mount. The doors of the car were all flung open as if the occupants vacated the vehicle in a hurry.

"What do we have here Corporal?" Jennings enquired from Vanders.

"Sir, this is damned strange," the corporal began. "The MG 34 had been fired until it was empty."

Jennings noticed the spent 7.92 mm ammunition shells littering the floor of the kubelwagen. The captain still did not see anything particularly strange about this.

"Yes," Jennings prodded.

"Well, sir look at this," Jennings said as he slammed the rear door shut. The entire door and part of the vehicle's body revealed thick splotches of dried blood splattering painting its side.

Jennings was about to let the corporal know what he thought of his overactive imagination when one of the soldiers shouted out.

"OH MY GOD!!!"

Captain Jennings started cursing at the soldier for breaking silence when he noticed the man sitting beside the road with his helmet in one hand and he wiping the remnants of vomit off his face with the other.

In the underbrush not far from the kubelwagen lay the remains of a German soldier. The uniform was mere tatters upon a torn, ravaged and mangled body. Most of the muscle and organs were missing from the broken and scattered bones.

"What could have done that?" Sergeant Reynolds asked.

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Iapetus Saves Albuquerque

Chapter Six

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Dr. Plate watched as, what he thought was a sand storm, raged towards the center of Santa Fe. It towered over the low buildings of this New Mexico City. It would occasionally stray from the road and smash a building as it continued on its path towards the city's more densely packed spaces.

Dr. Plate felt relatively safe; thus, he followed the storm from a distance down the road. The storm did not travel quickly, so he could keep up. It was such an odd storm that his scientific curiosity urged him to study it. To him, it still looked more like some sort of creature than a storm.

He thought it was odd that it lingered at the mall. It seemed to relish the smashing of the various mall buildings. As the merchandise flew in various directions, Dr. Plate thought that the mall had everything.

Apart from the sound of buildings crumbling, there was no sound of a train that was often reported from storms of this magnitude. It was when he was noting how quiet the storm was when he heard the planes coming.

He thought it odd that several F-16 fighters would be flying towards the storm. Even more odd was when the first wave from the New Mexico Air National Guard 150th Fighter Wing fired missiles at the storm. As he imagined, the missiles passed right through the sand, impacted with the rubble, and exploded.

To his astonishment, the storm let out some sort of sound. It looked as if the storm decided it was finished with the mall, and now it was going to go after the planes. The storm totally engrossed his thoughts, and he did not notice the military Humvee drive up. Captain Daniel Cheever jumped out of the vehicle.

"What the -- er -- uh -- what are you doing here citizen?" asked the military captain attempting to contain himself.

"I'm just watching the storm," replied Dr. Plate.

"Storm? What are you talking about?"

"What am I talking about? Can't you see that storm over there?"

"Mister, the entire town has been evacuated because of that alien monster over there," replied Captain Cheever pointing at the rampaging monster.

"Monster? Oh, that explains a lot."

"Yes, it is some sort of Saturn Sand monster."

"Where did you hear that?" asked the astonished Dr. Plate.

"They broadcasted it all over the news. Those meteors from the other night were parts of this creature."

"Cool!" replied Dr. Plate with wide-eyed enthusiasm continuing to watch the monster battle with the jet fighters.

"They gathered themselves up with a bunch of available sand, and created that monster that just destroyed Sante Fe Place."

Dr. Plate's imagination took over and he contemplated things for a bit. Captain Cheever stared at him the entire time, but Dr. Plate continued to watch the rampaging monster. He glanced at Captain Cheever watching him. He could not think of anything to say in response. Eventually said, "But Saturn?"

"Get in you..." began the Captain. "Citizen, you are in grave danger. Please come with me."

"And miss the first extra-terrestrial being interacting with humans? Not a chance."

"That was not a ..."

Before the Captain could finish his sentence one of the F-16's exploded and rained debris down over the area. Dr. Plate realized that he was really in danger, and jumped aboard the military vehicle.

The Sletfernian Sand Monster continued to take swipes at the circling fighter planes. The planes continued to fire their weapons at the monster in an attempt to destroy it or find some sort of weak spot. However, it was mostly sand, and the missiles and bullets passed right through.

Captain Cheever was not certain what to do with his new passenger. While he was considering his options, the planes flew away. The monster began moving northwest, and destroying buildings along the road.

The monster had not gotten far when some tanks rolled up. They fired their rounds, and moved away from the center of town. Like the munitions before, they passed right through the monster, impacted on something, and exploded. The buildings around the monster were being greatly punished.

However, the monster turned from the center of town and followed the tanks. The buildings along the road paid for the new route, but this could save the more densely packed areas towards the center of town.

Round after round of shells were fired at the monster while Captain Cheever contemplated his next action. However, before he decided on any action, Dr. Plate interrupted his train of thought and asked, "Did you see that?"

"See what?" the captain replied.

"There are a set of dark ovoid objects that move out of the way when the bullets pass through the sand monster."

"Shells."

"Okay, when the *shells* get near the monster, they push the meteroids out of the way. It they target..."

"Enough!" ordered the captain as he drove away from the monster.

"But..."

"Are you seriously trying to tell the military how to do their business?"

"No, but..."

"That's right -- no buts! Those men have their orders. They clearly know more about the monster than you do because you thought it was a storm just 10 minutes ago."

"I know; however..."

"Listen citizen, I'm just here to get you safely out of the city."

"I am Dr. Philadelphia Plate. I am an astronomy professor from New Mexico State University."

"Nice to meet you Dr. Plate," replied Captain Cheever curtly. "Now please keep quiet so I can think of the best way to get you to safety."

"Captain Cheever, do you read? Over," interrupted the radio.

"Cheever here. Over," he replied into the radio.

"Please report to Home Base Echo. Over."

"I have a civilian with me, please advise. Over."

"Generals orders are to report immediately. Over."

"Roger. Over and out."

"Over and out."

"I guess you're going to have to come with me," stated Captain Cheever to Dr. Plate. "Some sort of major emergency must have arisen that requires my personal attention."

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Raid on the Island of the Dead

Chapter 3

By Dwayne MacInnes

Private Quaid fanned his face in an effort to diffuse the rancid smell of the decomposing body.

"I think we found the source of that smell earlier," Quaid noted.

"I don't think so. First of all it was a lot stronger and secondly the wind was blowing from another direction at the time," answered the sergeant.

"Looks like the poor Kraut fell onto a grenade," Corporal Vanders contributed.

"Nah, look there's no scorching or shrapnel on the remains," Reynolds pointed out. "If I were to guess it looks like he was attacked by a pack of ravenous wolves."

"Alright, class time is over," Captain Jennings said harshly. "Whatever happened here, happened some time ago. We have a mission, so let's head out."

Sergeant Reynolds started ordering the men back into formation. Before long, the troop was again in motion down the dirt road. As the men moved along, all felt an ominous presence they did not experience before.

At one point, the raiders came across the remains of a native off the side of the road. The poor man's body was deep in decay with bullet holes riddling his body. His eyes upon death rolled back as if looking towards the single bullet wound in his forehead.

"Damn, if we keep coming across bodies like this, I doubt we'll ever make it to our destination," Private Driscoll joked trying to ease the burden of dread rapidly descending upon the raiders.

Several of the men began to mutter amongst themselves as they gathered around the corpse.

"Back into position," Reynolds said a little louder than he wanted. "We can't afford to study every body we come across."

The men were starting to comply when Quaid knelt down next to the native's rancid remains. Reynolds knew the captain was about to lose it with this group's lack of discipline, and they could not afford that when deep in enemy territory.

"Dammit Quaid get your ass back in formation!" hissed Reynolds.

"Sarge, look in his hand," Quaid said with a quiver in his voice.

Captain Jennings started to march towards the private with the intention of jerking the man up and administering a thorough chewing out. However, when Jennings stood over Quaid's shoulder he happened to look upon the native's left hand. Even the seasoned veteran Jennings sucked in his breath as his eyes noticed that the native grasped the torn arm of some unfortunate Nazis.

The torn gray uniform sleeve still covered most of the arm; however, it did not hide the bite marks and the torn flesh dangling from the appendage. A quick glance revealed that there was flesh corresponding to the arm still inside the native's half-open mouth.

"Okay," Captain Jennings said in a choked voice as he softly urged Quaid back into formation. "Let's move on. I want everyone quiet from here on out."

The captain moved closer to Lieutenant Brodin when the raiders resumed their march.

"Uh, Father?" Jennings asked in a low voice for only Brodin's ears. "Are these natives cannibals?"

The chaplain stopped for a moment before Jennings subtly urged him forward again. "No, the natives are very peaceful. They would never harm another human being."

That did not sit well with Jennings and Brodin read the expression on the captain's face. The chaplain thought of letting it go for a second before he decided he wanted to know what was disturbing the captain.

"What is it?" Brodin asked softly.

"Nothing," Jennings replied quickly.

"Come now, cobber. You saw something didn't you," the chaplain prodded gently.

"I'm thinking the natives may have rebelled and attacked the Nazis."

"Hmmm...that is bad. The poor people do not own any weapons save spears and knives."

"It is worse than that," continued the captain. "If they attacked the Gerries, the Nazis could be holed up in their fort and on alert. We'll have to be very cautious from here on out."

Captain Jennings dropped back and marched next to Sergeant Reynolds. Jennings shared his concerns with the noncom. Shortly afterwards, Reynolds started moving up and down the ranks of men ordering them to move with utmost silence and extreme caution.

The soldiers could not help feel that wan light from the moon was a mixed blessing. It allowed them to see somewhat in the oppressive darkness. Nevertheless, it also made them feel exposed to any prying eyes that may be on the lookout for unwelcome visitors.

Before long, the black silhouette of the fortress stood-out against the dark blue horizon. Captain Jennings had his men disperse into the jungle surrounding the hill upon which the Nazis fort sat. The hill's side was cleared from all obstruction be it plant or stone that may hinder the fort's view of the surrounding countryside.

Captain Jennings waved Reynolds over and laid out a plan for the sergeant to go forward with some scouts and reconnoiter the hillside. If the sergeant felt it was prudent, he could scout the fortress as well. Reynolds nodded his head and began moving among the men looking for those best suited for his assignment.

The scouts moved out on their mission. Captain Jennings could never get used to the feeling of letting his men go on such a dangerous mission without his direct control. However, his orders from his superiors were explicit on this point. They could not afford to lose Jennings with his experience and leadership on a recon mission. The captain needed to trust that he had trained the sergeant well enough to do his duty.

The seconds passed as if they were minutes and the minutes as if hours. The captain kept stealing glances at his watch. The watch showed that it had been fifteen minutes since the scouts left and so far no alarm. Either the men were doing a good job or the Nazis were able to subdue the men and were now silently hunting the rest of the raiders.

These thoughts did nothing to ease Jennings's mind. Nonetheless, he could do nothing until either Reynolds returned or the Germans exposed themselves. Jennings stole another glance at his watch when a loud mournful wail pierced the night.

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Iapetus Saves Albuquerque

Chapter Seven

By Douglas E. Gogerty

After reading the demands of the aliens in the newspaper, Dr. Maland and the Iapetian Storyteller continued their drive towards Roswell New Mexico. They hoped to regain control over Cyber-Iapetus before it could be used for destructive purposes against the United States.

"If we could gain control of Cyber-Iapetus, we could use it to stop that sand monster from doing any more damage," Dr. Maland said.

"That is my hope as well. Do your people have the alien ambassador in question?"

"I have heard stories -- rumors more like it -- about an alien taken to Area 51 in Nevada."

"If the alien ambassador is in Nevada, your people may not be able to deliver in a timely manner."

"If these rumors have any weight, the ambassador is dead and has been -- ah -- dissected."

"That would be a problem."

"Further, it has been said that his spacecraft has also been disassembled and studied. It could be in 1000 places."

"That would be a further problem."

"They say that the craft is the basis for much of our top-secret military aircraft. Stealth and all that."

"That is ridiculous! As our mechanical protector shows, the human mind is quite capable of creating incredible technologies on its own."

"True. Some of the stories are a bit far fetched. For instance, many of the same people believe that humans could not create any type of sophisticated engineering on their own. They believe that these aliens also built the pyramids in Egypt *and* South America."

"That *is* silly."

"Furthermore, they also link this to the goings-on in the Bermuda Triangle."

"What is the Bermuda Triangle?"

"It is an area between Miami, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda..."

"Where our island lies?"

"Exactly -- er -- um -- ah -- yes."

"Do they think we are aliens?"

"I suppose some do, but all of this resides upon the fringes. It is not taken seriously."

"What else do they say about our island?"

"Well -- I have heard that some -- on the fringes mind you -- think you are descendants from the lost continent of Atlantis."

"Interesting..."

"In any event, we are here!"

Dr. Maland pulled the rental car off the road on the north side of the Roswell Industrial Air Center. The security was tight, and they could not get into the airport itself. However, they could see the giant Cyber-Iapetus looming in the distance.

They were about to discuss how they might infiltrate the airport when the mechanical weapon began moving. It crashed through the fence of the airport. It headed for the control tower, and clumsily walked right through it. It kicked a few airplanes sitting on the ground, and continued on its way.

It headed north out of the airport past the rental car containing Dr. Maland and the Iapetian Storyteller. It continued north through town at a very slow and erratic pace. It was capable of much faster speeds, but it moved relatively slowly and deliberately.

"It is probably headed to where we just came from," Dr. Maland said.

"So," began the storyteller, "back to Albuquerque?"

"I suppose so. I think I could make a guess as to where the two alien controlled monsters will meet."

"Somewhere near the town they plan to destroy I would guess."

"Well, if I were a Sletfernian Sand Monster -- I would probably want access to sand before I go into Albuquerque."

"I suppose that is true."

"It could get that sand on any surrounding area, but Roswell is Southeast of the city."

"So, it does make sense that they would meet somewhere along our route back there."

"Further, these aliens probably have limited knowledge of our planet," explained Dr. Maland. "Thus, it seems reasonable to me, that they would not choose some place too far off the beaten path."

"I follow."

"There was some sort of excavation going on just east of the mountains pass into town. It may have even been a sand pit. If I remember correctly it was just west of the town of Moriarty."

"It appears that our alien foes are having some difficulty in the operation of our mechanical protector. If we leave now, we could easily be there before it arrives."

"I am way ahead of you," Dr. Maland replied as he turned the car around and headed away from the airport.

The two men raced northward on the highway with the mechanical monster slowly following behind them. Every time Dr. Maland looked into the rear-view mirrors he could see the enormous monster following. The flatness of the terrain masked how close or far the mechanical weapon actually loomed.

They thought Cyber-Iapetus would pass them during a stop for fuel, but the two men had enough of a lead to remain ahead of the mechanical monster. It seemed to the two men that the aliens still did not have a complete understanding of how to operate the mechanical weapon system. Perhaps this would allow the storyteller to regain control of it at an opportune time.

After a couple hours of travelling upon the US Highway, the men eventually pulled onto the interstate and began their westerly travel. It would not take long to get to their final destination.

As they approached the city, streams of cars were headed in the opposite direction on the interstate. While they still had difficulty with the radio, they assumed the evacuation order for Albuquerque had been given. However, they hoped the stream of vehicles would not run into the northern bound weapon system and would continue east.

During their journey, the two men were surprised that there were no roadblocks into the city. The lack of obstacles aided the two men as they disobeyed the posted speed laws in their rush towards the supposed meeting spot. While the rental car was no great race car, it did allow them to travel the 160 miles in about two hours even with the rest stops.

The two men arrived at the site Dr. Maland believed would be the meeting place. They were well ahead of Cyber-Iapetus. However, the sand monster was nowhere to be seen. They drove around the site a few times with the mechanical monster slowly making its way towards them.

If they could not locate the meeting place, Cyber-Iapetus would travel past. They needed it to stop before they could attempt to enter it. This was the only way they were going to gain control of the machine.

They were about to make another lap when a military Humvee crossed the cars path. Dr. Maland slammed on the breaks to prevent a collision and came sliding to a stop.

A military man stepped out of the vehicle and walked over to the car. Dr. Maland rolled down his window.

"What the -- er -- uh -- what are you doing here citizens?" asked the military captain attempting to contain himself.

"We are hoping that weapon system stops here so we can regain control of it," replied Dr. Maland pointing at the approaching cybernetic weapon system.

"Ooooooooh f...." muttered the military man running back to his vehicle.

He jumped in and pulled out his radio. "Captain Cheever to base we have a major problem. Over!"

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Recent Comments

  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks for the kind words Kerry. I too am very read more
  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks Christian! I too had a DOS computer. read more
  • Christian: A great story, i remember my first computer with DOS read more
  • Kerry Glasscock: Good story. I love that Dwayne. nice work! read more
  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks Susanne. You are correct, the OS of computers has read more
  • Susanne: Nice read, shame computers havent improved several years later (mainly read more
  • Douglas Gogerty: Hey Rushan! Sadly no, I do not have one. Thanks read more
  • Rushan: Nice work.do you have that kind of one?thanks.. read more
  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks Joyce. I appreciate your kind words. We do have read more
  • Joyce: Douglas, I just want express and my true admiration before read more

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