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Authors: Mark Henrikson

Centurion's Rise

BOOK: Centurion's Rise
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Origins:
Centurion’s Rise

 

By Mark Henrikson

 

 

Key Move Publications, LLC

Copyright Mark Henrikson, 2012

St. Louis Missouri

DON’T MISS THESE OTHER

EXCITING TITLES IN THE

ORIGINS SERIES

 

 

             
Book 1:  Origins

 

              Book 2:  Centurion’s Rise

 

              Book 3:  Reformation (August 2013)

 

              Book 4:  The Reich (fall 2014)

 

              Book 5:  The Greater Good (fall 2015)

Acknowledgements:

 

Friends and Family:

A big thank you once again goes to the usually supporting cast: my wife Tracy, my brother Jeff, and my mother Donna.  This novel would not have happened without your support.

A special word of thanks goes out to my new friend Kim (aka readalot) down in Cleveland Texas.  Who knew a critical review on Amazon could lead to a new friend and acknowledgement in a published novel?  Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting your time and talents behind improving the one criticism you leveled against the first book in the Origins series.  Your expert editing eye was instrumental in providing the final coat of shine on what I feel is an exceptional finished product. 

 

The Reader:

Thank you once again for spending time with my writing.  I would love to hear your opinions on this novel or the entire series.  Find me on Goodreads.
com (a website every bibliophile should join and use), let me hear it on Amazon, or shoot me an email at
[email protected]
.  Good
things are always nice to hear, and so is constructive criticism; just remember the constructive part.

ENJOY!!!

Prologue:  Egypt 2627 BC

 

Nofru ascended the
final step and proceeded down the middle of a great hall with twelve double sets of ornately carved columns on either side.  They narrowed to a single focal point at the end of the enormous room where the altar of Anubis rest.  Natural light from the midday sun illuminated the room so thoroughly a person could not be faulted for shading his eyes.

Nofru resi
sted the urge to run toward his destination, choosing a respectfully brisk walk instead.  He wanted the God’s favor and displeasing him by running through the temple would not be the proper start to a productive prayer relationship.  His footfalls echoed between the columns as the temple was completely empty with everyone attending the ascension ceremony in front of the pyramid. 

The great God
Anubis and his adjutant would make their way back to the heavens at any moment, and the only thing Nofru could think of doing that might help was pray.  Pray for Anubis to bring his deathly ill brother to the heavens and return Neferhotep healed and ready to resume his mantle of leadership as Pharaoh.

Nofru imagined many a person si
tting first in line to the throne behind a dying Pharaoh would pray for his immediate demise, but Nofru knew himself.  He was not a visionary like his brother.  He was content to ride safely in the large wake Neferhotep put out; life was easier, more enjoyable that way.

Nofru fell to his knees before the alt
ar.  “Open the way to the realm oh mighty Anubis.  Ferry Neferhotep safely across the river of death and return him anew and full of life.”

Nofru relaxed his squinting eyes as darkness gradually fell over the room.  His heart leapt at the prospect that
it was a sign his prayers were heard.  His elation turned to concern as the room dimmed further to the level of a cloudy day, then dusk, and finally the darkness of a starless night. 

Nofru
interrupted his prayers, turned his head to the right and looked past the columns to the outside.  Moving diagonally downward from left to right between a set of columns he spied a fiery red streak.  Then another, and another until the entire sky was littered with falling flames.  He pondered what they might be when a sudden crash to his left made Nofru whip his head around in time to see a flaming piece of rock the size of his head bounce across the polished granite floor and come to rest a few feet away.

Nofru scampered to his feet and ran out of the
temple; abandoning any notion of piety for the moment.  He came to a screeching halt in front of the steps he’d climbed mere minutes before, and looked towards the great monument of his brother’s leadership.  The massive stone pyramid and flanking obelisks stood proudly reaching for the heavens.  In front of them lay a gnarled and admittedly ugly metallic object Anubis called his ‘ship.’

Nofru’s fear
that the fiery rain was a danger to this ship faded away when he observed the rocks could not touch the ship.  Projectiles on target slowed to a stop five feet from the ship’s metal skin and just rolled off to the side and fell to the ground below.

Nofru cheered reverently along with the crowd as the ship defied the pull emanating from the ground and rose toward the heavens.  Higher and higher it sailed until a sparking, swirling disk materialized two hundred feet above the pyramid.  The disk grew so wide across that had it fallen from the heavens it would have swallowed the great pyramid and all four obelisks whole.

Without sound or ceremony the ship
neared the event horizon.  A few random sparks began hitting the giant obelisks that stood on each corner of the pyramid.  What appeared to be random lightning strikes quickly evolved into a consistent pattern.  The energy bolts hit the giant stone spires one after the other in a clockwise rotation that continued to accelerate.  Within seconds the pace of the energy bolts was such that it looked like four streams of energy were in constant contact with each obelisk.  Soon the entire length of the stone pillars was aglow with radiant energy.

The
light drew into the tip of the obelisks, like a sponge soaking up a puddle of water, as the energy coalesced into blinding points of light at the tip.  In unison, the four obelisks lanced out with crackling bolts of lightning that struck Anubis’ ship dead center while still fifty feet short of the swirling disk.

Tendrils of white electric energy wrapped themselves around the ship.  In the span of a heartbeat, the
object was crushed into a blinding point of light and then exploded outward sending flaming fragments of metal to join the fiery hail stones on their way to the earth.

The explosion radiated back down the tendrils of energy
emanating from the obelisks.  Like a domino pushed past its tipping point, all four spires were sent crashing to the ground.  Hundreds of people perished beneath the immense weight, and hundreds more suffered injuries from the flying fragments of stone when they exploded upon impact with the ground.  The sparking, swirling disk above immediately receded in on itself and vanished, leaving only darkness in its wake.

Nofru screamed at the top of his lungs “NO!”

While the crowds ran in fear for their lives, Nofru continued screaming at the sky with all the rage he could summon.  No longer content to yell at the faceless sky, he turned toward the now pitch black temple of Anubis.

“You promised to guide us to our destiny,” Nofru cried
out while wandering into the middle of the dark temple.  Overcome with the emotional loss of his brother and feeling the weight of leadership crashing down upon him, Nofru collapsed to his knees and sobbed into his hands.

Suddenly
Nofru was pulled away from his self pity by a warming sensation that soon enveloped the entire chamber.  Nofru raised his head from his hands and opened his eyes to a magnificent sight. 

Floating inches above
the altar of Anubis hovered a shimmering red and gold flame gently dancing in the breeze.  This was no ordinary transparent and fragile flame.  This robust presence looked almost like liquid metal flowing in mid air with a divine fire burning from within.  Nofru remained on his knees as the flame spoke to him.

“Fear not young Pharaoh.  Death is only the beginning
of our fight against those beings of unnatural birth.”

Chapter 1
:  History Lesson

 

Dr. Jeffrey Holmes
parked his car a little more crooked than usual in his reserved spot.  He was tempted to back up and correct the angle, but he couldn’t be bothered with such trivial things today.

All week the only thing he could think about was
meeting again with his newest patient, Hastelloy.  The man was a walking contradiction.  The patient was lucid, smart, and extremely personable.  Yet he was completely lost in a fascinating delusion. 

T
he patient suffers from an irrational belief that he is an alien who crashed on earth in ancient Egypt along with four crewmen.  The man says he can go on living throughout the ages due to a machine called the Nexus, which captures a life force and regenerates it into a new body.  A particularly clever design on the patient’s part since it simultaneously explains the longevity and the ability to look human.

Per
Hastelloy’s story, his crew is not alone.  The Nexus device he protects carries 20 million soldiers rescued from a space battle that resulted in Hastelloy’s ship, along with another craft from his adversary, species Alpha, crash landing on earth.  Naturally Hastelloy’s side stands for a noble cause, while the vile Alpha labor to enslave and destroy everything they see.

According to the story
, Hastelloy managed to obliterate the Alpha’s ship before they could return home.  Then he led the famed slave exodus from Egypt along with the princess Mosa, whom he married.  By Hastelloy’s account, their escape from Egypt descended into the legend of Moses that everyone knows so well thanks to the brilliant portrayal Charlton Heston gave in the film
The Ten Commandments
.

Jeffrey
clambered out of his aging Volvo and ran up to the entrance of the state psychiatric ward where he worked.  Pausing briefly at the door to look at his reflection to make sure he remembered to brush his hair this morning, Dr. Holmes calmly opened the door.  He suppressed the urge to sprint down the hall and reach his office all the sooner to begin his session with Hastelloy.  Such a display was unprofessional and would only serve to disrupt the other patients housed in the glorified dormitory for the mentally ill known as Henderson Home.

Dr. Holmes
walked into his outer office and was greeted by a smiling Tara who threw him a wave and polite nod since she was on her cell phone.

Tara covered the microphone piece with her free hand and said quietly, “Hastelloy is waiting for you inside.  Now go enjoy yourself.”

Jeffrey paused to do a mental check of his behavior over the prior week following his first meeting with Hastelloy.  Had he really been that obvious about his intrigue with the patient?  He must have for Tara to make such a statement, but who could really blame him?  Hastelloy was a likable patient with an interesting story, and he had a decent chance of recovery if Dr. Holmes did his job properly.  All the other patients in the facility were here for the long haul and everyone knew it.  Jeffrey knew it, the staff knew it, and deep down he was reasonably sure the patients also knew it.  Hastelloy was different and Jeffrey was determined to go the extra mile to help this man.

With that thought Jeffrey gave Tara a bright eyed nod and said, “Thank you, I intend to.”

Dr. Holmes opened the door to his inner office and there, sitting in one of two chairs flanking a coffee table in the middle of the room, sat Hastelloy.  If the doctor’s sudden entry startled the man, it didn’t show in the least.  Hastelloy calmly glanced up, rose to his feet and met his psychiatrist with a stiff handshake.

“I hope you don’t mind my waiting in here,” Hastelloy began
.  “I didn’t sleep well last night so I got here a bit early.  Tara was kind enough to let me sit in these comfortable chairs rather than those rickety torture devices you have in the waiting area.”

“Not at all,” Jeffrey assured his patient.  He thought it odd Hastelloy would choose to sit in one of the chairs for comfort rather than the sofa on the other side of the coffee table, but each to his own he figured.

“I had a bit of a coincidence hit me last week,” Dr. Holmes said while taking his seat in the chair across from Hastelloy and gestured for the man to return to his own.  “I have a younger brother who works for the US government and has been in Cairo Egypt all week on assignment.  I asked him to visit the pyramids for me to see if he has any luck finding the four extra rooms in the great pyramid you mentioned or the large hidden chamber inside the Sphinx.”

“Fas
cinating,” Hastelloy countered with a straight face.  “If he calls back today with news of his discovery then will I get to walk out the front door of this place with you tonight?”

“Anything’
s possible,” Jeffrey laughed while he opened his notebook to where he left off last week and made ready to add to the multiple pages of chicken scratch he had already accumulated.  “Let’s see what today’s discussion brings first shall we?”

“When our session ended last week you just finished
with the destruction of the Alpha ship over the Great Pyramid and the story of Mosa and the slave exodus from Egypt.  Would you care to pick it up from there?” Dr. Holmes prompted.

Hastelloy pursed his lips in contemplation for a few moments and then shook his head.  “No, not really.  Nothing of lasting importance happened for
a few thousand years after that.  I wouldn’t want to bore you with such a mundane time period.”

Jeffrey was a bit disappointed at the patient
steering away from the story.  He had revealed significant emotional connections to this Mosa character and was probably venturing fairly close to the traumatic event that triggered his delusion.  Such backtracking was to be expected after a week of reflection and rebuilding of mental defensive walls.  He would let the patient wander back to that point on his own. Forcing the issue at this point could be quite harmful.

“Wel
l then let me put it to you,” Dr. Holmes conceded.  “Where would you like to continue your revised version of my people’s recorded history?”

Hastelloy leaned forward in his chair so his elbows came to rest on his knees and pointed an index finger toward Jeffrey.  “How well do you know the story sur
rounding the rise of the Roman Empire?”

“I am aware of the legend of Romulus and Remus being fed by a wolf and eventually founding the city,” Dr. Holmes said.

“No, no, that’s just about founding the city of Rome itself.  I am talking about one man rising above all the senators, generals, and wealthy aristocrats to grab hold of civilization itself and mold it into perfection.  Despite insurmountable adversity all four pans of the Neo Scale: technology, social conscience, leadership ethics, and religion were brought into flawless balance to propel mankind tens of thousands of years ahead of schedule.

Jeffrey expressed a sheepish grin before giving his reply.  “I must have been asleep for that history lesson, but it certainly sounds interesting to me now.  Maybe it all has to do with the man giving the history lesson because my seventh grade teacher was all about memorizing dates and names.”

“It’s a pity you slept through those lessons,” Hastelloy said with genuine regret.  “There is no more fascinating time in the history of mankind than when a simple centurion rose to rule the known world and made civilization all the better for it.

“Roman legions did not go undefeated for a thousand years by accident.  Roman engineers did not just stumble upon the formula for concrete to construct mesmerizing st
ructures so long ago by chance.  Everything transpired by careful design for the greater good.”

Jeffrey felt his hands go numb with excitement.  Hastelloy’s brand of history was infinitely more interesting than that of the text
books.  He licked the tip of his pencil and made ready to take notes.

 

BOOK: Centurion's Rise
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