Eden's Children (Earth Exiles Book 2)

BOOK: Eden's Children (Earth Exiles Book 2)
8.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Eden’s Children

This book is the second in the series, Earth Exiles.  The first book is

‘On Distant Shores.’

 

Copyright 2015 Mark Harritt

Published by Mark Harritt at Amazon

 

 

Amazon Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.  This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people.  If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient.  If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, then please return to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy.  Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Acknowledgement

I want to thank my readers.  Your kind words inspire me to put pen to paper, or, in this case, finger to keyboard.

Chapter One

Macabre skulls stared in mute testimony to horrific combat, marking the destruction of dragons and other predators that had tried to kill the old Earth survivors, exiles from a much earlier epoch in Earth’s history.  Gigantic bones, crushed, shattered, broken, lay scattered across the clearing, yellowing against the dirt and vegetation.  Those victories brought a short lived respite.  Now there was a new challenger, one that claimed the valley as its own, upset that there was competition that didn’t acknowledge its supremacy with deference and fear.

The nightmarish, ancient dragon bellowed and thundered.  The monster’s attention was fixed on Mike, upset that its prey was only yards away but still out of reach.  Framing the great head, Medusa like tentacles lashed in a frenzy, pulsating from pink to red, tip to base.  The massive skull, striped with bulked muscle, was built to mangle and kill dinosaur sized prey.  A heavy jaw and ripping teeth were augmented by poisonous fangs that flexed in and out.  The chest was broad and deep, the arms capable of grabbing onto and dragging its colossal victims to the ground.

The huge body of the predator massed the equivalent of six elephants.  The hide was muted in greys, greens, and browns, the camouflage of an ambush predator.  Great jagged scars mapped across its head and body, proclaiming old victories.  Some of the scars had been inflicted by the gigantic, dangerous prey that the great beast hunted.  Other scars had been inflicted during its competition for mates and territory.  Dragons were brutal, antagonistic, cunning, and extremely dangerous.  They hunted each other as much as they hunted the herds of gigantic herbivores beyond the mouth of the valley.  They’d been dubbed dragon because of their resemblance to the mythical predators.

Mike stood at the top of a great stone structure, built to keep the predators of this new world at bay, the height of the stone wall the only thing between him and the beast below.  He leaned, looking down at the ancient monster, his hands resting against a shelf of stone, four feet high, in place to keep people from falling over the side.  The cool stone felt good against his skin in the humidity and heat of this new world.

Mike, tall with lean muscle, broad shouldered, sported a sandy beard, razor blades and shaving cream long gone.  In another life, a billion years past, Mike, along with Everett, Mickey, Rob and Tom were part of a special operations team that targeted terrorists who used chemical, biological, or radiological weapons.  Chance, and the necessary clearances, had seen them assigned to a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, research facility to test revolutionary Mech Armor.

Approximately a year ago, he and the other survivors had transitioned to an unrecognizable future, everything they’d known destroyed by the ravages of time.  A nuclear war started by a madman caused a chain of events that led to a hiccup in equipment installed in the research facility.  The equipment, a null generator, had accidentally transported his spec ops team and the DARPA engineering team to the future.

They’d stumbled onto the truth when Roberto realized what had happened.  The recognizable moon, and the longer duration of the day was the clue that revealed they had been transported to the future.  The year was the same duration, approximately eight thousand, seven hundred and sixty hours long.  The days were much longer though, due to the tidal forces between the moon and the earth slowing down the rotation of the earth.  The days were now thirty three hours and fifteen minutes long, giving the year one hundred and eighty-one point eight five days.

Now, the sensation of the cool stone against his hands vaguely registered at the back of his mind.  Even the agitation of the great beast was barely noted.  Instead, his thoughts were worlds away, wandering across the research he had conducted over the past six months.  His thoughts drifted among the different theories and mathematical proofs he’d been exploring.  Time was the question that Mike contemplated.

Time travel was a problem that the greatest minds in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries had contemplated.  Einstein, Ellis, Hawking, and scores of other physicists had many theories of the fundamental nature of space-time.  Mike wasn’t a physicist, but he was a mathematician.  Even so, he’d had problems understanding some of the more esoteric ideas that he’d been researching.  He was so engrossed in his own thoughts that he didn’t hear Everett and Tom walk up behind him.  The bellowing of the dragon didn’t help either.

“I think he likes you,” Everett said.

Mike turned his head.  Everett was a handsome, fit man, thirty-nine, African American, with Cherokee blood on his mom’s side.  He had a reddish cast to his dark skin. Tom was the sniper on the team, skinny compared to Mike and Everett, as tall as Mike, curly blond hair. Both men wore close cropped beards as well.  Everett had grey hair salting the natural black.  They were both dressed in charcoal grey pants and shirt, the only color available in this fabric, spun from monomolecular graphene fibers.

“He may like me, but the feelings are definitely not returned,” Mike replied to Everett.

Mike focused his attention back on the giant beast. 
“What are your intentions, monster?”
he thought.

Everett and Tom stopped next to Mike, looking down at the great beast.

“Those things look like a project that Giger and Lovecraft designed on an acid trip,” Tom quipped.

Mike nodded, “I can see that.”

“Damn.  That bastard’s loud,” Tom continued.

“How are things going, Mike?” Everett asked.

Mike looked at Everett.  He knew that Everett was asking about more than his physical wellbeing.  Mike knew that Everett was worried about him.  Mike rarely came outside, spending his time looking through computer files and scribbling mathematical equations.  Since the compound, their new home, had been secured and built, Mike had spent all his time looking for a way to get back to his wife Jo, pregnant with their first child.

At first, Mike had been eager to do the research, hoping that some DARPA project or research would hold the key to getting everybody back home.  As time passed, Mike didn’t make any headway and became extremely frustrated that he wasn’t having any success.  Frustration turned to depression when the solution seemed to be further and further away, to the point that Everett or Jennifer had to pull him away from his research to eat.

After Bobby O’Neill killed himself, the team and Jennifer became pests until he assured them that he wasn’t suicidal.  They still kept a close watch on him, though, to make sure he didn’t slip and head down the same road.  Mike continued his research, but he was more resigned to the fact that they weren’t going home.

Mike shrugged his shoulders, “They’re going.”

“Any luck?”

Mike shook his head, “No, no luck.”

Everett looked at Tom.  Tom tilted his head to one side, non-committal, with a small shrug.  Everett looked back at Mike.

“Anything you want to talk about?” Everett asked.

Mike shook his head, a smirk lifting the corner of his mouth, “What, you my psych now?”

The smirk was a good sign.  Everett smiled back, “No, not your psych.  Just wondering if you want to talk about it.”

Mike shook his head and looked back down at the angry monster.  He took a deep breath, and began speaking, “No, not unless you want me to enlighten you about Ellis’ quantum theory of time, fixed as soon as it is observed.  This, of course, leads to questions about the nature of time before there were any living organisms to observe it.”

Mike paused, and then, to the consternation of Everett and Tom, he continued, “Plus there’s Einstein’s theory of the nature of space/time, where the past and future seem to be interrelated and fixed.  The good thing about Einstein’s equations is that they seem to indicate that you can travel back in time, but you need an infinite amount of energy to fly faster than the speed of light.”

Mike looked back at Everett, “You want me to continue?”

Everett shook his head, “Oh hell no.  You’re giving me a headache as it is.”

Mike continued with a grin, “So you don’t want to hear about Ahmed Farag Ali’s and Saurya Das’ use of Bohmian trajectories to quantum correct Amal Kumar Raychaudhuri’s equation, which indicates that there was no big bang, but rather that the universe is eternal?”

Everett stared at him, “Are those really names or are you just making that up?”

Mike nodded, “Yeah, they’re really names.  I’m probably not pronouncing them correctly, but they’re real.  One was a physicist in Canada, the other in Benha University, Egypt.  And Amal Kumar Raychaudhuri was a physicist in Bangladesh.”

Everett held up his hands, “Dude, no, please stop, you’re making my head hurt.”  He pointed down at the dragon, “I’d rather face that naked.”

Mike looked at Tom, “What about you?”

Tom shook his head, “I’m a country boy.  I shoot things.  I try not to clutter my life with anything more complicated than that.”

Mike’s grin grew wider.

Tom looked down at the dragon, cleared his throat, hocked and spit down into the open maw, watching as it disappeared. “Draco Medusa,” Tom proclaimed.  “So, you think we ought to poke it with a stick?”

“Make sure you say, ‘Hey ya’ll, watch this,’ before you do.  Draco Medusa?” Mike asked.

“Willow decided that’s the dragons’ new name,” Tom explained.  Willow was one of the chemists.

“You guys call it that?”

Tom shook his head, “Naw.  I just curse when I describe them.”

Mike smiled, “So effing dragon?”

Tom nodded.

“What do you think he’s doing here?” Everett asked.

Their attention fixed back on the dragon.  It was livid.  Ropes of saliva splattered against the stone of the wall.

Mike turned to Tom.  Tom was the hunter/biologist on the team.

“What do you think, Tom?””

Tom shook his head, “I don’t know what the hell the damn thing is here for.  Probably looking for a snack.  He’s lucky we’re short on ammo, otherwise I’d put that head on a wall.”

Mike turned his attention back to the dragon, “He’s lucky we don’t want a giant, rotting carcass in our front yard, otherwise I’d help you.”

At that moment, the dragon reared back onto its hind legs and launched forward against the stone of the wall.  The movement caused all three of them to flinch.  They felt the impact of the beast through the soles of their feet.  Not a stone budged, but that much flesh hitting the stone wall couldn’t be ignored by men or the laws of physics.

The beast hissed at them, its tongue flicking in and out, tasting their scent on the air.  The head was as wide as Mike was tall.  He wouldn’t be more than a snack for the ancient monster.

“Good thing Rob knew what he was doing when he built this,” Tom said.

Everett nodded, “Yeah, but don’t tell him that.”

The comment drew smiles.  When it came to egos, they were all just as guilty.  Special operations attracted that type of personality.

Rage spent, the dragon sat back on its haunches and brought its front paws back down onto the ground.  For a moment, Mike looked into its eye, and he saw . . . well, he didn’t know what he saw.  Intellect, cunning, he wasn’t sure.  Then the moment passed.

It was a standoff.  The dragon sensed that there would be no fight today.  Usually, when the great dragon hunted, prey smelled like fear, feces, and urine.  There was no fear in these animals.  There was no aggression or challenge either.  It was confused by the small animals.  The dragon didn’t know how to respond.

It was still agitated as it turned and walked back towards the trees of the forest.  It stopped before it entered the tree line.  The great head arced towards the sky, a great, coughing roar venting its anger and confusion.  It disappeared between the trees, the swaying branches of the low shrubs the only thing indicating its passage.

“That was anticlimactic,” Everett mused.

“Better than the Chinese curse, I guess,” Tom mused.

Mike and Everett turned to look at him, confusion on their faces.

Tom smiled, “May you live in interesting times.”

Everett thought about this, “Yeah, I guess the times are interesting enough right now.”

“Too much so,” Mike continued.

“Ninety-nine percent boredom, and one percent terror,” Tom reflected.

“The life of a combat veteran,” Everett finished.

“What are you guys doing out here?” Mike asked.

Tom pointed out towards the forest, “Matki’s scouting.  He should be back soon.  He told us to be out here at noon.”

Beyond the small clearing, tall trees towered to delineate the beginning of the valley where the old DARPA facility had been abandoned.  They had to abandon it shortly after they arrived.  The medusa dragons and other large predators were constantly attacking.  It was an untenable location to defend.

Canted at an angle, the DARPA facility had structural problems as well.  Stress on the building that it wasn’t designed to support produced cracks in the walls.  Rob, another member of the Spec Ops team, was their structural engineer, and he’d been worried that the facility would collapse.  Rob and a small team were sent out to find a new location that was defensible, and they had chosen this site, only ten miles away from the old facility.  With a narrow opening between two cliffs leading to a small valley, Mike and the team were able to defend the location until Rob and the techs finished the compound.

BOOK: Eden's Children (Earth Exiles Book 2)
8.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Miles to Go by Laura Anne Gilman
Greasepaint by David C. Hayes
Death in Dark Waters by Patricia Hall
Games of Desire by Patti O'Shea
Falling into Forever by Tammy Turner
The Chisholms by Evan Hunter
The Convenient Bride by Winchester, Catherine