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Authors: Barlow,M

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BOOK: Legacy Of Korr
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Phil rolled his eyes. He knew it would hurt. His headache wouldn’t go away as long as she stayed in the apartment. “I want to believe you, but—”

Shara grabbed his head and placed her open palms on his temples. Then her eyes smoldered. He fought a painful flashback of the last time she did that as a strange, but gentle, sensation went through his head and spread to his body. Then she let go.

Phil was weary and tired, but the headache was gone. “Dr. Jekyll, where were you?”

“Dr. Jekyll?”

“You have to read it. It’s a classic.” Phil smiled and lay down in bed. This time, he fell asleep at once.

*****

Emily

 

December 20, 2030 - Sydney

Emily arrived at her office in the Space Center minutes before seven in the morning. She had no urgent work, but she wanted to beat the morning traffic. Yesterday was a disaster. A long, nonsense meeting at four in the afternoon put her in the heart of the rush hour jam. Not today. Emily arrived early, and knowing Fridays are humdrum days; she’d leave early and beat the afternoon traffic this time.

She was the first to arrive. She put her purse on her desk and strolled into the kitchen to make herself a cup of coffee. Her victorious, good mood melted when she remembered some genius had bought a new expensive machine that was fancy enough to be complicated, but not enough to do the job by itself. Every day, she jumped through hoops to get a cup of coffee. She rolled her eyes.  What’s next? The microwave?

The sad part was, most days, her squabble with the stupid coffee machine was the most exciting part of the day.

Why doesn’t anything exciting ever happen here?

Emily wasn’t asking for a giant black hole in the solar system. She was content to discover a small black hole two galaxies over, and if they wanted to name it after her, she wouldn’t object. The only exciting thing that’d happened, since she joined the center, was the discovery of a neutrino star by Dr. Miller two years ago. And Emily had nothing to do with it. She wasn’t even on the same floor.

Five minutes and a bag of tears later, her coffee was ready. Emily lifted the cup to her nose. The warm mug in her hand, and the strong coffee aroma made it worth the tears. At least they didn’t cheapen out on the blend.

Emily carried the coffee and ambled back to her office. Trying to drink her coffee without spilling it on the clean floor. She sat in her ergonomic chair, put away the coffee, and activated her computer with a quick swipe above the keyboard. Time to catch up on unread emails.

The operating system hologram popped up above her desk with a whooshing sound and a large warning message. Emily jumped from her chair. She dropped the coffee mug on the floor. Coffee spilt around the desk and on the cables, but she ignored it.

“No way!”

She touched the message. The hologram responded to her hand motion, and the message opened with a soft beep. A warning from the Cosmic Energy Monitor—a device she thought was long dead. The device recorded a field disturbance. She looked past the hologram at the boxy device.

A blinking, red light.

Emily pinched out her fingers around the message which enlarged to occupy the entire hologram. The time stamp at the bottom confirmed the event took place in Perth minutes after midnight and lasted one minute.

The signal was a small but clear pulse. A large transfer of energy from the depths of the universe to Earth. Something, someone, or both landed in Perth from outer space. Whoever they were, they were more advanced than humans. They had to be to convert mass into energy and reassemble it at a destination, thousands of light years away.

Emily rushed to the director’s office. She tripped over the power cables—courtesy of the tiny office.

She grimaced. “I swear to god.”

Emily darted to the corner office and barged in through the open door. “You have to see this.”

The director gave her a tired look before he looked back at his ancient tablet hologram which ran a five-year-old operating system. Emily almost leaped across the desk to grab him, but she remembered he was pushing seventy, or pulling it—the man asked for paper reports for god sake. His arm would snap if she did.

At the risk of giving him a heart attack, she blurted it out. “There’s a disturbance in the cosmic energy field, and it’s local.”

The director looked up before she finished her sentence. “What do you mean a disturbance?”

Emily took a deep breath and waved both her hands in his face. “Something teleported from the depths of space in energy form and took a physical form when it landed in Perth.”

He smirked. “Why? Was Melbourne busy?”

Funny!
They won a dozen ‘Most Livable City’ titles, and now they looked down on everyone. The selection criteria had to be the quality of coffee—those hipsters made mean coffee and rocked skinny jeans, but that was it.

“I’m serious.”

“Ok, show me,” the director said and followed Emily to her office. He glanced at the cable and the spilt coffee. “I don’t know how you work in this office. It’s so small.”

She took another deep breath and resisted the urge to return his taunt. She pointed to the hologram. “Here it is.”

“Enlarge it, please.”

Emily placed her hands, facing each other on both sides of the hologram, then she parted her arms. The signal enlarged to occupy a space as big as her desk.

With his fingertips caressing his short beard, the director scrutinized the signal for a while. He inspected the time stamp, the energy signature, and the mass. “I never thought this will happen in my lifetime. Is it an isolated incident?”

Emily stared at him for a moment. Her clueless eyes opened wide. “I’ve only detected the one.”

“Fascinating! It’s small, yet well-defined.”

“Based on the signature, it had to come from the depths of the universe to punch through our cosmic space with such force. This technology is beyond the beyond.”

The director nodded, still staring at the signal and considering his next move. He picked up his five-year-old cell phone and dialed a number. Most people had wiphones that functioned using the internet, but he had one that relied on those dying communication networks.

“Hello… yes, I’m calling from the Space Center… Oh, yes, I’m the director, and I have incredible news.” He glanced at the signal one last time before he strode back to his office.

Emily sat down and leaned back in her chair with a huge grin on her face. “Best day of my life!”

*****

Jackie Wheeler, the Minister for Defense, strolled through a long hallway in Capital Hill, where the Chief of Staff waited for her.

“The Prime Minister is expecting you,” Andy said.

“What’s so urgent?”

“He didn’t tell me. I’m afraid it’s a need-to-know.”

Her eyes narrowed. “It must be something if he didn’t tell you. All right, let’s get on with it.”

Jackie followed him through Capital Hill to meet the Prime Minister (PM). An early morning meeting on such a short notice was odd. When it happened, they told her the reason for the visit in advance. This time, they didn’t give a reason, and her sources came back empty. Something unprecedented happened. What was the opposition up to now?

Jackie was too busy contemplating plausible reasons for the meeting she didn’t notice they arrived at the PM’s office. Andy opened the door for her, and she forced a polite smile on her face and walked in.

“Please take a seat,” the PM said.

Mathew Collins, the Director of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), had joined the meeting. A pleasant surprise!

She always felt uneasy around him. His presence confirmed her suspicions—something big had happened. Jackie exchanged greetings with Mathew, hoping her forced smile concealed her discomfort.

“How far are we from having a functioning defensive shield?” The PM asked.

“We have one.”

Mathew’s eyes widened. “We do?”

“Yes, but it’s still in the experimental stage because it needs to be tested for safety.”

“So, it’s not ready?” Matthew asked.

Jackie took a deep breath. “Our shield is functioning, and we can use it if needed. We need to do a few test runs to make sure it’s safe before we equip it on our vessels.”

The PM leaned forward and clasped his hands, weaving his fingers together. “How long will it take?”

Jackie tilted her head to face him and rested her chin on her hand. This meeting was worse than the Parliament session when the opposition grilled her over the army budget. “Six months, maybe less.”

“Good to hear because Matt has major news,” the PM said.

Wondering if Mathew would put his usual eerie silence aside for this, Jackie swung around to face him. “I hope it’s good news,” she said.

“An alien ship landed in Perth last night.”

Her jaw dropped. Mathew uttered the words as if he was describing last night’s dinner. If this conversation took place anywhere else, she would ask him to lay off the booze or have him committed. But hearing this statement from the ASIO Director had an ominous ring she couldn’t shake and left no place for doubt. Kudos to Matt for sticking to short statements though! Few people would have been able to do it, given the unbelievable event.

“Get out!”

Mathew didn’t say a word as if he’d expected her to take his word for it.

“I should’ve had my tea before the meeting,” Jackie said.

Mathew’s eyebrows lifted.

“I haven’t had breakfast or tea.”

The PM smiled, realizing Jackie was joking. He glanced at Mathew who maintained the same serious expression on his face.

“It’s a good thing,” the PM said. “Think of how much we can learn from them.”

Jackie sat back in her chair and put her right hand in her left and rubbed them against each other. “Aren’t you concerned?”

“Of course. That’s why you’re here. We’re trying to come up with a plan. Matt’s agents will track down the aliens, establish contact, and bring them in. We’ve informed the CIA to coordinate our efforts. But we need you to be prepared.”

Her eyes narrowed. “You mean if they’re hostile?”

“Yes.”

“What do we know about them?”

Mathew handed her a thin file. “They’re advanced enough to travel through space. If we discover anything, you’ll be the first to know.”

Jackie opened the file and flipped through the pages. This was a job for an army special forces team skilled enough to retrieve the high-profile targets. But if the Agency wanted to handle it, and if the PM was on board, she wouldn’t object. As long as Mathew followed through on his promise and included her in the decision-making.

“One more thing,” the PM said. “I want one person to handle this. Someone who’d stay on top of things and coordinate with our allies.”

“I have many talented people. I’m sure—”

“No,” the PM said, interrupting Mathew, “I want Noah William to handle this.”

Mathew frowned. “Noah is retired.”

“Given the circumstances, we can get him on board, just this one time.”

“Okay, I’ll contact him today.”

Jackie knew he hated the idea. He pressed his thin lips, and his jaw trembled for a moment. Noah was good. He was the best possible choice, but he and Mathew didn’t end up on good terms. The PM himself asked for Noah, and Mathew wouldn’t object—at least not outright.

“I don’t have to remind you both,” the PM said, “this assignment is our top priority and everything related to it is privileged information.”

Jackie and Mathew nodded. She had to push the shield project, and Mathew had a flight to catch and a tough conversation to have.

*****

Clouds covered the sky of Melbourne. Rain poured on the wide, crowded streets, the high rises, the pedestrians, and the trams alike. Tourists roaming the CBD rushed into the shops or hugged the walls to take cover from the rain. Still, families lined up with their kids to look at the Christmas decorations.

Noah pressed the pedestrian crossing button a few times and waited on the sidewalk. The crossing signal was red. Noah looked to the left and to the right before he darted to the other side toward one of the popular cafes in the heart of the city. The only way to make this meeting less dreadful was the best coffee Melbourne had to offer.

He folded the umbrella and shook it before he entered the small shop and headed to the counter.

“Medium cappuccino, please.”

“Where are you sitting, sir?” The young cashier asked.

He pointed to the table where Matt, ASIO Director General, sat down, sipping a cup of coffee. His suit dripping wet. “Over there. The table with the wet, old man.” Noah paid and strolled to the table until he reached Matt. “You look a hundred.”

Matt took a sip of his coffee. “You try running the agency and see how you look in five years.”

Noah took a seat and placed his umbrella between the chair and the wall. The smell of Matt’s coffee bombarded his nostrils. “Did they force you to take a pay cut?”

Matt put down his cup. “What?”

“You’re walking around in the rain without an umbrella?”

Matt smiled thinly. “I didn’t think it would. It was sunny and bright when I landed.”

“Visitors always complain the weather is shifty. Never bothered me.”

Matt shrugged and took another sip of his coffee. “I need your help.”

“You need another suit.”

“I know we didn’t end on good terms, but I need you to lead an assignment. There isn’t anyone else who can shoulder it.”

Didn’t end on good terms? That’s an understatement.
He’d tried his hardest, and they tossed him out the door the second things went wrong.

BOOK: Legacy Of Korr
7.39Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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