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Authors: Barlow,M

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BOOK: Legacy Of Korr
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“If you mean well, why won’t you come with us?” The sticky officer asked.

She ignored him and spoke to John, the Commander of the force. “I’m sorry you traveled all the way here, but I’ve decided to go with the intelligence agents. They’ll take me to where I need to be.”

“Give me a second. I need to check with the Secretary of Defense,” John said and picked up his phone to speak to someone.

The mediator stepped forward, inserting himself in the conversation, again uninvited. “I’m afraid—”

Mara ignored him, hoping he would take a hint. “Farewell, Commander!”

She hovered away from the command center and headed east toward her ship. It was two hundred meters away.

“Mara,” the Commander said, “I received my orders. You have to come with us.”

She continued to hover away and deactivated the cloaking device. The ship appeared in the distance. “You have a death wish, Major?”

“Occupational hazard,” the Commander said, his voice barely audible.

Her ship was less than a hundred meters away.

“Stop, or we will use force!”

Mara stopped, spun around, and hovered in his direction until she reached the command center. Her eyes glowed and lit up the area. She looked like an angry demon which was the look she was going for. She wanted to scare him a little and scare his pushy officer a lot.

“Listen,” she said. “I’m going to my ship to wait for the agents who are on their way. I’m not here to wage war, but make no mistake, Commander. If you open fire, I will rain doom on you and your men and tear through your airships in minutes.”

The Commander planted his feet in the ground and his chest became wider. He stood his ground. “I’m sorry, but my orders—”

“We’re done here,” Mara said and hovered away.

A bullet hit her leg and bounced off the armor. She ignored it. Another hit her shoulder, and another hit her back.

Mara turned around, raised her arm, and pushed her hand forward in one swift motion. The power wave sent the Commander’s body flying in the air until he slammed against the wall of his airship with a loud bang. John lay on the ground next to the airship, groaning in pain.

His men dragged him inside, closed the ship door, and took off. The rest of the airships followed. They formed a multi-level, spear-like, offensive formation. And they fired their weapons.

Mara rocketed into the air. She jumped, avoiding their missiles, bullets, and lasers, before she activated her shield.

The gunfire, missiles, and bombs chased her and exploded everywhere around her. Their weapons exploded against her shield, but couldn’t penetrate it. The smoke and sand filled the air and reduced vision.

She made her eyes bright to see through the haze. The firepower and the loud explosions agitated her core. Mara mastered controlling her core, but after what had happened to her world, she couldn’t. Energy burst in her core, rushed to her limbs, and launched as a wave of power that struck the first ship in the formation. The ship spiraled and crash-landed.

Remorse flooded her body. Mara lowered her hands and tried to contain her anger. Her mother had warned her against causing trouble. This world needed their help, and they needed all the help this world could give them. For a while, it worked. Mara descended to the ground and hovered toward the fallen ship to help them.

The rest of the ships attacked again. This time, it was brutal. They fired heavy rounds, larger missiles, and laser beams. The attack overwhelmed her shield. Mara jumped between random points in space, but they were vicious. She increased the intensity of her shield and pulled a small gun and fired a wave of green energy after another. She targeted the drives under the ships. One by one, the ships fell like fat insects that had lost their wings.

The fire stopped. Her core became calm. Her limbs relaxed, and her eyes dimmed. The battle was over. Mara landed and scanned the damaged ships. Some soldiers were hurt, but no one died. She glided toward her ship and hovered on the ground underneath it. The intelligence agents would arrive any minute now.

A team of agents arrived to the battlefield a few minutes later. They exited their cars and rushed to the damaged airships on the ground. They helped soldiers evacuate the wrecked ships for a while before the Commander pointed them in her direction.

“Where are you?” The leader of the team, Malik Jefferson, asked. “I know you didn’t mean for any of this to happen.”

I like your name.
Mara pushed her voice into his head.

“She is talking to me. Put your weapons on the floor,” Malik whispered to his men, but she heard him. Malik looked around for the source of the voice, but he couldn’t locate her. He placed his weapon on the ground.

“She?” Another agent, next to him, asked.

“Her voice sounded feminine,” Malik said.

“You need a date.”

“I’m married, James.”

“Still.”

“I have two kids, man.”

“Then you need a babysitter and a hotel room.”

“Nuh, man. My wife will find out,” Malik said, laughing, and continued searching for her. “Where are you?”

Mara traveled to his location until she was in front of him. He was tall, and his skin was dark, a lot darker than the rest of the team. Mara examined him for a while.

“It’s not too late to get a divorce,” James said when he saw Mara.

“I like brunettes.”

Mara was amused. Their demeanor and attitude was different than the soldiers’. But they weren’t the only ones with a sense of humor. She channeled her core’s energy to lift their bodies in the air.

“Stay calm, she is upset,” Malik whispered.

“You’re not with the army?” Mara asked.

“No, I’m with the CIA and James is with the NSA.”

“Am I that important?”

“Yes.”

Mara circled them. “So, you are spies?”

“Yes.”

“Are you any good?”

Malik exchanged looks with James for a moment before he spoke to Mara. “Depends who you ask.”

Mara lowered their bodies until they landed on their feet. She circled them as they recovered. “What do you want?”

“We have an alien ship, and we’re hoping you can inspect it and tell us where it came from.”

She hovered to Malik. “Where is your base?”

“Half hour flight from here.”

“I’m taking my ship.”

“Do you need coordinates?”

She smiled. “You’re coming with me.”

James nudged Malik’s shoulder with his elbow.

“Can James come too?”

Mara chuckled as she landed the ship. “Yes, James can come too.” She glanced at the damaged ships on the ground, and her eyes dimmed. “Did you send for help?”

“Yes, they’re on the way.”

The door opened, and they entered the ship. Mara set the navigation according to Malik’s directions and relaxed in her seat. They were going to Area 51.

*****

Nick walked into a convenience store in the afternoon to buy a case of Corona. He always ran out in the weirdest times, and this was a nerve-wracking day after Mara left this morning. He picked up the beer and waited in line to pay.

“Huge explosions rocked the Biggest Little City in the world. Our reporter Megan Roberts is in Reno with more details.” The voice came from the suspended TV above the counter.

The scene changed to show the news correspondent from north Reno. She spoke to a student in front of an apartment building. “Katy, can you please tell our viewers what you saw this morning?” She asked the hyper student.

“Well, I was going out for breakfast when I saw and heard the explosions. There were army airships—like ten—and they were fighting something. I didn’t see what it was, but it destroyed the airships in like minutes, and then it was quiet.”

“I didn’t feel anything,” a customer waiting in line said.

Nick handed his card to the cashier and looked up at the TV again.

The anchor continued. “Who was the mysterious adversary? Why was the army after them? And why is our government silent? Is this another cover-up? So many questions and no good answers. In fact, no answers…”.

“It’s aliens,” the gas station clerk said.

Nick frowned. He never believed aliens existed outside Hollywood. He thought the concept was ludicrous. If they were around, how come they didn’t contact Earth. If they existed and didn’t contact us, they had to be millions of light years away. They wouldn’t land on Earth, not in his lifetime.

Then he met Mara.

Thinking about aliens growing up was fun, and befriending an alien was every kid’s dream, especially if the alien had superpowers. Then he befriended Mara. A part of him wished he'd never met her. She left, he missed her, and there was nothing he could do about it.

*****

Noah

 

December 21, 2030

The high-ranking Commander strode through the hallway of the large military complex. His assistant almost ran to keep up with his wide strides. Ever since their trusted source in Australia reported an alien had landed and ASIO held her in Canberra, it became his job to extract her. A mission, though near impossible, was a necessity. His specialty. He devised an efficient plan, and now he had to execute it.

The latest reports he had received suggested there could be two more potential aliens—one in the United States and another in Egypt. He had to act fast, or they would miss out on a piece of the green cake.

In a perfect world, they wouldn’t have to fight over who gets custody of the aliens, but Australians would never grant them access. Back to the real world because in a perfect world, he would be out of a job. The different ideologies, the tense diplomatic relationships, and the political conflict between their allies made cooperation nothing but an elusive dream.

“How long before the extraction team is ready?”

His assistant cleared her voice and checked her tablet. “Half an hour.”

“I need to talk to them. Australians are not wasting time. They’re mobilizing heavy army reinforcements to Canberra as we speak.”

“Will the exit strategy work?”

“For now,” the Commander said. “But things can change. We’re taking on the Australians and dealing with an alien lifeform that we know nothing about.”

“How powerful could the alien be? Two agents captured her.”

The Commander laughed. His laugh was tense and cut. “Immensely powerful, considering how she traveled through space to get here. We can’t afford to underestimate her.”

“And now I think we should’ve sent an army.”

“Overkill. A nimble infiltration team of special forces is our best option. The team size is big enough to get the job done while minimizing the chances of them getting detected.”

She nodded.

The Commander reached his office. He opened the door and walked inside. “Look, they’re thirty of our best extraction experts with surprise and our man in Canberra on their side. All they have to do is retrieve one alien.”

His words comforted her, but failed to do the same for him. Australians were on high alert, and the extraction team needed their skills, experience, and a lot of luck to succeed.

She lowered her gaze to the tablet when it made a buzzing sound. “I have the extraction team on standby.”

He sat down behind his desk and motioned her to take a seat. “Put them on.”

She pressed a button and placed the tablet above his desk to display a small hologram of the living area in the safe house in Canberra. The team captain stood in the middle, facing the camera, while the rest of his team was getting ready behind him. The Commander had handpicked every soldier in the team—they were seasoned soldiers with significant combat and retrieval experience.

“Ready to mobilize, sir,” the team captain said.

“We will provide fire cover from unmarked vessels in the international waters,” the Commander said. “Our airships will pick you up from the top of the building once you signal and take you to our aircraft carrier. Follow our contingency exit plan through the airport if things become complicated.”

“Roger that, sir.”

“Good luck, captain!”

“Thank you, sir.”

The Commander motioned his assistant to end the call and watched the hologram vanish.

He couldn’t find any signs that suggested ASIO knew about his team. How could they? His source was beyond reproach. And if things escalated, he’d use their significant assets in the region.

*****

Noah rubbed his eyes at seven in the morning. Four hours of sleep on the couch in his office left him tired and irritated. And watching Shara through the surveillance cameras over the past few hours didn’t help.

At first, she lay in bed, without moving a muscle. Her eyes were dim. Then she moved to the couch where her green eyes lit up. She studied him and his agents the same way they studied her. It was understandable. Her life depended on it. Shara broke into the ASIO network—the most secure servers in the country—like it was an old, turn-of-the-century, smart phone. She had the information she needed.

Noah strode to the wing and knocked on the door. He didn’t wait for an answer. He would not get one. Noah pushed the door open and entered the hall. Shara left the couch and floated in the air.

“You must be sick of people barging into your quarters,” Noah said.

She glided forward as if she was weightless. An intense look in her piercing green eyes. “Were you worried, agent?”

Noah smiled. “I’m always worried. You have to be specific.”

“Were you worried the team you sent after me would face the same fate as your last?”

Noah’s eyes narrowed as he examined her calm features and her intense eyes. “That’s a risk with every assignment.” He kept his composure. Shara was baiting him. “Look, I know you hacked into our systems and got our personal information—”

“Why are you estranged from your son?”

Noah didn’t say a word.

“The job got in the way?”

His eyes narrowed further. “You study people?”

Shara ignored his question and circled him the way a cat would circle an injured mouse before she moved in for the kill.

Noah ambled to the couch and sat down. “I do that, too. And not for free.”

Doubt seeped from under her long, green eyelashes.

He undid his shirt’s top button and rolled up his sleeves. “Your stance is confident not aggressive or reckless. You plan and prepare. You are military trained, but not just a soldier. I’d say an intelligence officer or an advisor.” Noah clasped his hands in front of him. “You’re smart, civilized, and comfortable in crowds. You show no signs of nervousness or desperation. You’re not trapped. I think you’re here because that’s where you want or need to be.”

Shara had a thin smile on her perfectly shaped mouth and a quick flash in her green eyes. “That’s it? So much for the special assignment and the recruiting trip.”

He ignored her remark. “You experienced a recent loss, and you’re mortified you have another one coming. You’re fit and strong and could put up a devastating fight. That troubles me.”

“It does?” She asked, her words slow and her tone mocking.

Noah lowered his gaze to the floor. “I’m troubled by the level of destruction you can unleash. The size of your landing party tells me someone out there is more destructive than you, and we’re on their radar.”

“Are you done?”

Noah stared straight into her eyes. “You won’t allow yourself to grieve. It’s not good for you. You have to go through the process.”

Shara showed no reaction to his words. She stood still like a green marble statue, a perfect case of ‘stiff upper lip’.

“Where is your world?” He asked.

“Let me show you.”

Noah got to his feet. She touched his forehead with her soft hand. He closed his eyes.

*****

When Noah opened his eyes, the hall had disappeared. He stood on a small rock in space. A giant planet beneath him, a planet bigger than Earth with large cities the likes of which he’d never seen.

The planet was under attack by an army of airships. Big airships—ten times the size of the largest American airship—fired heavy missiles, dropped bombs, and sent devastating beams of pure energy, scorching the world below. Targeting the cities and their inhabitants, smaller airships flew closer to the planet. They fired laser beams and short-range missiles. A massive campaign of destruction and terror on a level Noah couldn’t comprehend. Even as he watched it unfold before his horrified eyes.

Below, an army of giant airships emerged to defend the planet. They retaliated with brutal force and weapons that put mass destruction weapons to shame. The defenders fired green waves of energy that cut through the invading airships and tore them apart. Ground defense towers surfaced and fired energy beams toward the invading ships and small missiles which pursued the smaller ships and destroyed them. The planet’s army crushed the invading forces in minutes, without mercy.

The scene changed again. Noah was inside one of the defending airships. The engines rumbled. Hundreds of soldiers aboard operated the ship and scanned the battlefield for invaders.

A new wave of invading airships arrived. His heart nearly stopped. A large missile cruised past him toward a nearby city. The missile exploded with a thunderous blast. It demolished the tall buildings and sent dust and blue flames sky-high. As similar explosions blasted the city, the surviving residents tried to flee.

The defending ship which carried him hovered near the ocean where an enormous airship—the size of a small city—took off. It was a flying fortress wrapped in a pale-green energy shield. Metal plates on the ship’s body slid to reveal clear glass-like surfaces. They smoldered and fired green waves of energy as big as mountains. The waves wiped out everything in its path.

With devastating weapons, the fortress turned the tide of the battle. Tens of enemy airships fled. More waves of invading airships replaced them and flooded the battlefield. Their numbers were staggering.

The scene changed, Noah found himself inside the fortress. He watched through one of the clear shields as the epic battle continued.

An invading airship larger than the others, probably the commanding ship, launched a projectile—a black, tubular, metal missile no bigger than an Earthen airship—toward the planet. The projectile reached the ground and penetrated the ground.

Fissures developed along the surface. They enlarged, and green lava filled them. The fissures became colossal faults.

The planet erupted.

The thunderous explosion seemed to go on forever. Rocks, green lava, metal, and dust flew everywhere, turning the battlefield into an instant asteroid belt. The explosion rocked the fortress and destroyed countless ships on both sides, but more on the defenders’ side.

Noah was in the command cabin in the fortress. The leader of the defending aliens instructed her crew. She looked a lot like Shara, a taller and older version. She hunched and used a walking staff. Her eyes and her skin burned with pale-green color. The anguish was evident on her face at the sight of the destroyed planet. Whatever she ordered her people to do, it was an extreme measure that enticed looks of horror on their faces.

The fortress launched an object the size of a small car into space which blazed past the enemy airships. The leader watched until the object vanished, then she left in a hurry with a small band of soldiers.

A minute later, a medium-sized, round golden airship traveled away from the fortress. Three small invading airships chased the golden ship which surrounded itself by a faint green shield. Five, barrel-sized, golden spheres emerged from the ship and attacked the invaders. The spheres fired green energy beams that destroyed the enemy’s ships before they returned to the golden ship’s body. The ship traveled away from the battlefield.

More and more waves of invaders wiped out the defending forces and focused fire on the large fortress which braved the intense attacks and returned the blows, destroying many ships.

A dozen cones emerged from the front end of the fortress. The ship and the cones smoldered with a blinding, green light. The cones fired a burst of dark energy toward the middle of the invading army. Noah expected a massive explosion, but nothing happened.

The defending ship swayed up and down like a small boat in the heart of a nasty storm. Before his eyes, a black hole formed—where he last saw the dark energy burst—and expanded, swallowing everything near it.

The black hole dragged the fortress. Even with the massive engines roaring, the fortress couldn’t escape the clutches of space’s scariest monster. The pull was beyond anything Noah felt. A cataclysm, with no chance of survival.

Noah screamed, his cries complete silence compared to the loud engines. The ship reached the edge of the black hole. He screamed louder. The fortress reached the center. Noah screamed louder and louder until the black hole sucked in the fortress.

*****

Everything disappeared. Noah opened his eyes to find himself in the ASIO building. Shara helped him sit down. His body trembled like a cottage in a massive earthquake. His heart pounded as if it was about to leave his body. Sweat ran down his face. Noah could feel the salty taste in the corner of his mouth.

He was afraid, shocked, depressed. He had been to disaster movies in virtual reality and hologramic formats. But this ride from hell was the single worst experience of his life. It took his vitals a long while to return to normal.

Noah caught his breath. “I don’t know what to say.”

Shara didn’t say anything. The green light in her eyes disappeared and left two dark, gray eyeballs. The closest thing she did to crying. Noah fought stubborn tears that tried to break free. He never saw her world, but he felt her pain. Who would destroy such a beautiful and majestic world?

“Are they coming here?”

“Yes.”

His head dropped to settle above his hands. His stomach twisted. “Can we stop them?”

BOOK: Legacy Of Korr
11.46Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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