Authors: Stephen B. Pearl
Tags: #9781629290492, #Damnation Books, #military, #science fiction, #Stephen B Pearl, #romance, #erotica, #Genetics, #cyborg, #science fiction, #science, #biotech, #aliens, #war, #spies, #espionage, #slaves, #love, #romance, #duty, #dedication, #life, #death, #battle, #armour, #rifles, #guns, #torture, #salvation, #sacrifice, #biology, #space
Damnation Books, LLC.
P.O. Box 3931
Santa Rosa, CA 95402-9998
War Of The Worlds 2030
by Stephen B. Pearl
Print ISBN: 978-1-62929-050-8
Cover art by: DawnÃ© Dominique
Edited by: Trevor Donaldson
Copyright 2013 Stephen B. Pearl
Printed in the United States of America
Worldwide Electronic & Digital Rights
Worldwide English Language Print Rights
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned or distributed in any form, including digital and electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior written consent of the Publisher, except for brief quotes for use in reviews.
This book is a work of fiction. Characters, names, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
As always, I dedicate this book to my beloved, my wife Joy,
who drives me mad and warms my heart, who makes me smile and brings tears to my eyes. Twenty-seven years and I still marvel that I wake up beside you. The words don't exist, but if the faintest echo of you finds its way into the women I write then I know they will be amazing. I love you more than you could know.
I also wish to offer my greatest appreciation to H.G. Wells who's work of genius this novel pays homage to. You stood as midwife at the birth of my love of Science Fiction and helped open the doors of understanding to me. If you are aware of this you got quite a shock when you died, but I hope you are embracing the adventure now. Thank you good sir, Ad Astra.
I would like to acknowledge the Critters online writers group. Andrew Burt has done a great service to all those writing
in the speculative fiction field with his efforts. I especially want to thank Tina Wagers, Dock Finch, Philip I. Joans, and John Mg, for their efforts in going over the early drafts of this work. I also wish to acknowledge the contributions of Mark Aldus and Kim Opine from my face to face writers group in putting the piece to rights.
As is the case with most books worth reading there is a shopping list of people who deserve to be mentioned so if you feel I have forgotten you just add your name.
I'd also like to offer a special thanks to the millions of scientists who are making the future each day. All too often your successes mesh so seamlessly with our lives that we hardly notice them, while your mistakes become catastrophes we can't ignore. Thus, thank you for the tooth paste that means my teeth don't ache. Thank you for the machines that take me where I need to go.
Thank you for instantaneous communications around the globe and the millions of other things you have given us that work. Some of us realize where they came from. Thank you.
The two black zodiacs sped noiselessly towards the shore. Their four occupants were silent, attention focused forward. Richard and Zane sat in the bows knowing they were already dead. All that remained was to see if they'd died in vain. The glow of city lights lit the horizon. Zane sniffed the air, detecting a faint hint of sulfur from the steel works.
“Beach ahead,” warned Richard. He was dressed in black, body-armor and wore a backpack, as did his companions.
“Give me the range,” whispered the man at the tiller.
“Ten meters. Kill the engine. Five meters, four, three, two, one.” The bow scraped onto the beach.
Richard leapt ashore, placing the anchor. He scanned the area with his night-vision goggles then pressed a clicker on his chest twice.
Zane leapt ashore, placed his anchor, looked around then hit his clicker twice, confirming the all clear. The men still in the zodiacs began tossing duffel bags to the two on shore, who sorted them into piles.
“Where are they?” Richard whispered when the last duffle was unloaded.
“Janis will be here. She hasn't let us down yet.” Zane's voice was like gravel.
“I hope you're right. Too much is riding on this.”
“Snap, Snap. Whoo, Whoo,” sounded in the stillness of the night.
Richard hit his clicker twice, counted to five then hit it again. Shadowy figures stepped into view.
“Hurry.” Zane pointed to the larger of the two piles of duffels with his biological arm. The dark figures moved closer resolving into people wearing ragged clothing.
“Come on, move!” Richard waved at a group that separated from the others and raced to the zodiacs.
“Darling,” whispered a voice in the darkness. Richard and Zane turned to see Janis move out of the shadow. She was dressed in worn camouflage pants and jacket. Her dark-brown hair was cut close to her scalp and there was a rifle slung over her shoulder. She was lean and limped slightly on her right leg, while her face was smeared with blackout.
“My love.” Zane strode forward, took her in his arms and held her close.
“If you two are quite finished?” Richard passed the anchor from the first of the zodiacs to the people who had boarded it and pushed the boat out to sea.
“Right.” Zane moved to the second boat and with a single push of his cybernetic, left arm sent it on its way. The two small craft disappeared into the distance.
“Standard pick up?” asked Janis.
“Sub is two miles off shore. Let's go.”
The shadowy figures that had taken the first pile of duffels had disappeared into the night. Richard picked up one of the three remaining bags, Janis and Zane took the others. Janis led the way to a storm-sewer access. The tunnels were pitch black. All three humans activated night-vision goggles that showed the world in shades of green.
Janis paused and hit a clicker twice.
Two clicks answered from down the passage.
Janis clicked once.
Ten seconds passed then three clicks answered. She sighed and moved on. A second later they passed a side tunnel where three people crouched with their guns trained on the newcomers. No words were exchanged as Janis led them into the maze of passages. After a long walk in the dark the thing they'd been dreading occurred. There was the sound of scales being drawn over concrete.
In seconds Zane had his night-vision goggles off and the scope of his rifle to his remaining eye. The tunnel was cast in shades of green. He scanned over Janis, who also had her gun ready, and Richard who had drawn an electro sword, in case the beast they faced was impervious to bullets.
The wall burst in, blasting concrete and crushed rock into the corridor. Zane threw himself on Janis, knocking her to the ground and lying on top of her, allowing his body-armor to absorb the brunt of the attack. A creature loomed out of the hole in the wall. Its face was vaguely human, but its body was that of a centipede and it was the size of a large crocodile. Twin rows of spikes ran the length of its back, with a small vent behind each spike. The beast sucked air in through the vents and expelled a stinking cloud.
“Masks!” Richard ripped down the veil that covered his face and slapped a compact breather, which had been clipped to his belt, over his nose and mouth. Zane rolled off Janis and mimicked Richard's actions. Janis scrambled to her feet and fell back along the tunnel, firing at the beast.
“High low,” ordered Richard.
“On it,” replied Zane. The beast lunged into the corridor and turned to Janis. It started after her but a burst of automatic fire from Zane's rifle caught its attention. The bullets bounced off its armored sides, no more than mosquito bites to the beast.
“Come on ugly. Your father was a lady bug.” Zane remained on the ground firing. “Shit! I'm jammed.”
“Bloody hell!” Richard pulled a small, round grenade from his belt and rushed their foe's side.
The beast turned towards him, snapping at its attacker with a set of pincers that attached to its lower jaw.
“Hey, it's me you want, ugly!” Zane pulled his side-arm and fired into the Centipedal. It turned to face him and he kept firing.
Richard leapt, landing on the creature. The stinking cloud expelled through the vents then it began to inhale. Richard dropped the grenade into an air hole and leapt away.
“One one-thousand,” he shouted.
“Richard, could use some help here,” called Zane. Before Richard could react a shot rang out from down the corridor. Janis had taken up position and was now shooting at the beast.
“Two one-thousand.” Richard pulled his side-arm.
The beast turned towards Janis, leaving Zane behind.
The Centipedal rushed Janis, who kept firing.
Richard fired at the creature, the bullet causing it to pause about halfway to Janis.
A sound like a very large belch filled the cavern. A blast of liquefied guts shot out the Centipedal's breathing holes. Its eyes flew out, propelled by streams of gore then its hard shell collapsed.
The two men picked up the packs and rushed to rejoin Janis.
“Nice work,” she commented. Richard and Zane removed their breathing masks.
“Fortunately Centipedals tend to be solitary, a carryover from their original genetic, but we shouldn't stay here,” said Richard, his voice sounding very much the British professor.
“Still Richard, isn't he?” asked Janis.
“Would you want him any other way?” Zane took a moment to scratch at the seam where the simulated scar tissue that covered the cybernetics on his left side met his real skin, before returning the defensive suit's veil.
“No, I guess not.”
“Did I say something amusing?” asked Richard.
“Richard, I'm resistance. The
s have been using that type as sewer guards for three years now. I probably know things about them you couldn't even guess at.”
“Oh. I did not mean to beâ¦”
“Relax. It's comforting that some things haven't changed. I'll send a team to harvest it in the morning.”
“Yes. The legs taste just like lobster if you boil them.”
“Zane, please tell me she's joking?”
“Personally, I think they taste more like crab,” replied the younger man.
“We better get going. The sooner we're out of the tunnels the safer we'll be,” said Janis.
The rest of the journey was little more than a stress-filled slog in the dark. They finally emerged through a secret passage into the basement of Janis's house. Without a word the three of them raced to close the trap door in the floor and pile boxes over the hatch.
“Good. The equipment you brought will be dispersed through the underground. Did you get the plastique?” demanded Janis.
“Of course. Nothing's too good for my girl.” Zane dropped the obscuring veil that covered everything but his eye and kissed her.
Janis smiled, focusing on the right side of her young lover's face. There he was Zane, the same handsome, expressive face that she had come to love before the war. “I missed you.”
Zane traced his fingers lightly along the scar that ran from her ear to her chin. “I missed you too.”
“I hate to interrupt, but it has been rather a long night. If you could see fit to providing me with sleeping accouterments; I'll leave you two to umâ¦get reacquainted.”
“Ever the diplomat, Richard. Thank you. There's an air mattress and sleeping bag in the corner. It's safer to sleep days and work nights. The
s believe this house is deserted, but try to keep a low profile.”
Janis took Zane's hand and led him up the stairs as Richard prepared the sleeping mat.
“General Flanders, sir. I can't change the laws of biology. If we do the upload any faster, we could burn out the biological units. As it is we're uploading years of life experience in the space of hours.” The technician stared at his CO. The general was an older man, with a slight gut that didn't totally undo the effect of his solid, muscular frame.
“Relax Majorâ¦Joans isn't it?” The general smiled. The man before him was slender, mid-twenties, undoubtedly drafted out of university and thrown in way over his head.
“Yes sir.” The major unconsciously ran his hand through his sandy-brown hair and glanced around the room. The two-meter high cylinders of the gestational chambers filled one wall, while the others were taken up with workbenches and large, devices with blinking lights and digital readouts. An interface couch, that resembled a reclining chair with an assortment of medical monitors attached, dominated the center of the room.
“I know you're doing your best, son. I'm a fighting man, and they've put me in command of a bunch of eggheads. I bark, that's how it's done in my world.”
“Can you do anything to increase the upload rate?”
“No sir. I'm cycling the process between the biological units, so we can keep the feed unit in almost constant operation, but the living cells are the weak link. A brain can only pattern so much information so fast even when it's inputted directly.
“Fine. Do what you can. Are there any problems with spot monitoring the upload?”
“Just headaches and nausea, sir. Though there is one unexpected development.”
Major Joans shifted uncomfortably. “Sir, because the spot monitoring is such an all encompassing experience the other techs and I are running into a problem with cognitive time displacement.”
Flanders wrinkled his brow. “You're losing track of time. That can happen to anyone.”
“Sir, we come out of the sessions not knowing what year it is. In the monitoring we experience the time that the memory was made. It takes a bit to get our heads back to twenty-thirty-seven.”
“I'll take your word for it. What can be done?”
“Sir, I suggest a large, old-style calendar with the year and date in big print hung up on the wall in here. The monitoring tech could orient to it before and after the session. That might help.”
“Do it. If that's all, I won't keep you from your work any longer.” The general left the room.
The major sighed. Moving to a roller cart in the corner he pulled out a laser disk the size of an old vinyl album and slipped it into the machine. Taking a seat in the recliner he pulled away a mole behind his ear exposing a jack port. He inserted the male connecter end that looped into the top of the chair.
“Set to monitor upload. Nurse, where are you?” he spoke to the air.
“I'm coming,” replied a female voice over the intercom. A moment later a plump, blonde women entered the room and checked several monitors. “Just let me start the IV. Oh yes, I bought this last night. She unrolled a paper tube to reveal a calendar. In bold type it read âMarch 5, 2037.”
“Thank you, lieutenant. That should help.” Major Joans focused on the calendar repeating twenty-thirty-seven to himself until he initiated the monitoring.
* * * *
Upload monitoring/ Richard Green /Index 09:32/ 30/3/2030
* * * *
“Doctor Green. Doctor Green, can you hear me?”
The voice penetrated through a fog. Doctor Green stirred. “Gods, Richard, what were you drinking?” he asked himself as he ran a hand through his short, brown hair. He tried to piece the previous evening together.
“Doctor Green,” repeated the voice. It was female, soft and pleasant.
Oh, Gods, not a student again? The deans will terminate me as a certainty. Think. Last night, I went home and went to bed. I'd promised no more drinking thenâ¦I went to bed. The dream!
His eyes shot open. The ceiling above him was a huge lighting-panel. An attractive brunette, with large, brown eyes, stared down at him. He took some comfort in the fact that she wore a nurse's uniform.
“This isn't my bedroom.” He carefully articulated each word around what felt like a pound of cotton in his mouth.
“How do you feel?” asked the nurse.
Richard sat up on the gurney and immediately wished he hadn't. “Bloody hell! What is going on?” he demanded after a long minute. He then glanced down and saw that his lean, muscular body was naked. He snatched the sheet off the gurney and covered himself.
“Relax, it's nothing I haven't seen before. Though if it makes you feel any better, you have nothing to be embarrassed about. Now this will be easier for both of us, if you'll just answer my questions.”
“Madam, I will answer yours, if you will answer mine.”
“Why is it you egg heads always want to play games? Okay, I'll bite. How do you feel?”
“Sodding awful! I'm dizzy and my mouth feels like it was used as an aviary. Not to mention the state of my stomach.”
“You'll feel better in a few minutes. It's just the knockout gas.”
“Where am I?” Richard dared to open his eyes again. The room around him was obviously a small, well equipped, infirmary.
“Ah, Doctor Green,” boomed a rotund, balding man in a three-piece suit, who burst into the room.
“Torture is outlawed by the Geneva Convention. Please lower your voice.” Richard buried his face in his hands.
“Bad reaction. That gas can throw you for a loop. I guess you would like to know what's going on.” The large man moved to stand in front of Richard.
“I suppose that I have been kidnapped. Why anyone would want to do such a thing is beyond me. My ex-wife will not pay a ransom to get me back, I can promise you that. Janis might be willing to pay you to keep me.” Richard's voice began to take on its normal timbre; the university English accent emerging through the gas induced raspyness.
“Kidnapped? Well in a sense. Doctor Green, your country needs you.”
“I'm a British national. What in hell does the King want?”
The big man smiled. “All right, if you insist. The United States requires your services.”
“Go on.” The pounding in Richard's head had reduced to a dull throb.
“In short. Your work on mating biological and electrical systems has become a matter of national security.”
“Oh, and I was wondering where I'd be getting my next research grant.”
“If what we are facing pans out, you will never have to worry about financing your research again.”
“Pardon me, was that meant to sound ominous?”
“Excuse me, Doctor Cooper, but he needs some quiet to get back on his feet.” The nurse pushed a glass into Richard's hand.
Richard downed the glass's contents.
“If you insist. Doctor Green, the briefing will be in half an hour. The nurse will bring you to the conference room.
In minutes the throb had receded from Richard's head and his stomach settled.
“We should get you to the conference.” The nurse passed him another glass of water.
Richard looked down at himself. “Umâ¦I believe some accommodation for the perfunctory nature of my arrival will have to be made.”
The nurse smiled at him. “A wardrobe has been supplied for you, Doctor.”
“Please, Richard, and you are?” he asked with a hint of a smile playing at the corners of his mouth.
“You can call me, happily married or Lieutenant Malcowits, if you behave yourself.” The nurse smiled at him to remove the sting from her words. Moving to a cupboard she pulled out a Harris Tweed suit complete with underwear and shirt.
“Such is my lot. All the great beauties be either too young or taken, or in your case, both.” Richard accepted the clothes and glanced around the room.
“Thank you for the compliment. Now get dressed.”
“Umâ¦there's no screen.”
“Men!” The nurse turned her back and stared diligently into the far corner.
The clothes fit well, for off the rack, and when Richard examined himself he had to admit they presented him as a modern scholar, the man with the answers. He took a closer look at his green eyes.
“Ready?” asked the Nurse.
“My pupils are dilated.”
“That will pass in the next half hour or so. Are you a medical doctor?”
“Biologist, with a sub-specialty in computer engineering.”
“Oh. Strange mix. Are you ready to go?”
“Lead on MacDuff.” Richard gestured towards the door.
“Brits!” She led him down an institutional hallway and through a door into a conference room. The far wall consisted of a large screen and the room's middle was dominated by a wooden table. Seven people sat around the table, four of them in military uniform. Richard counted the five stars on the shoulder epaulet of the closest man. He was older, but solidly built.
“Ah, Doctor Green, please come in and take a seat,” said Doctor Cooper, who sat at the head of the table.
“Thank you. Gentle um, err, persons.” Richard moved to one of the empty chairs.
“Now as I was saying. It seems pretty fishy.” Began the man dressed in a navel uniform.
“Admiral. Now that we are assembled, I think it's time to recap, so we're all on the same page,” said Doctor Cooper.
“You can say that again, Sugar. Oh, by the way, Hiya Richard,” drawled an older woman with blonde hair graying at the roots from across the table. She was dressed in a simple white blouse and black skirt.
“Hi, Nancy. Been a while.”
“Since that biotech conference in Atlanta. How's Janis?” Nancy's accent was pure southern belle.
“Sorry to hear that.”
“Doctors,” interrupted one of the military men.
“Sorry,” said Richard and Nancy in unison.
“Very well. If you will excuse the clichÃ©, you are probably wondering why I have called you together.” Doctor Cooper stood at the head of the table.
“Would you get on with it, Malcome? We aren't a senate comity you need to kiss ass to for funding,” interrupted the older general.
Malcome scowled. “As you wish. Frankly, this is a scenario straight out of a bad science-fiction movie. Gentlemen and lady, the aliens are coming.”
“Pardon me?” asked Richard.
“We received this transmission at twenty-two hundred hours yesterday.”
The screen behind Doctor Cooper lit up. A stunningly handsome, Caucasian man stood beside a beautiful, Amerindian woman. They appeared to be biologically perfect specimens. The man spoke.
“Governments of Earth. I am Tannal; I bear greetings from my race, the
. We have entered your solar system on a peaceful, diplomatic mission. We are anticipating entering your planet's orbit on the date you call in the calendar of your currently dominant state, September seventh, twenty-thirty current era.
“I emphasize, we come in peace. We have been monitoring your radio transmissions for sixty of your years and now deem that you are ready, technologically and socially, for contact. As a sign of our good will we wish to transmit a cure for the condition you know as cancer. This has been designed by gleaning information from your electromagnetic transmissions and applying our science. It is a gift of goodwill. We hope that the governments of Earth will welcome us and use the time between now and our arrival to prepare your populace.
“I now surrender the balance of this transmission to my chief medical officer. She will instruct you in the nature of our gift.”
The Amerindian woman moved to center screen and began speaking.
“The technique involves mating a microprocessor to the biochemical triggering system of a biological form. Thus instructing the body to inhibit the division of cancerous cells through a series of micro-enzymatic transmissions carried through the blood stream and micro-electrical triggers set along the nervous system.”
Richard listened to the woman with rapt attention. He snapped his fingers and said, “Notes.” From somewhere a pad and pen appeared and he jotted down his thoughts. Diagrams filled the screen along with chemical formulas. Finally the transmission ended.
Richard sat silently staring at his scribblings.
“Generals, doctors, there you have it,” said Malcome.
“It's a hoax,” snarled a grey-haired, hawk-faced man from the far side of the table. He was dressed in an outdated suit.
“As far as we can tell, Frank. It's legit. The source of the transmission was six billion kilometers out. Just a little bit past Pluto. We redirected the orbital telescopes to take a peek. At maximum magnification we saw something. Right now it's just a speck, but it is moving in system.”