Authors: Adam J. Whitlatch
Tags: #Science Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #sci-fi
“Let me try,” said Alex. “My handprint opened the door. Maybe it can turn on all the machines.”
Sam nodded. “It’s worth a shot. Give it a try, kid.”
Alex rubbed his hands together to warm them, and then pressed his palm against the glass. The entire panel glowed a brilliant green and a loud hum emanated from the machine. Rocky whined and pressed his head against Alex’s leg.
A beam of blue light, almost six feet in diameter, fired from the depression in the machine’s base and surged into the top section. The light grew in intensity until everyone was forced to cover their eyes. Rocky barked furiously at the light, dancing around Alex’s legs.
“What is that?” yelled Alex.
“If my theory is correct,” said Sam, “we’re about to get our answer.”
Moe pointed at the beam. “Look!
Alex and the stunned aliens lowered their arms and watched in awe as the blue light slowly took on a humanoid form. When the image stabilized, a three-dimensional blue figure stood flickering in the middle of the projector’s lower platform. Rocky barked at the figure, and Alex — keeping his eyes on the hologram — felt the dog’s head and placed his hand over his muzzle to quiet him.
“Can I just say I’m
glad we brought the dog?” Sam said.
“Shut up, Sam,” said Moe.
The figure was tall, nearly eight feet, with long hair braided down the back. His large nose was positioned low on his forehead, nestled between kind, soulful eyes. A long, braided goatee hung from his strong chin down to six-fingered hands that clasped the head of a knobby wooden walking stick in front of his body. A deep, comforting voice seemed to fill every corner of the room as the translucent figure began to speak in flawless, unaccented English.
“Greetings, Alexander,” said the hologram. “My name is Amaadoss. I am your father.”
Alex took a step toward the machine. “My father?”
The image of Amaadoss continued, “By the time you see this, I shall be gone. Claimed, I fear, by the illness infecting my bones. Knowing my impending fate, I have uploaded a copy of my essence into this facility’s central computer. But grieve not for me, my son, for you are not alone in this world.
“To aid you, I have sent with you to Earth three companions. These beings are from the planet Replodia. They have much to teach you, my son, to prepare you for your vital mission.”
my mission?” asked Alex. “What are we supposed to do?”
The image responded, “There is a race of beings, from a planet in what your people call the Zeta Reticuli system, called the Seignso. For millennia, the Seignso have been manipulating the human race for their own sinister purposes. Long before you were born, the Seignso began preparations for the final phase of their master plan for humanity. They aided in the creation of a human child with advanced mental powers.
“This child was the genetic clone of a man known on your planet as Genghis Khan, a Mongolian warrior king of incredible power and influence. While you’ve been growing these past thirteen years, this new Khan has been rallying support from those who would see his predecessor’s dream of world conquest fulfilled. I believe the Seignso’s ultimate goal is to use this Khan’s conquest of your world to harvest the strongest, most resilient humans.”
“For what purpose?” asked Lamont.
“Breeding stock,” Amaadoss explained. “Breeding stock for the ultimate army; one that would rival any force in the galaxy. This cannot be allowed to happen, for if this new Khan and the Seignso are successful, it will spell disaster for the people of Earth as well as the entire Federation of Allied Systems.”
Alex cast a nervous glance toward Lamont, which the Replodian returned.
The hologram resumed speaking, “To combat this threat, I have created you, my son. You are Temujin’s equal. Using similar methods to those used to create him, I created you and gave you mental abilities far exceeding those of ordinary humans.”
“What kind of abilities?” asked Alex.
The hologram smiled. “Have you ever imagined you heard someone speaking when there was no one else in the room? Have you ever finished someone else’s sentences for them? Or have you ever made things happen, made objects move, just by thinking about them?”
Suddenly Alex remembered the kitchen door, and how he had stopped his father from punching the driver of the pickup truck. He remembered all the times he ever thought he heard whispers in a silent classroom, and suddenly his ability to communicate mentally with the aliens made total sense.
“It is with these same abilities that Temujin plans to cripple the world,” said Amaadoss, “and march his Golden Horde across the globe, destroying any who dare to oppose him.”
“But he has an army,” said Alex. “What can the four of us do against an entire army?”
The image of Amaadoss smiled. “When I created you, my son, I set out not only to create the perfect soldier, but to prove a point — that vast military forces are not necessary to achieve peace. You are the first of a new breed of warrior. It is my dream that one day thousands of systems will be defended by small groups of elite warriors such as you. You shall be the defenders of your nations, your planet, and your system. You are the Terran Defense Corps.”
As the hologram rambled on, Sam silently slipped away from the group and made his way toward the circular door on the east wall. As he approached, he noticed a palm scanner just like the one inside the well. He glanced back at the others to make sure he was not being watched. Satisfied, he placed his palm on the scanner and the same electronic voice asked, “Identification please.”
Softly, he said, “Unit 3000572694
The lock disengaged. Sam smirked as the door cracked open in the center and the two halves slid aside into the wall with a whispering hiss. The Replodian stepped inside the darkened room and waited for the doors to slide shut behind him.
The lights blinked on and Sam found himself in a room considerably smaller than the main chamber. All four walls were lined with numerous racks stocked with advanced alien weaponry.
He sneered. “Come to papa.”
Back in the main chamber, Alex and the other Replodians continued their orientation with the towering hologram.
"The Replodians I have provided for you are each programmed for specific functions," Amaadoss explained. "Unit 001 is programmed with extensive knowledge of both human and Replodian anatomy. This unit will serve as the chief medical officer for the TDC."
Amaadoss motioned toward Moe. “Unit 002 is programmed in combat and espionage tactics. This unit will serve as your combat instructor and primary intelligence operative.”
“Cool!” Alex looked at Moe. “You’re a spy. Like James Bond.”
Moe’s chest swelled with pride.
The hologram continued, “Unit 003 is programmed with extensive knowledge of mechanical and electronic systems. This unit will serve as the TDC’s mechanic, engineer, and science officer.”
Alex turned to look at Sam, but noticed the blond-haired Replodian was missing. “Hey. Where’s Sam?”
Lamont turned. “Sam,” he called.
Suddenly the door behind them opened, and Sam stepped into the main chamber, a large alien assault rifle in his hands.
“Hey, check it out,” said Moe. “Sam found the armory.”
“Great.” Lamont smirked. “New toys for him to play with.”
Alex laughed. “You think he’s going to take all of the guns apart and put them back together again?”
Sam cocked the weapon; an electric hum pulsed from it.
“Sam?” Lamont’s smile faded. “Sam, what are you doing?”
The rogue Replodian raised the weapon to his shoulder and trained it on Alex.
“Sam?” Lamont took a step backward, reaching back to usher Alex behind him. “Sam!”
Sam’s voice was devoid of any emotion as he squeezed the trigger. “So long, kid.”
Lamont held his hand out. “Sam, no!”
A red plasma blast exploded from the weapon’s barrel. In the blink of an eye, Moe jumped into the path of the blast and took the impact in his chest, splashing the floor with steaming, yellow blood. The wounded Replodian fell to the floor and slumped against the base of the hologram projector.
“Unit 003!” The image of Amaadoss banged its walking stick against the bottom of the projector, emitting a thunderous, artificial
that reverberated through the room. “Cease fire immediately!”
“Sorry, old man.” Sam trained the weapon on the projector’s base. “I don’t take orders from you anymore.”
The weapon fired again, and Moe rolled out of the way before the plasma bolt pierced the projector’s metal skin. Sparks flew from the machine and the image of Amaadoss flickered and vanished. Moe looked down and watched as the gaping, luminous hole in his chest began to slowly close — a little too slowly. When he looked up, Sam stood over him with the smoking weapon aimed directly at his head.
“Sam?” Moe’s voice was just as wounded as his body. “Why are you doing this?”
“Relax, little brother. It’ll all be over soon.”
Sam squeezed the trigger. Rocky darted in and bit his leg, and the Replodian screamed. He looked down at the snarling dog and kicked. Rocky sailed through the air and slammed against the wall.
“Rocky!” Alex shouted.
Sam leveled his weapon at the dog’s still form. “Filthy little—”
Lamont stepped in and jerked the weapon’s sizzling barrel up toward the ceiling. The shot went wide.
Lamont grappled with Sam for control of the rifle. “Alex, get out of here!
Alex scooped Rocky into his arms and made a mad dash for the door set into the north wall, quickly palming the scanner as a stray plasma bolt struck the wall next to his head. He stepped into a darkened hallway, and the door slammed shut behind him, sealing him inside. He leaned back against the door and slid to the floor, tears streaming down his cheeks.
Lamont lashed out with an elbow to his brother’s nose and loosened his grip just enough to wrench the rifle out of his hands. Sam stumbled back and stared daggers at his brother as he wiped away a trickle of yellow blood from his upper lip.
“You think that gun changes anything,
?” Sam snarled, flicking the blood from his finger. “Smug as always, aren’t you?”
Lamont pointed the weapon at his brother. “What the hell do you think you’re doing, Sam?”
Sam sniffed back another drop of blood and reached behind his back. “My job.”
He ignited the laser sword concealed behind his back and swung the white-hot blade in an upward arc. The blade sliced the rifle clean in two and left a smoking gash in Lamont’s shirt. Lamont had only a second to stare bewilderedly at the pieces of melted metal in his hands before Sam brought the sword around for a swipe at his neck. Lamont bent at the knees and fell backward to avoid the blade, which sliced the air with a menacing sizzle barely an inch from his face. He lashed out with a front push kick to his brother’s chest. Sam stumbled back a couple feet, but easily recovered and leapt into the air. He brought the blade down, planning to plunge it into Lamont’s chest.
By now, Moe was back on his feet, the wound in his chest barely larger than a quarter. He jumped into the air and collided with Sam’s side, knocking his brother off course. Sam tumbled to the ground and the laser sword skittered away, coming to rest underneath a computer console on the west wall. When Sam stood again, Moe had already adopted a deep fighting stance.
Sam smirked. “We know you can beat up on kids. Think you can take
“Let’s find out.” Moe lunged, unleashing a barrage of kicks.
Sam laughed as he blocked and dodged his brother’s feet repeatedly. “Not so good against somebody as strong as you, are you, little sister?”
Moe changed up his strategy with a powerful uppercut to Sam’s chin, knocking him off his feet. As Sam’s body rose into the air, Moe delivered a bone-crushing spinning side kick into his ribs and sent him flying toward the line of computers on the west wall. Sam’s back connected with the edge of one of the consoles, and he fell to the floor. As he tried to get up, his fingers brushed against a metallic cylindrical object under the console.
The laser sword.
Sam ignited the weapon and ran toward Moe, readying for a powerful double-handed overhead stroke. Moe met him halfway, stopping the momentum of the sword with an X-block to Sam’s wrists. Moe wrapped his fingers around the hilt of the sword with one hand and pulled on Sam’s weak arm with his other. As Sam stumbled forward, knocked off balance, Moe wrenched the sword away from him and quickly adopted a guard stance with the tip of the blade pointed at his brother.
Sam turned and laughed “You think you’re better than me?”
“What the hell has come over you?” said Moe. “Have you lost your mind?”
Sam ignored the questions. “Do you? You think you’re
Moe tightened his grip on the laser sword and prepared to defend himself.
“You’re not!” shouted Sam, his muscles tensing to spring.
Lamont stood in the open doorway of the armory, aiming a fresh assault rifle at Sam’s head. He approached slowly. “Don’t move, Sam. It’s over.”
At these words, Alex emerged from the hallway, but stayed in the relative safety of the open doorway, ready to run if necessary. At the sight of the teenager, Sam’s rage seemed to escalate to a higher level and he prepared to lunge at him, but stopped short as the white-hot blade of the laser sword appeared underneath his chin. Moe slowly stepped around him to block his view of Alex, keeping the blade poised at his throat.
“Give it up, Sam,” said Lamont. “It’s finished.”
“Like I said,” said Sam. “Smug.”
,” Moe shouted.
“No.” Sam shook his head slowly and smiled. “I’m just getting started.”
Before his brothers could react, Sam jumped into the air and flipped over Lamont’s head. As he landed, he turned and ran for the open door leading to the well. Lamont fired the rifle at the fleeing traitor. Instead of plasma, however, the rifle fired small spherical projectiles in rapid succession, which missed Sam and splattered a purple gel onto the wall when they ruptured.