Alpha, p.17
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       Alpha, p.17

           Daniel Schmidt

  Chapter 17

  Denise took off running toward the burnt buildings. I tried to grab her but failed. She was definitely faster than me. David and I sprinted after her but she easily distanced herself from us. I called Walter on the radio and told him to bring up the squad. As we broke into a clearing from the trees I saw there had been ten to twelve huge buildings scattered around the open space. They were nothing but burnt shells now. As I passed the first one, I saw a man sitting next to a fire not far away.

  I heard Denise shout, “Dr. Thomas!”

  I shuddered at her voice and my head whipped around looking for a trap – David was doing the same. The man by the fire stood as Denise approached and they embraced.

  Dr. Thomas looked in his fifties. He had brown hair that had mostly changed to silver. He wore round glasses, a dirty brown coat, and slacks. He was average height and his arm felt thin as I grabbed it.

  “Are there any Legion around here? Are there any bad guys?” I yelled, pulling him away from Denise.

  “No, they have come and gone,” he said, much calmer than I expected. I let go of his arm and called Walter on the radio. I told him to have the squad clear the buildings and the area around to make sure it was safe.

  There was another man lying next to the fire who had not moved since we arrived. Wrapped in a blanket, he faced the fire with his eyes closed.

  “Who’s that?” I asked.

  “A man from the Legion. He was hurt during their attack and was left behind.”

  My heart fluttered. I pulled the blanket off the man and he moaned. He was wearing a Legion uniform and had a military style haircut, and he looked no more than thirty. His leg looked broken and blood covered his shirt. I touched his broken leg and he moaned.

  “Where is his gear?” I asked.

  Dr. Thomas pointed to a pile leaning up against a wall not far away: a Legion vest, radio, helmet and rifle. I rifled through everything but didn’t find anything out of the ordinary.

  “How long ago were the Legion here?”

  “They came around three o’clock this morning,” Dr. Thomas said.

  “What is this place?” I asked.

  “This was the Council headquarters.”

  A frown formed on Denise’s face. “Where are the Council members?” she asked. Dr. Thomas reached out and took Denise’s hands. “A group of men came and took them before the Legion arrived.”

  “Who? Our guys?” I asked.

  “No. About two o’clock last night armed men surrounded this place and took the Council members hostage. They were not Legion men. I don’t know who they were. They had no interest in me since I’m not an Alvar, but they did take my cell phone and disable my vehicle. Then they disappeared with the Council. An hour later the Legion attacked. They came in guns blazing and I think this man was hit with friendly fire,” Dr. Thomas said, pointing down at the man. “At least that’s what I think. I was the only one here when they arrived and I certainly didn’t shoot back. I was hiding. When the Legion realized the Council wasn’t here anymore, they torched the place and left. When I came out of hiding, I found this man near the wood line moaning and I’ve been trying to take care of him since.”

  “When we secured an Alvar a few days ago,” I said, “we put him on a helicopter and I assume they brought him here. Could those men that came last night be the ones who were flying that helicopter? Or maybe told someone about this place?”

  Dr. Thomas shook his head. “Those helicopters were flown by Alvar. No one except Alvar and I knew about this place.”

  Walter and the rest of the squad came running up and they split up, some clearing the burnt buildings and others working their way around into the forest, making sure there were no traps or surprises waiting for us.

  “The Council was alive when they left here?” Denise asked.

  “Yes, but I don’t know where those men took them,” Dr. Thomas said.

  Christine ran up and gave Dr. Thomas a hug. They exchanged some hushed words. I was getting nervous standing out in the open so I moved everyone into the forest, away from the buildings. Once the squad had cleared the buildings and the surrounding area they formed a protective circle around us. We left the Legion soldier by the fire but kept an eye on him.

  I moved around to the men and had them rotate with each other, pulling guard duty and eating or resting. After checking on everyone, I moved back to the center where Christine, Denise, and Dr. Thomas had been talking.

  “Where do you think they are?” Christine asked Dr. Thomas.

  Dr. Thomas shook his head. “I have no idea. I don’t know who those men were. They didn’t seem inclined to hurt the Alvar, not like the Legion are. The Legion would have slaughtered all of them but these men were not aggressive, not full of hate.”

  “What did they look like?” I asked.

  “They wore an odd assortment of military gear and clothing. They didn’t have a formal uniform.”

  “Did they say anything that might point to who they were or what their motive was?”

  “No, they didn’t talk much, and they were in and out in a hurry,” he replied.

  “The Alvar didn’t resist them?” I asked.

  “The Alvar are non violent. It’s part of their nature,” Dr. Thomas said.

  I looked at Denise. “They wouldn’t defend themselves?”

  Dr. Thomas took a deep breath and Denise cast her eyes down. “You don’t know much about the Alvar, do you?” Dr. Thomas asked.

  “I don’t. Everyone’s tight-lipped and obsessed with keeping secrets. If you could shed some light on all this it might help our situation.”

  Dr. Thomas adjusted his glasses before speaking. “Well, I will start at the beginning and I understand much of this will be hard to believe.”

  “After everything that has happened, I’m inclined to believe just about anything,” I said.

  Dr. Thomas smiled, just for a split second, before his face went serious. “When my daughter turned sixteen her eyes turned purple, and she started showing remarkable physical and metal abilities. Shortly afterward, she started having visions.”

  “Visions?” I asked.

  “The prophecies,” Dr. Thomas said. “She told me that a new race of enlightened beings, born from her blood, would arise from amongst the people, and how a race of soldiers would rise to defend them. Then chaos would consume the world. She would go on to...”

  Christine gripped Dr. Thomas’s arm. “They have not been told the remaining prophecies,” she said.

  “Why?” Dr. Thomas asked.

  “It takes time. Remember not everyone accepts the prophecies so easily,” Christine said.

  “So your daughter is the Prophet?” I asked.


  “Where is she?”

  Dr. Thomas hesitated. “I don’t know, I pray she is safe, hiding somewhere.”

  “How do we find her?”

  “You don’t,” Dr. Thomas said.

  I nodded. “So your daughter started telling prophecies.”

  “Yes, and I eventually shared what was happening to her with my two colleagues. At the time we were post-doctoral researchers at the medical lab in town. Of course they didn’t believe me at first, but when they saw the purple eyes, when they saw the physical and mental abilities of my daughter, they naturally became very curious.”

  “What kind of abilities are we talking about?” I asked.

  “She was able to read a book in a fraction of the time you or me could, and retain everything she read. She showed incredible physical strength and had amazing eyesight, hearing, and sensory perception. She could read people and situations exceptionally well. She could even see bits and pieces of the future.”

  “She didn’t see this happening?” I asked motioning back towards the buildings.

  “She does not see everything, just select bits and pieces of the future.”

  “So what did you find
when you started studying her?” I asked.

  “It was her blood, just as she said that was special. The crazy thing was she would point to certain people and say they were destined to share her blood. She could sense it and she said it with such confidence that it was almost…. creepy. Of course I initially resisted injecting people with my daughter’s blood, but after analyzing it we found it was vastly different from anything else we had ever seen before. Then, on the urging of one of my colleagues, we finally approached one of the people my daughter had pointed out and asked if they would take part in an experiment. To our surprise they agreed and we did a small blood transfusion. The person developed many of the same superior physical and mental attributes my daughter had.”

  “So that’s how you make Alvar?”

  “Yes. We found a person had to have a certain genetic makeup for the transformation to work. My daughter somehow knew or sensed people with this makeup and when we tested a few more people she had pointed out, we found she was right.”

  “How many Alvar did you make?” I asked.

  “Thirty two. We estimate less than .01 percent of the population has the correct genetic makeup for an Alvar.”

  “Where did things go wrong?” I asked, pointing to the burnt buildings.

  “The further we got into our studies, the more Alvars we created, the more polarized the opinions of my colleagues became. One wanted to stop all of it and destroy any evidence of what we had done. He did not agree with it on moral grounds. The other colleague wanted to use the Alvar to obtain power and profit. And I became convinced that what my daughter was saying day in and day out about this new race of beings was true. After being around her and the people that were made into Alvar, I truly felt they were destined to lead this world into the next age.”

  “So you created this?” I questioned, pointing to the burnt buildings again.

  “Yes. I built this place for their protection and to help them fulfill their destiny.”

  “So why does the squad have to go pick them up? Why don’t you just take them here to begin with?” I asked.

  “Occasionally there are complications,” Dr. Thomas said.

  “Like what?” I asked.

  “It’s complicated,” he said.

  “So you use us to screen the Alvar, make sure they aren’t dangerous or something?”

  “In a way.”

  I looked at Denise. “That’s how you knew we were coming?”

  Denise nodded. “Yes. Dr. Thomas approached me eight months ago and told me why I was special. I didn’t believe him at first but he persisted and I finally agreed to take a small dose of Alvar blood. The effect was amazing. I could see, smell and hear better, my thinking became clearer, I didn’t ever feel stressed or worried. It was amazing.”

  “So whatever happened to your two collogues?” I asked looking back at Dr. Thomas.

  “The one who did not agree with the Alvar on moral grounds found many like-minded people to support his effort. With their help he formed the Legion and has been hunting the Alvar ever since.”

  “Who is supporting him?” I asked.

  “Many people and many governments.”

  “Our government?” I asked.

  “Parts of it,” he said.

  I felt butterflies in my stomach. “You’re saying our government is supporting the Legion?”

  Dr. Thomas shrugged. “I don’t know if they are actively supporting them but they are definitely turning a blind eye. There are many, many people who have reasons to fear the Alvar.”

  “Like who?”

  Dr. Thomas chuckled. “Anyone in power. The Alvar will become the new leadership and they cannot be bought, corrupted, intimidated, or coerced. Therefore anyone in power has a reason to fear them. The Alvar are a threat to their jobs and their power.”

  I raised my eyebrows. “The Alvar are that good huh?” I said, looking at Denise.

  Dr. Thomas smiled. “I understand your doubt. What I am saying is hard to believe but has Denise showed any signs of fear or fatigue since she has been with you? In these last few minutes she has told me how you have been shot at, chased by an Alpha, and had to walk mile after mile through this rough country. Has she shown any signs of distress?”

  I shook my head.

  “That’s because she is special, and if you had more time with her, like I have had with the Council, you would see that the Alvar are meant to lead us into the next age. You would see that they possess superior skills of leadership and intellect. You would see how compassionate, intelligent, practical, and good they are.”

  I nodded. “And your second colleague, where is he?”

  “I don’t know. He disappeared with a sample of my daughter’s blood and no one has heard of him since. If I had to guess, he is making out handsomely by selling what information he can glean from the blood or plotting something sinister.”

  “Could those men that took the Council have been involved with him?”

  Dr. Thomas touched his chin. “Of course they could have been; that explains why they took them alive.”

  “But you don’t know where they would have taken them?”

  “No, I haven’t heard from him in years.”

  I nodded my head again. “Well, that helps explain a little bit but until your Alvar lead the world into the next great age I have to get you guys out of here alive. There are some people that are offering to help us. They have vehicles on the highway. We just need to get to them and they will get us out of here.”

  Dr. Thomas nodded. “Of course. If Christine and Denise trust your leadership, I will too.”

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