Dimension lapse, p.1
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       Dimension Lapse, p.1
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           Nicholas T. Davis
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Dimension Lapse


  Nicholas T. Davis

  © Copyright 2014

  Nicholas T. Davis

  All Rights Reserved


  This tale is dedicated to my two sisters

  Cynthia Richman and Phyllis Antos

  who shared my love for science fiction.


  Jeff could still remember the exact date of his arrival on the peculiar world. It was December 15th, 2159 when he had left Pluto. He was investigating the possibility of an alien race when his instruments were damaged. His ship took a lot of beating, and it landed on a tropical island of an uncharted planet. Upon landing there, he was greeted by amphibian-like beings, which were peaceful and very primitive, living in caves prior to his arrival. They treated his wounds and helped salvage his ship. In return, Jeff helped them build homes to live in. Their mutual friendship, however, was only a substitute for human companionship.

  The most outspoken alien called himself Dormiton and wasn’t very large, strong or even intelligent. None of their race possessed these qualities. Even with human-like emotions, most of their decisions were logical choices. They didn’t need much sleep, only three to four hours daily. Although they were smaller than humans, they still possessed similar organs, like any other amphibian would. Their lungs were a little larger in comparison due to their slightly more concentrated atmosphere, but their other organs were identical.

  Dormiton was a rather inquisitive creature who was interested in where Jeff came from and who is really was. Jeff taught him everything he knew about space travel, Mars and Earth. He explained how in the year 2015 a global war almost destroyed everything on his grandparent’s home planet, Earth. The survivors repaired what was left, and reached for the stars, building a space station that housed five thousand people. Their own world obliterated, they had no choice but to go to Mars to begin a massive colonization effort. Setting up huge solar panels to collect heat from the sun, they constructed a huge vegetation project. Collecting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, sunlight from the solar panels, and water from under the soil, they were able to increase the surface temperature twenty five degrees around the biodomes, and the oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere by 10%. The biggest problem was the little protection from gamma rays and solar radiation other than the polyethylene shielding the biodomes were coated with. It was not a perfect situation, but it allowed the air and space suits to be a little more comfortable and flexible.

  Jeff was assigned to the Mars base his entire life, and never saw the Rocky Mountains of

  Earth, or the sandy beaches of the tropics. He only saw pictures of the way Earth used to look. Mars, for the most part was flat, rocky terrain except for Olympus Mons, Arsia Mons and the other mountains; and forests, crop fields, and lakes inside the biodome vegetation complexes. The Earth stations Edronomis and Tianos were transported away from the Earth to orbit Mars. The population before Jeff’s father left the orbit of Earth had grown to 90,000 people. There were 60,000 at the Martian base where Jeff was from. He was sent on many flight missions, including retrieving ice samples from the dwarf planet Pluto.

  This was his first encounter with extra-terrestrials, and the last time he would see any humans for a long time. While maneuvering by Pluto, Jeff noticed a flashing light at the corner of his eye. It disappeared rather abrupt, and then reappeared minutes later, passing right by his craft. The speed of the phenomenon was far beyond Martian technology, so Jeff decided not to pursue it.

  Two hours later, he made a landing on the cold, icy plains of the barren world. The solar wind was not as calm as he hoped it would be, and touchdown was a bit turbulent, but would suffice. He shut off the power supply, suited up, turned on the button of his suit’s temperature control to 70º, grabbed his laser gun along with some soil sample containers and opened the main door lock. A sense of strange uneasiness came over his mind he never felt before, ghostly uneasiness, being exposed to the cold silent and raw elements of the hostile world.

  He leaped gently onto the icy surface, his boots biting into it. Although none of several stories of ships that were attacked by aliens were officially substantiated, he was being cautious after hearing about them. He realized there wasn’t any immediate danger, fired his laser into the ground, and melted a chunk of the frozen Nitrogen-Methane ice cover that probably had been there for thousands of years, and placed a small sample inside one of the receptacles he brought.

  “Major Walker to base,” he said through a transmitter in his helmet. The response was a little delayed due to the distance between worlds.

  “This is Mars base,” a woman’s voice answered. It was Lori Anderson, a close friend and coworker, and Jeff had a fancy for her beautiful blue eyes, long blonde curly hair and ivory fair complexion.

  “Have you received the soil samples yet? Over.”

  “Yes,” he said. “Before landing, however, I saw some kind of light in the sky. It was faster than any of our ships. I think it was a meteor, but I can’t be positive.”

  “We’ll send a couple of scouts your way,” Lori answered, in a firm commanding voice. “If you’re through there, Commander Carver wants you back here.”

  “Roger. Over and out.”

  Jeff retrieved the rest of his samples and headed back to the ship. Pluto was at perihelion, the closest point to the sun, and the Nitrogen-Methane was melting; a good time to drill ice cores. He was almost to the door, when the light appeared again, this time not more than ten miles away from him. He barely saw the faint beacon through the foggy, snow covered atmosphere. There were three green lights on top of a red light, and it was spherical in its black, oval shape. It came in close view, and he was convinced that it was alien. He held his laser tight, headed quick back to the ship, threw his hand held core drill into the ship, climbed in, and slammed the hatch tight behind him. He turned on the power immediately, but it went dead when the alien ship fired upon him. He tried to reach Mars base, but couldn’t establish any radio contact. Beginning to panic, he grabbed his laser pistol and some explosives and headed for the escape hatch below the ship. He heard the sound of lasers as they blazed against the main door hatch. He pushed the escape door hatch open and gently dropped to the ground below the ship.

  He could see his aggressors as he peered from the corner of one of the landing pods. He saw two of them who wore suits very similar to his, and carried lasers. They couldn’t breathe the thin, poisonous atmosphere either for they also had small tanks on their back as well.

  When they discovered the ship was empty, they started to turn away. Jeff jumped, floating towards them, opened fire, and shot one in the back. The blast killed him instantly, as the other leaped towards the ship, only to be killed by an explosion Jeff had thrown, and destroyed part of their craft in the process.

  The smoke cleared, and Jeff saw the inside of the black craft through the hole the explosive had made. He approached the ship, careful to make sure there weren’t any other aliens to retaliate against him. The writing on the side appeared to be hieroglyphics, but it was not from Earth or displayed Earth-like origins. When Jeff entered, he noticed there was seating for two pilots only, even though the ship was a great deal larger than his own, approximately one hundred and fifty feet wide to be exact.

  The control panel was similar to his, but he was unable to decipher the writing. He noticed a flashing red light on the panel was activated, but wasn’t sure if it was a rescue beacon or a self destruct mechanism and didn’t want to stick around to find out. He opened the compartment located next to the escape hatch, and took two extra laser guns and two small black spherical objects which he didn’t know the use of. He jumped from the craft and approached the alien closest to his ship. Jeff pulled his
helmet off, and stared in disbelief. The creature was simian in appearance, with one eye in the middle of its grotesque head which was covered with thick, black fur. He photographed the alien with a device about the size of a flash drive, and jumped back into his ship. He shut the main door lock, and replaced his power supply cartridge with the only one of his own left, and switched on the control panel.

  The ship’s sensors indicated that there were two crafts moving at a high velocity towards the surface. He fired the main thruster rockets and escaped as fast as he could, but not before being struck broadside by their photonic weapons. His control panel shorted out just after he escaped the atmosphere, leaving him weaponless, motionless, and floating through empty space. During this time, a piece of metal fell from the ceiling and knocked him unconscious.

  When he finally awoke, he found that somehow he was spared. He laid on a beach of an uncharted planet billions of miles from Pluto he thought, unaware of how he got there or how to return home. Fortunately his ship was also spared, which he found miraculous in itself, but it was still in pretty rough shape. When he rose to his feet, he was greeted by the amphibian beings who called themselves lingworts.

  It was now two and a half years from that day and an especially hot August afternoon on the tropical island, close to 105º. There weren’t any clouds to shelter the heat, and Jeff sweated fiercely as he worked on repairing his ship. He kept a jug of fresh water next to him, in case he needed it. Dormiton, his closest friend among the tribe approached him from the far end of the beach.

  “What are you doing?” he asked, scratching his smooth, slender head, as he entered the spaceship.

  “Trying to repair my control panel,” Jeff answered. “I don’t know if I’ll ever get this thing off the ground.”

  “Is it that bad?” Dormiton asked, not understanding even what a control panel was.

  “If I don’t repair it, I’ll be stuck here forever. Besides, we need lasers in case aliens show up. I won’t be able to fix the ship for space travel, however. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to repair the shields.”

  “Lasers?” he asked.


  “Oh. I doubt that you’ll ever need them here, "Dormiton stated, as he sat in the extra pilot seat.

  “Better safe than sorry,” Jeff said as he wiped the sweat from his forehead.

  “Why would anyone want to attack us, Jeff? It doesn’t help to gather food or please the gods. Besides, we have nothing anyone would want other than the island itself.”

  “It may sound senseless to you, but you’d be surprised. They may want your people as a slave race. You have to fight to protect your people. There will come a day when you have enemies, and you must defeat them to survive. You can’t depend on me forever.”

  “What enemies could we possibly have here?” the green, slender, spotted amphibian jested, and threw his thin arms in the air.

  “Your own gods can be your enemies, “Jeff answered. “When I first came here, you thought I was a god. If I came from the stars, there could be others. They may not be as peaceful as I am, and you need to be prepared.”

  “Are you saying that our gods are really star people like you? You are speaking bad tongue, and could be killed for saying such!” His tone was serious, and reminded him of the ancient customs that they swore to uphold as a race.

  “No, I’m not saying that at all. What I am saying, is that you shouldn’t trust every god that falls from the sky. If I wasn’t peaceful, I could have easily killed your small community. What you need is something to protect you, like gunpowder.”

  “What’s gunpowder?”

  “It’s a type of powder that can be lit by a fire, but it goes out quickly. It helps project an object, such as a rock, through a cylinder of some kind. My only regret is that if I show you how to use it, I might change your entire future.”

  “In what way?”

  “I’d rather not discuss it now,” Jeff said, as he finished soldering some wires shut the control panel faceplate, and smiled. “Besides that, Buddy, we have to see if this beast will run.”

  Dormiton shut the main door lock and they put their helmets and safety belts on.

  “Is Milgic meeting us at the village later?” Jeff asked, and switched on the main power supply and fired the ion propulsion rockets. Dormiton nodded instead of talking over the noise of the engine.

  The craft rose slow above the white beach and Jeff switched on the main rockets, which elevated the craft over the ocean higher and faster. He reached an elevation of about eight thousand feet, when he suddenly noticed a light on his right side. It looked like a spaceship, but was too far away to determine if it was of the same nature as the ones he saw on Pluto.

  When it came closer, he knew his intuition had been correct. The craft was similar to the one he had seen two years before, spherical in shape and black in color. Jeff navigated his ship closer, moved up to about mock eight, when the craft made a direct curve to his left. The Martian’s ship imitated its movements exactly, as it plunged towards the ocean. Dormiton swallowed in fear, afraid they would meet a fiery, watery death.

  “Relax,” Jeff told his friend as he smiled. “It’s only a test run.” Jeff closed in on the craft and reached for his laser controls. Upon firing, the panel short-circuited again.

  “Damn it,” he hissed, and tried to retreat, only to be struck from behind.

  The ship spiraled out of control towards the sea below them. Smoke billowed from the tail section, and Jeff in haste reached for the ejection lever. Upon pulling it, the escape pod piloted the two safely from the craft, which now struck the ocean in a blazing inferno. Fortunately they landed in water near the shoreline.

  It had been a rough landing, but neither one of them were hurt. They climbed from what was left of the ship and waded towards the shore. When they reached the beach, Jeff slammed his helmet in the sand in anger.

  “I’m never going home now,” he snapped, peering out at the sinking wreckage of the ship.

  “Can you build a new one?” his friend asked, unaware of the magnitude of the situation.

  “It’s not that simple,” Jeff laughed. “I need materials and processes that don’t exist here, such as metal and fabrication of the metal.”

  “What does it look like?”

  “It’s silver colored and shiny!” Jeff said, annoyed by his ignorance. “Just forget it! I’m stranded here and there’s nothing anyone can do about it!”

  “I’ve seen what you seek,” Dormiton told him.

  Jeff who was surprised, and quite interested, asked, “Where?”

  “Behind that cove over there.” He pointed to the ridge that overlooked the ocean at the opposite end of the beach, about three miles away. “Every morning when the sun rises, three lights fly from the water where this ‘metal’ you speak of is. They vanish into the sky, almost as if they’re there and then gone.”

  “The lights have to be spaceships. An alien race could have a base here. We’ll climb that ridge tomorrow to get a better look. In the meantime, we need to go back to the village and get everyone to a safe place, like the caves on the other side of the island. Tell them a storm is coming. We don’t know what we’re dealing with yet, and we don’t want anyone to be alarmed.”

  Learning from past cultures helped Jeff to understand his new companions. From many civilizations in Earth’s past, he learned to deal with more primitive people, assisting them in development, and protecting their vulnerability to their enemies: especially themselves. Earthlings almost made themselves extinct, along with other species of animals that were killed off. It took three global wars for man to realize there would never be a victor. The third war happened at a time when peace had almost been achieved. He hadn’t only confined his studies to Earth or Mars however. Their probes traveled throughout their galaxy collecting information on intelligent life. He never actually met an alien face to face however; until that cold stormy day on Pluto.

  Jeff showed the Lingwort community
how to construct huts from straw, wood, and clay, and how to seal them so they would be waterproof. He had learned how to do this in the tropical biodome on Mars during his survival training in the academy. The village consisted of thirty lingworts, mostly males. The rest of their clan was supposed to arrive in three lunar cycles. They were migrating from a smaller island in search of food. Scouts had already been sent back when Jeff arrived at the island.

  The sun set on the small village, which was at the edge of the jungle. The village was lit rather well that night because of their precautions to depart to the caverns. Dinner consisted of the usual vegetables, herbs, and fruit, except for a small goose that Jeff captured earlier and ate. Eating meat or killing animals was sacrilege to the Lingworts, but they made an exception for small insects and fish that they could swallow whole. Even though they didn’t believe in this, they were tolerant of their new friend’s cuisine. Game was plentiful on the island, and he didn’t miss an opportunity.

  After dinner, the townspeople gathered their gear and placed it on their backs. Dormiton and Jeff led them into the jungle, followed by their trustworthy friend, Milgic. Milgic was probably the most influential of all the villagers, and the most curious. He was slightly more outspoken than Dormiton and quite a bit more pessimistic, which led Jeff to wonder how they ever became such close friends.

  Lingworts were like four feet salamanders to him, but no, a little bit of a frog too. He couldn’t explain how they were able to talk, but somehow they did. Even before he taught them English, they had spoken in their own native tongue. Jeff knew they had vocal cords, and small blunt teeth, but couldn’t explain how they developed a language. Their race reminded him of ancient tribesmen on Earth. It was plain to see why they were gatherers and hadn’t learned to kill yet. This presented its own share of problems when other wild animals attacked. They would mostly run to wherever they could find refuge. Jeff wanted to keep violence out of their lives, but he also knew it was a necessary evil sometimes. The troop dressed in thick clothing to avoid being bit by mosquitoes that were two inches long and deadly. In addition to Malaria, one also expected to get nasty skin infection that permanently scarred for life, considering you’re still alive to begin with. They carried the serum with them at all times, made of some roots on the island. Jeff was not allowed to know what they were, it was sacred and used only by their “Hodiku," or “medicine chief.” Jeff showed them how he made his own medicines from roots and herbs as well, something he had been taught in his early academy days. Jeff carried a dagger with him, as well as a laser gun in case they were attacked.

  About three hours passed when they came to a clearing to rest. There was considerably less humidity in the air then there was the previous evening, but it was still a hot evening. Jeff handed Dormition a canteen, and gestured for him to pass it to Milgic, who dropped his pack to the ground.

  Jeff suggested that they spend the night at the clearing because the caves were still over a mile away. He told them not to light any fires because they didn’t know what they were facing yet. Jeff was nervous about the whole situation and couldn’t sleep anyway, so he took the first watch while the others slept.

  The night was uneventful and by the time they reached the caverns it was near noon. Jeff instructed them to wait at the entrance while he investigated a cavern with Dormiton. He lit a torch and handed to his comrade. The human went first, prepared to fire his laser if he needed to. They came to two tunnels that went in alternate directions. “Wait here,” Jeff told him. “One of us should stay here in case we need to warn the others.”

  They entered the tunnel on the right, and Jeff noticed a concentrated white cool gas with no odor and nonpoisonous. The tunnel was made of metal that he wasn’t familiar with, and it was well-lit. Someone constructed it, and he knew it couldn’t have been the lingworts.

  Jeff came upon two metal doors at the end. He must have accidentally tripped them, because they opened and revealed another hallway. Startled, he gripped his laser tight and was cautious to look in all directions. He decided it was clear, and entered the hallway on his right until he reached another door. He should have gone back and told the others, but his curiosity grew as he ventured further. The door didn’t open at first, but after he pressed one of the four buttons on the side panel, it responded.

  There was a flight of metal stairs, which led to a huge control center. He never saw such an array of computers in all of his years as an astronaut. There were men, or at least they looked like men running them. He couldn’t tell because they were all wearing helmets.

  Looking beyond the machinery, he saw several large spaceships, much like the ones he had seen on Pluto, and over the ocean. They were black and spherical, with fins on their sides. There were too many of the aliens wandering around for him to do any more exploring at the moment.

  Jeff wondered why they wanted to build a base on their planet. Perhaps it was a scientific research station? An alien race could learn something from the geographical features and the climate. On the other hand, if it was a battle outpost, nothing could be gained by landing here; there was really nothing to conquer. The only possibility he could surmise was that they were hiding from an enemy force. Sooner or later, they would discover the village and no one knew if they were friend or foe. Jeff went back to where Dormiton was, careful not to be spotted. He grabbed the torch from the amphibian’s hand and gestured for him to leave the cave.

  “There’s an alien complex down there,” he told his friends. “How long it’s been there, I don’t know. I’ll help you escape, but once I know you’re all safe, I’m going to try to find a way to pilot one of their ships and leave this place. I’ve got to get back to Mars. I’ll miss you guys, but it’s really for the best. I need people.”

  “Why don’t you just ask them if they’ll trade something for one?” asked Milgic, unaware of the seriousness of the situation.

  “Because I have no indication of whether this race is hostile or not,” Jeff answered. They may kill all of us if they find us. No, the best thing is for all of you to get out of here until I find out what this is all about.”

  “Where will we go?” asked one of the Lingworts.

  “We’ll need to build rafts and get you off this island,” Jeff told them. “You’ll be safe that way.”

  “And what will you do?” Dormiton asked, quite worried.

  “You can’t just leave us,” Milgic snapped.

  “What more do you expect from me?” Jeff asked. “I’ve shown how to build, grow your own food, and fight if you need to. The time has come to return to my own kind. Your people have to learn to defend yourselves. What would happen if I died? You’d have to fight. I’ve shown you how to make spears, bows, and arrows, but it’s up to you to use them.”

  Lingwort was very grateful to Jeff, and it seemed hideous to leave them vulnerable to attack knowing that moving to another island was only a temporary solution. However, he had needs of his own to attend to. He was homesick, and didn’t want to spend the rest of his life with aliens. This may have been his only opportunity to escape this world and get back to his own kind, wherever that may be. He didn’t believe he was being unreasonable.

  “We want to go with you,” cried Dormiton. Jeff could tell how much Dormiton loved him and respected him.

  “Absolutely not!” he retorted. “You couldn’t survive in space with me. It’s full of unknown dangers and hostile environments. I have no guarantee that I’ll even reach my destination. Do you really believe a being of peace, such as you, can survive in an environment of war?”

  “I’m no longer afraid to take risks,” Dormtion stated. “I won’t let you leave by yourself! It’s too dangerous, and you need someone to help you!”

  Dormtion was right about that. Jeff couldn’t very well charge into the complex and steal a spaceship without being seen. An operation of this nature needed planning and at least two people, if not a whole army. He saw no other alternative than to agree with him.

“Very well, “he said. “I’ll take two, and only two of you with me. However, the minute I hear any complaints I’m gonna throw you in the ejection capsule and send you to the nearest planet. The rest of you can get off this island somehow; perhaps we can build a raft and launch it from the back cove. Once you’re off the island, you’ll be safe. Right now we have to find shelter, so follow me.”

  Jeff was just leading his troop back into the jungle, when he heard a noise from the rocks above. Someone fired a weapon, and Jeff’s weapon flew from his hand. He grabbed his hand, stinging in pain.

  “Don’t move!” a voice called from above.

  Jeff turned, confronting an army of the same beings he saw on Pluto. He wondered what type of gas they were breathing. He knew it wasn’t oxygen because they wore spacesuits and tanks on their backs. The leader gestured for two of the men to grab Jeff. They each grabbed one of his arms and yanked them behind his back.

  “Who are you?” he asked, as he walked down from the hill. The lingworts were frozen in a state of shock at these militant beings, too scared to fight or flee. They always thought Jeff was invincible and god-like, and to see him in a compromising position was shocking to them. The leader walked over to him and examined him thoroughly. “I asked you a question, human,” he sneered. “A spy for the Galactic Republic no doubt.”

  Jeff wasn’t overjoyed about the fact that he suspected him of being a spy, but had no choice but to listen to what he said. When he didn’t answer, the creature struck him across the jaw. Jeff was weakened from struggling to get loose because the aliens were stronger than he was. He wasn’t sure he could take one of them, let alone three.

  “You’ll talk sooner or later, when your friends die off one by one,” he threatened.

  “Wait!” Jeff pleaded. “I’m not a spy; I’m an astronaut for the Martian space academy! I’ve been stranded on this island for two years! I don’t even know how I got here!”

  “Lies” the leader screeched. He raised his laser towards Jeff’s friends. Jeff struggled as he fired, and two of the Lingworts vanished instantly in a flash of light, leaving only smoke where they had stood. The others watched in disbelief and fear. “Maybe now you’ll talk?”

  “All right,” Jeff pleaded. “I’ll tell you whatever you want to know, just don’t kill any-more of my friends!”

  He approached the human, and pointed the gun in his face.

  “What do you know? Perhaps you are a Republic spy? What can you tell me of Mars, Human? You cannot survive on such a planet without oxygen. You are lying. Why are you here? What brings a human this far out?”

  He knew that Jeff was telling the truth. It was obvious to Jeff he was playing a malicious game of some kind.

  “I was marooned on this planet for two years,” Jeff explained. “I have no ship because your men destroyed it. I live with these beings, and we are peaceful. We are no threat to you.”

  “If you are not Tolarion, you are a threat to us,” he grunted and shoved the gun in the human’s mouth.

  “We just want to live in peace!” Jeff insisted one last time, the coldness of the steel weapon against his lips.

  “Peace is for the weak,” the cyclopic alien laughed. “Take them to the complex for extermination; all except Major Walker. I want to have a talk with him.”

  Walker wasn’t surprised the leader knew his name due to the incident on Pluto, and he would probably be executed along with his friends. Jeff watched, as the lingworts were pushed into the tunnel like a herd of cattle.

  Tears ran from Dormiton’s cheeks as he stared at his companions in fear. They didn’t understand what was about to happen to them, or understand why the newcomers behaved in such a manner.

  Jeff was unable to determine what his captors had in store for him, or where he was being taken. They directed him down a passageway with four doors, until they came upon the last door. He didn’t see any writing on the doors, which made it difficult for him to know where he was going when he needed to escape. They entered the doorway, which opened on its own into a laboratory. He scanned the room, which contained equipment that was unfamiliar to him. The containers they used to hold specimens were flat and circular. There weren’t any test tubes visible; only round, glass balls. The leader spoke in a foreign tongue to his followers, gesturing for them to leave the room. He still kept his laser pointed at Jeff, removing his helmet. He was wearing some kind of mask over his nostrils and mouth, but Jeff could still hear his voice.

  “Sit down,” he said, pushing him into the chair. “I’ll spare your friends-if you tell me the location of the Sentronian base and your own planet.”

  “You’ve already found my planet,” Jeff responded, as his mind raced for an avenue of escape. The odds were more even now, and he was sure he could overcome their leader.

  “You are lying! You are not from here, you are from Mars! I need to know where the Martians have hidden their race.”


  “That’s for me to know,” he laughed and bared a wicked grin, which Jeff saw through his transparent respirator. “Forgive me, Mr. Walker. I have been rude to my guest. I haven’t introduced myself properly. Balta is my name, imperial leader of the Tolarion Army. I already know who you are. You are Major Jeff Walker, of the Martian colony. You shouldn’t be surprised that I know you. After all, it was you who killed two of my best agents and pilfered their ship. To me, it’s small offense, but still unforgivable. Well, your people are no longer on your puny red planet. They have left, and I want to know where they have gone!”

  “Why punish others for what I have done?”

  “Because it is insurance that you will tell me what I need to know. If you don’t, your friends will die.”

  “Why should your kind rule the galaxy?” Jeff asked, as he reached for one of the glass balls behind him.

  “Keep your hands where I can see them!” Balta barked, and pointed the gun at Jeff’s chest “I won’t tolerate anymore defiance!”

  “I don’t suppose you will,” the Martian said, as he struggled to take the laser from Balta’s hand. With his free hand Jeff grabbed a glass ball which contained acid, and smashed it on the alien’s hand. He fell to the floor and clutched his hand in severe pain. Jeff grabbed his laser and struck him over the head, which rendered him unconscious. Jeff fired the laser at the door, blasting a huge hole in it, providing his means of escape. The two guards were on the floor, and Jeff ran down the corridor until he came upon a large red door. It was partially open, revealing four guards in front of a brig of some kind. Dormiton and Milgic were the only prisoners in it, both of them frightened and crying.

  He knew he was outnumbered, so he had to think of a good plan. He thought about the direct approach, but also thought that all of Balta’s men would come down, and abandoned that idea. There wouldn’t be much of an escape if the alarm was sounded. Jeff quietly backed up in the corridor, took a stone he picked up from the cavern floor earlier and threw it in the opposite direction than where he was. Two of the guards heard the sound and headed down the corridor, and Jeff came up from behind and smashed their helmets together which dazed them, and they fell to the floor. The other guards heard the commotion and opened fire. Jeff fired back at them, rolled his body across the floor, just missing a blast. He fired back, hit one of them in the head and shattered his skull like a crushed pineapple. The other one escaped and set the alarm off. He fought them off for the moment, but more would be on the way. When he reached the brig, he immediately destroyed the force field controls with his laser, and released his friends.

  “Jeff!” Dormition yelled in relief. “You’re all right!” He grabbed him around the waist in comfort.”

  “We have to get out of here,” Jeff stated, as he grabbed his arm. Milgic quickly followed.

  “Grab their guns!” Jeff commanded. The lingworts stared at him, unwilling to comply. Neither one would touch them. “Never mind, let’s just get out of here!”

  They heard the loud ringing throughout the complex
, as the trio headed down the corridor, unaware of where they were headed. Jeff kept his laser ready, as the sound of footsteps could be heard behind them, getting closer and closer. They ran faster until they came to two very large doors, and Jeff pressed the button that opened them. He had to buy some time, so he ran to the nearest door panel and pressed the main door lock. It would take them a while to cut through the thick metal, working to his advantage.

  The controls were written in English, which didn’t make much sense to him. Why would a race so far away from Earth or Mars, write English and speak English as well as their own native tongue? Maybe they had been watching humans for some time. They piloted spacecraft much faster than anything humans developed, and their computers were far more advanced than any he ever saw, but weren’t impossible to decipher, for Jeff had extensive knowledge of computer systems. The ringing sound of the alarm made his hands a little jumpy, but after a few minutes, he felt a little calmer. He tried to tap into the mainframe, but was unsuccessful, and he didn’t have much time to play around, so he abandoned his efforts and moved away from the machine.

  “Stand back!” he told his friends, and aimed his laser at the computer.

  He fired, and it exploded and smoked. He pointed to an air duct and blasted the grating with his laser. He gestured for them to get in the air duct, bent down, and allowed them to climb on his shoulders. Jeff threw his gun up to them as the sound of the guards cutting through the door intensified. They worked themselves down the duct until they were well out of distance. They would be safe until they reached the end, where there was sure to be a welcoming committee.

  Jeff’s grandfather once told him that fear could either help someone or hurt someone, depending on what the situation was. He claimed that when a man was cornered, he was no different than a wild animal, and fear could be used as a dangerous weapon. Death was not something to be afraid of, and it was just a final phase in the cycle of life; a bridge to the hereafter.

  Jeff always dreamed what it would be like without war, disease, or famine. Living in Lingwort was just about as close to this dream he would ever get. Even this peaceful world seemed to become a battleground when the mood was set. Jeff himself didn’t realize it at the time, but he had already poisoned their little peaceful community. He already shown them the first step of what it means to be human-he taught them how to kill.

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